fleece-line sleeves on a winter coat
Arms wrapped in a tight hug
Under blanket before a fireplace
Held hands under sun by a picnic basket
Repentant, forgiven, accepted,
Called to come over and hang out
Archive for the 'Poem' Category
fleece-line sleeves on a winter coat
In Boston, terrible things happened.
In West, Texas, so again did things.
In another era, we would have known
about maybe one, or neither of these
if you lived in Bozeman or Normal, IL.
We have all the facts, and we despair,
but the world is no worse than it was;
it was always this. we just didn’t know.
And now progress lets us see all of
the wrenching technocolor melodramas.
We are not the worst generation;
we are a generation, like the rest.
Let us not weary of doing good
just because we now know exactly
what we’re up against.
Nothing is the new anything
as we sit around this table
Each trying to be “a good man”
copying, imitating, emulating
so as to be something very old
the aged tale, timeless even,
the keys and strings of souls
yearning to be made into song.
We want this, and it is wanted
of us; this is the malady fixed,
a call heeded, the work borne,
one foot in front of the other
a sea wall protecting the town
noble in longsuffering commitment.
Nothing is the new anything
the old is well and hard enough.
odd words written
too many syllables
fumbling over esses,
filling the spaces
that the meanings
Dear Lord, infinite holy designer,
remind me that while you set the sun
into motion in an unmeasurable space
you also are the person who created
the second, and the millisecond, and
Nalgene jars, and accidental scars,
pea coats and Hondas and Converse shoes.
Nothing escapes your purview.
Not even I, when I feel so estranged
from the entirety of the world:
against violence, against football,
for reading, for poetry, for the long-term
against lust, against stealing music.
You made all of these impulses,
these “ethics,” these decisions,
all ways to follow you.
Sometimes I break my own decisions
and join the crowd because I can,
so that I can feel like a part of
something. To not be standing on
Javert’s bridge, singing at stars
not that I believe in his song,
but because I so thoroughly don’t
and that leaves me washing dishes
cleaning house, doing favors, and
a variety of other things that no
one will ever know about, as I am
trying to cultivate an anonymity.
I want to remain humble always.
Unsurprisingly, it’s pretty boring.
And the gifts I have clang against
this desire to become faceless,
those gifts to write and publish
and ever be known by more people,
your voice more important than
everyone else’s. That’s power
and fame and the ability to move
or is it?
and so I wander about in my mind,
publishing and yet not publishing
being honest but not letting them
know that I am here; and I am here.
Ever shooting myself in the foot,
for I might feel a little less alone
if other people who felt this way,
could know that I feel like I do.
Dear Lord, who created creativity,
let me tell what I can do and let
it not turn me into an egomaniac.
For someone invented the t-shirt,
the Nalgene, the second measurement
and all that other stuff I said,
but I don’t know who did them.
Anonymously, they made my stuff.
Praise to them, and praise to you,
who keeps us in check and yet shows
that you speak through whom you will;
speak, even through small men who wander
afraid of their own voice, and soul,
and the weight of their thoughts.
Praise to you, who bore that weight,
long before I ever weighed it on myself.
There is deep brokenness here,
inextricable from our fabric.
We are not just prone to this,
we are this. We can’t escape
our bodies, the death lining
the skin that we scratch off.
We have ever, ever known this.
Societies set up justice first
even knowing that we are only
slightly better than those we
find locked in cells, or hiding
in dark alleys, holding the gun.
And thus metal music, rap lyrics,
Grand Theft Auto, Tarantino,
Tipper Gore and ratings systems;
this the way we lance a blister.
Scrubbing skin and keeping clean,
we try to mitigate the pain.
The rawness rages yet inside us
I can’t evict what is my blood.
Right we are to rage in anger
when erupts the burning furor
we keep lists of these events
always remember, never forget
laws won’t change us, law can’t stop us
We are determined in our sins,
we are determined in our hearts.
We have this lining in our souls,
we have this burning a hole in
the fabric of the world, so, so,
so they are right when they say
the world will die. We know it,
the word foretold in text of old.
But not in the way they expect.
Man will not shred this world,
although we do our best to try.
This world is under the watch
of the one with no death lining.
On his schedule, things bubble
and break; good and evil, both
under his control. And we tear
our hair, we mourn to the sky
we scream like no one hears us
and that is how it should be.
But let me not confuse death
gruesome, tragic, horrific,
senseless (I hate that word)
unfathomable death, with the end.
We should all work for change,
in our hearts, then our world.
I was not at the trigger, but
only by the grace of God, for
who runs our lives? Not I, no.
And so we stay ever vigilant
against the schemes and shakes
of the evil that comes for us
and we ward it off, gospel it
trying to set safety for those
who aren’t with us; we will be
agents of that common grace,
Grace that doesn’t call for comfort,
calls for goodness, calls for justice
The hard question of mental illness
and what to do with a loving person
long since lost the things he loved
replaced with hate and brutal lusts
What then? What now? How best to do
what the gospel heart was made for?
He looks down on us, tries to bring
us into himself, yet chicks will run
even from their mother, and how much
more from He who so many hate? Dear,
dear Lord, bring us to yourself, so
that we can rest, and be healed, and
know that there will not be any pain
there, and no violence, and no fear.
And until we can go there, with you
let us have that peace, and send it
especially now, today, for a while
out to Newtown, where our hate burns
perhaps righteously, but still hate,
because we are so little different
from those who do unspeakable things.
Hard weather whether we want it
Compromise like reverrse cloud seeding,
Rare and magical and distrusted,
sewing up the skies instead of searing.
But if compromise is seen as weakness,
and argument is the only strength,
the rains will rage on unabated.
You cannot fight a storm with a storm.
There is a world that I hate.
I have praised the world many times,
but there is a way we tell stories that
I reproach: the violence, the bleakness,
“they’re gonna kill him”
And all the rest of the blood.
We make these brutal shows because we sin
The original scourge burned in our bones
All the crime and conspiracy you can bear,
the wanted sinful sight ever born anew.
We made the Coliseum, after all. But
the egregiousness is the modern affliction.
We bear the mark in our minds
We write the lines on our foods
Foods of the mind, known coffin
We east of health, eating death
Logical if not a Christian,
But wholly inedible for us.
Maybe we are just moral atheists,
Acting as if there isn’t someone up there
Who wants more for us than this:
Diverging from the standard patterns of
Noble, faithful, honorable, very good
Lost in bullets and bleeding and suicide
and a mind that figures out who needs to die
instead of how everyone can be saved.
There is no, there is no, there is no
Way around this, other than stopping.
Stop celebrating death. Stop rejoicing.
Stop burning our way through the wreckage of humanity,
brutality, savagery, that which ruined the world,
which rent heaven and earth until the end of all things,
that whole wretched, hopeless vision that glorifies evil
as a warning, a warning untaken in the massive multitudes
of deaths. so many deaths, so many fictive lives snuffed,
making us complicit in the murders of fictional and real
people, with lives cut short by knowledge of “acceptable”
and “unacceptable” from TV that no one thinks you should act on,
these shows that train us to believe no one, no one, none
and to solve all our problems with a 9mm to her pretty head.
guts smeared on the window from the outside, artistic shot,
When I was younger, stress made me.
I found the world a terrifying place,
one to be conquered, subjugated,
or it would do those things to me.
(God was the referee, penalizing.)
Always a fight, always a fear,
always looking around the corner
and worrying about the one beyond.
No fictions; no poetry; hard facts.
My only indulgences were a woman
and music played as loudly as possible.
In both, I could forget who I was,
and absorb what someone else felt.
But with age had come no lover;
for fear of ears, the volume dropped.
I found the world a baffling place,
full of angst and uncertainty.
(God looked on, like a cutman.)
Defensive of my own stances,
worried of committing to dances
Every decision serious. Vigilance.
No resting; no laughing; just grit.
My only indulgences were the future
and a good friend to talk with.
In both I could look forward
to the mature someday of rest, or peace.
Now at the time of the third stanza,
I no longer believe in straight lines,
perfect planning, or linear causation.
The Lord is God, and he does what is best.
In that I am resting,
and in that I will rest.
Amid the mad mull of trivia,
a dull moment, line waiting
taking a breath and looking
I spend three hours a week,
every week, here. And yet,
I’ve never seen the posters.
I should keep track of them;
that might be useful sometime.
Oh, no, no. That’s not trivia.
That would not be a question.
Oregon vs. Arizona State on TV;
Ducks up 43 points at the half.
That’s trivia. That’s important.
The line moves.
I brush up against the poster
of an old rock band’s gig.
History, yes, trivia, maybe,
but more than that, so much
more than just a marker of that,
but a piece with weight and shape;
its own presence, firmly established.
This isn’t just history or trivia,
this is life; I should be seeing this
not to remember and regurgitate,
not for ego and a free round of beers.
I should be here, now, grounded,
living in my own life,
cultivating my own trivia,
no, no, not just flecks of information
but cultivating a whole life,
a story, a whirling world to tell
My set of ears hears the world sing
and your set of eyes tint it orange;
subjective interpretations of the objective thing.
we can touch it, together.
But we will never know it together
until we tell each other the story
the story of our experience of the thing.
Together we create a shared thing
when I look at that trivia pad,
your meaning and my meaning of it
are both in my mind, both here!
The line moves.
But for now I am Team America.
We must give four more answers.
Perhaps we win, perhaps not;
One more night in a long line.
Does this night matter?
No more than any other night,
Not trivia-worthy in the least.
But there is more to meaning
than whether the day tells well;
We are always a part of others’
Tonight is not worthy to be my trivia
But I could be a part of someone’s history.