the world has taken you into its mouth

the world has taken you into its mouth
and I can see the marks of its teeth on you
so far it has only been playing
letting the sugar that coats you melt
enjoying the candy that is your youth
but soon, very soon
it will want to suck your marrow
and it will break your bones to get it
it will break all of them

you see I’ve been further down the throat than you
where the hooks are in so deep and hold so tight
and I can barely stand to see what’s coming
it would be wrong,
no, it has been wrong for me not to speak to you.

so even though I know you’ve heard this all before,
this is me, telling you to run to Christ,
begging you to put away your foolishness,
telling you i love you the kindest way I know.

my father is a spreading tree

my father is a spreading tree
and I and many others
live in his shade and branches





Note: I have had this line in my head for well over a year and have been able to do nothing with it. When it first came to me, I thought perhaps it would be the basis for some grand statement on the “thinginess” of fathers, on the reality of them, on the way a father or a mother both take up and make space in the world around them, the way they give shape and meaning to the very worlds we live in. I still want to write that statement, but I also want to put these words on a page somewhere. Maybe they will germinate and something better will grow up from them.

A Poem for Sunday: A fragment of Easter

I wrote this about fifteen years ago, shortly after reading that Edgar Allen Poe occasionally wrote the middle of his poems first and then worked backwards and forwards from that central thought. Sadly, his technique did not work for me. Meant to be the centerpiece of an Easter epic, these two stanzas are instead, the complete unfinished work.

“Speak Eminence, your power is diminished,
Your time has come and Creation seals your fate,
You’ll take a place in a Hell of your devising,
And I will sow, this world with my hate.”
Christ breathed once more, his bloodied body rising,
And spoke the words of beginning, It is finished.

Satan roared and laughter rang loud from his throat:
“No, not yet finished, until I hold the throne,
They’ll come the third day to the grave with spices,
And when they do, they must not find him gone.
The die is cast, there can be no more devices.”
His laughter ceased, he would wait till then to gloat.

As always, comments are appreciated.

mourning

I have never been anything other than a man
and so I cannot know how women mourn
and whether it is the same, or different

I have seen the mother, the wife, the girl,
sitting at her bedside, her dead child in her hands
weeping on his upturned face.
There is nothing selfish there.
She is broken, and weary.
She is full of pain, and strangely, guilt.
It is something that I can barely know.

I am most familiar with the man in the room
the one who stands behind her,
who believes that because she is broken, he must be whole,
who cries, but silently
who looks down through tear filled eyes,
and loves them both.

promise

When you lay in bed
next to that other part of you
though there is no need for words or thoughts or actions
you are making a promise

Not the foolish kind you made as a child,
but a real promise,
the sort you have been practicing to make
your whole life long.

Sometimes my wife and I will lay like that,
our fingers barely touching,
or her knee against my thigh,
or the heel of her foot pressed against the sole of mine.

Any more would be too much,
any more would break the spell.
It is that tiny, tiny touch, the barest sensation of contact
that is the promise to each other

“Who else could I lie with in this way,”
is what you are saying.
“Who else’s hand or knee or heel could feel
like it belongs to someone else and yet be mine?”

A Poem Bridging March Madness and Easter

When The Citadel beat Notre Dame
there were accusations of bribery.
At half-time Mike Brey had asked a ref
why they had called no fouls.
He simply said, “Because there were none.”

“And how do you explain the scratch marks
on my players arms and faces
and that their hands are bleeding?”

“Stigmata?” said the referee
and quickly walked away.

This is a love story: a very short (and possibly unfinished) work of fiction

Author’s Note: This is not a new piece. I wrote it a few years ago, and while I’m still not totally happy with it, for some reason, I like it very much. So, occasionally, I get it out, reread it a few times, make a few edits, and stare at it, all the while wishing I had an idea for making it longer. This time, I thought I would share it with you. As always, comments are welcome

This is a love story. There is a girl. There is a boy. It is traditional.
I should warn you though, you have already been lied to.

Continue reading “This is a love story: a very short (and possibly unfinished) work of fiction”

The Best Story, the True Myth, a poem

Over at Bittersweet Life, Ariel has posted a poem about the choice we make each day in how we see the world. Here’s a snippet:

Every story that has inner beauty,
That strikes a note and holds it
In our hearts and minds,
Is an echo of the one Story—
Wild and frightening and wonderful.

As a writer there can be nothing more depressing than slaving over words and putting them out for the world to see and then hearing nothing in return. So do him this kindness: go there and read the poem and then leave him a comment. It doesn’t have to be long, in fact, it can even be disagreement. You should also bookmark his site while your there. It’s a great read.

Looking back on love

With apologies, these are poems that I wrote my wife while we were dating. There have been poems since then, but I stumbled across these recently and thought that with Valentine’s day coming up tomorrow, they seemed appropriate.

It’s midnight
and I’m lying in my bed,
trying not to think about you.
I close my eyes
and I see your face
your smile turned on me full force
and your dark eyes
staring into mine
as deep as the night sky
and full of their own constellations


I remember how we began…
with a quick and startling glimpse,
into each other’s lives.
Little pieces of conversations, emails,
and late night phone calls,
beginning the gentle process of my life slipping into yours,
and your life flowing into mine; of our hearts, teaching one another,
that love is not a dream.There is no end to love like this,
For I loved you before I knew your name
You are the love I thought I’d never find,
The part of me I thought, would never be complete,
You are my heart, my life, the better part of me.
There is no end to love like this…
How could there be?


Do I love you?
I have asked myself that question a million times
…afraid of speaking before hearing your reply,
…knowing yours and waiting still,
…knowing mine and holding back my voice,
…knowing the question like an old familiar friend,
and wondering at times,
if asking
isn’t just a part
of loving.


I love you, and I live in your eyes
I wear you, as the smile on my face
you are, so very much a part of me
not something added in haste
but something I have needed
from the day I first drew breath

The Quality and Expression of Love

Over at Bittersweet Life, my friend Ariel has pointed us all to an article (on the Touchstone magazine blog) that dares to compare modern American pop culture lyrics on love to stuff written by dead people (they probably couldn’t even speak English… Ewww!!). The nerve of some people!!

While there has been a clear decline in quality over the years, you could almost argue that the first poem and the last poem on the page are the same poem minus some measure of intelligence. Are we seeing a decay that should not be, or are we merely seeing the natural decay that occurs when God is “removed” from the mix, when love is made an end unto itself, and pleasure, not obedience, becomes the true measure of love?

Does anyone have thoughts on this? As always lively discussion is encouraged, nay, expected!! Let’s show those dead people a thing or two…