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02. The Fort Lauderdale Five

Cataracts
by Levi The Poet



 

it was love at first threat.

her knees went weak for confidence so even though her friends said that she should "call it what it is,” she simply fell deeper in love and when he’d raise his fists and ask her just who in the hell she thinks that she is, she’d tell him it was all about Jesus, and

submit.

in 1976, she was too terrified to resist, and “authority” had already become a position synonymous with “God,” so apologies issued from proponents of the covering couldn’t keep the fear out of her. his tears from the pulpit were a comfort at first but they pooled in shapes like convenience constantly redistributing its weight back and forth along the planks of a seesaw, and you can only feign trustworthy for so long before being cut off after someone with a golden ear hears the script.

it appears as though there is such a thing as a victim, though she could never admit it until the pastor propositioned its existence (and specifically as it stood in relationship to him).

and all of the sudden the movement is exposed as illusion.

she said that the hardest thing she had to do was admit that she was abused.

you never get it until you do.

“i refused to use words like ‘stockholm’ or ‘syndrome’ or ‘hostage’ but it was a robbery and it was violent and it was 15 years of my life and i’m still trying to figure out who the thief is and whether or not he broke down the door or if i left it unlocked and invited him in.”

at first you feel nothing, and then the anger seeps in. let it be righteous. at least something is.

(keep forgiving)

they say that "rage is what happens inside when our soul finally awakens from living a lie" and it doesn’t help to deny it. there are stages to the scales that slide off of our eyes like serpents shedding skin and letting the death molt.

“get it off of me.”

the disillusionment manifests in stagnant melancholy and she keeps thinking there’s got to be a reason as clean as the teaching’s always been.

it was love at first threat.

but even though patty hearst defended her offense as duress affecting intent, it didn’t stand to deflect the judgement that found her compliant and guilty of theft.

so who’s stealing from who?

i keep filing out confusion from underneath my fingernails like gunshot residue. like a constant reminder that i held a weapon, too. like i helped pull the trigger and then deferred all of the blame to you. like complicity written all over me. like biblical masculinity that i crushed my wife beneath. like she needed me as the assurance of things hoped for but as yet unseen.

was the devil’s deceit so deeply indwelt that when he fell, he didn’t realize he was falling?
will i discover myself in the depths of hell singing songs to the wrong
angel of light?


 

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This Friday, April 20
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