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