Intro

Hey folks. Welcome! I’m a novice poet who created this site just to have a place with permanent links to my writing that I could share. I don’t claim this stuff is any good. I’m learning, and sharing the fruits of my learning, is all. Hope you find something here that you like.

You can browse via the categories or tags to the left. (If you appreciate being made a bit uncomfortable, try the tag askew.) Or, here are a few suggestions:

About people, values, and choices:

About relationships and community:

About childhood, learning, and growing up:

About climbing the mountain:

About glimpsing the summit:

About animals:

About wierd sh*t:

Enjoy…or something.

Peace,
Mike

Full

“Happy are you who hunger now, because you will be satisfied.” – Luke 6:21a, CEB

“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.” – Matthew 5:6, CEB

Full

“All you hungry will be satisfied!”
Jesus brazenly proclaimed –
at least according to Doctor Luke.

Then along comes Matthew Levi
to “fix” it, so those who cry out
for righteousness will be filled.

WTF, Matt? Why’d you have to
go and spiritualize a promise
of hollow bellies made full?

Was Matthew just being realistic?
Rare is the hour during which no
cherished, starving child succumbs,

while those who thirst for justice
may (perhaps) grow their own,
in the gardens of their deeds…

if, that is, they can stay upright
for that work – not collapsing, frail
and famished, for want of food.

Imago Dei

You’re a fractal,
whose winding paths can’t be traced –
yet whose every crooked corner
replicates the lovely pattern of the whole.

You’re a hologram,
which can be cut and cut to pieces –
yet whose every severed fragment
contains the unbroken image of the entire.

You are made in the image of God!
You are formed in the likeness of God!
And so am I.

Now, tell me the rule
which weighs heavier in God’s balance
than the precious worth and dignity
of me or you.

Disobedience (verse)

When I submitted my short prose piece Disobedience (click through for background) to a poetry anthology, I reformatted it into lines. Here is that version.

Disobedience

It was only an hour before the appointed time,
when the Lord would send his angel of death –
the angel with the flaming sword that would cut
out the heart of each Egyptian family.

Rachel snuck out while her father was bundling
their few possessions, and her mother was
cleaning the remains of the tiny leg of lamb
they’d been given by their next door neighbor.

She moved quickly down the street, careful not to slosh
the blood in the bowl she carried. At each Egyptian home
she reached, Rachel dipped her rag into the bowl,
and hastily dribbled blood on the doorframe.

She kept on running into the dark, painting hope
on as many doors as she could reach, until
the dawn broke, and Rachel heard the first wails
of anguish from the homes further on down the street.

fruit

little seed, you are my hope

only you can keep
my labor from coming back empty
only the fruit you bear
can fill the bellies of those i love

so i plant you with utmost care
avoiding rock and thorn and gravel
i break my back to nourish you
carrying pure water from afar

i watch
and wait for you to sprout
but you don’t

despairing
i see the dry earth split above you
as your own precious body
cracks in two

tears stream down my cheeks
and mingle with dew dripping
from the cedars that surround us
pouring into your cloven heart

i see you sending tendrils
reaching down deep into the earth
touching the roots of these mighty trees

green vines begin to grow
exploring over the ground
further than i can follow
forming fruit
sweet and plump and nourishing
fulfilling the desire of those in need

with a trembling hand
i reach out
and taste

embodied

he gave himself

he gave himself fully
to this embodied life
life as an earthy animal
made of flesh and bones
with sweaty skin
and greasy hair
hunger pangs
friendships
and grief

he gave himself fully
to life in a particular human body
with its own personality
with its peculiar gifts
and quirks

he gave himself fully
to everyone he met

he didn’t ask them if
they were part of the right tribe
he didn’t ask them if
they were holy

he said
your faith has healed you
he said
come, let’s eat and drink together
he said
don’t you worry about tomorrow

he touched
the eyes of the blind man
he touched
the skin of the leper
he touched
the hand of the shunned woman

he touched his friends
and comforted them
and they touched
and comforted him in return

he embodied the source of all there is
so he knew in his bones
he knew in every cell of his body
that there is no separation
between him
and the least of these
made in the image of God

that there is no separation
between him
and any one of us

in his love
in his vulnerability
he showed us
incarnation
he showed us
embodiment

he showed us how to do
this impossible task
of showing up
fully
in our bodies
here and now

of being our own
wild, magnificent selves
and of giving those selves to others

thank you
Lord Jesus

thank you for being
a human being

thank you for showing us
how it’s done

disney dream vocation

it’s the newest attraction
at disney world
kermit the frog
and moana
teaching vacationers
about vocation

moana leads out:

“maybe it’s something
that’s been burning within you
since you were tiny
something you’ve tried to ignore
suppress
or fight
in order to live up
to expectations
but you cannot fight it
suppress it
or ignore it
it picks you up and carries you
irresistibly
like an ocean wave”

then kermit hops in:

“or maybe it’s something
you’ve never seen within you
in all your years
of stargazing and dreaming
something you’d never imagined
until a bewildered prophet
with the voice of god
rows up and lays on you
a vision
of people made happy
made happy by you
so you pick up
and pack up
and you get on your bike and ride”

“whatever you do”
they both implore us
(we the small kids
with our mickey-ear ice creams
we the exhausted parents
resplendent in our cargo shorts
we the young adventurers
plotting our fastpass strategies)

“whatever you do
when you do hear that call
you must stop what you’re doing
and listen”

Men’s Rights

I am a Men’s Rights Activist.
Now, I know what you’re going to say:
Men
are their rights really in need of some activism?
Don’t men have all the rights already,
pretty much?

Well, actually,
I believe that we men could use a few activists.
Maybe we could use a whole bunch of them.
I believe there are a load of rights that we men are currently lacking.
I believe it’s time that this injustice be set right.

Now, I know what you’re going to say:
These so-called rights…
just what are these rights, exactly?

Please, from my own hard-won expertise as a man,
allow me to ‘splain.

I believe in the right of little boys who like dolls,
or daffodils,
princesses,
or the color pink
to be free of the shame we are fed every day.
To be free of the coercive insistence
that we separate ourselves from the trappings of girls.
Because we are “better” than girls.
Because girls are lesser.

I believe in the right of chubby teenage boys
to be free of the shame of mean locker-room taunts:
“Girl boobs girl boobs Croghan’s got girl boobs!”
I believe in our right to be free of hatred of our own bodies –
a hatred so deep and lasting
as to keep me from taking off my shirt in public
for the next thirty years.

I believe in the right of men who love charm bracelets,
or “chick flicks”,
“girly” cocktails,
or crop tops – even pink ones –
to be free of the shame shoveled on us by men – and women.
To be free of the coercive insistence
that we separate ourselves from the trappings of women,
because we are “better” than women.
Because women are lesser.

I believe in men’s right to love cooking,
and crochet,
and collecting candles. Scented candles.
I believe in men’s right to enjoy parenting,
and pole dancing,
and feeling pretty.
I believe in men’s right to wear lipstick. Fuchsia lipstick.
I believe in men’s right to weep at that moment in the movie
when the heroine finally inhabits her true self.
I believe in men’s right to hug and touch and hold hands with other men.

Even straight men. Even cisgender men.
And absolutely queer and trans men.

I believe in men’s right to be free
of these rusted chains of patriarchy,
which burden us, and bind us, and block us off from our true selves –
just like they do to everybody else.

Yes, I am a Men’s Rights Activist, and this M R A is here to say:
It is long past time for me to get active.

apprentice

go
scour the hills and hollows
find yourself a master

when you meet her
you will know her

she could be an ancient monk
who exudes transcendence
one who studied for decades
in the stillness of cave or cell

or she might be a 12-year-old girl
who has closely observed
the ways of snails and garter snakes
and the laws of electrical power

it does not matter
you must find her

do not sit at her feet
(that’s a cliché
and besides
you need to clearly see her hands
and her face)

sit at the table beside her
as she eats and chats
and writes and designs
let her show you how
to work out the algorithms
of spirit

(don’t shudder at that word
“spirit” is just nature unclouded
which is to say
nature full of clouds
brimming with beauty
she will teach you this
if you let your shields fall down)

be patient
learn by example
and soon you will see
how the soul engines are made

one day you will invent your own
and the master will giggle
with gratitude and delight
for you have shown her
a new and marvelous thing

don’t make the error of thinking
you are a master now
no
you’re merely an apt pupil

(just like her)