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?

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A Hymn

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder

Consider all the ways I screw it up and let you down

All the times I kill my joy and rob your storehouse

All the days I lag behind and come home empty

Then sings my soul, how great you are.

O Lord my God, when I in painful moments

Take time to think back on the things I could have done

The thousand days of giving up your graces

The lazy nights of overfeeding all my faces

Then sings my soul, how good you are.

O good God, though my strings are un-tuned,

And my rhymes can feel a bit forced,

And my meter is stubbornly off,

I’m a hymn you’re composing:

Derived from theology

Mixed with my psychology,

Writ in profound honesty,

Leading to doxology.

Amarga

She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi (pleasant); call me Mara (bitter), for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.” Ruth 1:20

You were born

because they put nothing on

when they tried to force their dolor into each other.

You grew up

because what else to do

when receiving just enough aceite to keep the cogs turning.

You laid down

because he made it happen

for himself even though it split you open like a coco.

You made eyes

because what else to offer

when that is all they’ve ever wanted and tienes hambre.

 

Amarga, bitter at the world, bitter at me,

bitter at the men, bitter at your mom.

Dulce, could you ever change your name?

Will my good Lord ever sweeten up your taste?

 

She’ll be born

because your flesh was naked

though you yourself were covered inches-thick by muros.

She’ll grow up

because what else to do

when you brought her into this relajo and can’t blame her for it.

She’ll lay down

because you will lay her down

so she sleeps in peace and bathes in prayers and knows amor.

She’ll make eyes

because she is a playful child

and knows nothing else but hugs and games and confianza.

 

Amarga, bitter at the world, bitter at me,

bitter at the men, bitter at your mom.

Dulce, could you try to change her name?

Will my good Lord sweeten you up, just for her sake?

And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name… Revelation 2:17

O My People

O my people
         Perdida mi gente
What’s happening to us?
                    ¿Qué pasa por aquí?
Insight escapes me
                    La luz se me va
But know that I love you
                    Me muero por ti

O my bloodline
                    La sangre nuestra
Do you still feel the pulsing?
                    Palpitante en el barrio
The rhythm is slipping
                    Vestida en rojita
We’re skipping some beats
                    Se derrama en el suelo

O family! children!
                    Los niños y padres
Are we happy, so far?
                    ¿Así lo haremos?
I’m carrying your faces
                    Me tienen abrumada
The distance destroys me
                    Por la culpa que tenemos

O people! O loved ones!
                    ¡Dios mío! ¡Mi gente!
The money and autonomy
                    La locura que buscamos
Are nothing and nowhere
                    Nos esquiva para siempre
Let’s just go home together
                    A la casa ya nos vamos

Malnutritioned Heart

To the many hurting children I know, love, dream about, and long to see again in Honduras.
El Día Del Niño, 2013.

I’d rustle you up a hot plate of the food you love

that fills you up to bursting

if you would just come over for a bit.

I’d print you a hundred photos of how wonderful the world is

enough to spend all afternoon examining

if you would stop tearing them up.

I would treat all the wounds on your small sinewed body

with gentleness and comforting laughter

if you would pull up your sleeve and point to where it hurts.

If you would whisper to me your nightmares

without lying about how your sun rose

I would whisper to you how beautiful the moon was in your window.

Dear one, child with a malnutritioned heart,

I tell you about love and forgiveness at every chance I get

and you pfff and pshh, not quite at me, but at the thought

of being pardoned,

of being full.

First Names

After I looked you in the eye that first time,
When I stated my mantra, and parroted my lines,
And asked for your name, and forgot it moments later,
I realized I had sinned against both you and your Maker,
Who remembers your first name and never forgets.

After I looked you in the eye that second time,
At a gathering composed of your acquaintances and mine,
I wondered to myself where your line of vision had been,
Where it had elected to go and where it had gone at God’s whim.
Is not he who formed the eye quite able to see?

When the third occasion of our eyes meeting happened,
I felt myself to have a smaller soul than I’d imagined.
A world of a person had three times come before me:
A living creature, a sacred image, a breathing history,
Eyes I can see into, and a hand I can hold.

I’m told there’s a gathering or some event next week.
For a fourth time I will look into your eyes, and see
The windows to the human soul that’s standing there,
With all that has come in and out, the wants, the cares.
Again I’ll see your eyes, and I will want to peek behind them.

And I will look at them with love, and without pretense,
And I will speak your given name with proper reverence,
And I will plead the God of First Names give you mercy,
And he will tell you his first name, and then his story.

…God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” …And [God] said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Exodus 3:4-6

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” John 20:16

The Triumph Of The Meek

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

The triumph of the meek will be
Loud. Crowds of complex hearts pulled
Out of dying chests, vests of steel thrown off, melted
Down and welded into cymbals and trombones.
The groans and creaks of grief will cease;
The pains and aches of age will fade;
Instead, the heads of gray will raise,
Amazed.

Meanwhile, my tongue is fire, eager to
Burn, yearning to inflame the anger I suppress
Unless a wafting wind, incendiary, wins, and
My fire-tongue levels the house. The sounds
Of burning dreams are screamed complaints.
Yet saints who keep meek seep love to me
And the lowly-hearted man still holds my hand
In hand.

The blessed state of being will be
Shown, owned up by all. The fault is in our game,
For remedying shame means meekness,
Salving jealous anger, weakness.
Pull a heart from a dead chest: the surest
Way to save a life. Knife in a surgeon’s hand is safest.
So the triumph of the silent will be violently boisterous:
Joyous.

It Would Be Nice, It Would Be Nothing

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. Hebrews 13:3 (KJV)
It would be nice to live as if you don’t exist.
My brain dislikes your constant presence
– watching, waiting, staring with your big eyes –
I have never been alone since the first time I met you
and you stared at me, unembarrassed, while I
shifted my weight and flitted my gaze
between you and the wall behind you.

It would be nice to live as if pain could not be felt.
All human creatures could sleep the night
without waking up, short-breathed, palms imprinted
from fingernails pressing harder, harder.
My palms dislike your presence in my dreams.
I could dream of weddings and beaches all night
without your eyes arriving to spoil my fun.

It would be nice to live as if death is a joke.
“Grandpa played a trick on you! He’s only gone to
France. Silly, did you think it all was real?”
I could forget the dead-line of my life
and yours and his and hers and just unwind
and say, “We’ve got all kinds of time.”
But I’m a Friday and my Monday’s coming soon.

It would be nice to live without this Spirit in me.
Just me, myself, and I: we could be happy
with nothing but our status quo. Yet,
I’m told I’ve died with violence to the world
– to it I am a corpse that’s five years gone.
I am alive to Someone I have yet to meet
named “Suffering Slave” and “Lamb That’s Been Slain.”

It would be nice to live as if this were not so,
as if these were not His names.
Perhaps then I could forget your big eyes, too.
I could be alone for once, for once,
without Him at my shoulder and you at my feet:
all alone, with nothing but niceness to think of.
It would be nice. It would be nothing.

Waiting

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning. Psalm 130:5-6
I’m waiting:
waiting for freedom, for a spectacular burst.
I’ll know its appearing, though all I know now is the thirst.
Just a distant echo now, but how could not the symphony be grand?

Yes, I keep on waiting:
waiting for a new dream, a new higher plane.
My ladder is too short, my imagination too small, too sane,
but I’ve craned my neck way back and far outstretched my hand.

I’m waiting; I’m anticipating.
Who wants to know why? Who can say how long?
I wait for you. Exhausted, but still I’ll go on singing your song:
“Faint not. I come! like rest to a body, like voice for a melody, like rain for dry land.”

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22:20

Lead Me To The Rock

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

I’ve been mountain climbing desperately;
out of breath, building stairs of stones to nowhere,
ebenezers to my neediness.
Like Moses you gave me a glimpse of what will be,
what should be, what must be. I ache for the promised land, Lord,

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

I want to bring the ark, I want to lead the band,
I want to build your name a temple with my hands,
in doing so I disregard your explicit commands
if you are not the rock upon which my feet are standing,
upon which my handiwork is built. My God,

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

You have made the point well:
a shaking is coming that will show what stones are sturdy,
a fire that will prove what wheat is worthy.
Anything I build not built on you will fall, I know.
You are the sole foundation, security, and hope.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Mountain climbing is irrelevant: stair-stepping,
rule-keeping, crowd-pleasing, all is vanity without you.
You save, and you justify, so I praise, and I glorify,
and it comes down to: I believe this work is worth it
because you are God, and you are good.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

…and that rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:4