Gospel Slam 2013

I wrote and performed this piece as part of Trinity Lutheran Seminary‘s Second Annual Summer Seminary Sampler Gospel Slam. Gospel Slam is based on poetry slams. TLS set the model for doing poetry slams in partnership with the Academy of Preachers, an ecumenical organization that lifts up and encourages young preachers. Each performance this year had to based around a Biblical question. My question was “Who will separate us from the love of God?” from Romans 8:35.

It is important to note that the “I” in this story is not me. The title is Someone Else’s Story.


A reading from someone else’s story.

Things were rocky, even from the beginning.
We were young and in love, and that’s a bad combination.
Did I move too fast? Did I expect too much?
But we went into this together.
With a vow in between.

Things were good for a while.
Then it started.
He made me so… mad.
After everything I’d done for him, after everything I’d given him,
He threw me out on the street and mocked me,
He took everything away from me!
So I got mad. I tossed -him- out. And then, I tried to get even.

But I hung up my gun and never took it down.
Never again. I can’t trust myself.

Things calmed down.
And when he was in trouble, my phone rang again.
And I rushed out the door–I told him, call me any time, and I’ll come runnin’ (I swear, that song was written about me).
I took him out of that horrible place and brought him home.
And things were good again.

But he broke the vows, and I got mad, and he threw me out again. And when we made up, I promised not to leave anymore.

When the babysitter got drunk one night and trashed the house with her friends, I didn’t get mad. I had to be harsh, but he told me I was mean and not to speak to him for awhile.
“That’s not how this works,” I said. But he wouldn’t listen to me, and I thought something was up.

So I hired a neighborhood kid with the best references on Angie’s List.
She had a way with the kids, they liked her.
They trusted her, and so did I, and I thought,
“Maybe this time, we’ll get it right.”

But when I caught them together, I lost my cool.
I didn’t yell, I didn’t throw anything, but I was devastated.
It happened again.
We just can’t seem to get it right.
I wonder if it’s me…

One day, I finally had enough.
I told him to get out.
I made him feel like dirt
I spit on his heels, I threw his clothes out the door,
I keyed his car, I slashed the tires,
I broke his windows and cursed him halfway to the other side of town.
I said to him, “I am not your wife, and you are not my busband.”

He tried to apologize, but I wouldn’t listen.
I was done. I didn’t want to do this anymore.
How much am I supposed to take?
This wasn’t the first time, and I knew it wouldn’t be the last.
Maybe it is me…

My girlfriends tell me I should forget about him,
But I can’t seem to let him go.
When I’m angry, that’s all I can see–
The cheating, the lying, the rotten things he does.
But when I’m not mad, I can’t help but remember the good times.

We’d run through the park and laugh in the wind.
I’d sit through those ridiculous action movies
And he’d sit through my chick flicks.
I’d burn dinner, and he’d laugh,
But when he lost his eyebrows lighting the grill,
-I- got the last laugh.
Those tender moments, when the world seemed so far away,
He’d tell me he loved me, and I knew he  meant it.
I could feel it in the way he held me,
The way he sighed, and the way he cried.

We’d stay up all night talking,
Like it was the first day we met.
And everything would feel right again.

Those are the days I lived for.

Those are the days I knew,
That no matter how high my anger rose,
Or how low he stooped,
Or if he got arrested
Or I got angry
Or if heaven and hell conspired against us together
And all of creation willed us to fail,
Those were the days I knew
That I would always love him,
And he, me.

So here we go again.
He got stupid, and I got mad.
We fought, like we always do.
But tonight is special,
Because no matter how often this happens,
I am always thankful for this chance
To make things right.
I get to be the one to make things right.

I am the LORD. And tonight, I get to go home.

The word of the LORD.


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