Thursday, July 5, 2012

F(orgive) THIS

street art, Candler Mt skate park

Hieroglyphs adorning the skate park wall
tell our cultural story, a laughing jackass & god-figure
watch a boy strapped to a rocket, (cock it [aim] fire)
at our worst enemy, aiming of course is optional
and if they are unavailable, say, due to other obligations,
anyone we deem more wrong than us

Forgive & forget, gets pandered from pulpits,
what bullshit-at least the way it was taught growing up
as if we are giving permission for them to do it again,
'oh that's ok---i forgive you,' said in my best Ned Flanders,
as i pass you the key to my child's bedroom
so you don't have to break in the next time

The whole time underneath the surface, puss
infection eats deeper & deeper resent-ments, til you give
the finger to old ladies crossing the road for wasting
your time & beat your children for asinine questions
like, 'why grass is green?' which is surely evil
because life IS NOT FAIR-
         & if only you knew what he/she/it did to me
which is why i carry a .45 in my hip pocket loaded
full of gossip ready to swiss cheese their character

(and a cheese grater for extra measure---mother filabuster)

    Forgiveness is not the same as tolerance. It is not the same
    as inclusivity. It is not the same as indifference, whether
    personal or moral. Forgiveness does not mean we don't
    take evil seriously after all; it means that we do

Now there is a revolutionary concept---actually doing
something about it, confront it & name it---so the evil
doesn't Hyde in my Jekyll & you, YOU must actually own
your cRAP---

well, of course then, i too must own mine and perhaps,
that is why it scares us, so

forgive & forget it is, let's all sing Kumbaya, cross
our fingers & fester as we roast the heads off
a few marshmallows.

Over at dVerse Poets today, Charles Miller has an intriguing prompt for us, to incorporate text from an article or periodical...or write a poem addressing modernity on some level. Say, just jump over, he will explain it better.


Also submitted to Poetry Jam.


The section italicizes in the poem is from Evil and the Justice of God by NT Wright, who I had the opportunity to hear a few years ago. A rather radical thinking theologian. Similar thoughts are carried by Desmond Tutu in There is no Freedom without Forgiveness, another book on my shelf.

84 comments:

Emily Wierenga said...

i can't believe i'm the first person to comment on this amazing piece. wow. i wish you could preach at my church brian. i'm pretty sure we'd lose half the congregation, mind you, but that's probably not such a bad thing. i completely 100 percent agree with you on this.

cloudia charters said...

pondering very important issues here, Bry. Poetry is important.



Have a fine Weekend!

Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

Mary said...

Wise words , Brian. We do have to actually own our crap and do something about it? We can't just tolerate-- in ourselves or in others. That is not what forgiveness is.

Heaven said...

An intriguing perspective on the forgiveness theme ~ I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this along with some sad images here (puss infections and loaded gun ~ Have a good night ~

Claudia said...

dang what a powerful, powerful piece...and true...forgiveness is not the same as tolerance...forgiveness is one of the most radical things in the world

Sherry Blue Sky said...

WOW! This is a stunning write!!!!! You totally nailed it.

Daniel said...

Wow brother, this is a powerful rant. I can feel your vibe deep within.

awakenedwords said...

to forgive I believe, does not mean forget, not permission to do again. Well done again.

Hannah said...

For reals, Brian!! You're right on, on so many levels. Do indeed and slap resentment in the face while we're at it...never giving it a chance to fester there. Excellent writing guy!!

JANU said...

Strong and well driven message here. Super like.

Gloria said...

You know times ago always was easy for me forgive but the last time is difficult, is the true especially when someone hurt you; I pray God. Help me in it:)

rosemary mint said...

I love this:

"(cock it [aim] fire)" ... Or maybe it's "cock it, tame fire"

And your title:

Forgive This (or Give This)

Steve Piper said...

I love this, Brian, great job with the prompt.

Kristina said...

Makes me a little sad, but it is a good piece with a lot of good thoughts. The things we are taught must be pondered over for their value and not just swallowed as is. (Something I've been doing myself lately)

Kulio said...

Our pastor just spoke on forgiveness this Sunday! He says that it's not about saying, "It's okay," because it's NOT okay. It's about saying - that was not okay, but I'm going to choose to forgive you - not because I feel like it, or because I am ever going to be able to forget what you did, but because by forgiving, I will free myself first, and I will also free you. :-)

kaykuala said...

Forgive and forget has been said and accepted. I would subscribe to it. Anything that do away with petty things I would just not bother my mind further on it. That would free our mind onto bigger things. Great write Brian!

Hank

Brandee Shafer said...

I love it, and I think it goes to an even bigger issue (as if this one isn't huge in and of itself). Our energy is a resource. The implication in moving beyond forgiving to forgetting is that we're willing to do it all over, again...or have it done to us all over, again. But I'm not sure that's ever appropriate b/c we're called to be good stewards of everything we've been given...including our energy, health, minds, hearts...

Dana Dampier said...

We may forgive to free ourselves from the past... but it forever changes who we are. You are quick to notice the signs next time around, quick to point that gun.

Anna Montgomery said...

Aiming is optional about sums up US foreign policy - you're on fire in your element here - reread it three times, excellent!

She Writes Here Now said...

BRAVO!!!!! Really, really good.

Fred Rutherford said...

strong choice. Strong write. really like your poetic reflections in this one, raw but thoughts I tend to hear loud and clear. Great read. Thanks

Susan said...

A poem as chaotic as the abyss of crime itself. Pretty fine writing:

"as if we are giving permission for them to do it again"

"til you give
the finger to old ladies crossing the road for wasting
your time & beat your children for asinine questions
like, 'why grass is green?' which is surely evil
because life IS NOT FAIR"

"Forgive and Forget" repeated
but not done, not done! Did you mean to mock the idea? To stress the difficulty of it? Do you believe in Forgiveness as "taking evil seriously"? "The quality of Mercy is not strained, it droppeth . . . . "

How deep the pain is! You know their insides too, the wounded ones who seek individual targets, the corporate ones who find aiming optional. Does knowing help forgiveness? I have trouble with it, trouble with loving that of God in everyone--tho I intend always to speak to it even when I look trouble in the face. I have not wrapped myself around that theme yet, Brian. I like how you combined themes.

kolembo said...

Aiming, of course, is optional.
Good stuff Mister Miller, as always, and you shoot off the cuff - I'm envious!

Indeed. Forgiveness is not about that at all. Good to read this morning.

Cressida de Nova said...

ROFL...let's all hold hands and sing Kumbaya ..love the hypocrisy

.In the Christian religion one of the greatest sins according to scripture is the sin of hypocrisy

Christians are also supposed to allow their enemies to live in peace without harrassing them which is a form of forgiveness.

It is possible then that 99% of Christians could be languishing in
hell for eternity.OR
as Sartre said
"l,enfer c'est les autres" which is the existentialist view meaning hell is living with other human beings here on earth.

Good post.

Valerie said...

Powerful piece, Brian. I am a tolerant soul but I have trouble with that sort of 'forgiveness'. A girl dies at the hands of the IRA and while her father nurses her body he tells the perpetrators he forgives them. I can't get my head around that.

Daydreamertoo said...

Forgiving is not for the faint hearted. It doesn't mean we give anyone permission to walk all over us and keep repeating their vile/evil acts. That would be insane. But, there is an endless battle going on between good and evil in this world and, evil must not win. So, we must keep fighting the good fight, not preaching false statements from a pulpit, but actually putting it into action by our deeds. We all have good and evil inside us, it's a question of who we allow to win.
I don't think anyone ought to be a door mat and allow themselves to be treated badly over and over again, but I do think if we fight and win (or lose) our battles, we have to then forgive, either others or, ourselves for our behaviour, before we can go forward once again.
Your writing is so deep, and filled with emotion Brian. Having had so much to come to terms with evil people in my lifetime and eventually learning I had to forgive them, I could talk about this with you in great depth. :)

Home Loans Rockingham said...

Hi Brian. This is really amazing. It's hard to forgive and forget especially if the person hurt you a lot. A sorry won't take all the pain and tears away. It takes time.

Jenny Woolf said...

This is a wonderful piece.

Forgiveness is an easy thing to preach from pulpits, but very hard to do when your own emotions are involved. It helps to realise that forgiveness is not condoning the behaviour. So far for me it has always been worth forgiving those who wrong me, but that is partly because I didn't live under Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot or Hitler.

Wolfsrosebud said...

... and it works both ways... amazing the receiving end is so short... someone needs to draw lines in the sand

Charles Miller said...

What a great, powerful poem, on a subject that I simply find crucial/exustential for our continued survival as human beings/individuals. This line just rocked my boat, stating perfectly an attitude that I see, butbsimply could not get my finger on:

as if we are giving permission for them to do it again,
'oh that's ok---i forgive you,' said in my best Ned Flanders,

Perfect description of how forgiveness is seen and practised. Now I ain't noway nohow near perfect, but I understand that forgiveness, real bona fide forgiveness. I used to teach class in religious studies, I used to ask people to finish the commandment about loving your neighbor, and almost zero knew/recalled the second part about the enemy.

Great poem, powerful filled with love and compassion, and true charity.

Tabor said...

I've have just had a brief "conversation" on FB with my ex-marine nephew who feels wise people keep loaded weapons nearby at all times because one will never no when an "evildoer" needs to be taken down. He says this with tongue in cheek...but he does believe it.

Lorraine said...

Thou shalt not judge, God knows you see a bad one, you turn into one...He knows why, I sure as hell don't and even though I Ihave faith Iwill never understand although it was His Will how he could allow evil to walk our earth during the holocaust, he could have stopped it, to hell with freedom of choice, babies didn't choose to be thrown in a fire pit.... it's all so mixed up, so we do our best and stop it when we can 'cause what else can you do

the walking man said...

I will forgive you but I will not forget what I forgave you of. How else would I be able to see which direction you have grown as time passed.


The plants in the garden will grow in the direction of the sun, them that don't get weeded out.

The Unknowngnome said...

You can't F this!

This IS the "best one of the week i have read"!

California Girl said...

Serious cynicism Brian. My sentiments. I'm not a particularly forgiving type although I'm working on it...still.

Pat Hatt said...

Kumbaya and rocket man
How can one not be a fan
And surely need to let go
Maybe not forget what's in the know
But let it go by
Instead of wanting to make ones fry

DJan said...

I have been letting my forgiveness muscles atrophy. Thanks for reminding me of their importance, Brian. Good on ya! :-)

Loredana Donovan said...

True, forgiveness is not the same as tolerance ... that phrase wraps up the strong message in your poem ...

hedgewitch said...

It's a difficult cpncept for me, forgiving...I'm very good at tolerance, but as your rather brilliant piece points out, in some cases that isn't enough, and indeed is an enabler of things that shouldn't be forgiven. Yeesh--thinking this hard this early hurts mah head, bri, but I love what you did here. Also, the street art you keep finding is amazing.

Eva Gallant said...

I can't read this and then call what I write poetry! You are amazing.

Annmarie Pipa said...

we are still called to forgive.

Victoria said...

Brian, I so love and respect your work, and this one in particular. It is so full of brilliant images, without getting murky and confusing. The images support the work, the meaning. You are really good at that. The world you describe, the concept of "water under the bridge" forgiveness scares me. Thank you for this beautiful and thought provoking piece.

manicddaily said...

Well, the heat has finally gotten to someone down there in Lynchburg! (Ha.)

Human nature is pretty complex; it wants and doesn't want; admires and doesn;t, emulates and doesn't; aims at nobility and definitely pulls back = fearful, greedy, angry -

I think one problem with the PC culture is that it denies human nature in so many specific ways. Really interesting poem with many crazily wonderful juxtapositions. k.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Wow Brian...this really resonates with me...I am reading it again...forgiveness IS so incredibly complicated...the hurt is so hard to get past...

I grew up in a culture that embraced these words (it infuriates me):
'oh that's ok---i forgive you,' said in my best Ned Flanders,
as i pass you the key to my child's bedroom
so you don't have to break in the next time

Pat said...

Great title to this gut-wrenching poem. I read it several times. Powerful stuff.

Mama Zen said...

This is tight! This rolls.

Sue Judd said...

Very powerful stuff, a great read. Some great lines...you must actually own your crap particularly resonates.

Myrna R. said...

Strong stuff here. I know so many people don't know what forgiveness really is, and even if we know, its hard to actually empty our hearts entirely of bitterness and resentments. The crap within is so sticky.

Laurie Kolp said...

I agree we tend to let things fester and then take it out on the innocent. Strong, profound piece, Brian.

Victoria said...

Brian, I love, love, love it. The thread of hostility that seems to simmer just below the surface of every stanza so expresses today's reality. Plus, I hope you don't mind if I adopt "mother filibuster" as my own, acceptable expletive. :0)

Helen said...

Seriously! You need a huge audience for this kind of message. Loved the title ~~ F(orgive)... I consider your poem a gift!!!

Mary Mansfield said...

Your poetic skewering of society's sacred cows is spot on! Love the Flanders reference, as I reread that line I couldn't help but mentally add the "diddly-iddly" to it. Another terrific write!

FrankandMary said...

When I forgive, it does not absolve the other person from responsibility, nor should it. ~Mary

Peggy said...

I am so late commenting here but want to get my comment in anyway. And thank you for visiting my blog! (I have been away from Internet contact for the week). There is such an explosive feeling in this even though it is also reflective. Excellent and thanks.

^.^ said...

"Kumbaya" alright ... but then again, who am I to throw the first stone ... been there done that ... learned from it, I hope so ... Love, cat.

turtlememoir said...

love "so the evil
doesn't Hyde in my Jekyll" & i agree with your analysis of "forgive & forget"... is that why we had to sing Kumbaya so often when I was a kid ;0)

ND Mitchell said...

So true Brian-for forgiveness to be real, the hurt can't be concealed...

aprille said...

forgiving can be given and then so easily retracted. It only works if we manage to forget,completely forget.
Turning the other cheek is truly a marvelous achievement, out of reach of most of us I shouldn't wonder.
Scary subject.

Unknown Mami said...

"Forgiveness is not the same as tolerance." I am going to have to sit with that for awhile. There is a lesson that I need to learn in that.

When Words Escape said...

Well-written thoughts, Brian.

That first line jumped out at me, though...I don't think it's ever dawned on me to compare graffiti to pictures painted on cave walls! Hmm.

Thanks for stopping by my "Broken" offering...my first for dVerse. I'll have to remember to swing back around and check out their prompts.

Kutamun said...

Gday Brian, you are doing America a great service with work like this. I dont think the crap needs to be cured or made to go away either. It just needs a secure operating environment to conduct its own expression and life in, at least that will prevent it becoming more powerful. Like Platos Republic. Cheers mate

Kutamun said...

Gday Brian, you are doing America a great service with work like this. I dont think the crap needs to be cured or made to go away either. It just needs a secure operating environment to conduct its own expression and life in, at least that will prevent it becoming more powerful. Like Platos Republic. Cheers mate

marousia said...

Ah, if only people would own their own crap and admit that it stinks - excellent write!

Wander said...

Brian the last part of this brought the flesh to a poem I was working on today...thank you!

it'll be up over at my place in a bit...and at d'verse as well!

glad to hear you have power again, hope your area has some good swimming holes!

Wander

lucychili said...

true.

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

Totally agree with you. I love the title.

irene said...

Brian, a really cool poem on forgiveness. The last stanza sums it up so nicely.

my heart's love songs said...

brilliant! how you can continue to write at this level given your lack of power in the midst of the heat-wave is beyond me!

i guess it just goes to show what a true talent... true poet you are!

Dave King said...

I've said it before, I think. I think I shall say it again, but just now I think this is your best yet. It has contrasting moments - lyrical and (almost) prose poetry, for instance; and it takes a solemn and serious subject and treats it so whilst shining an everyday light, a touch of levity, upon it.

Margaret said...

forgiveness is not tolerance! I just commented similarly somewhere else. Saying sorry does not take away the consequence. It might be a lighter punishment, and trust is earned a bit, I suppose, but the price for a bad choice must be made. One of the first things I teach my kids. Powerful poem and I love it when you find street art !

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Very nice, Brian. Although I have to laugh (or sometimes cry) at some of the ideas that are considered radical today.

jane hewey said...

love your rhythm in this one, Brian. you treat the subject with care. forgiveness, in my opinion, is so much of why we exist as humans.

daydreamer said...

My mouth is agape in awe! This is an amazing piece Brian! I can see why you said it is a tough subject. You did a fantastic job in conveying your thoughts though.

I had to write this in response.

They meddle and peddle this bullshit from pulpits and here I sit expected to swallow this? As a mother, father, daughter, or son; Better yet the one to who it's done? I forgive you and it sets me free. I win you see, but I won't forget. I do not give permission for repetition of this evil embrace from your evil face. Too afraid to be named or thought the same as that evil you speak against. I do not straddle the fence or commence with the appearance of being dense. Instead, I do not forget or let those memories rest. I will fight your fake light and put you to the test. In front of all those who hold you superior, face yourself: here's a mirror.

Sue said...

This one is good on every level, Brian.

=)

RMP said...

I've had this thought (question really) running inside my head for awhile now. I do believe in forgiveness, but in this particular instance I have been pondering whether I have it in me to forgive (and rather certain the answer is no). Reading your words gave me pause. I did a little reflecting; read through the 70 some comments left here; and revisited a poem I'd written awhile ago called 'forgive me'. I think I finally found the answer, when the time comes, if asked for forgiveness, (I now believe) I might actually be strong enough to forgive.

Anyway...enough of my babble.

read the first lines, thought of cave drawings, and thought how perfect the comparison. adored the jekyll/hyde use. a really lovely piece.

Janet said...

Believe it or not...I think we are on the same page:)

ayala said...

Wise words, Brian ! Brilliant !

farmlady said...

Wow! I don't even have words for this one.

Magpie said...

Forgiveness and tolerance both very complex concepts. Ned Flanders - ick!

Zuzana said...

As you know I struggle currently with the idea of forgetting and forgiving. I am slowly forgetting, and one day I will forgive - as you so eloquently point out, they are two different things. Am not there yet, but I know I will be as living life in anger over the past will rob us of happiness in the future.;)
xoxo

Raven said...

I CANNOT say enough good things about this poem! Forgiveness, for me is/was a slippery little devil. I knew that I had to do it. I knew. But, although I said the words ... I did not mean them. So, I'd say to God, look, I am doing what I am supposed to here, but I don't mean it. But, that really was enough, because I was willing, God filled my heart with forgiveness and all that is meant to follow did.

poeticlicensee said...

This one hits right to the core of this follower's psyche; and, so well expressed. Excellent writing, as usual. Your visual posts, the street art, are looked forward to with great anticipation by me here on WordPress. Thank you so much for being here...

Tara Miller said...

A lot of cynicism in this piece, love. Forgiveness is not tolerance and does not allow another to walk all over that person just because they chose to forgive. It's not saying that what someone did is okay, it is releasing that person from whatever violation they committed against another and erasing the slate clean. Not forgetting but not rehashing over and over or allowing it to fester inside them. It takes a very strong person to be able to forgive no matter how offensive or not the act was. We all do/say things that require us to seek forgiveness. I think to many, they are afraid of such an act: to give it or ask for it.

True forgiveness in itself when given and received gives a peace that is unmistaken.

Sreeja said...

Sometimes we just read...and sometimes the reading just takes us....