Overwhelmed

Would I have been the one who hated you, who stood in the crowds and yelled?
Would I have been the one to judge you, to claim your ungodliness in the midst of your perfection?
Would I have been the one to disgrace you, to invite you to my home in an attempt to prove you wrong?

I want to see the depths of my unworthiness,
the grandeur of my sin,
I want to know it well and never forget it,
so that when I remember your mercy towards me
I will not take it lightly

So that when I think of the way you have redeemed me,
I will not be able to glance at another and have a single condemning thought
You said that you hate six things,
and I have done every one of them
I’ve been consumed by my arrogance,
seen myself as more important
I’ve been a part of a culture that consumes at the expense of others,
I’ve made my plans and drawn out my days, ignoring your truth and existence
I’ve spent years hurrying to my own depravity, running to a relationship
that perpetually produced brokenness and separation from you
I’ve breathed out lies, failed to speak truth, allowed rumors to thrive
I’ve been the cause of discord, hosted hostility in my heart and opposition in my words

Oh, how I need you
Every hour, every minute, I need you

The notion that I am not enough, will never be enough, will always come up short
is the most freeing conviction
In my desperation and weakness, your grace is sufficient
The concept that I could never do enough, achieve enough, work enough
is the liberation my soul desires
You have already finished everything I have yet to start,
you are the beginning, the end, and the most important thing in between

Oh, my soul is satisfied and wanting more at the same time

Do not let my distracted mind forget the crimson blood you shed for me,
Overwhelm my quickness to settle in the temporary with a vivid vision of eternity

Although I have yet to carve idols out of wood and stone,
I’ve set my eyes on things a part from you
This is an endless plea from my mouth,
let me see your goodness and not stray from it

I remember the wormwood and the gall,
and then I look to see your face
In your truth I am free from a life of bitterness,
In your love, you’ve eradicated my transgressions,
redefined my future, and justified my presence

Each new morning, I am met with your mercy
and it will carry me through every day
Silence is unwelcome here, in the light of your grace

Let this be a declaration of my hope in you,
let my words saturate the emptiness of life a part from you
let this be an invitation, like the one you’ve given to me
for any soul that is aching, to finally be redeemed

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Old Has Gone

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It is in the sweet moments of peace,
the swift glances of understanding,
the comfortable silence

It is in the slow mornings,
the continuous car rides,
the cups of hot coffee

It is in the smallness of this too large life
that I’m caught up in the awe of you
and the gratitude of knowing that you are for me always

It is in the change and complexity of this newness,
the melancholy movement of time,
the habits that are forming and the ones we’re trying to let go

It is in the subtle suggestions,
the casual reassurances,
the new notions and knowledge

It is in the consecutive days spent by your side
that I can dream of a whole life defined by goodness
and my past guilts and preconceptions slip into oblivion
and all of who I am is known by you, loved by you

This is a new kind of freedom, one that I thought impossible
this is a different kind of being, one that is aware but not condemned
and as the days go on in mundanity, or the years pass through us like a mist
my soul is solidified in the symbolism of this affection
The old has gone, the new is here

A Phone Call Love Poem

I’m getting married in forty-eight days, so I think it’s about time for a love poem…

I’m currently in another bout of “minimalizing”
Feeling hopeful and encouraged, desiring to fill out the parts of life that are lacking
and empty the parts that are overbearing
And then you call, I answer the phone to hear your voice
Inexplicably wonderful, the tone of your stringed syllables create comfort
You’re telling me about this new coffeeshop you have just discovered
In a place where we often speak of the voids, you’ve found something good
And you tell me how much I would like it
talk about the high ceilings, the marble countertops and the natural light
and you tell me that you want to take me there
and I say I want to be taken,
You can hardly catch your breath as you stumble through all of the details
that you want me to know before having to go
You’re miles from me and I miss you
and seeing you tomorrow is never soon enough
You’ve arrived and have to get off of the phone now
You tell me you love me and it’s believable
You are honest and I know you
and when the silence of my room begins to take over
and the faint music lingers to the left of me
and my room is a mess,
all I can do is thank God,
this God of the universe who has allowed me to know you
to adore you and to be admired by you

The world will tell me that I need more, that I don’t have enough
but you are my world and with you, I have everything
Let this gratitude of your presence be an everlasting decision
not a fleeting feeling,
you are more valuable, more tangible, more incredible
than my words could describe, or all of the world’s offerings,
you are more enticing than
any place I’ll travel
more precious than any amount of days I have ahead,
I’ll keep on answering your calls, my dear
and I’ll love you for all of my days, my dear

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Another need for freedom

Let my thoughts not be declared by what my eyes see,
A thousand images on a scrolling screen
Let my insecurities not be birthed from comparison,
Like a toxic breath shaking the foundation of my cells
I want to think on my own again
I want to look at what is around me again

I am becoming surely convinced that this is all quite unnatural,
Checking in on a thousand other lives but knowing nothing more
than highs and lows – the intricacies of humanness are being stripped from us
The need for individuality strikes a wrong chord
It’s a self obsessed world we are making with each image and caption
Whether we love ourselves or hate ourselves, we really have put a lot of
emphasis on ourselves

This is not a call for ignorance, for being unaware
It’s not a call for judgement – we are different and we all handle it differently
but God help me if I don’t acknowledge the stickiness of over connectivity
The way it seeps into the parts of life that were meant to be private

Transparency is to be promoted but it will not come in the form of a filtered, cropped,
and framed photograph
let’s call it for what it is – we want to be known
but this desire is a harmful thing when we no longer experience
the current like it is our own, no longer savor the moments with those living, breathing bodies around us

Many have lived before us, untouched by the weight of a phone in their hand
This is insanity! My fingers have curved to cradle it’s edges even when it is not present
This is an obsession! My chest feels heavy when I have not “checked in” on things
I’ve allowed myself to feel defeated, like my success of the day was non-existent if not documented

Somedays it’s a more subtle kind of thing, others it’s overwhelming
Is there a balance to be had, or should we disengage entirely?
How would we experience the world surrounding us if it were not
perpetually shared for others to see?
How would we love and believe and know and learn
I want to love wholly
to believe undoubtedly
to know with taste and wisdom
to learn with focus and dedication

Not this double tap, swipe down kind of love
not this edited and revised kind of belief
not this over saturated, too soon kind of knowledge
not this quick and done kind of learning

So here is a plea for reconsideration
to stop being so sure that we are in control
This is just scratching the surface,
A plea for refocusing,
A plea for intentionality
God, let us be freed

Posture is the Problem

Listen to this while reading

I know my posture is a problem
but I still sit in the middle of my bed with a curved spine
Know I feel worse off if I linger in my movements,
but slowness is easier to succumb to

Or maybe it’s speed that’s magnetic,
pulling me closer, because these days are racing by
and I felt like a child only a moment ago, and now
I feel archaic, like my memories are from another lifetime
and my body doesn’t want to forgive me anymore

I’m angry at my nerves, the nervous ones and
the ones that make my hands shake even in the calm
They steal time, and I don’t want to run out
I don’t want to forget,
They steal the words that I’m desperate to write

The world is a strange place, it does not consider
the timing when it gives way to disaster
Someone’s home is burning while another
life is just beginning
Someone’s heart is sinking while
another is solely admiring the stars

I’m always afraid to miss out, I think that’s why I plan so intently
try to manage my way into the best outcome
losing less, lacking less, feeling more and being more

Some mornings I wake up and feel like my mind never slept,
the day is just a continuation of moments and when night hits
I’ve all the sudden run out of time

If you hang around me long enough you’ll probably hear me say,
life is a mist, here for a moment gone in the next
and I say it aloud so I remember
that every piece of an hour is to be intentional
and don’t let me get too carried away by the responsibility of that notion
Be grounded, but come up for air
Be sane, but let your mind go
Be aware, but don’t be so hard on yourself
Life is a mist, here for a moment gone in the next

When Joy is out of focus,
I have to remind my heart that it is happy
Dissuaded by external circumstance,
I play games of comparison to remember its former discontent
But happiness is not the goal here,
so I thank God and stop looking so deeply within
so I thank God and let myself breathe,
so I thank God and thank God that I can believe

Magnetic

Wading

Listen to this while reading

My words are like honey,
they stick to my teeth, to my fingertips
They sink to the bottom of a glass,
get gulped up in the quickness of drinking
the speed of everything

I don’t want to wait to do something better,
don’t want to hang in time and comfort like
I am unaware of reality

I’m getting to know winter in a new kind of way,
not so sorrowful anymore, not so heavy
My depression has become nostalgic in a way,
hints of it rise up when something reminds me of it
I told him the other day that I feel guilty for being content,
and then I remember when contentment was my most frequent emotion to envy

Constantly peeling off my human tendencies, my tendency to feel unworthy
to feel anxious, to feel unwanted, to be self-destructive, to be abrasive
My tendency to slink into fear, to become irritable, to distrust and to complain

I’ve made a sincere attempt to maintain happiness, but I can promise you any bit of joy I know is divine intervention

I’m developing a theory surrounding hardship,
one that is often spoken of but hardly acknowledged
Something like each moment of pain makes you more relatable, if you let it
each broken up circumstance makes you more glad in the whole parts
but only if you hand them all over, the pains and the breaks, and the inexplicable times

I wish that we would speak of our imperfections more often,
but not in the effort to receive pity
not in that self-deprecating kind of way,
no… maybe we could just speak of the ways we are lacking
to realize that we truly are
and to be open to the possibility that we will never be perfected
despite our trials and triumphs
And in this imperfection I rest,
because there You are in my weakness

I want to no longer want
I want my desires to vanish and reappear as selflessness
For my longings to dissolve and to be aware of
real, true needs
To be aware of each person as a soul, a body and a mind
to allow my convictions to settle like dust on my organs
brushing against me so I do not forget

Do not forget that these days are fading
that these times are fleeting
that these thoughts are washing and wading back
into an ocean of your being

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Still Intact

Let my words be large, let them overflow because my
Dreams are saturated and enlightened and I need to grab
on to something now

The man I love told me that my emotions are compulsive but my actions are methodical,
so let that be true, let me feel deeply but act in patience, in worthy commotion
I want to give, that’s the core of it
he said being selfish is exhausting and
everthing in me agrees

My heart is breaking and simultaneously being repaired,
each moment of realization that she is decaying
and too many things are toxic, and challenging
my heart sinks beneath the surface and succumbs to
hopelessness and then it rips its way back up to the
light again, strapping itself up with encouragement
My God is Greater, my eyes seek Heaven, my soul knows rest

So rolling forward with bandages on wounds, regaining strength with
Each new hope and possibility (solely found within the realm of
believing) I take my thoughts and I marinate them in truth and I speak
them back to myself as best as I can

I spent five days wandering hospital hallways,
I saw the brittleness of reality and the opposition of health,
And then I spent five days on the road, traveling with a dear soul and
I saw the world in ways I never have before
and even in new perspective I can get swallowed up in old trains of thought
and even in virginia mountains, tennessee alleys, and texas deserts
I can see that I am small but the desire to live greatly is embedded deep within me
I know that my sentience is only developed through experience

To live greatly does not mean largely,
no, I do not need more than I have
To live greatly means to live in empathy,
to live with kindness and a capacity to see differently,
to live with flexibility, I have my dreams but I’ll be alright if they
are taken from me
To live greatly is to live selflessly, to stop saying “God make something of me”
and to begin to live in the identity that He has already given me
Free, adored, consecrated, new

I am new each morning because of His redeeming glance towards me,
and how can I avoid speaking about this grace in my poetry?
It is the greatest thing, and with all of this ridding of the unnecessary I am left
with the bare bones of life and my God is the spine

My grandmother has called me her Rock, but I am a small stone
her life has been full and I try to absorb
every sound that echoes from her,
from the spoken memories of her Italian childhood,
to the movements that she makes
when the sun is first rising, and I can hear her slippers shuffling
through the crack of the door of our shared bathroom

Time is fleeting and my small revelations of existing cannot slow it down,
with an aching heart I’ve read love letters of past lives, I’ve watched new
uncertainties develop, I’ve seen injustice rise up like a plague,
I’ve gotten swept away in worry, doubt, and fear
and through all of these things, Time is fleeting

Let my heart break and be repaired, the days will follow as they always do
let my shaky voice settle in the confidence that this place is not our final home
let my prayers be consistent and ever reigning over the temptation to stay discouraged
To live greatly is to live overwhelmed and still intact

When the clouds roll

There are large black crows outside of my window every morning and every evening,
I catch a glimpse of them swooping past out of the corner of my eye
It is strange outside, humid and muggy
the clouds roll over the tree tops and down by their roots
the gravel and bricks have taken on a darker shade
Wet like the sky

My world has been changing lately,
weights lifted and others added on
the responsibility that comes with knowledge has the
ability to sink to the center of me and dwell

Nothing is very certain, not one thought is ever solidified..
and then, I think of you
In every new ideal you give me patience
in every new anxiety you hand over peace

Slow and steady, that’s how I’d rather live
yes quick to be quiet, quick to be kind
but I can do with out the immediacy of a strained life
The nervous tension of expectation will rise before
the contentment of a satisfied heart can settle

Leave me with words, and carefully brewed coffee
leave me with souls and the ease of conversation

Speaking of souls, my social anxiety had a better grip on me before
you, now I can almost approach each circumstance selflessly,
I’ve got everything I need and it seems that notion lightens
the impending judgement that I once felt accurate and overwhelming

My fear of misunderstanding is steadied by your
willingness to understand me, by your stubborn rejection
of allowing a night to end with out resolution
You investigate my mind with tact and endurance,
sifting through surface emotions and wrestling to the core
You give my inadequacy an undeserved second glance,
and come up with words that restore my identity in it’s most
strengthened and beautiful state

When I lift my fingertips to the curves of your face
It is to test if your silhouette is a reality
I’ve felt desperation so deep within me,
this fullness can feel foreign and leave me doubting
but joy in the morning has conquered over my weeping

When the clouds roll and the threat of mundanity
gravitates towards me, I will remember the
way that stillness makes a moment memorable
the way that intentional thinking can
tranquilize the anxiety stirring up within me,

And I will think of you,
and I will resign myself to an assured disposition
that allows these thoughts to be enough for one poem
that allows these thoughts to be enough for right now

In an Effort To Be Productive

The desire to make new things gnaws at my heart when I am not moving,
I try to eliminate the guilt that I feel with distractions, small batches of laundry, and random bouts of cleaning.. so, I stripped my bed of it’s sheets, got the washer running and proceeded to attempt to make some space on “my side” of the closet

The closet that I share with my grandmother, who has become particularly obsessed with her stuff since my pop-pop died. Obsessed, not in the way of clenching photographs or lamenting when she sees furniture from their old bedroom, more so obsessed with unendingly vocalizing that through our moves and the process of building a new home she is missing all of her “Stuff”. This closet is a small representation of how many items are jammed into corners of our living spaces, wrapped up in newspaper, hidden in the dark, only to be found out when someone wrestles through the disorder to open up boxes and find sentimental items mixed with literal trash. I believe she’s formed this relationship with her belongings because it makes her feel she can hold on to the past, she falsely associates the goodness of a life well lived with the culmination of material things.

After throwing away three pairs of my worn out, too-small, or too-big shoes, folding clothes that had slipped from their hangers, and awkwardly setting aside a glass house cradling a frog figurine, a broken violin, and a giant plastic wrapped comforter, I found something different.

Something that did not irritate me, something that had a presence and eeriness to it –
My pop-pop’s toiletry bag sat there solemnly, a slightly oversized red-brown leather rectangle with curved edges and a zipper down the center

It was heavy, a weight that went beyond physicality and laid on my soul
I decided to move forward anyways in my new minimalist fashion – to look at this item with out overwhelm of emotion and solely for what it was – an old bag filled with various items… sticky cough-drop wrappers, expired Tums, an unopened package of floss…
but then there was an oiled shaving brush,
then there was a half used travel shampoo bottle from a beach house we visited many autumns ago,
then there was his cologne – and my sentiment returned in the form of a fiery blanket at the base of my throat and blurring tears behind my eyelids

This stiff leather bag was carried, stuffed, and used by someone I love dearly
and as unnecessary as many of these items were then, and are now
they smell of him, and they make me think of mortality and the fragility of time

My pop-pop was an entrepreneur, a fixer, a joker, a musician, he loved others and was loved by them,
he was stubborn, he was compassionate, he was thankful — always

I remind myself that these personal items, even with all their very real and human characteristics are not what makes my memory and love for him live on

I kept the floss (because I needed some) and a key (which I will eventually discard because I doubt I will be able to find what it unlocks) And for now, I’ll  keep the cologne, because it’s scent will inspire a sticky sadness that allows me to visit lost days then reorients my eyesight on heaven above.

The extent of my minimalism ends at photographs, I cannot bring myself to discard of them.
They are time – frozen, and not just the history of myself or my family but of the entire human existence
We make up the world, so this photograph of my grandparents in July of 1947 does not only exist for them, but also as a representation of that day in the past
which may have held a memory of happiness, or an event that disrupted the hope that we often place in this world when we wrongly identify glimpses of heaven on earth

This desire to rid my surroundings of clutter,
to let go of material things that don’t add value or serve a purpose,
is not solely for a clean area that settles the OCD in me but it’s more so a desire to simultaneously live in the very moment that is happening with respect of the past

To give space for my mind to see beyond things and stuff, and recognize a variety of more important matters –
the importance of being with each other,
the necessity to disconnect from irrelevant occurrences,
to let go of thoughts of past and future and solely be present
of making money not because of the fear of not having enough, but with the intent to use it as a tool to further what is truly deemed invaluable in this life
of spending money with the goal of investing into a larger, more pure notion, not just a temporary satisfier or filler of a hole dug by advertising and inadequacy

– Are you missing those around you because you are missing someone gone? Are you enveloped in comparison instead of creating authentic experiences? Do the things that you own serve a purpose? Is that purpose worthwhile? Or do the things that you own cause conflict, in your household or within yourself? Are the things that you own made well? Or was it at the expense of someone else, someone less fortunate than yourself? Are the things that you own stealing peace of mind and potential creative thoughts? Does the way you make money reflect what you value? Do you need all the money that you make? Are you forfeiting personal contentment for status or justification by those around you? –

We have decided that these questions should be less common then “how are you?” and “enjoying the weather?” for the sake of convenient conversation, but if we really want to know the state of our being and the wellness of those around us, we need to accept that our lifestyles cannot be compartmentalized, it all works together, each thing makes up who we are and the quality of our living

My pop-pop’s toiletry bag could’ve stayed in the closet, could’ve been found by someone else, but In An Effort to Be Productive, I discovered it and developed a train of thoughts that would not have been there before

As I move on in my attempt to rid my life of the unnecessary, I will
remind myself that things are not what make up the personalities of people,
that our accumulation of stuff is not the reason we maintain memory,

That which does not hold purpose, could still hold meaning, but I am meant to be alive now
to be awake now, to be real and true now

The past of my own and the history of my family has made me dimensional,
given me perspective and carried me through time
I desire the validity of my character to be made up by attributes, to escape the distractions and crowded closets, to eternalize memory with out the need for physical items

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moths and rust destroy”

The state of being subject

It’s rather interesting, the way
that the days go from high to low
to nothing really at all
And the weather changes,
and all of us people talk about it like
the temperature owes us some kind of consistency and when
it gets mixed up in february we find it a
conversation point and I’ve caught myself
saying more than once “can you believe this?”

Can you believe this? Can you believe that all the days
we’ve been living, have lived, and are yet to live
are just like the wind, coming and going
and how is it that we can go even one moment with out
asking ourselves some type of existential question?

I’m tired of seeing the people I love live like they do not have a choice,
Tired of saying over and over again, “it doesn’t have to be like this”
or being afraid to say those words aloud in the moments that matter

I’ve been spending my days getting rid of stuff,
all of this stuff that I don’t need and this stuff that’s been gathering
dust and taking up space and there’s not enough time to be weighed
by clothing, and half used bottles of nail polish, and baskets of literal stuff that I haven’t touched
for more than a moment – only to move it to another place

We’re constantly just moving our things around,
sliding an old letter from one side of the table to the other,
reorganizing our to-do lists so they look kind of more completed,
switching our anxieties from urgent to subdued,
hanging up our depression for the days that we can bare it

Oh it doesn’t have to be like this, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming
It doesn’t have to be disabling, it doesn’t have to be isolating
Life doesn’t have to be this great big burden that we bare with
no solution, no identified purpose and let me just be blunt –
If it takes a glass of clear liquid to get your nerves settled
you’ve got to admit that there are things to be fixed,
And you are not with out the choice to make a change

I’m talking about the moments that eyes sag like
a bag of wet clothes, and body aches and disposition takes on
the form of self-pity and imprisonment, you’re the one holding the key
and you are not serving the “greater good”, you are serving your pride,
and it needs to be met with reality that this life is shorter than anything
In the end no one will remember the great things you made
but they will remember the time that you gave
and the time that you took away

Let me just be blunt – we are running out of time
and I’m tired of seeing the people I love live like they have no choice

You can say over and over again that the next time will be different,
but your words will turn to poison with no action,
they will rot your good intentions and leave you feeling
less than before, do not believe the lie that we are inherently good
we are far from it, and we need to acknowledge that
saving ourselves is like trying to write a novel on damp paper
and saving ourselves will always be an eternal attempt

My words sound harsh but if you knew my intentions you would understand,
not everything is adjustable, not all things are in our hands
a lot of circumstances are invincible, and all consuming,
but we’re often wrongfully caught up in what we cannot do, if you could
understand what I mean when I say you have a choice
you’d feel a hopeful conviction to live with vitality,
to ignore the temptation of mortality.

how long will it take

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Oh, how quickly we whine
at the faintest resemblance of discomfort
when we are inconvenienced or set back

How eagerly dissatisfaction sets in our brow
when we are told we cannot have
What we believe should be ours

And how vastly we believe
that this life was meant for our own taking,
when in actuality we have been given something
Far greater (or less) than what we deserve

How long will it take
to find contentment and
an amiable disposition in the midst of ever-changing
flaws and thorns and circumstance

Uneasiness is rooted deep within me, I won’t be dishonest
the second confrontation surfaces, my insides shake up and
my ideals crack like the autumn leaves on a paved road

I want to fix everything, and everyone around me
What a fool I must be, to ever believe that my own imperfections
will not get in the way

I want to bind up my wounds, and yours
and even when my intentions are good they
rot beneath the speculation of others,
and when I feel my thoughts carving out
craters in my mind in an attempt to uncover some
hidden solution that will smooth out the
knots and gnarls of existence

I come up empty,
always empty on my own

So I’ve gathered up my greatest inquietudes,
I’ve got plenty now but I know there will be even more soon
and I’m giving them to You

To You, I give my pride and my desire to be with out thorns,
my inability to satisfy every echoing demand,
my selfishness in the state of change,
my fears of displeasing and being displeased

Because dismissed anxiety is like a venom, it stores up in my system
and brings on symptoms that I cannot bear

I won’t discount the reality of these
unsettled situations, but I will not reduce the sovereignty
of an all-knowing God in light of my discomposure

Wake up, to the thought that response remains
the primary concern
my response to You when I am:
in pain, uneasy, at a loss for words, helpless, overwhelmed, taken under, sorrowful, dissatisfied, aggravated, distressed, disappointed, angry, or a thousand other things

let my response to You be only
praise, and I know I will fail at this but God
then there is your grace
and I know I will take it for granted but God
then there is your peace
and I know I will be anxious again but God
then there is your hand and you reach out to me
and you are present in all of my responses and lacking
and why in the world did you think of me?

And how long will it take
to recognize the veracity of Your character
and the weakness of my own,
my flaws and thorns and circumstance

How long will it take
for me to loosen my grip on this
idea of perfection found in anything
other than You

You are the only one
to save us from ourselves

something beautiful, something good

It’s moments before my twenty first birthday,
the humid august air runs through the open body of my
black 2002 cabrio convertible and I listen to the
CD player spinning sounds of heartbreaking hymns

I recently came into possession of recorded audio of
my pop-pop playing trumpet, converted from cassette,
once upon a time they nicknamed him harry james
because he played magically, igniting raw emotions
with every trembling note

tonight, the absence of his body on this earth
has taken the form of visions in my mind,
I can see him playing, using the same hands that
I used to hold in mine, the same hands that I would
lay thick layers of lotion on when they became old and cracked,
gold bond would gather around his wedding band

I can see his glasses wiggling on his nose
as he inhales, I can see his thick eyebrows
rising with the melody, sinking through the bridge

“Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life

If there ever were dreams
That were lofty and noble
They were my dreams at the start
And the hopes for life’s best were the hopes
That I harbor down deep in my heart
But my dreams turned to ashes
And my castles all crumbled, my fortune turned to loss
So I wrapped it all in the rags of my life
And laid it at the cross”

I can speak of restoration in an all together honest way,
and how grateful I am for this ability.
I can promise you that the bitter sorrow I have known
has made this deep joy all the more wonderful

I have a multitude of words within me that I am desperate
to write down, I have a thousand thoughts of thankfulness
for the way that these years have revealed the tangibility
of a loving, sovereign creator

How strange my collection of days have proven to be,
but how beautiful it is to be made new over and over and over again
I have found myself in awe of the goodness that has overcome
the view of how I naturally perceive this life

It is something beautiful, something good
to admire the present and a nostalgic past
something beautiful, something good
to extinguish loneliness with the truth
something beautiful, something good
to settle upon surreal peace in the evening
and to awake hopeful in the morning

a content poem for all the discontent that came before,
a content poem for all the trials that might await
a grateful soul, for always

patient stanzas

I’m thinking it shouldn’t be this easy,
that you or I should say something wrong
that the morning should turn to afternoon,
and with the evening conflict will come

I’m feeling it shouldn’t be enough,
but I’m left wanting more in the most
satisfied way, like the end of a good song
with the rest of the album to spin, echo and play

I’m hurting and sad most of the time,
but a smile often interrupts my aching body
and breaks my habit of anxiety
when I see you, it’s like a light turns on

I can’t think about my grandfather too much,
I can’t believe he’s really gone
but when I pray to god I see him with her
and I’m overcome with the thought of eternity,
more real than all that’s in front of me

These are simple words for a reminder
that love does not stamp out imperfections
but seeks out goodness past first glance,
that love is patient and thoughtful
and patience is the lack of anxiety in
time of waiting

Patient stanzas for a string of days that
were once ridden with such intense fear of the future,
I’m not so afraid anymore,
not all the time like I used to be,
and it’s easier to daydream now
because I’m more content with this reality

If I start my morning with praises,
end my day with prayers
I can see the goodness that’s waiting
and an abundance that wasn’t meant for
someday but for every new day

Simple words to say I’m tired but I’m not weary,
to believe that nights of stillness can live
among times of agitation
to comprehend that rest is the most
glorious, and contentment comes in the
form of deep exhales and admiration of the clouds

So, when my mind wanders to the familiar sorrows
to the leftover aches, to the visions of those I love weeping
when my nostalgia heats up like a hot glue gun
and my sentiment stumbles over my thoughts
I will try to remember the patient stanzas,
the eager hope and satisfied heart that rests on me now
the light that turns on, the peaces that melts like wax and
maybe then I will welcome the presence of repletion
in both times of drought and the
conclusion of a feast

A series of wants

wants-2

I want to be stronger,
to not feel aching and zinging nerves
stretching through my neck and hands
like sand scratching the bottom of the ocean

I want to see my parents
everyday, to make my father coffee
and read the clues of crosswords out loud
to my mom while she sits cross-legged on the couch,
With her glasses on

I want to be bigger than comparison
to not let my mind get wrapped up
in the disabling perception
of bright images and larger smiles

I want to have wealth
in the form of travels and adventure
in the shape of a rectangular kitchen
with floor to ceiling windows,
a small sunroom turned cafe on the end,
and a copper tin roof

I want to help others recognize
the capacity we each have to form
new thoughts and original ideas
the way our minds are vast and
programmed for dreaming

I want to never feel the
gaping hole in my heart where my grandfather once was,
or where he once was,
or where she once was

I once found a quote that my gram
wrote on a postcard labeled “With Deepest Sympathy”
it read “when you are sorrowful look again in your
heart for you shall see that in thought you are
weeping for that which has been your delight”

I’ve been sorrowful always at the sight of sentiment,
and I’m always trying to turn that sadness into
a thankfulness for what once was and what is
to come

I want to be in love effortlessly,
with life and the people in it
to never have to work for sweetness
to never have to scrape out the seeds
of bitter feelings and frustrations,
or old times and scarred memories,
rooting in my heart and mind

I want my own home,
with a bar cart and special glasses for
different cocktails
copper bowls and kitchen utensils
and a pantry always stocked with ingredients
to make bread from scratch

I want to fix all of it,
all of the unfixable things
from poverty and broken lives,
to the tension that rises up out of awkward situation
from the disbelief and anger,
to the lack of good music on the radio

I want to be talented,
to truly believe that I am good at something
and no longer seek validation from
heightened numbers or passing conversation

I want to see Japan and Argentina
and Greece, and Iceland, and I want to photograph
it all with a film camera and hang the prints over my bed

I want to feel free
from guilt and obligation
to only be uplifting
and be rid of my selfishness

I want to be a person
who never misses a birthday of a friend,
family member, or acquaintance
who sends post cards in happy times
and writes letters when life is stolen away

I want to always please
to never disappoint
to always give my best
even at my worst

I want to not want
for anything other than the
wholeness of god within me
the completeness of his character
overwhelming the inadequacy of mine
the contentedness that only
comes from his grace extending
over my flawed disposition

Lead me to contentment despite circumstance
lead me to satisfaction disregarding fullness
let me exist only as what I was built up to be
give me the wisdom to know what desires should
consume and which should die

sad stanzas

I was happy, and I just got sad again
hit me like a thunderstorm
Surprised by round, wet, rain drops
puddles rising up and flooding my feet

I’m slipping, or fearful of it
When I feel Joy I end up just waiting
for it to leave
It’s been a few weeks now, a long
month or so, and I’ve have this unshakable contentedness
but when will it loosen its grip?

Here it is, here’s one of those moments,
doom approaching but I’ve got no
voice left, exhaustion allows sadness to
seep in and I sometimes get sick of
my familiar sorrow – like an old friend,
one you no longer have anything in common with,
I’ve been trying for so long to shake this

I can only hope, that when I wake
the sun will greet me, the son will
get me out of bed

Anxiety is when all of the things
become too much, stacked up and pulled together tightly
Sadness is the unlacing of a sentimental
mind, the undressing of a daydreamer’s corpse
and the revealing of a realist heart

I’ve stuck with the phrase – “I won’t always be this way”,
since I was a child afraid of the dark
Thought that when I was big, I’d just somehow grow out
of it, but my darkness is in the form of daylight now
It’s the way the time keeps rolling onward and
the immensity of the past, present, future
becomes like a shadow cast on a wall or
a slight shake of the handle on a closet door

I’ve yet to grow out of it, but sometimes I can get a hold of it
It aches, but I can let gratitude root out the sting of sadness
I’ve been bitter before, but I’m not bitter anymore
let this all be sweetness that draws me closer
to the one that knows my heart before it weighed heavy
and after it was soaked

Stepped away from these words for a moment,
back again to say that this is not a denouncement of Joy
I know Joy to be true and real and alive
this is just an acknowledgement of what lives
naturally in me, what grows inside,
tangles up my head and soul all to be
found out by uncertainty and I’m certain I’ll continue to be

Sought Out

My voice rings back, as I say that I am for or against
I wonder if my opinion could weigh heavy enough to change another’s mind
It seems impossible, to trust that revelation could come with time

I told you that it feels like another life
With out you, I know joy for what it really is
A sorrowful understanding that the answer does not exist within

I want to stretch out my deepest feelings to reach you,
There is an abundant amount of hopelessness here
and I remember it in the quiet gaps of time that announce
their presence in the movement of air thrown from a ceiling fan

I’m taking these steps in front of me with a fearful
realization that I’m moving further away from you
but it’s true, this movement is long overdue and I am
now seeking out obedience for its redemption and necessity

There’s a newness here, I am believing it to be good
but with change comes a constant voice of uncertainty
Let my voice be small and far away, Let Your voice be
like the clouds that hover over rolling hills and relieve
hot skin from harsh sunlight

I’ve sought out a savior and in you I’ve found,
All that’s behind and ahead is alright somehow
In my moments of anxious thoughts and furrowed brow,
let your voice be clear, let your voice be loud

I’ve sought out a savior and in you I’ve seen,
All that’s above and below is greater than me
In my moments of discontent and guilt feeling,
let your presence be known, let your peace find me

Not a Draft

My own body had to stop me,
time has been moving too quickly
hours feel like minutes, and before I know it they are gone
You are gone now
And it’s odd now

Stepping through reality like a daydream,
there’s too much to be done to just stay here
Guilt keeps coming upon me,
wrapping its uncomfortable presence around me
like a blanket but I’m already too warm

Guilt for not being there, for every moment spent away
when you are mourning I want to lay with you
Hold your hand, hold your heart, hold your head up

I’ve kept myself from writing, because these words should be of you
They should be about loss, about your body when it was here and
lifeless and I saw it and it broke me up
they should be about legacy, and a life lived well
and these words are just letters strung together
they cannot weigh as heavy as my heart, they cannot
contain the tone of your trumpet playing off
of a scratchy cassette in the light of stained glass windows,
lingering throughout that cold church on a hill top in maryland

Now, I’ve come back to these words with more to say
How do I convey the speed of these days, all melting into each other
lines bent like heated clay, I think I am content
but then again, I am sinking beneath the face of
commitment and I’ve got to come up for some air

If it weren’t for you, O God
I would be nothing
Not in the sense that I am now something, or that I am a success at all,
I’m a mess of a human, but if it weren’t for you my soul would be
like a bag of wet sand, gritty and slumped into a
stagnant shape sopping with sorrow and anxiety, but God you have saved me
from myself

I reach out for something to hold on to,
loneliness has always encamped herself around me
forever in my line of sight,
I feel her when driving on the highway
and before falling asleep at night
I feel her when I talk to someone, and I really like
what they have to say, but I know their words will come
to an end, and silence will occupy what once was their space

My grandfather loved me, I saw it in his eyes
his love alone rests on the outer edges of my aching heart
when I awake in the morning,
the leftover feeling of his absence cracks into
a thin film of sentiment and manipulates my
day into a constant glance towards heaven

It’s true, this place isn’t my home
It’s not yours either
so even if I’m always overwhelmed, I know it cannot be forever.

Is this enough for me? Can I at least let go of these stanzas above?
they still do not yet feel quite good enough
I’ll have to allow myself to take more days
and I haven’t forgotten about you, and I won’t forget about you
and I haven’t said enough, but I’ve already said too much

A love poem

love and admiration are two very different things,
their coexistence is not rare but it is distinct.
I admire the way you allow your father to speak to you,
even when each word strikes a nerve and resembles
the early mornings, walking to school,
when you would toss a mold covered english
muffin into the trees behind his town home.

love and admiration are divided
when care taking becomes a heavy burden,
like a sack of flour on a slaves shoulders –
he bears it, but it’s ability to become something more
will never be his to take and enjoy

I love you when your hands are too heavy to lift,
and the nurses outside the door are aggravated because
you’ve fumbled over the help button on your
life line remote hanging on the plastic bars of your bedside
one too many times

I love you with each forkful of store bought chocolate cake
that I lift to your mouth, and I pray
that your tongue would bring you life
That your tastebuds would ignite
the memories of when I admired you,
and fed you every evening after work
and fed you dessert, when you could use your own hands with out help

I admire you when you walk me through crowded hallways
and bustling kitchens, through laundry rooms and
construction sites, and lead me to the elevator to send
me on my way

Love is not circumstantial
it does not ride on actions,
or hinge onto emotion
Love outlasts and outlives admiration

Although admiration means the world
It means lighting up because someone else is brighter
It is selfless in it’s wholeness and although often temporary,
it is sweet and seemingly taken for granted

I am living in a state of admiration – or at least attempting to be,
I’ve got this new kind of emptiness beginning to grow within me
distance has put into perspective the most important parts
of my existence, but I’m trying to admire it –
I’m trying not to ache for what used to be,
I’m trying not to be anxious for what has yet to come,
I’m trying not to let any days go to waste

but sometimes all of my trying leads to an organized chaos
my efforts will never be enough to keep
a steady distance from slight implosion

When you’re angry, I love you
when you are cooking in the kitchen with a towel slung over your shoulder
and humming along to duke ellington, I admire you

When you’re leaning forward on a wicker chair,
speaking to me of your greatest memory
in your most sad time, while you twirl your
golden hair glimmering in the fluorescent porch light
I love you, I admire you

You are here one day, and might be gone the next
but so am I, we’re like the wind and the mist, and
all things that come and go

You are here always, and when your body goes
your thought will stay
I don’t think I will ever wake up to remember,
that in each new day my heart will again break

A love poem for the empty days,
for the waiting, and for the many faces and
souls existing in another soul’s world
I love you, I admire you

lovepoem

the practicality of living during sadness, in the mundane

On the days that you can,
Do Not Lose Yourself In The Mundane
On the days that you can’t,
still wake up, fix your bed
make yourself breakfast, toast and eggs
open the windows even if it’s hot,
especially when it’s cold

On the days that you can
build something –
use words that build up each person around you
and if there is no one around you,
still speak aloud of the things that are good
Identify your heart and the ability it has to fold
beneath emotion and pressure
Recognize that you are existing and
that is enough some days

On the days that you can’t,
Don’t watch the television, read books
and if you’ve got to rest, watch a good film,
one made before 1970

Let yourself dream about the future,
but don’t get lost in it
Think about how you’ll someday have a home
With a kitchen that has windows from ceiling to ground
You’ll think about the places you will travel to,
the people you might meet
Dream about the future, but not with intent to forget the past
Dream about the future, but do not stop living now

Walk outside, crunch leaves under your feet
And breathe in
Stop feeling guilty for being sad
stop feeling guilty for feeling guilty

Let gratitude invade the parts of your mind
where there is no thankfulness left

When you have to go to work
Let your eyes see what they haven’t looked at before
When you are driving,
listen to The Beach Boys, or the soundtrack
to your favorite film

Drink Coffee, Eat Bread, Go Somewhere
Be alone

Don’t attempt to muffle your sadness with the company
of people who do not acknowledge that it is there,
or people who talk about other people

If you can be with friends, be with them
but know it is not worthwhile if when you come home
you feel more distant than when you left earlier that day
There are people who are for you, find them

When you are alone,
write down everything you’d like to do
(but it’s alright if you can’t do it all)
Don’t try to improve yourself for the sake of being better,
come to terms with defeat and the fragility of  yourself
and then look up
You’re made whole, if you want to be

If you begin to feel restless, or purposeless
Don’t try to move fast all of the sudden
Pick up one thing at a time
Take each day by itself

When you look at a calendar,
and it’s numbers are glaring back at you
and it’s weeks are overwhelming
Remember that there have been many days before this,
and you are not the one who has to call the sun to rise

Listen to good music,
the kind that makes you feel a part of it
become familiar with lyrics and tones
and learn about the people behind the noise

Take photographs and keep them to yourself,
get them printed and when you go to pick them up
look at them in a parked car before you drive to the next place,
Realize that you’re creating a world that no one else has seen before

Some times it will all be overwhelming,
Other times it will all be stagnant
sometimes the idea of “there’s nothing you can do about it”
will be relieving, other times it will be a defeat

The practicality of living during sadness, in the mundane
Hold onto the idea that vitality is a real thing

// written on November 6th, 2015

Lifestyle2-ELT_Photo

years later

let my heart rest,

although time runs through my fingers
like liquid, or grains of sand
although each moment gains momentum
and my whole soul weighs heavy at the sound
of silence, or the sound of her voice
(I am older now than you ever were)

let my heart rest,
because the night can come smooth
or it can steal, darkness can be the overcoming
abyss that it is
but my heart, it will rest,
because years later I am echoing the
hope that has been written across my
bones and the vision of eternity becomes
more real with each passing day

It’s easier to become numb, and to let
the ache form callouses and corruption
of feeling and it’s no longer freeing
But this time, I’ve been broken up
and aware again* of the ability of loss and
(AGAIN*, all the things of today arise and remind me of old:
Pink Lilies smell like Funeral Homes Pink Lilies smell like Funeral Homes 
That is NOT Her, she is NOT there, Her body was just a case for her soul
We Lost We Lost We Lost Gone Gone Gone)
The terror of grief and that
seemingly god-forsaken moment in the night
where gloom and desperation
charge at the idea of ever hoping again

The state of despondency is my greatest fear,
lurking at my bedside when I fight to get up in the morning..
and how my heart aches, so deeply and intensely
when I see that fear approaching the ones I love
and I can’t help but to cry out to God
to throw myself in between and pray that
my weary growl will scare it off from ever
grabbing a hold of someone else’s heart

There is a multitude of emotions
that trample over the people left after death
A range of detestable sentiments
and they will not leave you unscathed

But I will still say; hold onto hope,
destruction has no reign here
Do not let your heart
become hardened with worldly time
Let your heart rest,
for with every ounce of pain
there is new hope and wholeness multiplied.

years later, I am sitting by a fire,
listening to voicemails that are not hers,
and aching all the same
because I remember the longing that comes after loss

years later, I am seeing her absence
as more of a normality
and it breaks me up,
but this is no time to be broken

I am not a hopeless being,
and neither are you
lay down my doleful spirit
and pick up joy again
my heart is, and will always be at rest
so that yours can someday find fullness again

yearslater

Look Back

never thought it was a good idea to Look Back
I’ve always known not to do it,
I learned this when I was twelve and the outside
was getting soaked and I knew it then that this
place was not a good one to be, I can write of those
Times where the floor was always cold and I
was always afraid to see my family
because I knew how sad they were and would be,
and every word that people would say,
After she left, stuck in my head I used to repeat
them, and above everything there was doubt
in the reality, for this couldn’t truly be happening

Round, wet, tears swelled up from
our stomachs and set free from the eyes
I think sometimes, was this the start of
a never ending stretch for redemption?
I think, were our hearts so low,
buried underground with her body,
that this was the beginning of the attempt
to dig ourselves back up to air and living?
this is heavy but this is how we know loss,
and as the days went on I remembered not to
Look Back because there everything was laid
out and time moves forward for a reason

Years later and many incidents
good and terrible, and in between have taken
place, new things have shared space with
an original ache but I never thought that
Looking Back would bring weight
that I’d pick up and desire to carry again
Turn my head to move
these eyes through the situations that
have brought on newness, I will not let go
of the idea that every morning is new
that is the only thing that lets me sleep at
night, a chance for a beginning that
does not hinge on Looking Back

But I am made up of each ounce and second,
each measurement of time and space
builds the canals and caves in my mind
and in the Looking Back I am reminded
to move on and up again

the poem above was inspired by something that I wrote two years ago. “If I were sad again, sad like I used to be” is a reference to a time when I first began dealing with depression, years later I wrote this after gaining some clarity – to remind myself of the way that sadness is a detriment to living with vitality, and that, if at all possible, it is necessary to choose joy:

“…and if I were sad again, sad like I used to be, I’d tell myself to think of the days and how quick they go by and before you know it you are writing to end another day and before you know it you are waking again and I’d say, sadness is worth nothing, just be joyful in each moment because that is all we really have. joy springs up out of a heart who is set on god – joy nourishes and knows sorrow but does not let sadness remain heavy and bitter. I’d say be joyful always – joy makes a lifetime of quick days count for something. sadness takes away life and health and all things sweet.” June 22, 2013

LookBack

Drenched Again

There are remnants of you
in everything I do
like moisture in a bathtub
dried up only to get drenched again

and you, there are small cracks in my mind
and you pry at them until they become gaping,
welcoming yourself into what was once stable
and satisfied, and before I know it I’m bent out of shape again

curved where there was a right angle,
I had that thought perfectly squared away
but the surrounding of chaotic commitment is like
a siren, warning that all the safe places I’ve
built up will soon become unoccupied
_

Terrible is a word that I think of often,
I like the way it sounds for some odd reason
when I hear that something Terrible is going on
I will say it to myself: “Tare-eh-bul”
and I will bow down at its heftiness
because although I like the way it sounds
I know its weight has unbearable consequence
_

I can claim a grander peace,
and an overwhelming freedom
but what I’m still working on is getting
you, and you, and that and this
gone from my head and replaced with silence

I crave the quiet, the way it melts into a tangible
presence in between the bones in my head
Not the quiet that lets my thoughts ring louder
but the quiet that gently crawls right underneath your
cheekbones and beneath the bridge of your nose
To let a stillness raise a calm cure to the anxious
_

So, tell me of the house you grew up in
so I know that I won’t forget mine
Read the last words someone sent to you aloud
so I know that we’re not all wandering in a mirage of people
Write to me the way the scent of the morning smelled
so I can remember what it was like
to wake early and live forwardly

Caught in motion, solely to realize I’ve never stopped,
times of ultimate surrender happen on a daily basis
so can I claim that I have surrendered at all?
Continually letting go of claims that I swore
I dismissed and one day I will sit in the quiet
and I will remember the noise, and maybe I’ll think
fondly of the times that you, and you
And this and that were on my mind and
my soul stretches across thin paper and
sopping bathtubs,
only to be dried up and then drenched again

drenched
drenched-flip

Sick Of’s

 

I’ve gotten in the terrible habit of
Determining my self-worth depending
on the collection of feelings from that day
It turns into a stampede of pleas
of ‘I’m Tired’s and ‘I am Sick Of’s

I’m tired and sick of myself,
of the way I slink back into
thoughts and feelings I have
once been determined to let go of

I know you’ve heard
that letting go, is the hardest thing to do
but I don’t think you’ll quite believe
how impacting and distracting it can be
until it’s the only thing left to be done

These days run into each other
like children playing tag,
stumbling over hours with
disorganized footsteps,
all my heart desires is
Rest and more rest

Seeping, sopping, wet fears
and insecurities making their way into
my dry head – this is more than I can shake
off, so much time to be aware of

My conscience won’t let me leave my words at that
there’s an everlasting guilt when I express raw sorrow with out
some sort of reconciliation,
But today, embedded in the overcast air, there is
a lingering stillness that I cannot form into
words, cannot string together with vowels

I’ll let my persistence in seeking
lasting comfort be enough of a declaration before dawn
I’ll dismiss my racing thoughts
for the sake of getting something done

The ache, it grows until there is no room left
it stretches across my chest into my throat and pulls at my neck
This evening, I am lacking
in a vocabulary to rid my mind of muck and mire
sometimes there’s nothing more to be said

In the light

I am often entirely caught up in the present anticipation of the next moment,
signaling my emotions, intentionally letting my heart get a head start on what is to come
this idea of preparation started the second I realized my body
was capable of losing control of it’s breath.

There is something disheartening about anxiety,
actually everything about consistent fret and oncoming doom
can shake any mark of confidence from your being
If I allow my identity to be built up of
weaknesses, I will inherently be made weak

This is factual, this is brick and mortar,
this is tangible and real-life
This is truth and transparency,
it’s a constant conflict to stay at peace
or feel an ounce of it at all

To take this concept of pressure,
that often overruns my existence,
and to label it as ‘manageable’
can render me defeated

Oh, how I am a mess
my heart fails at the sight of hardship
my tongue sets flame to destruction and
my mind lets chaos reign
left alone, I am broken up
and fearful – pitiful and desperate,
selfish, jealous, and insecure
condemning, bitter, and impure

In the light, I can see this great decision
to be made, and oh how I am grateful
for the opportunity to choose,
even when it’s unbearable, I can still choose
I can choose to rest in an undeniable truth
I can let my best intentions, my greatest strivings
and ambitions dissipate and in my weakness
I am given peace, but only in the moments
where I adopt gratitude over grieving
where I pick up song instead of sorrow

And in the moments where I fail to be in the light,
I am then given insurmountable grace
The defeat that once left me immobile
has been transposed into chance for
redemption and newness

So let my days be made up of
a continual act of letting go,
for everything I hold onto
shakes itself into solicitude

Let my heart be one of
gratitude, let grace be all that is left

Time is too quick to
be made up of anxious preparation,
to be solely an existing essence of regret,
sorrow and past experience

Let my heart know rest,
Let my heart know rest

Do not fret— it only causes harm. —Psalm 37.8

Fretting means getting ourselves “out of joint” mentally or spiritually. It is one thing to say, “Do not fret,” but something very different to have such a nature that you find yourself unable to fret. It’s easy to say, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37.7) until our own little world is turned upside down and we are forced to live in confusion and agony like so many other people. Is it possible to “rest in the Lord” then? If this “Do not” doesn’t work there, then it will not work anywhere. This “Do not” must work during our days of difficulty and uncertainty, as well as our peaceful days, or it will never work. And if it will not work in your particular case, it will not work for anyone else. Resting in the Lord is not dependent on your external circumstances at all, but on your relationship with God Himself.

Worrying always results in sin. We tend to think that a little anxiety and worry are simply an indication of how wise we really are, yet it is actually a much better indication of just how wicked we are. Fretting rises from our determination to have our own way. Our Lord never worried and was never anxious, because His purpose was never to accomplish His own plans but to fulfill God’s plans. Fretting is wickedness for a child of God.

Have you been propping up that foolish soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God to handle? Set all your opinions and speculations aside and “abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 9.11). Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about whatever concerns you. All our fretting and worrying is caused by planning without God.

Oswald Chambers | My Utmost For His Highest

centuries-old

oh my, my head is spinning in circles
my sanity splitting at the seams
how is it that I am caught off guard
by horror stories from centuries
Ago, I am still in shock by the state
of this world

how do we believe
that there is any good in us
after hanging and killing and
humiliating and terrorizing
other existing people made up
of the same skin and bones
the same flesh and eyelashes,
fingernails, look at our individuality
only to say we are all the same

pigment and preference, and
uncertainties aside we are built up of
matter and doubt, of intricacies and
I will not ever allow my senses
to be numbed by the endless
noise, it’s so loud here!

Can’t get my mind right,
and on my drive home I started to think
of my heartbreak as a luxury,
a luxury that I once had –
to love and to be loved
And this exit from relations
is not intended to be my demise
I looked into the homeless man’s eyes
And I saw myself reflected
I can’t stand it
I can’t stand it

Oh god, how do I handle
the weight of this world and the
seemingly hopeless situations
looking back on our scars as a nation
and peering forward within the repetition
of history but I am so small within
the greatness of tragedies and
any peace that I’ve ever known
had to have been false or holy
there is no getting around it

I let these words shape my anxieties
into a solidified form
and although my ramblings will never
gather this disorder into
a frame, I can let the letters
slip through my misunderstandings
and let these notions go for
a moment, just to find my way
back above water

There is more that I have got to say,
there are more exclamations and
my lungs plead for a break although
I am sitting in silence
they feel the strain of the marrow
within me and they cry out
for an escape

Let me tell you it just keeps on going,
and the incidents aren’t ever revoked
or erased but only eradicated in the minds
that wander in the evening and will never
know rest while still breathing
I am alive and healing
all while being hurt and misconceiving
all while being broken to believing

acidic sentiment

It is like a nerve, slightly twisted
then applied with pounds of pressure
and an acidic outpouring of sentiment
I stand tall only when I keep walking
the second I’m still I’ll fall to the ground

It’s like a form of humiliation, that gut
wrenching, thought provoking, kind of mind racing
feeling, interlaced with years of attempting
to form functionality with my own strained actions

The way the air looks doesn’t help,
the trees are holding shadows and
the sky is about to let go of
its sorrows, I won’t let myself stay here
much longer

In fear of being transparent
I let many of my words fall through the cracks
filtering out the things that I can’t make into sense
but there has got to be a better way
than suffocating what really is

Each day down can be marked as a success,
or added to the voids of emptiness
I hold onto hope but I can’t see myself
in any other form than helpless and irrevocable

There are things in this life that take my breath away
not the beautiful kind of breathlessness
the gasping and gaping areas of tension
and then there is the subtle sadness
that has seeped its way into countless parts
of my being, joy is lacking
but again I’ll keep on hoping

and the sky has let loose now,
easing its transgressions into renewal
I’m always in awe of its ability to recover
but are there still pockets of rain hidden behind the sun?
will there always be an unstoppable ache,
ready to surface, consuming and without solace?

my bedroom is now lit up with sunlight,
breaking in with warmth and it feels out of place
my soul often sides with the rain
I desire to let the light outweigh the darkness
and I know now my perception is controllable
it’s necessary to claw out the doubt and anxieties
as often as the opportunity presents itself
and above all things let my ache settle into
a sea that I can overlook, with hope
and eventual wholeness

but regret carries the ability to
detain my ability, restricting
the motion of advancement
and the importance of your
existence in my mind has never decreased
with time

for my heart will always see you
will always hold your gaze
will always love and never leave you
will always be awake

hands tied

hands-tied

It doesn’t help that I’ve got my hands tied behind my back,
and my heart cradled in the mouth of a hot oven
some days I see myself exhorting daydreams into false tangibility
often resulting with a swift slap to the face,
you’re not very capable of change, did you know?

When you grab a tray of salted tragedies and toss them
in with regular old human inadequacy
you’ll end up with a mess of a person
a mess of a circumstance and situation
and 88 days out of 100 are immersed in confusion
just my cold mind trying to fight for a
temperature moderate enough for manageable emotion

These words are solely to describe
the height of which my frustrations reach
when you are absent, disappointing, or abrasive
and the depths of my compassion
when you are lonely, hurting, or aching

These words are also to admit
that plenty of the fault lies within
that the majority of my inconsistent temperament
can be chalked up to my personal imperfection.

I am quite tired of an audience (even when invited) addressing my self worth as if I am a third party
and tying that together with esteem – with the ‘put your foot down’ speech
I have learned the lesson of humbled pride
I know my identity, I am familiar with my purpose
but everyone looks frail when they’re dressed up in sorrow
this is a rare aching, arching theme of sparred hope and expectation
but please don’t use my vulnerability as a chance to categorize
this episode as a good versus bad, get over it
we’re all bad here
some of us are just better at
shaking off the dirt

this is a case of conflict,
it has lasted long,
and there is no one left.
only so many prayers requesting clarity
can be sent to the sky
before my heart has been baked through
and my hands untied – just in time

lament II

I began to stretch out my lungs in a capacity
to scream at God
I was to write down every insecurity I have in this faith
and then in those declarations He was to respond with gracious
wisdom and insight, in a soft peace He was to bring comfort and
say “My child, I am with you”

He did not.

I poured out my laments and rose up a banner of doubt, I pointed out the greatest questions of why and how;

I demanded immediate release of pressure that
is working up through my guts into my memory impressed
mind that has failed me time and time again
when loss is pinned up into the blue skies

I wrote down the way I felt when I would imagine her casket slithering into the ground
as they would project their well-intended sympathies declaring an ever good god

“how dare you belittle my wounds with band-aids,
how dare you glaze over my emotional destitution with clichés”

Those who have lost and lose feel they can relate to one another,
bitterness is predominant in these relations, but I would be lying
to say that God has failed me
To say that His hand has not saved, although at the time it very much did not,
His hand has rescued and continues to pull my heart out of the mire and muck
of my insolent sorrow

IF we believe there is a god who sees the beginning and the end
we are forced to accept that he is all knowing
IF this god is all knowing then why would he be absent
in our deepest pleas, why would he allow tragedy that speaks to no redemption, why
would he not answer

I cannot begin to describe why He allows immense suffering.
I have recognized that it is through hardship that Christ is most near,
I have experienced that in brokenness we are made full, but my mortal cries
rudely impose on my proclaimed hope:

What a selfish god..
That he would use my pain just so I would see Him better!
How egotistical, that he longs for me to be more like him so
because of this, I endure suffering

There is no existing being that could remedy my anxieties!
No, my soul cannot find rest in a deity or theology
My anger not satisfied by a man’s excuse for brokenness.

It is in this human truth where my voice is overwhelmed by an Almighty truth,
my doubts insignificant in the overarching grace of a true God,
who is not scheming, who is not manipulating my circumstances,
but who is RESCUING my already condemned heart from its current state

It is in this that every soul is asked to consider Christ as his redemption, and his portion.

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

Lamentations 3.19-24

I have established this:
With Christ I have everything | With out Christ I have nothing

this means that loss, in its immensity,
is actually quite small and powerless although it reigns
heavy and dominant over our souls.
loss does not take us further from God,
it brings us nearer.
In actuality, the more we have,
the more that separates us from Him.

but loss, if not handed over to Him, can begin to build
a home in our lives. It will gather up every situation, good and bad,
and hold it captive – becoming not a ‘loss’ at all but a
selfish burden gained within our souls that is living off of despondency

I intended to call out to God,
to state my poetic laments and in return
find a solution – comfort and peace – but it is all too soon
to be taken from desperation to joy so I will
say to myself:

the Lord is my portion, I will wait for him,
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion

So as my heart breaks with those who are experiencing their own loss,
and as it breaks at the reminder of loss itself,
I will lift my eyes to a God who is not proven to be distrait
but all knowing and sovereign still

Held Together

Things got all twisted up all of the sudden,
you see there is so much pressure impending upon the New Year
It’s like I had everything straight one second, two strings
next to each other, pulled tight at an angle
and they become twisted
like twine my heart cannot figure any of this untangle-able

It’s not just one thing but many
and when the snow falls it accumulates
precipitation looks better when it’s all separated up in the sky
when each piece is on its own
I don’t like how this has gotten all

thrown
together

Trying to breathe better
but when I close my eyes I feel the way
they tremble – and my hands, I swear I’m not cold anymore but
my bones won’t stay straight, they knock against eachother

Time is the worst thing there is
We’ll say we have so much of it, but each second
becomes shorter, each day like a drawn out dialogue
dwindles into night, into nothingness

Oh it’s a strange thing, how quickly this longing
and ache has turned into an incessant worry
Or how valuable life is made out to be
only when it is threatened
Or how a circumstance can escalate
into an eternity – or how distance can be so terrifying

Help me to remember that there is a new morning
That it’s coming soon, that there will be light
that new opportunity and chances are not scarce
And in danger

Help me to remember that my soul is not
a limiting entity, that my mind is not the
epitome, that my anxiety
is not worth anything

Help me to remember that my faith
isn’t fleeting, that my strength isn’t up to me
that although our bodies are failing
and our thoughts are escaping
Help me to remember, this is not the end

My brain has been against me from the beginning, honestly
I’ve always reverted to loathing myself when imperfection
occurs, and nothing is ever perfect
So when it all stacks up
when events and actions, conversation and matters,
when issues arise, and sickness caves in, and darkness drowns
out the light that I crave to see
I am left with an overwhelming
physical and mental state and I can see it now
like a dark cloud, or a long hallway

Help me to remember that all things pass
and that all things are held together even when my
insides are broken up, twisted up, and
caught up in these times
Help me to remember,
that all things are held together

delay

What to do when your brain echoes “empty, empty, empty”
What to output when internally you’re finding a distant memory on repeat
I promised myself that I would no longer speak of you
That your name, if said at all, would become unfamiliar when the syllables
Rolled off of my lips

I break promises,
I keep on, keep on, keep on
waving my hands in the air in surrender
letting my desperation penetrate the space surrounding,
Saying if I could just let this go one more time
Then it will really go and be gone

It’s not that simple,
is everyones favorite phrase when a decision is hard to make,
At least it’s not a lie –
Simplicity breaks evenly, complexity tears away at the weak parts,
crosses up confusion and misunderstanding to make a way for
hostility, resentment, and pure sorrow in its emptiest of forms
There isn’t a way to jam all those parts back together again when
complexity has had its way, just a misshapen jigsaw trying to forge the
outcome of a solution

I have tired myself of words and composition,
leaving my unsettled discontent in the hands of a butcher
This is the time when I prepare myself for the continuation of
wondering and why-ing, some call it doubt;
I now see it as curiosity, but not the kind that is enticing or beautiful,
rather the kind that is chopped up by longing, desire, and unanswered questions

If there’s anything within me that can become settled
it is the decision I make every night before falling asleep
I decide that morning will come and with it
a familiarity of newness,
and it is in this newness that I hope to find a form of
resolution, it’s been years now with out one,
but who am I to say there cannot be?

I decide to leave it to the morning,
like many things, but I believe this is the only item
meant to be put off until further notice,
delayed, accepted as unfinished

Wrap up your uncertainties for a time where they have a chance
to be put to death, don’t let them hang around where there is
food and nourishment
Don’t let them live on your couch and shower in
your bathroom, get them gone before they are like
neighbors and close friends
They will not console you when truth breaks in