August122014

Hunger

I WANT ATTENTION
like, I really really want it
I want it, I want it,
did I forget to mention?
pay attention to me
please, puh-lease
PLEASE?

ah, finally
affirmation, adoration
truth?
well, I guess this’ll do
I mean, I’m looking at you
looking at me
like, you’re reflecting
I guess it’s hard to see
but whatever, it’s worth it

tell me i’m beautiful
go on tell me
please?
I mean, I know that I am
but I like when you say it
(sometimes I pray it)
sorry, what?
i didn’t hear you the first time
no, it’s fine you can say it again
and again and again
hey, I’m funny too
did you know that?
well, you forgot to say it
go ahead, I forgive you
(say it again)
please? (two, three, four)
sorry, I didn’t hear you
once more?
yes, you can look at me
I don’t mind if you do
and, hey, did you know that I know
the things that I knew?
Because it’s really quite incredible
I mean, I’m really quite edible
go ahead, you can adore me,
I don’t mind.
Okay, wow,

I am so frustrated
with the desperation I’ve created
feeding the attention
I want inside
I am SO attentive now
to what I’ve denied for so long
and I feel it
i know how wrong it is
to the feed the beast
but the beast must feast
on all the attention you’re giving me.

It’s ridiculous
because I’m so angry
when you won’t look at me
I’m so angry when you leave
because I want to be seen
man, I want to be seen so badly
by everyone
but especially you
or someone like you
I guess anyone’ll do
as long as they’ll look at me

Every laugh you give to me
pour it out on the altar I’m erecting
to my glory (give me more and more)
see, every word’s a demonstration
for my desired recognition
of the ever increasingly
insatiable me

wow, I can’t believe how much I want it
i can’t believe how much I’m longing for it
ugh, belonging to someone
(or worshipped by them)
but, oh, the applause I am receiving
(the person I’m deceiving)
to receive the feeling I think I’m needing
is like water to my soul
or better yet, drink
to my already drunken mind
stupid and slow
and unwinding
fuzzy and unable to concentrate
(on anything other than the greatness of me)
well I don’t, but I know
how to stop
but to want to?
I don’t

I want this so badly
so how can I turn it down?
there’s the pathetic attempts
that come regularly
but with very little integrity
or CHUTZPAH
because I don’t really
at all
want to give up this feeling
of being adored

oh, how i have ignored it in the past
how long I have suppressed it
and at last, AT LAST
look at me
LOOK AT ME PLEASE
oh, don’t go away
my flesh is seizing up
because WHAT WILL I DO?
where will I go?
who will I be?

No, I can’t hear God
not over the sounds of them praising me
not until they stop.
and I look around
and i’m lost.

Oh my gosh.
i want attention so badly.
did I mention it? like, madly
Like, I really really want it
and I don’t know what to do.
(well, I do, but I don’t want to do it.)
and, I’m afraid, I knew it would come to this

Poetry 

August102014

The Plague

I’m going to post some quotes from the book “The Plague” by Albert Camus, since it is a library book and I have to return it tomorrow. This will be a long one, but it’s mostly for my benefit (but all who read it will benefit too!). 

"At such moments the collapse of their courage, willpower, and endurance was so abrupt that they felt they could never drag themselves out of the pit of despond into which they had fallen. Therefore they forced themselves never to think about the problematic day of escape, to cease looking to the future, and always keep, so to speak, their eyes fixed on the ground at their feet. But, naturally enough, this prudence, this habit of feinting with their predicament and refusing to put up a fight, was ill rewarded. For, while averting that revulsion which they found so unbearable, they also deprived themselves of those redeeming moments, frequent enough when all is told, when by conjuring up pictures of a reunion to be, they could forget about the plague. Thus, in the middle course between these heights and depths, they drifted through life rather than lived, the prey of aimless days and sterile memories, like wandering shadows that could have acquired substance only by consenting to root themselves in the solid earth of their distress." 

"In this respect they had adapted themselves to the very condition of the plague, all the more potent for its mediocrity. None of us was capable any longer of an exalted emotion; all had trite, monotonous feelings. "It’s high time it stopped," people would say, because in time of calamity the obvious thing is to desire its end, and in fact they wanted it to end. But when making such remarks, we felt none of the passionate yearning or fierce resentment of the early phase; we merely voiced one of the few clear ideas that lingered in the twilight of our minds. The furious revolt of the first weeks had given place to a vast despondency, not to be taken for resignation, though it was none the less a sort of passive and provisional acquiescence.
"Our fellow citizens had fallen into line, adapted themselves, as people say, to the situation, because there was no way of doing otherwise. Naturally they retained the attitudes of sadness and suffering, but they had ceased to feel their sting. Indeed, to some, Dr. Rieux among them, this precisely was the most disheartening thing: that the habit of despair is worse than despair itself."

"Obviously all this meant giving up what was most personal in their lives. Whereas in the early days of the plague they had been struck by the host of small details that, while meaning absolutely nothing to others, meant so much to them personally, and thus had realized, perhaps for the first time, the uniqueness of each man’s life; now, on the other hand, they took an interest only in what interested everyone else, they had only general ideas, and even their tenderest affections now seemed abstract, items of common stock. So completely were they dominated by the plague that sometimes the one thing they aspired to was the long sleep it brought, and they caught themselves thinking: "A good thing if I get plague and have done with it!" But really they were asleep already; this whole period was for them no more than a long night’s slumber. The town was peopled with sleepwalkers, whose trance was broken only on the rare occasions when at night their wounds, to all appearances closed, suddenly reopened. Then, waking with a start, they would run their fingers over their wounds with a sort of absentminded curiosity, twisting their lips, and in a flash their grief blazed up again, and abruptly there rose before them the mournful visage of their love. And in the morning they harked back to normal conditions—in other words, the plague."

"Almost all, indeed, had empty hands and idly dangling arms. Another curious thing about this multitude of derelicts was its silence. 
“‘When they first came there was such a din you couldn’t hear yourself speak,’ Rambert said. ‘But as the days went on they grew quieter and quieter.’ 
"In his notes Tarrou gives what to his mind would explain this change. He pictures them in the early days bundled together in the tents, listening to the buzz of flies, scratching themselves, and, whenever they found an obliging listener, shrilly voicing their fear or indignation. But when the camp grew overcrowded, fewer and fewer people were inclined to play the part of sympathetic listener. So they had no choice but to hold their peace and nurse their mistrust of everything and everyone. One had, indeed, a feeling that suspicion was falling, dewlike, from the grayly shining sky over the brick-red camp.
"Yes, there was suspicion in the eyes of all. Obviously, they were thinking, there must be a good reason for all the isolation inflicted on them, and they had the air of people who were puzzling over their problem and are afraid. Everyone Tarrou set eyes on had that vacant gaze and was visibly suffering from the complete break with all that life had meant to him. And since they could not be thinking of their death all the time, they thought of nothing. They were on vacation. ‘But worst of all,’ Tarrou writes, ‘is that they’re forgotten, and they know it. Their friends have forgotten them because they have other things to think about, naturally enough. And those they love have forgotten them because all their energies are devoted to making schemes and taking steps to get them out of the camp. And by dint of always thinking about these schemes and steps they have ceased thinking about those whose release they’re trying to secure. And that, too, is natural enough. In fact, it comes to this: nobody  is capable of really thinking about anyone, even in the worst calamity. For really to think about someone means thinking about that person every minute of the day, without letting one’s thoughts be diverted by anything—by meals, by a fly that settles on one’s cheek, by household duties, or by a sudden itch somewhere. But there are always flies and itches. That’s why life is difficult to live. And these people know it only too well.’"

"…For even Rambert felt a nervous tremor at the thought that soon he would have to confront a love and a devotion that the plague months had slowly refined to a pale abstraction, with the flesh-and-blood woman who had given rise to them.
"If only he could put the clock back and be once more the man who, at the outbreak of the epidemic, had had only one thought and one desire: to escape and return to the woman he loved! But that, he knew, was out of the question now; he had changed too greatly. The plague had forced on him a detachment which, try as he might, he couldn’t think away, and which like a formless fear haunted his mind. Almost he thought the plague had ended too abruptly, he hadn’t had time to pull himself together. Happiness was bearing down on him full speed, the event outrunning expectation. Rambert understood that all would be restored to him in a flash, and joy break on him like a flame with which there was no dallying."

This is such a good book. 

July312014

Shelter (1)

I have returned 
and i yearn to turn 
back to where 
I can never be.
time is just a memory
already formed
or waiting to be 
and then it’s gone
and cannot be again.
like dreams 
it bends and distorts 
and reports differently
than reality
but can reality ever 
truly
be known? 
if it shows itself 
uniquely
to every me 

(every moment is an elephant
not just God Himself)

moments are relative 
but truth is not 
even if we’ve forgotten
it has existed 
even if we’ve resisted 
it still insisted 
things are 
and are 
no matter how far 
our perception is from the truth

yet still i look back 
into the blue melancholy 
of the rose colored 
melancholy 
and i long to look back

no one can share my point of view 
even if they think they do 
their eyes never saw 
as I did 
their minds never saw 
as mine did 
but still we came together 
and weathered together
and tethered our hearts and memories
and every part 
came together 
like it had never been

and i long to be back there 

June92014
My brother and his son (my nephew!). This is by far my favorite picture I’ve ever taken of the two of them — maybe my favorite picture I’ve ever taken. The intimacy, love, and trust between father and son is palpable… His sweet, gentle little hand on my brother’s cheek, the tenderness of their sharing a first experience… Ah, I love this and them more than I can express. 

My brother and his son (my nephew!). This is by far my favorite picture I’ve ever taken of the two of them — maybe my favorite picture I’ve ever taken. The intimacy, love, and trust between father and son is palpable… His sweet, gentle little hand on my brother’s cheek, the tenderness of their sharing a first experience… Ah, I love this and them more than I can express. 

3AM

In dreams

last night i dreamed I could fly
and swim, and never die

it started with a fear of death:
i walked along and my breath
began to quicken
the atmosphere was sickening
as the bad man chased me,
my heart was racing and
i sank beneath the snow bank
guns were shot and i didn’t know
if he saw me
blood was dripping on me
permeating the once white
blanket that held me,
i sank deeper and deeper
into a hidden lake
and i didn’t come up for air
i think i used morse code there
or smoked a cigar
or typed a paper in a car
far beneath
the depths of the surface
but then the dream changed

i was walking through a supermarket,
and i can’t remember why
but we were all afraid to die —
still, i knew i could always fly
away and death would never touch me.
there was a man
who was particularly afraid
and dismayed
over the coming of death, 
and i spoke to him
under my breath
that i could show him what to do,
i grabbed his hand and beat my arms
and urged him to do the same.
i didn’t know his name or his story
but i did know he was bringing me down,
as we took off he started scoffing
and staring at the ground
saying death could get us, 
and the more he doubted
the heavier he became
— i think wild boar were chasing us
and Dear Death was replaced by pigs,
i remember passing pretzels and bulk items
and then i dropped him
and the dream changed

i walked through a town
and passed a church
but the church was a cult and
i had always been curious
so i walked inside. 
i felt afraid that if they denied
the truth of God
I couldn’t help but do the same.
i recognized people
(and felt ashamed that they were here too)

when the service started
i took my place
in the head of the pews
and i and all the others
covered ourselves in blankets
and the preacher
began to “preach”
on whatever he was saying, 
and the others who were praying
echoed back with movements
and gestures
and they all began to pester me
to follow suit —
here again wild boar appeared
and at that time i feared as i noticed
more and more people who knew me

hurriedly i ran outside
and beat my arms once more
the gusting wind sealed the door
and i rose into the sky

i often dream that i can fly
and at this point i was aware i was dreaming
i told myself i was going home
or at least the home i grew up in
but as i rose and saw the world
the girl i thought i was, was lost. 
i flew over playgrounds
and fast food restaurants
and i found myself by the sea —
i never stopped moving
but i grew more afraid
and frantic
and i remember
i was hunching over in the air
and my back began to ache
so i had to make myself straighten up
and carry on
and ignore the pain i felt
though it hadn’t ever left

when i reached the forest,
i told myself to fall
(thinking of the exhilaration
of sinking through the air) 
i told myself it was okay
but as my stomach dropped
and my heart sank
again i was afraid,
i kept falling
and falling
and the trees
were taller
and darker
and the air more freezing
than i’d ever imagined…
when i reached the ground i managed
to open my eyes
in the waking world
but my mind was still
in the dream
and as i saw, it seemed
my hand was bleeding
and a creature was attacking me
as the trees filled my bedroom

i closed my eyes
and slipped back into the forest
and the chorus of creatures
crept closer and closer
and began to reach their
spindly tendrils around me
i remember seeing drawings of madness
somehow among the madness
and blackness
of what was ensuing, 
and i don’t remember when
but the pursuing things fell
and i woke,
and all was well again

i often dream like this
that i can fly 
and sometimes swim
and never die,
but then i wake 
and it takes a moment 
to realize 
that it isn’t always the case

May62014

i guess i ran

i guess it is numbness
that leads to the dumbness
that leads to the silence and tears
i guess that the kindness 
replaces the blindness 
that follows my aching and fears 

i ran through the meadows 
that rippled the shadows 
that led to the desert i’m in 
i ran without thinking
and thought i was sinking 
down into the sadness of sin 

i guess i’m not sinning 
just bearing and grinning 
and hoping temptation will flee 
i guess i am moving
and He is approving 
and through it He’s making me free 

poetry 

April192014

1 Peter 2 - Out of, Into

it’s silly how we live
(every part of it is)
the fact that we wake up and breathe
and in sleeping we dream
and in dreaming we fall
into lies
(in waking, we realize)
were shadows
of streams
of consciousness
(a lot like this is)

i suppose i have had my eyes closed
and my mind shut off
trying to forget how often
i feel like crying

it’s silly how we live
and yet we are dying
(every part of us is)
because we waste the days
on foolishness
and choose to live
in passing
blissful
ignorance
trying to neglect that this is—
that time is—
never coming back.

the truth is

we have only one youth
and then we’re old and lack
and we’re told to make the most of it
but instead it’s spent on emptiness
wrapped in nothingness
wrapped in vanity
wrapped in gold

and before we know it
we’re cold
and the sun’s risen,
but we’re too blind to see it
and our children are singing
but we’re much too deaf to hear it
and we lie on our backs
and fall into space
and silence

our eyes wrinkle
and the stars twinkle around us

if we were wise
we’d be surrounded by memories
of their faces
and of love…
but our minds are weakened
memories of
the shadows of
the memories of
our youth.

the truth is

it’s just silly how we live
because we ought not
to spend our time
on silliness,
because it will decay like our bodies
it will fade and show its folly
when we pass from space
into forever

but whenever I think on who I am
and look at all my well-laid plans
I realize how much of this is wrong.
i long for meaning
yet so much of me is clinging
to meaninglessness
and throngs of my friends do the same

fame will fade into darkness
parties will sink with their shame
beauty is gone with the morning mist
happiness overshadowed by pain…

so it’s silly how we live
(every part of it is)
not that we should rise and fall
but that we still call to empty idols
who’ve never helped us at all
and cling to worthless moments
that don’t inspire awe or depth
but lead to heaped on regret
so we drink more to forget
and dance more to not let
anything here touch us

but it’s silly how we live

why do we do it?
i swear we knew how hollow
it is to follow fads and trends
instead of living in these moments
that soon will end
and instead of trying to speed them up
or make them pass faster,
working to make the past worth remembering
because we’ve filled it with sweet surrendering
to the One who created time.
we’ve made them valuable
because the mountains we climbed
got us closer to Him
and farther from sin.
we died for others
because we loved our fathers, sisters, brothers
we willingly gave to our mothers
we humbled ourselves and made a difference
instead of choosing ignorance

because if this life is all we have
empty gladness will fade as quickly as we do
would you not rather live a life
that will go on after you?
and if we do go on to the afterlife
why do we create more strife
by grasping at the wind?
we know the truth, so why do we live
still clinging to death?
if we’re set free why spend our time on vanity
that will fade as quickly as we do?

it is silly how we live
but the truth is we’re afraid
(so much of us are)
that if we prayed
we might see who we are
and how far we’ve strayed
and how hard we’ve kicked against the pricks,
we’re afraid of leaving nothingness
because it’s all we’ve ever known
and once we’ve been shown
we know we can’t go on.
so we yawn and we sleep
and we keep our eyes closed
and our ears plugged
and we shrug our shoulders at waking up
and roll over and sleep some more

but i’m telling you it’s silly
because the door is open now
and it won’t be open forever.
and sleeping it away will never
erase the fact of this
impending blackness or light
that is your choice.
blocking out the noise
will never stop the truth from consuming you
or this life from ending.
so why not rend your heart and not your garments
and repent of all your foolishness

but the truth is i’m afraid of this feeling too…
the nothingness…
so i surround myself with nothingness
hoping it will drown out the silence
that haunts me

still, it’s silly how we live
so daunted by the idea of feeling
anything but comfort,
we contort ourselves
and distort this hell we’re living in
to believe that it’s okay
that we’re okay…
but what i’m saying is, we’re not.
we’ve forgotten who we were before
and we’ve forgotten why we’re here

and i’ve worked on this for a while now
going back and forth between the depths
and shallows
of this storm.

I can’t do it anymore

numbing myself has never worked
and yet i think it will every time.
every evening always hurts
and yet i find
kindness greets me there

mercy means i’m undeserving
compassion means He cares

yes, it’s silly how we live
(every part of it is)
though sillier still that He forgives
and lives alongside us…
i trust in my Shepherd… I’ve decided.
because He’s walking with me
and only He has gone before me
it’s not about performing
but feeling the joy and the sorrow,
spending today and tomorrow
adorning Him with praise
and making more of what He’s raised
from this silly, empty nothingness

March92014

girl

um, she wanted to write for quite a while
on how she couldn’t seem to smile
or laugh or feel the way she ought to
or how she always did what she knew not to,
but every time she tried
it felt like nothing more than
scribbled lies - er, misconceptions
hidden beneath deep deceptions
of what she was pretending to be

night came and she could never see
when morning was coming,
she could never see the distant sun beams
peaking over the horizon
when her eyes were on herself
and the wealth of fool’s gold she had hoarded
and accepted and kept within her heart,
it had become so much a part of her
like the sound made by a river,
rushing winds and waters came
but she very soon forgot her name and who gave it to her

morning came, yet still she cried
for in the night she thought she died
and when the sun rose
her heart froze to think
the corpse of hers would start to sink
deep into the moss that smothers the trees
and consumes the leaves,
she was suffocating in sunlight
cold to the touch
she’d said too much and the
creature of night came close to her

she never heard the birds chirping
she never heard their song
she only heard his words hissing
telling her she was wrong,
her smiles fell like copper leaves
her laughter withered like fallen trees
worms ate through her sunken soul
ripping holes through the fabric of her being

she had run through the field
trying to find her Shepherd
she’d lost Him in the fearful running
from path to past
she thought she heard
but she couldn’t find Him and at last
she fell

the light beat down on her like a waterfall
she didn’t hear Him calling
her skin was crawling with anxiety
and her stomach started churning,
so deep was the yearning to be free
at least to see where freedom came
at least to hear Him call her name

"please say ‘well done’"
she wished inside
but the secret voices soon denied
that she’d done anything to be proud of
she’d slipped into the cloud of their breath
and she didn’t know how to escape

she didn’t know whose voice to take
as the truth, and she tossed it up to her youth
saying she didn’t know any better
but He had freed her from her fetter
she did know, He had shown her,
she’d known His name, and her Lover
she’d known His love and soon discovered
His joy, but she couldn’t find or hear Him now

she didn’t know how much longer she could take
but she offered it up as an act of faith
her heart, her life, her fears, herself
she offered up the stores of “wealth”
that had poisoned her,
she didn’t know, she wasn’t sure
but still she hoped He’d make her pure
still she asked and waited there
for Him to come and say He cared

poetry 

January252014

Psalm 51

"youthful innocence"?
it’s a lie
from the moment i was conceived
i began to die
from the moment i was cast upon my mother’s bosom
i began to breathe the infection
that affects us all.
perhaps you were blissfully unaware
because i was not able to express it or share
but i’ve been crushed beneath 
the perverse oppression 
before i could even crawl.

i was born but i was never free
i was new but i could never see
i never learned to open my eyes
i wandered about blindly
but knowingly seeking 
chains and ropes
and feigned hopes
with which to bind myself to evil.
i was a child
but my naivety was counterfeit
and i ran wild,
splashing in the filth of my mind.

i grew only in my sickness
height and weight, yes,
and my hair thickened
but my heart grew thin 
from malnutrition, 
my mind grew weak and carnal 
seeking to fill its appetites 
i might show a glimmer of sweetness
here and there
but i never really cared
for anything but my stomach 
and the one who’d laid the snare.

when i met You i saw the truth
from my youth i’ve been lied to 
and i lied to myself.
i’ve since looked in the mirror and thought 
"my youthful innocence is long forgotten" 
but it was never there. 
with every prayer my eyes are opened 
more and more 
i see the truth i never saw before: 
i’ve been a slave 
soaked richly in sickness 
since the dawn of time.

they sing that you were born this way
as if it’s a banner you ought to wave proudly
as if when it’s sung loudly enough 
it will become okay.
but i’ve begun to see so clearly 
that we’re all, every one of us 
drawing very nearly to the dust 
from which we came 
and calling it “God” 
because then we can lust and desire
and feed the fire
without the shame. 

i am sick 
but my disease is in remission 
as i submit to the great Physician 
and call upon His Name.
i’m wrapped in His arms and His protection
i cherish His correction 
because my bones are broken, 
my purity’s lost, and He has spoken
He’s commanded that I change
and be healed
and He has sealed me, 
when He died and overcame.  

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