Here’s Me

Here’s me,
With all the things that don’t look to match,
Glaring socks- red, purple, black, yellow, blue.
Wanting to find the mate,
But whatever keeps the feet warm, right?

Inside it’s all the same anyway-
But they wouldn’t like it if
We all knew that all the differences
Are created and maintained by
People who make money on difference.

The outside gets to be the billboard
Or the post-it. You decide, you know.
Whether to believe the voices and the texts
And the strange rustling of yourself
Under the sheets of paper and old, torn cotton.

That wind is blowing again, from the south
This time, bringing a smell of old cannons
And resentment for my freedom from those
Leaves of words that have been worked into
The rat-tailed chains prisoners don’t even try to lift.

But I have the idea that it’s all paper and
Mismatched socks, and thoughts and
Sometimes hearts that have been twisted
through disappointment and fear to give
up ever beating for any other, and so can’t love.

Here’s me, and maybe you. Just maybe,
Untangling and untwisting and looking hard
At words and things and noises that are the lights
Of some contrary star. Wreckage ahead,
Not home. Avoided, maybe. Again.

And those cold, cold feet get to keep watch,
Because I can’t have socks telling me
What to do all the time. I only need
One hat, though, and one map, beating-
And one soul. Quiet and strong and warm.

~D Gregory Smith

Predators

I am filled with frustration, anger, sadness and pain with the rash of gay teen suicides, the hate speech being spewed by religious leaders, the hate institutionalized by organizations, the violence directed toward peaceful people, the silence by those who should know better and by my own limited ability to do anything about it.

But my frustration has led me to an important insight.

I have come to realize that the hate that leads children to take their own lives is no worse than the pedophilia crisis which shakes the Catholic Church. When a pedophile seduces a child, it is painful and disgusting because of the innocence lost which can never be regained, because of the trust between adults and children in their care which has been corrupted and transformed into the delusional, self-serving predatory destruction of a young soul. It leads many of these children down the path to self-destruction- either by suicide, attempted suicide, drug and alcohol addiction or crippling depression. We are right to be outraged.

It is a violation of innocence, of the right to exist, of the right to trust, of the right to love. It is predatory. We call them predators, because, like wild animals, they stalk, they hunt, they consume, they destroy.

And those who preach hate against gays are no different.

I have talked to kids who are terrified because they have feelings which conflict with the “normal” view of the society/community/church/family in which they live. They are not scared because “they know it’s wrong”, they are scared because an adult, perhaps someone close to them or in authority over them has told them that these feelings are wrong. That having those feelings makes them bad. They use words like “sinful”, “disordered”, “unnatural”, “disgusting”, “freak” and on and on…. They are not concerned for the well-being of the children in their care- they are driving them in shame to their deaths.

It’s time to call them what they are. They are predators. They are killing our children. They are destroying our families.

They will not win.