These two poems are reflections on recent news and the paltry response to sexual violence in the church. If this topic is an open wound and a trigger, please skip reading this. As a follower of Jesus and a man, I want to have a compassionate response toward the #metoo movement and the stories women are telling. Too often, Christian men have failed to really listen and we have also failed to call victimizers to account. 


You see God, but do You hear?

El Roi—the God who sees.
Well, God,
we all see too much.
Open your ears
and hear the
cries of the broken,
scattered mass
crying ‘me too.’
We don’t want,
anymore,
the mercy
which papers over
the sins of victimizers
demanding we forgive
the things that
they’ve
never owned.

Hear us.
Hear us.
Times up,
enough.


Spring, 1998

 [warning: graphic content, press the link above to read Jules Woodson’s story]

That was Savage there,
at the end of
the dirt road,
taking by force
what was yours alone
to give and then,
quaking with chagrin
pleading with you
to pledge
to him your
everlasting
silences.

Later that savage
told a flock of
horny teens:
True Love Waits—
Take the long view!
your future wife
is a Jewel that 
ought to be
 treasured!

Did you feel treasured, Jules?
When he unzipped his pants
and demanded of you: Suck it?
Or when he had you
unbutton your blouse
and jumped from
the driver seat,
aware in
that moment
of the damage
this would do
to (no, not you)
his career?

You were crying in
the church office,
the senior pastor,
conspicuously absent.
He saw your tears,
but Larry,
Cotton in his ears,
wouldn’t hear.
“So you are saying you participated?”
“We’ll handle it.”

 
Twenty years later,
The rich man fatted
with lamb,
No prophet Nathan
came to stand
before the man
and demand
justice
For what
he took.

But you stood—
yourself—
for you
(but not just you),
for the others,
so no more
Cotton men
could
refuse
to hear.

One thought on “Two Recent Poems

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