creating me [using words]

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

She Is On Her Way!!

She will be named thus: Preacher Breath. She will be: a collection of essays on preaching interspersed with sermons. She will be: beautiful, inspiring, and full of passion. She will be: thoroughly me. She will be: dying to meet you. She is: approximately two-thirds written.

The Midwife: Smyth and Helwys Publishing


One More Woman

i’m not saying
it wasn’t awful
for Bathsheba
to sleep with the man
who murdered her lover
not much choice
when the killer’s a king

still, at least
she has a name
a story
a son
i am just one more woman
from David’s harem
you don’t know anything about me


They be beautiful words
let them baptize you now
Flow to the rhythm
of silence, then sound
Delve ‘neath the rivers
of meter and rhyme
Breathe through your gills
Take all your time
Don’t let them rush you
Be so bold
as to bathe all you want
for the waters are gold.

Something Hopeful

I find this need for healing,
for connectivity with others,
for movement forward, and
for purging out the poison
is SO great that I keep
trying, reaching, working,
talking, writing, despite
all my stay-in-bed-under-the-covers
mornings, despite my
emotional melt-downs,
all my cries of “I-can’t-do-it-
anymore,” despite the regular
throwing up of my hands
and the desire to crawl
into a loving lap and sob
and be blessed and never
have to work hard again–
despite all that,
I am still breathing, folks,
and I am more-than-breathing,
I am writing.
So take that, all-the-evil,
I have a voice,
still soft but undeterred.
Even when I try a new thing–
god it takes soooo much
courage just to try–
even when I try
and am disappointed
and retreat to my bed
to pretend my pillows
are warm lovers or mothers
of safety and comfort,
inanimate objects providing
an embrace that cannot
backfire later,
even then, I eventually
get back up,
try another new thing
and another
and another.
How do I keep going?
I do not know.
But I know that
I go and that this
inexplicable gumption
is stitching my wounds
thread by thread.

You Are Not A Statistic To Me

When I hear the doomsayers
bemoaning the demise of culture,
rattling off statistics that
scare them–this percentage
of unwed mothers, this percentage
of divorced marriages, this percentage
of single parent homes, this percentage
of folks who have left church, this percentage
of openly gay, I want to say,
to shout, to scream:
“You are not a number to me
and I LOVE YOU!”
Come. I will take you into my bosom,
my lap, my embrace. I will be mother
to you, sister, aunt, lover–whatever
you need to know that you are beloved,
That you are more than a statistic to me.
That you are not what is wrong
with this culture
You are what makes the world shimmer
and I see you.
I see your heart, I see your soul
and your untold story,
I know you are one who has endured
and that the journey has been hard
and that you are lonely sometimes
and oh how I love you
though we may never have met.
Somehow when they call out
those cold statistics
like the world is going to end
I can see your warm face shining
and I whisper with you,
“This is our beginning!”

LIfe Is So Good, And Also:

I deeply feel all that remains unresolved within me.

I deeply feel all that remains unresolved within me.

I feel it like a black mass, like a tangled web, like a book of fears, like a coffin full of buried memories, like a series of burning questions that really do burn, like a wave of pain I hold at bay despite my efforts to enter necessary grief and feeling, like a bucket of bruises I collected over the years like rainfall dropping steady upon my heart, like excess affection and devotion waiting in a shoebox on the shelf to be given away someday, like my children waiting to be conceived, like drought-lands begging for sky-water, like barrenness becoming painstakingly fertile, like arthritis in the soul of me, like all the muteness I’ve yet to break, like contractions for all the love stuck sideways in my birth canal, like all the words still lost to my knowing, like all the tragedy I’ve witnessed with these two small eyes and this crippled heart, like all the people I want to heal but can’t, like anger/rage/justice stuck/wedged/trapped, like a hamster on a wheel, like all the relationships I want to darn like socks but refuse to be mended and we drop the stitch to hold our blame, like all the misunderstanding and on rare occasion slander I have tried to bear with dignity, like all the fractures running through my heart, like a jar of broken promises and the can full of lies tucked in the back of the pantry where I stuffed them as soon as they were delivered to me—there is no throwing these out so I just don’t open them ‘cause they taste bad—

This is what it feels like in the gut of me. Sliver by sliver by sliver, the light shoots through and spiders in dark corners scurry off, carrying away ounces of pain on their backs. I watch them scatter. I inhale a larger breath. I place my hand on my belly where all the world’s (or at least my world’s) unresolved tension lies. I feel the rumbling of dark things being shifted, sifted, made ready to one day ride the spiders on out of here, and I ask for more light.

Sharing Someone Else’s Poetry

Prayer for Revolutionary Love
by Denise Levertov

That a woman not ask a man to leave meaningful work to
follow her.
That a man not ask a woman to leave meaningful work to
follow him.

That no one try to put Eros in bondage.
But that no one put a cudgel in the hands of Eros.

That our loyalty to one another and our loyalty to our work
not be set in false conflict.

That our love for each other give us love for each other’s work.
That our love for each other’s work give us love for one another.

That our love for each other’s work give us love for one another.
That our love for each other give us love for each other’s work.

That our love for each other, if need be,
give way to absence. And the unknown.

That we endure absence, if need be,
without losing our love for each other.
Without closing our doors to the unknown.


So intensely do I wish to escape this season of sorrow, be finished with grief, close it up in a box and take it to the attic, then climb down the rickety steps to a happy home and forget all about it.

There are lessons right here in the thick of the muck that I am meant to pluck, then plant with finality in my being, but the wading through, plucking, planting, wading, plucking, planting is slow-going and tiresome and I want to run away. But somehow I know in my depths that the world needs me to move at this pace and that the heavens won’t allow much else anyhow. To befriend the waiting–I cannot fathom a me capable of such patience. I am groping ahead to be known, to be heard, to be loved . . . but aren’t we all?

I think in the end, the inevitable isolation and unbearable loneliness of grief teaches us how alike we all are, how much love is there already, but you cannot, will not learn this fast or painlessly, which sucks, and that is why I rage against this slowness even as I suspect it is the one thing most needed.

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a heated broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters
and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Frisbee Prayers

I stare at this frisbee
receptacle, rusted,
out of use (I think)
and I am grateful
for this sport
I’ve never played
because it is why
there are walking trails
among the small woods
in the park down the street–
the trees preserved
rather than plowed
because of this odd little pole
with a wire basket and chains.
I think too of the solitary
one we have at the church–
someone donated it
who knows when–and
it just sits there
to no good purpose
except that it speaks
to me on rare occasion
of the beautiful quirkiness
of this particular sacred space
where I spend my days–
this holy ground,
this carved-out-to-be
contemplative community
for Baptists who do not
know the strange word:
they stutter awkwardly
and do not know what to do
with this wide open
spaciousness and thus
they bring frisbee golf
as their offering
and offer stilted silences
as prayers. They confess
doubt as their show of faith
and exhibit willingness to
collide with what they
do not understand
It does not matter a bit
if any of it is
out of place, because all
is welcome
in God’s presence,
even rusted metal.

What might it feel like
to toss our cautious,
careful, self-conscious
praying into the wind
like the plastic disc
that it is, watch
with dread as it leaves
the controlling grasp
of our clenched fingertips,
begins to soar, unbounded,
let the breeze carry it
where it will?
For quite some time now
I’ve thought of Holy Spirit
and wind as one-in-the-same,
Breath of God, gust of air,
entwined, carrying our meager
words straight to the heavens,
then whispering back loud
like an ocean breeze,
“You are loved. You are free.”

Now and Then I Feel This Way

Remarkably, most notably,
I feel calm for now.
I love calm-for-now moments,
as long as they last,
like a soothing fleeting whisper
that tells me vaguely
I am in the right place
moving at the right pace
and all manner of thing
shall be well.

This is how I want to feel
about my many uncertainties
and all my yet-to-be’s
and maybe it will become
possible to experience
calm-for-now for longer

This ferocious impatience
both ravages and propels—
I am worn down
yet grateful for the push
to move ahead
I have wanted to feel
the stars of my sky
aligning, the puzzle
pieces of my life
moving into place,
and new things being born.

The NOW has been so dreary
I’ve been itching for happiness,
so hurtful I’ve been scratching
for healing, clawing at my own skin
at times, it seems, just to feel
something akin to relief
Oh to relax into time rather than
rushing it, begrudging it, or abusing it,
how calm that might make me
for now, oh how I want to allow
incubation for whatever
needs more time

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creating me [using words]


creating me [using words]