Another Way

This is not working
I am not breathing, in and out like I should
I do not want to live here anymore
in this place where the most vulnerable are
repeatedly victimized
Where brokenness begets brokenness
where weapons are celebrated and defended
more than children
Where protocol or the lack of it
prevents change and assistance
I do not want to live here anymore
inside of this body that carries the weight of
tragedy like it was designed in the shape of a wheelbarrow
and my heart is the set of calloused hands that picks it up
fingernails scraping the dirt beneath it and I can feel every pain
Like the soil that gathers around my cuticles
the dysfunction is relentless
and everyone is telling me to breathe but they
Do not feel what my chest feels like
it is like a burning tightness,
it hurts to breathe in and when I exhale I feel
flooded with sorrow so instead I
hold my breath

Yesterday I said my mind feels like two forks
with the prongs grating together and I am trying
To shake these thoughts loose so that I can sleep at night
but it is all unrelenting
How does one regain control when there is not
a moment to do so?
Even my silence is tormented by memory of the past
and anxiety over the future
I thought that I would have one sacred space in this world
but nothing is immune,
Everything is permeable
and all of this requires an incessant working towards wholeness
or else it becomes fragmented
And I am exhausted
Like the bathroom sink that once was clean
all things require a periodic scrub
all things are seemingly bent towards destruction,
I remember when I first heard the word entropy:
gradual decline to disorder
You were fascinated by it, and I chose to deny it
but now I am not so sure

Tomorrow is the 26th and it would have been his 29th birthday
but he only had 27
I have carried my grief like it could fit in my pocket but it
turns out that it is instead every piece of clothing that I wear
I have convinced myself that it is acceptable but it is not in
any way, shape, or form
I understand the way of death and resurrection in nature, see it all around me
but that does not make my throat soften so that swallowing is not painful
That does not make my body forget what it felt like to tremble on the day that he was buried
I tend to keep myself from writing these words because I don’t
want anyone to feel hopeless
but if I don’t allow them to flow through me like a river
they will flood me until I drown
If I don’t make space for this pain I will soon sink into
a bitterness that cannot be shaken and God, I don’t want to be bitter
because I believe in the tension between all that is beautiful and all that is desperately wicked
so I offer up every racing thought within me
every angry argument and uncalled for reaction
every righteous frustration and selfish motivation
every moment of giving up and giving into the inertia that haunts me
every deep hurt that seems to find no permanent solace
All of the deceit that I did not expect to receive
all of the misunderstanding that I thought wouldn’t be
I offer up everything
Take it, please, just for a moment at least
and If I must carry it again, I will add it to my wheelbarrow of a body
but right now, I must set it all down and see what You might make of it

Twelve Years

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For twelve years the sun has risen
and the sun has set
there have been twelve hot green summers
turned into crisp and colorful autumns,
For twelve years we have gone forward
wanting to be where you have been

My fear, if left unattended
turns into a frigid tightness in my chest
I lay in bed pushing away thoughts of loss,
I can’t bring myself to believe in the false security
of his breath rising and falling next to me
I shut my eyes tight
but I can’t shake the feeling
that all good things are ending
that someday I might wake up
and later that day, have to fall asleep
with out him beside me

My dread, if not bolted down by hope
will come in the form of irritability
will settle in like a blanket of sorrow
an unwelcome uneasiness, lining the thought of tomorrow

My anxiety, turns from a raging ocean
into a steady bay
Sometimes the wind picks up,
but it won’t be long until I’m calm again

I have not been left in the casket of my fear, dread, or anxiety
Just like you have been given more life than I have ever known
the same God that has made you immortal,
removes the sting of death from me

I move through life with the thought of heaven
anchoring my heart and breathing peace into every part of me
If one believes that we don’t go on living,
then what would the purpose of these years, like mist, be?

My fear is not stamped out by worldly remedies,
it is healed by the design of a God who sent a savior to die for me
My dread and dissatisfaction only exist when I lose focus of His
grace and prominence
How humbled I become,
when I acknowledge my quickness to forget
that this world is only a shadow
and He has called me out of denial

I do not want to lose any more of the people that I love,
but how wonderful to rest in the assurance that those who have gone
are not actually lost
The world might label this faith as the loss of freedom
but I would argue to say that this is freedom at the core
to no longer be controlled by my fear of death,
to no longer rot in the depth of my selfishness,
to no longer allow sadness to consume my joy
to live in the liberty of a redeemed existence
followed by life eternal,
where there is no more death
or mourning, crying, or pain

There is no time to be wasted,
no time to hold onto bitterness or self-righteousness,
no time to ignore the way that rust eats and bodies age
There is beauty in everything if we submit,
but there is only pain if we reject
This life is just the in between
the race preparing us for the next

Twelve years are like a fleeting memory in comparison to eternity
twelve years, half of my lifetime at this moment
and I am not guaranteed one more day
Let the fragility of this life lead us to cling to the author of salvation,
let it guide us to love like there is no act of greater importance

The loss of you, revealed the greatest truth:
What is seen is temporary
What is unseen is eternal

 

Reasoning

To live in simple moderation,
to accept what I could have changed
to look away at the sight of dysfunction or demise
to fall asleep to the distraction of a screen and
wake up to the rhythmic habits of my own world
Even in this generic approach,
I cannot deny the intensity of life

The weather rages and the stories never end,
the intricacies of photosynthesis in the trees
and the psychology behind a human mind
the endless combination of words in millions of books
each making a new and unique character
I cannot pretend to grasp the largeness of life

The injustice in our laws,
the contradictions in our nominal faiths
the little lies and snide remarks
in our daily conversations

The traffic, a sight of frustration
the ocean, a glimpse of peace
holiday mornings with their nostalgia
and the disappointment of time gone too fast

The pleasure in symmetry,
the components of anxiety
the fear of sickness and the
longing for death or dreading of dying

We must not stay distracted,
or we will miss the point
everything on earth is a foreshadowing of
what is to come or a consequence of what has happened

We must not settle for what our culture has deemed appropriate,
just a little bit of religion or a lot of distraction
materialism and busyness racing in to hold our attention
good works as our redemption
substances as our prevention of feeling deeply
or our means to stay afloat

Shouldn’t an entire world history
and continued actions of
slavery, genocide, and destruction
lead us to believe
we are innately sinful,
and in desperate need of saving?

We are quick to identify
the terror brought on by others
yet slow to recognize the hate
and conflict in our own hearts
I have a hard time seeing how the
world will change
if we refuse the transformation of our
own hearts, minds, souls

I could resort to nihilism,
fall into cynicism,
live this one life with no thought of the next
I could say that all things go,
avoid confrontation through assimilation
but I would first have to deny the artist who created all good things,
I’d have to choose a gaping void over the deepest satisfaction,
the most clear answer to my endless aching

This is a not so subtle reminder
that moths and rust destroy
life moves quickly and what do we leave when we go,
a legacy of family, distracted and busy?
I look to Christ as my hope
a sure and steady anchor,
a purpose for my soul

But when I look to Him,
I’m confronted and convicted of a reality within
his words are not isolated anecdotes of comfort and peace,
they are like fire, burning and refining
“O for grace to discard all hypocrisy,
and to be found of Him sincere and without rebuke…”
How deep the rest that abides in me,
when I surrender everything
I admit to my ignorance,
welcoming your wholeness in my weakness
I wrestle with the absurdities of life
and even my anger with you
but I won’t bask in distraction,
busyness with no real action
Your words are sharp and cutting,
yet your embrace is so sweet.
There is no explanation for living
if I deny you as my King

Humanity moves forward,
clenching on to the past and vying for the future
I remember the truth that each person has been made
in the image of the god that I believe to be true
I acknowledge the mysteries and long to know more of you,
and I refuse to give this faith only a small part of me,
it is either everything or nothing at all.

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance,
and if true, of infinite importance.
The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

quotes by charles spurgeon and c.s. lewis

Freedom from Me

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This poem is inspired by Sharon Hodde Miller’s book, Free of Me, this sermon by Rev. David Stephenson from Mclean Presbyterian Church, and my most recent life transition of moving from Arlington to Amissville.

Replace my self centeredness with an awareness of your
sovereign presence
Who am I to say
what will happen tomorrow,
or even today?
I’ve always known
a false sense of control
harboring anxiety like it’s a part of me
Allowing my plans and the failure of them
to dictate my disposition and my trust in you

There is freedom,
wherever you are
but not just from my past or future,
freedom from my present self
My never fleeting condition of
selfishness and pride
my constant fear of
inadequacy and the notion
that all good things will be
taken from me

There is freedom now,
your presence as real as the
invisible wind shaking the spring green trees
There is freedom in the evening,
when I’ve yet to complete all the things that
I set out to do in the morning
There is freedom in each new sunrise,
an opportunity to seek you more
to accomplish the purpose you have made me for

So let me find satisfaction in you alone
in your creation and your sacrifice
There is freedom from myself
You have forgiven all of my failures,
and finished all of my good works
I need not dwell on myself,
for you have given me a new identity
one that is made up of you,
I am free of me.

First

I’m sharing a love poem from a few years ago. My husband and I are moving out of our first apartment in less than a week and I’ve been going through our things and making sure we aren’t taking anything we don’t need to our new home. I’ve caught myself finding letters and scraps of paper hiding in books and boxes. I wrote this poem for him after dating for eight months. This poem is a good reminder, to love and to love well. We are called to put others first, to love them above ourselves, above our pride, weaknesses, work, and even our sadness. Have you ever heard that love is at first a feeling and then it is a choice? I believe this to be true. We are all bearing burdens, battling emotions, distractions, and darkness. My heart aches, but it can also love. In sickness and in health, in the newness of spring and the dead of winter.

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You are first.
The first thought I think in the morning,
the first voice I miss in the evening
You are first and only.
The only one I want when I don’t want anything,
the only good thing in the midst of my anxiety
You are first and last.
The last hand I will hold to my face,
feel your fingertips on my lips like a sacred belonging
the last heart I will carry in mine,
my love for you is a strong thing.
You are first to me, and for me,
before my pride and worry
You are before the sun and moon,
before the things I need to do
You are first and only, my dear,
I’d admire you for days, I admire you always
I’ll choose you first and only and last
First when I rise, only when I walk,
and last when I lay
You are first for all of the days.

Written 12.08.16

The Things You Carried

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Inspired by John 19.28-37

When you go to the cross,
will you take my shame?
I’m living in leftover layers from my past,
consumed by oceans of regret,
caught up with what I should
and should not have said

When you go to the cross,
will you take my pain?
my flesh fails, my body aches
my hands are weak,
they often shake
my anxiety, it creeps up on me
makes a home in the back of my neck
snakes around my nerves
and strangles my dexterity
many days there is not much left of me

When you go to the cross,
will you take my loss?
flashing visions of the ones I’ve loved,
tremor through my mind in moments of panic
I see their mouths gasping for breath
I call out to them, don’t go
not yet

When you go to the cross,
will you take my pride?
I hate the way it controls my life
sneaking into every scenario,
claiming ownership over my disposition
calling attention to my selfish condition

When you go to the cross,
will you take my sorrow?
It’s rooted so deep in me,
pulling apart those moments of joy
like a frayed fabric, I want the whole
piece but it won’t let me have it

When you go to the cross,
will you take my sin?
I’m a wreck and I always have been
a part from you I’m left in the mire
covered in ashes, headed to a blazing fire

My separation from you is real in this moment
the darkness sets in the hour of your crucifixion
it was my mocking voice that put you on that cross
and then your skin was broken, you bled for us

After one last bitter sip,
you cried the words “It is finished”
your body hanging bare and beaten
your mercy for me made alive
in your death you have made me new
this sacrifice I cannot undo

When you rise from the dead,
will you remember my name?
I am your child,
you have made me that way.

To Be Yours

It’s a desire to be in more than one place at a time
not a fear of missing out, but a fear of time
The quickness of it, and the thought of am I doing enough?
being enough, loving well enough?
Never enough and that’s the core of it all
My actions don’t satisfy my debts, my words
don’t earn your approval
My life could decrease in works and increase in mess
and you’d love me all the same

I would make it work the other way, if I were God
I don’t have thoughts on my own that are anything like yours
My thoughts are like dark roads covered in black ice
waiting for a chance to sneak in and crash up the movement of sanctification
If I were God, I’d say
the better you do, the better you are
and that would be more comfortable, knowing that my merit is earned
but I am not God, thank God

Instead, you give freely
and I come up short
you meet me

I am most at peace when given the opportunity to sit on the couch
with books and your word, and a hot cup of coffee
and I also feel anguish in those moments with the knowledge that I can’t
stay in this place for as long as I want
and among the peace there is also torment
the wrestling of my flesh, I just want to be more like you
I am not a savior though, I am simply saved

Simple in the sense that your blood is real and covers it all,
I long for your truth and the shaking off of my hindered perspective

My perspective that is hindered by the daily anxieties that I hate that I have
when I admit the things that truly worry me I am ashamed
Uneasiness rises within me at the sole thought of moving from one place to another
travel, food, sleep, furniture, finance, any ounce of change
I’m embarrassed by the concern that causes my chest to tighten,
I hold my breath when you’ve given me reason to breathe

When conviction runs rampant in my anxious heart,
I am left feeling defeated and undone
I crave to get every single idea and event inscribed on my internal calendar
and carried out into eternity but I fail
I fail to accomplish the simple things, and I have always been
compelled by the complex

This is an admittance of guilt for things that I should rightly feel guilty for,
but you told me that to set my mind on the flesh is death,
and to set my mind on the Spirit is life and peace
and I want to live

I want to live in utter admiration of your character,
letting this knowledge of you lead me away from darkness
the shadows of my heart and the way it sets my mind up for failure
Let compassion be an enabling emotion, leading me to
serve you out of freedom and genuine care for others
Let each day be counted as good because of your work
already finished
And in my lacking let your fullness be
illuminated

Slow my internal discourse, my outward speech
make a symphony out of my discomposure
and let me hear your voice above it all
saying

“Child, you are mine and that is enough.”

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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

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

how-long2

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

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

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

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

joy is not distraction

joy is not immersing yourself in distraction
it is being devoted to what is happening right at that moment
letting your insides be swallowed up by your surroundings
keeping your eyes fixed on the goodness that doesn’t always prevail in circumstance

community is not overrated
friendship is vital
I believe in solitude
in breathing alone, not having to be concerned
over the impact of your exhale
I am alone always in some way
but relationship lets you learn yourself
and most of all leads you to thinking outside of your head
your existence isn’t the only thing moving
take a look at catastrophe- you’ll see the very essence of life turning
out of your control, you don’t have control

letting go
is like losing
but being with out burden is a tremendous thing
like cutting ties with all heaviness
breaking off ropes and vines that itch

lies turn into deceit
honesty is more valuable than any freedom you believe you will gain with fabrication
honesty is liberation, and consequence may follow but at least you can sustain truth

every part of me is in spirals
I feel that moment when I ran on the beach, I had a friend with me
darkness blacker than coal
waves larger than the world
when I let go, you did too
I want to live every evening like that, carrying all my frustarations
and dropping them into the sea

every part of me is in spirals
I feel that laughter that was out lived by sorrow
but it was so much sweeter because we knew pain

every part of me is in spirals
I feel that film in the black box
watching destruction emerge from a civilized nation
feeling so weak beneath the strength of numbers
all I could think – It’s out of our control
all I could believe in was tragedy and distortion

JOY IS NOT IMMERSING YOURSELF IN DISTRACTION
I’ll say it again because I really believe it-
in relationship and honesty, I’m a complete advocate
I feel it in my bones that I was created for the sole purpose
of accepting the absurdity of my small insanity
and putting the sorrow aside, all for vitality

It takes sadness to feel joy
anxiety to feel peace
anger to feel complacency
stay with me

Inspiration is a choice
and it is often disabling
I find myself piling my own limbs into my bedroom
dense like honey
weighed down by desire to live out
an inspired and productive existence
but the compelling effects of compassion
and the appetite for a wholesome substance
can be made healthy

(define healthy: contributing, existing, enjoying)

faith is also necessary,
I do not care what they say
my whole self is wrapped up in salvation,
do we not all feel that we need to be saved from something?

save me from selfishness, save me from greed
strip me of anxiety, steal me from defeat

joy is not a synonym for happiness
it’s rooted in the core of your teeth, but not always stretched into a smile
let noise culture your memories
it’s okay to be reminded of different times
discomfort can be followed by a deeper appreciation

I miss you, and you
but I’ll let this song play out because it was good then
and goodness can last for as long as I live
I believe it

running empty of words but
joy is not perfection
it’s not some falsely identified character trait
handed off to the person laughing the loudest in the room
joy does not burn like a cigarette
it can’t be caught by figurative language
but only felt at the end of a night
when circumstance does not make up the
entirety of a soul
it lasts longer than burning tobacco
longer than flooding inspiration
longer than instant gratification
the moment you realize control is not an option
and letting go is the only thing worth while
joy will sound different when it rolls off your tongue
less like a foreign idea and more like family

all I want is for you to know my
heart has been hanging by a thread but
I’m starting to wrap some rope around it
It won’t be loose forever
my
memory, for me,
will never become water beneath the bridge but
this idea of tragedy is coming closer to a current
this inspiration has caught me off guard
and I am ready to pick up and go again
because
joy is being devoted
to what is happening at this very moment
when circumstance has formed an ache
I’ll shake off this gloom and speak

joyis

 

american dream

AMERICAN DREAMout six dollars and in with the nurture
of a bad habit and a set back
out a conversation and in with the appropriate
regret of too many words, too many things said

but it sure is great how I now know not to expect
but it sure is wonderful how I’ve come to terms with my irrational thoughts,
taken out of context

pen and ink can’t conquer this thing
gone with my judgment
gone with my greed
gone with my selfishness
gone with my needs

sorrow and a sore heart lead to growing frequencies
concerned with the future but now I look at my heart
see it separated by willful decisions and longing and art

I’ll begin with my troubled mind my troubled
faith
and end with my hopeful heart
my endangered fate

I choose to speak with ambiguities
glad to take my situation and throw it to the sea
it’s not great or wonderful at all,
not satisfied nor content
not decided nor specified
just spent, spent, spent

said I’m worn out! save me from this
endless reach for serenity and peace
said I’m finished! surrender all I am
all I have and have not been

american dream
beneath a tucked in moon
american dream
dig in, grab a spoon

child

in the face of a child
i find myself helpless
confronted by innocence, and she shows me how tainted
i have let me life become
tainted by selfishness and anxiety
by heartbreak and relationship,
i find myself complex and irritated
but in the face of a child
i am shown that this life still has something to offer
and by the grace of god that all of the grown have somehow forgotten
we are free.
i am hurt by disbelief
i am broken by sorrow
i am twisted by change,
she tells me a secret
and i will never forget it,
knowing that every whisper holds a truth,
and that in the face of a child
i can find purpose,
confronted by innocence
i will shake this stain and bitterness

fail me, nor falter

see, it all began when I was young
when I first realized that this world was much bigger than I was
and from then on the idea progresses
into a short story, a novel, a trilogy, never ending.
I’ve realized these insecurities around me,
the shaking ground and towers falling
and when you grow old within a century,
your memories amount to millenniums and broken things

and my ability to separate the tragic from the reality
has fallen into an incident of disbelief
in comes the breeze from the fall it keeps getting dark,
and darker
and along with all the shades of green
my heart endures small scrutiny
and I know these anxieties will never fail me, nor falter