Sunken Ship (Friendship)

I sat across from you and sipped a coffee.
We drank a lot of coffee
And you would laugh
At the coffee I drank

Over the spilled dark drink
I’d spill out my bitter-dark heart
And preach perfectly about the sins of men
And never tell you mine.

Oh how I dreamed of transparency
But when I awoke the best I could manage
Was crude fragments of disclosed honesty
Or at least a shocking anecdote

Because, the doubt you once struggled with
Is better than the gnawing doubt you refuse to confess
And if I can lie to you about righteousness,
Then I am safe across from you
With my cup of Joe

I drink as I am being drank
And between each sip I scream how parched I am
Catching each drop of pity you leak out over me
Like it’s a well of living water, welling up
But all that’s welling up is that long piss I’m going to have to take
When the coffee is gone, or at least mine

And as you leave half of yours in your hurry to leave
I wonder what I said, in between the perfectly sounded words which I mouthed.

Stupid! Stupid me!
I trusted you but why
Should I trust eyes which refused to see
Gaping, festering wounds
From which you averted your eyes.

And my God, I felt so alone when I looked at them and they reached up to swallow me whole
And I just wanted not to feel, or not to feel so alone.

But how was I to know?
Like the man without sight could not tell what colour his shirt
I could not tell you what I needed.
Yet shame on you, because you smelt the stench of my home
And ran, ran away

But how was I to know?
That I wasn’t supposed to do that or ask that
So send me to a shrink and give me some meds.

And for GOD’S SAKE SHUT UP.
Sit in your pew.
Speak when spoken to.

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11 Comments

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  1. ‘Sit in your pew. Speak when spoken to.’ Brilliant!

    This captures our longing for someone else to understand our struggles without us being able to explain them (for fear of being exposed as a fraud) beautifully.

    Thank you Ian.

    (Only mine would be a tea or hot chocolate, not coffee.)

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  2. Karen M Ruggiero March 11, 2013 — 5:30 pm

    this is fantastic! Thank you so much, you wrote the words that I hold and hope to say. I will read this many times over, I am so grateful for your work.

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  3. I speculate what Jesus is thinking about this poem? Can’t see it being in his list of favourite life affirming inspirational ditties? Not that he would ever condemn the writer – he’s not in the business of condeming – but he would maybe feel very sad that his death has done nothing to free this person’s pain and suffering – he maybe would be wondering if he died in vain

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    • He must be absolutely devastated by the Biblical authors too.

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      • Am sure Jesus was very sad about the old testament old covenant writers who missed the point and were full of woe is me – but he knew he was going to die to save them. Hallelujah we live in new testament new covenant times when he HAS died to save us and we no longer need to live like old covenant saints.

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    • Benedict Atkins March 17, 2013 — 6:03 pm

      B, are you saying that Jesus’ death served to save his followers from all immediate pain and suffering? Jesus said that his disciples would experience pain and suffering, even in particular at the hands of people who thought they were serving God, unable to grasp a God who would walk the stony ground of despair to reach the desperate who dwelt there, and ask his followers to follow suit. Those who objected in the name of God did so because the way God (& his purposes for his followers) worked out didn’t fit what they wanted from God. What do you want from God?

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      • Ben – having done a word search – as I suspected on not one occasion in the new testament – especially in the words of Jesus is the word Pain or Suffering used in connection with a Christian’s walk. Absolutely God told us we would be persecuted – but he also told us how to clearly deal with that persecution. Paul was stoned and left for dead – and was either resurrected or miraculously healed -got up – walked into the next town and preached the gospel. THIS is how we are supposed to deal with persecution – NOT give in to it and bemoan the fact we are being persecuted. It’s like saying the car is broken (broken being persecution) but I can take it to the garage (God’s promises).

        You ask what I want from God – only what he has promised me – and he has promised me SO SO MUCH in his Word – and the more I rely on his promises the less satan’s persecution troubles me – not that he doesn’t persecute me – but I know how to handle him – Praise The Lord.

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      • Benedict Atkins April 2, 2013 — 6:04 pm

        Beverly,

        I certainly have never contested that we are not to ‘give in’ to persecution. We are to expect it and carry on.

        To the point at hand – doing a word search of the words ‘pain’ and ‘suffering’ is simply inadequate to ascertain an idea’s validity or invalidity, as you yourself would surely agree – try word searching ‘trinity’, for example.

        How do you understand Luke 9.23?

        What if Ian isn’t indulgently bemoaning his tests but rather expressing his experience of them in a constructive way so as to bless others in their identification with it – read some of the other comments – that they may know they are not alone in the tests they face in walking the narrow path of discipleship – read 1 Peter 5.8-10 – and to the glory of God?

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  4. What a beautiful poem…thanks Ian 🙂

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  5. Sad! 😦

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  6. absolutely stunning. gritty and raw and human. beautiful work.

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