The smile that sells the message never writes it.
The sweat under the spotlights is for show.
The work it takes to make it all look easy
few understand, and most will never know.
The pain endured to make an hour’s pleasure,
the loss a pittance gained cannot recoup:
how little it seems worth to just continue.
How low is it required that one must stoop?
The easy laugh – how hard it is to fake it:
to hold the sorrow back, year after year.
The work is not enough; nothing can make it
seem less a torture and more a career.
12 APR 2013
How long have I been down, immersed,
a Dunker left beneath the wave
whose new birth was to wash away
my meaningless and lost before?
And whose strong hands upon my head
still hold me under, when they swore
to offer help and kind support?
I recognize those hands,
that seemed so weak and hesitant
to grip my own in fellowship
when both of us were dry, and I
not gasping, weakly, for some air.
I see that smile refracted through
the water now between us;
and somehow, those straight even teeth
are now misshapen, ugly fangs.
Now waterlogged, with burning lungs,
I wonder: were you too baptized,
and left, a mewling helpless babe
dependent on some unseen lord?
Or like me, did the wash not stop,
while weak-kneed saints, unsatisfied
with their own empty, whitewashed space
poured into you their excess bleach
and took upon themselves the chore
of monitor and supreme judge,
in firm belief that what they heard
in whispered voices was their God?
Along some rough Damascus road
a Pharisee believed
the voice that spoke to be the Lord.
Perhaps he was deceived.
07 FEB 2005