Rape Case in Brooklyn

The case shocked when it was first reported–a man sought help for his daughter who was being sexually assaulted in a Brooklyn park.

The story began to break into pieces within a week of its appearance.  The victim was consenting?  The victim had been having sex with her father!?


Most of us are done by this point in the story.  Too much creepy. 

The young woman refused to “do court” and the charges against all of her sexual partners fell apart.

Which leaves several salient questions–

How safe and child-friendly are parks in Brooklyn?

Why were no lesser charges pursued against any of the principals? Public lewdness?  Indecency? Incest?

And last–(the one which concerns me the most) what will become of these people? 

Especially the young woman.

The explanation of her behavior includes a life of foster care and group homes, a fundamental disconnection from her biological family–a father who could be called predatory at best.

With no more pieces of a biography than that I would hazard that she has attachment disorder, a syndrome caused by neglect and a lack of attachment bonding in babies and young children.

The question of what happens to the adult victims of attachment disorder plagues me because my adopted children have it.

None of us may want to face what happened in that park that night, but we should all question what will happen to her?  

How do you teach a woman her own worth or the value of a father who protects his daughter instead of exploiting her?

And what of the men in this story?  Each put a biological function of his anatomy over the last shred of his humanity.

My adopted daughter complains that I am not to be trusted because I judge people for things like this.

I would argue that one can only trust those who are willing to judge these things.

It ain’t love if you don’t keep all the little girls (lost or otherwise)…


At night 

In the parks of Brooklyn.

Ordinary Sadness

I am grateful for the rain

On this dry patch of earth

I know the difference between 

Accidents and miracles

And wish to thank

The God of ordinary sadness

Who sits next to me

on the sinking-in-the-middle



$35 couch

Willing to abide in the center

Of my vertiginous grief

He says

Take courage 

It is I

Do not be afraid 

Swaddling Clothes

I have a friend who fights.  She has brightly colored hand wraps that she uses to protect her hands beneath her boxing gloves.

She bandages each hand so that the knuckle is protected, the wrist and all the space in between.

When I have watched her wrap and unwrap her hands it has reminded me of Jesus.

I think of him as a baby. In the primitive conditions of his arrival, the Bible records his swaddling–wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger.  

Descriptions of ancient infant swaddling talk about cleaning the newborn with oil and salt, then wrapping the child in strips of torn cloth.

Lazarus was swaddled when he emerged from his tomb.

The ancients swaddled their newborns and their dead, wrapping both in the same strips of cloth, washing each for the journey ahead.

The story of Jesus’ anointing at Bethany bears striking resemblance to his washing as a newborn and is a stated preparation for the soon-to-be swaddling of his dead body.

Three days is a long time to wait for a resurrection, four days is even longer.  But for many of us 20, 30, or 40 years is how long we have waited for our dead to rise to life.

And if eternity is the span of human existence, then it is also the length of time we must measure each human soul, inside or outside our dark and solitary tombs.

To believe in the resurrection of the dead is to believe in the extreme triumph of Life over death, heaven over hell, good over bad.

To stand at the mouth of the tomb and know that someday each of us will be called to walk out of our tombs into Light.

We are fire

I see him addressing

An undiluted crowd–

You are the light of the world

We are? 

Sheep, maybe

Or chicken (I know my coward heart)

But surely not light

Too strong, too bright, too burning

We must burn on

This Mount of Olives

This Garden of Gethesmane 

This history and geography of light poured out in the crushing weight

Upon olives rendering

Oil and salt rubbed on the skin of the newborn child

Anointing a king

The King

Of light

Who holds

Each burning 

Coil of a star,

The core of fire within each churning planet

Our ordinary souls

In the palms of his stretched-wide 



Dante, in his fictional portrayal of hell, put traitors at its dark, tortured core.

To betray love and abandon those close to you was a big deal for Dante.

As a writer, that is…as a man he was no hero.

Few of us are.  We are all unfaithful to someone or something–our high school crush, our diet…something.

To be human is to cheat a little, I guess. But we must acknowledge this–we, each of us alone are responsible for the lines we draw around what we hold dear. 

Draw the lines wrong and the “dear” slips away.

We tell ourselves–I will not go past this point of demarcation–a line drawn just past a “something” we should already not covet or consume.

We say to ourselves either–

I will not do this


I deserve…

It is the “I deserve” part we should pause to examine.  Sinners (a quaint old word for all of us) tend to justify their infidelities with deserve and must have.  Then cloak the indulgence in the illusion of secrecy–no one will know.

But Someone always knows.

He knows because He is God, and by definition omniscient.

He knows all our secret stories of unfaithfulness, squalor, and sin because they were poured out on Him 

In the rictus of the Cross

In the jeers of the crowd

In the agony of physical abuse

In the final unbearable…

In the final unbearable He bore to make us 


War Paint/Girlchild

I have a friend who punctuates correspondence with the lovely benediction–know you are loved.

Elegant, but a bit abstract for some of us.

I love you–more direct, but can you believe me?

Sometimes celebrity can be a strong drug.  Knocking out some of our healthy need for solitude, privacy, anonymity, and humility.

When you lost the fight with Holms I grieved with you.  Her win was methodical and clearly well-thought out.  But some of us love you for your slugger’s heart.

You did not need to hide your scars on the way home.  We all have them.

Glory in the well-earned blows.

But watch out for the body paint. SI has been treating legit female athletes like sex doll pin-ups for years.  Playing to the testosterone of their average-joe readers is not good enough anymore.

Women like you deserve to have the paint of your fame be in each well-fought achievement.

Not your sex appeal.

Keep your clothes on and fight girl. Know you are loved.