Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wedding Dress

If you could love me as a wife
and for my wedding gift, your life
Should that be all I'd ever need
or is there more I'm looking for

and should I read between the lines
and look for blessings in disguise
To make me handsome, rich, and wise
Is that really what you want

I am a whore I do confess
But I put you on just like a wedding dress
and I run down the aisle
and I run down the aisle
I?m a prodigal with no way home
but I put you on just like a ring of gold
and I run down the aisle to you

So could you love this bastard child
Though I don't trust you to provide
With one hand in a pot of gold
and with the other in your side

I am so easily satisfied
by the call of lovers so less wild
That I would take a little cash
Over your very flesh and blood

Because money cannot buy
a husband's jealous eye
When you have knowingly deceived his wife

- Derek Webb

This song was one of the first that gave Christian music the chance to be the true artistic expression of a Christian. It still hits me.


Cocaine flame in my bloodstream
Sold my coat when I hit Spokane
Bought myself a hard pack
of cigarettes in the early
morning rain
Lately my hands they
don't feel like mine
My eyes been stung with dust, I'm blind
Held you in my arms one time
Lost you just the same
I ain't about to go straight
It's too late
I found myself face down in the ditch
Booze on my hair
Blood on my lips
A picture of you,
holding a picture of me
in the pocket of my blue jeans
Still don't know what love means
Still don't know what love means

Been so long since I seen your face
or felt a part of this human race
I've been living out of
this here suitcase for way
too long
A man needs something he can hold onto
A nine pound hammer or a woman like you
Either one of them things will do
I ain't about to go straight
It's too late
I found myself face down in the ditch
Booze in my hair
Blood on my lips
A picture of you,
holding a picture of me
In the pocket of my blue jeans
Still don't know what love means
Still don't know what love means

- Ray Lamontagne

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

american young.

to swallow a sword takes practice
boiled slowly,
every stage
of youth, crowded
and underpaid wisdom
quilting with fabric gathered
from fields where mistaken seeds
were sown before books were kept,
but oh, they were written,
rearers desparately rearing

learn either
charging, dislocating for reach, or

hunkered in the
savoring or starving for a crib
and comfort in a feeble latch

I've forgotten,
the shouts of living novelty
to calloused whispers.

even still they do not cease,
"it s a ie.. t is a li.. is a lie."

Jan. 31, '05

That's a gnarly one I wrote when I was having my life rocked by a pastor in Gardena. He turned my world upside down, and made me see all sin as rooted in Man's desire to rule his own life. That foundational truth seemed to spider vein out to every aspect of society.

Stolen Car

I met a little girl and I settled down
In a little house on out on the edge of town
We got married, swore we'd never part
Then little by little we drifted from eachother's hearts
At first I thought it was just restlessness
That it'd fade as time went by, and our love would heal
In the end it was something more, I guess
Tore us apart and made us real

I'm driving a stolen car
Down on Eldridge Avenue
Each night I wait to get caught
But I never do

She asked if I remembered the letters I wrote
When our love was young and bold
She said last night she read those letters
And they made her feel one hundred years old

I'm driving a stolen car
On a pitch black night
And I'm telling myself
It's gonna be all right
I drive by night
And I travel in fear
That in this darkness
I will disappear

- Patty Griffin (covering Bruce Springsteen)

The way she sings this song, it is my official saddest song I've ever heard. It makes me want to fade to black.

January 31, everyday

I set myself up
on beams eaten with rot.
and tilt my head
in young dog eyes
listen to
the snapping What

can I become?

My comfort my home
my future accrued
sprawls on every
empty hillside.

Listen, as
I toss my dreams
to the Kingdom,
tied with fishing line,
invisible from a distance. 

Jan. 31 '05

My aim is thin.

My aim is thin for focused person, glory
I march possessed towards myself,
Mirrors portraits and every angle, one nail and string,
hang of me along the hall.
At each door, I hear a pounding.
The carpet catches and greet my gate
and palms burn from the sudden ground;
The ready Hand to lift my Fall
Is not for me, I surely use my own,
and sing praise in thanks for the offer.
I trust my five and most my eyes
and trust that twenty one is enough
to know what should and could to turn
my life and bend as I find worth
My mirrors, persons, lists, and me along the hall,
yet at each door, a Figure stoops to wait.  
Nov. '04

Getting into Paradise.

I had no schooling whatever while I was a slave, though I remember on several occasions I went as far as the schoolhouse door with one of my young mistresses to carry her books.  The picture of several dozen boys and girls in a schoolroom, engaged in study made a deep impression on me, and I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study in this way would be about the same as getting into paradise. 
 - B. T. Washington.


I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents…. They are accidents and no one’s fault, as used to be thought. Once they were considered the visible punishments for concealed sins. And just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or a malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed egg? a monster, the norm must seem monstrous since everyone is normal to himself…. To a man born without conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. 

- Steinbeck, EoE (71)   

Monday, July 7, 2008

Chapter 8

"You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of
His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He
chooses and at any moment. But now you see that the Irresistible and
the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His
scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to override a human will (as His
felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would
certainly do) would be for Him useless.  He cannot ravish.  He can
only woo.  For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it too;
the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to
cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve.  He is perpared to
override at the beginning.  He will set them off with communications
of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with
emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation.  But He never
allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He
withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience,
all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up
on its own legs--to carry out from the will alone duties which have
lost all relish.
   It is during such trough periods, much more than during the
peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it
to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those
which please Him best. He wants them to learn to walk and must
therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really
there He is pleased with even their stumbles. Do not be deceived,
Wormwood.  Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no
longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks
round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have
vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."

- Lewis, Screwtape Letters, Chapter 8


Somebody who should have been born
is gone.

Just as the earth puckered its mouth,
each bud puffing out from its knot,
I changed my shoes, and then drove south.

Up past the Blue Mountains, where
Pennsylvania humps on endlessly,
wearing, like a crayoned cat, its green hair,

its roads sunken in like a gray washboard;
where, in truth, the ground cracks evilly,
a dark socket from which the coal has poured,

Somebody who should have been born
is gone.

the grass as bristly and stout as chives,
and me wondering when the ground would break,
and me wondering how anything fragile survives;

up in Pennsylvania, I met a little man,
not Rumpelstiltskin, at all, at all...
he took the fullness that love began.

Returning north, even the sky grew thin
like a high window looking nowhere.
The road was as flat as a sheet of tin.

Somebody who should have been born
is gone.

Yes, woman, such logic will lead
to loss without death. Or say what you meant,
you coward... this baby that I bleed.

- Anne Sexton

A Hymn to Christ, at the Author's Last Going to Germany

IN what torn ship so ever I embark,

That ship shall be my emblem of Thy ark ;

What sea soever swallow me, that flood

Shall be to me an emblem of Thy blood ;

Though Thou with clouds of anger do disguise

Thy face, yet through that mask I know those eyes,

    Which, though they turn away sometimes,

        They never will despise.


I sacrifice this island unto Thee,

And all whom I love there, and who loved me ;

When I have put our seas 'twixt them and me,

Put thou Thy seas betwixt my sins and Thee.

As the tree's sap doth seek the root below

In winter, in my winter now I go,

    Where none but Thee, the eternal root

        Of true love, I may know.


Nor Thou nor Thy religion dost control

The amorousness of an harmonious soul ;

But Thou wouldst have that love Thyself ; as Thou

Art jealous, Lord, so I am jealous now ;

Thou lovest not, till from loving more Thou free

My soul ; Who ever gives, takes liberty ;

    Oh, if Thou carest not whom I love,

        Alas ! Thou lovest not me.


Seal then this bill of my divorce to all,

On whom those fainter beams of love did fall ;

Marry those loves, which in youth scatter'd be

On fame, wit, hopes—false mistresses—to Thee.

Churches are best for prayer, that have least light ;

To see God only, I go out of sight ;

    And to escape stormy days, I choose

        An everlasting night.

- John Donne

Sunday, July 6, 2008


have I fallen asleep at the gate?
in he came, crashing pillars and
pouring pots of soil, seed, and flower.

for the first time in
my life his whispers heeded,
and scripture turned to poison
and the promise of new life
a frightful thing behind
a heavy curtain.

who have I been named today?
I have not met him,
and pray His promise to the
one sheep run up the mountain.

Oct. '07

Little Gidding

(No. 4 of 'Four Quartets')

T.S. Eliot



 Midwinter spring is its own season

Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,

Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.

When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,

The brief sun flames the ice, on pond and ditches,

In windless cold that is the heart's heat,

Reflecting in a watery mirror

A glare that is blindness in the early afternoon.

And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier,

Stirs the dumb spirit: no wind, but pentecostal fire

In the dark time of the year. Between melting and freezing

The soul's sap quivers. There is no earth smell

Or smell of living thing. This is the spring time

But not in time's covenant. Now the hedgerow

Is blanched for an hour with transitory blossom

Of snow, a bloom more sudden

Than that of summer, neither budding nor fading,

Not in the scheme of generation.

Where is the summer, the unimaginable

Zero summer?


              If you came this way,

Taking the route you would be likely to take

From the place you would be likely to come from,

If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges

White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.

It would be the same at the end of the journey,

If you came at night like a broken king,

If you came by day not knowing what you came for,

It would be the same, when you leave the rough road

And turn behind the pig-sty to the dull facade

And the tombstone. And what you thought you came for

Is only a shell, a husk of meaning

From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled

If at all. Either you had no purpose

Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured

And is altered in fulfilment. There are other places

Which also are the world's end, some at the sea jaws,

Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city—

But this is the nearest, in place and time,

Now and in England.


              If you came this way,

Taking any route, starting from anywhere,

At any time or at any season,

It would always be the same: you would have to put off

Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,

Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity

Or carry report. You are here to kneel

Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more

Than an order of words, the conscious occupation

Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.

And what the dead had no speech for, when living,

They can tell you, being dead: the communication

Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.

Here, the intersection of the timeless moment

Is England and nowhere. Never and always.



Ash on and old man's sleeve

Is all the ash the burnt roses leave.

Dust in the air suspended

Marks the place where a story ended.

Dust inbreathed was a house—

The walls, the wainscot and the mouse,

The death of hope and despair,

       This is the death of air.


There are flood and drouth

Over the eyes and in the mouth,

Dead water and dead sand

Contending for the upper hand.

The parched eviscerate soil

Gapes at the vanity of toil,

Laughs without mirth.

       This is the death of earth.


Water and fire succeed

The town, the pasture and the weed.

Water and fire deride

The sacrifice that we denied.

Water and fire shall rot

The marred foundations we forgot,

Of sanctuary and choir.

       This is the death of water and fire.


In the uncertain hour before the morning

     Near the ending of interminable night

     At the recurrent end of the unending

After the dark dove with the flickering tongue

     Had passed below the horizon of his homing

     While the dead leaves still rattled on like tin

Over the asphalt where no other sound was

     Between three districts whence the smoke arose

     I met one walking, loitering and hurried

As if blown towards me like the metal leaves

     Before the urban dawn wind unresisting.

     And as I fixed upon the down-turned face

That pointed scrutiny with which we challenge

     The first-met stranger in the waning dusk

     I caught the sudden look of some dead master

Whom I had known, forgotten, half recalled

     Both one and many; in the brown baked features

     The eyes of a familiar compound ghost

Both intimate and unidentifiable.

     So I assumed a double part, and cried

     And heard another's voice cry: 'What! are you here?'

Although we were not. I was still the same,

     Knowing myself yet being someone other—

     And he a face still forming; yet the words sufficed

To compel the recognition they preceded.

     And so, compliant to the common wind,

     Too strange to each other for misunderstanding,

In concord at this intersection time

     Of meeting nowhere, no before and after,

     We trod the pavement in a dead patrol.

I said: 'The wonder that I feel is easy,

     Yet ease is cause of wonder. Therefore speak:

     I may not comprehend, may not remember.'

And he: 'I am not eager to rehearse

     My thoughts and theory which you have forgotten.

     These things have served their purpose: let them be.

So with your own, and pray they be forgiven

     By others, as I pray you to forgive

     Both bad and good. Last season's fruit is eaten

And the fullfed beast shall kick the empty pail.

     For last year's words belong to last year's language

     And next year's words await another voice.

But, as the passage now presents no hindrance

     To the spirit unappeased and peregrine

     Between two worlds become much like each other,

So I find words I never thought to speak

     In streets I never thought I should revisit

     When I left my body on a distant shore.

Since our concern was speech, and speech impelled us

     To purify the dialect of the tribe

     And urge the mind to aftersight and foresight,

Let me disclose the gifts reserved for age

     To set a crown upon your lifetime's effort.

     First, the cold friction of expiring sense

Without enchantment, offering no promise

     But bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit

     As body and soul begin to fall asunder.

Second, the conscious impotence of rage

     At human folly, and the laceration

     Of laughter at what ceases to amuse.

And last, the rending pain of re-enactment

     Of all that you have done, and been; the shame

     Of motives late revealed, and the awareness

Of things ill done and done to others' harm

     Which once you took for exercise of virtue.

     Then fools' approval stings, and honour stains.

From wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit

     Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire

     Where you must move in measure, like a dancer.'

The day was breaking. In the disfigured street

     He left me, with a kind of valediction,

     And faded on the blowing of the horn. 




There are three conditions which often look alike

Yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow:

Attachment to self and to things and to persons, detachment

From self and from things and from persons; and, growing between them, indifference

Which resembles the others as death resembles life,

Being between two lives—unflowering, between

The live and the dead nettle. This is the use of memory:

For liberation—not less of love but expanding

Of love beyond desire, and so liberation

From the future as well as the past. Thus, love of a country

Begins as attachment to our own field of action

And comes to find that action of little importance

Though never indifferent. History may be servitude,

History may be freedom. See, now they vanish,

The faces and places, with the self which, as it could, loved them,

To become renewed, transfigured, in another pattern.


Sin is Behovely, but

All shall be well, and

All manner of thing shall be well.

If I think, again, of this place,

And of people, not wholly commendable,

Of no immediate kin or kindness,

But of some peculiar genius,

All touched by a common genius,

United in the strife which divided them;

If I think of a king at nightfall,

Of three men, and more, on the scaffold

And a few who died forgotten

In other places, here and abroad,

And of one who died blind and quiet

Why should we celebrate

These dead men more than the dying?

It is not to ring the bell backward

Nor is it an incantation

To summon the spectre of a Rose.

We cannot revive old factions

We cannot restore old policies

Or follow an antique drum.

These men, and those who opposed them

And those whom they opposed

Accept the constitution of silence

And are folded in a single party.

Whatever we inherit from the fortunate

We have taken from the defeated

What they had to leave us—a symbol:

A symbol perfected in death.

And all shall be well and

All manner of thing shall be well

By the purification of the motive

In the ground of our beseeching.




The dove descending breaks the air

With flame of incandescent terror

Of which the tongues declare

The one discharge from sin and error.

The only hope, or else despair

     Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre—

     To be redeemed from fire by fire.


Who then devised the torment? Love.

Love is the unfamiliar Name

Behind the hands that wove

The intolerable shirt of flame

Which human power cannot remove.

     We only live, only suspire

     Consumed by either fire or fire.




What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make and end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from. And every phrase

And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,

Taking its place to support the others,

The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,

An easy commerce of the old and the new,

The common word exact without vulgarity,

The formal word precise but not pedantic,

The complete consort dancing together)

Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,

Every poem an epitaph. And any action

Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat

Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.

We die with the dying:

See, they depart, and we go with them.

We are born with the dead:

See, they return, and bring us with them.

The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree

Are of equal duration. A people without history

Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern

Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails

On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel

History is now and England.


With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this



We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown, unremembered gate

When the last of earth left to discover

Is that which was the beginning;

At the source of the longest river

The voice of the hidden waterfall

And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for

But heard, half-heard, in the stillness

Between two waves of the sea.

Quick now, here, now, always—

A condition of complete simplicity

(Costing not less than everything)

And all shall be well and

All manner of thing shall be well

When the tongues of flame are in-folded

Into the crowned knot of fire

And the fire and the rose are one.