A Song about my Split-Level House (which ain't no grass hut!)

Here, where anything is worth nothing,I’ve done a lot of home-improvement.After eating, I experience carb-coma.As soon as I bought this place stuff started to break.Now I’ve lived here awhile,the home-improvement projects have their own file folder.So the one in this house just hangs out—aimless, in-and-out, in-between.Typical places to live? Not me.Typical cravings? Not me.This ordinaryhouse holds all of time and space:the one who lives here, plus everything elsethat’s smaller on the outside than the inside—all in 2,000 square feet.Pilgrims on the Way know about this,but the indifferent and bored wonder,“Is that a new garage door?”Upgraded or not,an honest prodigy lives here,where there’s no denying that income tax goes up every year.Just sitting here,it doesn’t get any better than this:below the swamp cooler,a bird-house in the eaves.Multi-million dollar houseswith swimming pools and 6-car garagescan’t match this!Just sitting,with my blanket over my head,nothing much going on. So th…

Never Mind

I have something to say. It’s about disappointment and discouragement.I live a solitary life. Whether that life chose me, or I chose it, is beside the point now.But, that’s what I wanted to talk about— Choices.They’re not simple. Ever. I’ve gotten to the point where I read a post by one of my friends on social media, and I nod my head in agreement with all the points they make in favor of justice, respect, and equality, until they get to the end and they say something like, “And if you don’t agree with me, go screw yourself.”You know how sometimes, especially in the winter, the wind can blow so cold and hard across your face that you literally can’t breathe? There’s too much air, too fast. That’s how I feel right now.Maybe it’s because I’ve finally realized that I’m actually starting to get old. Everybody makes jokes about it. I make jokes about it! Sometimes I make a joke because nothing seems to be funny anymore, and I need something to be funny.I am both a Christian and a Buddhist.…

Garden-variety Opinions

They swarm.They buzz gratingly.They cling to the screen of the patio doorand look at me out of one eye, blackly.They land on sweaty and inconvenient places,biting regardless of whether I swat them,or not.They lurk.They creep furtively.They leave shiny trails on the pavementand ooze from one dark, hidden crevice to another.They nuzzle the tender leaves of timidly sprouting plantsdevouring regardless of whether I grieve the loss,or not.They maraud.They squawk menacingly.They crash through the ivy on the chimneyand reappear with squirming nestlings in their beaks.They drop to the convenient and indifferent grounddismembering regardlessof whether I can bear to watch,or not.


Every Mother's Day and every Father's Day I remember them. When some advertisement pokes at me to buy some frivolous and breakable thing as a gift, I imagine buying it and throwing it off the cliff where their ashes fell into the wind all those years ago, on the day my sister and I flung their mortal dust outward into empty air. But— then I shake my head and realize how tawdry and garish that litter would look from above, lying on the pristine sand beside the red river 800 feet below. Besides, what I wish I could give them, now they are gone, isn't something I could ever buy. I want to give them all the questions I never asked, that I know they would have had answers for. I want to give them the gift of my own aging: the wrinkles on the backs of my hands that look exactly like my Dad's, and the creases on the insides of my elbows that remind me of my Mom's— although without the freckles. I want to give them all my abiding memories of them; the ones that only get mo…

Doing Without

I’ve thought for a long time that, in reality, I’m rich. I don’t know how or when my perception of the scope of material well-being was formed, but I do know that my notion of wealth includes things like running water, electricity, heat, and air conditioning.
I count items like coffee and bubble bath as luxuries. I consider the modern acceptance of what my grandmother scornfully called “folderol” to be nearly incomprehensible.
I constantly find myself shaking my head at the marketing ploy of providing lists on Facebook of “things you absolutely must have,” aimed at bored and restless consumers. I look at those lists sometimes, and all I see are things that are made to break; or be used so infrequently and for such narrow purposes that they are likely to be forgotten in a drawer somewhere almost as soon as they are purchased.
About those “narrow purposes”— I grew up going camping all summer, every summer, with my family. We didn’t have a motor-home, we had a Volkswagen bus that didn’…

Itself A Thin Place

I live in them.
Some have room to turn in.
Others don’t.

The fathomless gap
Between silence and speech
Is itself a thin place.

In the meager width
Of this rude polarity
Between earth and heaven
—This stubborn hairline crack—

There is always
Enough room to

Thrilling Theology

(inspired by Morgan Guyton) (This is an older piece, written at least a year ago.  What really struck me was the idea that Jesus died to save the world from US. To save us from each other. To sting us in our hearts, and show us that we do, too, remember how to love.)
“Sin” grows out of self-consciousness at the exact moment in which we start to worry about what other people think of us. Jesus died to save us from our sins— but it doesn’t work the way we think. It wasn’t that he took the fall for us, even though he was innocent. It wasn’t to “wipe out the red in our ledgers.” No, he died an innocent so that we would be “stung in our hearts” by his willing death on the cross as our victim. Yup, that’s the gist of it. Our victim.
Jesus did not die to save us from our own sins; he died to save the world from us. He died because he surrendered to “sin” and because the only way to show us the way out was to die.
We are the people who killed Christ, and when we did that we didn’t sin by being mi…