Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Philosophy 1307

I am learning to think in the abstract,
in questions of logic and virtue--
We, the heirs of the Enlightenment,
forsook our romantic grandparents' legacy
of adventure and emotion
for the uncertainty of the great unknown of reason.

The professors, in their square-shouldered,
shirt-and-tie rhetoric,
tell us of history and ideas and facts,
but it is up to our poor brains
(not even two decades old, but
far enough from our innocence to have forgotten
our wonder...)
to mesh truth together into the mystery of life and language.

And in our feeble knowledge
all we know to do is choose between a and be
and stay confined to our small
bubbles that we can fill in with the smallest points
instead of pondering beauty
line by perilous, ponderous line.

Friday, September 24, 2004

the family tree of knowledge

I come from a country across the sea,
Split in half by wars and tanks and philosophy,
A place that remains to me a mystery
Except for what the printed page would tell me,
But there I have a mother, father, family;
Here I have a confused identity--

For Texas, Missouri, Korea formed by identity,
Two nations, cultures separated by a sea,
Two mothers, two fathers, yes, but one family,
And sitting here hearing of the philosophy
Of my old home that doesn't belong to me,
It opens up my box of mystery

To the greater meaning, the global mystery
Of who and what and where makes identity.
My history is only part of me;
I am as small and yet as vast as the great sea
That I span within my story, East and West philosophy.
Is it maybe true that we, this family

Called the human race, this great global family
Is united by our own story, the tremendous mystery
Of guilt and shame and grace--a philosophy
Of broken man, whose sole identity
is wrapped up in himself, the darkened sea
of pride: "It's all about me!"

we cry, and now it seems to me
that we from this bloody, wandering family
are all drowning in the bloody sea
of disbelief in who we are, in the mystery
that we all want to know, and put our identity
in; we hope in our collective ideas and philosophy.

so for now, i'm adopting a new philosophy:
beneath the sky, that dwarfs you and them and me,
we all hold the collective identity
of people who need love, hope, family,
and instead of answers, the mystery
that would drown us in its blank and raging sea...

you and me, on both sides of this sea,
seek (in vain) our identity in the holy mystery
of the ever-changing philosophy of the fallen family.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

liturgy and legacy

and now, on hearing grace, lift up your hreats
unto the Lord, whose love extends to you,
for none from Him can tear your soul apart;
so with me come and praise the One that through
His body and His blood has brought us near
to God. Come and partake of this great feast
of bread and wine; come now, for He is here,
and He calls forth the greatest and the least.
come now, and in your outstretched hands receive
the blessing of the Lord--in peace and love
go forth to serve, to live, to learn; believe
in His great word, and set your eyes above.
the gospel carry to their darkened eyes,
that He may give them sight, call them to rise.

Grace notes.

It's a sonic expression
Of one human being's soul
That brings people together
In a fellowship of rhythm
And rhyme and melody
And somehow something
So intensely personal
Resonates with others
This language of
Eighth notes and sharps and flats
Fills our ears and haunts our hearts
Like benevolent healing ghosts
Of the present and past
The fury of passion in thirds and fourths

Friday, September 17, 2004

An argument against horoscopes

Tonight, I wanted to go out and gaze
At those little diamonds in the velvet sky,
The watchers of the purple-grey evening,
The ladies-in-waiting of the inconstant moon,
The celestial disco ball’s thousand points of light,
Those heavenly messengers we call the stars,

Because some say that we get our futures from the stars,
That they’re the rulers of our fate, and we can gaze
Deeply into their white-eyed faces full of light
And find our names written on the parchment sky,
And next to them, the inkwell of the moon,
But I’m finding that hard to believe this evening.

You see, every single humid summer evening,
When I would lie on my back beneath the stars,
Seeing only by the wintry glow of the pale moon,
I would stare at them, and they’d return my gaze
As if to say, “You can only read a portion of this sky,
This black page on which the ink is light,

But you, with heavy soul that longs for that feather-light
State, will never see the whole picture—only the evening
Twilight do you know, because you are small and the sky
Is deeper and grander than you know, and we, the stars
Don’t even know anything beyond our own gaze,
Because all we have is the light of a moon

That is only a reflective surface—we see by the moon
As through a mirror darkly. If we, then, the light
By which you see have only a longing gaze
For a larger context, how can you, child of the evening
Dusk, put hope in us, the dying, fading, white-hot stars
To tell a future when all we know is our own patch of the sky?”

And so I drive beyond the deafening city that veils the sky
With its smoke and neon, and beneath the moon
I wander to a place where those distant, winking stars
Smile down on me, and their little candles of light
Flicker at me, and somehow this August evening
Their smallness, and their numbers make me gaze

At a sky that blankets the earth and cradles the moon,
Making me small beneath the stars and their eternal gaze.
This humid summer evening, all I need to know is light.

To the muse

speak to me muse
preach to me the gospel of beauty

i've got all these stories pent
up inside me that i don't have the words to tell
songs that have no words
just the tones of the groanings of my soul
i have no voice except the small cry
of a messenger from the outside in the desert of the real

stop evading me
before i have to chase you down
with the net of myself and capture
you, the angel of a butterful that
flutters in the wind of my imagination
between nature and supernature

speak, muse, the story of our existence
the beauty of the tragedy of the human heart
the divine comedy of our history
for i have no words except what you give me

Sonnet to Sister Earth

If you, within your veil of clouds like grey
That shroud your lovely form in gauzy breath,
Still think on me in all your bleak array;
If you remember me, though I through Death
Have entered into mysteries unknown--
Will you, oh bittersweet and wounded Earth
Bring forth the seeds of legacy I've sown
To grow and thrive, a new uncertain birth
Of my own thought in those I leave below,
My sister Earth, my fellow fallen one?
For I return to you--my flesh shall know
Your womb's strong darkness when my sands have run.
But I myself, my own immortal soul
Shall exit time and space and be made whole.

communion

bleed
Your words you cry
in anguish and sorrow
and they flow from your
wounded heart
like the blood that pours
crimson from every
wound we have caused you

and you bleed
your love all over us
your life the sweetest wine
for us to drink and remember
and not forget you

breathe
your lungs barely filling
with the conscious oxygen
of this world you invaded
and created
as you push towards heaven
from the nails rubbing against
flesh and earth and time

and you breathe
your word from cracking lips
the air we inhale
and exhale as cursing men
and praising you

break
your body shattered
by the wrath of heaven
and the evil of man
this vessel pouring out
a sweet and costly fragrance
before your burial

and you break
your heart into pieces
for us, this bread that
gives us life even when
we don't feel satisfied

and can it be
that we should gain
a vintage a feast
a new atmosphere to breathe

amazing love
how can it be
that you, my God
would die for me?

driving outside waco

To drive beyond these city lights
To the middle of nowhere
To see the diamonds in the deep dark
Of the depths above
And realize...

I move through time
Like a woman whose lungs
Are filled with the conscious oxygen
Of an early April evening
Whose feet would dance
To the beat of a subconscious music
That resonates in these fields
And in the bricks that surround me

To mourn this day's passing
To the edge of eternity
To slip away into memories and brain cells
Of the depths inside
And to know

He wouldn't change even
If he were compelled
And his worth isn't
Found in me.

It is Well.

His words all hit me like bad cliches,
Variations on a theme that I've heard played
Too many times by those more skilled than
This, someone trying to reduce the meaning
Of mystery to an easy-to-digest placebo for me
To swallow, attempting to play head games with my heart
That's in need of much stronger medicine...

It's not his fault. I blame the ones that
Failed to tell him that no sackful of sugary phrases
Can nourish someone who's starving for something
A little warmer, a little stronger, a little more bitter.
All of his "Things'll be better" and "Look on the bright side"
Spoonfuls go down like syrupy razor blades.

He asks me if it is well with me,
Looks into my eyes to see into my thoughts;
All I can do is stare at the blood on my hands
And my own dead body on the floor
And whisper, "It is well with my soul."

Thoughts for a Thousand Miles

tasting the sweetest sour wine
that hits and burns your throat and heart
and you lick your honey lips
and say, "is there anything more than this?"
in the summer of your discontent

seeing a passionate revelation
of a one-song glory that doesn't mention you
while angels cry out holy holy holy
with tongues of fire in six-part harmony
and you counter that you still
haven't found what you're looking for

living a lie to yourself just like
you lied to everyone else you loved
and hated in a paradox
like God like her like him
all these prodigal sons and daughters
and the gracious father as well

saying all these words that come
from your head and not your heart
the conscious oxygen that fills your lungs
but doesn't dare your muscles to move
and raise a clenched fist to the sky
to be held and filled by someone else

Jabez on death row

Yeah, so I said "Bless me indeed"
A few sentences in a long string of names
Now I'm just a number in a nameless world
Because of something I may or may not have done

My territory's been expanded
To a twelve by twelve box with a hole in the door
But my name's on the front page
And on the bestseller list
So I suppose that counts for something

So much for the "keep me from evil" bit

I've had years to think
Years to pray years to ponder
Years to attempt to remember where I went wrong
I suppose my mother named me well

In a matter of hours
Despite the attorney's pleas
They'll put poison in my bloodstream
And my spirit will be free from this prison

So I suppose my prayer will truly be answered.

Ashes to Ashes

I am poured through the hands of time
Leaving a scarlet stain that cannot be removed

This, my indelible mark that stays behind
Visible, even after I fall to the ground and

Soak into the earth and color it, too
While I turn into the mud that dries

Into ash and dust like the first
Two offerings of wine and blood and flesh

Poured out burned up sacrifices
On the altar of lesser things to an angry god

And the smoke rises to the heavens
Burning the eyes of the One whose offering is still fragrant

Writer's Block

I want to write you a song
I want to give you the melody the angels sing
And join in with my own harmony
To sing over you in the middle of your dark night
To get stuck in your head when you've forgotten me

I want to write you the words
That my very soul cries out inside my always-crashing mind
The expressions of a fallen saint
The confessions of a broken-down woman
As a token penny for your own shy thoughts

But these are not mine to give you
So I burn them as my incense
In this inner sanctuary of my heart
So God can sing His song to you instead
Which is the far better thing... the healing

To Fly Away...

when all around has fallen
tears become stars to wish upon
for someone to love the angels
that weep in the heavens
for all of earth's heartache

when grief becomes a companion
and death seems to be an everyday face
answers come slowly and questions come fast
and a mourning generation
can never let go of the pain

is this where we all belong
among the depths of sin that slowly kill us
no, say the heavens as God cries too
no, says the earth as the sky caves in
and nightmares become reality

there's something beyond these walls...

(Twenty-Nine)

This morning I woke up with this aching in my chest
And the rain outside my window found its way into my head
And today it's like I've slowly lost my grip on everything
Except a shattered soul and this song for me to sing
So as night turns into day and all my dreams fly away
There's nothing left for me except to give it up and say
That all I know is that I need you here with me

If hope's springing eternal in the soul of every man
Then tell that to my broken heart so it will understand
And it's almost like I'm living inside someone else's dreams
In a world so full of lies that nothing's ever as it seems
So as day turns into night and my sanity takes flight
There's nothing left for us except this clarity of sight
And all I know is that I need you here with me

And all that's left of yesterday
Is draining all our breath away
Tomorrow's still another day
But this is not a place where I can say

Tonight your name was written in the glory of the sky
And all that we can do is close our eyes and wonder why
The sun will also rise to hide the beauty of the stars
And its burning light illuminates the beauty of our scars
And as life gets rearranged, it's feeling rather strange
To stand here on the sidelines while I'm screaming out your name
And all that's left are all my memories here with me...

Venus is Sinking

and for all these forty nights we've been floating adrift
out on the sea of our loneliness
you're always right in front of my face
yet your hands are just beyond my grasp
because it always seems that we're drifting apart

and venus is sinking to the bottomless depths
along with all our past, our present, our future
and the crash that left us stranded in this wasteland
still burns to ash and dust inside my head
will we ever be found...will we ever be known again

and all this time i still see it in your eyes
do you see in mine the dying spark of a slowly-drowning love?
yet all this time i feel like i'm losing my grip on reality
like we're losing our hope in the depths of the sea
so we slip quietly into the salty deep...

Valediction for Mourning and Joy

here we stand with life and death in hand,
and both seem like rather attractive choices.
i can hear your heart beating in your throat
like the sound of some distant angel’s footsteps,
and your internal weeping haunts me with each breath we take.

it seems like we’re all awake inside our dreams,
lost in a world full of wonder and terror and horrific beauty,
still trying to hold on to everything
and to retain our composure while all that’s broken
is carefully pieced together with the grace of God

underneath these stars it seems like a good day to be alive
underneath the sun I’m reminded that we all must die

hold my hand and we can hold up each other’s weary souls
and long to breathe in deep this life that comes only in death;
so before the night comes, my friend, my love,
let me say what i always meant to say, but couldn’t:
that i love you with a heart that belongs to another…

High School Dance

Tonight, we float, we walk on air.
Tonight, we dance among the stars
In the reds and blues and blacks and whites of our youth,
The colors that define each moment that we live.
The music can't drown out the laughter of friends
Or the heartache of loneliness...

The frailty of our days
And the beauty in our brokenness
Will meet tonight in one last moment,
And when, tonight, we say goodbye
I will have you in my dreams.

Benediction

Beautiful...your very words are beautiful...
I hear your barely discernible prayers
Pass over your lips like a woman in a ballgown,
Graceful and hushed.
Your eyes are those of a man
That has seen the very face of Christ,
That has fallen down at His feet and wept.

You are a poet, a prophet, a warrior;
You fight for the truth with passion and a gentle heart.
You can sing while you wield your sword in battle.
And I can see your scars...your pain
Is still revealed in your eyes, but you are
Being healed day by day, even as you
Fall away from me and this world.

And though you don't believe it, I still
Find you beautiful with a tragic and glorious beauty,
And when our feet must take different paths
I will not have the strength to say goodbye,
But rather that I will hold you in my heart
And will have a place for you until we meet
In that city where there are no more goodbyes...

The Marriage of the King

"My heart is stirred by a noble theme
As I recite my verses for the king;
My tongue is the pen of a skillful writer."*

This earth-defining beauty in the sun's
Bright golden diadem of light, and this,
The fair beam from the face of Lady Moon,
Whereas she smiles upon her realm of night,
As angels and the faeries of old myth
Dance with the stars to celebrate, rejoice
For the coming of their King, with honeyed voice:
This is the feast of marriage, for the bride and Bridegroom.

Behold, they come quickly, she who is more
Radiant than the moon, with a pure and holy glow,
Shining in her milk-white robes, her wounds now healed,
And he, still brighter than the sun,
Coming with a consuming fire and a tender wrath,
But his wounds still remain.

The men of old are gathered here this eve:
Prophets with a blaze within their eyes are here to praise
This union; most reverent priests burn the
Fragrant incense of a passionate love;
Kings from nations far and near pay homage
To this, the King of kings and his most lovely queen.

The nations are gathered; the judgment and wrath
Has passed, and we all now rejoice for the day
Of this most holy union of the mortal and immortal,
The tragic loveliness of a joyful Man of sorrows
And the purity of a harlot now made His chosen bride.

*Psalm 45:1

Sestina #1

I wish you knew how deep
I fell into this dark secret
that I recognize quickly as my love
for you, someone who held my hand
when I thought I was dying
from drowning in the rain.

These tears of ours like winter rain,
they fall and make the rivers deep,
and all the flowers are dying
because they're all drowning in secret,
awaiting someone's gentle hand
to pull them up with forceful love.

And you, the one who's still afraid of love,
can never tell that in your rain
I watched you reach a desperate hand
to heaven, where the river is deep
and there exists no secret,
when you saw all the living dying...

but now my heart is dying
because you're leaving me, my love...
your deeds that were done in secret
are washed away in December's rain,
but you dream in a night so deep
that I can only hold your hand

and watch as your frail hand
falls quietly as you lie there dying.
Is it too late to let you know how deep
in my heart is a tender love
for you that I saw in the April rain
when I noticed in your eyes your secret--

an affection that is now not so secret?
But now I still hold your broken hand
while outside the October rain
is slowly, ever-gently dying.
Why didn't I ever let you know my love?
But we know the sleep of death is not so deep...

And so few dying understand the secret:
that blessed is the hand that holds onto love
when the rain brings floods that are so deep.

Sonnet.

When darkness hides the light upon your face,
And life's own fragile beauty breaks to me,
Will you, my only love, still bring your grace
Unto my dying breath, until I'm free?
For you have held my hand and wiped my tears;
You've sung your hopeful song when I would dance
My mournful dance; you've kissed away my fears,
And all my gloom would melt with just a glance
From your eyes glowing with a burning peace.
My love, your brokenness enthralls me still,
And still your joy infects me with its smile.
Yet heaven's glory, shining on me, will
Be more sufficient for me through these miles.
Alas, my love, I draw my dying breath,
But naught can break us now, not even death.

Paper and Glue

So you took your heart back fro me,
Took back your soul that I'd taken into mine,
Rendered the one into two.
And I guess I did the same to you,
Over specks of dust we made into universes
And dared to call them
"irreconcilable differences."

It was the way you'd stay out late,
How I kept tearing you apart with my words for it,
How you'd retaliate with your own.
It was a verbal catfight that left us both bleeding,
And if I could go back I'd find a way
To heal the wounds we made in each other.

But what's done is done,
Irreversible like death,
So you have your life and I have mine...
Unless I've got yours and you've got mine,
In which case it doesn't really matter anymore,
Because though we abandoned each other
For love of self,
We took part of each other with us.

"Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa..."

So now our kids will scream that
Today's our holiday,
But in the aftermath
I find that my world's falling gently apart...
Has yours, dear?
So I guess this is goodbye,
With no chance we can still be friends...

For Glory

Hello, goodbye to your dreams
Faith is burning out like a shooting star
Hope has packed its bag and walked out the door
And love? Well, love is all but a memory and a nightmare
And all we can do is stare at you and wonder at your helplessness
You’re a young man with very broken wings
The heights are such a long way away…

I fret
I send a messenger of my own making
To investigate you, to probe your thoughts
I grow paranoid for your safety
And try to decipher the words you’re not saying
As you sit there making a symphony of silence…

And I fall in love with your sadness
That heartbreaking look in your eyes
Tired like a wanderer condemned to earth
As you fly away from me forever…

January 8

a love song to life, sung in some
tongue foreign to me
though the words are unintelligible
the melody finds a home in my brain
and takes the chance to settle in
making hundreds of others its roommates

it's a late night, the weather ever changing,
and I share my haunted thoughts
with people warm and distant like the sun.
they are familiar, friendly, constant,
but to know them closely
would probably char my outsides.
that may not be such a bad idea.

* * *
lonely she sits having staring contests
with her own reflection
and tonight she's more alone than ever
epiphanies far behind here
nothing is novel anymore
everything aging like an epic king
while she fades away
some artist's illustration
in someone else's story

and on the other side of the wall
he stands staring at the city
and the lights indicating signs of life
while he's on the inside
trying to get out
of solitary confinement
society's prison
his private torture chamber

we're all just dying on the inside

* * *
what hope is there for the human race
other than our own ingenuity
the strength to pull the bootstraps
are there dreams of glory
is there hope of evening finally falling
something to cover our immortal mortality
everyone else is close like the stars
and intimate like strangers

and we're all just dying
we're all just falling
we're all just bleeding
we're all just dancing and weeping and laughing
we're all just going crazy on the inside
and somewhere is our only hope

Esperanza

bienvenidos a la vida
su tragedía, su dolor bella y misteriosa
la vida es una baile que rompió mi corazón,
pero ella me di una canción de alegría...

y su hermana, esperanza...
¿quién puede decir de ella?
ni bolígrafo ni lengua
tienen las palabras para describir
el poder de su risa
y la luz de su sonrisa

me daré si es necesario
pero no me olvides, mi amor
no dejes nuestra esperanza en la tierra
cuando vamos a los cielos y caemos por las estrellas

ah, mi amor...
el sangre fluye libremente de nuestras venas
en este sacrificio y regalo al cielo
esta es mi vida, esta es mi muerte
esta es nuestra resurrección...

Translated...

welcome to life
her tragedy, her beautiful and mysterious pain
life is a dance that broke my heart
but she gave me a song of joy

and her sister, hope...
who can tell of her?
neither tongue nor pen
has the words to describe
the strength of her life
and the light of her smile

i will give myself if it is necessary
but don't forget me, my love
don't leave our hope behind on the earth
when we go to the skies and fall through the stars

oh, my love,
blood flows from our veins
in this sacrifice to heaven
this is my life, this is my death
this is our resurrection

Revolutionary

I won’t go back down
To the place I just came here from;
It was the place that was slowly killing me.
And there I heard the fallen angels’ songs
That found their way
Into my mind’s ear,
And I can hear them screaming even now…
So I can’t go back anymore

Were you a clay man sleeping in the garden
And I the woman taken from near
The center of your innocence,
Would you and I have broken
The order of the universe
By following our all-deceptive hearts?

Today I think we finally escaped
From a fate of being society’s casualties,
Two notches on the guns
Of the culture wars.

And we can’t go back
To where we came from…

And I can hear the sound of a generation
Broken by the revolution
And the pain of their yesterdays
Cries aloud to the heavens that hide
The face of theos
Who rains down tears
That fall salty on the wounds
That will be slow to heal
But will tell our stories to the ones after us.

Home

There’s a place where the grass is green
And the sky is gray with the breath of the city;
Some might say this is a beautiful place to live,
As they see our sunset and our sunrise
That color the sky all orange with laughter,
And the moon aglow with a love for the sun’s smile,
And children who have not lost their wonder,
And they hear love’s glorious song
As it covers the earth.
Yes, this world is beautiful.
But some will say that this place is nothing new,
While the nations rage and rulers gather together
And the children who wonder will ask the question “why?”
Because at times it doesn’t make any sense.
This beauty drowns in the sea of creation’s groaning.

And some, the wise, understand this well:
That this world is not our home anyway.
This is but a playing field, where we make our choices.
We choose to love and grow and wonder
Or cry aloud to empty space.
A wise man once said that the wise will come as children to Him,
And He came as a child to us.
This is a temporary space we fill in the universe,
This beautiful mess, the imperfect sphere
We call home.

Tonight

Who or what--can anything
Cure this immortal fear
Of my own mortality?
Tonight I'm lonely, tonight I'm just a face
In a sea of faceless names,
And tonight I know I need you here with me.

How and why--for what purpose
Do I continue to write my story
That only serves as filler in your own?
And tonight I'm seeing, tonight I'm breathing
In this holistic mystery of you
While I dance my won't, I sing my can't.

And you're here with me
But you're still so far away
And all I can do is think of you tonight...

Where and when--if ever at all
Will we ever sort out
This ever-ending mess?
Tonight I'm finding my way
Through this labyrinth of you and me and her and him
While we're all still waiting here...

Mix CD

First is the song about the girl
Who looks in the mirror and doesn't see
Anything of worth except the soul
That looks back at her in the eye.
No more innocence for her,
Even though the world might call her pure,
But she's given away her heart to everyone that passes by.

Next is the tune about the carefree days
In the summer sun, the one you could dance to
Or listen to on the road with the windows rolled down
And the breeze gently tousling your hair.
It's a song about young love and good friends
And gives you the feeling that life won't ever end.

The one after that is the one someone wrote
With a broken heart, in a minor key
When they were drunk with their own despair.
Still...there's a thread of hope that weaves its way
Through the fabric of the poet's mournful melody.

Track 4 is the simple tune that makes you think,
That makes you want to weep and laugh at the same time.
It's a song about leaving your past behind,
Moving on, letting your wounds heal
And not remembering the pain.

And the soundtrack plays on into the night,
Put on repeat for you to listen to and let it fade into the back of your head,
So when you walk away it never quite leaves you,
But settles into your subconscious and only waltzes into your memory
When you let it...

Revision #1

There are days that tempt me
To let you conquer my heart again,
But days like these produce the tragic heroine
And the everyone's-heard-it unrequited love song
(Kind of like this one).

Our words and thoughts still stay inside our heads,
Unwilling to be exchanged.
A casual glance, a witty remark,
But not much espresso for the soul passes over our lips
Since I walked back through your door.
(What are we afraid of?)

Pen slow dances on a paper stage
Leaves behind the footprints of the thoughts
You couldn't read inside my head,
And deny yourself on pages
Even while you make a life for yourself.
(And we're still dreaming.)

You're not the god I thought you were--
You're not my kingdom come, not my knight in shining armor;
You're just an old friend in jeans and t-shirt
Whose love and poems are given to another.
(Is that still a lie?)

And the end's a long way off
But we're always wishing it would come sooner
So we find our way separately
With our same old song still playing in the background
(And I still hear you sing it...)

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Jeremiah

When children receive death as their inheritance
From parents who went gentle into that dark night
When the Mercedes Benz goes 40
Past the man holding the cardboard sign
When the people on Sunday stream out
Of brick buildings and backstab and lie
When the universities teach that we are
But accidents and nothingness
When the pop culture blue screen
Tells us we just have to look better

I'm only more aware of my own hardened heart
And cry again, "Come, Lord Jesus."

Front Page of the Mourning News

read your name in the paper today,
saw your sad eyes on the front page,
and the headline said, "life is a bad dream."
but to me, honey, that's no new news--
between the black and white print,
our moods fade into shades of grey,

and the sky has veiled her face with a sheet of grey,
while her tears are the forecast for today;
i'll take her portrait and make a print
and paste it on this scrapbook page
to remember your eyes and this sad news
that suspended my soul like in nightmares and dreams.

yes, and i know your bittersweet dream,
stored now only in your soul and matter grey;
when you heard the breaking news,
did you know, did you think of where you'd be today?
did you feel the flaming hands that turned the page?
did you, inside your dark, read the fine print

that we, with every eyelash, finger print,
strand of dna, and breath, and soul, and dream,
will fade, our stories faint on this page
all colored with green and black and brown and grey?
so where, my love, are you today?
because when i heard the news

that you were gone, the heart-breaking news
that you'd finally flown away, i read again the print
you left engraved on my heart, and today
i longed to touch your love again, but you are in that dream
that came when you "shuffled off this mortal coil" and "the grey
rain-curtain of this world passed away," and your brief page

of a life is now an earlier part of the story, a page
in the past of our collective narrative, good news
for one wh never put much stock in the grey
shadows of the present, in the large-type print
it tried to feed you, but your dream
will not die like your bones and blood did today,

but i, in print, on your tombstone grey,
will tell the news to the world today:
"on his life's page, he wrote of a glorious dream."

Dona Eis Requiem

Evergreen the trees and ever-long the days
Dying the leaves and feeble my song
Here in the heart of a country where stars
Shine like everlasting glory
Through a gauzy dark veil that covers the face of God

Beautiful the souls and corrupted the hearts
Searing the flames and glorious the streams
Where men cry out for emptied pride
And women weep for their broken wills
And sleep comes slowly to each human mystery

While the universe slowly spins
In a mournful dance of praise

And lonely the child and joyful the father
Sorrowing the teacher and rejoicing his student
For the wisdom to know that mysterium tremendum
Lies beyond these fragile walls we can't break through
The vast unknown of uncreated light

Faithful the tree and comforting the plains
Crimson the sun and silver the moon
But we're all so small in comparison to heaven's starry veil
Yet the grief and joy of the human race
Still rise like incense smoke towards the clouds

And our hearts still beat
With the broken rhythm of freedom

Morning In Houston

daylight slowly rises from behind the curtains
and she opens the eyes of the sleeping dead
to see her standing among the clouds

morning in houston, we all rise up from
our sleepy unconsciousness at the beckon
of the dawn; we awake from dreams of angels
and demons and starlight to fight off the
smog and pollution of this world full of traffic
this world to which the sun has brought illumination
this beautiful ghastly green and grey world

and we fight off our histories and our humanity
we hide, and wait for evening to come and
for the darkness to cover our hideousness
and flee from daylight knowing full well she will
be back for us, pulling away the veil of stars

and rising above our windows to dance
with the clouds and wake us sleepers from the dead

August In Everyone

when august drips through God's hands
like sand like water like fire
september's song seems so far away as to be a dream
loneliness your only companion
heartbreak drawing near, snuggling up
like a mystery to the heart of the sky

abstract thoughts and concrete words
srest in the arms of these tired cliches
when you can only speak in riddles
like rhyme like rain like love
and flying off the world is the strongest desire
you could never act upon

questions of what could have been
and answers to what you left behind
get swallowed up in the declaration of the present
like hope like presence like companionship

i will not fear the night
i will not fear the day
like children like poets like artists
i can only truly fear myself and
who you truly are
and the soul of my subconscious still longs to hear you again

The Living Room

Suzanna walks into the dusty, barren room,
Gloves in hand, imagining impending change,
Anticipating, visualizing the future--
A red couch there, a television here,
Another year with her brand new husband,
And an even newer, fragile, beautiful child.

It wasn't long ago that she herself was a child,
Embraced inside the warm and loving room
Of her mother's laughter as the husband,
Suzanna's father, caught the wind of change
And danced around the country, settling here
Inside this very house, to spend their future

Raising a son and a daughter. But all that the future
Brought to her was heartache--when she was still a child
Her mom and dad left them with a neighbor here
To go to the movies, and as they sat in the living room
Watching TV, they received a call that would change
Everything. Their parents, a wife and her husband--

Such a young couple, the barely-thirty husband
A new manager in his company, and his bright future
Dawning soon, so that everything would change,
And his beautiful wife, the mother of a brand new child,
Suzanna's kid brother Jeff--the neighbor, in the next room,
Heard the news that their mom and dad were no longer here...

And so, as she, newly married, is standing here
Inside this room, waiting for her own young husband,
Memories from inside of her soul come flood this room
And flood her eyes with tears, as plans for the future
Start colliding with the past--she's once more a child,
Barely understanding this lonely, tragic change.

Though it's been fifteen years, some things don't change,
Least of all heartache, but in this place here
She remembers, and promises her own small child
That lives inside her now, that she and her husband
Have loved for months, that his own future
Will know a mother and a father and safety in this room.