Morning Song, Part 2 (Broken Home)

by Ralkkai

I remember asking my mom, “Why doesn’t daddy go to church?”
She would tell me that he was tired, that he was working all the time
driving truck to support us.

I remember asking God,  “Why doesn’t daddy go to church?”
He never responded.

I, the beta youth of the Midwest, in the summers of 1990-whatever.
You, my mom, hard-pressed to believe, to see, to allow to deceive.
But, when I started to have notions of the motions of the world, how it swayed,
you, my mother, told me that I was still one of God’s children anyway.
But, we never really fought about it and you let me go. In the end, you let me go.

It was the summers and I would stand in the shower and cry
as I prayed to God to make this pain of puberty go away.
It was winters in the basement, where I would write my adolescence away
in the light of day, in the darkness, in the decay, in the way, and I would scream to myself,
“I still don’t fucking get it, dear mother!”

In northern Indiana, I fell from grace at the ripe young age of 8.
I wasn’t yet sure what it even meant, to not believe anymore, dear God, dear mother.
I never meant to hurt anyone. I never meant to hurt.
But the pain of puberty takes a toll on everyone, this is nothing new.

I, the written word, trudged through a failed relationship, intertwined with cheating and confusion.
My pen barely knew what it told the paper, my pen barely knew the ink.

I, the written word, cowered in truck stops, in vinyl booths at 3am, writing in my notebooks.
My pen barely knew what I told the paper, my mind barely knew what to think.

I, the broken home, covered my tears behind cigarettes, coffee, alcohol and Mary Jane.
My soul barely knew what it told the paper, my heart shattered to the ground like a jar of ink.

I, the fucking bastard of circumstances, lost in the desert of Arizona, of dark skin and hot nights.
And then I shut down.

Do you remember when you told me that I still believe in God?
Do you remember the conversation over middle school homework, before dinner
In the house which I grew up, in the house that was our home?
I barely remember it now, a far off notion, meant to create commotion,
and that it did.

I was your own little rebel child.

I saw what it was to live that total freedom, away from the shackles of Christianity.
I was the Alpha Youth and my 15 year old ideas were so big, nothing could contain them
I was still with the crust around new awaken eyes but I was free. I was so fucking free.
I was starting my new journey as an individual, free thinker, scum of the earth, I was bright, the world dim.

I saw God once, along with Stephen Crane, where he lay in the desert, maddened from the heat,
eating of his own flesh, his church-body, and I along with Crane thought this a curious thing.
I saw Him again in the bottom of a bottle of vodka, sitting next to Bukowski, as he told me how not to love.
It was a marvelous thing, to see God, distilled, bottled and shipped off to the store shelves.

But do you know? I mean do you really know what it is to fall from grace?
To fall like a billion tons into a velvet dream full of pills, booze and the occasional clear conscious?

While the fingers point at you?

I was the broken-winged angel, you were the lost mother, behind masks of whiskey and Sprite.
And my pen was collecting dust while my mind was collecting rust, while the world darkened.

I was the angry child, with ideas of Atheism and Anarchy. I walked with the warriors, you were the arbitrary antithesis.
And my heart was collecting dust while my anger was fueled by the upper crust, while the broken souls harkened.

I was so angry at the world. I was so selfish that I was blinded by a photographer’s lens trick of it all
and my words fell short, my emotions confused and my dreams no longer my own.

Those poems were songs to myself as I decided where I would end up in life.
They were never meant as a eulogy, but more an epiphany, a million years too late.

Have you ever seen
the heart shiver in the moment that occurs
right before you die inside from your own shift of perception?
Have you ever felt the presence of the ghost as
he crawls your spine in an attempt to reconcile your suicidal thoughts?
There was no God there.

There was no God in Hawking, Dawkins, Sagan, DeGrasse Tyson.

There was, or should have only been truth, depending on how much one is willing to believe.

…and yet, I still didn’t know. Still don’t.

I’m alone in this journey at times, like now, as I contemplate my own faith and fate.
I felt a presence when I stood beside my father-in-law at Crystal Lake.
But that presence was that of the infinite unknown, the clown, the fool-hearted unbeliever.
It’s as if I, the written word, am nothing more then the malevolent deceiver.

The home where I grew up, is now a broken shell in my mind,
This is not your fault, dear mother. It is the fault of my brain, how it’s wired
But I’m not scared anymore. I have accepted the darkness that haunts my hands.
I have accepted that this is just how I am, that the world is how it is and that
I will never be anything else, no matter how many times I solve the puzzles
since it’s all from memory anyway.

I can now reference verses from the Bible, but its merely from memory,
just like the kitchen table, with the white painted legs,
and how dad would sit at the head of the table, reading the paper, drinking his coffee
with milk and sugar;
Just like when you would read your Daniel Steele novels, on the deck, for afternoons at a time.
Just like summers hidden in the basement.

Dear mother, I love you, and I loved our little messed up, brick house, where I grew up.

I, the written word, trudged through a failed understanding of life, intertwined with Christ and confusion.
My pen barely knew what it told the paper, my pen barely knew the ink.

I, the written word, cowered in truck stops, in vinyl booths at 3am, writing in my notebooks.
My pen barely knew what I told the paper, my mind barely knew what to think.

The home was never broken, the home was never meant to be an eulogy.