on bound wrists

November 16, 2013 at 10:17 pm (Poetry) (, , , , , , )

My wrist is bound by lines and strokes of an ancient language. The form of these letters call what is not into being. The words speak to the Word. In the beginning was the word; In the beginning….God. The earth, formless and empty, darkness over the surface of the deep. The Word with God. The Word: God.

God said.

God-Word. Words-Formed. Form-Created. Spoken forth; spoken form.

These words, wrapped ever-round my wrist, are my hoped for spoken-form spoken forth. My mantra. The sounds, the words capable of “creating transformation”. Not because of any power they possess in themselves but because the Word in me can breathe them into life. In my life. They are the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart.

שלום. This  shalom around my wrist, this peace, is not merely the absence of war or discord. It is not marked by what it is not. It is defined by what is present.  This shalom is wholeness, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony.  It is rich and deep. This shalom is life complete and perfect. Paid in full, life to the full. Creation as it was created to be when the Word spoke and there was light. Created restored to Creation. Creation restored to the Creator. The word speaks to the Word. He himself is our Shalom, who has made the two one, destroying the dividing wall of hostility. God reconciles us to himself through this Shalom. We are given the same vocation of reconciliation. This God-Word is given as our mantle, our mantra. It becomes the meditation of our heart, the words of our mouth, capable of creating transformation as the Word, Shalom, breathes us into life to the full, into shalom. These words, this shalom around my wrist, reminds me to seek life-to-the-full – the redemption and reconciliation – of, for and in the places I find myself, because in its shalom I find Shalom.

צדק. This tzedek around my wrist, this justice, is not merely the absence of corruption or oppression. It is not marked by what is not. It is defined by what is present. This tzedek is right standing,  righteousness, generosity, equity, concern, mercy,  reparation, restoration and redemption. It is rich and deep. This tzedek is a life of right relationships. Righteous, relationship to the full. Creation as it was created to be when the Word spoke. Created restored to Creation. Creation restored to the Creator. The word speaks to the Word. He himself is our Tzedek, our justice, our Righteousness rolling down like rivers, like an ever-flowing stream. God maintains our cause, acting justly and mercifully toward us. We are are given the same vocation of justice. This God-Word is given as our mantle, our mantra. It becomes the meditation of our heart, the words of our mouth, capable of creating transformation as the Word, Tzedek, breathes us into right relationships, into tzedek. These words, this tzedek around my wrist, reminds me to seek relationships enacted in fairness, generosity and equity. To pursue justice and love mercy. To pursue reparation and restoration of, for and in the relationships I find myself a part of.

My wrist is bound by lines and strokes of an ancient language. The form of these letters call what is not into being. The words speak to the Word. These words, wrapped ever-round my wrist, are my hoped for spoken-form spoken forth. My mantra. The sounds, the words capable of creating transformation. Not because of any power they possess in themselves but because the Word in me can breathe them into life. In my life. They are the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart.These words bound as symbols on my hand remind me not just to be peaceful and to be just but to do shalom and do tzedek. To seek to enact the wholeness, harmony, and fullness of life given through Christ and to pursue right standing, fairness, generosity and equity in all my relationships and spheres of life. 

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on this present discontent

September 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm (Poetry) (, , , , )

These are the years of my discontent

This is my consolation that leaves me disconsolate

This is my satisfaction that leaves unsatisfied

This is my rest that leaves me restless

This is the love that leaves me lustful

This is my struggle between running and staying

This is my sitting in cars in empty lots, all the words of your compulsion hanging (forbidden) between us.

This is my calculated risk; these are the consequences that catch me by surprise.

These are my rushing waters; this, the shore of my regret.

This present is the heart of all my misgivings

This, the tension between my anchor and my escape

This. Me unfinish’d, gasping in this breathing world; breathing in this gasping world.

This, my wandering tread, my sojourner spirit, my never-ending journey. My lost and never-foundness. My with but never of. My here but never now.

This is the whisper of my displacement

These are the years of my discontent.

[This wrote itself, months back, as I sat on the edge of this river at the Wild Goose Festival 2013.]

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on reawakening wonder

August 2, 2013 at 6:30 pm (Poetry) (, , , , , , )

All the words that come afterwards are a feeble attempt to recapture that initial fleeting take-you-by-surprise gasp, that raw emotion that wells up unexpectedly, that catch-in-your-throat gone-to-soon breathtaking moment of first awareness. That slipped-from-grasp, awestruck millisecond of sheer wonder. This cannot be recaptured. This profound magnificent laid-out-at-my-feet, this before me now. This certainty, this age-old beauty. This shifting and reshaping, this steadfast landscape. This eternity is no less awe-inspiring and majestic than in that first sigh of wonderment. But the effortless startling passion of it must now be gently seduced back into my awareness. I must look and look at it. Take intimate note of its curves and nuance. Pay attention to its every shadow-of-turning. In these fleeting after-moments it has lost none of its glory; it is only that I have lost my sense of it. How easily and quickly our senses dull. And all that’s left is for us to patiently resharpen them, nurture this keen sensitivity, coax and caress our sensibilities, reignite our consciousness. Reawaken our spirits. Stand silent before infinity and marvel, MARVEL, at the sheer unadulterated wonder of it.

grand canyon

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on communion

July 26, 2013 at 1:45 pm (Poetry, Things I'm thinking about) (, , , , , , )

This is how I want to take communion. I want to hold a loaf fresh from the oven, the dough kneaded by the rough hands of a friend, warmth rising, infused with its sweet scent. I want to take this bread in my hands and break it open with my fingers, releasing its aroma. I want it to leave my hands and fill the hands of the one next to me. I want to take my communion in chunks. I want to indulge in it. I want to fill my mouth with it and I want it to satiate me. I want to hold in my left hand this meal and, after the moment of its recognition, I want to keep dipping it into olive oil and a little salt – raising it to my lips again and again. In my right hand, I want to hold a glass of red wine. I’ll sip it and swirl it and savor it – drawing out the rich breadth of it before swallowing. I want it to be filled to overflowing. I want it, as it fills my mouth with its flavor to remind me that this is everlasting. That it is good.

This is how I want to take communion. In homes and before fires, on beaches before waves, on mountains before open skies, in fields before sunsets. Around tables and around friends. In crowded rooms filled with laughter and in quiet corners filled with tears. And even in churches.

This is how I want to take communion. With loaves of bread that fill me, not wafer thin crackers that remind me I am empty. With glasses of remembrance, not sips of observance. I want it to be abundant, not scarce. I want it to fill my being, not dissolve on my tongue before I can even taste its goodness. I want it to satisfy my thirst, not wet my tongue leaving me desiring more. I want it to be sacramental, not sentimental. I want it in sacred spaces and profane, but not in abstracted places. I want it to be intimate and accessible, not isolated and exclusionary.

This is how I want it to be when I remember. This is how I want it to be when I sit with that sacrifice. This is how I want to know those words. This conspiring; this breathing-together. This community; this gift-together. This communion; this sharing-together. This covenant; this coming-together. I want it to merge beautifully with my everyday, not stand apart from my lived-experience. I want it to fuse my laughter and my crying, my sacred and profane and profound, my before and my after.

This is how I want to take communion.

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on bus rides

May 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm (Poetry) ()

One. Is the number on the dollar bill you use to snort lines.

Two. Is the number of bags of crystal meth you stuff down your socks.

One in Three. Is the number I can’t wrap my mind around as I subconsciously count off, converting faces to percentages; those in front of me to those behind bars.

Four. Is the number of Taco trucks, music playing and friends mingling beneath dim streetlights.

Eight. Is the number of men hiding in dark shadows keeping watch over flocks by night.

Nine. Is the number of stops requested.

Eleven. Is the number on the clock.

Twenty-six. Is the number of restless girls on lonely corners, between 2nd and 61st.

Fifty. Is the number of shots fired when a drive-by and an ambush collided yesterday. I hear my friend tell me.

Sixty-five. Is the number of years lived. She mumbles chaotically, her body closed in on itself.

Full. Is where I start.

Scattered. Is where I end.

Voices and non-voices and music and resignation. Is what I hear.

Sorrow. And discomfort. And heaviness. Is what I feel, as I gaze out the window at the light and the un-light passing by in the cool outside.

One. Is the number of the bus I ride.

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the vision

April 24, 2010 at 7:55 pm (Poetry) (, , , )

The Vision

The vision was spoken before time
It was birthed from what was not
It lives as the response of the created to the voice of the creator

The vision speaks the heart of Him who first spoke
The vision speaks itself with the voice of love because
The vision is love.
And love speaks, and breaths into the vision and breathes
Vision and what is out of obedience to the Word

The Word has called what is not as though it were
The Word was with God
The Word is God

The vision is true living, living beyond tomorrow.
The vision lays aside its own cares, wants, needs, desires and lives only for another
It does not sleep
It keeps watch through the watches of the darkest night
when life struggles to breath and all the demons of the
Past and the present struggle for the future

The vision does not turn a blind eye but wars in the heavenlies for one life.
For reconciliation
The vision is a collision of fate and destiny

It is hearts fighting for hearts
It is tears that won’t stop falling
It is a body laid over another, as bullets rip through flesh
It is weeping. It is hands reaching tirelessly. Eyes that cannot shut, hearts breaking, a sorrow beyond words, it is lives driven to exhaustion, finding strength in I AM.
The vision is death for life. Ceaseless. Tireless.
Breathing for another through the blackest night.

The vision is joy.
The vision is the morning.
Glorious Day.
The vision is profoundest mystery of profoundest victory
The vision becomes our lifesong
The vision is not, save that He IS.

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