NaPoWriMo Day 5 – Heaven has different signs

April 6, 2015 at 7:00 am (Poetry) (, )

Find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it!

Heaven” has different signs to me
Sometimes, I think that earth
Is but a sidebar to the Place
But when again, in Sorrow,

A mighty sigh runs round the World
And settles in my stomach
A Resentment, As if creation groaning
should be a stagewhisper like that

Upon the Ignomy steals a Thought
That when the promise of the hereafter is a Triumph
When death together becomes cause for Victory
And makes Some rejoice for the promise of Eternity

When the Rapture of an (un)finished Day
And Turning away from this now-unrest
All for the promise of the place
That Men call “paradise”

When “Heaven” Itself is fairer, preferable, to this present darkness
I prefer that Kingdom-come should not be Adored,
And held for a Superior Grace
Than Thy Kingdom come on earth

As it is In heaven.
Even the Not yet, Our eyes can see

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NaPoWriMo Day 4 – Love

April 5, 2015 at 2:49 pm (Poetry) (, , )

I suppose it might
Smell less like roses and more
Like mowing the lawn.

I suppose it might
Sound less like poems and more
Like please, thanks, sorry.

I suppose it might
Taste less like champagne and more
Like warm morning breath.

I suppose it might
Be less inevitable
Than we imagined.

I suppose.

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un-Poem

April 4, 2015 at 6:37 am (Uncategorized)

NaPoWriMo Day 3 – Poem of negation: a poem that involves describing something in terms of what it is not, or not like.

This
is not the kind of poem
that rails
nor the kind that reflects
It is not the kind of poem
that describes wonder
nor the kind
that defends justice
It is not the kind of poem
that tells truths or half-truths
It is certainly not the kind
that speaks to untruths
This is not the kind of poem
that dreams or hopes or fears or despairs.
Not the kind that rushes to tell itself
nor the kind that wrestles in its telling
The words of this poem
don’t trip over themselves
nor do they labor
This poem is not the flashy kind, the stand-up-and-notice-me kind,
the deep-and-meaningful kind, the change-the-world kind,
the shouty kind, the take-home kind, the must-be-told kind.
This poem
is not the significant kind
This poem
is not even the particularly good kind
In fact
this poem will be remembered for nothing more than that it was written.

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on the Geography of Justice

October 16, 2014 at 7:45 am (Things I'm thinking about) (, , , , , )

As husband-man and I have returned to South Africa we’ve begun thinking about where we want to root ourselves and how the space we choose to be in might best reflect our desire to love our neighbors well, to be part of reconciliation in this beautiful land, to rebuild and repair. As we’ve begun to speak about where we might land, I have been profoundly struck by how our society still reflects the history of our country.

So much of South Africa’s neighborhoods are still sharply racially and class segregated and this is no wonder. Apartheid was in large part upheld by the spatial engineering of physical space and geographies. Land was zoned according to ethnicity/race and groups were assigned demarcated areas to live in. Buffer zones of natural landscape features and man-made infrastructure were employed as physical barriers to keep people apart. Transportation, electricity, and water infrastructure as well as centers of commerce were by extension inaccessible to many persons of color who were often assigned land on the very outskirts of cities/towns.

In South Africa, we don’t have metaphorical walls keeping us separate and disconnected; we have physical demarcations of division. Train lines, roads, rivers, mountains, and scrubland are still the tangible expressions and reproductions of our separation.

Apartheid was not only a political, legal and economic dispensation – it was a spatial dispensation.

The inequitable distribution of resources, services and access in South African communities is still largely one of the physical legacies of apartheid.  As Edward Soja puts it, justice has a geography. Injustice is graphically manifested. Our spaces remain imbued with the remnants of the historical project, with power and with privilege or with the lack of both. We are positioned and continue to re-position in ways that reproduce and reinforce inequality.

How can we begin asking the hard questions about the socio-spatial distributions of wants and needs in our cities – access to job opportunities, to health care, to good air quality? How might we begin to recognize that the morality of place and physicality of space – accessibility, walkability, transport equity – is not solely the mandate of government; it is the explicit remit of the church.

“Seek the peace of the city where I have sent you.” Jeremiah 29:7. The peace that is required here is shalom. Not merely the absence of conflict but the flourishing of life.  From the dust of the land we were created and to the dust of the land we will return. Our beginning and end is with the earth, place, space. The use of land not only reflects equitableness, but our relationship to it imbues our sense of placement, home, rootedness, safety, flourishing, and survival. “In whose image is space created?” asks David Harvey. Does space in South Africa reflect the image of God reconciling mankind to one another? Is the Kingdom reflected on earth; is “thy will be done” mirrored back to heaven? Does place and space reflect our shalom imperative?

If our separateness had such an intentionality and physicality behind its formation, then surely our reconciliation has to be both intentional and physical. We cannot be content with merely reaching over the invisible walls; we have to begin crossing the visible streets. What are the tangible ways we can spatially re-engineer our lives to create geographies of justice? How would we tread if we really believed that this ground, the ground, is holy ground?

Husband-man and I we are wrestling with whether breaking down the physical demarcations of our division might mean moving in to the places we’re still socially (if no longer legally) not supposed to be in.

Let’s take off our shoes, and walk as though we believe in the sacredness of place.

geography of my soul

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on 29

May 26, 2014 at 2:41 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

This is the year of my Shalom.

In just a few months husband-man and I will launch into yet another major life transition – but this time one that we hope and trust leads us to a season of restful waters. I hope to find in it Shalom – the incredible earth-shattering presence of wholeness, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, and harmony.  A dazzling display of life to the full, complete and perfect.

So as I leave 28 and head steadily to 30 this year. Here are some of the things I want to fill my days with. I want to..

1. Learn to Surf

2. Learn to cook Indian food from scratch

3. Perform an original spoken word piece

4. Learn to code in HTML (I’m open to being persuaded there is a better first language to learn)

5. Learn to do my own makeup

6. Ride a motorcycle

7. Redo my FirstAid training

8. Learn to dance

9. Learn how to service a car and change a tire

10. Grow a salad

11. Read through the whole bible

12. Learn to play hockey

Some of these play to my core passions and some drive me far outside of my comfortability. Some are practical skills and some are  extravagant. Some use my mind, some my body, and some my spirit. Some will be learned in solitude, and will take me inside myself; some will be learned at the feet of friends and family, and will draw me out of myself.

They demonstrate in small and perhaps insignificant ways my desire for shalom in how I am with those around me, with my physical self, with the Creator, with nature, with culture, with technology, and with my own creativity.

Here’s to looking forward to 30 with anticipation not apprehension. Here’s to revelling not regretting.

Here’s to Shalom – life to the full.

 

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on words before time

March 13, 2014 at 5:26 pm (Poetry) (, , , , , )

I.

I (*pause, inhale deeply, sigh it out*) am in love.

These words?

Ignited me.

Burned in me before I’d ever heard them uttered..

These words?

Isolated me.

Marooned me till I, woman, became an island, impossible and glorious.

Their cadence?

Tore through my soul and re-introduced me to myself.

Spoke my humanity.

Sung my desire.

Whispered my heartache.

Shouted my fury.

Caressed my soul.

These words breathed me into being.

From words I was formed and to words I return.

I love their all in all.

Power conveyed to nothing-me

to grasp the intangible,

to describe the invisible,

to fold into myself the inevitable,

and lay at your feet the indescribable.

Oh, but how I hate.

I hate that these immutable words preempt my every thought.

I hate that these interminable words spoke me before I ever uttered them.

I hate that these words were before me and before all time.

I hate how they have been spun and caressed,

wooed and seduced,

breathed out and breathed in a billion times before my first.

Every word.

Every line.

Every intimation of intimacy

Sucked out of them til I.

I am left breathless,

Speechless.

Wordless.

Powerless.

Each expansive, enigmatic, enticing utterance leaves me

envious, embittered, and empty

Words, promised me, cheated on me,  failed me

Words, leave me panting, anticlimatic

As all the passion seeps from my soul, my marrow, my lips

Until I am silent and still.

Mellifluous and cacophonous.

Ellipses to the eternal noise

of words, words, words

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on cherry blossoms

February 20, 2014 at 2:02 pm (Poetry) (, , , , )

Why do cherry blossoms in this neighborhood surprise me?

As if grace is insufficient

As if hope is impotent

As if love is insipient

As if mercy cannot triumph over judgment

As if dancers cannot dance upon injustice

As if redemption is a lie; restoration a myth

As if the dividing wall of hostility were never torn down

As if sorrow will last beyond the night

and joy is stifled by the morning

As if we are not truly being changed from glory to Glory

As if only some things are brought together under Him

As if the rocks do not shout out

and the trees no longer clap their hands

As if death never lost its sting

As if the grave was victorious

As if darkness dispels light

As if the oil of gladness slips over and past these rivers of mourning

As if the fullness of Him who fills all things, leaves these streets dry and empty

As if there is no freedom for these oppressions

and the cords of these yokes cannot be loosened

As if these chains cannot be broken

As if there is no reconciliation for these divides

As if there is no provision for these griefs

As if there is no garment to cloak these despairs

As if beauty cannot replace even these ashes

 

As if roots cannot push their way up through this concrete

As if life cannot break forth unexpectedly

And be magnificantly, phenomenally, shockingly unsurprising

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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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