Gone

You hung up the phone
and I could tell you were angry.
You used words like “bullheaded”
to describe me.
Well, maybe I am,
but it’s because of you.
I could have called you back.
I stared at the phone, contemplating.
“Family’s got to stick together,”
and I used to be a lonely son.
Maybe I would have, had I known
you’d be gone forever.
Sorry I’m not so sorry.
Loved the good times and hated
the bad.
Guess this is how it goes for people
like us and I’ll keep pretending the last
time we spoke, we said somethin’ nice.
But you and I both know better.

Neither

I am neither the demonic high priest that pulls at our sinful hearts nor the savior king sent to tear him apart. Not the wicked warrior who intends to bring the kingdom down or the prince of peace adorned by a thorny crown. I am somewhere in the midst, caught in between the fray of an other-worldly battle waging war every day.

I am both holy and sinful simultaneously. I am a triumphant malady whose oxymoronic tendencies give birth to reveries. And while I often get caught in daydreams of saving the world, I must adopt a different purpose because my savior worked his tragedy for my glory.

I am stained red from a lamb who caused the angel of death to Passover.
My God was maimed then bled from carrying the cross on his shoulders.

Why must I remind myself that I am neither perfect blameless Christ nor slippery sorrowful Satan? Because often I think too highly or lowly of my crooked sticks being straightened.

So for this I must be blatant. I am neither the snake in the grass with a forked tongue nor messiah that air did rejoice to be breath expelled from his lungs.

I am faithful yet sporadic
I am joyful yet depressed
I am sometimes automatic
Sometimes fail to pass the test

I am at times loving beyond all comprehension and others never ceasing to create tension.

They say the earth is a place where both Heaven and Hell dwell. For the non-believer it is the closest vision of the almighty streets paved with gold. Or so I’ve been told.

I can feel overwhelming, incomprehensible good washing over me and small lies breeding in my mind creating self-defeating poetry.

Hopelessly hopeful, deprecating and boastful.

Dreadful, and also headed to med school. Not as a doctor but a test patient come to test your patients. A virtuous miscreant that writes rhymes in the basement similar to Sage’s complacent inspirations.

And this is a cause for celebration.

God still loves me fully.
He refines me daily.
He wants peace for my heart
And I want it for yours.

I speak about peace because it lead me to His feet. A firm foundation in Christ is really all you need.

Before we entered

Think back to the day you were born.
Held in the arms of two broken people.
Weeping and struggling to see light and form.

Now think back to the day before that.
Secluded in a womb.
Alive, having grown from almost nothing.

Now think back 10 years before that.
Your particles had not taken shape yet,
and the world existed without you.

Who were you in this moment?
Better yet, what were you?
Allow yourself to feel what that state would be like.

– – – –

Free from debt and pain, you feel
weightless while you stare into the ring
of cosmic black and blue and searing white.

What form did we take before we entered?
What form will we take when we leave?
Tell me something, do you too
believe?

Short Story – Save me

viewfinder

We open at the pier. The light on the horizon is holding on to the day and the water ripples in the wake of small boats heading to shore. Henry puts another quarter in the viewfinder, which starts buzzing, signifying that he’s got a few minutes to look around at the open water. He spots gulls swooping low, trying to catch fish and sailboats racing to get in before dark. Henry stops at the pier every night on his walk home. The walk helps him clear his mind before the next day and the pier is his favorite part.

Much closer to cross beams of the pier, Henry notices something. He squints in the viewfinder to make out what appears to be a man in the surf. Funny, Henry thinks, it’s mighty cold to be swimming. He sees that the man is struggling and then, he disappears.

Henry runs. Sprints up the boardwalk for what feels like ages and stops where he thinks the man went under. Henry is not a strong swimmer. He wishes in that moment that he would have taken the lessons that his mother was always pestering him about. He takes a deep breath and his feet leave the dock. He does a pencil dive off the pier.

Nothing. The sun has now sunk into the night, making it very difficult for Henry to see anything, much less the man he hopes to save. His mind is ticking like the last seconds of the viewfinder and he gasps and dives down into the choppy water. Nothing again. Henry calls for help, but no one seems to hear him at the boat dock hundreds of yards away.

Henry is frantic, hoping for some sign when all of a sudden, the back of a large man breaks the surface by the cross beams under the pier. The tide picks the man’s body up and crashes it into a splintering beam.

All out swimming on Henry’s part; he is swallowing a lot of salt water. His eyes burn as he grabs the man’s body by the midsection and throws a limp arm over his shoulder.

Then comes the real struggle. Henry tries to stay afloat while swimming with the man’s lifeless body at his side. Treading water, Henry trudges through the waves and finally, with his lungs exploding, he makes it to the sandy shore under the pier.

Henry pumps the man’s chest fervently and breathes into his mouth after compressions. The man does not sputter or stir, he simply lies on the beach in common work clothes; motionless.

After 30 minutes of spastic attempts to restart the man’s heart, Henry takes a break and for the first time, looks into the face of the man he has dragged from the water.

His gut wrenches.

It’s impossible, Henry says aloud. He brushes the man’s hair to one side and cleans off the blood from the man’s cheek.

Henry is staring down into his own face.

The man has 20 years on him, but Henry is sure that he is looking down at an older version of himself. There is no way to describe the bewilderment that Henry feels.

Off in the distance, the men from the boat dock appear to be sprinting to Henry’s position with flashlights in their hands. The beams of light are angling in all directions as the men scurry to see what’s the matter under the pier.

Henry panics. He cannot make sense of what has happened. He looks down at the man, knowing that he is dead, and decides to run.

Siren Symphony

Siren sounds and rainfall.
Me, some third floor balcony, listening.
“Requiem for dying mothers” playing
over desktop speakers.
12:14 am.
The branches by my window want to
separate themselves from their tree.
I don’t want to separate myself from
you.
Me the leaf and you the vine.
Headlights shine over cracked,
glistening asphalt.
Streetlamps glowing yellow.
You are the midnight thunderstorm’s
siren symphony.
Collecting into pools of reflective light
that I jump over while crossing the street.
I am the rusted brake drum skidding to
a stop, feet from my neighbor’s porch,
rich in anxiety.

Hold me until morning in your covers.
I’ll keep the window down to listen to
your complexities.

I am the single droplet born in the river
basin. You are the rolling storm yet to
come.