Poetry Friday: Debt

Debt

You and I, we keep moving through space and time,
arms and legs swooshing in the fourth dimension,
eyes blinking and lips stretching and pursing.

Lights flash in our heads and stars scatter thoughts
to our nerves, our hands, our bones, our blood.

Someday our eyes will see each other’s eyes,
and all this space and time will be accounted for,
the debt paid with treasure clattering to the floor
from holes in our pockets.

Poetry Friday: Keep You Close

Keep You Close

Friend, you are far but I
keep you close.

I place my memories of you
reading, dancing, driving, running
in every beautiful moment I see.

You are with me in my dreams,
laughing, singing, talking, staring;
whether sleeping or waking,
I always invite you.

Lover, in my heart I
keep you close.

Death Will Grow My Jasmine

Today I opened the door and was greeted with a hearty gust of wind. It tugged on my flyaway curls and buffeted my face.

The walk to the bus stop was spicier than usual, bits of dirt and leaves and twigs scratching my calves. It was the first day I wore shorts to school this semester, and already it was paying off.

I crossed the street to stand by the lopsided blue sign, halfway convinced the bus had already come and gone. Cars whipped past on the busy road, swirling blossom petals and making once-ugly trash dance in the breeze.

I breathed in the April air, cool and fresh as the mountain it had run from.

I remembered that just a few months ago I wanted to die; had begged God for it.

And I was happy to be alive.

But looking back now, hours later, it feels bittersweet. I’ve buried the Maney that wanted so desperately to die, just so this Maney who craves life can live.

So now we’re dancing through the garden
And what a garden I have made
And now that death will grow my jasmine
I find it soothing I’m afraid

Now there is no need for suspicion
There ain’t no fraud kissing your hand
I won’t be lying when I tell you
That I’m a gard’ner I’m a man
In your eyes babe

Lyrics from “The Gardener” by The Tallest Man On Earth.

Poetry Friday: For Drooble

For Drooble

Gray speckles on a gray-green landscape,
me a pink splotch,
I march through the cemetery
unafraid of the mothers and fathers
and children
sleeping in earth.

Stone benches say,
“Come sit awhile and think of us.
This stone preserves our
hospitality, like the jars
we sealed our jam in,
laughing with loved ones.”

I see symbols of life,
like flowers and angels
and “always in our hearts”—
the beating hearts of the living,
moving on but holding close.

What the school counselor
doesn’t tell you
as you sit in her office in tears,
is that not only does everyone
grieve differently,
but that you will still grieve
one, two, three years later,
walking by the sixteen-year-old’s stone
and wondering why.

Surrounded by all the words
of comfort from families left behind,
the traditions and religions,
the pictures and tokens,
you’ll touch the hollow of your throat,
near a pulsing vein
and think of him,
and of Him,
and of death,
and of what lies beyond.

* * *

If you want to hear me read this to you… check out this video I made! On my YouTube channel.

P.S. I’ve figured out I like blogging, but I don’t like blogging on a schedule. So yeah. Enough of that nonsense. Also, I’ve spread myself so thin on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and WordPress that at this point I’m pretty much just gonna post and tweet and whatever only when I feel a need. Live life! Do great things! I hope you guys are so happy with life. Peace.

Cutting Strings

For a long time I had this image in my head of a bunch of helium balloons tied to the ground with strings, straining against their bonds, dancing a little in the breeze. I imagined taking a pair of scissors and, one by one, cutting them free, watching them fly into the never-never blue, watching them shrink into nothingness, watching them join the stars.

In my mind, these balloons were pieces of me. I longed to be set free from this world, to fly into that beautiful, mysterious unknown. After a while, the phrase “cutting strings” came to mean letting go of my worldly cares, pretending that life was beautiful, and closing my eyes to my pain. But then one day I was at my friend’s gravestone.

(You should know that I searched for journal evidence of this moment, but I couldn’t find any; therefore, I am forced to tell this memory as a story, remembering the details as best as I can.)

There had been a beautiful bouquet of balloons floating peacefully above his stone a few days ago, but there had been a windstorm the day before. A vase of flowers had tipped over and shattered on his cement, and a few of the tangled-up balloons had popped, holding their whole brothers near the glass shards in the grass. I saw this, and I was filled with some inexplicable need to set the balloons free. So I knelt in the grass and, careful to avoid being cut, I used one of the pieces of glass to sever the popped balloons’ strings from the bouquet. Then I meticulously untangled the strings, and one by one, I released each of the whole balloons into the air. They sprang back into their soldier-like guardianship of his stone, content in their place in the world, secured by their strings.

I had desired for so long to set myself free from my pain, but I thought that I would need to distance myself from life in order to do so. Clutching the scraps of ribbon and balloon in my hands, I realized that maybe cutting strings meant that I needed to cut away the pain and fear and guilt that I had been carrying around with me.

We are meant to stay grounded to this life. This is where we belong. Being free, cutting ourselves loose into the metaphorical sky, isn’t real freedom. That is the land of the lost. Unless God calls you back into the sky, you are meant to be here.

Some strings do need to be cut; just make sure they are the weights that hold you down, not the lines that hold you to life.