Dark room, all alone
thoughts of the day unravel
successes and failures
and all of life's treasures
combine putting the man on trial
in his lonesome desperation
and refusal to correct himself
he sins again in agony
despite the harm he does himself,
so many scrambled values igniting in his mind
how many blessings kept from him
because of how he spends his time
and oh that guilt, that shame
that lack of sense of purpose
the coldness of a man who sleeps in shadows
the anger of that man who sees the light
the trials of a man who does not know how
to cultivate a righteous life
but oh, that sun, will come again tomorrow
and the banner of the cause will somehow rise
and the call to arms will beckon him to prosper
and he will choose whether to live among the Wise
who guides him only when he follows
and who does not tarry in correcting
the faults that lie at the bottom of the heart
of a man who tries to decide to fight
daily facing the fear of loss of life
he, who avoids the knowledge of what is right
so often just to keep from moving
out of the shackles of
cold wet darkness
in which he is most comfortable
and he waits for it to happen
as though he must take no part in it
as though he could never accomplish it
as though it were all on his shoulders to bear
and so he waits for it to happen
and does nothing
and he waits for it to happen,
and does nothing.
keep the change
It is quite possible that no one but God really knew him. This slow old man standing across the counter avoided direct eye contact as he placed two items to be purchased in in front of me. Having passed through the litany of first impressions and prejudiced notions about what I think he is, he lingers in my attention, maybe even just a half a second longer than is typical with this sort of interaction. One comes to realize when in the face of hundreds of strangers each day just how fleeting life can be. Entire persons, some beautiful, some not as much (to me anyway) passing through like a river, over a 9 hour period; ceaselessly moving in the door, through the store to checkout and off to the car. An assembly line designed subtly by minds much more focused than mine on efficiency.
And here was this man, buying a drill bit and a candybar, shuffling through his wallet to find the $4.29 he owes for the lot, having neglected to round up his change for charity. Counting out pennies now he mutters some quiet apology for how long this is taking and I quickly assure him that everything is just fine while glancing to the side at the line that was now forming. In this space of time, so many meaningful questions could be asked, so many statements of love and care, some good will established between two people but I just looked at him with impatience in my heart and a banal expression of non-threatening joyishness on my face suggesting that I really wouldn't mind if this took all day.
It takes effort to care about people. It's one thing to be kind and attentive, and to do your job in a professional manner. Those are important attributes in a healthy and productive life. But to care, actually care. Well I'm not so sure I even know how to do that. This guy in front of me may be so used to being invisible that this interaction would hold no bearing on him, even if it were his last. I wondered how little thought, how little time or devotion might have been spent on him, or the person behind him for that matter. And yet through this near-pity I still notice the uprising of impatient anger, the goal-oriented "I'm just trying to do my job" attitude that sort of molds my personality here at work and there isn't a second that I'm on the clock that it doesn't feel justifiable to think of these people as "customers". Nothing more than small separate goals accomplished through short scripted interactions. No relationships, no feelings, just "hello", "how are ya", "goodbye".
He actually looks at me:
"Looks like I'm gonna have to break a fifty"
"Not a problem sir,"
money is exchanged, and our hands touch briefly causing me to instantly think that I need to use some hand sanitizer, which I will promptly do as soon as I'm done here. His change is $45.71, I have to open a roll of quarters and a baby starts to cry from the back of the line. Some of the faces are becoming noticeably upset at having to wait more than 120 seconds to get through the checkout and I can't tell if they're upset with him or me.
As I reach out to give him the money he looks me dead in the eye and closes both hands around mine, folding my hand into a tight fist with the money inside. He doesn't smile, or say anything, he just puts a finger over his lips making this now an incredibly private moment despite the eyes of strangers on us.
It was the nicest thing a person had done for me in a long time.
something I wish I could forget
I wish that I could forget the way it feels to be intoxicated.
We all have natural urges and desires, for food, fellowship, rest, sex, etc. Those drives are natural and a healthy person is capable of exercising control over them in order to be productive. The craving of drugs is not among these natural urges. They are synthetic additions to the landscape of motivating forces within us, and they all predicated on some manifestation of brokeness, pain, or selfishness within the circumstantial contexts of life. A desire to escape or enhance what life has to offer.
Knowing what it's like to be drunk and singing karaoke, or to be stoned at the movies sort of takes away a certain level of enjoyment out of life, knowing that it could be "better" with the addition of X substance. Of course it wouldn't be better, I've tried the "I don't value sobriety like other people do" thing, and it just isn't profitable. There is a reason that we do not naturally or regularly feel the way we when we are intoxicated, and that's because we're not supposed to feel those things.
Euphoria is a blessing, elation is a blessing, relaxation is a blessing, warmth and feelings of goodwill are blessings and it is a blessing these experiences are dependant on context. Going out of your way to manufacture long-lasting emotional states for the sake of the experience itself is futile and dangerous. Without the exclusive and limited nature of emotion, there wouldn't be a way to organize a hierarchy of importance in our lives. If everything was equally amazing all the time there'd be no difference between shit and shinola, as it were. But when you give yourself over to constant intoxication, everything feels exactly how you want it to feel as often as you take the drug. Then you start to recognize that it's the drug, not the life experiences, that you want. You start to attach yourself to those feelings and your identity enmeshes with the drug experience, and the very thought of never feeling that way again becomes terrifying. And just like that, the adventure is taken out of life and you're left calculating out your life moment to moment, basing your schedule around when a certain pill is gonna kick in, how much money you have for the bar, or planning entire days around 8-12 hour periods of time where you will be useless to anybody but the pizza delivery guy.
Despite all that, I know what it's like to feel and see things in ways that are literally impossible without ingesting different kinds of poison. And I often find myself missing it like you'd miss a dead relative. It's almost a constant a state of ingratitude, as if the beauty of life isn't good enough as it is. Like a rubber band that gets stretched beyond it's limit and never fully takes its original shape again.
Don't do drugs kids.
you worship a broken and dying vessel
and pour out all your effort into that belief
maintaining the evil of weakness
relishing the absence of strength
you wander in hopelessness wanting to feel
and seeking out pleasures and moments
repeating the cycle again and again
until everything about you is worthless
and you feel in dark moments
the call to adventure
but you do not know how to respond
be it fear or impotency
or just lack of effort you
stick to the path you are on
do not question it again
your misery is valid
everything that hurts within you
is burning and trying to make you better
the lostness is crying out to God
and you gag it 'till it's silent
trading in a few small actions
for ever deepening fantasies
and spiraling cacophonies
of emotional depravity
and childlike wonder turned sour by addiction
and at some point, yes, it's too late.
little Man, made of mud. Silent searcher, made undone.
a creature kept
in perfect conditions
still with a will of Its own
carries out Its priorities
in spite of the way It was shown.
and in time It will fall into,
as if by random chance,
a slipstream of progression-
a forward-moving dance
and oh, that poor small creature
with prosperity in Its midst
will come to see Itself as able
to justify why It exists.
that creature kept
so far from truth or trouble
wandering away from pain
accidentally finds a master
to serve as It lives out its days
so It stands out at a crossroads
to witness the unfolding of time
marking Its movement by sacrifices,
and the gray hairs and the lines
as the bright colors and music
fade into dullness.
and It senses the blackness
standing there staring
waiting for It to arrive.
and It's no longer a carnival
try as It might It can find no fun
but the conditions still, are perfect
to redeem the creature of mud.
the perspective must be guided,
vertically and outward.
Not from within, but out from above
from the place the creature started.
Drawn to the plan that was intended,
Through the Son that incarnated,
and His love which never faded,
by the mercy that was fated,
from the time that time began.
What does a creature imply?
Where will you go when you die?
THE LORD LIVES
You who intentionally leaves the presence of God, who wanders looking for Him where He is not, who are confused and hurting and feeling the lost and overwhelming sadness of a child who has lost their Father.
Your confusion is justifiable but so unnecessary I have been and often am there alongside you. Do not forget, He is there for you, He has been where He is since the beginning of everything.
Every moment is a crossroads, every choice has the potential to be worship. He made you, after all.
Thank God for Jesus Christ. Praise God for his love. Praise God for the Bible.
he was a lover not a fighter
and when his wife gave him a daughter
he was frightened and delighted
but he noticed he despised it
cuz he could never love the world again from then
a man who'd not seen war
a woman with her children all living
a house watched over by God
with blessing after blessing after blessing
and he resented the lack of challenge
as men are wont to do
and it ate away at a part of him
that was only to be used when necessary, anyway.
but he felt it and hated that it happened.
she was a lover too, and her life flowed seamlessly
as a river often times of breathless delight
protected and shepherded by the men in her life
and she could tell something was wrong
but she didn't know how to make it right
and his rancid attitude pervaded
which killed every joy in its proximity
he never thought that he felt happy
and he hated how selfish he was
but the child, so soft-hearted
lived like her mother did
unaware, however of the bitterness around her.
Love was the only thing she ever needed.
and he never once denied her of it.
Eventually it was all okay
the man, made humble, set aside his pride
and tried to serve his wife the way he knew he had to
and his girls began to blossom then
and the souls in the house could rest again.
Every man is warring,
though often there's no
What is the job of a poet?
To lie beautifully.
I mean, no one really talks like that.
Do you know how long it takes to get the rhythm right?
Sometimes countless hours,
spent formulating thoughts.
Pushing the dust of fragmented ideas into a mold
consisting of 26 letters.
And then put out into the world with the sincere hope
that the person who reads it will understand the intention
or maybe have something to add
and that idea that was once just gaseous
is in many minds, as a liquid ironclad.
And he sits in a dark room at a desk
going on midnight with work in the morning
trying like hell to create something
working out in his own heart the meaning of his thoughts
using definitions that he knows to shape them into clumps
for you to see and hopefully enjoy
the way the poem looks and seems and makes you feel
as though you met him through his words.