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.



deer, near a stream, panting


This knuckle’s calloused groove has

not forgot (though mostly now i type)

the pen’s round burning embrace. Bumps and buds of

tongue remember well the taste of

bread, the sting of mustard, the crisp cold bite of

the pickle; even they cling to the flavor of

bologna or marshmallow cereals, which they have not

seen since youth.

Rough and ragged lips cannot misplace

the memory of softest pink your cheek, of

most delicate curve and hunger of your

lovely lonely mouth. The

taxidermied head was not made to be

on display except on

a neck, in the woods, its body

scampering quickly out of sight, leaving only the

vague memory of its presence.

Nothing made was thrown

happenstance together, compacted at the

center of the singularity’s unforgiving suck,

and set alone in empty space.

Rather all things, all matters, and

all molecules were forged in the

bright warm inferno of the stars, baked together in

love like the ingredients of a

birthday cake, made for

a celebrant child.


As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.   – Psalm 42 : 1

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.


Variations: Psalm 1


the arborist arrived at noon

smally perspiring in drips and drops from his

forehead, summer already parching, perching like a

laughing parrot. i offered him a glass of water, which he

gulped gluttonously and would have taken

intravenously, had it been an option.

We make our way out to the yard, and even in

the shade the heat lies in wait like a

merciless unseen assassin. He has already seen the

reason i called: the graying bark, no longer rich and

earthy brown, the paper bag leaves rotting like

landfill trash, brittle branches splintering under

no weight but their own. Where years before the ground had been

littered with acorns now there are only sticks, leaves,

kindling. He shakes his head and

frowns sadly. Across the street are

oaks older and wiser, still flourishing flowering even

late into waterless summer. His gaze is

pitiful, intense,

careworn when he looks at me. Unfortunately, he says,

there is nothing to be done. It cannot be saved. Suddenly i am

frowning too, missing its shade now more than ever.

Why then, i say, are those trees across the way still

so vibrant and alive? He pauses, and his response is

measured, precise, and

unfaltering. Water, he says. This tree is dying from

a tainted supply. Whatever source they are tapped into

across the street must be

different, cleaner,


His work done, he is back in his car,

onto his next job, and i retire to my living room,

welcoming the cool of air conditioning.

A week later the oak is chopped down,

rooted up, and ground into

firewood, leaving in its place

a gaping hole in my yard.


Author’s note: Thus begins a series of poems of which i just conceived last night, which simply entails writing variations on existing poetry. i cannot say how long it will be, nor how many variations i intend to make, but if it proves successful then i imagine i will write quite a few. Criticisms, as always, are warranted and appreciated.

yesterday is dead and laid in the ground and today is soon to follow


i give thanks for these breaths

i draw in to fill lungs

inside respiration becomes


and breaths on the way out

(take with them only filth)

spew out sandpaper flowers, acid puppies


i give thanks for these feet

perambulating daily

along the path one or both make

a turn

lead me to darkened alleys

(take with them my body)

i ride rusted boats a-sail in rusted seas


i give thanks for these hands

which write with delicate caress

open fingers take shelter become


pound down on coffee tables

(take anything they can grasp)

and forcefully guide anarchic orchestras


i give thanks for this mind

it dreams up lofty tales

and plots character deaths but not


dwell on dank and dirt and

(take everything as nails)

churn out lugubrious wisdom and termite trees


i give thanks for a Redeemer

takes from me all these gifts

which i have burned and scorched

gives them back polished

useable, corruptible again

this time will be different

(wish it were true)


I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?  – Jeremiah  2 : 21


Author’s note: This is a terrible poem, frankly, but i post it anyway because it is appropriate. i have the anti-Midas touch. We all, as humans, do, when everything we touch turns to dust. i have no problem posting a very poorly written poem because i am not attempting to showcase my skills here but rather showcase my brokenness. Generally speaking, that is more effective in reaching hearts anyway. Love to all.


between two somewheres i am not


those things that prove the lost, the wild and lost

so intimately intricately free

those things that mostly minds of time and dust

can linger longer longing serenely

and those that younger thinner me would find

aligned with shadow selves and paper dream

these things seek me and peer me into mind

but ziploc memories now fail to gleam

instead of gladdest new though, burdens raise

up, just different: rounder easier

and roll or slide or tumble this malaise

but always with me still, though breezier

the days, which speak of some still yet to come

when forget and shatter stories of from.


For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. – 1 Corinthians 13 : 12

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.    – Psalms 71 : 20

overhead, coming down fast



The mind has only so many hands, so many places to hold, entrap, enclose. i was reminded today about a video game i played with my brother when we were children. i can recall the most intricate details about it. The melody it bleeped sprang instantly to mind, and i was humming it moments later. Were i to play the game now, i would be able to pick it up right where i left off: the movements of the characters, the layout and particulars of the game, all i can remember with ease. i have not seen this game, played it, or heard the music in about 20 years i would imagine, yet the memory of it is as fresh as if minted yesterday.

Fresher even, in fact, for there is much of yesterday that has already slipped into memory abyss. What was i wearing during the day? What tune did i whistle? Perhaps this is the case for most people, but it goes particularly so for me: i struggle greatly to remember even very important things that i have been told. Names, faces, occurrences of meeting and learning these, occupations, dates, calendar events, all escape me with equal deftness, assassins come and gone in the night and never truly even seen. Perhaps life is just “too much, too bright, too powerful” to hold very much of, as Thom Yorke might suggest. Perhaps these things flow in as water into a tub, fill us, nourish us, wash us, then are gone just as quickly never to be seen again.

But instead, might be the mind holds these things in a firesafe, some inaccessible tomb of recollection that on the last day will be revealed to us; an ancient sealed vault cracked open, its belly contents spilled, and suddenly the floor in front of us is littered with canisters of film, more film than we could watch in a lifetime. We tear into them one after the other, playing back delicate image after delicate image of everything we thought we had forgotten, tears and laughter and joyous exclamation ringing through the halls as images and smells and sounds of places and people long lost are imbibed again, and we soak them up and are full to the brim but just keep getting fuller, full to bursting almost, until at last we are restored to ourselves, and restored to one another.



And the hands of the mind are full, so full: balancing, juggling, holding, keeping. So much of the flesh of brain doesn’t even have time to stop and think. There are glands to be squeezed, vessels to be pumped, electricities to be produced and interpreted, systems to be monitored; such a vast stream of information and data and status that most of the brain is entirely consumed with maintenance all the time. What is left to thinking is not much, and it too is overwrought. So much to be made sense of, so much to learn and grasp and process, where do we begin? Just as one ball comes down, i must let another fly, or all will fall in collision and chaos. Most of the time, all of the balls are up in the air, and i am not in real contact with any of them for long.

This is particularly relevant when i attempt to contemplate the aspects of Our Father. i spend so much time trying to convince myself that He is all-loving and all-knowing that sometimes i forget that He is also almighty, all-powerful, unstoppable. My pitiful human brain cannot seem to reconcile the three: i cannot hold them all and shape them and name them all at once. Most of Him must at all times be up in the air, coming down upon me, and it is grace and mercy that allows me to touch them even for a few moments while they are with me.

i needed to be reminded of His might today. Psalm 114 did that for me. It produces a proper fear in me, a proper humility. It is easy to take advantage when we are loved. We are not so apt to do so when we are outmatched and overpowered. God who sings comets across the universal empty and crashes rivers into slowly shattering rock, God who rends suns with a word and blasts breaths of life into green corners of existence: it is this God who loves me with that same might, and no other.

My mind cannot hold this, it is true: nor my heart feel it, nor my eyes see it. I have filled the cabinets of memory and thought with trinkets of my choosing, fancies and whims and imaginations and hopes and left little room for Him, either His might or His love.

So maybe rather than wanting to have all of that given back to me in the end, rather than even more clog and more muck, maybe i should be hoping that He will clean house and fill me up utterly and entirely with Him.

Something tells me he is powerful enough, however, to somehow do both.


Psalm 114

1 When Israel went out from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2 Judah became his sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.

3 The sea looked and fled;
Jordan turned back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.

5 What ails you, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
6 O mountains, that you skip like rams?
O hills, like lambs?

7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.