Monday, December 19, 2016

Awake, Alive

Awake, alive
Lit up like the fourth of july
This holding cell
This prison camp
Weighs heavy on the undertones
Of mistakes I regret
And chances I didn’t take
She is a demon, haunting the hallways
Whispering my transgressions
Slinging hateful rhetoric
About building walls and fucking them all to death

It wanes, my once cerebral assurance
That all is well, that all will resolve
Now, the sins of my forefathers
The blood on my hands
Starts to spread, to take hold of the inches
The millimeters now, separating truth from a lie
Death from  life

And I sit, unable to rise
Flooded by waves of uncertain self-loathing
Mornings spent waiting for the afternoon
Nights spent waiting for the morning
In hopes that some resolution will come
Waiting, hopefully not in vain
But most likely in vain

So, what the hell
Come lord Jesus come
Come Advent, the fires of hell
Come the New World, Westward expansion,
Space travel
The next frontier
The next beyond
That hope in something new

Until it comes

And lets me down again.

I Miss the Certain Thing

I miss the certain thing
The unending to allegiance to a word
I miss waking in the morning, steps laid out
But temporary steps
And the sound, swelling
Of all the world before me
Rooms of houses, filled to the brim
With dying voices, tearing
Into one another with reckless uncertainty

I miss the yes being yes
The no being no
The maybe being no
The later being no
But the yes
Used to be yes

I miss the quiet morning
Swimming in oblivion
Feeling guilt of the last night’s transgressions
Knowing that redemption was out there
That someday I would find it
Before i realized the truth
That my hope is unwarranted
That I have myself condemned myself
To wanton uncertainty
Hopelessly faithful to my own demise

I miss the silence
To sit and see and sense
That broken I have come, and in darkness
To this place of noise and nonsense
Of death by distraction
And never ending screen time
My greatest aspiration
When the world was dragons and lightsabers
And I was a huddled mass of potential

I miss the infinite unknowing
A cloud that hovered overhead
When not knowing was sufficient
And hope was all I had
to hang my hat upon
Now, I am captive
To the world at my fingertips
To the whispers of deceit
That tell me I am all there is
This soiled world, small and shrinking
Is ever mine to appropriate

And I miss it, insignificance
Knowing beyond knowledge
Hoping beyond hope
That I am not the means nor ends
Nor medium nor method
Just a seed on a stone

Floating through the infinite cosmos

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas in a Minor Key

The minor key
the world came crashing down
we all believed
in the distractions that we found

the war we waged
from darkened shanty towns
it set the stage
for death and desolation

and in those streets
the darkness caustically
it rose to meet
our hollow pagentry

of Christmas Day
the carols from our mouths
they died away
as we saw the world for what it was

We sing
a minor key
That all is dead and dimming
I see
in effigy
This evil that’s within me

In Bethlehem
the world awaits is dawn
a diadem
to right what has gone wrong

So this is war
a new phenomenon
to right the score
Life itself has come

So stand we now, and sing a tune
come, all arise to meet it
As darkness terrible and true
is finally defeated

A turning of the tide
This baby we behold
His name is hope

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

From My Facebook Feed (or, "Why everything will be okay")

“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord.
“I will protect them from those who malign them.”

Psalm 12:5

Below are a few quotes that I've copied and pasted from my Facebook feed. Here's my hope; in the midst of a tragic election results (from a Human Rights perspective), caring, Kingdom-minded Christians can now stand up for the voiceless, and will do so by rejecting isolation and inserting themselves directly into God's redemptive story. My prayer is that the fear and uncertainty that a Trump presidency inspires will not incapacitate us, but will instead motivate God's people to go out and advance His kingdom through love, service, and sacrifice. This may be the start of a revival; one that could actually bring about real change in the lives of the marginalized, under-fed, and oppressed masses who are overwhelmed with desperation. God's people will answer with a resounding, unceasing "Yes" to His call to love the unloved, to stand up to injustice and oppression. Perhaps, now, we can be the Church and move forward in love and hope in the one who calls us His own.

- I will not let this be the end of it. I will dedicate my life to making this country a place worthy of my children; a place where everyone feels safe and welcome; a place where hate doesn't win in the end.

- No matter who you are and who you voted for: I love you. You matter. Let's find a way to do this together. Trump's ascension to power has been fueled by bigotry, racism, and misogyny. This is not who we are, not when we are our best selves.
We have a lot of work to do.

- Friends are speaking of banding together, rising above, speaking truth to their children and their neighbors. Basically, being the America they hoped to elect.

- God is sovereign....and he is the god of justice! So let's use all our resources, voices, and privileges for "the least of these"
Let's be the Kingdom of God in action.

- Above all, we show love to one another, giving our best and expecting that best from others. We are America, not the President.

- Possibly the best thing you can do at this point is to be to be present, and slow to speak.
Historians will look back on this moment and analyze how we, as a nation, reacted. The moment is ours.

- Isn't it best to teach our kids that no matter what, if we want to see change the worst way to do it is to run due to circumstances not being how we'd like them? If you want to see change then go start in your own community to affect change. Run to opportunities to learn and teach, not from them.

- I hope you take hold of your faith (I'm clinging to the return of Jesus) and think, desire, and act upon changing what we have today in America. While history would debate if America was ever really great, today we can strive and act upon wanting to make a difference to make it better.

- To the rest of my family I say let us grieve, let us take all the time we need. But once we have dried our tears for the day and washed our faces, let us move onward into light and hope. There has to be better in this world.

- I will not be silent. I will not stand by idly if things go to shit. I will protest. I will volunteer. I will love. I will yell. I will listen. I will learn. I’m still learning everyday. I will fuck up, I’m sure, but I will not give up on you, on me, on us, on this country.
We have our work cut out for us. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and do the hard thing. Let’s go high when they go low.

- You don't "tell the children" anything. You show the children what a leader looks like and how to change the world by YOUR charitable and humble acts. Going on a rant on Facebook does not change Donald Trump, but it has sure spread your hate to the people that read your message. If you want someone kind and compassionate, be that person. If you want a leader for the underdog, the minority, the women, be that person.

- Your actions as an individual to love and care for others are not defined by who stands in the Oval Office. If you truly want to make a difference, don't sit around and wait for an election to happen. Go do something

Friday, April 22, 2016

Adiago un Poco Mosso

it's slow and moving
this space within me
where mountains float in skies unchartered
and rebels lay down their weary heads to rest

take a step back,
weary traveler
oh recipient of love
and be awoken slowly
to the sound of singing
angels in the heavens holding hearts in hands
and blessing over blessing
the paths on which we walk

there is a step in front to take
merely one at a time
and all that is ever asked of us
is that step
do not be let down
great and weary traveler
the snow begins to fall
after years of children's prayers
and it falls lightly on cathedral towers
and further, beneath our feet
poured out like grace

and the wind is not an enemy
it is the passing of time
it is the christmas carol sung
it is the silent resolution
of a years worth of doubt
and here we are, its children
unencumbered by our failure

oh, grace, grace, grace
fall and make us worthy
fall and give us life
each tiny speck of silence
each wilted blade of grass

I shall slow dance in this snow
to the beat of a thousand hills
to the rhythm of the birds singing
to the melody of salvation
free and flowing
bright and blossoming
I shall rest in my transcendence
I shall run to my solution

there, in your never-ending sky.

Monday, February 29, 2016

On all of the things I'm supposed to be doing right now

It swings open
This systematic misdirection
Subtle frustration in the people around me
Who talk too loudly about insignificant nonsense
As I reminisce about the roads I’ve traveled
The mud caked on my shoes
The hands worn ragged, looking for a ride
I sit here, despondent
Aware of my responsibilities
But helpless to approach them
As they sit on the shelf and taunt me
As I find myself incapable of beginning
What am I, this bone and sinew
This blood and unkempt beard
Thirsty for my own second coming
Cynical after years of debuts, of coming out parties
Bitter at the failure of my will
Convinced that deliverance exists
Somewhere far from here
Where they look suspiciously at my passport
And missing visas
Where they hold me as a novelty, void of a past
Covered in prototype, in my stereotypical façade
Though I fear the world that gives me breath
I fear the uncontrollable wilderness
Of the hand holding mine
Of the eyes fixated
On distant memories and future conjectures
So here I slump in my office chair
Terrified of what I am
A drifter, afloat atop a never ending sea
Surrounded by a legion of the same
Middle class American youths, aimless and obsessed
With distracting themselves
With convincing the world that they’re worth something
So that they can stave off the truth that is whispered in their ear
That they are worth far less
They are the culmination of what their hands have bore
And that dossier is uniquely unimpressive
Now, there I float
Awash with all that’s chasing me
The days spent circling the wagons
Of watching time pass along
Diving into the death I hold in my hands
Headfirst, excited for the tastes
The smells the sights
Of a useless existence, spent hiding myself
From the world that I cannot control
Oh the skills that I could learn
The weight that I could lose
The disenfranchised I could set free
If I could only stand on these atrophied legs beneath me
If I could only walk towards something worthwhile
Tangible, embodied, physical
Flesh and bone
Blood and guts
Tits and ass
All miserable in my defeat
Aware that I am wasting into nothing
And those dreams of my youth
To stand and fight and bring honor home with me
Lies, everyone, turned sour by my unconvincing wandering
My armchair activism
My desperate need for facilitation
I hold no truth
I walk no line
I am a mass, floating in the ether
Buried in mercury
Simple, flat, uninspiring
And, oh, so very self-loathsome
Aware of my faults
Afraid to face them
Content to sit and waste away

With the rest of the world

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Celeste Never Does the Dishes

Celeste never does the dishes
as they pile up to the ceiling
conducting orchestras
of soot and grime
an obstacle neglected

Celeste never does the dishes
there on the coast of Lisbon
as the salt air swells
through the windows
and fills the sun-stained veranda
marking all it touches for death

Celeste never does the dishes
as the chemicals redistribute
and her hair, a tangled labyrinth
crowds the corners of her eyes
she brushes it away

Celeste never does the dishes
not since the leave changed colors
not since late september
when the results came in
when all the swimming universe
all infinite, invisible
awesome, swirling fantastic
banter-driven majesty
crashed into the median
of her wide-eyed, tangled head

Celeste never does the dishes
she sits in quiet reverence
assessing the entitlement
the construct of her body
the gut to never swell
the cry to never peal
the hands to never grip
no dawn to break
no smile to collapse

Celeste never does the dishes
she cries, for days and nights
without a clear understanding of why

Celeste never does the dishes
they sit, immovable, the rock
of gibraltar, kilimanjaro
shouting, spewing hatred
condemnation on the growing
inadequacy, stipulations
of a jilted reality
refusing transcendence
rejecting reinforcement
there, as real
as the hair on her hands
the heat of her breath
the residue of her makeup
manifest and manifold
cackle in the dark
whispers of how the world will end

Celeste never does the dishes.

Flake the Aging Correspondence

flakes the aging correspondence
rivers flow, made saintly
as music pulses through
the walls, once laughter
heartache, now melody

In this space where all awakens, 
in the distance, sunlight
on the window, curses
on my tongue, bitter tasting

for I, a jilted wanderer
am clean, for now, but
prone to relapse, into
filth and apocalypse, the
currency of night

when shifting eyers make 
nightmares of shapes once
so familiar, when steps
must be counted and trails
marked before the coming

yet hardline condensation
forthcoming with the dawn
settles into bone and sinew
and wipes me clean again

for now

The Most Famous Ship

I rise
from the ashes, a phoenix
of modernism and design
to take my place among the gods
the world bowing to me

tall, I stand
abundant and unyielding
with all the world to conquer
amidst revelry and praise

flow now before me
great ocean of expectation
profound as the sky above our heads
dark as the pupils
of the eyes that stare in wonder

there is a difference
I have come to find
between the praises they
sing to my face
and the maladies they
whisper in the comfort of home

but, there, breaking bottles across
the bow, all is joyful reverence
all is pomp and praise
though in the heart there is hope
that I sink, crashing and burning
when my usefulness runs out

still I rise, a trophyless champion
green as spring, shining
a prophesied salvation
they say I’ll save the world
they tell me it’s inside of me

and if I succeed,
they’ll tremble at my name
they’ll hold me in regard
high as the heavens
for months, at least

but if I fail
good lord, if I fail
they will know my name for centuries
and the fingers they will point
at the hands laid upon me
at the flaws in my design

and it will not be for me
but for the new-glaring inadequacy
of someone else
someone more responsible

I should crash and burn
and be buried in the deep
still heroic, still a hero

and live forever


I wake, undeterred
my destiny is tied to my film negative
the pigment, darker hue
body heavy, sleeping in the car
unsatisfied, limited mobility
signage, calling down calamity

let us see justice
we veterans of creative suffering
let us fight and bleed for self-evidence
for the content of character
let us dream in exaltation
of mountains of despair
turned into jangling chords
singing spiritual and sonnet

let it ring, this freedom
from  hamlet and village
ghetto and mountainside
and swell to heights
to the limits of my fingers

to the ends of this carpet-bagging head of mine

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Jonathan Schiffman

Stand and be counted
Begotten of nations
The heart still barely pumping
The life slow fading out
Tall and well-deserving
The sunlight through the trees
It waves and falters
at the mention of the thing

now, fade into oblivion
content with what comes next
for all that stands behinds you
fondly besets
with a wave and a smile,
yours to hold
and take with you in your breast pocket

stand tall
and be remembered
great patriarch
fighter of wars
lover of all

you are ours
we are yours
we, the living
stand and sing your dirge

do not fear
the great, calculating wilderness
before you
it will swim in translucent brilliance
as you rise to meet it
it will walk along riverbeds
and swim in still waters

it will shine, and light your face
all brilliant and bewildering
as you rest, content
knowing you have played your part

and we shall not forget you
oh beholder of foundations
of the earth that spins silent
you have seen the moonlight rising
you have felt the winter breeze
and have cradled life itself
in your bright, warm eyes

you are forgiven
you are justified
you have fulfilled what stood before you
and now, rest
rest well and forever
as you rise to meet the noontide

stand tall and be remembered
great lover, provider
we, the begotten
stand grateful
for the breath, now failing, in your lungs
for the beat, now slowing, of your heart
for the pleasant honor of knowing
of your presence
of your time

I will speak your name, as long as I have breath
I will tell my children the wonders you befell
I will see to your remembrance as a nursing fawn
I will watch it grow and gather,
into a constant, pulsing being
you will be remembered
full of life, full of kindness
and generations will know
the beauty of your name

so go now, in silence

knowing all is well