Thursday, December 15, 2011

love's guest

i held her closely to my face
until she squirmed from my embrace,
mewing at the door.
knowing her wish, i opened it wide
to bid love’s guest to come inside,  
a good hello, a sweet goodbye.
(poem about my cat, Raja.  I was holding her last night to comfort me because my sister is getting married in two days, which is so exciting and hard at the same time.   Love’s guest is often surrender, and she gets invited over a lot.  In this case, love’s guest is also named Luke, who I love so much and makes it totally worth it to open the door.)  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

radio weather report, npr, december 1, 2011

“Clear the skies tonight...”
she commands or prays
to us or God,
clearing her throat, the air 
waves re-tracting 
re-porting her tongue 
into a harbor of right words
that lack imagination,
ambition, faith.
“Clear skies tonight, high 
of thirty-seven.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thankful for you

To pray is to take notice of the wonder, to regain a sense of the mystery that animates all beings, the divine margin in all attainments.  Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living.  It is all we can offer in return for the mystery by which we live.  Who is worthy to be present at the constant unfolding of time?  Amidst the meditation of mountains, the humility of the flowers -- wiser than all alphabets -- clouds that die constantly for the sake of His glory, "we" are hating, hunting, hurting.  Suddenly we feel ashamed for our clashes and complaints in the face of the tacit glory in nature.  It is so embarrassing to live!  How strange we are to the world, and how presumptuous our doings!  Only one response can maintain us: gratefulness for witnessing the wonder, for the gift of our unearned right to serve, to adore, and to fulfill.  It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.  -From Man's Quest for God by Abraham Joshua Heschel 

In high school, we spent a lot of time studying arguments for the existence of God.  Cosmological argument, teleological argument, etc.  That kind of thing.  And I suppose there is a place for that.  But I've always been moved the most, in terms of evidences for the existence of God, by my overwhelming desire to say thank you to somebody for the moon.  How can people begin to be satisfied with having a general "gratefulness" without someone to whom to say "thank you"?  I suppose we can start by saying thank you to each other, but who do we say thank you to for each other, which seems like the greater desire.  

So anyway, I am thankful to you, for reading this blog, and I thank my God for you and the wonderful way He made you.  I am not worthy to witness the miracle of another human life.  And then to get to be one!  Walking around, talking, breathing, loving, drinking pumpkin pie batter from the bowl.  And then to get to talk to the Creator of my friends and family and say, "well done, good and faithful God."  It does feel a bit presumptuous I have to admit, but I suppose so is living life, prayer, the act of thanksgiving itself.  Who are we to pronounce goodness on this life?  And yet that is what we are called to and invited to join with God from the beginning of time who saw that it was good and very good.  
I love the word "ascribe."  I could think about it for years and years and never fully understand it, yet it must go hand and hand with our thanksgiving lest our thanks be as hollow as the balloons floating above New York Streets.  And it is a joy to do so.  Thank you God for the moon!  

"Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness." -Psalm 29:2 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

how good is good enough

Thursday I went to a concert/multimedia/performance piece by a man named Sam Amidon.  I highly recommend his music.  He mostly plays very old folk songs but the arrangements are (Icelandic) innovative.  My favorite moment from the concert was a home video he showed where he stares into space, obviously standing in front of some blinds because there were lines of light across his face.  He starts this eerie guttural singing/shouting, and then he looks at the camera and says deadpan, "here I am in my sun helmut."  He says some things after that, but then it dawns at you that the whole time he was saying:


I had no idea what he was saying during the sustained yelling but had the feeling that that whatever it was, it was deep and profound.  Partly this is because the concert was held in a contemporary arts center with lots of people wearing all black and trendy glasses.  And then I realized he was just being silly.  It felt like a trick.  Like a glorious trick.  

Lately I've been shouting this in the car and in the shower and around my house.  These are mostly the only places I've found where it is acceptable.    

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

wardrobe of my time

I've been trying sooo hard not to write this post.  The post about posting.  But I promise I'll make it short.

I started out without much of a plan for this blog and it felt good, a loose fitting garment.  But in the past two months, it's gotten too loose.  Falling off the shoulders.  I can't walk without a belt, etc.  So I decided to wear some other clothes and put this one in the closet.  Mainly four part time jobs and other responsibilities that feel at times like straightjackets.  I've been wearing more comfortable outfits too, like time with family and friends, playing piano more.  I think sometimes you look down at an outfit and realize it makes you look kind of fat or weirdly shaped and there's an initial disillusionment when you realize it's probably not going to attract your future husband or fame.  I think I realized recently "poet" is probably going to be the dress I wear on the weekends, rather than my work uniform.  And so I've been kind of avoiding it...the shame of changing my mind again....

But now that I've put this back on it feels nice, even without a belt.  Though I hope to get one soon.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

birthday wishes, 9 years ago

"October 13, 2002.  With 24 minutes and 6 seconds of my 17th birthday left, it seems as if a toast to the day is the only thing left in wanting.  And seeing as how the only stuffed animal out of 21 in my room that can talk will only say mooo when squeezed, I suppose I will be forced to be my own best man on my wedding day.
Dearest Natasha.  Today you are seventeen.  It's so hard to know what to say to you.  You whose youth has been padded from real pain like the furniture of the Glass Man.  Ha, you have not praised God enough for time my dear, and each second that ticks out of the corner of your peripheral hearing.  What an amazing feature and aspect of our world time is.  Poets cannot capsule it, and scientists and quantum physics cannot explain it.  A circle cannot define it, nor a line with tick marks.  It blurs past in 18 legs printing past the 68 year old man, and the 13 year old girl calling it to hurry up, its lame leg dragging behind, while she puts on heavy makeup.  I don't know and I can't comprehend.  Your cat lies on your lap like in 3rd grade and in his silky ears there is no difference.  Shadow kills and soon shadow will die.  Don't you wonder if he knows?  Well, anyway, you're seventeen alright and before you really know it you'll be 35 and remembering how skinny you are now, and maybe telling Nasty to go to bed.  Goodnight Natasha of 17 and if my words come back and haunt you, whoever you are or wherever, don't forget to fall on your knees saying, "Holy" and knowing how much of the picture is blocked being in time, but also that without it, what you can grasp, and stories and parables would crumble."

I found this recently in my journals.  It looks like I've been writing the same drivel for years now.  Although I have to admit for a 17 year old, pretty interesting stuff.  As a sidenote, I went through a phase where I thought it would be fun to reclaim bad words by naming my kids and raising them up right, hence Nasty.  Happy Birthday to me!  RIP Shadow.   

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

a foray into fiction writing....prosaically!

He liked it when she let her hair down.  Liked it when she put it up.  Something about the motion of it, he said.  The way her arms framed her face.  He liked the way her head tilted when she took out her earrings at the end of the day, and the way she held her silverware, so prim and proper, like a lady, he said grinning, stabbing at his dinner with his elbows raised.  He liked the slant of her cursive.  Loved the way she said his name, even when she was angry and especially when she was tired.  He would tell her these things when they first began dating, and she never realized how much it affected her to have someone notice all the mundane choreography she’d developed subconsciously over the years.  And even after they got married, especially when they were first living together, discovering the deep pockets of each other’s habits, he would celebrate each pattern he found.  It’s so cute how you take out your left contact before your right one, he pronounced on more than one occasion.  She basked in his enjoyment, his feeling of luckiness that pervaded from the beginning of the relationship.  And she did not argue with it.
But now that he was gone, she found that she had never noticed his small movements.  She became obsessed with trying the dredge up memories of minutia so she could miss them, but over and over she realized she simply could not recall his techniques of shaving or where he put his keys after work or what he wore to mow the lawn.  She knew his favorite breakfast food should pang her when she ate it, but she did not know whether to cry over eggs or pancakes.  And so she cried over both, rubbing her knuckles hard across her front teeth, a habit left over from childhood.  There was no one left to pull her hand away now. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

putt putt

how lovely it is
to focus one's mind upon
a single goal,
the sound of neon
dropping into a plastic hole.

I almost made it.  12 days, 12 poems(ish).  I wrote this last night, but didn't have internet.  As a side note, I got the job I felt like I had such a bad interview.  It is only 10 hours a week, but it's a start.  It also leaves a lot of things very much up in the air.  I long for that singular goal, but maybe if I go putt-putting on the weekends, I'll be able to wade through the confusion of it all.  I'll be working with high schoolers as a professional encourager, which is a pretty sweet gig.  I graduated from this particular high school seven and a half years ago.  I feel like there are parts of my high school self God wants me to interact with, remember, and not fear.  Those years were so hard for me.  But now I get a chance to turn around and love high schoolers wherever they are at, which is so something God would do.  He loves that redemption stuff.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

by the banks

by the banks of the ohio,
we climbed kentucky ruins,
broken concrete slabs,
in the brilliant, yellow, evening sun.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


today i cleaned the cracks
and crevices, the neglected
corners, and found no gold
coin, but yes, between the fire
place and bookshelf, a web
with twenty dead pill bugs,
suspended in air and time.

good, dad said, the spiders
are doing their job

Friday, September 30, 2011

my day in gerunds


Thursday, September 29, 2011


today i laid upon a lawn chair upside-
down after a lunch of peanut butter,
jelly, and string cheese, feet to the sun,
and looked inside a gentle blue sky.

i saw a tiny cloud, the size of one
small child, traveling so so fast
then dissipating before my eyes
under the urgency of the wind.

now the sky is thunder, angry, pouring
water from her side and breasts,
and i think i finally understand
what it was you were running from. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

free therapy session

today i turned the interview
into an innerview of all
my thoughts and fears.
i should not have let her in
so far behind my tailored suit;
she was just so darn nice.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

sexual squash education

today i learned about the birds and the bees
for the plants and the trees and the squash
blossom. yesterday i thought all flowers were
girls, yellow and star-faced and turned
to the sun. i harvested men secure in their beauty,
and widowed their women, green bellies swelling.

Apparently you can eat squash blossoms!  What a wonderful world!

Monday, September 26, 2011

over breakfast

gaping, maddening hole
where the idol plank got plucked. 
i was eating eggs.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

in the family room

today my mother danced
while singing "hula hands"
after a song I sang about
tomorrow's plans.
we took time to laugh
at our dog, Bamboo,
and Katie gave me a list
of her chores to do.
(Because I was too lazy
to buy her birthday things,
I made her coupons
for indentured servanting)
some evenings are pleasant
as presents can be,
wrapped in disguise
of the ordinary.

This one a day thing is harder than I thought.  I guess it is good to be forced to write something off the cuff....depending on what this blog is for which I haven't really figured out yet, but for now, this is what I've got!  I really am grateful for my family.  It feels like one of the only places in my life right now not up in the air.  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

clock work

today i heard the bridesmaids
arrived forty five minutes late.
stepped in, looked around,
shrugged and took their place.
the mexican culture seems so 
happy, she said, and so i thought 
about the nature of time until i 
looked at the clock and realized i 
had to go. (there’s an anxious white
rabbit inside my heart wearing
a waistcoat and running the show.)

My sister is getting married soonish, and there is a lot of anxiety around everything being "perfect."  Not necessarily for my sister, but there's a nervous energy around the whole event for a lot of people in white, suburban culture that she is surrounded by in this process from the florist to the bridal shop.  Everything must be run, well, like clockwork.  Sometimes there is a sigh at the end of a wedding day, not in joy, but in relief that nothing went wrong.   I could probably take a couple pages out of another culture's book.  It's such a different mindset from my own, but it's really wonderful.  Actually my sister is probably way better at this than I am.  I just don't care about wedding decor.  (By the way, the story is from an actual wedding today, not even the rehearsal!)

Friday, September 23, 2011


I thought 
      someone heard and 
            turned on all the lights
  but it was just the sun
       come out 
            and shining
        through the stained
                glass eye of God
                      as I played the broken 
                  piano and sang
                        on the top
                                 of all our lungs.

I think I will set a goal to capture one moment every day for 12 days.  Yesterday was day one.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011


In this wilderness of unhappiness
and lack of suffering,
I find myself making koala noises
and eating leaves to make a child laugh.   
I find my pages open to a dozen
half-done applications,
too ashamed to fill them to the full.
I find myself climbing into bed 
at eight, nothing left to do and staying
up until eleven doing things like this.
Today, I watched a child rolling, screaming, 
crying in the grass, ruining his pants,
because I would not let him say donnaker one more time,
and he did, five more times,
but it’s such a fun word, he said between sobs,
I couldn’t help it.
I gave him freedom to flail in his misery
until his mother came home.
As I backed out, I made koala noises at him
through the window of my car 
and he made them back 
in a bizarre reconciliatory language.
This evening I skipped bible study
and allowed myself to be unhappy.

Last night at bible study I confessed that
I have been prone to wallow.
The silence of God
lets me have my tantrum.
This poem is my bizarre reconciliatory language.
And in the very complaint,
a response.  
He never said I’d like it.  
Can't say I do.

In case you were wondering, he says it means toilet.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

awkward silence

I am not going to say it doesn't exist.  It definitely exists.  Or only shallow people can't stand the quiet.  Or that our culture is too noisy.  I am going to say, however, that true awkward silence is more precious than we think.  That it is a prison that ought not to be hastily escaped.

In an improv scene, there are moments when you realize someone should say something or moments after someone did say something, and it was a  Do not be afraid!  Step into the moment and try to weave the off-words back into the fabric of the scene by making the tangent long enough to loop back and add interest to the pattern.  At least, that is what I've been taught, but it does not come naturally.  However, there is redemption even in the unsuccessful attempt.  People have done it for me.

A pregnant pause that is barren adds weight to the words that break it.  And every second that ticks by adds more meaning.  That is why perhaps it is so scary to break!  Because no question seems heavy enough to break through, for example, the blind date quiet.  We sit around, pushing our peas, afraid that after our meager question, the one word answer will make the silence even heavier.  Sometimes after a few of these attempts, the awkwardness becomes palpable like a thick suffocating blanket.

At this point, there are those who choose to acknowledge the awkwardness, hoping through some meta-conversation about the conversation, laughter will aright the flagging ship.  Sometimes this does happen, but mostly, I think it is a bit cowardly.  Plus it assumes awkward silence is inherently a bad thing, as opposed to an exhilarating intersection in a conversation with 1,000 different roads to walk down and a brief moment to choose which one to take, rather than just letting the conversation take you places, which is albeit more comfortable, but usually ends up in you telling an anecdote you've told a million times or talking mindlessly about movies.  Not that those things are inherently bad either, but perhaps the awkward silence doesn't need breaking as much as we need to allow it to break us.  Out of our habits, out of our normal mode of speaking in which we easily forget there is a consciousness looking and listening back at us.  It awakens us to that deafening roar on the other side of silence, gives us a moment to breathe, and then speak life to the face of the Other, receiving life from them.

Slowly, we learn to catch each other, and the silence becomes less and less awkward and more and more comforting, making us wiser.  Quick to listen, slow to speak.  If awkward silence is a hole we are falling down, it is a lot less anxiety producing if you know at the bottom you won't die a fiery social death, but will land on feather pillows in a room you've never been before.  Maybe you'll like it, maybe not, but it's worth the attempt to push through, to hear and love the stranger at the party who you apparently have nothing in common with.

May we have the grace not to desperately seek common ground or an excuse to leave but to tread lightly on another's uncommon ground, enjoying the new roads or rooms and savoring the kind of redemption that only awkward silence can bring.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

the backwards kingdom

Desselb are the roop 
Desselb are the das
Desselb are the keem 
Desselb are the yrgnuh and the yrsriht
Desselb are the luficrem
Desselb are the erup in traeh
Desselb are the srekamecaep
Desselb are the detucesrep

poetry is more than a cute idea, but sometimes that's all you have and it's ok.  May we be a backwards people in all the right ways.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

by the way

I ate your figs grainy
with seeds
so nasty 
so wrinkled.
you probably planned
to let them rot.
I’m sorry.
I should not
have stopped you.

Friday, September 9, 2011


I thought it was a roma bean
and it tasted horrible
I thought it was a lima bean
and it tasted sweet
I thought it was a magic bean
and it gave me a stalk
with angels ascending
and descending
and I prayed for grace 
to climb with no expectations,
but to know and love Him more,
to receive each bean as a gift,
each gift as a seed.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

let it out

Today I found a journal entry that reminded me of a time I was bawling so hard it felt like my eyeballs were going to pop out.  There were two people there praying with me and they kept saying, let it out, not into the air but into the side of Jesus.  And so I did.  I let it out, not to be dissipated into the universe but directly to Christ.  It is not often I feel so strongly that my words are going straight to the Divine Ear that is closer than the mouth that cries them out.  Often I imagine all these filters, films, barriers, the requests traveling through a maze, half of them getting lost in translation, getting lost in the mail, lost in the midst of a million prayers rising up.  But if the next words on your tongue were heard by the Creator of the Universe, the Sustainer of all Things, the Lover of your Soul, and you knew that you knew that He was listening, what would you say?

Say it.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011


The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but power. -1 Corinthians 4:20

I recognized this scene, saw it a hundred times both in great and terrible films: small factions begin forming beneath the street lamps, confronting each other with a crescendo of discontented, indiscernible words, attracting more people, more voices, more syllables taptaptapping into some ancient nameless hatred, hardening hearts, arms raising arms, until the irrevocable bang, the scurrying, the body of the best friend left lying still, lit by indifferent and unnatural light.  

There was yet no bang, but the air quivered beneath their anger, staggering like a boy bearing a weight too heavy upon his shoulders.  Emerging from my car, I met friends emerging from their house, concerned about the violent shouting that shook the air.  I put my shaking thumb on the nine of my cellphone, and in the moment I felt purposeful, powerful, whispering with my friends on the porch about what to do, thinking to myself whatistherightthing, the smartthing, the bravething, the christianthing.  And then suddenly one turned her back upon our caucus and then the other glanced at me before she too turned her head, and I was left alone, my arm hanging impotent at my side.  I did not understand.  I did not know what I was supposed to do, and I did not know what they were doing.  Why would they leave me without telling me where they were going?  Why were they walking closer toward the angry crowd, their backs straight, jaws set?  I do not want to be a part of the gawking masses, I thought.  I will respond as I would a tantrum from a child; I will not give this event credence with my eyes.  And yet I was the child, the one feeling abandoned, caught in my own emotions even as the world screamed its own pain at me, begging me to know suffering larger than my confusion, abandonment far deeper than a twinge.  
And when I did look I saw my friends standing as statues on the skirts of conflict, different from the others in their silence and in their stillness.  And then a third and then a fourth emerged onto the sidewalk, and until then, I did not know compassion could set one’s eyes like flint.  And then I understood that they were standing there as witnesses, the pillars of a roof I could not see, offering protection in a way I had not yet thought to provide.  
Soon after, the police arrived, and forty youth scattered into the shadows.  My friends returned; we retrieved the cooler out of my car I let them borrow for a camping trip; there were goodbye hugs, and I drove home to a peaceful cul-de-sac, the kind of sack stuffed full of my dreams of ending poverty and theories of justice and the role of the church, untouched and untested, pristine in their verbiage and powerless in the fight.  
I do not lie to you; the morning of this incident, I was in Norwood with two of these four friends talking about what living the gospel looks like in our neighborhood, how a core message of the good news is that we are not abandoned.  I distinctly remember getting up on my high horse about a sermon I heard about how the core of the gospel is not “do the right thing” and how it feels like so many in our church view it like that.  And yet, in the situation I describe, that is exactly the mindset I responded with.  I did remember to pray, but part of me wonders if that is not an extension of the what-is-the-christian-thing-to-do mindset rather than allowing Christ to truly live in me.  I know at times it might seem like a small difference from the outside, but I have truly felt the radically different nature in my life and have been privileged to witness it in others along the way.  I think there is a time for talking about what the gospel/church is, but there is a time for leaving the caucus on the porch and learning how to watch and listen and intercede.  Lord, have mercy.
As a side note, this is the sermon I referenced about how the gospel is more than doing the right thing.  Most of the sermons on there are excellent including this one.  It is from the Anglican church I belong/ed to in Wheaton.  Anyway, perhaps something to listen to while you are cooking for your neighbors. :)

Monday, July 25, 2011


The flock of clouds witnessed him from above
manifesting destiny with a shovel, a glove,
a bag of seed, barrels, grapes, a trelis of rope,
yet it was not in his blood to bear the hope
nor pain of this rugged coast.
He was born beneath another banner’s song, beside
another sea, and contentment can be pried
even from the rugged hands of a happy man
whose breath and back still tend a land
his heart has not been called.
And so he rode a train of metal boxes east
along a metal scar, wheels grinding on the piece
of mind that churns still faster than the gears
and turns the soiled decade into a sapling year
of hard and unplowed births.
Hard as concrete screaming by for miles outside
the city gates, vacant lots, a thousand vacant eyes
attached to empty hands still full of strength,   
and through his pane, he plots a garden’s length
beneath the howl of gray.
A year has come and past and parking lots remain
yet lawns are sprouting squash and cabbages and grain.
A strong and pretty girl kneels beside him planting seeds;
they have a secret chicken that they hide from the police,
and he is learning how to laugh.
The flock of city clouds whisper from above,
“All of us are migrants looking for a land to love;
we are but a vapor, a momentary mist
growing gray and heavy until the blessed bliss
of giving ourselves away.”

Saturday, July 16, 2011

worth it

But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” -Jonah 4:9
I worked hard to glean that first harvest, puncturing my skin on sharp thorns as I plucked tiny lonely berries lingering in the back, the purple tips of my fingers shaking with the strain of my reach.  For a girl used to finding berries encased in plastic beneath florescent lights, finding food growing in the middle of the woods still took me by surprise.  I remember the first taste, tentatively putting one pustule of one berry to my mouth, unsure of its name, of its potential power to kill or make me an indentured servant to intestinal demands.  As the sweetness filled my mouth, I simply did not care and swallowed the whole berry, scribbling “I am eating wild berries” inside my journal on the off chance a family taking a Sunday afternoon stroll found my unconscious body lying on the trail.  But surely nothing this sweet could be harmful.  Berry after berry found its fate between my teeth, past my tongue, and down my throat.  Statistically, my pleasure decreased with each one, but each down to the last worth the effort, paying the thorns directly with blood and sweat, no intermediaries, no HR administrators doling out my tuppence nor checkout clerks with scanners and vacant eyes.  Two weeks later, marks still linger on my body, pale skinned ghosts of scabs gone by.  And unlike most times when the body bears proof of its memories, they are reminders of delight, mine and God’s as He watched me like the blue sky peaking through the canopy of shifting green light as I savored His unexpected gift.  
This evening, I went back to that patch armed with knowledge of the berries’ names (wild black raspberries or, if I was feeling more formal, Rubus occidentalis), and an assurance that they could do no harm.  I found them with little difficulty and rejoiced that the berries that were once so small had tripled in size.  I greedily popped three berries in my mouth, hungry not only for their sweetness but also their sustenance.  I realized immediately they were different, less flavor and even bitter.  I was sure of their identification by their location and leaves.  I was also furious.  I had been looking forward to this berry feast all day, planned my gratefulness in advance.  Curses upon this fruit, I thought.  Curses on the seed that bore it, the sky for giving it rain and sun. Curses on its capability to so deeply disappoint, to remind me of all the times I try to re-enact a good thing and it falls into bitter little pieces, to embody what it is like when something, someone looks the same and in that looking makes promises he did not intend to give or keep.  Two weeks.  Two years.  Things change, he said.  But can I live with the reality of the second, not wishing to remove the first?  Can sweet and bitter dwell together in the same mouth without curses, only blessing, blessing the coming and the leaving, blessing the scars that linger still?
This post sounds very personal, but it is actually a little made up.  The berries part is all true, but the part about two years is not true.  It is mostly drawn from an experience I had when I was little when I played this really fun game of stuffed animal war and then tried to re-enact it and it was really lame.  That felt like it would be harder and less relatable on some level.  Not that I haven't had my fair share of heartache/ "things change" kind of pain, but it's not exactly so simple as I made it out to be!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

two poems on the resurrection

And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us. -John 1:14

For three days,
the word lay like
a stilled tongue 
inside the mouth
of a lightless 
eyes rolled back
like a stone,
like the word
stone, lifeless
until breath
and breather’s 
filled the law
of love and death’s
clanging symbols
with risen flesh.


An angel folds
death’s shroud
in joy and trembling,
as He unfolds
the three-person tent,
 raising it up
like a big top, 
to be seen by all
that we might come, 
Allegria Allelulia,
to make our dwelling
inside of Him.

Monday, July 4, 2011

let me

Oh, let me be a bird
nesting inside
your neighbor’s gutter,
let me be the bastard child
of your brother’s pool boy,
let me be a ring upon your
dentist’s finger,
that I might catch a glimpse,
a mumbled word,
a shadow of a fringe 
of an alleged rumor
of a love
that will not let me 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

growing old

we are pressed 
by time,

a wildflower 
in a heavy tome,

tamed by our desire
to be preserved.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

st. elizabeth

the old church crumbles 
like a clod of earth.
slowly at first, a fleck of paint,
but then entire angels fall.
stained glass roses buckle
within their iron trellis
and threaten to catch the sun
in a thousand shards of glass.

Monday, June 13, 2011

self deception

Sometimes, and God knows it pains me to say it, a sunset is more beautiful, the colors more robust and brilliant, with my sunglasses on.  And so I leave them on.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

all i can tell

In a rite of secrecy, the three of us knelt in the woods, bent down and licked the snow, each making three marks to represent the trinity.  Not that I believed in the trinity, but I knew that in these kinds of ceremonies one must appeal to a higher power.  That was the day at ten years of age I learned telling outrageous lies can be tremendously fun, especially when you have an accomplice to smirk with.  It started out innocent enough, a joke we realized she took seriously.  But then we discovered that kind of innocent gullibility was an absolute goldmine for entertainment as my friend and I spun wilder and wilder yarns.  For hours.  It was so satisfying to see her face gawking at our adventures, encounters with the supernatural, or the historical events I told her took place in the woods behind my house, to hear the “really??” and “wow!!” of unquestioned trust and admiration.  So after we got done with all of our tales, we swore her to secrecy in an elaborate ritual that I remember seemed magical.  I also remember being strangely jealous that she believed all the wonderful things we told her.  Jealous of her wide eyes and her wonder.  Jealous that the magical moment of kneeling in the snow contained mystery and significance for her, but for me it was just a hoax.  
Unable to carry the burden of guilt for very long, we told her the next day on the bus that we made everything up.  I can still see her face that was so filled with awe a day before, filling with disappointment and anger.  I guess I was too young to know that it was worth it to keep up the lies in order not to see the expression on the face of the one you love that you betrayed.  That one should do everything in one’s power to avoid the damning silence on the other end of the line after a confession.  At least that’s how it feels, but feelings can lie too.  
I’m grateful I learned many lessons as a child so benignly.  Never had an affair or tricked a fairy or years of keeping a dark secret.  I bring to you lessons from the school of easy knocks, getting tapped on the wrist with a silver spoon.  Perhaps they do not titillate as much as a story about getting locked up in Nepal for smuggling drugs, but it’s my story.  It’s all I can tell.