Martyr, Predator, Loser, Whore. . .
whoever is in you-
gather them unto your wide heart.
For God loves all His creation
(Including yours.)
While you rushed out to live the good life
the parts of you that weren’t good enough
slipped out the back
and suited up in disguises hewn of your humiliation
After your winter of sorrow turned to summer of denial
you flung those stifling cloaks deep into your closet of shame.
They were hidden but not forgotten
and that made all the difference.

Yet your abandoned children of the night
clutch the very energy of the gods. Therefore,
your frantic fray to be good, to be okay.
Gently summon them forth.
Lift their coarse veil
and look them full in the face.
Gaze long enough and you’ll see,
peeking out from a mass of unkempt shame,
your original innocence.

Can you hear them?
Their voices may catch from years of being told,
“Shut up! I hate you! You don’t exist!”
They may sputter and then spew
the things we shouldn’t think and shouldn’t say.
If you simply listen without judgment
(Aye, there’s the rub, but too, the key to the unlocking heart)
until they have been finally and truly heard,
their tarnished words will start to run clear and pure.
You will discover you always wanted the same things-
You just deeply misunderstood each other.

You stop fighting the war
no longer being waged against you.
You offer your smooth, lily-white hand
to the gnarled, dirty-brown one bearing the calluses meant for you.
You tenderly embrace your leather-cloaked self
as they let the dagger slip from their baby-soft fingertips.

You see now that you had wrought a sliding door
so only one aspect could slip through at a time-
Good or bad; light or dark
But you know now:
you are what the earth and sky have in common.
You are the living bridge
And you are that which has no need of a bridge
You are the Christ who sees it all the same

You tenderly gather yourself to your heart, a newborn.
You are ready now, to love wholy-
Nothing withheld from the Holy of Holies.
And you finally understand
It takes great courage to see the face of God
because first you must see your own.

Alisha Das Hayes

I wrote this poem after a session I did many years ago. It describes work I do to assist one to recognize, acknowledge, listen to, love and reintegrate disowned parts of themselves. Prodigal (their title for it is Love’s Unveiling) is handed out as part of the curriculum for the University of Santa Monica’s Graduate Course. I dedicate it to Ron Hulnick, with undying gratitude for being my mentor in this and all things.