Reflections on Independence Day Traditions

•July 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I wrote this as part of a writing exercise where I looked at a photograph and wrote free verse until I stopped.  It’s no where near finished, but it’s some thoughts on our new traditions.

Stars and stripes – Forever
is the shelf-life of that not-all-pork product
being consumed by a wide-eyed child,
fingers painted in mustard and
high fructose loaded tomato ketchup –
a toddler trying to catch up to
the latest world record set
by competition eaters,
or should we call them “Champion Gluttons,”
or “Eat Healthy, America Defeaters”?
Men and women shove enriched, processed flour oblong buns
drenched in watered-down,
not-from-the-juice-of-real-lemons pink lemonade.
That’s the unnatural, all-American way.

Meanwhile grandmother leans over
her new convection oven
to pull out tonight’s homemade pie
filled with not quite white,
sweet and cinnamon speckled apples,
held in place by wet candy cement –
Granny Smiths imported from Chile,
and courtesy of Pillsbury,
she no longer needs to make a crust from scratch.


Red Brick Reverb

•June 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Tell the sound guy,
“red brick reverb” –
no amplification needed.
Bass and kick bouncing
off corners and empty Schlafly’s
makes your chest rattle.

Leave the acoustic in your case.
Plenty of rhythm playing in the
high decibel conversation,
cicadas pulsating.

But turn it up –
that sweet Skyranrd that the Show Me State
pretends to understand.
Southern gentleman, take my hand
and swirl me around that makeshift dance floor,
and I’ll two-step you all the way back to Nashville –
where red brick reverb was born.

Herod’s Nightmare

•December 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Disturbed sleep, O Herod?
Displaced throne, O King?
“A ruler born! Infant Christ is Lord!”
The hearkened angels sing.

Swaddling cloths, his royal robe,
Mother’s tears, his crown.
So toss ye, Herod, while ye lay,
For God now walks the ground.

The Lonely

•December 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

See how the lonely lingers,
poised to overcome,
awaiting the holy moment
when a tired heart succumbs
to weariness from fighting,
her company to keep
and finding shallow springs
where she longs to drink
deeply by a word, a touch,
the warmth of skin, of breath –
the life of presence present
that scareth off the death.

I See You

•October 14, 2010 • 1 Comment

I see you,
but I can’t see past
the torrential flood
of emotive garbage
muddying my heart,
clogging the pathways
to my mind and my hands.

So I press on into the fog
of doing justice,
loving mercy,
and walking humbly
in an enormity of hurt and pain,
drowned out by the tap of heels,
squealing wheels,
sirens roaring,
the masses storing up
treasures on earth
or on their bodies –
around their necks,
on their backs.

One penny, two pennies,
three dimes, four quarters,
five dollars,
ten seconds of my time –
would it make a difference?
Would it raise your brow?
Would it dispel your frown –
if only for a moment?

It seems too little to turn your life around,
too little to move you from the
spat-out bubble gum
and ash-covered ground.

And if I contribute and fill your cup,
what about the next?
What about the outstretched hand?

I cannot stand my paralyzed ambition –
a stalemate so that
I see you and keep walking,
feeling somewhat holy for my inner wrestlings,
proud of my compassion,
and so disappointed by another transgression,
going against – nay flat out rebelling
from God’s Spirit compelling me
to turn around that instant:
one step, two seconds,
three words
or four.

Maybe a silent handful of change
could be enough to restore
hope in goodness that not only dwells
in skies and sky scrapers,
in beautiful places
and on smiling, pleasant, cover girl faces,
but also on steamy sewer grates,
in hidden alleys,
on empty plates,
in tired tears and belabored fears.

Goodness lives and moves and breathes,
and He sees you too.


•September 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Unity was and is and ever shall be
best described by God, the three-
Father, Spirit, Son,
existing together before time had begun,
from past eternity,
controlling human destiny,
author of all we can and cannot see.

For in the beginning,
God created out of nothing:
the loving Father forming and filling,
the Holy Spirit energizing,
and the Son, part of the making.

As the Scripture says,
“in Him and through Him and for Him all things were made.”

“All things” includes you and me,
and grass and trees
and cows and bees,

God made everything and called it good.

But for Adam and Eve,
good was not good enough,
and in one fatal bite,
all that they might have enjoyed –
with all the earth and holy God –
purity and unity undone,
become enmity and death.

Man versus ground versus woman versus Creator.
Sin, the great dis-locator,
shattered Eden’s harmony,
bound the world in misery.

But loving God had a plan
for long since before time began
to bring His people back to Him
and set the whole world to rights again

So He sent His only Son
Who prayed that believers, His followers
would be one and
“Thy will be done!”
on earth as it is in heaven
where he was taken
after He had risen.

But He would not leave His followers alone
to do His will once He was gone –
gone but not forgotten.

Because the Spirit came
to call to mind
the words He spoke during His time
to remind people how to live a Godward life,
to end all strife
and striving –
to remind them of the simplicity
in one Lord, one faith, as a single body,
a single hope to which they were called,
one God and Father of all, over all, through all, and in all.

So until He comes, our glorious King,
our work is to bring
glory and honor to His name,
to spread His fame
from sea to sea
and shore to shore,
praising Him forevermore –

The church in grace of Christ abounding,
with the love of God compelling,
and the Fellowship of the Spirit binding
us together
in unity, as one,

Written for Hope Church for the One series on 1 Corinthians.

Why Judas?

•September 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Why did you have to kiss Him, Judas?
Was the act of betrayal with words
too shameful to bear,
so you had to feign care and allegiance
to Rabbi Jesus?

Surely by now they knew His face
though not his grace.
Surely by now everyone knew
you were the one
who betrayed God’s one and only Son.

So why did you have to kiss Him?

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