Category Archives: Passion

Hallelujah, Great Physician

Here as my flesh
Wrings my sleeping hours
I breathe in peace,
Considering the flowers
Of grace bloomed
Through my many years,
Pushing through topsoil,
In the sweat and struggle and fears,
You cultivated an orchid
In a landfill.
I turn to the sun,
And You warm me still.
You are so very good.
Who could compare?
With simple words
You dredged despair,
And transformed the slime,
The loss, the rubble
Into a home
Free from the troubles
Inherent in the origins-
You made a sum
Greater than the parts,
Because of our plus One.
Who could have seen
In those days of unfolding
The whole, intact beauty
You continued molding

From our broken pieces-

Hallelujah, God of Kindness,
And may You always be celebrated!


Closed Doors and Open Prayers

I don’t want to take anything from anyone,
Except their idols,
And the years wasted
Tending abandoned temples
In a darkened land,
The shadow proves the sunshine.
I lay in the sensate awareness
As a frangible child
And supine in a puddle
You drown.
Addicts bite
When you touch their stash
Of chemical responses
As graven images
But You led me out,
And taught me to stand.
Men prescribe the wrong medicine;
The true remedy of which
I’m living proof
Is hidden in plain sight:
Bold faith in Your word,
Untethered to the weights
Of human compensations.
Life’s too brief
To preach to gnashing teeth
And hands clasped
Over ears that refuse to hear,
And You lead me out again-
I will not forget
Where I began, why I am here,
All these years after my death
Redeemed by Your kind intention-
Grace as a burning coal
Forcing motion
Enabling no sins, but
Crippled legs learn to stand
Inside their infirmities;
I run to eternity,
And on the way to Jerusalem
I do not pack the household gods.
I strip the altars I find
In the lofty places
Right under Your nose,
Because You’ve tenderly shown
They are foul death to us all.
There’s an organic soil
Cultivating health,
And overlooked by the self-wise,
The self-absorbed, the self-made men
Whose structures pave the soil
They grew out of,
And I don’t fault them all;
I hand them over to their desires,
And Your wisdom.
I strip away these layers…

And what remains?
Fish on a beach.
Sweating alone in a garden.
Sandals road-worn.
A family found.
Moments planted, not hoarded.
Life abundant in micro-units,
And may I follow You-
Lay down my own nets,
Take up my cross,
And pound the earth
With willing feet
Bearing out the gospel
As You did.

If You are willing,
Make us well.
Lead us.
Defend us.
Teach us to resist assault,
Temptation, and inertia,
Stepping forward in intimacy:
A second language
Far from fluent, but framed in affection-
Teach us, Teacher.
We strive to bow the knee
To You alone,

God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.


Leaving Room

I don’t need goodbyes.
They stay crisp, preserved,
Since some folks can’t handle them,
And some don’t deserve ’em.
Separations lined up like shots,
Fast and silent, down the hatch,
A lightning round
Awaiting stealthy dispatch
And the silence killed
The little bit left alive
That tiny new thing
That might have survived
If selfish sins
Weren’t treated as holy relics:
Velvet ropes protecting idols
Eternally derelict
Self-consumed and consuming
And those they claim to seek
Cannot fill their hungry guts
Pouring the blood of the meek
In deceitful rage
On the idol’s throne
A scene so revolting
They must be left alone
With the gods they chose
To repent someday, or die-
So I pick up my pack, slip out the back,
And whisper no goodbyes.


Pauses

They put me on hold
And jazz
Swirled me away to brighter days
Soaking up the sunbaked sadness
Of broken living
so many generations in
It happens after the funerals
that moment you decide to begin again
And the world continues
Like it isn’t some strange new thing
Like it hasn’t noticed
All the black you’ve been wearing
In the summer sun
While the jazz plays on
They left me on hold
The days
That aged me.


Broken Teacups and Chipped Shields

Magnificent complexities!
This body that sprawls and flexes,
Breathes deep, bawls for necessities,
Excavates the keep and climbs the vertices,
And each piece fits into another
In set order, foot to knee to hip,
Mother and Daughter, Father and Brother,
But placement is less than kinship

Though one piece may not fit into another,
It need not imply other.

I am picking up the pieces out of the heap,
And they start clicking together
It might have to do with the company I keep,
And the storms I have weathered
If one member can employ what they are
and wound another, then placement matters
And for my design, to defer
Is to yield courage, to shatter

The hope indwelling immediate obedience, in meaningful connection
In the wilds of trust and His leading in the moment-

My moment has come; it’s time for me to trust
In the design He gave me,

And I trust Him.


Stress Fractures

Wracked through my core,
One more week before
The insurance man bows, clicks his heels,
And opens my doctor’s doors.

My contents simmer hot
I’ve got the body of a teapot
The thick glaze contains the fractured bits, but even moments
Of rough handling cannot be forgotten

By bone china.


Behind the Curtain

When laughter rose heavenward,
And thoughts laid bare in delicate repose,
When souls opened to share
And I blended with those,
Then came the long trip home
Like waves eroding rock
In relentless assault, buffeted
By a thousand shocks
Your words smashed my core
And left my ears to ring since
You forced me to kneel
And for the sin of being, repent.
How you rearranged the day
Exposing every kindness invested
As my humiliation, tokens
Of concealed revulsion, mocking jest,
A world disgusted, but too polite
To make me leave
And I was a child, and you my mother,
And I believed.

The only answer spanning time,
Was to remove me:
My thoughts, my words,
My cumbersome company.
No matter how deep the laughter flows,
How strong the love I’ve known,
No matter how unbroken the relationship
There’s always the trip home.
In so many things we all share blame,
And it is only on me to save me
Yet as an adult, I struggle to put away
What as a child, you gave me.


Mother

You were born as they took Iwo Jima
Some distant drum, displaced hum
Trills in your soul- I plead to be heard
But we’ve already succumbed
These throes are just the undertow
And you’re a genuine tragedy:
What does that make me?

When they called you Mein F├╝hrer,
Snickering in scorn,
Describing to me a faded ghost,
But he was flesh when you were born
The comparison to you far closer
In the social memory:
Did it sting?

The nations united that year;
It’s staggering to think of all you saw
You travelled so long,
And what is your flaw?
Erased limbs, smudged names,
You’re a blank family tree:
You refused us any history.

I used to wonder what broke you;
Some kind of cataclysmic shatter
But your lies filling the vacant spaces-
It was the lies that mattered.
I used to think it was your wounds,
But your sins made you ill-
How murderous to love them still.

I sifted through what I thought I knew,
Through the ashes of your legacy,
I tried to know you
Calling your sin your lunacy
Because it’s crazy to deny reality.
Gentler to say you couldn’t love outside yourself,
Than that you wouldn’t love me.

All the tiny gestures
Overpowered by your refusals
Will I grow fangs?
You can be brutal
Especially when challenged
Your hatred burns in your eyes.
Is it my duty to eat your lies?

I’m gripped with sorrow
Over our scrapbook of farewells
And our hasty inscriptions
Still frames of ancient carousels
Frozen in snapshots:
It feels like you were never mine.
You had complaints; I had your crimes.

And after the last goodbye,
I won’t wish for more time.

And that’s a tragedy.


My Lord,

Darkness opens doors
Creaklessly restoring a closed world
I age backwards,
Curled up, a little girl,
I remember the pollen as
Glistening fairies in the sunlight
Sun caressing my skin as
My only gentle warmth, too bright,
But not too hot to touch
I run my attentive fingertips
Through the lush baby blades
Of life emerging in song and sip
Of dew and adamant assertions
Beauty in breaths of transformation
I felt the nature of existence
Railing against the aberration
Present in the shadows:
The travesty of grief,
Teeth set on teeth, cold expectations,
Distorted affections and beliefs,
And I was weak and gasping
Under those grasping hands
Panting between in bright reprieves,
Warring with the dark demands
Crushed in full view,
“A pity,” and, “a waste”
But in the sky some fierce burning beauty
Radiated the idea of grace

Impossible to smother or erase.

Through the door I step,
I see. I recall the days
In sudden omnipresent detail
Inhaling full bouquets
I begged for an end, or
A true start
Torrential tears filling the moat
Incapable of protecting exposed hearts
Standing in full view
Bruised and stripped bare
Subject to untold beatings
Distasteful in the public square,
But unimpeded.
While under knuckle and condemnation
I watched the sky, I,
Caressed by warm salvation.

In me, these moments live
Because I lived; I still do
For with my death folded into Yours,
My life now flows from You.


Down, Down, Dowry

I’ve carried at the caved nape
All my years of able legs
A gilded locket, golden draped
Around my beating chest
Locked inside its welded clasp
Designed to keep her tokens sincere,
Pressed against the giggle or the gasp,
Always treasured, always near

I’ve worn an empty locket.

She charges me for the contents:
Her lost collage of rhapsody
My engraved portent
Of heartache and tragedy
I absently sign receipts
Confused at the entries
Written as fanciful deceits:
She was always empty,

The chain at my neck,

The great weight of neglect
Desires of intimacy and innocence
In perpetual shipwreck:
Love entangled in hindrance,
Tossed to dark waters
Sinking in a murky pocket
Struggles the useless daughter
Against the heavy, empty locket.