Pedal Still

We can only keep coasting downhill.

What about the other side?

What about the vistas,

ridges, mountains, big and small?

 

Where do the shadows yawn?

What becomes of perspective?

Why settle in the valley

no matter how it cradles us?

 

Back on our bikes,

those pedestals of freedom.

There are times to coast,

and times to climb.

 

For Jasper Hoogendam and Glynn Young

find Jasper at https://livingingodspocket.wordpress.com/

and Glynn at http://faithfictionfriends.blogspot.com/

Backspace

You can’t use the space bar when backspacing.

I’ve begun writing for an hour now.

Nothing to show but white space

after deleting thoughts.

Talk about white supremacy.

What if every thought

was sentenced to paper?

Every tree beaten to a pulp?

Fiction and non, single spaced,

no margins of error,

looking like an inkblot

for our subjective peruse?

Ah, words.

Libraries full of them,

bound like prisoners,

serving their sentences,

and hoping for parole.

May I have a word?

Backspace.

 

The Apostle John’s first sentence in his gospel…

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Dance Floored

I remember the back wall

at junior high dances.

The cafeteria cleared of tables

and a disco ball suspended,

catching and pitching light

like baseballs.

 

Velcro didn’t exist then,

yet something held the boys to

one side of the room,

while the girls talked to

each other across the way.

The floor waited, triple waxed.

 

We didn’t have enough puberty

to make a collective advance.

But a handful of boys,

some with shadows under

their noses, trickled over

one by one, laying down

 

rail for the rest of us

and our pseudo hormones

to cross the great divide.

Some of us took a chance,

while others stood staring

afraid the currents would

 

pull them under along

with their blushing,

freckled, pimpled faces,

accentuated by the

myriad of little spotlights

spinning around the room.

 

To even touch in public,

although in the somewhat

dark, was like the sun

coming out from under a rock.

And then there was light

shining on our pubescent selves.

Sea Psalm

Take me down to the river,

where eternity flows.

My prayers dangle

over the edge,

and are carried

to the sea.

 

Why is the ocean vast?

Why does it bend the horizon?

Oh, little metaphor

of the universe,

lay your tides

over and over

like a meditation.

 

Oh, currents within,

correct my course,

couch my requests

and praises into

your endless soundings.

Dear God, I bow at Your river

to swim in Your ocean.

Friday Psalm

Length of days.

Stretched desire

thin. A thin slice

of passion for the

lost connection

with You.

 

Hurried, distracted,

brink of brick on brick

and the mortar between.

Where are You?

Do You see us?

Do you see me

 

behind this wall

of mine?

This thick skinned

membrane, memory

brained elocution

where words fence

 

me in, and attempt

to keep distance

from Your editing.

Come, check my

cobbled diction.

Free this sentence,

 

this self-relying status

of trying to figure

things out.

Help me to humbly

figure You,

To read You word for word.

 

Living Within Tension vs. Living With Intention?

The English language is intriguing, unruly; often unpredictable. Sometimes when lost in thought, I find thoughts. Then I text those thoughts to myself. The above title is one, and instead of texting it to myself, I sent it to my wife.

My text: Ponder this: Living within tension. Living with intention.

Her response: Ponderation in action.

Me: Lol

Say the two phrases out loud. Tricky, eh?

Seriously though, without getting too intense about these two phrases, I’m still pondering. I want so much for those twin thoughts, though fraternal, to be identical. I desire for them to get along. Could they be a both/and instead of an either/or? I mean, it was a catchy catch, don’t you think?

On the other hand, what’s the big deal if they are stand-alone ideas? Each thought has possibilities for a commencement speech. A preacher could give a three point sermon on either of them. But throw these two together in a dark alley and who knows. Would they make nice? Would they rumble like Sharks and Jets?

I don’t know. It seems my mind is constantly on the lookout for resolution, for binary ideas to, in the end, cohere. The ole happily-ever-after backdrop slowly cranking by the chaos of life to keep hope on the up and up.

Now, before you write me off as a fuddy-duddy pessimist, consider the possibility that the tension within which I live is like a kindred soul. It’s like one who tells you you’re full of it, grabs you by the ankles, holds your feet to the fire, and then washes them as Jesus would.

If you have a friend like that, consider yourself fortunate.

Tension. Intention. Can they coexist? More to the point, can one exist without the other? There is a risk of living intentionally, no? I mean the best of intentions sometimes get caught in the gears of the tension. Does the tension drive the intention or is it the other way around? Wait. What?

Two philosophers walk into a bar… (That’s to ease the tension.)

Recently my wife mentioned I set my jaw often, almost like I’m biting the side of my lip. It’s as if my lips fix in tension, one on top of the other, almost touching, like Clint Eastwood.  Now I notice when her eyes say to my mouth, “Don’t think too hard.”

Thinking is overrated sometimes, but underrated most of the time. My thinkery often breaks down, but once in a while, by the grace of God, I’m able to lay rails down; parallel seemingly resistant thoughts into a semblance of coherence.

Here’s one for all the life coaches out there:

Live with intention within the tension.

Do it Gerald.

After You

I remember when poetry came so easy.

A shaft of light tapping my shoulder.

Creases laying lines on my face after a nap.

Another age spot showing up like a ring on a tree.

 

The Muse used to be after me.

 

Poetry would help me catch my breath.

Water pooled around my imagination,

Whetting appetites and desire.

Now I have to ask to be free.

 

The Muse used to be after me.

 

It’s easier now to write about poetry

Rather than unravel words to a poem.

You know, those wending subtle slants

Infusing linear thought like soil over seed.

 

The Muse used to be after me.

 

Well, I’m asking now for you to say

“Look at how the petals play.

They hold hands around the yellow pill.

A daisy is a daisy is a daisy still.”

 

Now I say to the Muse, “After you.”

 

Barn Swallows

They’ve been back a few weeks,

bringing joy to our open field.

Tap dancers on tufts of spring breezes,

short spurts of song attending.

 

Slipping in and out of our barn,

nests are sprigged, and detailed

for another generation of acrobats;

those aeronautical exemplars of sky.

 

Cats lean against the door.

I imagine cigarettes bobbing

out of their mouths, as they discuss

the exploits of the day.

 

Their disregard for field mice,

those punks, beads for eyes,

little pipsqueaks of manic form.

So cat cliché, so old school.

 

Then a Cheshire grin settles

under their whiskers as

they look up with angel eyes

of insidious intent.

 

Feline felons in wait.

Butts are tossed, while

crouching coils their springs.

Hopes of swallowing a swallow.

 

I’ve never seen cats jump so high.

Soundings

Caught in a crevasse,

In the lows between

Two rogues.

Who directs these,

And how am I here?

 

This ocean cannot be

Fathomed as the

Heavens cannot

Be crossed.

To whom do I belong?

 

The temptation is to jump.

Man overboard, Man

Over bored.

Whether Jesus lays asleep

In the hold,

 

Or walks on the water’s

Lips, arms out,

Out of the pseudo safety

Of a lifeboat.

Is there any question now?