Monthly Archives: January 2019

Sister Repentance

I spoke in frustration,
Squeezing, wrenching grief
Desperation and demands-
My shaking hands
Ready to shake you awake
With equal fear and violence,
So I spoke, then stilled
And yielded to the silence
Of falling memories,
Unfaded through the seasons
Before betrayal, before the treasons,
You doted on me-
A soft pillow beneath the headache-
Younger than you ever were,
Or would ever be again
and framed in kindness.
Those days drift to earth
Further forward
When I knew a call was coming
And unending trouble alongside
Trembling I whispered to you my fear,
And in great, bold strides
You shook your red cape;
The bull hissed, snorted, and veered-
I escaped.
So delicate these memories
Drifting through my day
Your brush mid-stroke,
Your melodic croon-
You learned the art of war
Too soon to stay a boy
Trading toys for the accoutrements
Of a young man marching onward
Gently these memories
Drop softly down,
Like tears on the tabletop,
Or petals to ground-
And the mightiest of all these
Is that night
He pushed his way
Into our best life
Onto my skin
Every surface broken again
Paralyzed and jagged
And you pressed until I spoke
Five vague words
Then you packed up my most valuables
Driving into the darkest night
To spare me my own.
I owe you so much-
I never whitewashed that ledger.

My grief dredges my debt,
Weighing it against your need
Everything I have left
Might help the boy trapped
Inside the hardened shell
Of the man who marched through hell,
But the tools are weapons
In his angry hands.

These petals gently fall-
I can’t rebuild the rose,
But I know Who can.
Come home again-
Though no home exists-
Come home again
Don’t resist forgiveness,
Repentance, hope,
Faith, and the greatest:
Love.

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Temporal Considerations

Rarely named, our fourth dimension
Is handled as intractable soil-
The dimension we cannot reach,
The fruit that does not spoil.
We operate in depth, length and breadth
Familiar with laws of space
But time cannot be manipulated;
It never steps out of place.
And yet time as we know it will end,
Space will ever remain-
We know that it will end,
And we know when it became
All leaving me to consider-
Isn’t it a thing still germinating?
A force produced by all three planes-
A field currently emanating-
A derivative, a byproduct,
An effect caused by the friction
Of all the other planes
Vibrating in constriction-
Like notes in harmony producing
Separate and distinct waves
Sin affecting its gravity;
The Timeless God alone can save.

Isn’t that closer
To the way it behaves?


Brother Reclamation

Your guitar was my central nervous system-
Strumming, strumming,
Everything I loved and hated:
Family, and home, and torture.
Who will weep for your innocence?
The tender boy with chestnut hair,
The soft soul and kind eyes-
The boy abused
Twisted, crying out in terminal distress-
How many years?
How many deaths?
And all your songs undone,
Unheard, and unsung.
My ears rang when the news called,
So many miles to stand
Alone beside your bed,
Your heart emptied
You scrutinized the space
Many miles from there.
I held your blood-drenched fingertips:
It was the closest I could get.
My ears have been ringing since.
It wasn’t even illness then-
Suicide:
The pinnacle of soulless reason-
It was supply and demand.
What words belong within this realm?
Nothing ever scrubbed those hands-
You’ve punished us for interfering
A never-ending ransom,
Meet your demands, or you’ll kill the hostage:
That floppy-haired boy
who loved us.

You’ve punished us for living,
For treating life like it was anything
We had any right to do.
And I’m not mad at you-
God as my witness
I forgive you all this and more
Only live, damn you, live!
Release your fists and allow
The mists of time, and kindness,
And even God
To finally wash them clean.


Something Else, I Think

I forgot to turn on the light.
It’s too dark to read,
Much too dark to see,
And the switch unclicked so far away…
I enjoyed what I got.
Many an epitaph in those words:
I enjoyed what I got,
And got absurd-
But I’ve been a woman
Of many words,
And there’s a kind of toil the life compels-
Not the calloused-hand groans,
The sore, stretched joints
That in lying still
Is its own reward
But the discontent review,
The scouring, sieving, searching moans
Looking to see
If new exists,
And if the old is home
Or may ever be.
The wanderer, clutching a pen
Instead of a penny
Aware of the broken harbors
No soul repairs-
Alive on a dare,
A daring, wild-faced hope
That runs into the dinner party,
Fully in-swing and halfway through,
In bare feet and foreign tongue,
Cognizant of the madness,
And surveys the crowd
Looking for the One worth attending-
Alive on a dare-
Some amateur experiment
In Truth and the limitless potential
Of the Infinite.
While weeping, grateful-
Desperately grateful
Like the finger-ribbed mongrels
Hip bones as hinges
Whimpering and licking the earth
After a morsel of kindness
Grateful
For the sudden beauty
Breaking new over wasted ages:
The stumbling amnesia
The pitching rages and refusals
And then something beautiful
Washes the world clean again.
Persistent tides
Pounding down the rough-hewn edges
Lifting into dancing vapors,
Raining onto meadows,
Washing out the earth-
Which is where I spent the night.


Playing House

I experienced church yesterday,
One close by, one far away,
Another on the ropes
The taste of hope
Unfamiliar on her tongue-
Her praises yet unsung.
Years I practiced trimming wicks
Negotiating the internal matrix
Within solid doors and stained panes
Where we mostly stayed unchanged-
It was a thing we were building,
A room we were crafting, filling,
Delineating structure,
Barricading against rupture.
We struggled against our blindness and pride,
But it was better than being outside.
The last ten years, or more,
Love and grace cracking the door,
I’ve seen it unfurled all around:
Hands clasped, feet on the ground,
And our church is the praise we lift,
The sudden rejoicing at the gift
Of unity in our shared obedience-
Fulfilling, not negating, prior experience-

I used to play at it alone,
Then aside my brothers,
Now I see: it’s not complete
’Til we reach out and share with others.


Joyful Tenants

Should I endeavor such a difficult labor
As writing of my delights?
Children’s smiling, sleepy faces
Curled up in the night
As I read to them in open wonder
Hanging on every breath:
My joy beyond all bounds,
Gratitude beyond all depths
Or persevering through frustration,
Teaching through tight contention,
Until the surge of glee as
Confusion dissolves into comprehension.
Or of watching my husband,
The soul of my soul,
In the prime of his integrity,
His dignity intact, whole-
His spine reinforced
By the character of his loyalty
The measure of his sum
Equal to any royalty
And he stands in broad shoulders,
The regal strength of his arms
Cradles our wee ones
Past all their alarms.
We laugh through storms,
Elated by our company.
Our home exists in love,
Abundant joy, and harmony.

And whatever disparity
Birthed my days,
Whatever I process
In verbose waves,
None of it lives here;
I was cast away,
And now I live in a world of delights
Far removed from yesterday’s casualties.