No.219: It's Never Pretty at the Bottom.


i opened the lid 
on the bottle of myself
and looked through
the tiny opening at the top
and saw rage at the bottom.

he was shaped like a little man,
screaming his lungs into dust,
banging, slamming, cursing everything
that didn’t bow to him,
go his way, 
agree with the damn story
(please just agree with the damn story)
that he was in control,
worthy of their respect,
worthy of their respect, 
worthy of their respect, 
even when he is only human,
worthy of their respect,
even when he is 
scattered, uncollected, unattractive, incorrect, broken,
hurting, human,
just shut up and tell him
that he is worthy of respect, 
that he matters,
that he is as precious and as beautiful as the Son of God
simply because 
he is a son of God.

just tell him.
and keep on telling him.
because it didn’t sink in the first time.
or the second.
or the third.
he was told the seed planted like a spoiler in Genesis 
came and died and rose on the third,
but he couldn’t see it — the holes in His hand.
the proof was a demand
because all he ever heard was
the noise of his family
and friends
and strangers
and even less:
ghosts from voices past in his head
telling him, with their rebukes and manipulative words and compliments
that he is only worth something
because he is impressive.
and the 30 minutes a day he spends pacing his way 
through slim, annotated pages in a worn-out book created
from copies on copies on copies
of stories 2,000 years old just don’t 
seem to be keeping up 
with the noise of the world he thought
he could call his home.

I held the little man in the bottle,
I held him upside down by his tiny feet,
I watched him scream and squirm and learned, 
as his tears steamed and burned like a hot iron on a shirt,
I watched his scars turn hard, impenetrable, like dragon scales,
I heard his heart turn off,
like he was convinced his Heavenly Father wasn’t there,
because his biological one was too tortured 
by his own little sad man 
to be there when it mattered, 
or to be there at all for that matter.
I studied this sad excuse for a beast parading as
king, crying in a corner, pouting, carrying all my 
weight, drowning in silence
all the way
to the bottom.

i don’t have an answer to this problem.
i just have this poem.
i just know God has seen
and heard
and feels 
whatever is beneath my surface.

and that alone is worth holding on.