Since when does duct tape and bondage bring peace to anyone?

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I was thinking all day about writing a response to this photo, but then my amazing husband wrote this on Facebook:

When?

When did we decide it was ok to joke about our wives and daughters being gagged and bound?

When did we decide peace on Earth would come from silencing half of the world’s population?

When did we decide that Christmas (or for that matter anytime) was a good time to mock those we love?

When did we decide that “lighten up” or “it’s just a joke” were appropriate responses to those who were shocked by such a message of violence and forced submission?

When?

Is it possible that it was all decided long ago?

Is it possible that these types of acts are manifestations of what has been simmering just below the surface all along?

Is it possible that our world still believes that it is all Eve’s fault?

All of it?

All the pain?

All the sorrow?

All the fighting?

All the disention?

All the frustration?

Is it possible that the world has passed this on to us?

And we believe it?

Is it possible?

Do we all really believe that?

And if we don’t, why do we keep hearing and seeing – and tolerating – messages that bound and gag our wives and daughters?

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Ultrasound Refugee

I am not a refugee

But a child you see

Hoping

To touch the hem of the garment of your

Human decency

Just wanting a scrap from the table of your infant

See?

I am just a small part

Of the huddled mass at your teeming shore

The Jesus you say you love

Knocking on your door

 

I am no poison m&m

no wolf at the door

I would be happy with a spot on your floor

With no pillow to lay beneath my head

No feather comforter

Like you keep on your bed

 

I am the least of these

Perhaps you’ve heard of me?

Would you make me sign your registry?

Or wear an ID?

Maybe a  yellow star?

I know it sounds crazy

but I would do it

just at the chance to sit where you are

Without a bomb fragment

Or Gunfire

Or shrapnel

whizzing past my head

Not knowing how or if my child will be fed

Or if at night as we lay us down to sleep if in the morning we’d

all

be

dead.

 

I don’t have to live like a refugee

That’s what Tom Petty said

As if in the end, it was all in my head.

As if I had had a say in the matter

As if I could stop every bullet that would shatter

My life into so many pieces the Kings Men couldn’t put me back together

 

If I come on a boat or on a donkey still inside my mother

What does it matter?

Will I get turned away at the inn like your brother

 

If I lie on the side of the road will you walk by

Saying

well…

If you were a veteran I would help.

If you were an American I would help

If I

Could be sure….

You are a Christian I would help

Hashtag all lives matter.

Whatever!

 

You say you are just trying to protect your own

You can’t even lay down your stone

And notice that you are living in a glass home

Throwing stones at yourself.

Turning away the Jews again at your shore and sending them back to die

Turning your face from the wounded

Maybe give being the Samaritan a try

Who is your neighbor?

The one you crucify?

If there is no greater love than to lay your life down

Can you still testify?

That you love me like you love yourself

Nah, just bust out that movie, Elf

And start singing carols and trimming the tree

And telling your kids about the nativity

And

keep

throwing

the stones

At your own homes

 

You were once the huddled mass yearning to breathe free

Now it is me

If only I could show up on an ultrasound machine

so you could see

my

still

beating

heart.

Words in Red (that Jesus said) – a poem

red letterDid you really say what they say you said?
All those words I read in red?

How much of them are propaganda,
Meant to fit some neat agenda?
Should I believe everything I read?
Every jot and tittle–
Every deed?
How do I know what you said,
When though you’re alive–
It can feel like you’re dead?
There’s so much left out, so little left it seems,
To fill up my heart and inspire my dreams.
I want to know what you thought at night,
When the stars were out and the moon burned bright.
Were you afraid? Did you question your parents?
Did you think, “How the hell did I make the planets?
I’m just a boy, from a small dusty town.
How am I to be a king with a crown?”
Have you read what they wrote?
Their descriptions of you?
Please tell me Jesus
Do they ring true?
Did they say what you meant?
Did they bring their own slant?
Did they twist or omit or embellish away–
The true meaning of love or the way that you prayed?
When I read I often wonder what you were about–
Did you like to tell jokes? Where did you hang out?
I want to believe that your love is so true,
That you came to be with us–
That you make all things new.
But I have to be honest.
Sometimes I do doubt.
But I think you did too, so I can’t worry about
If they think that I’m crazy, they thought you were too.
I often sit and I puzzle until my puzzler is blue
And I wonder if you were too good to be true
Someday let’s hang out–
Just me
And
Just you.

A Christmas Love Story

love-winsThis year, Kent and I decided not to do Christmas gifts for each other since we had just spent a bunch of money doing several projects around the house. Instead, we each wrote something for the other. And now lovelies, I would like to share our words for each other with you.

From me to Kent – You make me want to:

You make me want to
Sit in the dark and stare at the stars
Go dancing late into the night
Or Drive up the coast in a rented convertible
See the scenes from far off lands
Eat fine dinners from trucks or linens
And feel the sand between my toes
One look at you and I’m off to Paris
Or stuck in a London fog
You are like the most arresting lyrics, the most beautiful picture,
the most thought provoking article.

Somehow I don’t know how to describe you but I must try

You are like a rainforest downpour
or the sprinkles in the desert on a sunny day…
You are rare and you make me want to dance
Or stop and lay in the grass and stare at the clouds

You are

That thing I can’t describe from that violinist whose music stole my breath.
The experience of a new kind of delicious taste or sound or feeling  that I have never experienced before.
You are exhilarating like a walk in San Francisco or New York City
You are calming like dinner on the beach at sunset

You are

Like a dream I wish I could fall back into even though I can’t remember exactly what happened
when I can still remember the feeling and I want that same lightning to flash again;
Like the first time you kissed me
Like the way that you need me
Like the sound of your voice when you say my name

I like

The way my food is better and my laugh is longer and my faith is stronger because you exist
The way Nate Ruess sings even better when you stand beside me.
Songs and singers ring truer because they sing about you and I even though they don’t know our names.
The way you are exactly the same yet nothing like the man I married.
You are somehow more, much more than the sum of your parts and your years and my memories and the present moment.
I like that together we are much more than all of me + all of you

You are

My happiest place on earth
My Disney World and my swim up in Puerto Vallarta.
My Vegas and my rural Ohio
My Newport Beach and my Washington DC
My trip to Europe and my Hawaiian vacation
My hometown and my favorite getaway
You are the part of me that is good at basketball and hates coconut
You are the part of me that does the things I never could
That part that makes me more than I knew I could be
I love that because of you I have become more me and because of me you have become more you.

I like

How when I look at you, I see it all
Everything we have ever done and all that makes us who we are, heartbreaking, ecstatic, melancholy, joyful, mundane, content,
boring and spectacular…
It is somehow all more real,
This life, my life because I found you.
I love how even at the end of all this I still struggle to find the right words that will say it all but I can’t find them.
You cannot be contained in mere words; you who are made of stardust.

You are simply too majestic for that.

From Kent to me –  How long have I known you?

How long have I known you?
How long have you stayed?
How long have I annoyed you?
How much have you paid?

For my heartache, my selfishness, my pain and my pride?

No matter the words, no matter the deeds
No matter the hurts, no matter the pleas
You stayed by my side

What makes you love so?
What makes you see?
What makes you so sure?
That there’s beauty beneath?

All of the layers
All of this junk
All of this pain
Everything, so .. fucked .. up

About me
About my mind
About my words
About my heart

This glimmer of beauty
That you see beneath
I hear it too
Screaming to be released

I am in here
I really am
Is there anyone who hears me?
Anyone to understand?

And then
In that moment when all seems lost
When no one answers
And no one is willing to pay the cost

When all any one sees
Is the ugliness and pride
You look down deep in my heart
I mean way, way down inside

And you see
You see
You see all the guts and intestines and muscles and blood

You see cancerous cells obstructing the path
But you see past it all
You see way down inside
And you pull out the best of me

As I writhe in pain
As I fight you because it hurts; it hurts; it hurts so deeply
You stand
You stay
You love

Sometimes it’s impossible to believe
That someone could love me so, deeply; so completely
As they see the infected flesh
As they smell the rancid guts
As they endure the waging war
And yet you do

You reach right in
You pull the goodness out into the light
You don’t ignore my pain; you feel it with me
You endure the sting of my decaying flesh, with me
You don’t ignore the putridness, you smell it, too
But you persist

You pull
You never shrink back
You never give up
You stand, and love
You wage a war
And then, my beauty arises
Even love unfolds

And there I stand

Here, I stand
Who am I?
How did I get here?
I am now a man
Perfect? Oh no.
Better? Oh yes.

Only you know the real me
Only you have endured
Only you have really believed
Only you are a part of me
Only you have truly loved me

Just as I am
I am yours
All of me
Just as I am
You have loved me

You saved me
You made me believe
You are saving me
I will always be yours

And now my new year’s wish for all of you…

I hope your holidays were beautiful and that your new year brings you joy unspeakable.
I hope you find someone who learns the words to your sad and your happy songs and then sings with you.
I pray you will know the all surpassing love of Jesus.
I trust that you will learn new things, spread joy and practice deliberate acts of kindness.
And in the end I pray that 2014 leaves you a better version of yourself…
Happier, healthier, more generous, more satisfied, more humble, more thankful, more joyful than ever before.

Thank you for sticking with me through another year. I am honored.

A Prayer of Pulling

O great puller of the thread of time
That connects us all
Pull us
Coax us
Call us
Into your future
Inspire us to grab on and join in your stretching
Of our human fabric
Help us to help our kindred 
As we find our collective way home
Guide us
Instruct us
Love us
Into your perfect peace
Into your love of loves
Into communion with each other
We believe you are changing us
We can feel the stretching
in our very souls
Beckoning
Like the echo of every beautiful thing we have seen
Like every breath that has been slow to come
When we are trying to prolong a moment
Like the stillness we try to keep
When we breathe in the splendor of a sleeping baby
Or the overwhelming forgiveness in the eyes
Of someone we have inexplicably injured with a blow to their heart.
We taste you Jesus and we know with a knowing we can’t quite explain
That you are good
And all that is goodness in us
And outside us
And around us
Amen

Found Object Poetry

Credit to the brilliant found object artist Michelle Stitzlein

I collect pieces of thoughts
On cocktail napkins
Like old hubcaps
Snippets of words
clipped out in my virtual brain
Make note of the humanity of pain
Scraps of my heart
Found on the sidewalk
And dirty thoughts
Dropped by passers by
Tiny words
That come in the twilight
Between sleep and wake
Loud words that you can’t even say
Picked up along the way
Cobbled together
In dreams and poetry

 

Here and There

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When in the end we end up

Apart

There will never have been enough nights that I lied in your arms

When the moments of furious and sweet passion

With longing

I must wait to have with you again

Will I even be able to breathe?

No matter how many we share now they will never seem enough then

When in the end you are there and I am here

or

I am here

and

you are there

So in the while, whilst yet I breathe

Whilst your heart beats within your chest

I must savor the moments as they come and treat them with the

All consuming importance they deserve though I may be tempted to rest alone instead

Instead

I must treasure up every drop of passion our souls allow

And soar

On the wings of our quantum entanglement

So that when

Here

And

There

Have arrived

We will have enough of the brilliance of our love to survive the night

And touch the dawn

Of the other side