Psalm 0



i think trust must be


that someday i will be


somewhere a

good ways off (a

good time hence),

and not


it was all different.



After XIV, 2005


And somehow I wonder how we

ever managed to live before we knew

adenosine and scapula and macrophage

and watched with curious invasions the

mitoses of a million unknown brethren and then

further – as in all things, all thrills, all deep hungers, never

satisfied with the joy already in front of us – as we began with

feverish indignation, with righteous entitlement, to uncode, unfold,

unravel the very letters and words of our

deepest identities –

                                 and yet somehow we

did live. We ate, breathed, slept, and made

love to our wives, who carried for us hundreds and thousands of

children, new lives always springing from old ones, joined to, joyed with

one another –

                        and all this without knowing

how it all worked, was it was all “called.” We did not need to “call” these things

at all. They came to us


in the first place.


Is anyone still there? We shall see. Regardless, I am here. Even if I am the only one. Hope everyone is well.    – R.E.W. 

praying bernhard reimann was wrong


we’ll see how this goes. whimsy often betrays.



last night i was certain

that i wanted

some scorching black drink brewed

fresh and only for me


and when it was done and

all the grounds were coursed through and

all the oils and sacred secrets had been

sucked out i

poured it into a cup and

set it somewhere new, different,

seemingly benign


heat scores and

time wears and apparently

together they conspire to draw

rings in unsuspecting innocent wood


at last when

undeft fingers clumsily looped into

ceramic rings to

rescue planks of ancient trees it was

too late


and already carelessness had

spent its fortune on

making some mark that

no one but me would

ever see


i hoped, more

dearly than i hope that

euclid was right, and that five hundred

billion years hence no one


will have heard my name



it’s been a while. challenges are welcome. please, shout to the heavens the horrors of this poem. it will, in all honesty, be appreciated.

Stranger, and more beautiful


Fiction has long been a part of my life. There have been books historically which i have read and re-read incessantly throughout my life. When i was a child and a teenager, most of these tales took the form of fantasy or science fiction. Even fancied myself a bit of a fantasy writer at one point, and i still feel as though i could set down a rather rousing epic if i put my mind and (more importantly) my heart to it. Some period of time into my early adulthood i started shifting my reading and writing interest to more “literary” fiction, whatever that nomenclature signifies. i have begun and left unfinished no fewer than five novels, having never caught sufficient steam or momentum, or perhaps having never had the requisite discipline, to see these projects through to completion. My reading in this arena has been, for a time, rather diligent at least, and there is certainly a tremendous and nameless appeal that the fictive voice holds in my heart. It is not out of the realm of possibility that i may at some point dig up from under the earth of time and business these efforts and breathe life into them anew.

Poetry has also competed for dominance in my aesthetic sensibilities, and though i have not quite had the patience to study it as thoroughly as i ought, there are still times when it seems that the only mechanism which will do a subject justice is the poem, thus as you can see i have written my fair share of them. Most of them are at the very least elementary, and some even go so far as to be downright terrible and asinine.

Recently, however, despite my traditional attachment to these slightly more artistic forms of communication, i have begun to suspect that perhaps my gift really lies in the area of non-fiction. i have never written very much of it, save on this particular blog, and even though the bulk of my posts here can be classified as non-fiction, they still feel fictitious, at least in the sense that they are driven by narrative rather than by research. i must confess i owe at least a portion of this suspicion to my wife, who first pointed out that she found my non-fiction to be my best work. Lately i have toyed with idea of working more exclusively in this domain, and it is starting to gain sway for me. i suppose what always steered me away from writing non-fiction was a lack of qualification. i am an expert in precisely zero subjects, save perhaps the subject of myself. But perhaps this is enough. Perhaps there is enough of a story in my life – and i suspect there is, not because i have lived a particularly adventurous or meaningful life, but because i have lived a particularly rebellious one – to merit its writing. After all, God has written a rather amazing story already, having provided for me time and time again despite my unwillingness to receive that provision. i think perhaps i will stay away from fiction, at least for the time being – God is, after all, a better story-teller than i will ever be – and stick strictly to writing about my experiences with Him and the recovery He has seen fit to mercifully bring into my life. Maybe in this, at last, after a year of dabbling in essentially every variety of writing and succeeding at none, i have found my calling. Time however, will tell.

The well-known adage “truth is stranger than fiction” has a less-familiar second clause, which i find even more profound than the first. “It is because,” Twain says, “fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” If you had asked me 30 months ago what i dreamed would be “possible” for the coming years, for my personal and spiritual life, for my career, and for my marriage, i would not have been able to even begin to guess at the current shape each of those elements has in my life. i believe that the purpose of writing is to provide insight and wisdom into the life of another, and by doing so, be a force for peace, for reparation, for reconciliation. Fiction gives us a certain view of truth through its exploration of possibilities, and poetry another through its propensity for ambitious metaphor, and both can provide some measure of universality, and thus each may, in part, accomplish the objective of establishing commonality. But God has written a truth, full and glorious, that no human word can sufficiently capture, and in my case, as it is for many of us, that truth is more compelling and more exhilarating, and thus ultimately vastly more unifying, than any story or device which we have ever conceived of or read. These stories, our stories, with all of their ugly and rambunctious and supercilious components, are the stories which people most need to hear. These are the stories that will heal, because ultimately they are not about us at all. Tell yours, and i will do mine.


an episode of “survivor”





stopped at a light, on my way to

somewhere I wish I already was,

the curve of the windshield seems today flat,

like a muted television in a department store

tuned to some episode of

reality TV, while I am

shopping for something else-


nearby a woman sits cross-legged on

naked concrete median, packing

spare clothes in freezer bags-

she mumbles to herself,

taking inventory of her

ragged rugged pack, which

contains all that she owns-


in two dimensions

she laughs to herself at some joke that

none of us can hear-




at dinner my friend explains his

brother’s experience as a

cast member of this or that

reality program.

“Everything he said,”

he tells me, “was entirely

scripted. He is actually

nothing like that.”

We laugh and take small bites of

twenty dollar entrees.




the light turns green and

we all drive on. The flatscreen shows now

pristine white shopping centers, as if I

changed the channel to

programming I could understand and

think about later while falling asleep

in a warm bed-


Things the ocean taught me




back to land, to

numbers, screens, digits, dials,

quotas, schedules,

alarms. my heart recalls well

days at sea, but already forgets

the lessons learned there. i am in

need of some words, some mantra, some

prayer perhaps, to remember these things–




what i do not know is

vaster by far than the

rolling wave of what i do.

what is great and greatly

unkown can be either

feared and shunned or

wondered at, praised,

beloved. i have seen many things.

there are many more i will

never see–

yet all things, whether

teariest pleasure, creeping weeping joy, or

darkest, deepest terror, all will

someday end–

the edge of one ocean is

too, the border of another, newer one,

not yet traversed,

holding more wonders,

more joys, more fears,

and yet more lessons to learn

and recall when needed most.





swaying left and right,

left and right

left and right.

i am abed, stomach

shifting and churning.

against white sides they

beat and shift

making sleep fitful and


dreams ugly, vivid, and


until i remember

who owns the waters.


suddenly sheets are

swaddling clothes, bed is

bassinet, and waves naught but

mother’s arms, mother’s song.

i am soon

fast asleep.


something absent


words thrown together –

but not in sentences.

without verbs, present action:





Loneliness is never more cruel than when it is felt in close propinquity with someone who has ceased to communicate.     – Germaine Greer

Christianity teaches us to love our neighbor as ourselves; modern society acknowledges no neighbor.   – Benjamin Disraeli

Variations: Psalm 131


Sitting spectatorially in

sofa stands, i watch as two October wars

rage. Through glass eyes, glass screen

i patricianly observe, black box in hand to

mediate. The third, the visceral, in me:

which to settle upon? Both will

make history, both will be assessed,

tossed around analyzed up and down for

years to come. In the first conflict i at least

have a voice, but using it seems only

quietly gurgling: it drowns in ideology rivers and

policy rain converging in

halftrue stewy sea whose water is mostly

salt. My heart finds it

undrinkable, instead just floats upon it

recklessly abandoned like

an oar that used to steer someone else’s boat.

In the other i have

no say, no power, no

stake even. The outcome changes

nothing, no lives are trampled or

saved, no schools closed or

opened. And yet i am compelled,

entrapped; disabled by bomb blasts of

awe. It sucks me in smartly, tightly, like a

fat man’s belly near a pretty girl.

There is an elation here, an

involvement, a genuine

hope. I opt finally for

this innocence, this nowness, this

momentary onliness:

the crucial importance of baseball. i

smile, and remember what it was like

to play as a boy.

i couldn’t tell you

who won the debate, but i am

pretty sure it wasn’t

you or me.


driving in the dark early one morning


The streets creak reluctantly awake.

Scurrying hurrying by go the vehicles of

salesmen and bankers, movers, shakers, makers of things, their

headlights stabbing yellow knives into the sleeping flesh of

night, shuddering merciless into the still rumble

waves of engine growl. These are the

drivers of cars and economies, every effort matters, every

pedal pushed, gas or brake, timing is everything, and everyone hurtles along

together foreignly fast, envelopes already pushing, shoving, as if

today only existed to atone for

what was forgotten yesterday. Sidelined and

sitting passive, watching waning peaceful dark, my car is parked and

silent, still dewed from evening rain and i

wonder how i might politely, gently, undisturbedly

decline to drive anywhere this day.