Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eros & Christ: Sunday Confessions poem

[Part of a series on Eros and Christ] Sunday Confessions By Maruja Every Sunday families are delivered in cars by their children “we must get there in time” our parents say with our shirts crisp our shoes shined our gold glistening we cross the broad street and walk the narrow path that leads to the church with good books and dirty souls in hand, awaiting what the priest and the pulpit has to offer us today. The sanctuary is already swollen loaded with confessions, sorrows and dreams women and men on separate sides pulling their devotionals together into psalm-sprouting desires. Aunties eye the green pastures of their sisters overlooking the blossoms in their own gardens. Uncles furtively gather downstairs gulping gossip and coffee stuffing their bellies with boasts and biriyani Derelict daughters hide the bruises of their mother's fallen expectations beneath the pleats of their technicolor saris. Surrounded by family there is no room for me here. I make my way up the stairs, towards the upper room where I find you waiting reunited. I take the open seat beside you unraveling my confessions as my knees slowly drift apart the divinity of your eyes receive me revising creation stories of fallen eves and jesus saves. As we join our voices in the Holy Qurbana the hum of your chanting guides me through taking me to transdimensional places like sun brightened stained glass we twist our auras together chanting in ecstasy Kurriye-laa-yisson. If your fingers never find themselves in the double-helix of my hair know that your poems have already blessed me with a festival of dreams. Kurielaison If my lips never find themselves in the heavens of your kiss know that our hands have already caressed each other in the kiss of peace. Kurielaison. We are one without a master. You have transformed me into a priestess and I offer you the chalice of my soul. Do what you will with my wine as you embrace the remembrance of me Our breath, no longer nomadic and separate blends and blossoms together let’s warm the walls of this church unifed by our love. Kurielaison. Kurielaison. Kurielaison. About the author: Maruja is a desi diasporic daughter, queer poet, teacher, healer and community activist who lives in New York City. Her writing is a cultural unveiling of the multiple identities that both complicate and inspire her life. Maruja’s intimate connections to spirit and ritual are framed by her upbringing in the Mar Thoma church, which traces its roots to Kerala, India. When she’s not writing, she enjoys yoga, laughing, dancing and mangoes. Acknowledgments: Maruja would like express her deep gratitude to Raphaël Armand, Elmaz Abinader, Faith Adiele and the members of VONA (Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation) for their loving feedback on earlier versions of this poem. Editor’s note from Kittredge Cherry: During the editorial process, Maruja and I discussed the value of sacred chants in our lives and languages. Each of us has been touched by the Greek prayer “Lord, have mercy,” which is transcribed “Kurielaison” in Malayalam and “Kyrie eleison” in English. We want to share the fruits of our conversation by posting these video links: Holy Qurbana service (showing the fullness of the church, men & women sitting on separate sides, the chanting, etc.) Kyrie eleison by Jodi Page-Clark (Kittredge’s favorite Kyrie) Image credit: Rose window from the Gedächtniskirche (Memorial Church) in Speyer, Germany (Wikimedia Commons) __________ Coming soon: Our summer series on Eros & Christ will continue with reflections by Atlanta writer Trudie Barreras on sacred versus secular erotic texts.


Tyger said...

Thank you Maruja for this spectacular poem!! Wow, new queer poets, god love 'em!!

This line struck me the most: "Surrounded by family there is no room for me here." This is such a subtle evocation of lesbian amidst hetero families, or individuality meets tribal family loyalties.

What a joy to read an exciting new spiritual poem this summer!

Anonymous said...

Be sure to click on the links below, and hear these incredible Kyries!

Sunu Chandy said...

Thank you for creating this very specific and very universal, language and space for folks like us. I always dreamed these words, these worlds could all be in one poem one day, but this is the first time I've actually seen it. This captures the texture of how I miss the Mar Thomas church, but it's too risky for me, it always come with so many boundaries and judgments, and I'm not talking about the religious teachings.

eric said...

Is this a poem about relationship with Jesus? With God? A Lover?

Does it matter? They are all one and the same, for it is about Love. It is Love.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite types of Literature is poetry. Thanks for sharing, it was such a beautiful poem. It's the kind of Literature we need more of.

Anonymous said...

"Uncles furtively gather downstairs
gulping gossip and coffee
stuffing their bellies with boasts and biriyani"

you are SUPERNOVA. it's the only word i can think of to describe you. your poem is exceptional. i'm particularly fond of the stanza i posted above. you are fireworks!