Friday, May 27, 2011

broken to share

two women lean against
an island
explaining contractions
to one who leans against the sink.

each eat their own piece
of chocolate,
broken to share,
and marvel at their flesh.

Not every conversation at the women's retreat was quite as stereotypical as this one, but it really was a beautiful moment.  We all eat our own piece of the same experience, and it is wonderful to learn from those who have experienced things before us. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

in time it will all make sense

My furry feral fetal fairy-turtle feels fairly free to feed fee-free from fertile fields off Fields Ertel.

It's harder than one would think to write a tongue twister.  That being said, it's kind of sad this little ditty has been my only creative output in a week.  I wrote it in my car after thinking, "Fields Ertel is a weird name."  I actually can say it frighteningly fast.  

Yesterday I started an internship at a very large church and also began a new babysitting gig.  I am still very much trying to figure out how to live into the rhythms of this new season of life.  I have a feeling a lot of it might be hard work, which I am looking forward to.  I read a poet who said when you work, time is moving through you, and when you don't, it's like time is passing by you.  I really identified somehow with that feeling, so I'm looking forward to an intentional time-through-me summer.   

Thursday, May 19, 2011


        On Sunday during church while Kenny was worshipping up in front with a banjo, his adorable children kept running up to him throughout the service and whispering in his ear.  Still playing, he bent his body down in order to hear their Children Secrets (anyone who has ever taken care of a child knows about this lovely and often absurd phenomenon).  As I witnessed the sweet scene and thought about their boldness that allowed them to run up in front of everyone without a hint of self-conciousness, it occurred to me that perhaps worship could be like that for all of us.  
        Yes, the Lord is holy, a King who reigns forever in splendor and majesty in the heavenly realms.  But we are not forgotten subjects, trying to shout our songs and supplications loud enough to be heard by some remote kingdom on the outer edges of an unfeeling universe.  We are children of God!  And He is our Father who bends close to us and inclines His ear to all our longings whether lovely, absurd, selfish, or wise.  Kenny’s kids did not run boldly because they earned the right to this intimacy but because they were so confident in their status as beloved children.  Of course, my dad wants to hear what I have to say!  
        In one of those wonderful paradoxes, God invites us to draw near though we can draw no nearer than He already is.  He is closer than our breath, our own skin, our thoughts.  It is our senses that our blind, deaf, numbed to His Presence.  Sometimes I pull my shirt collar up to my forehead and create a tiny little temple inside my shirt.  I close my eyes and whisper a prayer as quietly as I possibly can.  (I am aware I am a little weird, but you should try it!)  I am not sure why, but it scares me a bit to think He can hear me, which might be silly considering I believe He knows every thought or inkling of my heart.  But when I meditate on His closeness and the level of intimacy that He wants to share with me, it's frightening.  And rightfully so; it is all-demanding.  I’m pretty sure it involves dying and not the easy kind.  But it also involves delights that we cannot possibly imagine.  
        So go ahead, run boldly to the Throne of Grace and to the Father of All Compassion.  Maybe, just maybe, He will set down His banjo and put you on His knee, give you a tambourine and let you join in.  All I’m saying is I’ve seen it happen.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

tender blue

the man with two tender 
blue eyes, ginger hat, 
metal gun, on a chocolate 
horse named cherry
hung his head inside
a prayer of thanks
for his lower half split
down the middle,
from the middle,
blue legs bent 
and draped,
one for each 
thank you Jesus 
for two.

Fact: It is hard for a mermaid to ride a horse.

Monday, May 16, 2011

tender brown

pants, according to the field 
museum, were invented for horses 
-not actual horses, mind you, 
but their Iranian riders who were invented 
for herding tender cuts of meat
into the gustatory ranch
of a rich man’s mouth,
a tender pocket which was invented 
for appreciating the finer things 
in life.  Someone must do all this
savoring, he thought, lost on cowmen
and horseboys who do not mind cheap 
cigarettes or fumes of tender brown
droppings which God invented 
for the flies to savor 
bask and play in their wavy 
plumes of heat.

The interaction between Evolution/Creation/Invention interest me (biological, sociological, fashionical, etc.): what was made for what?  In a million symbiotic pleasures and relationships, which came first?  For many different things, we will probably never know, but we can choose to have both the mindless enjoyment of a fly and the gratefulness of a human, which is nice.  Appreciation can take different forms.  Wine aged to perfection for 100 years would taste one way to a man dying of thirst and another way to a wine connoisseur.  I think both are important.  

This poem is for Tim’s aunt, who spent a year living on a ranch writing cowboy poetry.  I have no idea what cowboy poetry is, but I hope my life is heading in that direction, so I decided to give it a shot.  “Write about what you know” is one fundamental rule of writing.  “Write about what you have no clue about” should be another.    

Sunday, May 15, 2011

to the politicians

i hate to point out
the obvious, but
you cannot fly
with only one wing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

as i am: an easter sermon

I come to you as I am having suffered the suffocating 
silence of our (supposedly) Risen Lord, and yes, I know 
Lent is past and I have tried to orient myself to the green
hope of this Season, to take a maple seed and place it 
lovingly in my palm, to wonder at the tininess that can 
beget a tree, O my people, but today fifteen bruised bodies
later, fifteen years of hysteria, madness, and I am weary
of the psalmist’s joy, his Blessed Assurance that he is
heard. For I have begged, dammit, I have begged to the Air
for broken bodies to rise, to see them graduate and marry 
and raise laughing children, and I have seen them lying
still.  So pray for me, brothers and sisters, and lay me
down softly, carry me spinning in my confusion and in
my grief through this silent sky to a promised land
-ing.  The ground still seems so very, very far away.

This past Sunday one of the leaders at my church gave an Easter Reflection that took my breath away with its honesty.  I felt loved and privileged to hear it, to be entrusted with it.  

Monday, May 9, 2011

mum's day

Over Both
In the hazel space where 
eternal youth meets time 
and time begins to win, 
my mother's smile triumphs 
over both and chooses 
to love in the boring spaces 
in a camel hair coat
on the back roads of Ohio. 
The light in the waiting room 
is soft and kind; near 
calamity has plucked 
the strawberries from her 
heart, but still, she smiles 
the demure yes of love 
to some hope on the horizon 
beginning to take shape. 

Friday, May 6, 2011


I want
to strangle 
the sun
so the rest
of the world
can experience
the darkness
that dwells
I don’t have a super dramatic testimony filled with sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  I came to Christ at the beginning of high school.  However I was always “a good kid,” the kind you hope your children make friends with.  I know this because I had numerous parents take me into their confidence to inform me how glad they were that so-and-so decided to hang out with me, I was such a great influence, etc.  I took that to mean I was exceedingly less cool than all their other friends, but that is a subject for another time.  
Yesterday when I was cleaning my room, I found this poem taped to my wall behind a shelf.  I didn’t write it, but I remember reading it in middle school and relating so much, frantically cutting it out with squiggly scissors, thinking, “finally, someone understands me!”   I have no idea who wrote it, but I feel like if Satan himself wrote a poem, it might sound exactly like this.  Reading it again with that interpretation, it frightens me.  It also frightens me that at one point I aligned myself so strongly with its sentiments.  
I had a blessed childhood; I don’t exactly know what happened.  I just remember feeling so dead inside and so alone, constantly overwhelmed with feelings that were suffocating me.  I had no vocabulary for what I was supposed to overcome nor power or purpose to overcome it if I knew.  All I knew is that I wanted desperately to be happy, or at least for someone to understand how miserable I was.  I would have sold my soul for that.      
I easily could have become the kind of poet that spews poison into the world in the guise of art, perhaps in far more sublimated and sophisticated ways than my early work, but it could have happened.  Christ did not directly deliver me from rampant sex or heavy drug use, but He did deliver me from some wretched poetry which is a manifestation of the same lostness.  
Sometimes I still write really bad poetry and sometimes I am sad, but it is altogether a different breed of sad and bad, and for that I am eternally thankful.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

on the usefulness of poetry

Poems’ splendor are like the stars’ 
One of many is close and hot and helpful 
for tanning or photosynthesis, 
a sonnet to impress the girl,
a wasteland to define a generation.
Others are pretty, less famous or
accessible but nevertheless
useful for nautical 
navigation if you learn how
to read the signs, a foot, a dipper, 
a metaphor, a kindred thought on Loss.
To find some you must go far 
out of your way, an observatory, a picture 
book at the library, a locked diary
decorated with kittens and broken hearts
beneath a mattress--these stars will never 
cause or cure cancer but they burn 
just the same and just as bright.
And some are thousands of light 
years away and no one will ever see them.

A beauty unto itself, birthing blazing
dying in splendor for the pleasure of being 
lovely, dancing alone in the dark living room 
of the universe or in the mind of a man 
moments before the bullet enters 
his half-crazed brain, 

perhaps a prayer for peace?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


She has a heart of gold
a stomach with a silver lining;
there is copper in her hair
and a spirit always shining.

:) Happy belated birthday.