Sunday, November 28, 2010


if there had been no mother
in all your childhood days,
who would you look to for the grace
of teaching you her ways?

if there had been no father,
no tender, calloused touch
upon the pictures of your life,
would you look at them much?

if no one knelt beside the tub
while on her arm you leaned
to trickle water down your hair,
would you care to be clean?

if no dad stood with open glove
to catch your first t-ball,
would you stand a sporting chance
of shaking off a fall?

if you had no mother
to stroke your face at night,
would you know how to fall asleep
under soft moonlight?

if you had no father,
would you be afraid to dream?
with no one stronger by your side
to hush your fevered screams?

if you have a mother,
please pass her loving down.
just hold a hand, the way she did
when worries made you frown.

and if you have a father,
you've got a job to do.
the world's in need of helping hands
and strength to listen, too.

(thanks, mom and dad, for loving me.)

children, gather here:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

a meditation

thirteen men going violently:
blazing sight across blind eyes,
lurching lame feet into a run.
searing feeling through leprous limbs,
terrifying funeral-goers with movement...

"...and the poor have good news preached to them."
what miracles!

"go tell john," said the Christ,
"what you hear and see."

john had been heralding a coming Kingdom:
all camel's hair and leather,
locusts and wild honey,
neither eating delicacies nor drinking wine.
it was too much.

and so, this herald had been taken by force,
would soon bleed out and fall

upon the whim of softly-dressed men in kings' houses:
reeds shaken by the wind.

"blessed is the one who is not offended by Me,"
said the Christ,
sending word to His cousin.
He surely loved this man,
surely knew his time was up.

john heralded a Kingdom he'd never seen --
had been in jail doubting -- to what end?

"we played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn."

and i'm a gluttonous king
drunk on my own religiosity,
hating john for abstaining
and the Christ for eating and drinking.
"yet wisdom is justified by her deeds."

and it will be more tolerable in the Day of Judgment
for the cities of sodomy than for me:

wrapped in soft cloth and shaken by the wind,
knowing of His mighty works but not repentant

so unlike a little child:
at liberty dancing through the streets,
weeping hard at soul-death all around.
reading to know my Father's gracious will,
wondering that He has chosen me.

until i hear it:
"come to Me..."

and i feel it:
"all who labour and are heavy laden..."

and i want it:
"I will give you rest.
take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls."

it's so unexpected:
"for My yoke is easy..."

and so free.
"My burden is light."

read what i'm talking about at:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

my love song

i remember me,
twenty-six years ago,
so assured of Love.
on the top bunk singing and making sure
that my song was heard in Heaven.

"Jesus loves me, this i know..."

i never had alcoholic parents,
but my dad did,
and the pain drew him to girls,
and to drugs, and pride,
before it spit him out in humility at the Throne.

"for the Bible tells me so..."

and the King has been prying at the fingers
that clutched bloodied rags --
my dad's childhood attempts to wipe up the pain
that foamed up into apathy,
that rooted into bitterness.

"little ones to Him belong..."

we spent a generation,
me and my dad,
feeling hurt and keeping silence
and trying but not understanding,
yet sharing a Love so deep and so true.

"we are weak, but He is strong..."

when my dad let go --
placed my hand inside my husband's --
he started to breathe a little more freely,
and to bless our Father for grace,
and to become my friend.

"yes, Jesus loves me..."

and i, too, am reeling at this grace
that sends my own children
running back into my arms
after i've been harsh --
my dad understands this.

"yes, Jesus loves me..."

and as i grow, i am shocked by the freedom
that whirls good gifts --
food, drink, sexuality, song --
in a dance around me,
a child loved by the Father of lights.

"yes, Jesus loves me..."

and i am rocked by the responsibility
of using these gifts to love well,
of learning my Father's character --
for He is free, and in His hands,
every gift is a tool of love.

"the Bible tells me so."

and i hope that everyone --
from my dad, who makes me laugh,
to my hurting friends, earth-wrung-out,
to my children, whom i tuck into bed with this song --
will hear me singing.

we're all singing at

Thursday, November 4, 2010

a different kind of darkness

silk tie adjusted around neck
leather shoes tied snugly

crouching in hiding
under fluorescent light

mouse pointer taking aim
right hand pulling the trigger

credit card number prostituted
memory raped

it's a different kind of darkness.

ninety-dollar hoodie over cap askew
size-thirteens measuring sidewalk

pace quickening
as fluorescent lights buzz orange

right hand tossing bottle to the curb
sweat beads worsening the chill

memory molested
body shaking in fear

it's a different kind of darkness.