These are the things we are trained against:guessing aloud the age of any made-up woman; asking how many place-holding zeroes a man needs to number his wealth; the inquiry upon noticing the baby's crooked nose, "who's the daddy?"; throwing out the first pitch from the stands; answering truthfully the question, "who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?"; raising a hand in church to ask the priest anything, especially if the anything touches on politics, sex, religion, or God; witholding your vote as a vote against scoundrels, liars, thieves, or murderers; Loving your enemy, kissing him, embracing the possibility of violence against the muchness of your silos.

These things we are trained against, but none quite so much as this: Saying, repeating, believing three small words.

I am enough.


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America #2

Last night, I read this article in the New York Times about Walter Scott. Scott, a 50 year old black man in South Carolina, was shot in the back by a police officer who claimed Scott had taken his stun gun in a scuffle occurring after a traffic stop. The article was disturbing. The video unspeakable.


Dear America,

I am learning this new condition: waiting in the flickering light of television's images of the dead; the crying mother, daughter, or spouse of another black man law-lynched.

It is a nightly anticipation, the result of a force-fed diet of truth, or the shock of a different reality, or the descaling of once-blind eyes, whichever.

And so, should you become convinced in the pride of your most exceptional dignity, turn your eyes to your veins, tap them, bleed them dry, test, and know this: [tweetherder]your father is violence, and your mother fear.[/tweetherder]




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For Troy (Childlike, a Poem)

For Troy (Childlike) This is the hope of glory: rebirth with access to doe eyes, to boyish naivety or girlish glow. There is a growing young.

This is the hope of glory: to know the world of monstrous men who rule by violence, sex, and tricks, and to remember fear of this dark.

This is the hope of glory: clomping in creation’s garden, wobbly-kneed in father’s boots, laughter spilling into Spring’s buttercups.

This is the hope of glory: feeling the decadent evening love rising warm in pinking cheeks, covering eyes to things not for children.

This is the hope of glory: the wonder of traveling mercies, snowy peaks and Carolina tide, and ever asking “are we there yet?”


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Another Look at Psalms Past

Last year, I penned the below psalm as part of my Monday psalm writing series--a series in which I attempted to create some more liturgical poetry. It was inspired by the text of Psalm (Psalm 2), which begins with the following:

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed...

As appropriate as the psalm seemed to the geopolitical climate a year ago, it seems even more appropriate now.


Psalm #4

If I might impose; allow me to to suggest a reinstatement, a return, a coming like the splitting of another veil, the fission of this present from the eternal Real, so that men might tremble in the memory of their once Edenic selves.

Could there be a quickening return of the Immediate Dramatic, a natural transfiguration of clouds, from mist to Face, a thundering rising from the earth's bowells, ozone steaming, rising upwards like asphalt incense?

Were I so bold, might I request a trumpet, a white horse, an inimitable, fierce army of the once low, poor saints? Might the air be filled with all that Is, so that those who would breathe life are filled with life, and those who breathe death drink only dread?

On the mountain called expectation do the suffering poor wait for the terrifying, Vehement Beautiful.

In the deserts of war do the greater men fill their mouths with the orders of bones.


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*Photo by Shawn Semmler, Creative Commons via Flickr.

America #2 (The Murder of Rest)


All good things must come to an end, and so, I murdered rest. You read that right. Read it again. And for the sake of clarity, at the expense of redundancy, let me put it another way: I strung up sabbath, fastened a few millstones to its feet (the neck seemed overly-dramatic), and pitched it into the sea.


This is hyperbole. No, maybe it's not.


It's the perfect crime if you consider: the murder of constructed concept produces no body, at least, not straight-away. There is a body in the end-- your own to be exact-- but a man's gotta go somehow, whether by the cigarettes, the black-lunged cancer, or the over-striving of the green soul.

Come to think of it, cigarettes might just be the product of over-striving. Who knows. I don't.


Anyhow, the death of a middle-class over-striver goes barely noticed by investigators. They don't come knocking with warrants and inquisition, but send the youthful eulogizers who say things like, "he was such a hard-working man," or "he had a real protestant work ethic." They mourn the loss of the salt of the earth, ascribe virtue to accomplishment, to the ability to take time and turn it into loaves and fishes.


Is this hyperbole? I don't know. Maybe it's not.


As a child, rest was second-nature, maybe even first nature. There were twelve hours of stillness in any given Tuesday. I slept, sure, but even waking watched the frogs blinking milky filmed eye-lids from just above the surface of an Ozark mud puddle.

I watched and watched.

I closed my eyes, breeze against blush, and gape-mouthed, gulped the wind on which scissor-tailed flycatchers rode. I sat in the hammock of mother's apron, head against beating heart as the thunderstorm lumbered quaking across the Texas plains.

At one point or another, I slept in all these places-- on the river bank by the mud-puddle, in the gentle winds of a Texas field, in my mother's apron hammock.


It was with great deliberation and malice afore-thought, then, that I murdered rest. You ask the murderous motive, and this is not the proper question.

Haven't we always wanted to be limitless man, greater than even God who rested on the seventh day? Haven't we believed that we could shine somehow brighter than even the morning star?

Yes, questions of motive are obvious. It is the question of resurrection that takes greater imagination.

*Photo by Flick, Creative Commons via Flickr.