25 March 2010

lovers, like tattoos

I've been recently enthralled by Ezekiel 16. It's not a text we read oft at church. In fact, I'm pretty certain I've never heard anyone reference it before this past week. Even then, the preacher mentioned only Ezekiel 16:8, which is a lovely text with a beautiful metaphor of God promising God's love to Israel and joining in a covenant relationship with the people of Israel. How beautiful that our Creator chooses us and wants to be in union with us.

And then the next part of the text gets graphic and uncomfortable. I want to argue with God in it. I want to even tell God to back off a little. It's raw and honest and pretty mean. And it's life. It's the story of the people of Israel. The story of the Church. My story. As Derek Webb says in his song "Wedding Dress," "I am a whore, I do confess . . ."

Anyway, there's tons I'd like to do with this text. It makes me personally reflective. It calls me to think more about who we are as followers of Christ. It makes me so very grateful for the new covenant in Jesus, which is filled with countless grace even as we continue to flail about in our blood . . . I have so many reads on this text and will probably write much more about it in the near future.

Until then, however, here is a poem inspired by this text:

lovers, like tattoos

I’ve had lovers, like tattoos,
claim this body

at least 70 decorations seven times
of indelible delights

Gold and Silver—
pure and purposed
—my lure

most unplanned
objects of adrenaline rush

many I commissioned to
stain these thighs again


free of charge

they painted
heat and passion,
colored lines with lies

immeasurable pleasures
sighs and highs

that left me
naked and bare and flailing about in my blood

now I lay me at your feet
begging for You to paint
me beautiful

do not desert
despite my betrayals
cover me with your skirt

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