Let Us Sing Loud!

Words? In devotion to me?

No. No my name is small and can’t be heard

But Yours.

Yes, yes, yes, Your name

Should be sung loud

Let us sing loud!

“O to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be…”
 
 
Which facet of this Diamond should we sing of tonight?

What color is Your character?

What color do you see, brother?

Every color is beautiful

In its own way

And we look to this, our Prism

The grace-giving summation of everything good

We look to Him
 
 
I look to Him

Without Him, none of this means anything

It’s all just a useless few years

In which we keep yelling our names

Never to be heard

The Electric Riverbed

By the electric riverbed I laid

Taken captive by its sound

The sweet, fake droning of this false place

Lulled me in and out of sleep

As my hand hung in its binary shore

Feeling the bits of information wash over my fingertips and disappear as they came
 
 
The river lapping at the land

Licking its digital lips a little at a time

A little at a time

I recognized its danger

Yes, it’s shallow but it stretches for miles

Look, it goes on and on
 
 
The sound

I wish I could explain it

Like something I’ve heard

Before but it’s

Not there

Can my mind tell the difference

Between

An electric riverbed and a real one?

 
 
Photo credit: “physical bit” by Flickr user Miki Toshimichi

The Rock

Moses struck the rock and dispersed water

The cool stuff of life freely given

The Spirit in the rock from the father

God’s gift and the flesh interwoven

 

Jacob, in distress, chose to flee

Stopped in Luz to rest his head

Experienced dreams from the Head of three

On a pile of rocks made his Heavenly bed

 

A rock is not merely a rock

As Christ is the Rock of Ages

The mission of the Spirit Christ’s body unlocked

And on Christ’s body did Jacob lay his

Kurosawa’s White Witch

White faced woman white cross

Her withered eyes at the other side of the screen

Haunting my college days

Those nights in Turlington Square

Breathing in the clove smoke at midnight

Hop on the 34 thinking

How do you spell Kirosawa?

That old woman, her antique horror

From a nightmare I never had

Young minds in silence stoic no professor

White witch on the loose

For me those nights were hard trying to figure out who I was caring so much what people thought of me wanting people to envy my intellect everything was just a jumble it was gross gross gross

Light – hear the crackle

Smoke billows

The woman

She’s sitting atop the rock and my god that will stick with me

Vending machine quarters muddy coffee it’s something

Steady slippery cobblestone

The woman shuffles over holy ground but no preacher

His tin can’s at home – his cross is in pieces in the back of his Civic

At least he believes in something
The heart of campus

Buses usually bustle like blood cells

Tonight it’s quiet

I walk and the woman walks

Frat row chapel the bat house

People are sleeping the bats are up

Sonar screams pierce the night sky

And I

Walk alone except that woman

She hobbles in at on algae covered steps over down on concrete

Bumbling apparition

I lost her in the graffiti wall
There’s a white witch on the loose

But I lost her

My eyes don’t soak in images like they used to

The Maker of All Things

I was working in the yard

With earth up to my elbows

The dirt was dark and cool

Earthworms performed

Figure eights between my

Fingers. Beetles came to

The surface to inspect. My

Knees were deep in the dirt

I filled my hands with scoops

of land. I washed them with

Cold water. It all brought true

Satisfaction and it occurred to

Me what God must have felt

When he was at work, seeing

Creatures come into being.

Feeling land between his

Fingers and cold water clean.

I’m envious of the Maker

Of all things.

 

Photo credit: “baby grass [mother’s day present]” by Flickr user woodleywonderworks

Two Bibles

Two grandmothers – two Bibles

One, a well-worn testament to a life spent searching

Tears, pencil & pen marks, highlights bright and faded

Dog-eared pages for purposes we’ll never know

Prayers resting inside the back cover

The other, a disregarded vestige from a life lived at garage sales

Rotting in a box next to old rat traps

Buried under Life magazines with more experience

The pages filled with the word of God yet untouched

 
 
Photo credit: “Psalm 71” by Flickr user Carson Coots

Smoke and Sadness

I remembered this today:

My buddy and I would stand and stay

In the dark we would sneak cigarettes in the backyard

We would criticize Christ

We would laugh hysterically at the absurdity of God

We would snarl our smoke yellow teeth between coughs

We would share bewilderment that anyone could believe

Something so obviously impossible

We would open another pack and pass the lighter

Back and forth back and forth back and forth

Into the black night we would hurl our insults

Hoping to God that someone would hear us

We were proud enemies of God proud enemies

Of the truth

When we were spent we would walk inside leaving behind us trails of ash

We reeked of smoke and sadness

 

Photo credit: “Ashtray” by Flickr user Franco Dal Molin

This Heat Within

The heat within –

An orange molten light

Pulsing, like a heart, with the wind

Its crackling serene

And still –

The heat within
  
 
  
Making char of that poor lizard

That fought desperately to scale the wall

Its husk now flaking as the wood blackens

The air thickens

With the smoke from the heat within

The heat reaches my shins which itch from the red flame licking

Reaching out for a touch of hair and skin

Growing from the heat within
  
 
  
Prometheus’ gift inside lies

These cheap white stones

A gift in a gift

With the power to cook, to lift

Man to the Sun

Heat for heat

One for one

A fair, just fuel

Using only what it requires

Pistons explode as the stuff overloads

From the high energy transfer

Of the heat within
  
 
  
Distant cousin of the flame which snaked its veins

Through the alleys of Chicago

Makes its way now over the white stones at my feet

The red ruby vines

Like tendrils deplete

Any cold that tries to settle in my bones

And though I know of its destruction

I’m thankful for this orange molten light

This heat within
 
 
 
Photo credit: “fire” by Flickr user Jeannette S.

My Thanks

My God, how I can see your marvelous gifts

Your unending love and care for what you make

You give us life and help us grow, even though

We go astray and spit in your face

 

You promise us a mighty victory when

The end of days does finally come

You’ll pick us up and hold us as your children

As the old world is swallowed and left to soak in sin

 

I continually rub the sleep from my eyes

Too blind to see your powerful work,

To sense your subtle nudges in the right direction

I don’t take the time to remember that you are here, you are working

 

Thank you, God. Thank you for caring.

Thank you for thinking up redemption.

Thank you for sacrificing yourself for the weak.

Thank you for mending the broken. Thank you for love.