I Sweat Silk

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Flashes

I sweat silk. Beads of honey
rest on my shoulders,
and my chest shines
like the dew of dawn.

Shawn R. Jones (2013)

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I Cut

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Image

I Cut

I grabbed scissors,

cut each twist,

and severed

each long-haired myth

of beauty.

Shawn R.  Jones

Author of the devotional book, Pictures in Glass Frames   http://t.co/BxiNwWRG

and the poetry chapbook, Womb Rain, 

http://www.amazon.com/Womb-Rain-New-Womens-Voices/dp/1599242699/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337717218&sr=8-1

Home Remedy 1968

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Home Remedy 1968

Debris had fallen months
before my unwanted arrival
when Grandmother gave
her unwed daughter
tar black pills to swallow
behind Tanqueray gin,
mixed turpentine and hot water
in a pea green bucket,
held mom’s flannel gown
around her stretched waist,

and told her to crouch down
as close as she could get.

Shawn R. Jones

Reprinted from Womb Rain
(Finishing Line Press 2008)
Womb Rain (New Women’s Voices, No. 61)

You are more than you see in the mirror

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(This is a work  of fiction inspired by a close friend)

I examined myself in the full length mirror, my eyes moving like dusk across a fading horizon.  My husband had left me earlier that year, and my twin boys were away at college.  For the first time in my adult life, I had time alone, and I honestly did not want it-not with that body and that face in front of a mirror of images closing in on me like midnight darkness.

I decided to take a shower and shampoo my hair-a ritual that had always made me feel better.  I massaged my thick fro under the hard stream and used the unopened shower gel someone had given me the Christmas before.  I got out slowly, determined to give each second new meaning.  I brushed my teeth, flossed, gargled, moisturized my skin, and put on a white terrycloth robe.  I sat in front of the fireplace, put clear polish on the nails of my fingers and toes, and sat comfortably in front of a burgundy flame.  I was really trying not to feel sorry for myself, but it was difficult because I had never felt so lonely.  My mind searched anxiously for meaning, switching from one random thought to the next.  I couldn’t decide if I should prepare for my husband’s possible return or change the locks and move forward with my life.  Then, I thought of my boys.  They were going to be home in a few months.  Yet, it was only autumn and much too soon to plan a holiday dinner for them or rewash their sheets.  Finally, I thought I would call someone, but I had cut my close friends off decades ago.  I couldn’t possibly call them now and ask them to pick up where we left off-where I left off.  I conjured up feelings of worthlessness and regret, asking myself who I was and by whose standard I should define myself, by myself, alone.

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After thirty-five years of marriage and nineteen years of motherhood, I had become my family.  I was my husband and my sons.  When I looked at them, I saw myself, and when they weren’t there, I saw nothing.  Suddenly, I realized I had not completed anything that would have given me a personal sense of accomplishment.  I had unused gym memberships, twelve more credits to earn my college degree, a failing courier business, and a collection of items I had planned to put to good use some day.  Now, that it was someday, I had lost all motivation.  I felt I had grown too old, too unattractive, and too unintelligent to accomplish anything.  Yet, in a deep and almost unreachable part of me, I felt there was a purpose that remained unexplored all my life.

Well, that night, in front of the fire, a voice spoke to me with more feeling than sound. It moved through my body like an approaching storm and loved me more than I had ever been loved before.  It told me to stand up and reexamine myself.  I moved from the fire and stood in front of the full length mirror again, remembering a phrase my grandmother had told me years before: “We all gotta a job to do, and if we don’t know what it is, we better talk to God about it.”  My grandmother was never fancy with the way she said things, and she was uneducated and full of southern slang, but she was the most wise and most virtuous woman I had ever known and undeniably the most  beautiful-no frills, pure virtue.

I held both sides of the mirror, dropped my head and prayed.  I talked to God incessantly in a voice that reminded me of my grandmother’s.  When I opened my eyes, I discovered I was so much more than who and what I saw.  I was a representation of past, present, and future generations.  I was my mother’s laugh and father’s smile.  I was my Aunt Betty’s song and dance, my Uncle Ray’s sense of adventure, and my grandfather’s strength and keeper of stories.  I was the family stabilizer and teacher who would be a warm lap, soft arms, and wisdom to my grandchildren.  As for my grandmother, I was her voice and her Amen.

As a family, we had endured centuries of dysfunction and adversity. Yet, we were all fine miracles of genealogy, wonderfully and divinely made, given specific duties to help others and reflect God’s glory.  We did not always reflect His glory, and some of us died before we completed our duties.  However, I knew there were still generations to save.  With that revelation in mind, I prayed and studied myself for an hour in front of the full length mirror with my reflection like day, breaking before me.

Posted on November 23rd, 2011 by http://shawnrjones.com/

Author of the devotional book, Pictures in Glass Frames   http://t.co/BxiNwWRG

and the poetry chapbook, Womb Rain, 

http://www.amazon.com/Womb-Rain-New-Womens-Voices/dp/1599242699/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337717218&sr=8-1

Restore Them

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Restore Them

By Shawn R. Jones

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

Galatians 6:1

We don’t know the hearts, minds, or histories of others. People often feel the way they feel, think the way they think, and do what they do for reasons we cannot fully understand because we don’t know the details of their past or present situations. We are not even sure how we would respond under similar circumstances. For instance, my childhood friend grew up to be shamelessly promiscuous. People called her despicable names. For years, I also wondered why she had multiple partners. I grew up with her, and from what I could see, she had a decent childhood. Well, one day when we were in our early twenties, she confided in me. She told me she had been sexually abused by a babysitter when she was three years old, and the abuse lasted a couple of years. She told her story as if the abuse was a minor bicycle accident.

As I sat there, feeling and looking uncomfortable, she said, “I’m all right, though. It doesn’t bother me.”

After our conversation, we just went on about our day, doing what twenty-year-olds do, laughing at everything and nothing, like neither of us knew pain.

Today, twenty plus years later, I would handle that situation much differently. I would help her find a good therapist who specializes in the treatment of sexual abuse and suggest a number of helpful books she could read by Christian authors who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Sadly, I cannot help my friend now because her promiscuity led to her death. Unfortunately, while she was alive, no one realized she spent most of her life trying to forget the torment of her childhood. I certainly didn’t realize it until it was too late. I never mentioned it again because I didn’t want her to regret sharing her secret with me, so I went on with our friendship pretending the abuse didn’t matter. Even if that was what she wanted, it was the wrong thing to do.

After I realized the magnitude of my mistake and the weight of my regret, I decided to help others by writing about it. I figured it was the best way for me to reach people without being intrusive. Some issues are uncomfortable and painful to discuss, like sexual abuse, but God still wants us to talk about it so the healing process can begin. If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, please get help. Go online and research agencies today. May God’s grace help you through the restoration process.

 

Dear Lord, please help victims of sexual abuse and rehabilitate perpetrators who have robbed others of their innocence. Lord, it is so hard for me to pray for the latter, but I know they are Your children too. Please teach me to be sensitive to everyone who needs restoration, and renew my strength in areas that have been weakened by life’s circumstances. Amen.

Reprinted from Pictures in Glass Frames

(Ambassador International, 2011)

 Available at this link: http://t.co/BxiNwWRG,