Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye #3

The last lingerments of summer

Wrap my wrists like wet rags

Clinging to the inside of the washing machine

The last thoughts of our last time

Shoulder to shoulder

Communing with our vanity

And you touched my back and my heart

And your name once more rings

At long last, deep in my center

Where I can’t push you out

You’ve stepped out into beyond

And you’re finally on your way

I’m proud of you

But I ache from my fingertips

Stretched over mountain ranges

Where you learn to fly and your soul is filled

I’ll wrap my prayers around you like feathers

You’ll be the man I already knew you were

And you fear becoming

If you turn now there’s a chance I’ll run

You choose the direction



I find it funny that in the very last few days of this month I've posted more than I have in the entirety of other months. Do you?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Still Emmanuel

“Isn’t it weird” she said,

“When a room is cleaned you want to dance in it”

That’s true I suppose since I grasped the broom

And kicked up my heels to the tribal beat on the door

Provided by my baby brother

Who has long since stopped being a baby and

Beats with powerful hands

So the neighbors will know how much fun we’re having

When Christmas is over

Because the baby back in Bethlehem

Is still with us

Still Emmanuel

Still interceding for us

Still mopping up our stains with his hole-y hands

And leaving our hearts pure under God

So clean we feel like dancing

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

HeLa

There are the ugly things
The cracks in life
So vague and mysterious they often leave you cold
Like starving children in some country in Africa
And you think to yourself that you are sad
But you aren’t sad
You’re just empty of feeling
And there’s ugly hidden in the cracks of time
Like the racism we say we’ve beaten
But we haven’t
When a loving mother can suggest police stop
Citizens for speaking Spanish
And we can fear one another because of “other”
And a family who unknowingly saved countless families
Being the offspring of a medical miracle
Can’t afford to go to the doctor.
How are these things so shadowed?
How I’ve plastered over the shadow cracks in my mythology
This is an ugly thing
And one day the ugly will be covered over with hands
That know no difference in people except those who loved Him
Who He loves till the end.
There are the lovely things
But sometimes you must wait a long time


hmmmm, something I'm working on as a response to my own response on reading the beginning of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which I already know is going to be fascinating, but I also needed a new post.
Just so everyone is aware, I'm really really really uncomfortable with political poetry. So, try not to think this is political. This is just me, first and foremost a Christian, then an average person, then an average poet making sense of the world. Ok? Great.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Goodbye #2

And anyway, you weren't as sure as I was
Me confidently ordering the last martini you've ever bought me
You confused in the domination of the conversation
I can't tell you now my night terrors
And, anyway, I still see on you on cliff face
I'm still healing your hands
Thank you for my lyricism

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Journal

There's something big in your beauty
Something lost in your blankness
And I can't compete with the cover
I want back the drab
Of unwishing pages
Blessed with my poetry
Pounding my fingertips


Seriously, my new poetry journal is really pretty. It's intimidating. This is the type of stuff it's producing. Yes, I'm going to go ahead and blame the journal instead of the writer.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tins - Fragment

Clouds pile
And the touched tins sound like
Swallows
Passive in ignorance
And tools of industry
They pile like clouds
Like pancakes
Only silver


So, I have a limited universe and I realize how often certain thoughts or images come up over and over and over in what I write. Exhibit A: Swallows. Have you heard them? They sound like tin. Exhibit B (which doesn't make an appearance here): Fog. And how you never catch up to it.

I think about these things (obviously too much) because I think they are beautiful. I just can never quite write down the beauty of it. I guess that's why God made the world and not me.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Birdman

I've been warned about men like you
The bird men
Born for flying on and flying away
To the next warm heart, when winter sets in
You've folded your wings incautiously
And I saw them, and we saw them
But I blinded myself
I thought I'd cage you with carefulness
Thought that our tears, more intimate than touch
Would clip your wings
And soft murmurings would forever cement your feathers
But the breeze came and the summer ended
And yet I hear your bird song
When the wind trends west
And the phantom wings you kissed to my back
Flutter in their nothingness

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Untitled Fragment

It was in the first days that I wished for foolishness
And in the ensuing weeks I wished it didn't matter
When in questioning the wisdom of wisdom
I knew the seriousness of the situation
I had stepped into the wisdom of myself
And now in death and darkness I wish for foolishness
The which, put God incarnate in my skin
And in my place, beginning and ending
Not my will...Not
My will
Not my plans and not my daydreams
I had to give over to your hands


This is what happens when I ramble after a particularly moving sermon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Poetical Sounds About Summer's End

And when the summer finally descended
It was immediately swallowed by fall-chill
Here the swallows have arrived
Their mechanical tin rustlings, thrilling the evergreens
The trees not so lucky begin to flame and unclothe themselves
To the backdrop of a setting summer

The sky looks frenzied
The tornado seems to have swept all of Oz
Into monochromatic emptiness
Pouring its color back to Kansas
The sun peers like a drunken landowner over fog banks
Into mountains, hilly with snowlessness
Cloud hands open
If I could, I'd tell the little girl next door
I'm shedding my winter skins and sun jumping
She'd point out the leftover chill
But I'd tell her not to wait
We won't know blue like we do today

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Madison Street Tigers: George Taliaferro

And glass, and rags, and paper boxes
Traded sacrificially for pigskin
And one boy would keep it
He kicked it when everything was against him.
He kicked it high.
And the street bought a football with dreams it couldn't afford.
And a boy promised his mother in a time when he couldn't.
But he did it with glass, and rags, and paper boxes.

And cheers, and lights, and adoring fans
Traded for the quiet celebration away from the noise
And one boy would walk alone
He played and everyone screamed with triumph.
He played it and won.
And the game bought a future with the glory he couldn't touch.
And a boy full of spirits with his father's words
Without cheers, and lights, and adoring fans.


Yesterday, I became aware of how "American" I really am. I had always suspected as much, but I officially knew when I began pouting after realizing that President Obama's "Jobs" speech was going to cut into the beginning of the first game of the NFL season. I'm semi-ashamed to admit that, but not quite ashamed enough to actually not admit it. Anyway, congratulations to Green Bay (I knew you guys were going to make it!), and in the spirit of the season I wrote the poem featured above. I wrote it while reading The Gridiron Gauntlet: The Story of the Men Who Integrated Pro-Football in Their Own Words and read about George Taliaferro (who is officially the first African-American drafted by the NFL). Anyway, there is a beautiful story of George and the kids in his neighborhood collecting enough money together to purchase a football in order to form their own team, which they named The Madison Street Tigers. So, I wrote about it. (UGH! Lengthy explanation. Sorry about that)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Untitled (Fragment)

Cathedral Spire, ever green
Over tawny wheat bow'd in death
The end of summer
Signals of harvest
Evergreen deciduous pointing heavens
Full of open blue smiling
The wheat worships
The very rocks sing to Him
Conduits of praise


Ok, Ben, you asked for more. It's not exactly ready, but there you go. :-) I'll have to rustle up some of my short story/pieces.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Day A Butterfly Flew In One Window And Out The Other

The frantic dance
Chance happenstance
And suddenly you seem to be
Invariable destiny
I'm stopped
In passage unutterable
Delicate wings unfolded
'Cross my lips and hope to die
A butterfly is passing by
This break you make
In your mistake
I could nearly let it go to my head
Instead I'll drive with butterflies

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Too, is Grace

The answer you refused to see
To things that you had meant to be
The revision of desired history
This too, is grace

In shattered heart and loneliness
In sickness too deep to express
In hangovers and emptiness
This too, is grace

In hurting, you are still alive
To cry to Him you still believe
You with nothing, your cares can give
This too, is grace

And when your well-laid plans you would
He breaks and works it all for good
In Him-ness where once on sand you stood
This too, is grace

Just try to fix your eyes in grief
Find in sweet scripture some relief
Cry "I believe, Lord, help my unbelief"
This too, is grace

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Melancholy Afterglow (Fragment...Title Subject to Change)

And I'm like Cinderella on the way back
Thinking of the memories
Wrapping them in tinfoil and hiding them in my last glass shoe
And you think it's over and you'll never see me again
But this is real life and you are correct
I left my other slipper but you shattered it
With your coldness
It's gonna take a hell of a lot of glue
For you to find out who I really am
After the glow


I'm getting a little sloppy with my poetry, as seen in my infrequent posts and sort of incomplete poetry, but I figured I ought to keep posting so that at least I'm forced to write something. My library is putting on a monthly creative writing workshop, and I'm hoping to attend a few for inspiration. But for now I'll just put up my poem fragments to let you all know I'm still around.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Auddrienda and The Magic Tools

I'm slightly embarrassed, but I used to make up stories for my siblings and this was a frequently recurring one. So, knock yourself out! Please note: We read the real Grimm's Fairy Tales so this is no sissy stuff.


Once upon a time there was a Princess named Auddrienda. She lived in a cave with a pet giraffe. Every night she dreamed for a Prince to come and spirit her away to his castle. One day Auddrienda and her pet giraffe were walking in the forest and happened across a magic hammer. “Look, my pet giraffe,” the princess said “it’s a magic hammer.”
“I’d leave it alone” the giraffe replied
“But it could come in handy. I will take it home and hang it on the wall”
And she did.
That night Auddrienda slept in her little bed in the little cave, when a prince burst through the wall riding a white horse, bronze armor gleaming. “Princess Auddrienda!” he announced, “I’m here to take you away to my castle to be my queen. Come with me!”
“How lovely. Let me pack my things!” Auddrienda said, leaping from her bed.
But as she skipped to her luggage, the door was flung open and in came the magic hammer. It fell upon the prince and hammered him until he fell apart revealing a heart of stone! “Oh no!” Auddrienda said to her pet giraffe who came in when he heard the noises, “This prince has a heart of stone. I can’t marry a prince with a stone heart! Let’s bury him in the backyard.”
And they did.
The next day Auddrienda and her pet giraffe were walking in the forest and happened across a magic wrench. “Look, my pet giraffe,” the princess said “it’s a magic wrench.”
“I’d leave it alone” the giraffe replied
“But it could come in handy. I will take it home and hang it on the wall”
And she did.
That night Auddrienda slept in her little bed in the little cave, when a prince burst through the wall riding a black horse, silver armor sparkling. “Princess Auddrienda!” he announced, “I’m here to take you away to my castle to be my queen. Come with me!”
“The hammer was right! You are my prince. Let me pack my things!” Auddrienda said, leaping from her bed.
But as she skipped to her luggage, once again the door was flung open and in came the magic wrench. It fell upon the prince and wrenched him to pieces revealing a heart of marble! “Oh no!” Auddrienda said to her pet giraffe who came in when he heard the noises, “This prince has a heart of marble. I can’t marry a prince with a marble heart! Let’s bury him in the backyard.”
And they did.
The next day Auddrienda and her pet giraffe were walking in the forest and happened across a magic screwdriver. “Look, my pet giraffe,” the princess said “it’s a magic screwdriver.”
“I’d leave it alone” the giraffe replied
“But it could come in handy. I will take it home and hang it on the wall”
And she did.
That night Auddrienda slept in her little bed in the little cave, when a prince burst through the wall riding a golden horse, golden armor glowing with impressive warmth. “Princess Auddrienda!” he announced, “I’m here to take you away to my castle to be my queen. Come with me!”
“Hot dog, you MUST be the one! Let me pack my things!” Auddrienda said, leaping from her bed.
But as she skipped to her luggage, the door was flung open and in came the magic screwdriver. It fell upon the prince and unscrewed him until he fell apart revealing a heart of gold! “Oh no!” Auddrienda said to her pet giraffe who came in when he heard the noises, “This prince has a heart of gold. And while it makes for a good metaphor, I can’t marry a prince with a golden heart! Let’s bury him in the backyard.”
And they did.
The next day a very low-spirited Princess and her little pet giraffe stumped through the forest kicking the trees and various small animals. They didn’t come across any magic tools, and both of them thought this was for the best. That night when they went to bed, Princess Auddrienda said, “Well, I guess I have to make do with my dreams, since all the Princes around have hearts of stones, and marble, and metallic substances. I guess we better go to sleep.”
And they did.
Just as Auddrienda was about to fall asleep the wall of the cave burst in again. There was a prince in armor that was once probably a dull silver, but now didn’t look like much. He rode a horse that looked about as tired as the Princess herself from her sleepless nights. “Princess!” he cried, “I’m here to-“ He would have gone on, but Auddrienda had thrown her pillow at him. “Quiet!” she hissed, “the magic tools! I’m getting my things.” She tiptoed past the now nervous Prince and began to open her luggage. Just then the door burst open and the magic hammer, the magic wrench, and the magic screwdriver flew in and hammered, wrenched, and unscrewed the prince to reveal….a human heart!
“Oh NO!” Auddrienda cried to the little pet giraffe who came in when he heard the noises, “I actually could have married THIS one! Let’s bury him in the backyard, I guess.”
“But wait!” exclaimed the giraffe, “I happen to have this magic glue that should do the trick.” And in flew the magic glue and glued the prince together again. He looked a little more tattered than before, but at least he was a Prince. He and Auddrienda packed up her luggage, took the magic tools, the tired horse and the little pet giraffe and traveled all the way back to the Prince’s castle where they lived happily ever after.

The end.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Aleph

Things so unseen make it hard to fix our eyes
Even when we comprehend the promise
Momentarily of blessed blessedness eternal
And the trust of leaning on His arms
Bigger than my faith
The accuser stands at my left hip counting
And recounting my blame
For my eyes have been fixed
On perishing man
And not on the plans of His maker
Let me recall your unfailing promises
Happy if I live in you.



Ok, it's incomplete and slightly off sounding, but I figured I ought to make good on my last post and actually post something before my followers think I died.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Housekeeping

I know. I'm posting twice on one blog in the same day. I don't like it either, but I hated to interrupt the "mood" of the last one with minor housekeeping stuff.

Anyway, I just wanted to announce my next project: I've decided to delve a little more deeply into Psalm 119, the longest Psalm and also the longest chapter of the bible. This delving, when done by Heather, will probably result in poetry. So, go read Psalm 119 in anticipation. And if you've already read it, read it again. It's always worth it.

The Screaming Down Deep

Too deep for words the dead thing sits
And blocks the air from getting out
In endless sighs from endless hearts
The darkness at the center of my body
Things too black for words
Too deep
Too dead for words the deep thing talks
Speaks of love's unbounded loss
When God says no and words are gone
And you're confused and I'm inhaling
Liquor...and your conscience
Two words for death, you're "so confused"
The wonder why is on my lips
Too deep for words the dead thing sits.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Untitled

Three dead mice
I thought they were two
But I didn't see the baby
Which couldn't have been a baby due to fur
A mouse before its prime nonetheless
These had seemed to escape the wheels of the ubiquitous forklift
They were whole
As if they spent their entire lives
In a sack of grain, gorging themselves
Living fulfilled mouse family lives
Doing mouse family deeds
Until one morning they awoke
And behold they were all dead


Yup, so I'm kind of sick, but there are a lot of dead mice particularly outside one certain warehouse. I am usually sort of surprised by them, and have learned to look down as I walk there. This piece is kind of rough and I need to start naming my poems again, but I figured since I hadn't posted in a while...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pacific-Nord Angst

I think I've become delirious in this long winter
Quietly overpowering Spring and shutting her behind grey
In the wind-chill, the bush outside my window, scrapes the glass
And it sounds to me like the seagulls of Moss Landing
Even now I feel mentally the grainy sand
And the gloomy grey transforms to sea breeze
This is a new cold altogether
And I can nearly smell the brine
Sensory disillusionment wakes me to the evergreens
And the absence of waves hushing up the pebble sand

Friday, May 13, 2011

Peacocks

They are not unlike vultures
Hunched over sad branches
In the gray morning air of my morning commute
Five or six like ill-tempered monks
Who, after drinking to excess, slumped themselves
Over limbs of an oak they wouldn't even look at
Brooding and ghoulish
They are nothing like King Ludwig's cult
All of Linderhof arises and begs them
To spread their tailfeathers
And let the eyes of Argos once more see
And bring mythology back to peacocks
Or at least let forth an unanswerable cry
Like a wounded woman
Once begged of Juno to tranform into
A voice more like the nightingale
But vulture-like they remain
Wrapped in cold April mornings
I use this to excuse too, my own wretched appearance
Were it only warm I would arrange my womanly wiles
About my face, like a fan
But today it is cold and I am feeling ill
You mustn't mind my bare branches and my brooding
The most beautiful birds on earth are doing it too

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Untitled

Softly, gently hoof to track
Straight down the center
She steps into Henry Ford's dream
Bushes beckon her back to the wilderness
But she's content to see what man is up to
She looks back at me in my car
In her eyes are years
She owns this town
They've always made me apprehensive, the deer
Their absolute silence
Coupled with the maniacal suicidal encounters on some highways
And sometimes on the railroad tracks in small towns.


There was a deer walking down the center of the tracks when I was on my way back from the gym. The reference to Henry Ford was due to a book I was reading about his odd project in the Amazon. One of his dreams was to see nature and industry hand in hand. I'm thoroughly annoyed with this poem, because it didn't do the moment or my emotions on the subject any justice. But, hey I posted!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 4th

The sun has not quite defeated the morning chill
Still, I stand thin-sweatered in a spot of morning light
Not quite believing that the killdeer has finally hatched her nest
The best news I've had since the puddle I've waited three months to dry up
Has given up the ghost-cloud reflections
And sunk back into the earth

The birth and renewal of planet
My feet pad once again in open-toed shoes
The good news of resurrection in my heart
His art of spring

Monday, April 25, 2011

Scripture Song

I could have been the one you reached to

I could have been that crashing wave

Turn in your bitter rags

And learn anew the science of language

Dropped into the stream of paths, diverged

Long in the words

Of scripture song


This one really could be titled the same as the last post, but then again all of my "love poetry" really could be.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Regarding An Embryonic Momentary Cessation of Judgment

Reissen mir, reissen mir
Schreiben dein Name hier
I’m re-writing my sister’s sin
And you’re finding the right notes to sing it in
Reissen mein Herz, reissen mein Geist
Jetzt ist mein Herz in deine Hände, vereist
Write me the love notes you write to yourself
Dein lied ist vör mich and you’re right on my shelf
Reissen mir, reissen mir
Schreiben dein Name hier
You are not the right one to sing my song
I the wrong woman to write your notes on
Reissen mein Herz, reissen mein Geist
Jetzt ist mein Herz in deine Hände, vereist
Inscribe my name on the wings of a plane
Dein lied ist vör mich and I’ll write it again


This poem is so punny, but in such a silly way that I don't want to share. And the German makes it look so much more impressive than it is.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Where My Line Breaks At?

This, was going to be a poem, but apparently blogspot no longer believes in line breaks. So, until I figure out how to fix it, I won't be posting. Not that I was before.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fruit Walks Into a Bar

Lemon leans heavily on the arm of her husband
Willing him to be somewhere else, yet alone
Avocado in the corner with shiftless eyes
Hands sticky with shame in Lemon's afterglow
Apple close by banana's side constantly questioning
What her side of the fruit-bowl is like
Cherry bounces from blueberry to blueberry
Oozing juice in her wake
The mirror behind the bottles of liquor reveal
Grape-purple stains beneath her eyes
Pineapple and Raspberry at the bar order another round
For the single girls
They are so getting a new profile picture for Facebook tonight
Strawberry hasn’t yet found her identity in a man
Or her final place in the network


Just because I'm no longer on Facebook doesn't mean I don't know what's going on there. Apparently a meme is afoot among the ladies to post a fruit as their status message, each item of fruit indicating a relationship status. You know, in case people can't actually read their actual relationship status. This meme is spread by a message that concludes: "The bra game reached TV, lets get this one to do the same, and show everyone how powerful women are." Oh what will we NOT do to get on TV? Also, please note how the former "breast cancer awareness" message has been changed to "the bra game."
What I really find amusing and horrifying simultaneously is that "I'm 'the other one'" and "wish I were single," are both options. And how about the desperation inherent in the cry of grape "want to be married"? Isn't that really all of us, but must we broadcast this to all of our cyber-neighbors.
Also, I want everyone to know that I don't think it's wrong, just silly. And what is Facebook for, but to be silly. It is, when used correctly, merely a form of entertainment. I don't think you have to be serious all the time.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

March the Second

After year-long weeks of bitter chill
Of numb fingers clattering over keyboards
Of face-skin indistinguishable from mist soaked grey
Of fog ever one step ahead
The sky has broken and heaven shines through
Over cumulus and under dirty gray stratus
March spills over in white-gold glory
Beams curl like fingers in cotton candy
I stand cold still, hopeful, expectant


I had a dry spell. That's all.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Comfortable With Your Own Demons

It seems incredible now
When the earth shook I'd find a doorway
Slip under a table
A reality I learned
When my ballet career was cut short
All I thought of was you
It seems surreal now
A throng of pink legs in the street
And I couldn't see you
I couldn't find you
I didn't think of it as abnormal
Years from now
You've grown comfortable with your new demon
It seems incredible now
Your world shaking down the plaster
And you remain calm
He is not a natural disaster


I wrote a gigantic explanation for this piece, but realized this was not the blog for my essay on the world's fallen state, the second coming of Christ, marriage, natural disasters, family ties, and ballet. Perhaps my other blog would be a better venue. It will suffice to say, I wrote this for my sister, who married her own earthquake.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Untitled (This is Very Exciting)

For the first time, I am posting more than just poetry. This is a fraction of a short story that came to me yesterday amid washing coating material from Tall Fescue seeds.
The name of one of the characters is blank. I realize it almost looks like a curse word with the asterisks, but honestly I can't quite get a good grasp on who the character is. All I know is that he is the son of the narrator. I think his name is Francis, but I'm unsure.
Also, quite honestly the editing is deplorable. This was written in one sitting and it's very rough. So, forgive any aberrant punctuation.
Enjoy!


The first time I realized there was something wrong was when **** asked for a rabbit. “A rabbit?” I asked a little blankly. “You know we can’t keep a rabbit in the apartment, ****” I know,” he replied, “I meant a stuffed one.” "Your twelve years old, too old to be playing with stuff like that,” I said a little too gruffly.

He looked down at his mud spattered shoes. “You need new shoes,” I said. He bent forward slightly to ascertain the truth of my statement. "I’ll get you some new shoes," I said. “I want a rabbit,” he repeated, as if the conversation had not even taken place.

The truth is, I couldn’t even afford a rabbit, much less a new pair of shoes. I felt guilty because now that Mary-Evangeline was gone **** was home alone all day while I was at work. “Want to go to the park tomorrow?” I asked. He blinked at my non sequitur. “Look you can’t have a rabbit!” I irrationally proclaimed. His shoulders stiffened and I felt a pang of remorse. “Ok dad,” he said and walked back to the table where a glass of milk grew warm from the air temperature.

Part of what leadership training classes will instill in you, is to never admit you made a mistake, even if you did. This will keep your subordinates from seeing you as a weakling or a pushover. You may modify or change your decision but never admit you were wrong. These leadership classes do not prepare you for the guilt you will feel when you have taken this path. They certainly do not prepare you for parenting.

I walked stiffly from our grey little building at the end of our grey little street in Vancouver, Washington. I was already late for work but I stopped in the park because there was a little girl at the playground attached to our apartment complex. There was nothing particularly interesting about this little girl. She looked like every other little girl I had seen at that desolate playground, except that she wasn’t playing. Granted, there were only two swings and one was broken, and there was one slide that was probably just a little too small for her, but she was not looking at either. She was holding a mass of puffy material which appeared to be a headless stuffed animal of some sort and looking up at the room I had just left behind.

My eyes found exactly what she was seeing. In the window with his face against the glass was a bleary-eyed ****. He had not yet seen me, but he held a sign that said, “Sory. Fathr wonts me to grow away from toys.”

I backed slowly away from this strange scene. Neither child had seen me and as I rounded the corner I saw the little girl lift her hand to **** and walk back into the complex.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Toth

This is my Calvary
The pietà is over
I've walked the earth for thirty-two years
My mother never cried
My arms outstretched with violence
Ever spinning 'round my head in thorny blooms
I forgive Michaelangelo
The image of myself will be rent asunder
I forgive the prison guards
This, my world, is darkening
I forgive the passers-by
For they know not what they do.


I was listening to a podcast that mentioned Laszlo Toth, and his attacking the Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica in 1972. I didn't know much about the story and honestly still don't. Basically he was a crazy man who was under the impression that he was Jesus Christ, and went at the statue with a geologist's hammer. He ended up in an asylum in Italy and was eventually released to Austrailia where he still lives.
I suppose a man thinking he was the resurrected Jesus Christ attacking a statue of Jesus Christ and His mother was a powerful image for me, and that poem was the result. I'm not quite satisfied with all of it. There are things I'd like to add and some things I'd like to polish, but I suppose it's that way with everything we write.

Monday, February 21, 2011

6. Blessing I Will Bless Thee

Earth, let me be
And rain on me blessings
The my increase should return
And kneel
Earth, let me be
And keep me always near you
Remember you have caused the growth
Harvest then, me
Let me be
Earth, let me be



I haven't posted from my Hebrews project in a while. Cheers!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nonversation

It would be easy to misinterpret
This wordless banter; our vocal eye contact
The Lord chose the printed word for a reason
We could not hold up under eye contact
I am lost in the mirrors of your teeth
And your eyes repeat me, twice
In this warmth I am telling you things
My body creates broken sentences
Which my lips put to death before they reach you
Can you see their ghosts in my eyes?
I mean what I look; but I can't see what you mean.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wind in the Wheat

An immense emerald glittering carpet
All stalks alike in the wind's eyes
His breath making each one alive
Each stalk bends towards his neighbor
To kiss
To battle
To dance
To kill
To embrace
To push
Against loneliness they seek
Contact
Stalk with stalk
Wave upon wave
The wind watches and one day all will raise to the wind
An open palm
Some screeching their significance
Others silently bowed
The wind will animate without borders


This was a response a while back in response to SB1070 down in Arizona. I am not directly commenting on closed borders or immigration or racism or anything in here. What I am saying is I believe in a God who sees us as either His children or not, regardless of race or citizenship. And I do not think I'll ever understand Christians who wouldn't see an influx of new people as a chance to spread the gospel, and an opportunity to show His love to them. Honestly, I have absolutely no good ideas about "fixing" whatever is wrong with illegal immigration or the process of citizenship, but I know many believers who are not looking at this the way we ought.

P.S. I hate the first line. Anyone have any ideas of how to make it better? Collaborative poetry, anyone?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Noah

There's a light there, Noah
As you approach the battleground
I know before you do, that you
Are about to take your brother's toys
Your black eyes shimmer
As your mother leaves the room
And your round full cheeks crease
With the loveliest of baby smiles
As you push over his newly formed castle
Then onto plump knees you fall
Tearing apart moat and drawbridge
Plundering his building blocks
A tremble begins upon his lips
How can I look into your shining eyes and scold?
You adorable rapscallion infant!
Your one-toothed grin is rakish
And unconquerable
This is beyond armistice
I've lost this war and go to find the crackers


This is another one written as an excercise doing my poetry workshop from last year. We were supposed to think of something that made us very happy, and I picked working in the nursery at my church. My mother is going to read this and be shocked that I said it makes me happy, but it has its moments, and when they happen I love it. It also has its moments where I want to flee for my life and my peace, but I imagine that is similar to motherhood.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Garden Ghost

It was a bad year for grapes
The summer was too cold
For anything but low-hanging fruit
And I walked in my dreams
Holding out my desperate hands
For clusters even I had to jump for
Unfortunately, I was not the only ghost in the garden


This is a love poem. Really. Happy belated Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tupac

So, apparently I can post other people's lyrics as long as I don't use the entirety of the song. I'm not really digging any of my stuff today (Read: I completely left my poetry notebook at home this morning), and there's just so much good Tupac out there. I'll probably post an excerpt from different people every once in a while. And I'd like it to be mainly rap lyrics, to show that some of them actually are poetry. I should also state now that I will be editing any inappropriate content. I'd like to keep my blog relatively family friendly.


Excerpt from Changes
I see no changes all I see is racist faces
misplaced hate makes disgrace to races
We under I wonder what it takes to make this
one better place, let's erase the wasted
Take the evil out the people they'll be acting right
'cause both black and white is smokin' crack tonight
and only time we chill is when we kill each other
it takes skill to be real, time to heal each other
And although it seems heaven sent
We ain't ready, to see a black President, uhh
It ain't a secret don't conceal the fact
the penitentiary's packed, and it's filled with blacks
But some things will never change
try to show another way but you stayin' in the dope game
Now tell me what's a mother to do
bein' real don't appeal to the brother in you
You gotta operate the easy way"I made a G today"
But you made it in a sleazy way
sellin' crack to the kid. " I gotta get paid,"
Well hey, well that's the way it is


I picked this one because it's one of my favorite Tupac songs. It's a little more redeeming and takes on bigger issues than some of his others. Plus, he uses Bruce Hornsby's "Changes" as the chorus and it is an interesting contrast with the melody of the song against Tupac's flow. Also, I like that a black president was mentioned. I'm sorry Tupac did not live to see this happen.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sermon #4

A reversion to hope
Into the child that knew wisdom
In incredulity
Content to sit at the feet of the Lord
Decreasing to the world and the minds of those who would judge
The rolling eye and sneering lip of age
Out growing the story
Re-awaken the enchantment
From the sluggish cynicism of years

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Musings at Work #3

Another dead mouse
This one totally obliterated
Under the ubiquitous wheels of the forklift

It looks like an offering
A small icy blood puddle with a tail
Sacrificed to the gods of industrialization

I almost stepped on it
I was hoping that his family had left
That life held more promises than a course meal of seeds

Monday, February 7, 2011

Savannah, GA pt. 1

Your palm frond hands and Spanish moss
Drip with unspoken secrets
Your heart haunted by the figures
Dancing in the light of the magic of your eyes
And did my momentary foot touch
Where the great ones trod, like Sherman’s pride
I breathe in the heat of your living history
And touch my own experience on earth
Eternal as the mayfly
Savannah, your comedies and tragedies
Whisper in the sea-grass
Your gothic beauty wrapped in silence and history

Friday, February 4, 2011

You Meant it for Evil; But God Meant it for Good

I’ve sold you so often
Again and Again I present your bloody clothes to the crowd
He is dead, I lie often to myself
I have these moments where I resent your control
I am jealous of your power
You’ve been wounded to save me
Just as the eleven brothers stupidly furthering
Their own humility
I have been furthering my own defeat
While you suffered like Joseph
For the preservation of your would-be murderer
I, am no better than these
But punishment is withheld
You give me grains of grace and life
Eternal
I fall humbled before your love


This was inspired by a John Piper sermon on the selling of Joseph by his brothers. It's in Piper's "Spectacular Sins" sermon series. Don't be put off by the name. It's great.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lies About You

I think I strained a muscle when I looked for you before
I think I fell apart when you walked right out my door
I think my eyes were blinded by your sensitive sweet side
I think that none of this is true; I think I may have lied

I hear you sprained your ankle sometime late last night
I hear you had a heart attack because we had no fight
I hear you lost your memory and everything you knew
I hear that all of that’s a lie, and none of it is true

I know you started running when you heard me down the hall
I know you couldn’t stand to see a proud man like you fall
I know you wished that this was something that we tried
I know that none of this is true; I think I may have lied

I thought the rain was falling against your glassless pain
I thought I couldn’t hear you cause you’re choking me again
I thought we’d work this out until our hearts were torn in two
I thought that all of that’s a lie, and none of it is true



I wrote this about five or six years ago and it means a lot to me. There are some parts I dig, and some parts I don't (glassless pain? come on!), but it had merit for me anyway.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Heron

In that moment I forgot everything
I forgot you broke my heart
I forgot I held a grudge
I forgot his imminent death
Simply I saw it
Hovering over water
Like an incomplete kiss

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Soft Oregon Rain

Skittering like wishes on glass puddle pains
Soft death of blanched earthworm
And now emergent from sunshades
The swallows sound like tin cups
In treetops
The tinny rustlings of restless swallows
Immigrant variations on a familiar theme.



Just for the record, I'm not actually this nostalgic about rain. If I could afford to live in Arizona, I would do it in five minutes. But I guess when I wrote this, it was appealing to me for some reason beyond myself.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Social Scene

I wrote this quickly about three years ago, and have done no editing. It really shows, but I liked it a little despite its flaws:

Social Scene

We’re dancing that dance again
The steps were planned for us before we even entered the ballroom
Across the shifting sands of social mores
We tango with our eyes and hands
They speak truths that our lips turn into suppressed resistance
Jealousy turns your every move into a tactical one

You’re writing poetry with your knees again
I respond by crossing my arms
Which you interpret as me throwing down distance
When really it is to hold down my heart
Accelerated by a lift of your eyebrow
I am grateful for the coffee that fills our significant pauses
With insignificant phrases like
“This coffee is really terrible”or
“They should invest in a different brand”
You’ve branded your poetry on my fingers
Which cross and uncross in well timed ways

I’m texting you again
As if the game wasn’t complicated enough
Technology re-wrote the rule book
You and I are too shy
We were doomed from the start

Friday, January 28, 2011

I Thought They Were Angels

There were four of them
And I thought they were angels
After the trumpets they sang Allelujah
Jesu Jesu they sang
Sweetly as only girls of tender years could
And I waited for the Lord to return
I wanted to ask them to stop
I thought they were four angels
They sang Allelujah
Jesu Jesu after the trumpets

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Great Cat Massacre

Grimaulkin you are guilty!
He swung his gavel down
The villagers have gone crazy
Affecting the whole town
Children wept
Aristos slept
And no one told the crown

‘A pox upon you!’ cried the friar
As the cat was bound
‘My poor kitty’ cried the squire
As the cat was drowned
And someone younger
Died of hunger
And no one told the crown

I really like fringe history, the things you don't really learn much about in the textbooks. That's about all I can say in defense.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Prenzlauerbergers

We were the chosen we stood by the gate
Told immigrant Wessies that they had to wait
Our faith was in Stalin, we believed in the state
And we’d guard Checkpoint Charlie as we’d guard our own fate

And yet we watched Ossies with hearts full of fear
Leap into the chaos we kept far from here
And the young Russian soldier looked on with a sneer
While we killed fellow countrymen getting too near

Yet when the day came we could not understand
Why our fellow Ossies would leave this pure land
Why they ran to the wall and destroyed it by hand
And left us a confused and a leaderless band

We’d given our hearts and we felt let down
And that was the night Dietrich went into town
He’d taken his rifle; He’d made little sound
“A straightforward suicide,” when he was found

But we all knew the message he sent to The State
We gave them our lives and they pawned off our fate
We did what they told us; they told us to wait
Wait as the chosen and stand by the gate.



When I was in East Berlin, I had the privilege of helping with an after school program in Prenzlauerberg, teaching baseball to kids. Of course, since I'm an American I will have some strong attachment to baseball right? Anyway, one of the points that interested me about Prenzlauerberg in general was that it was one of the closest sectors to the Berlin wall. Often they were the guards who "kept West Berliners from coming in." So all of the Prenzlauerbergs were the most committed to the communist party, and when the wall came down they were the most devestated. Thus, the poem above was born.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sargent: Franciscan Monk in the Garden of Gethsemane

And he was here
I dare not breath
I dare not speak
My vow of silence will I keep
In awe of nature and nature's God
Whose son this very earth has trod

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Altamaha-ha

More from the Cryptid project. This is sort of a personal story of something a friend and I saw when swimming in the Chattanooga river.


The sleekness of you rising mysterious
From shadow-pools your gentle reminder
Not to desecrate this, your haunt in blackness
I’ve gained some respect for the river-gods
I clutch the sweater we carried
Down the great wall of Chattanooga
In this lifetime our bodies shared water-space
And time loomed in like lateness and hallucination
Neither forgot and neither saw the river without you again


I will not be updating for a while. I'm having my wisdom teeth out tomorrow and won't be doing anything. I hope to be back on Monday.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Abstract of a Postmodern Love Poem

The photo of you
Is not you
And Foucault lights his pipe
Ceci n'est pas une pipe
And laughs at my tear
Which is not a tear
But a photo of you
Unlit.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brophy: Harvest

Under the eyes of an angry God
We stand We fall
We fall We stand
Under the hand of angry man



From a small series of poems I wrote on artwork from the Portland Art Museum. Michael Brophy is a Portland artist and his painting Harvest, for which I wrote this poem, is a moving depiction of deforestation. I tried to find a link and apparently he has a new work out that is more popular, but if you can find it it's worth looking at for a while.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Night Before The First Battle of the Slave Revolt

Subtitle: I fail at writing children's poetry.
Unless you are the sort of person who thinks reading Grimm's fairy tales to kids is a good idea. Not that I'd ever compare myself to the Brothers Grimm. Maybe a really cheesy version. I had fun writing it anyway.


'Twas the night before the first battle of the slave revolt
And all through the camp
Not a sound could be heard
Save the lone watchman’s tramp

The swords had been placed by our sides with great care
In hopes that Saint Sparticus soon would be there
Gaius Claudius Glaber was nestled all snug in his bed
While visions of a consulship danced in his head

And Quintus in his leather balteus and I in my bronze hat
Had just settled down for a pre-sentry duty nap
When from atop Mount Vesuvius there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my mat to see what was the matter

To the outskirts of the encampment I flew in a dash
Peered into the darkness and stood back aghast
The moon shone right out upon the mount’s face
I could tell at a glance something was out of place

For what should appear to my woebegone eyes
But thousands of slaves of immeasurable size.
With a gigantic strong leader all full of such heart
I knew right away that it must be Saint Spart-
icus

More rapid than lions his soldiers they came
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name
"Now Darius! Now Tullius! Now Varius and Max!
On Marcus! On Julius! Show them no pax!

To the base of the volcano which we scaled like a wall
Now surround the camp and destroy them all!"
And just like that time the Barbarians came
And completely destroyed us and put us to shame

So down the sheer rock face his soldiers they flew
Complete with strong weapons and St. Sparticus too!
And in a twinkling I heard in the camp
The sudden cessation of the lone watchman’s tramp

As I drew in my head and was turning around
In my tent St. Sparticus came with a bound
He was dressed all in fur form his head to his foot
And his armor was tarnished by mountain ashes and soot

A gigantic shield he had slung ‘crosst his back
He looked like a lion, eying me for a snack
His eyes how they glittered, his teeth how terrifying
I fell to my knees cause I didn’t feel like dying

His brow was furrowed to a perpetual frown
And he sneered as I cowered upon the ground.
“Fear not” he intoned in a voice quite inspiring,
“And rise from the ground on which you are writhing!”

“For I see by your dress that you are a slave
My army will spare you, though you’re not very brave.”
Those clipped rough shod words, though they wounded my pride
Caused me to laugh because now I wouldn’t die

He spoke no more words and returned to his work
He walked right up to Glabus and murdered the jerk.
And laying his hands on the rest of the Romans
The yelps of surprise outnumbered the groanin’s

He sprang to his horse, to his men gave a call
And they followed him cheering our recent downfall
But I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight
“You’ll never forget the Thracian this night!”

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Regrets # 1

Look to your hands
And the skin you stripped
I tried desperately to heal
Your bleeding dreams
But I can’t save you
You’re the brick on my back
Your laughter, your language drowns me
Look to your heart
I have to bury you
And pray for Ezekial
I cannot raise the dead alone
I’m swimming sadly heavenward
And your air bubbles surround me
Like teardrops
I miss you
Look to your hands
Look to your heart

Monday, January 10, 2011

Adjule - People of the Veil

This is part of a new project I've just begun and am very excited about. I'm writing poetry on different cryptids. It began a little under a year ago, when I heard about the mothman, allegedly seen in West Virginia. I wrote several poems in response to the sightings, but more about the West Virginians themselves. I think the myths and legends of an area have a lot to say about the people and their culture, and they've certainly captured my imagination. So, I guess you could say I'm focusing more on why these legends have come to be and who contributes to them.

This particular one is about the Adjule, allegedly seen in Northern Africa. The nomadic Taureg people in particular believe this dog to be a person's spirit come back in the form of a ghost-like dog. The Taureg are muslims, but interestingly the men and not the women wear the veil for modesty.

Talemt is the constellation Ursa Major, but the Taureg call it "She-camel." And a taghazamt is an adobe hut built for a semi-permanent dwelling.

Adjule - People of the Veil

And the sand sleeps
Silent touching our ever moving feet
Trying to find where the waters run
The phantom dog comes
White cool in the evening
Our lives ever in expiration
And the desert creeps
Into our eyes staining our hands
The camel runs
The phantom dog comes
Under Talemt we plod
Seeking water in the white-blue silence
Adjule, Adjule could you be my wife?
Peering under my veil and noting the tears
Streaking my skin as the blue, runs
The phantom dog comes
My taghazamt holds my quarantine self
Unable to feel the sand the sun greets
The heavy tread of the camel’s feet
And the droppings from the camels’ run
The phantom dog comes

Friday, January 7, 2011

Savannah, Georgia Pt. 2

Air full of water, like graves full of bones
Secrets in the names on the old tombstones
Moss drenched branches, love in the night
Who has left you lonely, drowning in your light?
People here were married, babies here were made
Sherman’s march, here did stop, and passed on its way
Our time is short here and short will be our love
The sea-grass breaks the magic if we dare to make a move
The magic of Savannah caught in cobblestones
You’re drowning in the sea-grass with me in your bones

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Pelican Landing

I have been working on a new project I'm really excited about, but realized just now that I hadn't posted anything today. So, I took one of my old (and terrible) love poems from the archives. I actually really really don't like this one, but I was getting desperate so late in the day. The strange thing is, if I didn't know who this was for, I could potentially apply it to a recent issue with a friend...hmmm..

The Pelican Landing

We could pretend
Again
To forget this
But I lack the energy
And you, the courage
You've swept my feelings
Under the proverbial rug
And there's no more room
For my heart
I'm sick of giving
So I'm giving you up
It's up to you
To change my mind
But I'm not pretending
Again

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

After Portland

Thunderdrums
And I almost learned to love again
We never heard in the midst of heavy sighs
Our own hearts crumbling like sugar
Under heavy rain
I too damaged
And you too obvious
We bespoke each other's insecurites
And dropped each other's hands



Secretly, this is one of my favorites.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Coat of Many Colors

In my dreams I picture famine years and fatted calves
Swallowed whole by your monstrous jealousy
Seeping through my coat of many colors
Seven times my heart will melt but I'll stay
Strong for you and your salvation
Will it surprise you when you find me alive?
I will give you grain of love
For the treasure you stole
I'd hate the end with your face to the ground
But humility may be the only color you have
May I be like Joseph
You sold me for an unhappy union
And in my dreams dance fatted years and famine calves
And the moon and stars have dropped your hands
If it takes twenty years and pain
My coat has many colors of love
And I won't remind you of my dreams.

Monday, January 3, 2011

1. Various and Sundry

Time bespeaks me, Father God
Beside you, rockface melts and rises
And ever You
Three
Immobile
Yet gracious, time-entering to hold
My hand dirty brittle small
Too dead to raise palmward to You
Send me your angels