reaching out (to bridge an ocean)

reaching-into-the-universe-digital-art-hd-wallpaper-1920x1080-3211-e1463599462797

When I reach out for you

The first fumbling stretch,

The tiniest twitch of a finger

As if to bridge a vast ocean

Or pierce the atmosphere and extend into the cosmos,

Like it would take light years just to reach your outer rim—

What a surprise to make that miniscule move

And brush against you,

My trembling fingertips against your scarred palm,

You, right here,

Your hand stretched out to me since the day it formed me,

Your arm, the bridge over the endless void between us,

Shrinking space like an inverse red shift

To carry me home to your heart 

Less than one breath away—

You, always the first to reach out for me

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Current Velocity : Zero

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via

i.

You are a leaf caught in an eddy

All motion and no progression

Spun around in a sickening swirl that leads to

Nowhere

 

You are a boot lodged in quicksand

Your owner and twin have escaped

The vicious vacuum, running away while you remain

Stuck

 

You are an astronaut lost in space

Cut loose from any anchor,

Adrift in a cold that doesn’t care and leaves you

Numb

 

ii.

Have you ever stood still on a street in November

While the leaves rush past you,

Smacking against your legs as they dance 

In the wind that is never strong enough to pick you up?

 

Have you ever stood still as a wave crests,

The carpet of sand yanked out from beneath your feet,

Letting the wall of water smash around you

Before it scurries up the shore without a backward glance?

 

Have you ever stood still in a crowd in some big city,

All these voices of all these people with all these plans,

A hurricane of progress and passion perfecting all of the world’s problems,

And here you are, in the eye, passive and purposeless?

 

Have you ever stood still?

 

iii.

Have you ever felt like the whole world is moving but you?

Like you could invent your own laws of motion—

As everyone else speeds up, I slow down.

 

Have you ever felt like a character in a bad dream?

The one where your sneakers are glued to the street

And the bad guy is coming and you want to run

And everyone else is running

And you

Just

Can’t

Move

 

iv.

If an external force

Is what it takes

To make mass move

Then please—

Save me from

This massive mess

And set me speeding

Because I have not

Stayed in rest,

I have been stuck there

And, oh God,

I want my velocity

To be greater than zero

I Will Go (Remembering 9/11)

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Even if, when this is all over, no one knows my name

Even if no one points to my picture in the paper and says, “here was a hero”

Even if the parades pass me by and the ash stains on my shirt are my only medal

Even so

`

Even though, before I take one step, I am afraid

Even though the flames are the ghosts of my past failures reaching out to finally and forever drag me down

Even though the sweat on my skin is more real to me in this moment than the screams from the tower

Even so

`

Even if, for all our desperate tries, you die

Even if all the effort is a waste and we stand at the scene of a massacre, helpless

Even if every night after the stars are replaced by the screaming souls I could not save

Even so

`

I will go

I will try

I may live

I may die

But I will go

`

I will pick up my helmet––my first aid kit––my keys––whatever thin threads of my courage I can weave together into some kind shield to hang between me and the fire and the fear

To weave into a blanket, like when I was little and thought if I huddled behind one the bad guy could never get me

To weave into a banner, just a piece of cloth and yet it makes the men marching under it so much stronger

Is my courage strong enough? Will the thin threads hold?

Does it even matter?

`

Even so

I will go

`

Because there’s a fire inside me that is stronger than the one I face

Because hate can be fierce and hot and it can burn but there is a fury in love that can raze every forest of cruelty to the ground

Because in the end we’re all afraid every second of every day and that is no excuse

And so

`

Because what if every moment I have lived has led up to this one?

Because what if every choice I have made has prepared me for this one?

Because what if this is the point of me? What if I’m here on this planet to be here for you on this day?

And so

`

Because I have no idea who you are or how many of you there are but I know that you are a human being and that you matter

Because not trying is worse than failing

Because I’d rather be haunted by faces I couldn’t save than by ones I didn’t try to

And so

`

I will go

`

Remember when you feel the rain on your face and look up into a bright blue sky and bite into a freshly baked cookie and hug that person who makes you laugh and turn on music in your car and feel sorrow shoot its silver arrow into your soul—remember that you’re alive and that that’s very good thing and it’s worth protecting. Remember that if you stop trying to help other people stay alive too, then you are already dead. Remember how there were two of them, twins, and how we’ve got to stand together. Remember to act, so that each tomorrow find you further than today. So that you can die with no regrets. Remember. Then go. Fight the next fire, and the next, and the next, and don’t be afraid. The day is coming when they will all die out. Just make sure you were one of the ones who fought when you had the chance. 


A post with pictures of a really cool place I visited this summer plus a mini life update is coming soon. =)

for all I have lost (he never tells me why)

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for all i have lost

for all i am not

for all that was not as i had hoped

for every crumpled dream

for every tear on every mask-cracked face

for every piece of the world that breaks

just a little bit more…

for

all

the

pain

`

i weep

`

i nestle knees to chest

and wonder

WHY???

which he never answers

`

instead he always tells me

who

truth, way, life

hope, strength, refuge

creator, redeemer, sustainer

right hand, banner, shepherd

bread and water, vine and door

one who hears, who sees, who knows, who—

why?

who?

I AM

holy week | poem 3

I was thinking about all the different characters in the Easter story, and I was intrigued by how Peter and Judas reacted to so differently to their failures and to the offer of forgiveness. 

judas-brought-again-the-thirty-pieces-of-silver-to-the-chief-priests-and-elders

They say he promised paradise to the sweat-stained, sin-soaked scumbag hanging next to him.

I saw when he looked at a prostitute with eyes that spoke not condemnation or revulsion but love, deep, unshakeable love.

But I can not believe any of that could be applied to me.

I am not just a murderer or a thief or a slut; I am a traitor.

The sound of thirty pieces of silver shattering in shame on the temple tiles haunts my steps.

The taste of the bread he handed me when marking me as the one sours my mouth even now.

The look in his eyes right before I kissed him with my lying, poisoned mouth—

No.

I am impossibly far from mercy.

Impossible. After all I have seen him do, I dare to declare that.

So I turn my back on the light, and I run headlong into the darkness

With monsters whispering in my ears of despair, of my sin, of the blood on my hands that is seeping into the fetid depths of my charred heart,

Of me me me me wretched me.

They tell me that I am a good man, to recognize my sin, to hate it so much, to consider it so great as beyond redemption,

That at least in this I am not betraying him.

I do not see that all I am really doing is saying that he is too weak to ransom me.

That my sin is more powerful than his love.

And so my death gains not my absolution

But only proclaims my greatest blasphemy.

Silhouettes rooster crows in the morning

I remember when I first met him.

I was sweat-soaked and red-faced, the odor of fish permeating my clothes and skin.

The numbing repetition of my days had snuffed out any dreams. There was no escape from my destiny of loud, stupid, reeking fisherman.

And then he looked into my eyes, piercing me like I would a fish,

And what could I do but follow?

For he looked at me like I had some sort of worth.

When he looked at me, I felt like a warrior. I felt the rags of my past life slipping away.

He pulled me up from the waves and called me his rock.

And I betrayed him.

When I needed him, he saved me.

When he needed me, I abandoned him.

I was ashamed of him. It was like a sickness had invaded me, like I was falling into a swirling vortex, dizzy and dark. I raged against it even as I gave into its clutches.

When the rooster crowed, I thought

I’ll kill myself. 

I don’t want to live anymore. I don’t deserve to live anymore.

And then I saw him. He saw me.

His eyes bored straight into mine, like the first time—

I’ll kill myself

And all I saw was

Forgiveness. Compassion. Love.

So I didn’t kill myself, but I ran away anyway,

Back to my boat and the only thing I was good for. Who had I been kidding these past few years?

But again he sought me out

And again he told me I had a purpose, that I was his rock.

Forgiveness.

Who was I to take it? Three times, I had spit on him, on all he had given me.

I had made it to so very clear that I wanted nothing to do with him.

And here he was, hand outstretched, saying it again,

Follow me.

And I realized that it wasn’t about me, about my failures, that to truly love him would be to accept his love.

It is finished, he had said.

Who was I to say, no, it’s not, I must redeem myself? Who was I to say that I even could?

So I took his hand, and he pulled me up,

As he would do again and again and again the rest of my life.

holy week | poem one

Hey hey hey. Spring break is this week for me, which means more fun writing (well, any fun writing at all). It happens to line up with Holy Week, which I’m really happy about because I wanted to write some Easter poems. Ugh, guys, I’ve missed poetry writing so much I can’t even describe it. Not being able to do NaPo this year is painful. But this week I’ll be doing what I can, and I’m excited to share whatever poems or musings I come up with. 

So. Palm Sunday. Here’s the story if you don’t know it.


palm

when we sang

hosanna

we were dreaming of

white horses and grand armies,

freedom from oppression

and the destruction of Rome

we imagined riches and peace

and comfort and defeated enemies

so we paved the path with palm branches

and all these gilded dreams

and we cried

hosanna

`

but when your path led only

to shame and pain and dark,

when instead of conquering the Romans

you became their next victim,

their next victory,

how could we sing

hosanna

then?

`

this does not look like what we dreamed

this is not glory and power and freedom

this is suffering and sorrow and sacrifice

this is hard and lonely and

we do not want it

`

we will only sing

hosanna

when you give us what we think we want

when your path lines up with our dreams

when you save us from anything but ourselves

an unseen kingdom, a spit-soaked cross

is too high a price for our

hosanna

thank you, pi

cirkels

we live in a world bereft of wonder

all these ones and zeroes,

supermarkets bloated with too many trivialities, and

news flash fast food facebook frenzies

whittle away at our sense of awe

until the word ‘awesome’

is as flat and empty as a computer screen when the power’s out

don’t we all hate power outages?

seems like society is suffering

from one big power outage

seems we’ve all forgotten

that power comes from fairy tales and children’s stories,

from those old-fashioned things called truth and charity,

from people who value silence and family dinners and walks in the park

 

but every once in a while,

something comes along that strips away at

the callouses encasing our souls

and opens our eyes to the magic that hides in the mundane:

something like pi

 

you brush your teeth and the water flows down a circular pipe

you walk to work and step over a round manhole

you slip on a bracelet with a diameter unfortunately much wider than your wrist’s

the clock on the wall, the ball in your garage, the shape of your favorite coffee mug—

everywhere, circles

you learn about them almost as soon as you can walk

you experience them the first time you look into your mother’s eyes

no beginning, no end,

just one continuous curve

so simple, right?

and yet woven into their nature is a ratio that defies rationality

we’ll never truly understand it, never fully map it

infinity—

with all our learning and research and inventions,

what do we understand about infinity?

we are building a tower so we can touch the stars

but there are some things that will forever remain outside our grasp,

some mysteries that will always demand humility

mysteries like a number that goes on forever and never repeats

mysteries like a God who can create such a number and knows its every digit

 

here’s to circles,

constant and familiar and sure

and here’s to the pearl at their centers,

the marvel that never stops unraveling,

a trail of mystery and magic winding past anything we can know into infinity …

thank you, pi,

for shaking us from our stupor

and reminding us again

what it is

to wonder

Happy Pi Day, everyone!

 

 

save us

yay for an acrostic, rhyme, and free verse mash-up. a very merry christmas to you all. ❤

lonelyxmas

Can’t you hear the silent screams and loud laments

Haunting these decked-out streets tonight?

Right when peace is said to have arrived,

Instead this world is wracked by evil’s blight.

Some cry joy in fake fluorescent-light voices,

Too many others cry in corners of despair.

Mary, did you know that your Child’s birth

Accounts for the pulse of unspoken pain in the air?

Still, we need saving. Even now, we need saving. Save us.

you shall call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins

__from their fears (Everlasting Father)

__from their frailty (Mighty God)

__from their folly (Wonderful Counselor)

__from their pain (Man of Sorrows)

__from their loneliness (Emmanuel)

__from this dark, dark world (Prince of Peace)

you shall call His name Jesus

for He

shall

save

i want to know your story

so we were traveling a few weeks back and one thing I love about touring cities and just being in new places (or old ones, for that matter) is people-watching.

and no, I’m not a Whovian but I have friends who are (which I guess is almost the same thing?). 

peoplewalkingcity

I look down from the bus, see one gray-sleeved arm hanging out of the car window next to us

draped casually, holding a cigarette

one seat over, two pale hands clasped, thumbs moving nervously, restlessly

shiny black leather coat, teal scarf, blonde hair in a messy bun, glasses, green-blue eyes, narrow chin, clear skin

looking out her window, face turned slightly away

he has a gray sweater, short “hair-colored” hair, staring out straight ahead

calm but not peaceful

the car is a black BMW, very nice, shiny silver controls on a black dashboard, pulling a trailer behind it

dirty old trailer behind shiny new car

what is going on behind your calm face, casual arm?

why do your fingers fidget and fret for peace?


in the square, I see a girl in a blue coat, smooth, sleek, felt-like, above her black tights

her face, hidden deep within the hood, is very pale

she stands, hands shoved in that lovely coat’s pockets, looking off to the side

I think, “Aloof. Affected.”

then, she smiles

eyes light up, bright blue, like her coat, the smile sliding across her whole face like a sunbeam across a polished wood floor

I look for who or what her eyes have lit upon, and I think I see her, a friend

laughing as she crosses the square

brown hair, round face, joyful

does she know how she makes the other girl’s face, once cold, even frightened, light up like that?

does she know she has the power to part the clouds over a human soul?


who are you

where do you come from

what is your name

what do you seek

why do you cry

what makes you laugh

what fears flood you at night

why do you get out of bed each day

who are you

i want to know your story

after all,

we are all stories in the end