You are Mine

You’re mine.
If your parents discard you,
You are mine.
If your friends disown you,
you are so mine.
If you disavow yourself,
I will hold a candle for you and hug you in my heart,
keeping you as mine.

Even if you don’t know you’re mine,
you’re mine.
You belong to me
to us
to this community of love that has healed me and who will heal so many others
calling us its own.

I know how it feels to be a target
as we do
and I know the sadness of hiding
because I’ve been there too
but remember this –
when you’re ready to come out
to proclaim yourself
I will be there
And so will we.

For I and we are the same now
one voice
one arm to lend you support
one shoulder to weep on.
I love you.
We love you.
No gun or plowing of cars will keep our love from any of you.
You are one us now, an I and a we
For you are mine……..

And I am yours.1bfe9430a7f5059445e3c4dba36f3a1d



(a transition poem)

I have to do this

Cause I love me cause I love me

I have to do this cause I love

I need to share this

Cause I love you cause I love you

I need to share this cause I love

This name that was mine

Never was mine never was mine

This name that was mine never was

I’m now releasing

To you both now to you both now

I’m now releasing to you both

Because I love me

You taught me that you taught me that

Because I love me you taught me

I know it hurts you

Scared and no-ing scared and no-ing

I know it hurts you scared and no

But I’m a Sam now

Cause they all love cause they all love

But I’m a Sam now cause you love

You know me better

Than the rest of than the rest of

You know me better than the rest

You can release me

Cause I’ll be yours cause I’ll be yours

You can release me cause I’ll be

Ever and always

Take his name now take his name now

Ever and always take his name

And I’ll be free

Don’t you want that? Don’t you want that?

And I’ll be free perhaps you do.

So say it with me

Cause I love you cause I love you

Say it with me cause you love.

If you don’t though

it might hurt me it might hurt me

If you don’t though it might hurt

But I’m stronger

Cause of you now Cause of you now

But I’m stronger cause of you

So I’ll end this

With my name now With my name now

So I’ll end this as Sam A.


The Sammy is In!

The trajectory of a trauma is fascinating.

I ministered to facebook friends after hearing about the horrible shooting in Orlando Sunday morning.  I posted the Beatitudes and a preacher friend used them in her service.  Immeasurably grateful that I could help.  Then, I had hope.

But as the reality set in, I got SadMad.  (If you haven’t seen the animated movie “Home,” go watch it.  It’s on Netflix).  That guy killed us and at the same time was one of us. I had suspected this, of course, from the beginning but the confirmation blurred my boundaries.
Then, I was confused.

I grew increasingly angry.  With the urging of my therapist’s insight that there is a time for everything, I wrote angry poetry and drew the lines.  Us/Them.  Me/You.  Good/Murderer.  I was on the side of good, of course.  Even though I suspected that writing this screed nudged me toward my antithesis’ ideal.

Add to this a huge trigger that made me realize how fucking hard it is to intellectualize things in the face of pain.

So I lavished pain.  Reveled in it.  Until it sucked me in.

Thankfully, I was able to secure a ride home from an interfaith remembrance service at my local MCC church and went to it last night.  Muslims wiped their eyes and Jews talked about our intersectionality.  Afterwards we stood together and joked, ate, talked to erstwhile strangers.  I felt purified.

On the way home, my ride shared her wish to convert blown-out houses into places for the homeless to rebuild their lives.  “They need something to call their own,” she said.  I agreed – I know the restorative nature of reclaiming my community, my stuff. It turned my world around.

I feel like in the last 3 years I’ve found the community whose absence I lamented in Portland.  3 years ago I wasn’t able to stand at the reading of the names of those taken from us at TDOR because I was afraid someone would smell me or judge me.  I might trip.  So I sat as my small cadre of friends had transformative if depressing moments that night.

Later I formed a PFLAG group that tanked because I was inexperienced with organizing people.  Getting someone to commit on their ideas is now, in my view, the key to running a meeting.  You can have all the ideas in the world but no one will execute them unless they make a public commitment to doing so.  How I knew that.

Fast-forward 2 years: I was asked to lead a meeting and did my best.  The person I know noted that I had come out of my shell and asked me to be there, to step up.

I have and I haven’t.  I have anxiety and I can’t show up sometimes.  But you know what?  People understand.  It seems everyone can relate to being scared, and they are happy when I can make it.

This is why I love my community.  You reach out to it and it reaches back.  It lights a candle for you, knowing you might be in the dark.  It waits, as the candle eats its way down to its butt (heh), and lights another one.  Waiting till you take it and light another for someone else.









Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor – Holiday Thoughts for 2015 ~ Sam Allen

     In Approaching the Qur`an: The Early Revelations, the scholar Michael Sells describes the pre-Islamic tradition of hospitality that existed in Bedouin societies and that was folded into Islam through the Qur`an.  The central figure of this hospitality in poems was the karim, or the generous hero who literally would give you the shirt off of his – and in this gender-inclusive society, her or their – back by sacrificing his camel mare.  His camel mare was his most prized possession and something dear to the karim’s heart, but if someone came to his tent needing it, he would give her freely.  The Sufis, according to Michael Sells, see this sacrifice as a form of self-annihilation that makes the seeker become one with the Spirit or with the god they seek reunion with.
     I’ve been thinking a lot about sacrifice and hospitality these days, particularly in the wake of seeing news stories of people who are or who are deemed as strangers coming to our shores and living with us and worshipping in places that some Americans might think about as strange.  Indeed, I once found Islam strange and it was only war that brought me back to an understanding of our shared humanity and what binds us in the sacred.
     Human life.  That’s what we celebrate on Christmas.  Something potentially holy coming from the East – a place not so far away in either these times or in Jesus’ times.  Palestine and Turkey are literally bus rides – or raft journeys – away from Europe, and a trek of a thousand miles from Asia.  Caravanserai flanked the road that the Three Wise Men probably took, and the Persian Empire guaranteed safe passage to those travellers seeking to welcome a new spirit into the world.
     This was the place into which Jesus was born.  A place touched by traditions of Asia, of the Middle East, and, unfortunately in some ways, of imperialist southern Europeans, the Romans.  A place of convergences, both celestial (if you believe in such things) and of hardships.  Again, not too different from today.
     Ginger, Zoroastrian wise men following a star, myrrh, and humble yet holy lambs.  At this time, many of us imagine the East as a sacred space, a place of wonder and of pilgrims awaiting safe harbor.
     I know it’s been overdone in the news, but let us remember the pilgrims at our doorstep today.  Let us be safe harbor for those who who need our solidarity and our gifts of love.  Let us be the karim who welcomes those strangers who need us right now.  In time, you will find that they are not so strange.

Thoughts on the Christmas Holiday

Safe Harbor

I’m from a conservative Christian background.  First Baptist was my church, and at it I learned some things I wear on me today, and other things that I have discarded.

In 2004-2005 I took a class on Islam.  I was hungry for knowledge in a time of war.  What I learned opened my eyes to ideas that maybe some of you have known for decades, but to me it was secret, and new, knowledge.

That holiday season, I began to see ginger and other spices as relics of the meeting of cultures.  The three wise men – who were probably Zoroastrian – following a star in the night with hope, and with love to welcome a new one into the world.

It was a celestial convergence.
I have saved a Christmas hymnal I found at a thrift store and bring it out every year.  The front cover has Mary and Joseph and Jesus, all in stained glass. Angular.  Nothing particularly revolutionary, but pretty in its own way.
The back cover pictures the three wise men – one from an Arab country, one who looks like he could be from North Africa, and another of an unspecified heritage.  Maybe he looks like Jesus might have looked.  This I turn up on the coffee table and look at for a reminder of who we really are.  Souls from different faiths with the capacity to come together when we recognize the sacredness of a moment.
The more I look at Christmas, the more I see its universal ideas: heaven “coming down,” the east – which was not so far away  in Jesus’ time – meeting the west, and something holy being borne into this world.  Indeed, everyday.
Another thing I think about is safe harbor.  Harboring strangers who carry something holy with them.  The innkeeper didn’t know this, neither did the shepard (?) – I’m a little fuzzy on the details – who let them stay in a manger.  Today we have strangers coming to us with the same holy spirit that might be in all of us, and from a region many of us imagine during Christmas.  Please, let us recognize the sacredness of this moment.
~ Sam

Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you to the folks who’ve liked my posts lately. It means a lot to me.  I’m still recovering so I can’t really look at most of your blogs but once I’m feeling better I’ll get back at ya. 🙂