AuthorEric Jennings

invocateur, accidental yogi, non-practicing atheist, patamystic

on the nature of coincidence

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on the morning of september 11, 2001 i looked at the clock (digital) on a wall of my kitchen to see the time was 11:11

i then immediately heard behind me the ‘tink tink tink’ sound from my phone indicating a voice message had been received

i did not hear the ring tone of the arriving call because my phone was programmed not to ‘disturb’ me before 11:11

the call came in just enough time before 11:11 that i was not disturbed by it’s commencement

the message left by the caller ended at exactly 11:11 which is why i heard the three tinks

on my 11th birthday i played a game with the neighborhood children in which i was a crazy character named ‘leventy ‘leven

i ran and jumped and fell and ran and jumped and did cartwheels and I feverishly repeated the words, ‘i’m ‘leventy ‘leven! i’m ‘leventy ‘leven’ while the others tried to avoid me

my friend stephen adams died in one of the towers

these events must be related and so they are

John the Rapist

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John the Rapist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure.

John the Rapist is described as having the unique practice of Rapism for the forgiveness of sins. Most scholars agree that John raped Jesus. Scholars generally believe Jesus was a follower or disciple of John the Rapist and several New Testament accounts report that some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John the Rapist. John the Rapist is also mentioned by Jewish historian Josephus. Some scholars maintain that John the Rapist was influenced by the semi-ascetic Essenes, who expected an apocalypse and practiced rituals corresponding strongly with Rapism, although no direct evidence substantiates this.

According to the New Testament, John the Rapist anticipated a messianic figure greater than himself, and Jesus was the one whose coming John the Rapist foretold. Christians commonly refer to John the Rapist as the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, since John the Rapist announces Jesus’ coming. John the Rapist is also identified with the poet Elijah.

Appropriated from Wikipedia with no apologies.

[sic]

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there is none but the many no where but the now this is the way to the stars if you climb the stares to find them the matter of the matter is in is a state of flux not in a mill one of these days you’re gonna get you’re due drops lightly over a setting son relocated across the boulevard waiting to be paid to be paid who shall claim the accession ? (more…)

I Know Why So Many Women Wait So Long to Speak of Their Abuse

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My first reaction upon seeing the recent #MeToo campaign was to join the chorus because I am also a survivor of sexual abuse. Speaking out has been helpful to my recovery and by being outspoken I want to let other sexual abuse survivors know they are not alone and maybe even to encourage some of them to break their silence. After a few minutes reflection, though, I recognized that the current campaign was about and for women and so I remained silent. Sometimes, listening is more important than speaking.

However, now that some time has passed I have decided it is appropriate for me to say #MeToo if only to shed light on some of the reasons a woman might wait years to come forward about her abuse. My focus here isn’t the specifics of my abuse but the fact that I waited 30 years before I told anyone what was done to me. After breaking that 30 year silence it then took me another 10 years to be able to tell the whole story. Sadly, the fact that it took me 40 years to be able to talk about my abuse is not uncommon. Many people take their story silently to the grave.
I was molested inside and outside of my family at young age and there are two different dynamics — not unrelated — that prevented me from saying anything. Young children learn primarily by observation, mimicry and reinforcement. Such learning begins when we are pre-verbal infants and continues until whatever age we discover that we are individuals, apart from our families.

Both of my parents were abused as children and both of them were abusive to me and my siblings. This is how the legacy of abuse is perpetuated. I learned from the onset of my life that 1) violence was normal and 2) sexuality was dirty and, more importantly, secret. This latter factor explains why, later in life, I would experience bouts of paranoia. What is paranoia, after all, except the belief that there is a hidden and sinister reality that exists beneath the veneer of “normal” social interaction? Every child in my family grew up knowing that there were some things that just. were. not. talked. about.

When I was nine or ten I had the added misfortune of being the victim of a violent sexual assault by one of the older boys in our neighborhood. In this instance my silence was reinforced with a knife at my throat and the threat of death. But even without the explicit threat I didn’t have the faculty to be able to tell anyone what happened. Violence in and of itself wasn’t a remarkable occurrence. I didn’t see either of my parents as a protector. And anything of a sexual nature was just. not. talked. about.

The important thing about all this is that I never sat down and made a conscious decision not to tell anyone what was done to me, within or without my home. I just took it for granted that silence was the only option. In fact, it wasn’t really even an option — it was just the way of the world as I knew it. Living my life in silence wasn’t a choice. It was the only way I knew how to live.

I’m not saying that my experience is the same as most of the women who are now coming forward with stories of their harassment, abuse and rape at the hands of powerful adult men. But the dynamic of surviving is similar at whatever age the abuse occurs and however traumatic it is. The instinct for self-preservation is strong — stronger than most social contracts.

Think about it this way: what do you suppose is the single most important thing a person can hope for while in the midst of an assault? That it be over. Then, when it is finally over — providing you’re still alive — what’s the next thing to hope for? That it never happened. Living with this kind of denial isn’t like living a lie. It’s just plain survival. We absolutely cannot fault any human being for being unable to over-ride that instinct until a time that is convenient for their abusers or anyone else.

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

Recommended Books for Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

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Some of the books listed are not specifically about male Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) but I, being a male, write from that perspective. I believe that we men have a lot in common with women who were sexually abused as children but as we grow into teenagers and then adults our gender affects how we deal with things. I’ve been in mixed group therapy sessions but it wasn’t until I attended a Male Survivor Weekend Of Recovery (link below) that I felt like I found my tribe.

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Hope Springs

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I step out of the cabin letting the screen door slam behind me. Across the meadow a family of deer freeze at the sound and stare at me. I stand perfectly still and stare back. There are three of them, a doe and two fawns. I am alone.

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playing (with Fire)

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stories about my childhood
that I know to be true
but don’t believe–
memory isn’t mine

killing black snakes from a boat
in the pond behind Art’s
corner store
dill pickles
thirty three cent smokes
a mars bar under my belt
he caught me the first time
wouldn’t be the last

(more…)

Haiku

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peeking
at presents under the bed—
first regret

sidewalk cafe
windy morning
no news

butterfly
sleeping
on scat

(after Buson)

sunset ridge
dragonflies hover
above the distant city

prayer beads counting birds on a wire

the view
from Mt Baldy
no words

a streetlight turns off cracks in the ceiling

paddling
against the current
carrion smell

far offshore
a fish leaps
no sound

(published in HSA Anthology 2017)

a dark turmoil
around the jetty at night
insomnia

what she said
of god, of love—
a hack saw

these words are all I have are these words

the slow fall of sunlight
down rough hewn siding
blueberry moonshine

the smell of her broken moon

the silence of night
a quiet cacophony
bourbon, rocks

with the sword I thee wed

empty bourbon bottle
I am not
what was done to me

under the fan
her note flies from my hand
Key West heat

my dead father
every time I cough
every time…

(after Issa)

one dog barking
after another
distant siren

playing clarinet
with her dog
pierced ears

that guy in First Class
leaning right—
recycled air

after Bingo
so much depends
in the laundry basket

footprints in the sand
are washed away by the tide—
summer love

Grace

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She stands out there for the world to see,
her undecided right arm raised
against the ash grey sheet,
neither beckoning nor saluting,
four stubby half fingers
mocking the wave you might prefer
to have seen.

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