I am a Christian. This was, for a long while, the only substance to my being, the only part of the mirage of myself I could ever count on to not disintegrate into the lines of my palms. Yet, there were worlds inside of myself that tempted and teased and relied on the way our fears weave themselves into our fascinations. I was ready, or almost so, to dust off the multifaceted nature of my identity and hold a garage sale for anything decorated with unknown fingerprints or the smell of someone else's sweat. I let go of my faith, more surrender than anything else and went to discover which pieces of myself lay discarded in doubt, stained in sin. I wondered how I could possibly encapsulate the entirety of my being without losing the only thing I was ever really sure of, but they say to find yourself you must first lose yourself too, so I stopped praying and started writing poetry.
This is was my uncovering. I was more myself than I had ever been before but somehow less so too. I had branches upon branches but no roots, so I spent a majority of my time falling. I saw poetry in this, because there always is some in the undoing and restitching of people. Poetry lives so that we continue to have a reason to remake ourselves because without this poetry there is only pain and loneliness in our rebirth. But poetry is a survival mechanism, more fight or flight than art or humanity.
I wanted humanity; so I went where my mother taught me go when I was searching: church. This may seem counterintuitive, questioning faith in its own living room, but I believed that this fight I was going through was a product of my inability to choose a side. I went to my church and I spoke about doubt, and about anger, and about sin, and about poetry because that was the only faith I knew.
“Read the Bible like a metaphor,” was my Pastor’s reply.
My poetry is not a sacrilege of faith, but Hemingway's grace under pressure, an allusion to greatness and scarcity. I am not who I am in spite of my Christianity but because of it. It was with this realization that I began to see poetry -real poetry, fulfilled poetry- within my life. I saw that poetry and prayer were not only compatible but one and the same. I realized that I could speak to God most clearly, and most truthfully when I was speaking in a language I already knew how to speak. My faith was all stuttering and Freudian slips; my poetry was soapboxes, Gettysburg. I am trying to be Christian and confident, martyr and megaphone, and I doubt, maybe even more so now than before. But now where I see poetry I see faith and how can I not see poetry in this world that is so fearfully and wonderfully made?