Monday, April 15, 2013


I am only one of many
with tears in my eyes, shaken
at the latest horror
brought to us by weapons technology.

A bomb blast at a marathon,
a drone strike on a small town,
a land mine on a roadside,
a child shot in a school.

So many and so various
are our means for killing each other.
So many and so various
are our reasons.

Surely You must grow weary of this.
Surely it must bend Your back,
the weight of what goes on,
the sophistication of our murders.

Really, it is time to say enough.
Oh my God, it is past time to say enough.
Please God, we have truly had enough.
Put an end to it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Today was a day of too many words.
I felt them --chatter--
slipping out of my mouth
between loose lips
unchecked by my mind,
barely stopping for breath.

God only knows what all I said.

I move in a world of talkers,
and it scares me
pretty much every day.
Too many words, too much chatter,
so much said that it
can't possibly be meant.

What is passing between people
who aren't fully there?

I can't help but feel that
as connected conversation
adds you to me,
and brings us to us,

that mindless chatter
subtracts us from each other,
leaving us less than
we were on our own,

empty and vacant,
bare-walled rooms without furniture,
echoing the constant cacophony
of our own empty, endless voices.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Triptych: Three Views of Spring

I notice the bird song first
and then the lengthening daylight
and then I notice the cherry tree outside my window,
budding and expectant.

Years like these I am tempted
to ruminate on loss.
The metaphor's overdone,
but spring does bring hope to mind,
and also how hopes have died.

I know that I should remember the good
and accept the loss.
I think of the man on the train this morning,
hunched over and rubbing his eyes
continually, compulsively, unable to stop,
for fifteen minutes.
To keep revisiting an injury
is to make an injury worse.

But it's hard to sift out the good from loss.
Sometimes, spring brings sorrow.

It's my 38th spring
and my nth time observing the cherry blossoms.
Last year they came too early,
and this year, too late for the tourists,
standing 3 deep around the 5 trees
in full bloom at the Tidal Basin,
cameras pointing.

This year winter held on.
Last year winter barely came.
And the year before that?
And the year before that?

There is this to be said
for the amassing of years...
you get a feel for the rhythm of change.
Nothing's really new,
and nothing's really permanent,
and there's really very few things worth fearing...
I think.

She told me to take pictures with my mind,
to imagine the beautiful and happy moments,
to capture and to hold them.

I am slowly building my collection.

Exhibit - Sunday, April 7th, 2013:
- The long, low fields of grass and yellow flowers
- The river, green and blue, rapids running over rocks
- The breeze through the budding trees, rattling last year's dead leaves
- Smiles from strangers
- The lady who gave me directions

Catch them. Hold them.
Let each picture remind me
that there is never a day without blessings,
if I'm looking for them.

Friday, April 5, 2013


The below is a picture of a bird of paradise flower.  
I found it here

But really, could God
with His reckless and extravagant imagination
(seriously, have you seen the Bird of Paradise flower?)
have envisioned, created, masterminded
my presence in this cubicle?

I believe in God's sovereignty,
so I accept this as a paradox,
because I cannot see the hand of God
in these 2 1/2 beige, synthetic-weaved fake walls.

And everyday, I submit to having
the wild waves of my own will
poured into and confined in this tiny container,

but I have my ways of escaping.

I believe that God may have had a hand
in the creation of the iPod.
And I know that He was behind the creation
of the 14th century Mass setting
that fills my ears,
and blossoms in my brain,
like the bird of paradise flower
setting me, briefly, free.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Bitter honey, chocolate smoke,
warm and cooling on my tongue,
liquid gold, bringing light and laughter,
Old Rasputin, carry me away.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


You know the moment,

the one where the person 
in or on
the bus, train, park, store or sidewalk
who is
in front of, behind, 3 aisles over, or beside you

starts muttering to themselves.

Your shoulders tense,
your heart beats a little faster,
and you train your attention precisely...
not enough to hear their dark mutterings,
but just enough to hear if the cadence
shifts, or grows louder.

I sometimes wonder where these people are,

in some in-between place
addressing someone else they think they see
and fear,
sitting on a bus and seeing monsters all around,
or having conversations with those who aren't there.

I wonder if the prophets muttered,

in their painful in-between place, 
the voice of God booming into their heads
like a rogue radio signal,
their thoughts hacked,
sitting at the city gate and seeing monsters all around,
or having conversations with a God that no one else saw.

What if there are prophets all around me,
and I've learned to not to hear their dark mutterings,
but just to hear if they grow louder,
and then to run away?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Choice #1

It is the small decisions, then, that matter most.

Do I think about the woman
who shoved me out of the way
to get to her train?
Or the woman who looked me
in the eye as she sat down, and smiled broadly,
with warmth, as though greeting a friend?

It is a very important choice.

Do I focus on the people cursing
as they fight each other to get
off the crowded train car?
Or the ones who quietly step
aside and let them by?

Do I direct my attention to the ones
who grab the seats?
Or the ones
who give them up?

Such choices change lives.

Anyone who wants to know God
makes a decision, to honor Him or not,
by what they choose to see in His world.

Do I believe God to be God?

If I marinate my mind
in the milk of human kindness,
I honor my God's image in His created beings.
If I stew in the vinegary juices
of man's inhumanity to man,
I make evil my idol,
and consider God impotent.

Every day I decide to see Him
or to deny Him.
I either have, or have not
seen Christ's image in others.
I either do, or do not, know the man.

It is the small decisions, then, that matter most.

Monday, April 1, 2013


These days I picture myself
as a tightrope walker across my own nerves,
spun thin like glass,
thin as spiderwebs,
sharp as needles.

So when I hear your laugh
and see your warm smile
and kind, tired eyes,
and these spun shards turn slack,
soft as silk,

All I can do is say "Thank You,
Thank You, God.  Thank You,
for the solace of an unexpected sister,
for souls recognizing other souls,

for the comfort of friendship,
like warm oil poured over my head
and running over these tired shoulders,
bent from carrying my own weight.