Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mississippi Solstice

I have a winter sky heart
with careful stars
beside a moon so bright it'll be ash by the end of the week.

No snow gray; close and heavy.
No cloud puffs in thin wind.

Just soft auburn
and high, high sky.

There's a brittle crackle longing--
the fear of breathing deeply;
the hope.

I can see you , God; just past deep blue.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Valhalla Merlot

Rock me out.
Take every wrinkle,
spot, dark circle.

Rock me out
with gels and
creams; hopes
held high in glossy
80lb magazine

Rock me out.
If I have the
perfect shoe,
the cream shade
that defies age
and all touch with reality.

Rock me out;
white teeth,
perfect skin,
soft hair with highlights.

Rock me out.
Trade me up.
Sell me out.
Sell me short.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Retrace the Steps

I've always been too much like Levertov
too much
too much like the Hebrews
repeating images
using pictures--restating in other words
the already said
too much in love with Levine
and his stark line and his white images
of taste and grime and industry
and dirt and the list goes on to one
too much in sway like Neruda
full of plump pomegranites
and li-young lee--word mistakes
and twists and turns in persimmons

i like persimmons

too much like Dickenson
all dashes and rhythms
too much like w.s.
with nothing to say
next to the white chickens
not enough like eliot
the epic eludes, eludes, eludes
bishop's fish and oily rainbows

so bring the requiem of notes played and words read, spelled
spoken and tasted.

I breathe the steps I've taken
and I will breathe them again
and they will be read.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Thrios Arkadelphia

I'm trapped in the home stretch
caught in the last .2 miles to the finish
If I could just get beyond,
If I could just reach,
out, past, there, in front;
just at the tip of the longest finger
of the daydreaming transient.

Angry, red and bitter;
I gesticulate--
the homeless hitchhiker
terrifying every do-gooder,
stomping and swearing.

I'm so damned helpless,
trapped and helpless
watching the dust devils dance.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Burning Song

And, Lord, would You receive
the flaming tongue
the burning song
the smoking; smoldering
hopes and longing.

Oh, Lord to be awakened
to Your fire
Your fuel
Your altar.

Help, Lord, help
and receive my song of coals
my burning song.

Breathe in deeply, Oh Living Breath
and exhale Your pleasure and satisfaction
over my burning song
my coal-heaped head.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Jealous Pictures

watched the seasons come down
in jealous pictures

i guarded my heart right out;
right past the last turn

and letting go
a seering fall; a seering fall
into a small world and a big God

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I Miss the House

I have been singing for 3 hours
but now the worshipping begins
because just now I've washed
or I am washing or I'm being washed
--let the blood clean
all I've been carrying around
all day--let the rain that thundered
in on top of my practiced singing
soak the altar; I'm with Baal
in my pride, but how I desire
to dance with delight around the
burning altar. I want to be holy,
so I'm going to stopy trying and
just die. That seems to be the
quickest way.
Amber and Leah sway in front of me.
Ryan sings over my head.
Micah bearcrawls to Becca's song.
I could add my harmony but that
doesn't build the Kingdom.
What builds the Kingdom is my
own death and the cessation of
scribbling in the shadows of
other worshippers.

For Clyde Tinsley and the Son of the Living God

This afternoon we gathered to remember
a husband
brother in the Body.

We sang songs and told stories:
he was a giver, encourager,
learned of the Word; dedicated to the beauty of his family and the spoken action of love.

Tonight we gather together to remember

We are singing songs and in my heart are a thousand stories
as we read Paul's account of the beginning of the end
of the beginning of all we hope.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

30 August--CAHBC

In the meeting room tonight
stained glass windows and drawn hearts
I want to raise my hand
to add
to join in the conversation
but I find myself just listening
just giving scripted answers in unison

A vivid One-on-one is what I have
I and the Spirit are whispering
elbow in the side, "No. YOU say it!"

I'm not alone in my whispers
but if I stood
if I stood as the new creation I am
then I would be; alone.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sophia Was Sad; Now We Both Are

Reality is a struggle today; the real is not so much.
A dream came early this morning--it seemed so true; so factual
that waking didn't dispell it.
Wearing that dream all morning keeps the fog around;
keeps the bright green leaves in 3D;
keeps the images of all that was lost so close; yet so intangible.

I had a conversation with my former life.
We argued over what is real; what should be and what is.
In desperation, I cried out quietly in a whisper.
Like the rescue of a thousand horses, Truth came.
Like Solomon with the much acclaimed half baby decision.
I, the true mother found myself screaming--"Oh please don't kill the sovereignty of God
just to make what was, again."

Just like God asked Job: "Would you discredit my justice?"
"Would you condemn Me to justify yourself?"

Of course not silly; it was just a dream.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Still a bit of sunset at 7:30

I want to see the stars
like David did
when he sang the psalms and songs of solitude; of the intentional focus of God.

I want to turn aside
like Moses did
when he noticed the burning miracle of God's presence and purpose.

I want to rise in very relationship like Enoch and Elijah did
when they were caught up in walking close; in conversation.

I want to remain
like Joshua did
when he continued in the temple; when he couldn't get enough.

But when?
When do I turn aside?
When do I see or sing; rise or remain?

Here; here and now.
Here in the middle of doing,
speaking, thinking and expressing
and moving and having my being.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns Acts 28:1-16

What does it mean to travel miles and miles
to look upon inconvenience as opportunity

In the middle of the day--a word, a thought, a smile--a meal
Right after the longest night--an affirmation, a testimony
In the face of doubt--a co-conspirator; partner in reality

Press in--the light over Saul on the Damascus road--overbearing; weighty; unshakable
Overflow--Malta--"..the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured."
Fear not--God is keeping me alive and you with me.

Go and stir up your gifts--you cog; you well-fitting joint; you belt; you knit together in your mother's womb for this very purpose. And, after prayer, lay hands on and heal the Body of Christ.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Logical Conclusion--Dreamsong

I cannot see a storm approach at night.
When the wind grows mysterious, tremulous and scattered,
my thoughts will match it.
My thoughts will carry it out to the end;
till I reach the conclusion that all things...
all things are in Him and through Him and by Him.

Praise the Living God; my very breath.
Praise the Hands that hold the meaning of all beauty: of every word.

The exhalations of the wind--
the sigh of God; the sigh before the breath before the song begins.
I have to stop and breathe the deep smell of rain.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Early Morning Ezekiel

Standing under lightning and thunder
and the urge to close my eyes
and hold my breath.

I have to move; I have to breathe.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I go from Your Presence?

I'm next to Ezekiel--carried up in the Spirit,
facedown as the temple is filled; on my side
for days on end.

I watch the Prince's gate--the East door
and worship at the threshold.

Next time I'll go in; I promise.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Draw Close

You are the beauty in the beginning,
the satisfaction in the end;
the giver of the good gift of suffering,
and the fashioner of sorrow.
There is solace in Your eyes and patience on Your face.

Lines from intimate gaze release the breath I've been holding.
You speak a language just for me.

Like oil, your presence spills over my cheeks and lips;

We have turned aside to Sabbath together.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Colorado Psalm

Praise the intentional, individual God,
specific and whole, intent; gazing; perceiving.
Personal, relational, patient and persistent.
He is a God who waits; who breathes;
who calls and knows; who persists and invites.
He is a God who knocks and listens;
who draws close; approachable and approaching;
pursuing and releasing.

Praise the personal, universal God who keeps
the oceans and my longing in perfect rhythm.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Don't Be So Hasty

I'm unwrapping the long gift;
box within box carefully decorated,
designed, intended for me and this
continual string of moments
I know this is the beginning.
I know this is the middle.
I know this is the end.

The distance leads the horizon
that opens to the goal that bursts into flame.
The glow marks the place where at the end
of today's run will rise yet another horizon
a phoenix of hope through endurance;
through persistence
through the humility to know
that the answers are not the prize
the high calling is not the distant glimmer
but Christ, the nebulous monument
the tangibly invisible reward
rests as my pocket possession
eluding into joy.

Candyapple Moon

The candyapple moon is out tonight
it's pulling on the waves
like the Spirit's pulling on my heart
when this celestial confection fills my view
I lose perspective
When I take it in I can no longer see where I end
and you begin
I'm sorry; I'm so sorry
to look at you that way
to label you the pride of life
and love you in decay

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I Told You So

The forebearance of all things
burlap wrapped around the 3rd degree burn of all your words
all your failures and vehement justifications

I shoulder up and quiet down
all the things I have the right to say
and the freedom to withhold.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Abram soon to be renamed,
stands at the edge of choosing--
opposite of Lot who did not have the promise
The promise; definite article
reflected at the pool of Bethesda
patient waiting for the unattainable
to crawl within reach--two polars moving
in opposite directions; me and hope
as infinitely incompatible as greed
and giving; as 8 o'clock am and College Algebra

Walking Song

The stranger walking in front of me is singing the song You gave me
this morning. I won't begrudge Him; I want to sing it too.
I can hear the melody in my heart, but I can't feel the right notes;
my voice is off pitch beause it's Your breath coming
over my vocal cords; not my own.
Keep breathing, Lord, breathe out through me.
It feels like death because it is.
But this resucitation is libation.

Chisandong 849

or at least the street;
no, alley; smells, garlic and cabbage
and dogs
ice slush still hasn't melted
No drain traps and our lips curl

Friday, June 02, 2006

Saturday Night Confession

Other lovers draw me away
with promised intimacy; with
tangible security; with neon
prosperity, the glitter
of a plan; a schedule.

I sacrifice my ability to be drunk in you.
I sacrifice the allure of your distant voice for a conversation across the table.

Forgive me, forgive my affair with the immediate.

My dearest love; my righteous judge.
I'm counting down the days.
I don't know how long, but I do long.
I long for the end of all things and the beginning of the way things should be.

Humility is the most beautiful

The mountain sunset is in your eyes
I need to soak it in--pink, 3D
Nothing on earth is as beautiful as you
And I hold you and close my eyes
so I can breathe you in
and taste your grace:

the rain falling outside
the red and yellow roses down the street
the gentleness of three friends harmonizing your stories

my children love me and are expressive--beautiful
the guitar is out of tune--glorious
the brothers I will never lose dance in worship--strength to remain
the Word is for me--personal

Monday, May 29, 2006

10 Minute Spill

Fountain lick; the sound of water down the building,
or is it just circulating with the whir of the AC?
No, it's really coming down now and the strawberries
will have beaded up
under the clouds over Songtan Farmer's market.
The tile on the strip is slipping like ice now
and the buildings drip with sky saliva
Can't teach an ahjahshee the new tricks
cab drivers use. Sometimes I wish I had
face and hands like brown speckled paper.

Haiku--A collection

First day of winter
Truly the streets are quiet
For now snow is king

Clear stacked together
Makes white of brown fields turning
Mushy gray from feet

Brown lifeless concrete
Burning barefoot soles of feet
Scars from crossing streets

Heat is overhead
Sounds of shuffling on the street
Brown lifeless concrete

Stream turned vapor white
I should have stayed in bed
Heat is overhead

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Phone Cards Are On Me...Love, Ray

I don't hate goodbyes;
I'm just afraid of the "hellos" that lead to them
and the inevitable forgetting; memory gene pool
shallow and thin; not even wispy
too strong a word for our first meeting.

It's like that now; almost; nothing new coming in
just premade cards stacking up in my
"I can't bring myself to throw it away" box
because it's supposed to mean something
even if that moment is 5 months old.
I don't mind saying "goodbye"
just promise you won't hear me.


Today we went to Suwon;
travel on short term.
I was waiting to cross after we hiked fortress walls.
We darted out in front of the last car,
bowl full of meeguhks and two Canadiennes.
Canada Will & American Will; distinctions, decisions
come to me like imprecise seconds on the clock
in the living room; keeps losing time.
I thought: I have lost this year
I fell in love with paper and neglected blue sky

The thing I keep thinking

All fantasies and imaginings taken in chains to Christ
--change custody; once captive now captor
and I want to scream; up on the roof; out at the rice paddies

Instead, inside the furnace is kindled by the same hand--
ignited from the throne to burn away all the fuel He gave into sweet incense
--the prayers of the saints.

Grace & Peace: Live on Stage!

Concept 1 & Concept 2 wrapped neatly
pick it up--one size fits all
one Spirit; on Christ; one Baptism
Bread lines; army green cloaks of humility
but don't I have to come begging; don't I have to keep asking; coming back
again and again--addict; junkie; mystery pills--G & P
Can't it just be an IV?
or do I have to be knighted again, blessed with holy water...
like the first time didn't take--bad perm 7th grade

I want to live in it!
I want to worship in Your temple without forgetting to remove my shoes.
I want to lie out like Ezekiel; on my side so You can pour over me all I hide my face from.

Mountains 2000 & Mobile 2003

The gentle beckoning of a Savior
--out on the ledge;crawling
hands & knees scraping on concrete
stingin now, but He's stopped, and He's wooing.

Release & life/Release & death
But this isn't just one moment of revelation;
a lifetime of rescues
Now He's a lover, and in between rescues--I'm satisfied

The intimate wooing of a lover--in the secret place;
moving--my attention is His, and I know Him.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Muslim of Humility

What time I am overwhelmed
I will trust in You.
Siren song call to death.
I will put my forehead on the ground
and pull my knees up under
Knees and face to the floor
my prayer rug is a sweatshirt
I lie on the floor of my classroom
door locked, lights off
not concerned with direction but duration

The Censer is Full

The four square city
has a four square cross
rotating in front of the glory of God
like an ornament or a doorway
to the grain from Your hand

the grain of gold in a clay bowl
shaken out
while the Lion watches
the fire follows the harvest of repentance
wings unfurl, eyes, spokes on wheels of flame
wrapped around my terrible LORD
the holy black and white

Masks Dissolving

let the water move
stir up the stagnate baptismal
the inward fire will dance on the surface
because it dances in the depths

first obedience; second blessing
let the golden bowl tip and pour,
douse; quench but fuel
and the fire will fall
and the fire will rise, surround and consume
the living sacrifice

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ji San Dong 849 2nd Floor

I bought a new dress today; I keep getting them dirty.
This one's a burial shroud too; the one I always wanted
I'm a bride and my veil is the pall
that hides my glory.
I've trimmed my wick; my lamp is full
and I've been standing outside looking up the road for 17 years.
It's a dusty spot, and some others waiting with me
have made it a home of sorts with all the conveniences,
but I can spot a counterfeit,
and on clear days I can see the room built for me--the place prepared
where I will live with my husband.

Hmmm, my husband.

Tonight the whole city smells like fresh grapes and honeysuckle
I'm waiting outside again because this is not my home anymore
the breeze carries traffic sounds and yellow pine pollen
the sounds of all my longing;

the seed went into the ground, died, and birthed a tree
the tree produced fruit and the fruit dropped from the branch
fell into the ground and died.

just bury me in my wedding dress

2001-Offering Envelope Side 2

Partially sanctified, Father.
Is that why I doubt?
Is that why I follow without compass?

Partiality is blessed.
Blessed partiality; desire is blessed

To enter Your presence, Father.
To bring back to You the wisdom, peace and goodness
You sent out in me.
Wholesomeness--to be full before You, Lord.

2001--Offering Envelope Side 1

I threw my emotions out into
the streets, out there with the
wisdom to know they came from you.
Oh, I feel suffering.
You must have hidden that one
in my pocket while my false logic
threw my infant belief out with the bathwater.
Challenged, I feel that too,
but I am not surprised that
You challenge me; surprise me.
Order my pride till it has no more foundation to stand.

It comes as no real shock
that my most dear loved ones think I'm foolish,
pitiable because I chose to listen;
to listen to Your Spirit.

Speak Spirit; speak to my foolishness; speak to my undoing.
And as You continue to abase me; speak to those I love;
speak against their foolishness.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Continuation of the Beginning in Strict Denial of the End: Because of Jesus and Pablo Neruda

We are the two gathered in His name.
We are the one flesh.
We are.
He is.
We are: the vine and branches;
the shepherd and sheep;
the lover and beloved.
We are.
He is.

After the Airport

Solomon is nothing; and all his songs, caucophony.
The stars are empty, the sea is no mystery.

But you, you are my long forever.
I cannot see beyond the joy that waits in your arms.
Your hands stretch out around me, holding my fear
as if it were only a drop resting in your palm.
That is where I am, cradled, covered, knowing your strength.

Your joy is my joy.
You are my continuation; I am yours.
You are wild; I am beautiful.
You are romance; I am the prize.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Instead of Fear and Worry

simplicity is the beginning
the boiled down--the revealed
how I long for simplicity--not ignorance--simplicity

but peace is bought; not earned
bought like white robes and a new name
it is bought without money
it is bought with everything that I think at some point was mine
how ridiculous

I own nothing
I claim nothing as my own
I am nothing

maybe humility is the beginning
maybe it's the middle too
and maybe at the end of all things...
after I have drunk the cup down to the bottom
I'll find humility--the only thing that won't be burned away

Monday, May 08, 2006

Thodupuzha Centre Full Gospel Church One Day Women's Conference

I see my Delta blues, my motown melody, my 1, 3, 5 fits well without a steady beat
and I can sing all over the 12/8.
They are so much in earnest, hands striking
faster and faster until a cry emerges,
rises from somewhere in my inner man.
It is the same cry I make so many times when I am desperate;
when there is nothing left;
no dream, no hope, no pretense, no fight
and I have to grieve this world: the death that is and will come.


He is the root ripper, the supplanter, the transformer. He is the farmer who should receive first of his crop, best, first, prime. And the fruit is the reflection, the mirror image, the progeny of life, of truth because He has usurped death. He is the blessing and the blessed to make us the blessing and the blessed. Mangos from figs, miraculous nature of God.

Full Gospel

Now is the time of our need;
the road of desperation marked in creased faces intent lines and hands.
The new song hangs over us, the kingdom gains,
our credibility dies; the head covering a burial shroud.
Two fingers clenched against a thumb;
nothing can stand against Jesus and the testimony of my Indian brother sitting on the floor,
and the Spirit who presses and settles truth deep into my inner man.

Meditation at 8pm

Death itself is a quick change of situation
from life to death--quick change
It is the grieving that demands so much time.
Slow, painful memories of the letting go.
Deliberate choosing of closure feels like betrayal;
seems like heart amputation, but it is the seed opening;
grief is God's emotion, and He is no stranger
to the death of a world who is stranger to Him.


Sunsets are red in India;
they settle in around quietly
giving way to florescent lighting and bugs;
to conversation and singing;
to stories and prayers from one pilgrim to another.

This is communion: masala tea and cake,
and we remember;
break out the pictures of Ebeneezers and tell stories of how Jesus is with us.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Yellow Dust Meets the Double Rainbow

Where are you my invisible, tangible love?

Oh, How I long to sit down with you,
special man; holy one; to look at you and watch your movements.

You are as a beautiful sunset into a storm;
You are the shimmer of oasis;
enrapturing then blinding then transforming then transfixing

You are the summary of judgement day.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Singapore Sky

The steam from our first love rises to meet the expectation of the sky;
waiting in tropical climbs to form its own mountain ranges, vistas and canyons.
I am wrapped in vapor imagination that holds the old earth at bay. The old earth waits,
forced to deceive with every sunrise; forced to hide its beauty until wedding day.
Nothing is as it seems; it is so much more.
The sun will burn, and what remains is mine.

The Neutral Stage

I'm annoyed for fleshly reasons; undefined and the Enemy is pushing my buttons.
I want to be unfettered by expectation; led into freedom like a captive; led through understanding, ignorant and mute.
I want to praise with grief and find all my comfort in the contrasts and all my stability in my nomadic God.
Reality is in the metaphysical; joy in death; without money, I want to come and buy my identity in the anonymity of the loss of family and the gaining of a name; sonship when I'm a daughter, severing the good for the best.

The Wheat Under My Hand is Real

Long approach, distant waiting
both of these are more real than the sound of my own voice
I've been so careful of everything; so cautious my whole life
but now I'm running; you're coming for me
I can see you at the horizon, you're coming for me
I can feel your eyes on me, and now I'm running, I'm running, I'm running
Your the only beauty I've ever seen, the only strength that remains, the only choice I've ever made that means anything, and now
I'm running, I'm running
I've always known, I could always see, and I've stopped my
aimless wandering, my listless waiting and now I'm running
I'm running, I'm running
Fall into me and kiss my neck; I bring you in,
Your fragrance is my homecoming
Your beauty captivates; your strength entangles


My burden is light
carried up by hope--savior's hands, back, legs--shouldered
shouldered, shifted until it rests.
perfectly settled against my own will which seems stranger; heavier; more taxing than the salvation of the world. I was praying about that. I was talking about my burden and somewhere in the conversation while my eyes were shut tight and full of tears, He switched it.

Isaiah's Part

Lord, please burn my heart
Lord, please burn my eyes
Woe is me, unclean;
Woe is my disguise
I want Isaiah's part
Your throne of cloud settled; ground shaking; confidence breaking
Flames and coals; clouds and smoke
What other approach except to burn away all that would shame me
I will not hide from you; I will not be ashamed
Here I am, Lord; Burn me with holy flame
Consume my passions, LordScorched earth; starved heart
So I can taste; I can savor every part of you
You are my indulgence; my gratification
You are my decadence; my satiation

My Constant Question: How Can You Be?

constant yet ever increasing
holy yet ever seducing
wisdom and yet foolish
sacrifice and yet selfish
uncertainty seems so intentional
mystery seems so logical
eternity feels like a moment
joy is born from lament
victory looks like defeat
discipline leads to singing

I am so overcome and filled; fears subside
I am so in love and thrilled: desire satisfied

I'm on the rooftop now; I'm in the valley next
The finite craves infinity; the inconstant, fidelity

Songtan Week One

Phil Levine had some of it right...This is what work is...The Ah-ji-mah always peeling and washing at the little take out around the corner
Does anyone ever eat there?
Always someone hauling, cutting, digging, washing, smoking.
There are no street names in Korea; just work.

I work.
I climb the stairs to my classroom.
I clean with one cloth until the Ah-ji-mah stops me because it is her work.

Woman equals work, and the Ah-jah-shees lie on couches by fans--soju stupor.
They urinate in the street: non-work

Every Jar Filled

Dry bone; that's all I am; no life; no breath
Judgment throne; that's where I am; it's second death.

Empty jars; that's all I have and debts to pay.
Wild desire; it's all I know and hunger pangs

Timid steps; that's all I'll take; in fear; in chains
Stingy love; that's all I'll give; nothing remains

Abundance; that's all I want; great harvest; great yield
Redemption; that's all I need: my reward; my sheild

I want every need satisfied; every jar filled.
I want to eat the fatted calf my father killed.
Step by Step; that's how I want it all laid out.
Ruthless love; that's all I ever cared about.

Desperate, useless, broken lover
Ungrateful, grasping child
How I long to comfort you like a mother
How I long to make you wild.

Unloving, hardened, tepid brother
Wanton, harlot bride
How I long to love you like no other
How I long to break your pride.

Promise Me You'll Choose

When we started this thing you said I was the real deal.
You said I made you feel
so right.
But now all my dark clouds are showing
And I don't like where this is going
You've been speaking love to me,
language so sweet.
I'm trying, love; I'm trying hard to believe
That when I hold you close you'll see right through
All the things I pretend could hold you.

Your strength draws me to you; strong arms; strong back
Tight grip; fierce eyes shout at me of all I lack.
I want to see if you can handle all I must give.
I want to see you forget; I want to see you forgive.

Braver men have run away.
Kinder men refused to stay.
I was too much they'd say.
I was too much for them.

Bridge 1:
Don't be afraid, baby. Come down from the high ground.
You'll just get your hands dirty; you won't drown.

Bridge 2:You have nothing to gain and everything to lose.
But promise me, baby.
Promise me you'll choose; Over and over again


What is it about music that makes me think finality?
Said in under five minutes--is it the sound? the sway?

Didn't I always want to be a jazz singer?
soft piano, black and shiny like the fear that keeps me from failing.

It makes me feel; music that is,
that the closing number when I disappear in a cloud of smoke,
that moment, and it's meaning is final.

Remember Surrender--Sarah Groves

I will raise my alleluia.
I will raise my ebeneezer too.
I've been collecting the stones along the way, and now I can set them down as an altar of remembrance.
Meditation to praise, praise to brokenness; brokennes to joy.
I will dance in linen ephod, I will be clothed by the morning.
Oh seductive joy! Oh rich satisfaction!
My burden is praise in an alabaster box, and I break it at Your feet.
I will love You wildly; I will read Your secret name.
I will know that I am known, and I will remember.

Aliens and Strangers

The times we feel most empty are the times when Jesus draws close around us. We have tasted intimacy and now nothing else can satisfy. Holy groaning, holy mourning, holy grief that leads us closer to home. Nomadic heart, restless soul, come find your meal, your hearth; come place your heavy load by the table. Communion is the traveller's meal, and the unleaven bread, the bitter herbs, the water from a borrowed well. I get so tired of the bag as a pillow, and the stone doesn't ever fit my head. But I know, I know, Jesus, You taste better on the road. My heart is fixed although it is constantly moving; I want to burn You up so I can gain more. My delight and my yearning are one now. Holy longing, Holy burning, Holy calling that leads me home.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The New Song

I know that song you're singing
I've heard it since conception, in time with mother's heart beat
When I learned to smile, it was because I heard my name in the lyrics
and running with all I had or laughing with my sister
was the harmony building, building and building to burst through
my eyes and mouth in counterpoint of my own
the evening lights of the city, the leaves and now snow under foot
compel me to listen for your voice; your song is prophesying;
siren without manipulation but just as seductive; I cannot deny you;
I cannot refuse ou because I'm singing now, a new song, lyrics like
streams of living water; a duet symphony and the swell is coming.


My inheritance is incorruptible
but I am not, I am fickle and
strange yet commonplace, for every
day use but infrequent honor

The residue of purpose
sticks like a brand or sewn patch
it marks me: my own disgrace and your glory
I wear it firmly yet not well

It does not rest on my shoulders like Elijah's mantle,
the burden, label is meant for me
but the yoke chafes from pulling instead of following

The accuser is talking about me again
Oh please don't listen.
I will perform whatever task my shape requires,
just call me yours, just hold me close,
close so I can hide my face and you can sing over me.

Cross Culture

You will change me to Indian
You will plait my hair
You will teach me to smile, wag my head, greet with praying hands,
and accept service, to eat with my hand and wash up, to use saree and chudidar,
to cover my head for prayer, to clap and sing unison.

You will give me four names and millions of neighbors,
a straw hut, the Bay of Bengal, a Nah Nah and Amah,
haystacks and freeroaming livestock, traffic and false gods,
curd and curry, rice and dahl, idly and sambar,
tiffin and tea, flooded train tracks and a hand that moved the storm.

You will give me the nations in beggars, widows, homeless and orphans.
You will show me the kingdom where my marriage is arranged.

The Spirit Hovers Over

The morning sun comes over the balcony
and drying sarees laces itself through
the steam from my cup of tea

Quiet conversation and sounds of washing
Chipahti and elaichi on my tongue
curry in my hand

I am in India.
I am in answered prayer.
It surrounds me like the chudidar scarf,
up over my shoulders and down my back.

It adorns me like a bride for her groom.


Kohmar is whacking guava out of the tree
his bright pink shirt goes well with
the sunny courtyard, green guava, dark skin

He is a driver and very good
He is without caste, without trade, with Jesus
He works for Matthew and drives us around

From Mt. Herman in Anakapolee to Mt. Moriah
to the Bay of Bengal, to Carmel, to Zion Prayer Hall, Bethel
to City Tabernacle and all the curry dinners and cloth shops in between

He endures three giggling girls in the back
I wonder who is arranged for him

Chalaba ghundi

They are piling up sarees
black, green, bejeweled blue and orange-pink

How do I chose beautiful over beautiful?
"You take both."
"No. I want the one only."

Joy Percy is teaching us to tie the saree
and I feel like a goddess, a beauty queen,
a princess, a wrapped gifty wearing beautiful.

Go show Nah Nah
and he says, "very nice."
"Chalaba ghundi."


I want to dance, but every move is seductive;
every step is a conversation where I propose, and you accept.

I guess that's what worship is: staring,
gawk-eyed, watching every hip turn,
every raised brow.

My shoulders rise and fall, my hands dip and turn.

I am beautiful for you.

Sri Mammon

This is my signal of testimony: raised hand; cold heart.
I face you on the day of our union
looking past you because I cannot really see.

Our hands are joined
you are holding tightly
mine are outstretched
reaching past you because I cannot really hold.

Your voice is distinct and earnest
all the things you pledge should draw me into you
my ear is turned
hearing past you, because I cannot really listen

Fixed smile: painted red and white
Glass eyes: bejeweled blue and orange

my hair is dark and perfect
my lips are smooth and sealed
ornaments in hand
pierced ears and nose
flowers, fruit and wine decay in my lap
intimacy with stone.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Lyrics in my heart; joy on my tongue

I do not want ceremony,
solemn mass and careful hands,
broad gestures of pompous show
or furtive, hushed whisperings,
timed entrances, masques.

I do not want your pretense,
best Sunday dress or Easter bonnet,
Christening gown, stained-glass smile,
hymnbook handshake; scripted fellowship

I want your dirty, naked self, pig-sty born, frustrated filth, buried eyes, junkie hands, thorn feet, desperate, bleeding, coarse and coated; then you will know consummation beyond ceremony.

I want consummation;
praise of sytar and cymbal
desert oasis, provision and seclusion,
intentional isolation, desire and thirst,
desire and hunger, silk of the secret place,
wilderness bed,
self death, soul rest

I want your intimacy;
well-gazing, tattooed-thigh satisfaction,
face-on-face, whispers in the ear,
soft-breath suffering,
clothing in My name;
beauty drunk.

Jamie Interrupted Me While I Was Thinking

Sanctity of 60's decor in 90's; wooden pews--layers of wax and dusting spray

I was thinking...

I thought it was holding hands at the fair.
sitting next to each other on the wooden pews at Bethel; on the sticky sweat bus seats to Chickasaw.

I thought it was holding the door or remembering,
His birthday: April 10;
-on the phone while we dreamed of each other instead of "really talking."
-sharing a piece of Wrigley's and a hymnbook;

I thought it was Baskin Robbins before Ray's game,
but that was just the puppy kind.

A White Stone and Secret Manna

Don't remove the sorrow, just add Yourself to it.
The oyster's sand leads to beauty.
My stumble proceeds comfort, and sorrow is not the end.
Repentence leads acceptance, then intimacy heals.
No more grasping, carousing in delusion--drinking deep of the desert...
Without money, come and buy--with disease, with filth, running eyes, bleeding lips--
Come to Jesus Christ and buy, come and die, come and dine.
Death is not denied,
rather overcome,
subdued to service,
brought under control,
then abolished,
called fraud.


The big names, the large monuments came out of homespun,
the tent door, the open courtyard, the commonality of community;
they all knew each other;
they met Jesus together.

The consuming fire burnt up the small ground,
licked the simple focus of those not distracted by wide streets and running water, theater, arena, temple, lust for life, family business.
Born of God is borne of God and carries past the culture,
past the expectation of everyman, of education and titles--we did not choose Him, He chose us.

So speak with passion, question in earnest, find Him in the solitude He seeks away from Telemid (sp).
To be little Christ--the revelation is enough commendation,
enough permission to leave everything, all things to follow the Messiah.

The Fellowship of Indigenous Gospel Churches

Beauty is what I keep seeing, I keep hearing, I keep thinking

Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness...Am I the beauty of your holiness?
Can I dance for you? Is my voice pleasing?

You have prepared a table in the wilderness
The wilderness where you took me to hide me from my lovers, to capture my heart and captivate my desire.
Now you have washed me, you have annointed my eyes and beauty is all I see.

You are all I know

You have filled my sight, sublime

Your love is throughout my lifebeyond hope; beyond time

I am your temple;

You are divine

Mt. Herman on the Bay

You are all fading into one smile,
one hand, one wagging head,
one face, and I cannot tell you apart.

You are a kaleidescope ,
a bright mosaic of sarees and silks,
nods and giggles, elaichi and curry.

You are a conflagration: cookfire chipati, mosquito coils, rope braids and endless service.

You hide under your saree pleading for revival and healing.

Midnight Morning Ride: Chennai

I am not deceived to think that exotic means safe
or that your smooth skin, silver hair, and flowing silks can disguise prejudice and despair.

I am not deceived to think that all your
smiles and service do not belie the bottom line
that you are not like the lioness intent on feeding her young
or that you will not take all I have because that is what you do.

I am not deceived to think that holiness resides anywhere outside the body
or that God can be found only at the river or in the folding of my hands.

I am not deceived by trinkets and drums;
by incense and curry.

I know the truth, and He has set me free.

In The Singapore Airport

I have everything I need to love you
but I love myself
the sin that so easily besets
Temple prostitute in bangels, rise up.

You are the prize that's set before me
and I'm racing to win the temple not built by human hands
Beauty for ashes; rise up.

I'm rising to your love
and the promise of a far off country
of peace and surprises
Glory in your hand; rise up.

Austin City Limits and my pancakes.B.B. King is on channel 10; dinner and a show.Me and 300 others politely sitting on our hands,rocking and swaying to a rhythm born under our feet,demonstrated in the lifting of our knees strikingthe ground in time with B.B.'s patent leather.Half-way through the bass guitar solo, I begin smiling.My breath is short, suppressed with laughter as I closemy eyes hearing the beat myslippers are tapping with B.B.'s knees.He leans a little closer to Lucille, wrappinghis hands around her neck.She's telling me stories I've heard before."You're evil when I'm with you.And you are jealous when we're apart."I could sing; I could clap my hands;but I'd wake my roommate.

Charles Is Reading

I wrote this poem in 1998 while listening to Charles Wright read his own poetry. Since then I have been insanely jealous of any poet who gets a listening ear.

As I listen, I am overtaken by urgency. I am not making my own. I should hush his tales of Charlottesville and make him understand mine. I must force my experiences on him. I cannot let him sit alone in his backyard without offering him a flashback from my grill. He must know the smells of my adolescence.
I am not sure if charcoal alone would achieve this, but I know these smoky particles could catch a nose.
They could curl nostrils with smoke fingers and wait in the grass like waves from contraband bottle rocket missiles, turning the yard into a mosquito graveyard. Mass murder anniversary: July 4. These smoke bits could fog moths as they float and fly the league lights; could run low by the train tracks to the big log where Ray left me in fear; they could sit in the silver maple or hang in the sap of the fir; they could ride around on Pepper's feet, with a pant and a wag and the click of little toenails.
He reminds me that I am not sophisticated.