Tag Archives: Christianity

Regular Poem: Oscillating

18 Jun

click, shudder, click, whir

those old oscillating fans
mesmerize hypnotize anesthetize

the dusty ancient blades revolve revolve
you push your face to the metal cage
enunciate into it
cliches and quotations and nonsense
listen and feel
cold metal against your lips
the wind in your hair
the gravel
in your augmented voice

the stenographer in you can’t help but
type on those four keys
dark blue blue light blue white
and each a different reverberation

click, shudder, click, whir

“i would but i have a prayer group”
“gross why”
“because i’m the stupid religious one of the family”

i would be more offended
without 30 grand

he leaves i stay

i flirt with the bank teller and pretend
she’s more smitten than bored

i’m too keyed up
even to listen to my audiobook

click, shudder, click, whir

“once something good
comes through

it’ll be fine you just gotta
for that something good to come through”

the guy parked next to me at quik trip
is not talking to me
he’s on his phone
but we nod at each other anyway

the words are for me
but they’re not mine

click, shudder, click, whir

the acute anxiety
tongue on metal
when the click clicks too long
the shudder shudders too much
you broke it you broke it you
click whir
back to business

click, shudder, click, whir

a long rant
typos and malopropisms and misused homophones
poorly edited passionately written

i had planned to cry in the shower
but i was doing a clay mask
and therefore

click, shudder, click, whir

when’s the next full moon
surely that
explains it

it doesn’t explain it

nothing explains it

there is no
explanation except

i’m a degenerate itinerant
and so is the moon
and so are you

we wander as we wonder
out under the sky
poor wayfaring strangers
looking for a balm in gilead

click, shudder, click, whir

it blows
this way and
that way

it blows


Regular Poem: Shame Shall Be the Promotion of Fools

28 Apr

feeling stupid
is worse than feeling guilty
but maybe it’s just
a different kind of guilt
a redirected guilt
a pervasive guilt

that both
absolves you and condemns you
is a state of being
a personality trait
instead of honest conviction

you can repent
but you’re still stupid
at the end of the day

fools despise widom and instruction
fools also
despise themselves

Regular Poem: Stagnation

15 Apr

what day is it

what year is it

it’s the same sermon series from three years ago
it’s the same me from three years ago
nodding and amening

it’s the same sermon
from six months ago
the same me saying

it’s the same
it’s different
it’s relevant
so relevant

it’s the same house
the same church
the same clothes
the same bible study
with the same middle-aged people

the same poems
different words

different cars in the driveway
different glassware in the china hutch

different coworkers
same job

a marlene dietrich movie
is always a marlene dietrich movie
she plays a different role
you still expect the legs
and she still delivers

trapped and free

it’s not a plateau
it’s a plateau
before a different
on a different mountain range

but it’s the same me

it’s a different generation
of Isrealites
worshipping different gods before
a prophet


Regular Poem: Stiff-Necked

20 Nov

It is a stiff-necked people.

I always liked the phrase
but never quite understood it.

Until my own neck became stiff
my muscles tense
pulling my ribs out of alignment.

I had always imagined the Isrealites
gazing unchangingly
at their molten idol–
just being jerks,
focused on whatever
was in front of them.

But I get it

They weren’t stiff-necked just because of that.
It was the accumulation
that made them that way.
They carried their stress in their shoulders
their trapezia, their rhomboids.

They were stiff-necked
stubborn and proud
but probably also
after years of wandering and waiting.

You delivered me from bondage in Egypt
just to murder me in the wilderness.

I’ve seen the manna,
the magical, the miraculous.

And yet here I am
begging for a golden calf.

It is a stiff-necked people.

It is a stiff-necked me.

I need a massage.
And to repent.

Regular Poem: It’s Always Rosebushes

3 Oct

my stance on rosebushes
(to recap: fuck them;
they’re the worst)

is well-documented

consider then
my chagrin
horror even

and contemplating

that i am one
damn it

my pastor’s sermon sunday
(and you see now it’s
and i’m still thinking about it;
one or both of us
is at least doing
some t h i n g

was about change growth
(if you want to be like that
and he didn’t say the word
and i didn’t think it—
till just now)

to paraphrase

heat affects us all
(common grace, common tribulation)
and the way we respond
shows our heart
our root

are we inhabiting the parched places of the wilderness
or are we
as a tree planted by the waters

do men gather grapes of thorns
or thistles of figs

he went on to say
people don’t plant
thorny things
thorny things
spring up
from sin
from that heart of the old man
who hangs around
wolf whisting

but of course
people do plant rose bushes
pretty flowers ugly thorns
vines and vines and vines
horrible and intricate and beautiful

the roots are long and sturdy
difficult to disrupt
you dig and dig
and sweat and sweat

and from that root
comes great and terrible

you deadhead
you prune

and still
it’s both flowers and thorns
and still
a hearty rosebush
is the only discernible t h i n g

i ought not
have these thorns
i ought to be a mum or pansy

but here i am
this rosebush

heart divided
heat and rain encouraging
both flower and thorn

Regular Poem: Self-Help

23 Apr

not even that
i don’t believe it
coming from myself
but i can’t even make myself say it
to myself

i’ll say it
to you
or to her
or to him

you’re valuable
tomorrow’s a new day
you can do this

i’ll say it
to anyone
and mean it

but the words
in my own throat
to my own self
and turn into

you’re valuable-ish
tomorrow’s the same day
you could do this if

i can
look in the mirror
and say
you’re pretty

but that’s almost always followed by
beauty is passing
and charm is deceitful
a woman who fears the lord

let me be a woman who fears the Lord
make me a woman who fears the Lord
change my heart and
change my mind and
change my thinking and
turn and face the strange

Regular Poem: if i die young

7 Feb

if i die young
don’t bother
with the satin and roses
just set me up with
one of those
$599 cremations
they advertise on billboards on the highway
put my ashes
in a cigar box
and my dad will place it
lovingly on his tv stand
right next to the ashes of his dog
who died quietly at 17
right on the living room floor
just gasped and died
and probably whispered
the rest is silence
in his dog language

i will have of course said
what is done cannot be undone to bed to bed to bed
or hopefully
father into thy hands i commend my spirit
but either way
it will have been finished

(i would prefer
of course
to have my body donated
give my myopic eyes
to some sap worse off than me
they’re pretty
at least
but mostly useless
[i won’t draw too many parallels
until maybe when i do
later in this poem]
my heart and lungs and kidneys and liver
ought to be all right
not great perhaps
but better than nothing
what other transplants do they even do
skin for burn victims maybe
i’ve got a lot of scars
and i sunburn easily
but like i said
better than nothing
and the leftovers
to a medical school
or something
pump that stuff in my veins
to keep them from collapsing as
scalpels pierce and peruse them
most of the bodies they get
for things like that
are old
nothing’s wrong with an old body
but variety is nice

i just don’t think my dad
would abide that
he’d want me next to oscar
so i can watch ncis with him
on tuesdays

of course there are also
other people
who might lobby hard
for an embalming
put me in a blazer with a brooch
red lipstick
so they can see the wax sculpture
that might’ve been
if i’d gotten famous

but dad would be bankrolling the thing
so cigar box
it is)

someone please
finish my vampire novel
i had an outline to follow
and praise my genius
(and don’t you even dare
add a romantic subplot)

remember that genius
and forget my faults
like most of my life

and remember only
that i was faithful

i was
a gossip and a drunk
almost totally worthless

use my credit union savings
to pay off my convertible and credit cards
write a terse obit
that makes me sound glamorous and eccentric

depending on circumstances
the cops might be involved
and uncover some weird stuff
(nothing too weird
but you know
don’t be alarmed if they do)
but forget that too

the best
version of me
and imagine it all
in that cigar box
which is like
exactly the size
for the best parts of me

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