Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"Take Away the Stone"

"Take Away the Stone"
by
Ric Couchman


















And when I heard that you had left,
I went into my office, and I wept.
Lord, the one whom you love is sick.
Did you depart on your own terms?
For it appears you were so inclined;
At least, such was my impression
Based on our recent conversation.
But it feels like it was only yesterday
That I heard you say,
"I was a quiet guy who never fought back;
And oh! How I do regret that."
Those were your parting words to me.
And I, since, did not reach out to you,
And oh! How I do regret that.
Our friend, Lazarus has fallen asleep.

And the winter season is upon safari land,
And Rosa's womb has seen only winter,
And twice failed to bear the expected fruit.
I'm so sorry; pardon my assumption.
Indeed, you were not as bold as we,
Forthright with the women, assertive.
With that observation I surely agree,
But depressed like Michel Earle?
With that comparison I do not concur.
Shy you were, no doubt, and timid,
But you possessed a solidity and depth;

Perhaps, that was why I sorely wept.
How painful must have been the absence
Of that strong male voice deep within
Which ideally should have been your dad's,
He, whom you said, you loved yet hated
Because you could not measure up -
Measure up to his standards of manliness.
"I struggled with a weakness, privately...,
I guess you must have suspected..."
Ah...the shame and guilt of Christianity. 
"...Being made to feel like a leper,
The intense shame, the inner turmoil,
All because, as they would say
(If with Paul you do agree),
God gave me over to a reprobate mind.
But what do they know?"

That healing you sought never came,
That desire to be fully known, warts and all,
To be fully accepted and embraced truly...
And then your question, the point, really.
"How do you feel about your daughter's...?"
And in that question about Joi's sexuality
You revealed the nature of your inner struggle.
Take away the stone.

My question you evaded at first,
But you subsequently affirmed the struggle.
A glimpse of those thoughts of ending all
You gave to me, and of your inner shame,
And of how dark a time it was for you -
No more handshakes, no more embrace,
Greeted, yes, but not touched, you said,
Rejected by your Bible-toting friends.
And your Rosa knew,
Faithful Rosa who stood by you.
But you continued to honor your marital vows;
You honored it to the end...
While you endured the struggle within.
And your animated, "That's it! That's it!
It has indeed been a living hell!"
Jesus wept.

A living hell it was for you, you said
And took your leave, abruptly,
As was your custom back in the day
When without warning 
You would leave our conversation.
In like manner you departed - abruptly,
Leaving this insensitive, self-absorbed world
That pays lip-service to righteousness and piety
But is entirely vacuous regarding compassion,
Leaving the Conversation and your Opposers,
To find elsewhere the peace you couldn't find here.
Lazarus, come forth!

[Photo Art by Ric Couchman]