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.