Monday, August 30, 2010

leaping over tall buildings

we all wanna be Superman
to whip off our glasses
and rip open our shirts
and look hot in spandex

we all wanna be Superman
with x-ray vision
and super-sonic hearing
yet totally trustworthy

we all wanna be Superman
hated by bad guys
loved by good guys
and instantly knowing the difference

we all wanna be Superman
rescuing weak little snot-noses
and beautiful newspaper reporters
with muscles to spare

we all wanna be Superman
because when you're invincible
nothing's a sacrifice
you just give and give and never run out

but what's up with Superman
saving all those weaker, uglier, stupider people?
that kind of heroism doesn't jive with
a naturalistic, materialistic, humanistic, relativistic

live-for-yourself-on-this-spinning-orb type mentality

Superman keeps reminding us
of Good and Evil
and the battle between the two
that wages within us every day

maybe that's why we pulled out the Kryptonite.

and why we keep bringing Superman back to life...

...Home is calling.
(and i don't mean Krypton)

Friday, August 27, 2010

growth in brokenness

like now-times,
i can't feel it
don't want it
won't have it

but then,
crack me open,
with a poem
or a glance in the mirror
at wet-on-skin

pain i caused myself
by hurting another,
wounds i inflicted,
pride i crushed,

the everything i'm not

by the hand of God

and i feel it
and i want it
and i have it
and i've needed it

and these eyes
look back at themselves,
and underneath
the hull of hollow
is a green of growth

and beneath the shell of hard
is a sprout of soft,
and i know
that i know,
and i'm okay.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

quoting Three-year-old

today we goed at a hike.
we drived over here, right?
on da road, on da road, on da road,
going going going going going,
and corn,
den we got dere!

on the rocks,
we hiked.
we walked in da woods
and we goed on a tree.

then we goed to da water.
we goed and tried and fish for fish.
we goed near da water,
and took my cwoes off.
my unnerwear, unner my pants --
i didn't take my unnerwear off.
i not sure.
i weaved dem on.
and we goed in da water!

we goed back.
we goed home, right?

 that's what i call "imperfect prose"!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

i love...

the way the sunrise glows ruby through
an opened grapefruit,
squeezing between each juicy little crystal,
warming the cold-from-fridge
and revealing what's been under wraps all season long.

the way the noonday sun glares down upon
the maple tree,
filling thirsty veins with chlorophyl,
shivering down through layers of jade
and encrusting my painting spot in emerald shade.

the way the sunset skips topaz across
Lake Huron,
plating swimmers in liquid gold,
forcing hands to brows
and waking tired bodies to the end of day.

the way the otherworld-shining sun finds
the moon,
smiling at silver-faced friend,
filling us with peaceful resignation
and reminding us that tomorrow is a pearl to be found.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

i'm for you

hey you,
whistling through the kitchen window at me in my pj's
i know that whistle
it's belonged to me for nearly a decade

hey you,
remember that weekend playing spoons and sledding
you know that wipeout
was totally on purpose and i still wanna spill with you

hey you,
slamming that basketball under the parking lot light
i know that footwork
you can't dance until you're on some kind of court

hey you,
remember those little boys you taught to hack
you know you loved it
that was one of the ways you grabbed me

hey you,
loving on your family with all your might
i know you're tired
your true self shows when you're worn and it's good

hey you,
remember that first kiss in front of, like, everyone
you know it was awkward
a lot of our love has been that way but we're learning

hey you,
i'm for you.

Friday, August 20, 2010

teaching bedtime

i am
pressing down on the floor, i am
pressing my back against the wall, i am
pressing my forehead against the trim, i am
praying and waiting

and i feel the weight of this home upon my little-girl heart

i am
breathing slowly in the twilight, i am
rocking between my feet, i am
closing my eyes to listen, i am
quiet and serious.

and i remember being the little girl not quite able to keep herself in bed

i am
peeking into a darkened room, i am
hoping it will soon be over, i am
dreading it will soon be over, i am
sick with sentiment

and i learn the sting of discipline, taste the sweetness of song

i hear
the heart-call, tiny voice, i feel
the floor creak, bare toes, i see
the bright spot, blond hair, i am

and in a few minutes, i will have laid another stone upon the Foundation

and then, we will sleep.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

finding Caiaphas

bones -- cry out.
Caiaphas -- witness.
shake the dust and
speak the Truth.

dry, hard, dead -- enliven us,
rip off our blinders,
help us to see

washed linen, filthy.
leather straps, rotten.
holy scrolls, burned.
majestic temple, destroyed.

Law fulfilled. duties overtaken. sacrifices null. veil torn.

your righteousness, inadequate.
your cover, blown.
your enemy, risen.
the grave, conquered.

bones -- speak!!

uncover more truth with us:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

keeping on

the lunchtime visit at my mom's workplace,
that went too long,
that ended in peanut-butter-smeared, poopy-diaper-stinking
sweaty headache.

the suppertime barbecue we'd planned for all of our son's schoolmates,
that no one came to,
that ended in a hot, muggy july void of playdates and a big brother needing
some space.

the day's end decaf-coffee date for two trusting mamas,
that happened only once,
that ended in one artisan returning to city roots and another
with freezer food.

the highschool friendships of wide eyes and foolish faith talks,
that were only experiments,
that ended in, "see you later" and, "facebook me" and,
"i'll call you".

afternoon sky whooshes through the porch screens
and spills into the hall,
silhouetting a baby and a tricycle.

they fall with a bang,
and a grunt,
and he's back on top,
riding those three wheels until he knows how.

he feeds me hope, warm and fragrant, in little fingers outstretched,
as i try to unclasp some crumbs from my own fisted soul.
and this is how we will grow together...

hoping, hoping, hoping.

Monday, August 16, 2010


"For God has consigned all to disobedience,

that He may have mercy on all.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable His judgments and inscrutable His ways!"

- Romans 11:32,33

...sometimes, there's just

nothing left

for me to say.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Cover Girl
you know i know you
want to be you
spend some of my time judging you
Lucky Dog
how do you do
your hair like that
your breakfast bagel from New York
All Star
i watch your moves
catch your grooves
follow your vapour trail across the sky
Mover Shaker
i'll pay your way
you make my day
when you donate to my favourite charity
Most Beautiful
skinny, wrinkle-free
poked and plumped
and never, ever good enough
Rocker Roller
riffs and rhythms
angst and pop tunes
do you still feel it like you used to?
Sweet Heart
your lovers trading
your kids waiting
your neighbours who don't need you

i just
wish i could do something
for you
don't know what to do
with you
hope you're okay

Thursday, August 12, 2010

3 wishes

oh, my son, your heart:
unripe and tender and wide open
like a field of grain standing tall.
we run together there
and if you should trip,
you curl up and look up
and wait for me to cry with you.
and i come, but
with lots and lots of praise for your courage.
for you are so very soft,
and my footprints change you.
and you must start to learn a little now, dear big boy,
about the difficulties of this road you are choosing in hope.
so i wish you hard times of waiting,
to establish your roots and to prove your faith...
ripe and bowing abundant.

oh, my son, your eyes:
huge, dark puddles i fall into daily.
your lips. tiny rosebud things -- so cliche, but so be it!
your mind. the things you say!
the way you turn every step into dance,
whether or not anyone sees.
you nourish yourself in my embrace:
sweet and strong when i am yours;
bitter and strong when i don't bend.
and i know i'm not the only woman who will love you,
for you are wise and cunning and beautiful.
and so, my son, my dear middle boy,
i wish you failure.
just enough to secure your reliance
upon the hand that formed you...
wise and beautiful.

oh, my son, your feet:
little and smooth
and twitching with anticipation!
you jump and are fearless,
you fall and you bleed, but pain can't keep up.
you run to greet new faces
like the earth runs to each sunrise.
your cries, short and desperate, are comforted so quickly.
your days, bright and brimming, are lived with abandon.
to be the one who tickles your tummy,
who fills up your cup so you can dribble love --
this is my honour and my joy!
you're feisty and you barely hear "no".
and so, baby boy dear, i wish you pain.
to temper your steps and to callous your feet...
quick and steady.

listen in on more wishing:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

re-learning love

lying there in still-mostly-darkness,
beside my little boy
in his bottom bunk
in a room full of toys
and books
and guppies
and a light with a switch
and an mp3 player that sings "la-la" and "honey",
all for him,
i could understand why he'd be excited.

but i didn't really want him to be,
lying there in mostly-darkness.

that's just the way it is with children:
their excitement bubbles up at the strangest of times.
it's letting it fill our own hearts that's the hard part.

like when we were at the mall,
and our baby leapt from the toy boat,
landed on his diaper, jumped to his feet
and tore outta' that play centre like his pants were on fire.
like, who is this kid?
-- one for whom the future holds no limits, obviously.

and later, sharing subs for supper,
our oldest boy fixed his gaze behind our heads.
"dad, look." and there was the pointer finger,
demanding that we ogle the guy behind us,
who was wearing a turban.
"blue. your favourite colour." and he ate another chip.
-- he's got none on his shoulder, evidently.

and then, while darkness crept up
on two of us in the top bunk,
i gushed, "you've been so patient with your baby brother
these nights. i'm so proud of you."
batting lashes, he cooed, "i'm vewwy patient!"
i rolled eyes. we rubbed noses, blew kisses.
-- he blew some patience my way, too, i think.

that's just the way it is with children:
their love bubbles up at the strangest of times.
it's letting it fill our own hearts that's the needful thing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

trading spaces

drop the kids off at gramma's.
drive home.
pull food from the fridge,
better drink 8 0z of water --
don't want to get dehydrated this afternoon.

scoot down to the basement.
grab the empty rubbermaid bucket.
toss in the cordless drill, a phillips bit,
those funky lamps,
and those two new ironman posters.
don't forget the packing tape.

dash up two flights of stairs,
bucket on the floor -- push it aside with my foot,
start stripping the beds.
remake them: spiderman on top bunk,
transformers on twin bed,
4x4 on bottom bunk.

re-arrange the stuffies -- polar bear, panda, elephant --
will he miss his heart-shaped pillow?
click the bottom-bunk bedrail into place.
spill clothes into a pile, drag dressers down the hall.
sort and re-fold clothes --
gotta get dan to put this drawer back together.

plug in those funky lamps,
take down that cross-stitched birth announcement,
slide it under my bed for now, remove the screw from the wall.
tape up an ironman poster in its place.
"war machine" -- is this a good guy or a bad guy?
ah, to my kid, it's a super protector. good guy.

back to the bunk-bedroom --
the red ironman poster goes up top (this one's definitely a good guy).
overturn the toy box,
fill the rubbermaid with small-parts toys,
close the lid, carry it to the no-more nursery.
sort socks and sweaters and cubbie vests.

look around.
i did a pretty decent job vacuuming.
sprawl in the big-boy-room chair.
whoa. what just happened? this is a teen-ager room!
i just turned my five-year-old into a teen-ager!
what was i thinking??

change it back!!
our baby won't sleep through those highway noises!
our middle boy will resent the baby waking below!
our big boy will feel ousted from his best friend's room!
am i wrecking my children??
it's fine. we're all fine.

tired this morning, but happy, and fine.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

i like my kids

a toy plastic castle stands on the crate beside my chair.
i move it aside so i can reach my hot chocolate.
no superheroes fly out to attack the intruder.
castles aren't quite so majestic when our five-year-old is in bed.

we took over the beach tonight.
our twenty-month-old chased a seagull clear across the sand,
foot-printing fast, screaming the whole way.
if he's anything like i was, he'll keep trying until he's about thirteen.

our middle son -- oh goodness, he's nearly four --
found a trench dug just right for a baby water worm.
that's what he decided, and that's what he was,
but he got himself all sandy, so i had to dunk him.

baby water worms sure can yell.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

walking with wonder

i didn't even feel like drinking coffee,
hadn't even wanted to change my nightly routine.
yet i dutifully kissed the air around my boys,
dropped a toonie into my pocket, slipped on my flip-flops,
and drove uptown.

i scanned the coffee shop and found her,
back toward the door, watching whatever was on the big tv.
"hey, you!" we greeted each other with a hug, i bought a coffee,
and as the evening air wrapped lovely around us,
i realized i felt happy with her.

side-by-side we walked along storefronts, around parked cars,
beside tourists, past landscaped properties, under boulevard trees
and to the park. and we talked about music and we sat on a bench
and she asked me about me and i told her a few things,
but i was thinking about her. i wanted to know.

and she told me -- oh boy, did she tell me.
with face unflinching and voice sweet, she spoke words
that should never be spoken. of grandparent-hurt and mother-wrong,
of father-ugly and brother-fierce. of lover-enemies and of children-pain.
of no home and no hope -- these were the cards she was dealt.

the depth of her misfortune cannot be measured.
i cannot possibly understand, for i grew up with love that she never had.
the beauty of her soul cannot be measured.
i cannot possibly shine as brightly, for i have never lived through such dark.
she is, quite simply, a wonder.

she will never wave from her own storefront -- or even her own car.
she probably won't travel far or even landscape her own property.
but as she walks under boulevard trees and rests on park benches,
i hope that you will have the chance to meet her,
for she shines.

and, glory be, she's not Home yet.

Friday, August 6, 2010

mercy triumphs over judgment

tiny, little people
scurrying about in the dark.
thinking murder. practicing deceit. decorating ourselves self-righteous.
taking our ease. wanting wanting wanting. playing it cool.
sitting pretty.

blazing holiness. piercing brightness. shocking purity. shining heat.
hating murder-thoughts. raging against deceit. tearing through "righteous" rags.
punishing ease-taking. devastating covetuousness. spitting out lukewarm.
burning the fences so we have nowhere left to sit.

the one, life-long instant.
me, laid out for God to see.
filth, waste, shame.
my inevitable demise.

an Interceder.
sinless blood, covering me.
Jehovah Tsidkenu - the LORD our Righteousness.
the verdict: Not Guilty.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

returning to Eden

i've been hearing a whisper.
i''ve been feeling a tug:

return to Eden.
return to freedom of feeling.
return to purity of heart.
return to submission.

remember Adam: man of dust,
communing with God of Life-Breath,
billowing with potential, swirling energy.
so utterly lonely.

remember Eve: water-woman
carried by Hands of Image-Maker,
dripping with beauty, shivering warmth.
so utterly Adam's.

and Adam needed Eve.
and God made sure he knew it: let him search sky-to-sea for a completer,
until, finding none, he wandered back to his dust pile. alone.
aha, this was it: the moment to form woman.

you know that feeling you get when you make something
really, really special for someone you really, really love?
how you set the stage, clear the table, turn off the noise,
fix your eyes straight upon theirs, and then... present the gift?

i bet that's how God felt when He brought Eve to Adam.

water to dust.

and they were naked, and they were not ashamed,
and they were joined together, like clay,
and God named them "leader" and "follower", for He knew them,
and He walked with them.

and then everything shattered.

and now i chafe for dominance
as we all chafe for dominance
and i resist the Spirit
as we all resist the Spirit
and i step on people
as they step on me
in our fight to the top --

trading innocence for fig leaves of pride,
shattering vessels of clay.

turning submission into an ugly thing,
when it was meant to be so beautiful.

so, Lord, turn my heart toward this man you've entrusted me to.
enmesh us, water and dust,
and make of us something beautiful.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

in a new light

cheap pigment sat hard in plastic trays
as little brothers dipped imagination into water.
"swirl, swirl, swirl" we said, and water softened paint
and paint stained brushes
as brushes wiggled a rainbow dance.
and little fingers learned gentleness
and little minds learned art
as we turned red, yellow, blue
into orange, green, purple.
and mommy learned gentleness
as mommy taught art
and a family saw cheap pigment in a new light.

baby girl sat soft in dusty sand
as her sometimes-brothers dipped bravery into water.
"rain, rain, rain" we cried, and light shone from diamonds
as diamonds became lake
and lake became gray sky.
and dancing rippled across the shore
and skin shivered gladness
as thunder echoed distant
and lifeguards emptied lake.
and babies squealed delight into mommy arms
as mommies delighted at squealing babies
and a family saw gray in a new light.

find more diamonds at emily's place:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

being little

my children, you are stars. you each blazed into my existence with a shock and a cry -- stung my eyes into awakeness in this long, dark night. pierced holes of light straight through my miserable tapestry of selfish contentedness.
please, burn me up.

my children, you are creatures. you each shook my flesh with unborn rolling -- cramped me into shivers of sweat and cold at the urgency of your aliveness. nuzzled warmth into my breast, trespassed into heartbeat-near spaces, collapsed my soul upon your need.
please, soften me.

my children, you are mine. you were each pulled away from my prostrate body with surgical cuts and gasping cries -- ended my stories of you to your earthly father so that he, too, could hold you. keep holding my hand, kissing my eyelashes.
please, never let go of me.

my children, you are borrowed. each belonging to the One who made you -- triune beings, body-soul-spirit, of mud and of mind and of eternity. each destined to return to your Maker, each awaiting final judgment, each preparing me for mine.
please, redound with joy.

forgive me, dear boys, for my failure. failure to jump heart-high at your early morning calls. failure to crumple my days into a swaddling blanket. failure to let my back ache hollow over the form of faces-sleeping, the feel of hair-silken, the rhythm of breath-soft. failure to love unconditionally-sleepless, to rock-a-bye hours-long.
please, learn mercy from this.

my friends, do not grieve the Spirit. do not underestimate your depravity. do not neglect the gift -- perhaps not yet given -- of children brought into your trust. do not overwhelm them with the burden of growing up...

instead, be little.

Monday, August 2, 2010

growing pretty

i remember a little girl, sitting in a grade four classroom.
eyes lowered, she sucked in her nine-year-old tummy.
pushed her glasses up her nose.
blushed with shame.
so unpretty.

i remember an eleventh-grade girl, sitting in the backseat of her friend's van.
breasts small, she noticed hair on her toes.
tucked them underneath.
blushed with shame.
so unpretty.

i remember a nineteen-year-old girl, sitting on a couch in a student lounge.
i remember a tall, dark, handsome boy going to sit beside her.
i don't remember at all how that girl looked, now.

i remember fingertip touches, cheek kisses and hard hugs good-bye.
hours on the phone, a box full of letters.
a diamond ring.
a question and a promise.

i remember a gorgeous white gown, lip kisses and no more good-byes.
golden rings.
vows before God and a church full of friends.

i remember feeling so pretty.

i remember four blue lines.
one miscarriage.
one belly, rounded three times.
three precious baby boys.
three scars, intertwined, straight across my belly.
three little stretch marks.

right over the spot i still keep trying to suck in.
but it's different, now.

now, a tall, dark, handsome man
and three short, blond, beautiful boys
will scan a crowd and burst into smile when they see me

because i am, after all, pretty.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

asking Dr. Frankl

dear Doctor Frankl,

i read your book, Man's Search for Meaning.
you are a very good writer, sir.
i am glad you wrote that book.

i am sad it had to be written.

you marched my half-willing imagination straight into a concentration camp.

there, in the cold and dim, huddled on wooden bunks,
we feared and dreamed
and struck out fear and clung to reality
and shared our search for meaning.

you said, quoting Nietzsche,
"he who has a why to live can bear with almost any how."

you spoke of our evolution as a species,
contending that those who find purpose in life
are the strong, the survivors.
you shared your fight to survive.

your observation on page 19, though, so stark and deadly-true,
is what haunts me:

"...there was a sort of self-selecting process going on the whole time among all of the prisoners. On the average, only those prisoners could keep alive who, after years of trekking from camp to camp, had lost all scruples in their fight for existence; they were prepared to use every means, honest and otherwise, even brutal force, theft, and betrayal of their friends, in order to save themselves. We who have come back, by the aid of many lucky chances or miracles -- whatever one may choose to call them -- we know: the best of us did not return."

how, sir, can you crown such men --
the meek, the humble, the self-sacrificing --
the dead --
"the best"?

such morality is not consistent with your worldview
of Natural Selection.

you have borrowed from Another:

"And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
'Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
'Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
'Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.'"
Matthew 5:2-11