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.