Our Love

Our kisses are not the stuff of movie magic.
Our embraces do not make heart-sick teens swoon.
Our banter will never trend #relationshipgoals.

But when you send our toddling daughter,
grinning with mischief,
into the bathroom where I’m trying
to have just one moment of privacy
(on the toilet!)
and I hear you laughing like a madman outside the door,
I know you’re really saying, “I love you.”

The fire’s no longer pulsing with the blue heat of newly ignited romance.
The fresh-felled logs of youth are drier and more brittle.
The burn is slow and perhaps
unremarkable.

But the embers are keeping.

And when I wish for the passion of a green heart unmarred
by the constancy and lunacy of such a thing as marriage,
when I yearn for the fireworks of decades past, I look
into the steady glow of our unremarkable love and find
gratitude.

For where else but within the confines of an unremarkable marriage can
a bowel movement spoiled
become a moment of sparking flame leaping
with joy, lit with magnificence against the backdrop of a starry sky?

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Note to Self

Remember to

floss daily
change the air filters
get the oil changed
make the dentist appointment (has it really been 3 years?)
drink enough water
exercise and get your steps
balance the budget
schedule the autopay
invest in retirement
give the kids enough veggies
save for the kids’ college
bathe the dog (does he need his shots?)
keep in touch with family
do the laundry/dishes/shopping
meal plan!
donate to charity
water the plants
bring the snacks
Purple day at school
buy diapers
daily devotional
make time for self-care
make time for family
make dinner
make memories
make it happen

Remember

ALL the birthdays, anniversaries, due dates, deadlines, check-ups, check-ins, check-outs, happy hours, meetings, conferences, events, what am I forgetting…

And definitely don’t forget

the sex
the 746 passwords and PINS
to be kind
be gentle
be a model for your kids
be a good parent
be a good wife
be a good daughter
be it all

But don’t be hysterical.

…and don’t snap…

Sounds of Songs

November rains bring winds swirling,
twirling yellow leaves to stick on the windshield.

Thunder grumbles on the drive,
the morning radio for once silent as we listen –

the squeak of wipers
tires wet on pavement
whirring warmth of heated air
blowing on the glass.

I see her in the rearview, sitting in her carseat
troubling with her shoes as always.

Then I hear it, the wisp of a song,
not quite a melody, not quite a hum
but more than a word, more than word!

I’ve never heard her sing before.

Composition

Hush now –
do you hear it?
There’s a melody beneath the ink.
There’s a song in your pen.

Lay out the words
but it’s only half done.
The music needs uncovering.

It dwells under your touch.
It sinks into your skin,
closer than your heart.

It’s humming up behind you.

Hush now. Be still.
Be patient.
Let it flow and
do not wait to see the notes
and fail to hear the sweetness
of chords dripping with abundant “Yes!”
to your words.

They strike your ear hard
pounding out a beat so ancient
so new
so joyful to be free of that voiceless place
where unspoken thoughts
go to die.

Change

The aged tea tastes the same
today as yesterday – with a squeeze
of honey. But the tulips
now, those are wilted.

More open, yes, but drooping,
the fresh clear water of last
week gone murky. Slimy.

I am older, happier, sadder, fatter
than this time last year. And
the day broke cold and rainy
this morning. But
the tea tastes the same.

Solus

But when we are able to recognize the poles between which we move and develop a sensitivity for this inner field of tension, then we no longer have to feel lost and can begin to discern the direction in which we want to move.” – Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out

i am alone
and yet

connected to the thread

i am mine
and yet

all creation bears my name

(as yours is imprinted upon my heart)

I stand in a crowd
of harried shoppers, solitaries
searching among racks
of half-priced post-Christmas sales –

Where is
the satisfaction of
the deep craving of
a lonely heart?

– and I consider restlessness – an ache
to attach to
a tether of goods
to consume and fill
the empty void of need.

Dreading eternal isolation, the hum
mmmmmmming louder each moment.
Retreat retreat retreating from loneliness,
companionship quiets the ever impending

-for a time-

Being with myself, I
am converted to a new way:
alone in the crowd. My
restful inner necessity has nothing to say
in this moment.
Loneliness becomes solitude
The quiet inner center need not
say a thing
but rejoices
in the unity
of the crowd.

 

 

 

 

 

Sabbath Morning

Verse 1

The morning comes on strings of light
slowly pulling ‘cross the night.
The brightening for which you’ve longed,
the music of a new day dawned.

Too long you’ve wept for broken dreams.
Nothing now is as it seems.
Aching spirit thirsts for streams
of grace to quench, cleanse, and redeem.

Chorus

‘Cuz I’m a mess and so are you.
Come lay it down and be made new.
Nothing else you have to do.
Undending love was made for you.

Verse 2

Shake the dust of sleep away.
Stand barefoot at the windowpane.
Watch the sun and sky embrace.
Allow your heart to greet the day.

Thrust upon the altar dressed
to carry all your life’s distress,
each heavy burden you possess.
Now enter into Sabbath rest.

Chorus

‘Cuz I’m a mess and so are you.
Come lay it down and be made new.
Nothing else you have to do.
Undending love was made for you.

Verse 3

You’re not alone now, look around.
Tired eyes here too abound.
Drink them in as they do you.
Fill up on love like morning dew.

The music urges you to sway,
your aching body made to play.
Thrust out the pain deeply inlaid.
And shake the lonely lies away.

Chorus

‘Cuz I’m a mess and so are you.
Come lay it down and be made new.
Nothing else you have to do.
Undending love was made for you.

Bridge

Unending love
unending love
unending love
was made for you.

Unending love
unending love
unending love
was made for you.

Conclusion

Your heart is full now but you know
that emptying’s just how it goes.
Like breath that gives us love and life,
healing all our wounds and strife.

Unending love
unending love
unending love
was made for you.

Fury

I was tricked
like so many before me
and so many to come

A kiss on the nose
a rose to placate suspicion
the beginnings of doubt

I’m not a victim.
I’m not abused.
I’m just not ready to quit
giving up and giving in

save my life

The questions, accusations, stipulations
the thrum of shots taken
on my loyalty, my truth, my love

Am I where I say I am
am who I say I am
not so sure anymore

Try harder, be better, carry the lies
question the arrogance
just not enough, never enough

I’m not a victim.
I’m not abused.
I’m just not ready to quit
giving up and giving in

save my life

Changing, reeling, yelling, loving
manipulation, capitulation, frustration
lost in the sea, no one in sight

Lines of life severed with a rusty knife
beads of blood on my throat
okay okay okay okay you’re right

Sorry sorry, dry the tears
it’s just that love knows no fears
and this love is too much to throw away

I’m not a victim.
I’m not abused.
But I might be ready to quit
giving up and giving in

Until the bottle smashes overhead
and the screaming flashes a light
into the darkness
illuminating primordial awareness
only the adrenaline
rushes in
my life is in danger
my being is threatened
but I have legs to run

Seasons go by, years take their toll
Fearful eyes turn bold
shameful heart turns cold
running legs plant, take root, take aim
Fury rushes in

I’m not a victim
I survived.
I survived.
I survived.

Pulse

Hot tears flowing freely through well worn trails of mascara.
I could no more command an end to this pouring
than I could bring back the dead.

Is this the worst?

Numbness sought flees to the wings
so I’m standing here naked in the spotlight again
but no one’s watching.

Is this the worst?

White hot ice surges through me
tearing at the flesh, ripping the heart.
rat a tat tat again and again and again and again and a

Is this the worst?

gain and again and again and a

Every burning shot buried in bone, lodged for life,
each accompanying me to death

Is this the worst?

Faces smiling from the computer screen
lovers and dancers and sons and daughters
dead dead dead dead dead times 10.

Weeping. Mourning. Grieving. Praying.
Acts doing nothing so much as highlighting my powerlessness
My complicitness
My failure.

I’M SORRY. To the mothers and the fathers and the lovers
and the friends, I’m sorry. To the empty rooms and lonely pets,
to the words left unsaid and the bucket lists unfilled, I’m sorry.

To the history books I’m sorry.

Is this the worst?

Don’t try to cover my nakedness with your holy oil
I’ve no place for hollow hope
Look at the pain, mine and yours
Do not avert your eyes.

LISTEN! Too long you’ve heard the pulse of your own righteousness
beating in your ears.
Today you hear a different beat
the thrum of blood pooling on the dance floor,
the depreciating hum of life ebbing into darkness.

Is this the worst?

Hear the cries of the mothers!
Hear the cries of the lovers!
Hear the cries of the prophets!
Hear the cries of the dead!

What have we done? Their blood cries out to us from the ground.

And I am ashamed.

You don’t have to smile

You do not have to please me,
or anyone for that matter,
Save yourself.

You do not have to strive
for a thousand hands clapping
or mouths shouting accolades,
as you stand bowed, heart bound,
the smile plastered on your face
while petals rain down upon you.

You do not have to stay in flight
soaring through the daylight air,
wings spread wide beyond comfort
just so we can point up at you
and feel the swell of pride in knowing you.

If you’d rather crawl
through the midnight mud and muck,
I will be there with you.
Wherever you are, I will stand by you.

You don’t have to smile.

You do not have to dance
as the storm clouds roll over you
if you’d rather join your thunderous roars
to the chorus of the lightning song.
You do not have to search desperately
for the possibility of beauty
in the midst of your suffering.
If all you see is darkness,
I will hold your hand.

You do not have to be good, polite, pure,
or humble
to ensure my fragile pride.
You do not have to be what I see
through my milk clouded eyes
when you see your reflection
clear as the mountain stream.

You do not have to bow down to the fear
of man’s gaze upon you, finding displeasure.
You do not have to please him.
Or me.

You don’t have to smile.