God (poem)

There is a guy on my street.
He has an orange muscle car.
He lives in a sky blue house.

He warned me once about mail
Thieves–a couple in a gold junker
Slinking from box to box at
Night, pilfering birthday money.

He is a nice fellow.
He keeps his lawn nice.

He takes his orange muscle car
Out once a week–rolls slow
Down the block. Our windows
Shake. My dog barks.

It’s Sunday.
The whole neighborhood
Knows it’s Sunday.

-M. Ashley

Un-Whole (poem)

It doesn’t have to be good.
It doesn’t have to be whole.

You will never know
What you never knew. Any god

Who tells you he’s honest is
A malicious liar. All gods lie

A little. We are eager for god lies
And lying gods prefer to keep us

Eager and (mostly) un-disappointed.
They tells us that cracks in the vessel

Are natural—Inevitable—beautiful.
They teach us we must appreciate

the cracks. We need the cracks, we
sing. We need the cracks

To let the light in. But why, gods—
and be honest:

Did you make the vessel opaque?

-M. Ashley

Loving Your Jealous God (poem)

If you make your god jealous, submit to him.
Love him. Ruffle his curly black hair. Offer him
your body and all your softest parts, the ones
you only offer some of the time.

Swear on the river, the unbreakable
swear, that you will give up
the offending one. Kiss him all over.

You didn’t mean to hurt his heart,
but you did.

-M. Ashley

Ghost Heart

“Much have we loved you, but speechless was our love, and with veils has it been veiled.”
-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

In a moment of pain, suffering again with a traumatic memory, beyond trauma, that gave me tremors in my right arm and down the length of my leg, I cried out in loneliness and, in the imaginary conversation I was having with my therapist, I said how lonely I was with my trauma and how talking to my god was not enough because “he’s a ghost!”

(I am thinking of a ghost’s sheet as a veil.)

I hurt my god’s feelings. He has been right here with me through all the blood and guts.

Many times, talking to others about him, I have referred to him as “a figment of my imagination,” and “my all-powerful psychosis.” He joyfully laughs.

I called him a ghost and broke his heart.

-M. Ashley

Universal Piggyback

A very wise Indian fellow, or an Indian fellow we are supposed to think is wise, got awfully judgey when he said it is a terrible misconception that the governing force of the Universe is love. I mean, how sappy could we be? But the thing is, I know the Universe, have met it in a her/him person many times, and I can tell you for certain she is love-powered. She especially loves group hugs and jumping on your back for a piggyback ride. She giggles and sometimes covers your eyes as you run and run and run.

-M. Ashley

After a Dream of God in War

Traveler in the city convulsion
Where singed clouds and
Sewers perpetually burst

Walk with me the mud wallow
Streets. Hold the starving pigs
Off. Drowned roaches
Burbling and fallen

Down buildings, all the All, this
Rain must be nuclear too.
My god
My legs are giving way and my

White hair is coming out in wet
Tumbles. Take me in a cab mysteriously
Still running to a dry room
A dry bed.

Count my shivering
Eyelashes as I dream of you.

-M. Ashley