bonus points if it’s something intangible

turn me into a metaphor

 

whisper what you see in me until it turns into something

bold and

brave and

hard to swallow

 

spin my heart on your turn of phrase—

turn your words into something

no one else could follow

 

what do I remind you of,

when you’re alone and

I pop into your brain

to say hello?

 

tell me,

so I can gasp and tell you no else has told me that

 

bonus points if it’s something intangible

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soil / soul

what do i feel when there’s nothing left to feel

what do i know for sure, for certain, for real

how do i sort

through the swirling twirling ball of emotions inside and surrounding me

 

walking in the garden in late september

i grab onto life before it goes

i feel the soil start to gasp for breath

and breath comes

 

it’s february now

and my soul gasps for breath, for anything at all

my lungs fill with the cold

harsher than any smoke they’ve known

 

they say midwinter is the worst time of year

why, out of all the seasonal options, do i feel most at home here

in the stillness and the chill

my heart feels at home in the numbness

why do we assume the hard times are also the bad times

 

walking in the garden in February

i press my ear to the soil, searching for breath or for life or for anything at all

my search comes up empty

but april will be here soon and the warmth will come back too

A Week After my Grandfather’s Passing

I don’t remember us meeting;

I guess I always knew you.

I don’t remember ever having an easy conversation with you –

I guess I never got to know you.

 

You scared me –

That’s why.

You scared me the way a mountain scares someone who wishes they could climb one but never will.

You were larger than life,

And I didn’t know how to bring you into mine.

 

I shook your hand, though.

 

You wrote so many stories down,

But I wish I’d asked you to tell me just one.

When people hear my grandpa was a writer,

They smile and say, “That’s where you get it!”

 

Is that true, Daudy?

Did you send a trickle of ink in the flow of crimson you passed to me?

Does talent fit into a Punnett square?

Were you even talented, or just determined?

 

Am I?

Is it in my genes or is it the only thing I know how to do?

Is it in my genes or is it the only way I can search for what’s missing?

Something the others seem to have already found

Something I can’t quite put my finger on

Something I can see as Black or White as you saw things

 

Your absence has been a presence in my life for my whole life.

I wish I’d written to you then,

When you could’ve written back.

 

I wonder if you’ll read what I have to say.

Mine and your heavens seem like they’ll have books in them –

Don’t they?

Maybe somehow, up there, you can read what I’ll write before I’ve written it.

Maybe we can read each other,

And talk about it,

Not just shake each other’s hands.

 

processing

My mind has been clear – clearer than before. My thoughts have been coming fast – faster than before. It’s inspiring how much you can take in from this cold, cold, world, and how much you can put out into the cold, cold, world to make it slightly warmer, if you just allow your mind to be quiet.

I’m sitting on an eastbound train, and I’m thinking about the process. How do I start a poem, how do I write a song, how do I get ideas for stories and books that one day, might be good enough for people to buy them with real money?

Often, a line will pop into my head at the most ordinary time. I’m at Whole Foods getting a little too up close and personal with the cheeses, or I’m at my desk at work getting a quote together, or, most often, I’m driving home late at night, when it pops into my head.

Then I have to decide how I want to use it. Do I want to build a poem around it? Or do I want to insert it into my current fiction project? Or do I want it to be just a line in my notes app?

The process of writing a poem is different every time, just as the inspiration is different every time.

The other night I was supernaturally healed of back pain! It was awesome. It felt almost… too easy. It felt like God truly cared about me – remembered not to forget me.

The doubts in my mind began even as thankfulness poured out of my mouth. The next morning I woke up, and I felt pain again. Not as much as I had been experiencing in days prior, but more than I felt the night before. I felt all of it leave my body. I felt it slipping up and out, in a matter of seconds!

I spent the morning grappling with God, asking questions like: “Why was I healed last night, but not now?” and saying things like: “I still trust you. What I feel now doesn’t negate what I felt last night.”

A phrase, “if I were You, I would’ve given up on me by now,” popped into my head. If I were Him, I’d be frustrated by my lack of faith. I’d have moved on by now. But He doesn’t and He won’t. Coming out of a season of the big D’s (Doubt & Depression) He’s as kind, as present, as much a Healer, as He’d be if I were coming out of a season of Peace & Praise.

This is the current progress of that one line. I might end up throwing everything away but that one line, or I might end up not even using that line. Who knows?

I’m processing; give me just a minute.

anticipation/dread

anticipation/dread

 

is it more frightening that no one has ever fully known me,

or that I can never fully know another person?

 

is it more frightening that no one has ever fully known me,

or that no one has ever fully tried?

 

is it more frightening that no one has ever fully known me,

or that I don’t fully know myself?

 

is it more frightening or exciting?

 

bb

 

(Photos are from Cy Twombly’s Fifty Days at Iliam, currently at Philadelphia Museum of Art. Specifically from the painting, Achaeans in Battle.)