Tuesday, September 21, 2010

without spot or wrinkle or any such thing

I sat in the high-backed wooden chair, facing the vanity with its huge oval mirror. The pale pink walls behind the vanity complemented the pink orchids in every bridesmaid's hair. And the white paint of the frame of the mirror itself matched perfectly the miles of fabric that made my wedding dress. It was too beautiful to capture in a picture, though the photographer was trying. It was too beautiful to write down in words. It was too beautiful to be true.
"Now we will begin makeup," the maid of honor told me, opening up the case of eyeshadows, foundations, and endless shades of blush. She pulled a bright red lipstick out of her bag and opened it, carefully twisting the bottom until the color was visible. "Just... hold... still..." she said...
A smudge. A bright red smudge across the front of my wedding dress. The maid of honor gasped. "I am so sorry!" she exclaimed, searching for something to try to clean up the mess. We blotted the lipstick until it was almost invisible. "Oh, and we can pin one of these ruffles over half of it," she said. "Under the bright lights, it will be almost invisible."


Out came the champagne. "To the bride and groom, on this wonderful day. And to settle your nerves, on this hour of hours," one of the bridesmaids said, lifting her glass in a toast. "To the bride!" the other bridesmaids said, and they clinked their glasses together...
A stain. A crimson stain down the side of my wedding dress. The bridesmaid gasped. "I am so sorry!" she exclaimed, searching for something to try to clean up the mess. We could not blot the champagne as it spread out through the threads of the fabric. "Well, it's near the bottom," she said. "And you look so beautiful, no one will notice."


In the hallway outside the sanctuary, waiting anxiously for that well-known music. The bridal party began the procession, one by one, down the aisle as I stood a good 10 yards from the door, being sure not to be seen until the critical moment.
"Excuse me, coming through!" a voice said close behind me - too close. I whirled around to see who it was but it was too late - a small, dark-haired man, vision blocked by the stack of bowls heaping with soup for the reception, was pushing his cart too fast to stop...
Ruined. Absolutely ruined. The once white dress was covered with orangey broth, mushy carrots and a few whole-grain noodles. "Oh, I am so sorry!" the caterer exclaimed, but there was nothing he could do. Everyone would notice.
The music was beginning to play, but I could not face it. I wanted to sink to the floor, bury my head in my hands, and cry. My beautiful dress, once spotless and white, was damaged beyond repair, was stained, was ugly. And I could not fix it.
And then, just as I was about to burst into tears, I heard my father's voice from the door. "Honey?" he whispered. "Come on. He's waiting for you."
I looked up. "I can't, Dad," I sniffed. "Don't you see this? Can't you see what's happened? I can't go out there like this. I can't." But my father insisted that I get up from the floor. He slipped his arm through mine and led me to the door.
I will never forget what I saw when we entered the sanctuary.
It was the face of my beloved, lit up with love and pride. His eyes didn't glance once over the soaking, stained dress, or my limp, sopping curls. They seemed to see through all that. They were focused only on me - me! - a treasure and a prize, and the joy that came over his face was indescribable. It was too beautiful to capture in a picture, though the photographer was trying. It was too beautiful to write down in words.

It was too beautiful to be true.

Ephesians 5:25-27

Monday, September 20, 2010

not to write

just because you choose to ignore me
doesn't mean
i'm not here

but just because i think about you
doesn't mean
you will care

so i've decided not to write
about you

Friday, September 17, 2010

over you

John Mayer started singing through my radio
it caught me a little off guard, you know
he was singing that song that i used to sing about you

the one where i'd sit there and listen and cry
my heart beating so fast that i thought i might die
he was singing that song that i used to sing about you

but today that dear tune held no hurt and no tears
no pit in my stomach, no sadness or fear
i could hear without pain or a sense of regret
thinking, "hey, that's the song that i wished i'd forget"
i haven't forgotten but things sure have changed
i don't care where you are or if i'm on your brain...

i am over that song that i used to sing about you

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

like silk, like a glass of milk

inspiration is slick and slippery, like a bar of soap. you hold it in your hands and squish it around, enthralled by the very fact that with one false move, it could slide right out of your grasp.

inspiration is like a bar of soap. sometimes, you lose it, and you can't do anything but watch it as it squeezes down the drain.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Words are cheap. The biggest thing you can say is 'elephant'." ~Charlie Chapin

Sunday, September 12, 2010

what mercy

the waves are crashing
with a clocklike rhythm
ocean's fury breaking and bashing
against the thick rock wall
strike and smash and drive and thrash
wearing down the rocks and stones
relentless... relentless...
surely this wall can't last?


the young woman is sitting
with a trowel in her hand
laying bricks in the sand
behind the thick rock wall
brick, mortar, brick, mortar
the water is trickling in
(drip, drip, drip)
but she keeps building
brick, mortar, brick, mortar
even as her handiwork sinks into the sand
and the waves come crashing in

Saturday, September 11, 2010

federal highway

sometimes a poem
has no

(don't analyze me.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

faith without works, babe

singing in church with your hands stretched toward heaven
won't get you more love than he's already given

saying your prayers with tears streaming your face
won't help you see truth in his mercy and grace

using big words when your friends ask you questions
won't help you destroy all your blinding transgression

please be yourself - just a sinner in trial
'cause God knows your heart -
- he sees through your denial.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

that ran its course quick

the mountain is towering one thousand feet high
its snow-covered peak seems to pierce the blue sky
but i've sat at the edge of the trail a long time
with a thought i picked up near the base of this climb.

whe i first picked it up it was shiny and small
and it fit in my pocket like nothing at all,
but now i am here and i'm just halfway through
and this thought weighs me down - don't you see? my thought grew.

as i've carried this thought wrapped with gold, shiny string
i've become quite attached to this small, pretty thing
see, each day i love it, it grows twice its size
and my weak arms can't handle this mid-trail surprise.

my logic says "drop it," my brain says, "don't try,"
but the thought of its going brings tears to my eyes
if i let this thought go it will leave a huge hole
but unless i move on i cannot reach my goal.

so i sit here and look at this massive idea
though it hurts, i know i must abandon it here.
if i don't put it down - get it out of my way -
i might not make it up to the summit someday.

and so thought my heart trembles i make my lips say:
"dear God, i don't want this."

i don't. not today.

never a happy medium

my muse has gone bonkers - she's crazy, i think
she put bowls on her head and my hat in the sink
she left her stilettos outside on the lawn
and ran through the sprinkler with sunglasses on
it's really annoying - i can't seem to hear
my own thoughts with my muse yelling poems in my ear
please, muse, come inside, here, sit down, have some tea
just calm down till your brilliance can catch up with me

why does love always feel like a battlefield?

if something threatens to strangle you, smother you, drown you
you can't just sit there and let it do its thing
if something is tugging you down towards the darkness
you can't just watch and wait as if nothing is happening

there are chains on my ankles and chains on my wrists
i can't just stay quiet and watch them get heavier
there's a rope 'round my heart that is straining with tension
i can't just give in and start walking its way

i say God is my love and now it's my decision
what will i live for? my Jesus or you?
if i'm careful and trusting and holy and wise
maybe someday i can have both

come down off your soapbox

You were in a good mood when I saw you that day
You took your guitar and you started to play
And some love I'd been hiding inside for so long
Woke up as you played and you sang me that song


the pain came back today.
the love, the rush, the heartbeat, that night...
the memories i thought had died -
your hands, your laugh, your eyes, your smile...
the pain came back today.

stop - shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
can you feel it?

the way the tears well up and your heart speeds up and you close your eyes and the hurt inside seeps over and under and into and through and the sobs start to surface from deep within you and the world gets all dark since you've closed your wet eyes and your breath's coming fast as you try not to cry and you become sadness and hurtness and pain and the "how did i get here?" takes over your brain...

stop - shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
can you hear it?

"the Lord, your God, can heal what's broken"
"the Lord, your God, can carry you"
"the Lord, your God, fulfills his purpose"
"the Lord, your God, makes all things new"

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

and so it grew

the thought popped into my mind today, like a little plant that's been working and working beneath the surface and finally peeps its bright breen head out of the soil. it was a nice kind of thought, a smiley thought, a rosy thought, a bright and sunny thought.
and so it grew.
i thought that thought and thought and thought and soon that thought had roots and limbs. i didn't try to think the thought, it just sort of... thought itself. and as i kept on thinking thoughts the trunk got thick and the leaves got green and soon i had a tree of thought that branched out into everything.
and still it grows.
i can feel the roots of that once-little plant reaching, reaching, streeeeetching down my spinal cord from my brain to my heart. the roots coil and twist and then thicken and lodge in the capillary valves and the blood-red walls and the love-locked chambers. and soon i am the thought and the thought is me and and the thought is my actions and my words and my love and the thought is myself and i just can't stop thinking that one little thought which seemed harmless to me...
it never stops.

i need to be careful when planting a thought.
because once it is grown, it is hard to uproot.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

constructive criticism

it rips and bleeds and scars and scabs like a battle wound you made yourself.
it tightens and hardens and aches and throbs like a muscle that's soon to be sculpted and toned.
it roars and it rushes and it seeps and it rolls like a raging monsoon river that leaves spring silt behind.

it's pain. but it's healing. it hurts. but it's good. it tears down and it cripples. but there's life in its wake.

it's a gentle reminder - a tender reminder - a worthy reminder - a poignant reminder -
it makes me remember what i've always known - i always get hurt when i'm off on my own.