Category Archives: Uncategorized

Particle

Relics can be
Bones that held
Together, exoskeleton:

A camera initiated
In the summer
of hate

A serving tray bought
In Town – You
visited with
Your daughter

The thermos you drank
Tea in, with ritual
like it was the Body
of Christ, containing
wine, mixed with
Your blood

Relics can be
old CD towers, particle
Board book
Cases – Glassware
Wrapped in newspapers
Dating 1983

Let me press
bone against Living
Palm, fleshiness
will you speak
Again
Will you?
Tell me
Why You Had to
Leave.

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Midnight Calls

My body is fragile
Crack me open
at the seam in my
Ribcage, like
a damp wafer – watch
the strawberry blood
cake in exposed air.

How many midnight calls,
and dinnertime
Interruptions
can a heart
take before the valves
wear thin
And the tell tale tingle
moves up my arm?

Doctor’s orders:
I can’t lift
this weight
Give me something lighter.
Second thought:
Don’t give me anything at all.

“Be Brave”

Don’t tell me
to Be Brave,
again,
as if courage
is instinct for
half of us and
Learned Behavior
for XX chromosomes
alone. As if
my going
out is not its own
defiant act

And my speaking:
Bold, Direct
is not akin
to wielding
the sword.

Don’t tell me
Courage is:
holding my tongue
and the serving tray
at a 3rd wave
Dinner Party
thrown for strangers with
pasted on grins

I am no one’s
Darling
I am already
Strong

everyone who searches

And everyone who searches
finds – maybe not
the missing button, maybe
an old note, yellowed photo
with a missing corner.

And you realize
what you find is
good enough,
or better

And the cardigan can
do without mending –
its gapping filled
for now with a memory
of summertime,
or last year’s loss
– you never lost at all.

It was hiding under the bed,
stirred awake,
an answer. The question
never mattered.

———

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rilke

Like Paul, Like Kelly

Like Saul, Kelly Gissendaner plotted to kill the innocent. Like Saul, she was an enemy of the righteous.

Like Paul, Christ spoke life into her and, because of her, many were saved. Like Paul, she was killed by the state.

May we be like Paul, and like Kelly, and remember where we came from and where Christ brought us. May we sing Amazing Grace in our final moments. May we foster mercy in our hearts against reason and wage love against the pain.

“…and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’ All who heard him were amazed and said, ‘Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?’ Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.” (Acts 9:20-22)

frost bitten

You’ll be kind and
never lose your temper
and no one will misunderstand
your jokes. You’ll

wake up early and listen
to the mourning dove
sing     dooo
dooo               do-do-do
low-high calling
the new day good.

You’ll always have spare
change for the panhandler
at his median post. You’ll be

better.
You’re just a little bit good
for now.

But the You that matters
is the you that exists.

And she hits snooze and grumbles
through morning coffee, forgets
to take out the trash.

She whines and her
words don’t always
pour over wounds like soothing
balm. Sometimes,
she lets wounds fester.

But at least she exists, here,
now, placed for a season,
planted and occasionally watered.

You’re aloe with frost
bitten tips, but
you’re alive, and can still give
of your rich pulp.

Remember this,
God uses the You you are.

on suffering

If you’re trying to resolve the problem of suffering and wrap it up in a neat little package, you’ll only be disappointed by Christianity.

Christianity doesn’t answer that question. It dwells in the suffering. It acknowledges it, laments it, and looks for ways to reduce it, but it doesn’t tell you why.

A friend recently said that what strikes him most about Christianity is the image of the Suffering Christ. When tragedy strikes, Christ suffers. He dies again and again. Immeasurably deep empathy for the human condition.

Christianity doesn’t answer the why; it asks us to turn from our inward need to understand and look out to help alleviate suffering in the world. I can sit here and shout “Why?!” or I can go out and do something to end it, even while I knowing it will not end.

Christianity asks me to sit with the questions, but not alone. I am increasingly convinced that Christianity is a communal religion; it must be done with others; we acknowledge what we do not know, together.

Nothing can be wrapped up in a neat little package.

Good Friday

In 2011, God was silent. I didn’t stop believing, but I was numb. Numb like cold fingers in the middle of winter: on the brink of frostbite. I was terrified of losing the religion, the community, and the language of faith that had been central to my life as a child and young adult. The stillness made me feel unhinged.

Perhaps as a way of coping with not knowing what the future of my faith looked like, I found other practices – other rituals – to fill the void. And in retrospect, the quiet cleared the clutter, opening up space for new ways of thinking and being.

I also read Still by Lauren Winner, a book I’d recommend to anyone feeling existentially lost. I realized I’d been waiting for my faith to return or to grow back to just the way it was before the silence when I should have understood this dark period as part of the path.

There is nothing wrong with feeling numb. There is nothing wrong with stillness. Nothing is lost in the process – you are still you, God is still God (much different and much more complicated than we can imagine, I’m sure), a community is waiting somewhere to love you for who you are, not what you profess on any given day.

Today I feel stable, but not always certain. I feel loved, but I’m not always sure it’s unconditional. But what I know is that living with grace and intention will never be the wrong path. See people and love them anyway. Forgive. Work toward justice. Leave yourself vulnerable to the fulfillment and pain of love.

do not take

The earth moves
Did you know?
It pulses with intention.

Birds free fall in aerial feats
The hive hums
The dry leaves whisper
their ancient chant

And we,
We move, too
Building, working,
fighting, dreaming –
not always with intention.

But noise, always noise.

The earth knows –
do you?
Our performative toiling
is Being,
a loud inhalation,
a boisterous sigh

We tangle fingers
and join
the chant “We are alive”

Do not bring the silence.
Do not take.
The earth, though
It Takes.

This is the one truth
we were born knowing.
We move – before
it’s too late.

In memory of Judy Neumeyer

Something Rotten at the University of Virginia

“Still Your children wander homeless;
Still the hungry cry for bread;
Still the captives long for freedom;
Still in grief we mourn our dead.
As you, Lord, in deep compassion
Healed the sick and freed the soul,
By Your Spirit send Your power
To our world to make it whole.”

The Next Great Adventure

rotundamyrotunda

I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012.  I can’t help but grin when I reflect on my time in Charlottesville, remembering a vibrant academic atmosphere that included lasagna dinners at professors’ houses and debating with Senator Bob Barr while swilling bourbon in Room 7, West Lawn, with the Jefferson Society.  And then there was the social environment, just as robust, which included “Friday Wineday” car rides over the rolling Blue Ridge hills to go “vineyard hopping,” streaking the lawn, date functions, and belting “God Bless the USA” while swaying atop tables at the Virginian on Thursday nights.

And did I mention Thomas Jefferson?  Each day I walked past the Rotunda on my way to class or to grab some Bodo’s, I swelled with pride, gawking at the centuries-old architecture that was supposed to be Jefferson’s answer to the Pantheon.  Nevermind those bricks were…

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