// the trouble with heaven //


I’m too much of a dreamer, so the story goes, but the truth is that what they call reality often turns my stomach in ways that are hard to describe. People want straight lines and I want the way pink stained glass bends images into cigarette smoke curling foreign tongues down your throat. As everyone else joins hands and I fall farther and farther away from the circle, I tuck myself inside a faith in the broken shards, the holes in the floors, all the crooked sides of my comical cosmic existence, and attempt to pour forth a drench of words that flood the earth until we all worship at the single altar of mad love instead of sadistic runaway greed.

What is the harm? What is this fear no one can seem to define, yet lives within all of us roaming freely, assembling crucifixions like clues on a board game. Is it blindness or hope that gathers us together, vulgarizes us, vilifies us, heals us, gently carries us toward a distant red sun that delivers us to the promised land of how brief we are, how inconvenient, how troubled, how beautiful.

Will they release or neglect me, these graphic phantom fantasies I press my head against in the quiet of night? Perhaps too many times already, the vacant songs of the things I’ve loved and lost could have remained my veins, my daily ritual black, but somehow I’m the dream coming true in spite of itself. Magic is a fragile flower welcoming the sweet assault of the rain. My obedience arouses you, something in your disarming movement touches me with invisible hands, holds my fickle attention. I want only for you to descend with me and escape, love is the danger of infinite folds, a sapphire ribbon of milk skin; resurrection is your hunger for my sacrificial bones.

Bodies on the pavement, serpents in the sky, and I am undone by the slightest trigger in your eyes. Grace is stillness swallowing hurricanes as an exotic universe creates and destroys itself just to please you. Your teeth against my pulsing wrist startles a flock tiny ancient birds: thin flutters thrusting violent wings in my chest, a dead world ecstatically disturbed. Your mouth on my breast is baptism, the way you collect me breaks us down by fire, fingertips for flames, the gravity between us absorbs the cries of a helpless world, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Sometimes, angel, pain is freedom and the prophets reach for heaven in reverse.

You tip my chin up to the sky, bend me just too far before letting go, I am aware my limits are merely physical. A matchstick glides backwards across the splintered catches in my mind. And as the clouds eclipse the windowless room we inhabit underground, deep beneath the time the gods play roulette with and wider than the desperate gaps between our staggered breathing, our union may be distorted but it is certain. Let the hoards of humanity speak, lifetimes of faces become one face and I’ve lost my lust for listening.

Lovers on the edge have the unfortunate habit of spilling dark secrets when their backs are naked against the wall, but I hold on to mine: silence is my only vision, a castle built upon the rugged journey of your voice as it calls me home, even after all this wasted time.





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Allison Marie Conway is the author of Vein (available now on Amazon) and the creator of Glory Begin Blog & Podcast. Her full body of work is focused on spirituality, sensuality, creativity and inspiration. Email Allison at glorybegin@gmail.com

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10 thoughts on “// the trouble with heaven //

  1. Swarn Gill

    It is difficult to put into words how this beautiful piece made me feel. There was something very spiritual in it. Like what would happen if you took religion but removed it’s bones. Leaving only the essence behind. You use a lot of religious imagery in the piece, but I know it’s symbolic. The Christian idea of submission to the higher power is a strong theme here. But what is that higher power, for you it seems to be love. I am an atheist, but I am fond of saying my religion is kindness. What need have we for the supernatural when what is inside is can bring such spiritual elation. I am not sure what your religious views are, but from reading your writing I sense a lot of raw spirituality in you. A feeling oneness with nature and consciousness, a love that burns through you like a storm too often attributed to the divine.

    When you look at all the religions in the world, there is a truth that runs through all of them, through me and through you, and this to me is what you were ruminating on especially in the first half of this piece. It was amazing. And then from the raw spiritual you dipped into the raw emotion. It became erotic. I am not sure if this is too forward of me to say, but I have never been erotically aroused by something that wasn’t so explicitly sexual. In your submissiveness to the spiritual you appear anything but weak, even if at the same time helpless. LIke we all feel sometimes, helpless to the power that is beyond us, and that act of submission, that vulnerability can bring about a feeling so sublime that it is beyond some straightforward description. In this way I feel like religion is a poor mirror for this awesome power of emotion that is within each of us, and so your move in this piece from broader contemplation to the personal intertwining with a lover (whether literal or figurative), at least to me, was perfect. A reminder that the divine is perhaps is within each one of us and should be a cherished part of humanity.

    Of course I could be completely wrong in my impressions, but it nevertheless spoke to me in a very moving way. Thank you once again for expressing yourself with such intense beauty.

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      My gorgeous friend, dear Swarn,

      I am in awe of your beautiful observations, just incredible and an honor that you would share how this piece moved through you. I am humbled and so grateful. So first and most importantly, I say thank you. Thank you from the depths. For seeing, for feeling, for being open to this in all the ways you were. I cherish the gift of that kind of connection (as you surely know by now) and in many ways you tapped into where this work came from. Uncanny, actually, and so, so touching.

      In the broader sense of the words, I am not religious and I hold dear to very few beliefs. And even in the piece where I reference a lover, it is in the sense of grounding the piece back into the human form. I want to tap into the human emotions in the hopes of allowing for a connection to the divinity within each of us, the private parts, the secrets, the fleshy forbidden bits. When I reference “love” it is meant to encompass so much more than human love, divine love. I have faith in a thing we could never possibly comprehend, which I think in itself is the beautiful devotion. A love of observation without expectation, a freedom and delight in being surprised, awed, made to wonder, wander the dark halls of mystery. Such mysteries, we are. Creatures for which there is no mirror, just as you so beautifully say, and yet – and perhaps this is where the sublime helplessness comes out to play – something within us wants so badly to offer that mirror image of love eternal back to one another, to somehow grasp the Divine so that we can give it away, away, away, to share in the magic. It’s gutting. Therein lies the beautiful crush, the wrenching ecstasy. . . the plead and the comfort. It is duality until you get past the duality and realize that it is all one – the pleasure and pain, the submission and dominance.

      My experience of the divine, the spirit, the energy is often erotic. Creativity, art, poetry, it is all sexual to me in the sense that we become vessels, givers, receivers, and for me as a woman becomes a pleasuring, a birthing, a nurturing, a giving of the body over to the miracles of nature and creation. Submission, humility, worship, the willingness to show vulnerability, To me this is glorification of a union of mysterious beings – we are human we are god we are beast. I let flow what my experience is of this energy fully knowing it is my own and not everyone has the same experience – you and I have talked about empathy and I think that matters for this very reason, to expand on the place within that honors and allows and opens endlessly, relentlessly.

      You are a brilliant soul, Swarn. I usually do not say too much about my work because I’m afraid of ruining it with too much of my rambling, I hope I’ve not done so, sweet friend. And finally, I’m holding this so close to my heart: “Like what would happen if you took religion but removed it’s bones.” *sigh* Amen. That’s everything. Everything. :)

      1. Swarn Gill

        Well I feel deeply honored that you have broken from your normal tradition to speak to me more about your writing, and I hope others contemplate your post deeply before reading the discussion below. I can’t speak for others, but I can say that for myself these words you have written in response only adds to the beauty of you that seems to unfold before my very eyes. If I have gleaned at all a portion of your heart that went into this piece then I amaze myself because so strong is the imagery and emotion of your writing that I am often too busy feeling to worry about thinking. It is only because I am scientist that I am able to maintain any semblance of discipline I suppose. :) But the analyst in me appreciates the opportunity to learn more about the intricate machinery that makes up your soul.

        something within us wants so badly to offer that mirror image of love eternal back to one another, to somehow grasp the Divine so that we can give it away, away, away, to share in the magic. It’s gutting. Therein lies the beautiful crush, the wrenching ecstasy. . . the plead and the comfort. It is duality until you get past the duality and realize that it is all one – the pleasure and pain, the submission and dominance.

        This was so beautifully said, and you have articulated something that I ponder often in my blog. There is a duality in life that fascinates me. People say things are two side of the same coin, but I find this to be a clumsy analogy, because by giving it the shape of the coin we imagine one side or the other. A different face even if part of the same object. But in the same vein as what you said, what if the duality is an illusion and the coin a construct that we have made to try and understand the things separately when instead we should understand them as the same thing? Religion tends to bring about intention to the universe…good and evil, ying and yang, and while these things are tangible, they all exist within our perception. We are the ones giving the universe meaning, we are the ones making the coin and deciding what lies on either side. What if there is just existence, and all we have to do is love it, and help others appreciate it as much as we do in all it’s complexity?

        In that way empathy is our greatest tool for understanding each other and finding that thread that runs through all those personality truths into greater ones and the best part of it all is not the wisdom we might gain, but the bonds that we form with our fellow human beings. And so I do not know what wisdom we might gain from each other, but I do know that there is a soul out there that becomes increasingly important to me. I hope that is not too forward to say either. :)

        1. Allison Marie Post author

          Dear Swarn, please forgive me for taking a bit to respond to your incredibly beautiful comment. I am without the words to thank you enough, but please know everything you say has settled gently and powerfully in my heart. I am so grateful, so grateful.

          I have been exploring duality, the concept of, the way we (as you say perfectly) clumsily try to make sense of it. We are so quick to want things (people, land, stuff) divided. Humans are funny (frustrating, adorable, maddening, destructive) that way aren’t they (we)? Everything everything we want to pin down, dissect, understand. Perhaps one of the toughest things to wrap our brains around is the idea that there is such an existence beyond the confines of right/wrong, good/bad, beautiful/ugly. Perhaps if the coin were transparent, we could come a little closer – to see through it, to see both images, in a sense, on both sides thereby rendering the “sides” irrelevant, an illusion. A random thought, which I thank you for drumming up within me. :)

          I’m with you, soul friend, maybe there is just existence and all we have to do is love it. . . and maybe others will see it, feel it, the adoration without answers . . . and to be a reflection of a world beyond worlds . . . mmmm in this moment, there is no trouble with heaven. :) Thank you, Swarn, just thank you for being. You are joy.

          P.S. Machinery of the soul – crushingly beautiful. I am so glad you are a scientist. So much closer to spirituality and wonder. So many have given up on the wonder, but let’s not do that. Ever.

          1. Swarn Gill

            Just as we agree that we shall no longer apologize for brevity or length, let us also make a deal to not apologize for a delay in response. Especially when it is only a day. :) While it is true that I look forward to reading your words, I also realize that you have a life beyond responding to the new person you have met on the internet. :) That being said I am pleased that my words have permeated your pores and moved through artery and vein. :) Every word you write me seems to dance off the screen in a sweet melody towards my hungry eyes and I sit here wondering how your words can both satiate an appetite and also have me constantly craving for more. But that is never reason for you to apologize for a delay, any more than you should apologize for having a gift and translating your heart into words. I am grateful for whatever beauty you offer in my direction.

            It’s funny, one of my very first blog posts when I made my blog was about categorization and our human need to do so. In an evolutionary sense it is absolutely necessary. I don’t think we have gotten far without it, I think it’s difficult to lose that instinct. What I do think we can do a better job is being fluid about our categorization. Recognize that what we put in one category may not belong there and be willing to move it to another. And more importantly recognize that the very system we use to categorize is just a tool and not necessarily a reflection of reality. And maybe something are more useful in our youth, but as we grow and learn we can flex the walls of those categories and morph them into a spectrum, a continuum of thoughts and ideas to better grasp the connectivity of things. That’s really where the trouble begins, where we divide and lose connection. It all circles back to empathy and how important that is to remaining connected. I like your idea of the coin being transparent, so that we can see that duality imprinted over each other and remember that two sides of the coin are really just two parts of a whole. And those parts are really just a bit fuzzy around the edges on top of that. And isn’t it all a good analogy for life in general? All life are parts that make up a whole, with no part really being more important the next. More importantly we find that life isn’t really life when we try to separate it into parts, nor can we understand really how it works unless all the parts are working together. This is the difference between human and machine, because we can reverse engineer a machine to see how it works, but not true with life. I am reminded of a quote by the author Douglas Adams: “when you try to take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you notice is that you have a non-working cat”. :) It seems to me that many things in life are best viewed as whole instead of dualities or parts.

            I am glad I have made heaven right for you today, and I’ve been having a tough week so I am pleased that you have made Earth alright for me today, with your kind words that touch me deeply. I agree that curiosity is an important companion to empathy, and I hope too that we never lose that wonder and desire to explore. Without a desire to explore we are truly lost.

            I will leave you with a little Sufi poetry I think you will enjoy. I find the Sufi view of God to be very pure to the point where it’s not even clear that they necessarily are concerned with God as a divine entity but rather that there is no separation between God and the universe. Once again a division that we have created, but perhaps no such division exists. The poem speaks that we as part of the universe are also the universe, we are also the creator, and there is no division. It is all One. :)


          2. Allison Marie Post author

            Thank you, dear friend, for your beautiful thoughts and words and heart. It is truth you speak: we are all One. I hope your week is magic and that inspiration finds you easily, gently and with deep, deep joy. :)

  2. Larin

    You juxtapose beautiful words with pain and hunger and lust and speak from a depth that is both callous with knowledge and yet soft like the flutterings of a chrysalis just testing it’s new wings…you take us through a magical journey from here to heaven and back again……we are mesmerised by your words and you are beautiful.

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Dear Larin, I am without the words to thank you enough for such an elegant and beautiful comment, please know I am grateful and hold this close to my heart. Knowing my work can feed another soul means the world to me. I thank you from the depths for bearing witness. Namaste, my friend.


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