Sunday, July 31, 2005

noteworthy

have you seen rockstar:INXS?

for all us aged rockers, (i tend more toward heavy metal and alternative than rock, but that is a distinction most don't even understand) it is a walk down memory lane.

it is nice to see bands as they age. one of my favorite shows is bands reunited on VH1, where they track down bands, not rock--mostly the pop from the '80s bands, stuff from my middle- and high school years., and reunite them to perform hits. very cool show. men age so well, and most of these bands are full of men.

women age, without the aid of modern science, less gracefully than men. unless we've had our stomaches sucked out and our faces pulled back to make us "look" young (which you may look young the first time it's done, but by the time you've had it done a couple times, you just look weird). one thing to remember is: men have hand whole persons pass through their body either or nursing babies. so there!

i'm getting grey hair. i've earned my grey hair. i don't intend on coloring it. i don't wear make-up. not because i'm some fruity earth friend, but because i really don't like make-up. war paints, i call 'em. i put them on when i need a mask. which is rarely.

but back to rockstar, neal never should have been eliminated. my sister says, he wasn't right for INXS, but i so enjoyed him, his performances, his style that i think they should have kept him around.

dave navarro is gorgeous. i like tattoos more every time i lay eyes on that man. he just seems like the kind of person i hit it off with.

as for the remaining contestants, jordis is phenomenal. if INXS can get over the fact that she is a sista, maybe she has a chance. i hope they can.

next in line would be ty. it is nice to see a brother who can hold his own and rock. very nice indeed.

marty would be my third choice. his pop-locking shows leave me wanting though. i do like his voice.

after that, i don't really care who is chosen, if these go, i might have no reason to watch. some think jd has it buttoned up, but something about him weirds me out. so i hope they consider that. i know about these things.

i did have a point to all this rambling: i do hope, when it is my turn to stand under the footlights that i am ready. that i glorify God. that i minister to the people. that is about all. the rest is cake.

Friday, July 29, 2005

more poems

sometimes they come in floods like tears.

for mary

a sparrow
hopped by
and i
remembered
lamenting
broken wings
but i can
hop
was my
consolation
bandages are
dropping
like grave
clothes
perhaps
it's
time
to
fly.


(untitled)

Where are
the feet
of Him?
My constant
lament
head bowed
sowing
tearfully
He comes
approaching
Isaac
cover my
face
and weep
with joy
at last
He comes.



for maavin

by virtue
of His
Being
creation
came
forth
He did
not
labor
to
create.
like
perfume
hangs
upon
clothes
effortlessly
He
creates
from the
fullness
of
His Being.




for cliff and robbi

You have not
brought me
here
to turn me
away.
You do not
kill the
fatted
calf
while i
fast.
You do
not
laugh
and
shout
while
i weep.
the
celebration
has begun--
enter in.


my formatting on the poems of this day is not what it would be had i not entered them here. but perhaps the words convey my heart to you.

poems

from this morning's stint in the garden. typically i date these entries in my journal, i don't even know what day it is yet.

(untitled)

in the
crisp
early
morning
while
the mist
hung
heavy
over
corn fields
the sun
had not
peeked
beyond
the earth's
door
when butterflies
too cold
could not
take wing
and my
breath
still bid
me adieu
in the
moist
texas
morning
before
rooster crowed
and my
betrayals
were known
i watched
flowers
awaken
to live
their
last
day
in
the
sun


(untitled)

fennel
is the
Adam
of the
plant
world.
perpetually
splitting
its side
to release
new
growth



(untitled)

i don't
want
the kind
of affection
my dog
would readily
give.
it is too
dependable.
too easily
found.
at hand.
the way he
gazes
head askew
as if i were
a god.
i am no
god
and want
only what
i cannot
have
the
adoration
and
affection
of
you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

book review

excellent armour of God book:
Take Up the Shield: Comparing the Uniform of the Police Officer & the Armor of God by Tony Miano

death shroud.iv




when the gulf fritillary caterpillar is ready to shed his skin and entomb himself in a cocoon, he drops off his thorny flesh. this diminutive circle of thorns at the head of this peter-like caterpillar, coupled with my longing to see him just once more, is where the inspiration for this piece came.

i imagine as Jesus was being let down from treacherous heights, his body bloodied and near unrecognizable, that mary would have stretched forth her hand to remove the one instrument of pain she could. to allow his head to rest flat in the tomb. i imagine she would have carried it with her unwittingly, gripping it, driving it deeper into her own flesh without even noticing until she got home. she would of course clean it, and perhaps keep it rather than abandon something still bloodied and flecked with grey matter, of one she loves. i do not think she could leave it.




piercing cruelty
mocking disdain
what do i do
with you now
who mingle
our blood

wash with tears
spiked crown
precious
is
the blood

of my love
my Lord
my friend

sealed in stone
i cannot go to Him
my eyes cannot embrace
the one i love

nor my hand
stretch forth
to feed Him

this cruel crown
now pierces me

Monday, July 25, 2005

fallen



today i withdrew
a skipper
the sparrow
of the butterfly
world
from a petunia
where it sipped
its last
intoxicating nectar
and died
quite pleased
amidst beauty.

he seemed stuffed
like socks in an
overfull drawer

probiscis extended
as i deadheaded
to jostle him
gently

so i carry him
from his grand
sarcophogi

wondering if he has passed
from death to life

like the frittilary
faded pale from
deepest coral

hanging now
feet in the air
like peter.

still
unmoving

leaving his terrestrial
existence behind
for celestial beauty.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

death shroud.iii

i think of mary sitting up, grieving the cruel death of her beloved Friend. missing Him. remembering His eyes (can you imagine what it would be like to look into the eyes of the Saviour? unfathomable mercy no doubt).

i cannot sleep, and am reminded of the many late nights after i lost my grams, nights when there was no comfort to be found. no solace in the silence. only emptiness. only grief. despair.

my dear friend said, suz, they hadn't lost their hope. but i contend they had. they did not know, as we do now, He will rise again (although they were told, they just couldn't understand. are we so different?). but we have the benefit of hindsight. we have the whole thing laid out for us (which is perhaps why we struggle to believe with the simple faith of those who knew what His eyes looked like). we don't have a firsthand knowledge because we don't need it. but i contend, we do. need it, that is, and firsthand knowledge is still available too. if you just look.

i cannot
sleep tonight
Your cries
echo
in my mind.

exposed
You hung
for all
to see.

my friend,
my Lord
i see You.

Your eyes
have not changed
Your love
undiminished

though You die
the cruelest
death.

and i
miss You.

my love
my Lord

i miss
You.

orbit

what do i have to say to you, silent reader, that is worth your time? very little indeed. but i have been thinking a great while about something a dear friend who taught a Bible study i attended said. it struck me as odd and took me a week to figure out why.

when we leave God's orbit and start circling around other things, that is when...


it was not so much what he said after that statement as that statement alone that struck me as awry. so i asked,
but i thought nothing could separate us from the Love of God?


he answered,
nothing can separate us from God's love, but God Himself is a different matter entirely (my recollection, not verbatim)


but what about the where can i flee from Your presence passages? if i go to the depths of hell, You are there. if i flee to the highest mountain, still You are there? what about those passages?


the subject was changed or dropped and never returned to again that morning. but it stayed with me. it gnawed at my grey matter like a rat with pungent cheese.

my problem with our leaving God's orbit is that it can be left at all. so the next week i asked,

if the whole thing hangs together by His mercy, can we really ever leave His orbit? we may be mars or pluto but we are still in His orbit, right? we may be circling saturn, but saturn is still in His orbit, is it not?


to which his wife replied,
you're still thinking about that?


and he laughed and did not reply. i said no more.

but it left me wondering. why aren't we encouraging Bible study participants to mull over the things we say? to question our theology? to ask the hard questions? to question our answers and analogies?

i find, tragically, that there are more folks interested in the status quo, in the don't ask too many questions or ponder things too long type of Christianity, than there are those who want to wrestle with the hard questions.

my dearest friend asks me, well what can we do? not what do you want me to do about it? but enters into my intellectual dilemmas with a, what can we do to change that attitude and that blows my mind.

i don't have the answers. all i have is more questions. it frightens me sometimes to think that we have stopped asking questions. that we, like the blind salamanders of texas caves have lost our eyesight for lack of use.

ask hard questions. you may or may not find the answers, but it won't be for lack of trying. the easy answers, the quick expected answers don't soothe me. often it's the hard, difficult, paradoxical answers that make the most sense to me.

i've no answers, only more questions. if you have questions too, know you are not alone.

Monday, July 18, 2005

debt

once before i returned to college, my girl friend introduced me to the concept of being in debt with time. it had never occurred to me to be possible, but there it is. i knew the validity of it the moment i heard it.

it is nearly 2:30, we just got in from swim lessons, gathering plants which a friend shared from her garden, which i then transplanted in mine, we brought home black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars, eggs and food plants, as well as gulf fritillary necessaries, after printing the homeschool group's newsletter, and in between the lines i'm reading books i've got to get reviewed. i've an editing job for a friend that has taken the back seat for well over a month. i'm fried.

it is strange to say i am in debt with my time because i spend hours in my garden now. that is why i can't get the reading done. or the cleaning. (come to think of it, i wasn't so good at keeping the house pristine even before i gardened.) so much going on out there, so many blooming glories smiling at me whenever i sit there, i cannot ignore such beauty.

then butterflies flit in and, well, you know what i think of that. the big fat bumblebees are my favorite, they zoom past sounding like miniature mopeds. they are so fat and their stripes so striking, i cannot help but gaze at them in wonder.

sitting on the ground on sunday, i was deadheading and watering at the post office (a girl scout service project i've adopted as my own), and a man walked up to check his mail.
tough job, but somebody's got to do it

he said with a smile. and i laughed. i was scantily clad, soaking in the sun and relaxing while i did my work. it occurred to me, urban beauty must be cultivated.

my labor is not that intense. it is not the stuff of jackhammers and airguns, but in the rest of life, the unlovely parts, the necessary bits, they seem to be stuck in between the gardening. where once the weed sprung through cracks in the cement of my daily routine--and no one could get me outdoors--now i am hardpressed to be indoors accomplishing stuff.

my problem then is probably not timedebt but balance. i've never been good at it. i don't have the temperment that nibbles on a paperthin wedge of cheesecake, no, i'm a death by chocolate in the biggest bowl you can find kind of gal. see, i need balance.

i need to go do some laundry so my husband can have something to wear to work tomorrow.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

death shroud.ii

this contemplation of Jesus' death is not through for me. i think there are more poems coming in a progression. if i were a normal person, i would write them and say this with some certainty. being me, i cannot say that with any degree of certainty.

i keep thinking about mary walking away from the tomb. the outbreak of demonic activity that is sure to have taken place when they thought they conquered the King of kings. much like the slaying of aslan and ensuing revelry. susan and lucy mourned the loss of their friend and loved one, while the shaved king lay motionless. it seems darkness has triumphed and i cannot get that out of my mind.


2 chronicles 29:8-10

Ominous
Heavy
Oppression

Darkness
Everywhere
Weeping

Lamentation
Mourning
Jesus

Defeated
Evil
Triumphs

Hope
is
Dead

Crucified

Terror
has come
to stay.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

death shroud

i often think of mary. of the women at the feet of Jesus, and i am so glad it was not me. i couldn't have handled it with half the grace, the faith, the tenacity of those present. i know i would have done it all wrong.

but my glimmer of Jesus on the cross is watching my dear friend, my beloved companions struggle through their own dark nights. from my experience alone, i know the pain of it, the agony, the isolation. and it makes my heart tremble. i can't even imagine what it would have been to be a friend of Jesus and watch Him go down to death. it breaks my heart.

i cannot keep any of my friends from pain, and that, though a lesser pain perhaps, is pain enough. and i with fumbling words labor to convey my great love and admiration for them. hoping they know i am here. and once a friend of mine, always a welcome awaits your return regardless of the number of days, months or years between greeting.

i have had to learn to let go. for i have realized the greatest gift we give to others is freedom to be who they are. to come and go as the waves of the ocean lick upon the shore, sometimes high, sometimes low, ever faithful. we are all dust. moments in time. frailty embodied. one day i may be gone, tomorrow perhaps. but i do not leave this place with words unsaid, things undone. i leave knowing full well, those who know me, know i love them. and love them dearly as my own soul.

imagine mary for a moment if you will. then read this.



go down to death
my friend
my Saviour

pour out
precious
nard

the scent
heavy
in the air

go down to death
my love
my Lord

i will trail behind
watching weeping
powerless

to keep you
from it

go down to death
beaten bruised

when at last
your breast
is still

drape white linen
over the face
i love

now a grim
shadow
of strength

a crumbled
king
prostrate

still unmoving
my hope
gone

go down to death
my love
my Lord

i will not
keep you
from it

Friday, July 15, 2005

frenzied poetry

the poetry has been coming fast and furious. we are all feeding off each other at my circle of poets group and it is a sight to see. surround thyself, artist, with those of similar ilk, and the result is like that of gunpowder and fire. smashing. penetrating. moving. it can also be damaging and wounding, but they are two sides of the same coin, we cannot have one without the other--although we try.

the wounds of a friend are faithful. remember that.

for charlie

to the church
i believe the Lord
would say,

delight thyself in Me
delight thyself in Me

forsake the money
success and fame

do not long for
immortality

delight thyself in Me
delight thyself in Me

stop waiting
for husbands
children, careers

delight thyself in Me
delight thyself in Me

lose thy waking gaze
in my reflection

drink thy fill of pleasure
from My well

delight thyself in Me
delight thyself in Me.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

nature's porn

i've been spending entirely too much time in the garden.

elicit beauty

pregnant bud
unfurl clenched petals
open yourself
to me.

stamen erect
anther and pistil
waiting, longing.

slender
probiscis
draw deep
nectar
sweet.

fertile pollen
hangs upon
tiny face
wings
legs

intoxicated
erratic flight
o'keeffe
was right.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

run away

when i hear those words, i hear my high school friend wade saying them in his best monty python voice. they still make me smile.

i read once in a neil anderson book (during the days of my healing i read most of his titles, to pinpoint which this anaolgy is in, is well nigh impossible), that if we imagine the christian life like an old western town, long dusty street with stores on either side and Christ stands on one end. our life is but to walk to Him. but we keep getting distracted and going in the stores, saloons, and other things that draw our attention away from the one goal.

when we come to our senses we leave the saloon, brothel (or wherever we happen to be), and proceed toward Christ.

this metaphor struck me as true until just now.

it occurred to me that Christ is so worthy, so lovely, so desireable that He is not the stuff of boredom or disinterest. we could not walk away from Him if we are truly engaged. i had this thought because of a great fear that came over me just a couple days ago.

i read a couple poems which were so lovely they frightened me.

i was shocked by this experience. it was unfamiliar, uncomfortable. i wanted to dismiss it, but it was so moving i couldn't avoid the fear of it. the awe. the experience of it. so i just went with it. i felt the fear. and began slowly to unpack it. and i think i understand now what it was all about.

i cried myself to sleep that night with a migraine setting in on me. but it did not shake the experience of fear i had that day. i could only weep in gratitude.

strange? i know. hang in there.

think about it. God is perfect loveliness. everything we desire He is. how could we walk away from that? why would we walk away from that?

i might have an idea.

the fear i experienced was the result of loveliness.

what is God? complete loveliness.

what is the result? fear.

fear of God.

the perfect fear of God.

so perhpas we aren't so much bored and disinterested in God and find other diversions as we are recoiling from something so utterly divine, so lovely that we know we are not worthy and run and hide.

this makes more sense to me. think about it.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

necessary silence

for an intrepid friend.

come to me in silence
i will listen
beside you without words
in prayer
seeking ever for words
and understanding
being as quiet
and gentle
as i can.

come to me in sorrow
i will comfort
lend an ear from brokenness
of my own
when you weep
i will weep too
and try to be
as gentle
as i can.

come to me in anger
i will not judge you
i'll let you rail and rant
and think no less
of you then when
your saintly demeanor
convicts me
and i will try to be
as gentle
as i can.

come to me in boredom
i will entertain you
tell you of my follies
so you can laugh
i will hold your hand
through all your seasons
and try to be
as gentle
as i can.

i have come to realize community is not about always being on the same page or sharing group think, but more about availability. access. welcome.

we artists struggle with meaning to force it into being (as david kopp has said). and we must westle with angels and demons alone (as charles van gorkom says).

and i agree.

many more moments do i spend alone on my mountain top than chatting with my friends. whether they sleep while i'm away is not my concern. but when i return, to find them there at all is what leaves me constantly amazed.

i am surrounded by many great artists. i know them mostly through art alone, whether it be writing poetry or blog or book, these dear souls understand the struggle of an artist. the wrestling and grappling with our essential emptiness and ignorance to reveal the secrets of God in a meaningful way.

we are, at our best, inept. even the brightest and best of us. but we are hinged together in a community that leaves room for folly and failure, doubts and testruns. and that most important of all, silence and time away.

i do not know one artist who can create in a crowd. whose work comes amidst the rush and hurry of the marketplace. perhaps moments of inspiration come from there, but we all share a need for time away.

it is the return, the welcome, the presence of these dear souls that make up community. and for that, i am grateful.

Friday, July 08, 2005

deep within

my daughter beside me draws post it size pieces of artwork. using techniques i have not taught her, but she has found within her artistic soul.

watercolours done with images in the negative space. birds crafted out of the whiteness of the paper. thatched roofs and bridges, hills and waterways complete the landscape.

tonight's relief is on a yellow post it. illumination for a tent in the dark sharpie night. a red fire blazes in the foreground. a fire ring of blackened stones encircles the fire.

such creativity i have need only to place the tools within her reach. pastels, watercolors, pencils, markers, crayons (an early favorite now shunned). she longs to paint with oil and canvas, but not yet. we've not been able to go there yet. but i see her mind working and wheels turning.

when we stand before a picasso, she notes the lines and shapes, the colors contrasting. she is not much for words, images please her immensely though. she tells me,
i'm not a writer. i'm an artist.


i tell her,
don't set your mind to not writing. say, i'm an artist. and be done with it. but don't shut down the writer inside
(a folly i know too well). i've read her poetry, the kid can write!

children use what is available to fashion great constructs of the imagination. until they are shut down for being too messy or wasting materials. our kitchen table is stained with blue dye from her early endeavors, but they serve to remind me that an artist lives here.

and when i am old and she is gone raising her children, perhaps that blue stain will be a comfort to me. who knows.

how i have tried to coax my artist child back out of hiding. so long has she been hiding within. but as i see my girl launch out in areas i have failed at, it gives me courage to try again. i simply need the innocence of a child.

nurture the artist within you. let him out to play in color or word, sound or image. set him free and see what he can do. then come back and tell me how it went.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

how gardening is like warfare

first, one must set a perimeter. overwhelmed by the vastness of the chaos, not until i laid out a raised bed did i begin to even attempt to conquer the enemy.

second, defend the area from enemies foreign (canine) and domestic (weeds). one dog can wipe out months of work in moments. a fence takes hours to erect and is priceless.

third, the enemy will broadcast his signal (or seeds). wafting on the winds are all manner of enemy invaders. like hanoi hannah they take root within the perimeter.

fourth, mulch is like soldiers, without them forget about winning the war. they are essential to maintaining hydration and shielding the soil from enemy intrusion and the sun.

fifth, amend the soil. organic matter is the key to revitalization. the cast offs from my kitchen (and that of my dear long suffering friend), become the nutrients which friendlies feed upon.

sixth, tend the area diligently. a little time spent every day is more managable than laboring for hours to undo what a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands has done.

seventh, after a rain enemies come up easily. the roots of the enemy are deep and vast. water requirements are minimal, they seem well nigh invincible, except after the rain when they loose their stanglehold on the earth.

eighth, remember one man's weed is another man's wildflower. define your terms. establish your criteria and stick to it the best you can. my goal is to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. butterflies are particularly drawn to the natural flowering plants of the area, or the "weeds" as most call them. many of these weeds are sold for gardens, scouting the area has allowed me to recruit these friendlies and sow them into my garden.