Sexual Ethics

With nothing in the highest, we are gods

unto ourselves; do you know how that will go?

We are a generation without sexual ethics

and it’s been devastating to everyone I know.


“Go forth and explore!

Proudly propagate your void, with your friends

and some people who don’t know your shoe size.

Don’t worry about the wonder or the weight of power.

Nothing matters but the element of surprise.

Be unafraid to let it in!

Someone else’s anxious, greedy, steaming cauldron

will not spill as you’re knocking yours into it.

A little stain won’t kill you, and time will wash it out.

The potion smells sweet, so if you want it, brew it.

If it makes you happy!

That’s logic not undone by shame or conscience

or some religious dogma of what gives you humanity.

That’s freedom to be enslaved if you so choose

and every chance to be toy, tool, or commodity.”


But in truth we’re neither gods, beasts, nor machines.

We’re merely fragile children with more room to grow.

We are a generation needy for sexual ethics

and the healing it would do in everyone I know.

January Anniversary

For Laine and Walker, eight days till their wedding.

Family members filling up the family room, finally together.

She glances across the group with understanding peaking out,

sneaking out, and showing up in her smile.

She knows him and his habits and his way of wondering why.

She has seen him weak and worried about where he’s walking.

She was there last night.

No one like her man. Many may imagine themselves to be mighty

but he considers not his courage. Silently strong.

Lighthearted talking and loudness of laughing,

but he feels her looking, that lady he’s loving.

He knows her and her habits and that wild wandering in her.

He has seen her breaking, beaten up by bad timing.

He was there this morning.

Others audaciously offer themselves as if it were obvious

but she’s subtle. She takes seeking.

He glances back across the group and understanding glows in his gaze.

Holiday happiness and full hearts around the hearth

and a wedding waiting for one more week only.

That understanding will thrive over time, then in thirty years

–in a family room filled with old friends and new faces–

they will think back on January and be thankful for this.

What We’re Made Of

Christmas 2014: Genesis 2:7, Philippians 2:6-7

I. Physicality.
Watching a toothless child fall asleep still attached to a woman’s naked breast;
His tongue stuck to the bottom of his mouth and perpetual drool wetting his chin;
Their sweat mixing with mine in a hug that sticks us together, and the taste of salt;
Pain in the bathroom and shifting in our seats as we smell the shame of it from here;
Jesus’ stomach growling on the beach, waiting for the fish to roast, breathing in the smoke.
Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground.

II. Spirituality.
Watching a child decide to retreat from the war being mongered on the playground;
His distress as the invisible duel between his conscience and his pride starts to hurt;
A callow heart aching for love in a darkness disrupted only by a flashing cell phone light;
Early morning efforts to conduct the train of thought and launch it off the heavy ground;
Jesus’ joy when he considers God’s humility and its poetry over top our arrogant noise.
And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.

III. Humanity.
Watching embodied spirits try not to lose control at each other in an overly silent room;
The competing emotions manifested in the moving muscles and the audible breaths;
A sweaty embrace soaked through with loyalty and the smell of a friendship that understands;
The clenched hands of pain, of desire, of anger or fear, and the commonalities there;
Jesus dying slowly with forgiveness on his tongue and a bad taste in his mouth.
And the man became a living being.

I Remember You And Suddenly

Sometimes late at night my roommate goes to bed.
Still awake above her, I’m warm, safe, and well-fed;
But fears shimmy up me from my belly to my head.

They pause there long enough to make my eyes wet,
Pressing repeat on bad ideas I’d rather forget.
In the quiet dark my balancing act is quietly upset.

But I remember you and suddenly I’m less likely to cry.

Sometimes in a room full of voices I cannot be heard.
Even with my organized thoughts, no one hears a word.
Everything I’m fearing, I guess, must be absurd.

Defeat shimmies down me from my chest to my pit.
In the middle of my body I can’t shake the weight of it,
But if it shoots out of my mouth, then I’m the hypocrite.

So I remember you and suddenly I’m less likely to yell.

At times I’ve lost my cool and given up the ghost.
Grief like television keeps my mind engrossed
And blank to the world outside, to what I owe the most.

A whirlpool of introspection drags me down into
Vague trepidation towards what comes out of the blue.
Cowardly doubt rains on me and starts to soak me through.

Yet I remember you and suddenly I’m less likely to drown.

The world outside threatens to kill, infect, or maim.
The world inside me is prone to more of the same.
My silent killers are tyrant gods like money, sex, fame.

Nothing cures what ails me like the memory of you.
“In remembrance of me” does what other gods don’t do:
Takes these dying insides and gives them life anew.

So I remember you and suddenly I’m less likely to die.
I remember you and suddenly I’m more alive.

We Forgot The Morning

As sleepy, drugged, bored as we are,

we may have neglected to ponder the difference

between what we made and what made us,

between light turned on and light rising up,

between a spark in the dark and infinite sun.

Forcing the point with a floodlight,

we exchanged the golden heavens for a bulb Made In China.


The hum of the fridge and the elevator jazz band

are gradually deafening us to the distinctions

between cacophony and harmony,

between inner narrative and ads on TV,

between rivers with birds and our Nature Sounds CD.

Even when sleeping, white noise,

so that even in dreams we can’t hear ourselves think.


We forgot the stillness. We forgot the silence. We forgot the morning.

When God turns on the light will we still stay asleep?