I have been experimenting with poetry again. I know! It is a dangerous habit to get into, but some sentiments are better said in choppy, confusing verses and strong visual metaphors. This is not one of those sentiments. I could have articulated my point perfectly well in a good-ol’-fashioned blog post. However, I am cruel and I am subjecting you to my poetry anyway. I think poetry is my new Everest. It is remote, inaccessible, often hazardous…and its shiny peeks are calling out to me from the deepest echoes of my self-destructive soul (see how dramatically poetic that line sounded? I think it marks progress). As you could have guessed from the subject line, I wrote this poem on the airplane back from California. If it is too terribly awful, I will blame the altitude and the fact that I was famished after six hours without even a pity pouch of peanuts from the Scrooge-like airlines. I feel no guilt about hating those bastards.
Peeing on Airplanes with God
I pray most fervently in bathrooms.
I cling to plastic safety rails set across plastic walls above a plastic seat in the cramped airplane toilet.
The plane jiggles and bounces on the trampoline storm front over Arizona, and my bladder synches up.
“Please God, let the pee come.”
“Let me go back to the delusional safety of the thin nylon seat belt that straps my irrational fears down.”
“Please support the air beneath our wings.”
“If you wont…Please God, don’t send me plummeting 13000 feet to greet the ground in a fiery explosion, with my pants around my ankles.”
Not that rescue crews could easily ascertain if my burnt and blackened body is wearing pants.
Also, hopefully in death I will be far past caring about the dignity of my remains.
We will be too busy sipping tea in Heaven.
“If you’re still taking requests, God, with all this turbulence…it’s kind of hard to aim.”
“A little help would be great.”
“Shield my shoes from ambitious splashes.”
As far as divine intervention goes, this seems reasonable.
Not that “reasonable” matters to God.
I have never asked directly.
The God I pray to is not the God I believe in.
I can’t believe in the Harry Potter God.
A man with blue robes who lives in a castle built of dreams.
Fixing things by waving his magic wand.
If God lives in the sky, wouldn’t this plane run into his thigh, and produce a heavenly bruise?
I can’t believe in the ATM God.
Filling my bank account with whispered words.
I can’t believe in the Meter Maid God.
Sweeping streets and clearing parking spaces, so I can get to class on time.
I can’t believe in the Santa Clause God.
Who sees you when you’re sleeping.
Who knows when you’re awake.
Who knows when you’ve been bad or good.
So be good for goodness sake!
Or he will send Katrina to punish the gays.
I can’t believe in the Cheep Plastic Toilet God who fills his cheep plastic vault with the cheep plastic prayers that I so often offer.
Convenient and disposable.
Nothing priceless about them.
I can’t believe God can stop wars.
He couldn’t stop mine.
Trapping me in this awful airplane toilet is the most recent strike in my bladder’s gorilla war.
It sneaks up behind me in movie theaters, in breath-held moments, my eyes riveted on the screen, and yells, “BOO!”
It says “Are we there yet?” seven hundred times on road trips.
And the horror stories I could tell about Army urinalyses…
If God can’t enforce peace between my bladder and me, is there any hope for Gaza?
Maybe God can’t intervene?
What if he molded his power into the shape of human hands and feet?
I grew up on the buckle of the Bible Belt.
My neighbors taught me that God is my best bet.
I am too poor to gamble.
Plus, God seems to have his hands tied.
What if we have it backwards, and we are God’s best bet?
In the airplane bathroom, hands washed, pants blessedly zipped up, I pause by the mirror to adjust my makeup.
My previous prayer dismissed.
Apparently the horror of smudged eyeliner trumps the fear of dying trapped in airplane toilets.
If God did intervene with my bladder, enabling me to return to my seat quickly, will my dalliance offend?
Is this really how I want to come to God?
Reaching out only when I can’t handle my shit?
Kneeling only when I am drunk?
“Please God, please! Take away this hangover, and I will never drink again!”
I offer bargains that evaporate as quickly as the alcohol in my blood.
I want to move in with God.
I want to bring God my joys.
Presenting them like gifts left unwrapped.
Me too excited about sharing to pause for pretty packaging.
I want to hold God like a lover.
Cornered in the kitchen, hips pressed against the counter.
I want to kiss her deeply.
Fridge door handing open, forgotten.
Her lips more savory than food.
I want to curl up with God in sorrow.
Eat mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Watch stupid comedies until I stop crying.
I don’t want to ask God to fix my pain, only to be there with me.
I want to sit in quiet moments with God.
Sipping whiskey on the porch swing, watching the world walk by.
I want to play silly games with God.
Lounge in sun dresses, skirts fanned across the green grass.
I want to get drunk with God and say too much.
Maybe dig up trouble?
Maybe even get arrested?
I don’t want to abuse God.
Leave her abandoned and alone.
Trade love as currency for favors.
I don’t want to pray solely in plastic airplane toilets.
Maybe God’s miracle is that we can put toilets 13000 feet in the sky at all.