Monday, December 31, 2012

Lines from the months of this last year: January


Jesus, take me fresh, as if this were the very first time.

We played Apples to Apples, which Susanna brought, between dinner and the movie. I was Pure, Important, and Horrifying... Emily was Sweet, Trustworthy, Earthy, Brilliant, and Hopeless. Susanna was Wild, Nasty, and Smooth...
Open doors. Hold keys.
Lord, show me what to do. Help me see what is best, wisest, truest. Help me know how I can serve You. You know what I can handle. You know what is too much. And You know, best of all, how to use even the craziest things for something beautiful. I trust You.

"Be thy heart a well of love, my child,
Flowing, and free, and sure;
For a cistern of love, though undefiled,
Keeps not the spirit pure."

-George MacDonald, "Phantastes," 175

Lord, pave the way before me. I am so excited, frightened, full of desire and doubt, pride and misery. Help me simply be myself before You. You love me, Lord. Somehow.

Mom cried when I came to the table.
This morning I dreamed sweetly.
What do I hold onto too tightly?

Hurrah for Karamazov!

Could I be any stupider?

Jesus. Lord.
Forgive me. Help me see. Scrub me good.

Do I yet know myself?
Can I know that secure Always? That brilliant constancy-dynamism? Good is so much better than evil. Good provides its own action, is complete. But Good fighting evil is the clearest we know, and it feeds us...
Can Satan be so banal and clever that he can preoccupy me with an image while there is a battle going on? he has done it. So help me, God. Please help me.

Show me clearly what I should be doing, praying for, caring about.
Your Name is Righteous and Good.

Help me know Your love and and help make others more themselves.

"Highfalutin mumbo-jumbo." I believe that is what Gilbert called Anne's flowery language. I've just been trying to write poetry, and really it seems pretty useless. In a way I'm relieved, hopeful. It's funny, really.
You know, there are far too many words for cowardice, drunkenness, and prostitution.
Far too few words for the really good things.
But maybe that makes them dearer.
Jesus, teach me truth. Truth in love, in faith, in hope, in obedience. I want to come and bind myself to You and find freedom. I'm really scared to give all my cards to You. Can I trust You, really? Do You really have my best interests at heart? Are You going to make me a frumpy awkward narrowminded prude? i.e. am I going to be lonely and disliked?
Jealousy rankles in me already. So I insult.
"A life lived in fear is a life half lived."
That's a quote. It's from "Strictly Ballroom."
Yuck. I'm so fearful, Lord. I just keep thinking about the ocean and choosing to go out into the waves, trusting You (testing You? Torturing myself?) and being battered and tugged by the waves. That was almost four years ago now, and I'm still not over it. And I'm still not through with choosing to trust You, either. Laying here in bed I can easily give in to fears about being unloveable, lazy, a fake, a failure, a disappointment...
Tell me who I am. Name me.
I am so afraid of fear like that. Of crippling fear, of danger. I hate feeling like a coward.
But anger won't bring me out...
Love will.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

For Sarah, because I will miss you.

The finest things are said in confidence,
to the broom, and the rough-hewn
log, and the laundry
and the sleeping one.
Or linked arm in arm.

We leave only
layers of our decay,
the things we shed in molting,
and perfumes
of our last day waiting
when we said,
"I see you"
and we meant
"do you see, too?"

Something leapt up
when we lifted a licked finger
to the wind, let another
hour take up the spare room
we intended to save
for later.
There is always a guest, and that stranger
fixed the shingles we didn't know
were missing,
and you are a friend now.

Speak seldom
under breath; speak loud
enough to be heard across the field,

because we are listening, and the moss
is listening, and so are the books
that taught us words in the first place.

And before you leave:
forgive me
because I prayed the candles would blow out.


Press the small of my back
and out will pour ten dozen shining ants
from my nose onto the carpet, turning everything
red and diamond

tiffon, cold cooked rice and a million
numbers that are words, are memories,
are "anne is for APPLE" A
and are O U an
apology, then.

Because I do, I do,
And so do you,
and our brown looks homely,
comely, spectacularly
just so.

So humbling to be nothing
very much exciting, this is
a story.
And honey
when the sun comes through.

Ache, Panache

I am sick, I can't be trusted.
This is weariness, not bravery.
I am not long or flame
or hollyhock (thank you) vanilla.
I am almost ready to try anything
I am almost
I am green beneath the skin,
green in the neck,

Black sift, milk cloud needle
under Sand Dunes,
too soon to say it is,
it is,
it is not quite
like anything blue,
like anything that sits quiet
and I am awake.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

QU4RTETS, revisted (After Bruce Herman, T.S. Eliot)

I. Spring

We would not be young.
We would like to know,
sap cloying
to our clothes.
Sway in wind, groan
under breath.

our heads,
eight umber
tablets,    angels. 
Angels’ tablets.
I carved into the smooth
side his name as well
as mine.

II. Summer

Turn back,
come in.
Welcome into skin.
Suit us
to yourself,
Move us.

We are
kicking, flecked
with blood,
peeled wet,
clean and yet
not sanitized.
Press us with
your eyes.

III. Autumn

In fires and floods
our past is lost.
we cannot see.
We did not seal
or copy,
now they wrinkle,
flake, recede.

God forbid
we forget
these lost
and costly things,
bright as pain,
striated wine
dripping down
a tree.

IV. Winter

We have come
into ourselves
more beautifully
than bent head
under wing.
Illumined, half erased.
Past the bleached
bones already.

You wrap us in
transparent paper,
ashes. Smoke
of incense lingers.
Composed, rescinded,
stroke the loosened
skin along our fingers.

Monday, December 10, 2012


My fourth dream came this morning
with gentle rain. Green in winter,
without a name. Around a table,
we five. I remembered
every word.

A dozen people stood
below the tree and watched
a hawk tear piece from piece
another, red-breast bird. He does this
every day.

"How long will you be
with this Amateur?"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

After Sappho

You kneel at his feet, fingers
lacing his shoe strings, singing
softly. And all the air is gold
around you, you two

Your laughter is like sunlight,
poignant, painfully bright
and unselfconscious. Only I
feel it like a knife
within me.

I sense my soul recoiling
from something too warm
and not my own. My senses fade
from dreams, they are

I melt and run like snow,
dumb and acquiescent.
This is death, and better
to die leaving you
in ignorance.