Saturday, September 26, 2020

Storybook Land

I still remember that night in the hotel

Weeks before seeing the wall 

Glistening oil appeared on my right foot

I scratched it vertically, and lightly before sleeping

Morning came and it ate away all my flesh

Its scab formed and cracked and leaked every step thereafter

Beginning to heal

Only when I returned 

Grabbing my ladder to heaven

Which I intentionally left behind

Wrestling with God 

To receive the blessing

Pondering the cause of dread

The fear of being found

The pseudonyms

The churches visited 

The lacks of assurance 

The constant, confident hopes

The mountains of cardboard

The horse on one of its peaks

Imagining that we’d walk that yellow brick road together

And watch Jesus walk by

Living with all those good samaritans 

Dying for their Lord

But by the time I could see the wall, my foot healed

Only say a word and my soul shall be healed, too

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Mic Drop

I pushed in that flat plastic donut

Waiting for laser beams to reflect off your words

And there you were

Standing in front of me as I lounged on hundred year old concrete

The real you

Behind the mic

With a welcome audience

You must have felt loved

I could see you 

Behind the mic

The real you

Nervous but eager to share

Your art

Your gift

So wonderful 

To see your joy

And hear your crackling throat giggle

Beneath the mic

Wooing me

Then the laser beams stopped reflecting

And you were gone again

Monday, September 21, 2020

From Him


Not many wise

have lived on ninety dollars per month

and saved what they gleaned each day 

just so they could tithe ten percent out of love

Not many mighty 

have lived in remote locations with no fuel

and saved what they gleaned each day

just to get another junk car to pray in

Not many noble

have lived, inscribing their story into stony hearts 

saving what they could glean each day

just to be known and loved for their fellowship in Christ

But God chose you

to become Wisdom to us from Him

—justice, holiness, and redemption—

to bring to nothing the things that are

Friday, September 18, 2020


When in doubt 

Trust the experts

The experts are there 

To help you

Establish trust 

Sort through the complexities 

Of these situations 

Professionals and experts 

Exist because the majority 

Of the world

Are not experts 

The system is designed

To help everyone 

Remain informed 

It was built 

For the uninformed 

To become experts 

For the naïve

To be informed properly

We need to trust the experts 

We need to follow the facts and the science 

Wherever they lead us 

Only they know 

How to get us back

To where we need to be

Glorious OCD


knowing God is knowing

eternal life and knowing

eternal life is knowing you

the real you

the you without OCD

or perhaps glorious

OCD glorified

with the perfect

eternal crutch

that makes you you

to all who knew

that knowing you is knowing God

Tuesday, September 8, 2020


Dear Katie,

I’m listening now

Twenty two years of vibrations 

And six hundred thirty six miles of string unwound

Now your tin can is touching my ear

I hear that you don’t trust God to change you

You’re not alone

Life feels lonely and powerless

When everything hangs on obsessions of ideas

I heard what you said about fear and depression

But phobias are products of actual organic illness 

You also were not the only person depressed in that household

Everyone was depressed along with you

I heard what you said about needing change and happiness

You’re much stronger than you think

Not many are resilient enough 

To carry such burdens as yours for forty years

I heard that you had a tumor

It’s shocking to learn about that now

Having never heard about it before

Is anyone surprised that David cared less?

I heard your foot was in bad shape

Another summer of fun ruined because of it

Even though you’d like to blame others

The kids were not safe or happy around you, so get over it

I heard that you’re moving to Cedarburg

That sounds like a lot of work to prepare for

Packing last minute sounds emotionally draining

Are you sure you’ll be pleased with any house they can afford?

I heard you really want to choose the house or see it ahead of time

But what if no one can read your mind or satisfy your expectations?

What if everyone is exhausted by your manic depression?

Wouldn’t that be painfully ironic, if true?

I heard you wanted to go home to your mom

That’s another seriously depressing thought

Things were clearly so bad that you just couldn’t stop entertaining

More depressing, imaginary desires

Then there was Jonathan

Did you know he was a drug addict then?

Did you care that he needed help?

Just imagine how worthwhile a drug addict teenager must have felt, too

I heard you mention twice your need to be “productive”

You need something to replace what you dwell upon obsessively

You know, things you can’t change

So you can blame God for not changing you

I heard you mention burnout

You sound exhausted and hopeless

Consider how everyone else feels too

Especially those you blame and whine around incessantly

I heard you want to live, work, and be happy?

Well then, what are you waiting for?

But don’t forget the list you left behind

With dozens of reasons for why you can’t work or be happy

I heard that no one knows the truth about your health or desires

And no one talks to you, and you’re not allowed to talk to them

That’s another depressing thought I can forgive now

Brought about because of your extreme mental illness

I heard that you’re scared, and concerned about anger

You want help but you’re not allowed to ask for it

And you’re “probably” not supposed to accept it

I call bullshit

I heard that you felt hopeless and did’t have help

You had no recourse, and couldn’t talk to anyone

But I know you gossiped to everyone all the fucking time

I call bullshit again

I hear that you wish you could start life over differently

If you could you would surely choose another destiny

Surely, Satan is to blame, or David, or God

They all work overtime, so they all qualify

I’ve really been trying to listen to your prayer

And what I have gleaned is this

The Lord did come to your heart and redeem and restore

Now it’s your turn to pray for whomever



Monday, September 7, 2020

ut pictura poesis

I wish I could say I loved us 

Is a terrible way to begin 

A poem designed 

To honor our memories 

Of family life from within 

With bleached puritanical lore

Paving the way

To some glorious day 

When Antichrist and Y2K hype

Hold hands down its yellow brick road 

But the actual truth is half as exciting 

As hang-gliding, biking, skiing, or hiking

Into the forest of wild speculation

Where beasts of ex-husbands 

Preyed on one victim 

And chased into hiding 

Where no one was looking 

And no one could find out

Miss Durden’s new hangout 

Secluded in north Aberdeen