Friday, March 15, 2013

Sanctuary: a poem

I know of a place where I can go
where I can be me,
where I can sit for two hours and write
if I want to,
where there is art everywhere,
where the people are as weird,
or weirder, than me
and it's okay.

In my sanctuary,
no one is going to make fun
of my green pants,
no one is going to judge me.
In my sanctuary,
people want me to be
me, completely me,
with all my wounded passion.

In this sanctuary, we share our wounds,
we paint them, 
draw them,
write them down
in poems like this that don't rhyme.

In my sanctuary,
poems don't have to rhyme,
drawings don't have to be perfect,
paintings don't have to be pretty.

In times past, 
when someone was a refugee from society,
they could run into a church
and cry, "Sanctuary!"
and they would be safe.
Today, churches are less
accepting, less open, 
but sanctuaries still exist.

My sanctuary is on the edge of downtown,
and it is not a church,
but it is sacred ground.
It is an art colony,
a colony that sprung up 
in the most unlikely of places,
Fullerton, Orange County, California,
a place not normally associated
with openness and acceptance.
the John Birch Society was big here,
fucking Richard Nixon went
to high school here,
a senator from Fullerton,
once tried to amend the California
constitution to prevent gays 
from teaching in public schools.
Fullerton has a gnarly history.

But history is not without 
a sense of irony, 
for in this place,
this historic bastian 
of the American right,
a new thing has taken root,
a new kind of sanctuary,
where dreamers gather
to share their dreams,
where being gay is A-Okay,
where race doesn't matter,
where I, a refugee from society,
can find a family, a community
to call my own,
a sanctuary.

My sanctuary, our sanctuary,
is beautiful.

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