Saturday, May 3, 2014


What is this concept of brokenness?
Is it a posture, a pathway, a process? 
All of the above? 

"When you tell them, you won't cry. You won't shed a tear." This is the thought you stoically rehearsed in September. "It's a testimony, not a tear jerker. You're a victor. Not a victim."

It takes you a long time to say it, because you want your voice to be as steady as possible. You take a lot of breaths in between. When the tears started to come, you looked up at the ceiling so they wouldn't spill over, you only had to wipe your nose just the once. 

Two months later, at the Mourner's Bench, a strong voice demands: "Who told you not to show emotion?!"And the tears come and flow unbidden because you know who told you. You sob uncontrollably all the way home. Distress is clear on their faces and then the obvious, inane questions come: "Are you okay?" or "Do you want to talk about it?"

"No." A stupid question deserves that sort of answer, you think. 

When you wake from the night terrors, you don't scream or cry anymore. Your roommate doesn't even stir when you jerk awake, clawing your blankets. No tears, you console yourself, and breathe deep. This time you fought back--

"As the plot thickens, so does the skin." the poet-preacher lilts his homily, "That's your pride, woundedness, secret sin." It's a message about brokenness--illustrated by Mary at the feet of Jesus, unannounced and uninvited, pouring out her costly and precious gift. 

--but somehow the dreams have become more real. You feel that heaviness upon you, even heat sometimes, shifting faces of those trusted and familiar, the stinging betrayal deep in your gut, the give of a knife as you plunge it in.

Yes, there are no tears. But there is still more anger. 

"The only way we keep a soft heart is by not being afraid to be broken." he says. 

Eight months from the beginning, you lay prostrate on your face after service. The sorrow rises from some hollow in your chest, climbs up your throat, presses into your head. Your heart feels it, recognizes it, but... if you can push it down it won't be real. It won't reach your face, won't be known, can be forgotten. 

You always make excuses, rationalize why it's an inconvenient time.

Sometimes it's self-effacing: The storm in your head will disturb the peaceful atmosphere.

Sometimes it's self-conscious: If you start you'll never stop and someone is waiting for you.

Sometimes it's selfish:  It might make you or others feel sheepish if you let that guy know how affirmed you feel by teasing bumps and nudges because it shows he knows you're delicate but not fragile.

This time it's just stilted.

So you start to work it down, swallow it. Maybe later, in the privacy of your room or the car or the bathroom...  


So you lay there a while longer--tremble. You remember suddenly the bitter waters of Marah. The Hebrew root in Mary is the same as Marah.

Recall the poet-prophet's words: "...the oil of joy for mourning..."

A memory, a vision; phials, gleaming like jewels and full of liquid light--the knowledge that the essence was once your tears.


You wrote: "I'm tired of struggling with things I was initially forced to do..."

So many places you've loosed your grip, opened your hand. But you still obey your old master.

You-know-who told you not to cry.

Bitter waters, bitter tears.

And those are the ones I take to His feet and break like the alabaster jar, inconvenient and unannounced. But it is an oil both fragrant and pleasing, however costly.

It is genuine and pure and now. It is a sob that pierces the lull of a song in a dark room full of people. Weeping your gratitude, however ridiculous. Angry tears at your friend. It is resolution. No longer bitter.

Like the tree in waters of Marah, like the cross in our lives, somehow it makes something unfit into something pure.

One month left to go... And I've only just broken the silence.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

"white and smooth"

she was made to be filled
purposed and designed
named with destiny
a vessel to house treasure and holy things

but an insidious insinuation was introduced
whispering disparagement and lechery
"not a holy vessel--a dumpster"
renamed and repurposed for this reality

so she was filled
with a vile stench; putrid fumes.
with an acrid taste; rancid spirits.
with a grievous sensation; despoiled

with a heart like a house of horror;
its walls crawling with mold,
dripping with cigarette tar,
and riddled with carved words

what of those words spoken so long ago?
and the knock she was afraid to answer...
too ashamed to open that long shadowed door
"No, it's ME! Your FATHER! Open up!"

but she'd known two fathers before
one was named Abandonment...
and the other Abuse...
what manner of man meant to greet her now?

still yet, she suffocated and suffered
until her tongue atrophied and her spirit asphyxiated
"Help me!" she choked. "HELP ME."
And HE came and carried her out of shame.
"Come to My house."

That place burned to the ground that day,
to soot on her eyelashes
and cinders in a colorless mound
"What is your name?" she asked shyly.
"It's a pleasure to make Your acquaintance, Amends."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

"The Pool of Babylon"

authored by my brother

Lost in the Pool of Babylon, 

filled with defiled bodies dead and alive.

Black skies, dark cries, light hurts your eyes,

struggling for oxygen on top with everyone else, 

dive down and you'll die.

Touch them and you'll be marked by plague.

There are only walls, there is no way out.

Don't listen to the floaters,

the environment isn't polluting the water,


They're running out of room on the surface.

They're running out of food on the surface.

Eating fetuses is the only way to solve their problems.

Don't settle for oil slicked vomit and excrement, 

clinging to cold bodies to stay afloat.

Listen closely to instruction:

there is clean water to be found, water rich with oxygen,

you just have to go deep.

"Avoid the alluring bodies, 

you'll end up a corpse.

Avoid the alluring bodies, 

you'll lose your ears and voice."

Dive deep and be filled with peace, 

in the quiet find relief.

Let the deep current sweep you to the real surface.

The Pool of Babylon is but a cave...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"when I'm with you I feel like I could die and that would be all right"

to know you
to be buried
to burn
and to drown
what is
monstrous and empty
will be made
inundated and glorious

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul"

See hope float
It is suspended in the air
Dandelion fluff, wishes,
a star, prayers
or the loose down
from your winter coat
When you fly my way
My heart takes to the skies
It nests in my throat

Friday, July 8, 2011

a tapestry of life

i'm numb
pins and needles
so sew me with sorrows
a patchwork of pain
hem me with hardship
weave my wonders and dreams
let it unfold beneath the upsets;
a taking tapestry
thread me through
with yearning for YWHW

Thursday, July 7, 2011

when will i know?

And how is maturity measured?

Is it weighed in wisdom?

Counted in the keys we keep?

Learned through love lost?

Is it in the newly known nubile?

Grasped through generations?

Summed up in scars of survival?

When will I know?