Monday, September 13, 2010

Magpie in the window

I was meaning to write a (very) short story for Magpie Tales this weekend, but didn't quite get there. A poem I can pop out in a few days (maybe 10 minutes of writing, but the days & nights spent stewing over it really do count), but stories take several rounds of Oh, yes, that's it!
I've also been meaning to say something about that news article I saw, oh weeks ago now, about Unbaptizing in Belgium. But I couldn't decide what. In my college years it's something I would have gone for. Since then I've made my peace with all that and don't see why everybody else doesn't just do the same. Well, I'm sure they have very good reasons to do what they do.
All that to say, here you have it:

Walking in the echoing evening, a residential quarter of Brussels. Dim light from a large formal house illuminates a robed figure. I pause by the streetlamp, voyeur. The robed figure raises his arms, appears to be leading a ceremony. Half-glimpsed faces watch intently, a cult having its hour. I move on in the growing chill of night, home to where the lights are on strong and no gods lurk in the corners.
They are here to be released. I will let them go, though all that binds them is in their own minds. I will raise this bowl and they will sip what is never the blood of the lamb. I will break this bread which is only bread, and share it among fellows in the age-old way of people. I will wash the oil from their foreheads, leaving them clean and whole and belonging to themselves. I will put the scissors in their hands, to cut the ties that strangle.
I have been so long captive. Caught in thou shalt and thou shalt not. In the name of goodness I was hurt. In the name of love I was violated. In the name of trust I was betrayed. Then I was told to forgive, not prosecute. Jesus loves you. Here, let Father show you how much. It's not enough to leave. Not enough to renounce. Not enough to stand in the witness box at last, though these are all necessary things.

Tonight I am Unbaptized.


Kymri said...

Nancy, your blog never ceases to capture my attention for more than a glance. Particularly this post, it got me digging and reading through your archives, as well as delving back into my own, taking comfort in knowing that I am not the only writer suffering "stewing" episodes. Thanks for continually generating stimulating content!

chiccoreal said...

Oh this is good, and eerie! No baptism? Oh sounds black-mass-ish! Scary too! I got that feeling too, there is something going on in that window which is somewhat unholy. Love the atmosphere in your short story; and the black magic references! Must be close to Halloween!

Tumblewords: said...

Powerful. Well-written.

the watercats said...

something very gothic about this.. cool stuff!

NanU said...

Hmm, some interesting comments. I wasn't going for gothic & Halloween at all. Rather I wanted to explore that real and serious ceremony to undo a person's baptism. When I first heard about this I thought 'why bother?'. But then I realized that victims of abuse at the hands of the clergy might well want something like this to cut their ties to the church.
Thus the passerby with no idea, the leader of the ceremony, and a participant.

Lena said...

Good (and creepy)things come to those who wait! That was a great Pie!

willow said...

I was also hurt in the name of goodness. Excellent piece.

Deborah said...

Excellent piece, very well written ... I couldn't stop playing with Maukie afterwards! :o)