Showing posts from 2011

ritual humbug

the few life traditions i have are far from fossils. in fact, at moments i wish them not. my anxiety rises as we sit to watch our christmas film. and it's only the second annual running.  

as we prepare, i wonder, "is this it? this is all we could come up with?" 

with reluctance i appoint the calendar slot. it sounds better in passing conversation than it looks on paper. "oh we do this every year." (which actually means, "well we did this last year, and there was something about it.")

fifteen minutes in and my mind wanders.

yet at some unidentified, elusive moment- i am caught up.  the dance scene is funny, again. the twinkle in their eyes captivate.

the film is just fine.  but the practice is incredible. ritual is not easy for my wayward spirit. i am too often awkward and unsettled. but sitting with her, again, and again- waiting, listening, hoping.  life's slow, repetitive rhythm finds me home.

seasons two

as one enters,
   the other must leave.
and as one delays,
   i am stuck between.
a bitter morning,
  forgotten in afternoon warmth.
i am ready,
   am i ready?


holiday lights bring not the cold,
  rather an anticipation.
my ice scrapper,
  in voided preseason.

the earth's tilt, rotation and placement,
  yes these help.
but one must leave,
  for the other to enter.

                                     winter comes.


i sense an expectation to do well.
task after task,
less room to outdo, i change genres.
so as to solidify the game.

the pressure, internal.
the purpose, preservation.

can i celebrate ok? find room for plain? wait? not care?
not with this lingering motive.

litmus test

i met a hard-living rancher from west texas who cried at the drop of a hat. our conversations were odd. as he told me about his cattle, the drought and old-world things, he would get choked up and have to look away.  my father, a large man, cried all the time. as an adolescent, it drove me nuts.

i spent a few years reacting against my father's emotionalism (among other freudian behaviors). i didn't, or acted not to cry throughout high school and college.

the more recent fact is that i have less problems with the boohoo-ing. maybe i've matured a bit.  maybe i'm learning to accept the parts of my father in me that drive me nuts.  these are logical explanations.

but i'd prefer to confess this as my litmus test:  if it's beautiful, then it's worth my emotion.  most weeks i celebrate the genius of modern family with a laugh, but ever so often, it's with reddened, moist eyes.  sometimes, after a hard month, i drive and let'em roll, which can be just as da…

a hurry

it has taken years to get here.
what has not lead me to this
had i set out to come to this, likely i'd still be lost
   and opposed.
then why do i want you to hurry?
unsuccessfully i've rushed
so please, don't come.
but find a way
   to ignore me
   to translate
   to wait
   to find self

a no-no word

entering the second, i recognize a great failure. of all the words and phrases that have trended in our vocabulary, one i enjoy the least: secular.

i cringe, yet also realize the distinction, not between meanings or contexts, but between values. what was once clear to me in the first half, is now blurred, though no less important.  i welcome the creativity of the gray, the artistry of the world, the thrill of breathing. there is neither secular, nor super-natural. there is only alive.

i believe that humans are flawed, yet at once, incredible. all life is secular, yet entirely belonging to the greater. rinse and repeat, my hope is not for more division- i wait for wholeness.

after wendell

i go among the tall trees,
looking for nothing.

trail interrupted
by a large oak.
face down after august storm,
too high to scale-
too low to duck,
the uprooted stump lifts the earth
and leaves a grave beneath.
the canopy gapped by the loss.

i sit, sip, catch my breath.
mosquitoes catch up,
peace hard to appreciate.

as i leave, i hardly notice
the holly tree
sprouting from
the base of the downed giant.
arising parallel to the ground
will make the winter long.

but spring will bring new light
where the tall tree once stood.

seasons one

mid-october, mild bundles
  even inside.
the man from chicago, laughs.
while the east texan, first shivers.
the trees, hardly orange.
the earth, still warm.
taking longer showers
already, i plan my layers.

but in a few weeks
when dried fallen leaves
line entry ways,
and my coats only make
short, outdoor commutes,

cold becomes comfortable.

simon cowell and creation

i don't find the big bang theory right or wrong because of any scientific evidence.  i could care less as to what may or may not be empirical. the beginning of the universe, in the christian scriptures, was sparked out of spoken poetry.  i believe in a resounding bang when it comes to good writing.  the big bang theory doesn't discount poetry.

here's where simon cowell and i disagree.  american idol winners and x factor contestants are largely not song writers.  by my definition then, these shows advocate an industry that has little to do with music.  this phenomenon is lacking in bang.

there is a world of beautiful poetry out there.  and generally, an eleven year old girl has not lived enough to know about it, to write it, to embody it.  a teen sensation looking for a record deal has misplaced pen, paper and harmonica.

a (former) alcoholic, who struggled for years to make it on the road, writes actual music.  a black jamaican man sings redemption song a little bit sweete…

the big event?

oddly unmemorable.
i've come to prefer
   the quiet
   the slow
   the calm.
i believe in the movement,
most days.
the wonderful let down
reminds me
of my place.
and repeat.

a personal preference

smart phones weren't smart enough when i was in high school to be much of a distraction.  if a cell phone rang in class, it was because a friend was trying to prank you.  my parents were the only other people who would have called me.  now of course, cell phones don't ring anyways. at least, not because of an incoming call.
in college, i truly learned the beauty of wireless internet.  now, i have little patience for slow web browsing.  this is my legal pad or sorts.  yet, im no wendell berry.  i enjoy electricity too much to follow through with any conviction or sacrifice.
im not much of a rule follower; nor much of a rebel.  my interpersonal relations with authority are just as jumbled as yours.  so this is not my exception to the rule.  but i think this moment allows for my honesty.
my behavior indicates that i think you are wrong; and i am right.  for years i supported my position in quiet giving little objection.  maybe it was right for you, and different for me.  most recent…


the achiever
must do well.
late nights,
long mornings.
entire days
spent in hustle.
tunnel vision.
ambitious to learn,
or fear of failure?


i have a dream

i have a dream- an awake dream.  i have it most mornings as i back out of my parking space and head off.  in this vision, i knock into the car behind me that belongs to one of my many neighbors.  what follows in the dream, is a linear sequence of events in which my relationship with my neighbor self destructs.  i  move, and he in turn unfriends me on facebook.

today, i find myself in closer proximity to children than previous life stages. somewhat naturally right? well, one thing that i am beginning to notice, is how creative these little collections of cells are.  they seem to always dream-awake.  the intuition of my two year old nephew regularly exceeds my rational expectations for him.  his energy rivals chernobyl.  his playfulness- instinctual.

mlk jr had a dream- an awake dream.  he may or may not have worded it that way.  part of what separates his dream from mine is not only liberation, but imagination.  he named the darkness in a sea of seeming white.  it was child-like creati…

near 26th and ethel ave

as a kid, i remember running around our 2 acre yard with sticks, building forts and throwing rocks.  my brothers and i would ride down our drive way in a make shift box car (which was really the cart we used for our trash cans).  i remember being dirty and hot.

lately, i've been finishing my runs by jumping into the apartment pool- i know it's gross.  recently, i climbed out of the pool and caught a glimpse of the treadmill just inside the fitness center.

when i was in seminary, my more enlightening moments were actually on craig's front porch.  sitting in a wooden chair that leaned too far back, we (a relatively exclusive hodgepodge of hippies) watched the local fanfare roll by.  here, i learned to do all things you're supposed to do in seminary- an education indeed.

my "american dream" is to have a wooden back porch, not a picket fence.

maybe you design web programs that make the world go-round.  maybe you're an artist.  maybe you have severe allergies.…

'are we there yet?'

on the way there,
   i'm anxious,
   i'm hungry.
on my way there for the first time,
   i'm intrigued as my mind fills in the blanks.
but on the way back
   on the way home again
      i count fewer houses
      i notice less.
   i inhale, or exhale, whichever.

and so if i work- hard, yet slow.
   the distance will remain,
   drive-time cannot diminish.
but the way will become

a recent road trip

my wife and i just moved from waco, texas to richmond, virginia.

we drove- two vehicles, she in her car, and i in the rental moving truck.

currently an excessive selection of memoirs and such from road trips offer fantastic reflections of what it's like to hit the open road in some capacity.  further, much of the music that i consider great, was likely written and refined on the road.  personally, i often find myself thinking about the interconnectedness of roads, highways, interstates, driveways and even sidewalks- not in a religious tone, but in a structural sense.  that's a huge construction.  its hard for me to imagine a larger, more expansive project...

instead of a poem from the trek, id like to make a confession.  "i could be a trucker."

the thickness of my beard, lacking;  my rough-neck attitude, sub-par;  my bladder, shallow.  many of my long-haul trucker archetypes do not align with the profession.  but there is something sexy about the tv show ice road tru…

for hannah

your mother's care
your father's joy.
grandparents' pride
an aunt's tears
an uncle's hopes.

life. breath.
cries for milk
a beating heart.

these gifts, eternal.
this life, spiritual.
thank you- better yet,
bless you.
i think therefore i know; i know therefore i win. my thoughts compete    with myself    with my actions    with you. always running, rarely in offseason. stop


there is a moment- some mornings.
   often fleeting,
   seldom lasting.
and just for a blink,
my mind forgets the rush.
for a breath or two,
   sipping coffee,
   pouring cereal,
i rest.
no longer in bed,
the news doesn't broadcast here.
wireless has no reception.
sit. wait. regardless.
the chaos cometh.


speeds accelerate. chaos swirls all around me. yet i am guilty, for i am at peace.
i think.


weekday mornings i dread.    my phone-alarm vibrates, and my wife roles over away from me.    i don’t want to go to work – i don’t want to study. coffee. as i shower, the grounds brew in hot water. the day ahead seems more manageable when i’m standing,    when i’m reading    when i reach my third cup. weekends I set no alarm, but i sleep no longer. i can’t.  i awake. no shower, just coffee. i sit. i enjoy, nothing.

legal pad?

in past lives, i spend a buck or two on paper- journals and such.  oddly enough, i prefer a legal pad- yellow, although white will do.  i could go on as to my developed preference... 
the following ramblings will be various excerpts from my legal pad of sorts.