June 19, 2016

A Prayer from Liturgy II: Jason Ikpatt

The following is the piece created and read by Jason Ikpatt during liturgy on June 19, 2016. To listen to the podcast of the sermon and Jason’s reading, click here

rubbing salt into flesh wounds.
pressing into bloodied skin with alcohol soaked rags.
this is equal parts
carnal flinch and spinal jolt. equal parts
willful heart and trembling hand, a sheep
in wolves’ clothing.
i press deep,
wondering where the pain will go when it leaves my
body. where does the pain go when it
leaves us?

i speak with sunlight language but i
do not mean to
romanticize the nights in which my weeping lasted
long enough to
call the sun from its absence

i have been here long enough to gather just a little bit
and in this time i have managed to gather just enough to
comprehend the language of the silent saints
around us.
there is not much to their silence apart from my
lack of focus. there is much
to be spoken on behalf of their
minor key moans and
belabored bellows which speak to a pain so
storied, an injury so ancient that
we have written it everywhere and thus can no longer read it.

brother isaac taught us
two scriptures regarding these silent saints
which you must truly hear first before you are able to read them everywhere.
one, for every action there is an equal
and opposite reaction. two, no thing ever in this
beautiful expanse of matter has ever been
destroyed so much as it has been
transformed, meaning
your pain will
disappear, and it will not be destroyed and
it will not ever be as if it never existed.
but the ancient scriptures insist that
it will decompose into fragments of
itself and so long as
there is life and time, it will be incorporated into
everything around it and therefore,
it is how we restructure these fragments of pain that matters most.

we have decided to turn this nightclub crime scene
into a library, my incredible mother decided to turn wic cards and immigrant
grit and full capacity 2002 ford escorts in texas julys into college degrees.
we have beaten our swords into plowshares.

we have decided to remember kevin brown,
i have decided to remember my childhood, we will remember to make a
monument to the wars we have
fought for we will waste nothing.
in light of this, we will also make
a monument to the peace that we have fashioned from scraps of agony.

when salt is poured into the
wound, metal ions catalyze enzymes that
break down necrotic tissue meaning,
salt helps to break down the broken tissue which will ultimately be repurposed for growth, meaning
that it facilitates a healing – a transformation in accordance
with the rules of life and time.
it will not feel good.
do not allow me to romanticize the nights
in which your weeping lasted long
enough to call the sun from its absence.
but please, as you are
rub the salt into your wounds.
with a willful heart and a trembling hand.
and with a smile of the
soul that can only come from the
sweet playfulness of

[Photo by Patrick @ Flickr]

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