Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Your Trip to Paradise
 
I
 
At 3:00 a.m. on a black kettle night,
a yen for Paradise snaps you awake.
Rising, you pack ridiculous flimsy clothes -
shirts without sleeves,
pants without legs,
shoes without a hint of protection. 
  
You commit this crime in faith,
Commit it in passion and a kind
of boulder-hoisting desperation.
 
You carefully make your bed.
In case you don’t return, in case
Indiscriminate survivors blunder through
your private domain.
 
Bent on Paradise,
you want to leave Perdition
in an ordered state worthy of a
benevolent obituary.
 
Stepping through the door,
the night hits your face and
you take note: this is not a dream.
The sun, held back by fermented rain,
and the liquor of nocturnal recline,
shows no sign of appearing.
 
You board the metal bird in the guise
of a Boeing 747 and
close your eyes as it lifts from the sliver of earth.
 
You are not alone.
Through the square of layer glass, you see the beautiful creature,
the who of you, the yes of you,
the now and then and hope of you,


the transformed you after you accept
yourself as the soul you were
you were fashioned to be.
 
This astonishing you runs at break-neck speed.
But you are not out of breath.
Colored in twilight, your legs drum the delighted sky.
You run outside the strapped-in shell of you,
patiently waiting to make your acquaintance. 
 
Studying you, you gape amazed. 
You are ageless.
Empowered by engines not your own,
Endearing and enduring through weakness,.
through storms meant to grow you wings,
through sunflower gardens turned toward the moon,
rivers of ice flowing uphill to sky,
through yearning and angst all forgotten.
There you go, swift through trees hung fat with I-can-do-anything-leaves,
diving backwards, neck arching, legs stretching,
your toes pointed to God.
 
You are dizzy with balance, 
giddy with peace. 
Leaving a trail of shrinking lights,
you think primordial thoughts - thoughts of fire, of flood, of disarmed fate.
You are a river undamned by God. 
The current is swift, but it is not against you. 
Rejoicing and weeping,
a flock of crystal stars fly beneath you.
With wings of diamonds and bone
and feathers of colored surprise, they churn the wind for the transfiguring mill of you.    
 
 
 
II
 


For this excursion children alone are permitted to sit in exit rows. 
In case of a crash, only the children can open the doors. 
It has always been this way, but only is it safe to be one.


As a child, you behold yourself in a lime green shirt.
Or is it red?  Blue maybe?
You decide on a dotted Swiss dress with a yellow belt.
You remember bare hands, fingers dipping into a sugar bowl
and giving your tongue a treat.
Yes, the hands are small and the child is you.     


You look down. 
You want to know this two-legged shape attached to you and you to it.   
But it is not a completed you. 
Your body is merely a sentence that carries the noun of you,
You are a fabulous stuttering phrase carried by the ill-stated truth of you.
But it is never, not ever complete enough.


And now you remember your former bed, the warmth of it and 
how it felt to be in the arms of it, how it protested with your every turn
and how the covers were never exactly the weight you wanted them to be.

You remember God’s smothered voice, the feel of your hands against your ears. 
In the knowledge of the smallness of your hands you agree to stop apologizing,
to stop making excuses.

Yours is a story that keeps being written.
And not a story meant to be written alone.

In the story you wrote alone you stayed stuck behind a curious door,
afraid to try the handle, afraid to risk its turning.
But the nudge to do so insisted.   

All along you’ve questioned the nudge.

God.

God himself explains the nudge.
God himself explains your hesitation.
Your fear of the nudge has to do with God.
Only God makes sense of fear. 

In Perdition there is much to overcome, to improve,
to remodel, destroy, amend, excuse,
flatter,  impress, refute.

Paradise turns fixing obsolete.
In Paradise the water brims with tears nobody needs to cry.
And the birds?
The birds derive from angels.

The clocks are clowns and time is hour free. 
The cutting wind has dropped its blade and
grown a cotton tongue, and all the words are waterfalls and
all the dots have i’s. 

The shredding cloaks of poverty transform to gleaming gowns and broken doors
are used as boats and oars are pulled by skies.
In Paradise your questions beg and answers grow like alms.
And yes and no are Simese twins and Mondays carry songs. 

In Paradise you are who you were born to be and no one thinks to drown.

Saturday, November 30, 2013



She believed her many-headed self was proof of a scattered brain. But a scattered brain was better than a frozen brain.  Most would agree.  Being scattered trumped being frozen; it was her comfort. But she often wondered how to repair herself.  For a season she hunted for glue, for a kind of epoxy that would mend the scatters.  For a while she used only some of the fragments. That season perplexed her. 
She didn’t like the cold.  She was frightened by glaciers: Enormous blue-white citadels moving towards the sea, skyscrapers of ice bent on barely discernible progress until they reach the continent’s edge and tip inelegantly into the sea.  That is what this is all about: moving from frozen to liquid and then letting go.  Letting go was not her first choice.  Her first choice was clinging.

Letting go was slow in developing.  It is still not done.  It comes in stops and starts with sometimes dark moons and missing stars.  And sometimes the sun shines so bright she wears a blister. Thank Jesus for the Sabbath, for celebrations that include candles. Fire. Fire. Fire. She struggles with limbs and appendages. She sets her sights on what she thinks she needs and lets go all over again. She's often dizzy but not so much as she was before. She is coming to love movement and understanding her need to change.
I hope you never change, they said.
But Life said, I hope you do. I hope you keep changing. I hope you never stay the same. 
You aren’t the girl we knew, they said.
She doesn't argue but in her heart she knows she wasn't who they thought she was.  

This is a season of stepping into The Push. A season of tumbling.  Grace has her flying head over heels. She accepts the spinning. Moving keeps her warm. She's made friends with Grace and admitted she can't change. Only Grace can change her and He did and He is.  She reminds herself often: Change is good. I am not afraid of change. Stuck is what to fear. Stuck prevents change.   

Friday, November 29, 2013

When a Fireball Lands in the Middle of Your Dreams

This is what happens when the fireball in the sky lands in your dream and you have to listen to its flames and have to make sense of the blazing language that climbs up on your tongue and starts it wagging. A light gets turned on. All those dark nights turn into summer and you begin to see why the shadows confused you. The fireball doesn’t have to be enormous, it just have to be hot. Given the nature of fire you know that it is. You know it can burn you but it won’t. The fire will only burn the things that aren’t needed. Things like shame or fear or regret. Things like "I wish I had not..., I should have... I missed out on...." Once the fireball lands you’ll be like those crazy people in Acts who knew about love. You’ll stop being cold, you’ll think about winter and how it won’t ever freeze you. You’ll realize how ridiculous it is to bundle up your desire. You’ll begin to yearn and stop caring about what is missing and why you can’t have it. You’ll start telling the truth and feel the fire warm you on the inside where snow used to camp. You’ll act a little crazy when the fireball lands but it will be the kind of crazy that makes sanity jealous. People will circle around just to stay warm and you won’t run out of blankets. I think the fireball was never meant to hide in the sky. I think it was meant to hide in you and me. It was meant to cause an uproar. To wake us up. To keep us hopping. To make us lie still. To undo us, to put us back together. All of this. All of that. The whole thing is ours. Its fire and its God and it is crazy and its good and now we can fan the flames and let it burn. Good morning.