Wealth of Words


Hidden Smile

You wear a mask, but I can still see your smile
Some might say it’s ugly, but the mask can’t hide your beauty
I can still see a single eye, and it shimmers with transcendent beauty
Its light blasts through the mask and shines so bright
Even if that last eye was covered, you would still shine
Your lips would whisper of your beauty
Even if you stilled your tongue, the words would slip out in your sleep
If your lips were frozen, your nose would betray you
The tip would point out your prettiness
And if your fake plastic mask was replaced with a fleshy one
Melted skin unable to move
A frozen face, with even the eyes stilled in their sockets
An unresponsive countenance laying in a hospital bed
Still your soul would emanate
It would seep through your skin and touch our souls
Your beauty can never be hidden

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Statuette

Ankles in the clear creek
Sitting very still
Hands beneath the water
I hope they’ll soon be filled
With tiny shiny minnows
That I can hold up close
Study their slippery bodies
Those moments I love the most
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Observing other creatures
In their daily life
Seeing fishy joys
And aquatic strife
To see them in their homes
You must remain quite quiet
If they can’t hear your splashing
The fish fry will run riot
They’ll peek out from their rock homes
They’ll dance and play and swim
Shimmer in the clear creek bed
Jump and fall upon a whim
They do not recognize me
They think that I’m a rock
Or a pink and fleshy tree
That’s grown up in their spot
In their carefree meanderings
They’ll swim over my hand
Then with a splash and in a flash
I’ll throw them onto land
I fooled the little creatures
And caught them in my trap
Like an ever patient
And curious little cat
I don’t catch them to destroy them
I always put them back
I simply want to understand
Their lives and habitats
Forever I will cherish
These moments that are gone
For it seems now I’m the minnow
In someone else’s palm
Ever swimming, always rushing
But not nearly so carefree
In the shadow of a statuette
That sits and watches me
Wise Foolishness

Wise men worship wisdom
They inscribe her virtues on scrolls
Build palaces filled with her praises

Foolish men worship themselves
Giving their body whatever it wants
Searching for an eternal orgasm in life

I will worship neither
I will follow God
For He gives me the wisdom of Earth
But tempers it with the wisdom of Heaven
That laughs at the pondering of men
For Heaven’s thoughts are foolishness to us
Though they are immeasurably greater

So I will be foolish and wise
Mixing the two
Confused and befuddled
Knowing with certainty only one thing
The One who has paved my path
Knows better than I

 

Pain of Distance

If only I had a genie in a bottle
I know what I’d wish for
I’d wish I could teleport to any destination
Vanish from where I am now
And appear right next to you
Ready to wipe away your tears
To ease your mind from fears

I’d wish to be father time
So I could stretch out the moments we have together
So we could sit together for a moment or for an eternity
We could pause the sunset and bask in its beauty
Letting it play moment by moment
Seeing each shifting picture for as long as we like

And if the genie was weak
If he could not bend space or time
I would simply wish to be with you again
Maybe not today or tomorrow
But soon

There are so many people so close to me
I could walk up and knock on their doors
Invite them to dinner or chat with them for hours
I am physically close to them
But I do not know them
We are not separated by distance
But are separated in our hearts and minds
But you and I
We are separated only by miles
Our hearts and souls so very close
But all this dang dirt keeps us apart

I don’t have a genie in a bottle
But I’ll wish as long as I have to
Until I can hold you in my arms again
Until I can mix my tears with your own
Until we can sit on those steps again

 

Lines

Though I often held a blade
I never drew red lines on my arms
No, I never cut my wrists
Instead I cut my soul
I weighed it and found it to heavy
So I decided to cut off the fatty parts
*slice* there goes sadness
But with it happiness falls too
I tried to avoid the dark depths of my soul
But all I ended up cutting were my pinions
No longer could I fly to the highest heights
So I fell down into the black trenches of my mind
White feathers spiraling around me
Blackening in the sooty air

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I never swallowed pills
But I swallowed my feelings
Each lingered on the back of my tongue
My spirit would gag at the bitter taste
But with a deep, painful gulp
I swallowed each lump in my throat
Well, almost each of them
There was always one I could not force down
Hope
It always bubbled back into my mouth
The sweetest bile I’ve ever tasted
I tried to eat every last bite
But it seemed there was always another piece on the plate
And then it felt like poison
Now I know it was life
If I had ever cleaned my plate of hope
Who knows where I’d be now

Once I hung a cord around my neck
But I never jerked it tight
I found it better to hang on God’s grace
Better to swim in his love instead of my blood
More healthy to eat his communion
Than devour my spirit

I’m done cleaving my soul into pieces
Now I’ll cut the chains of injustice
I’m done swallowing my words
Now I’ll speak for others
For those still choking on their tongues
Now my hopes are hung on God
And I know he’ll never let me down

For he never has

 

Giggling Faeries

They dance and prance, they rattle and prattle
These giggling faeries do run like cattle
Though light as a feather, with wings like a gnat
They stomp and they trample as if they were fat
They laugh as they crush the soft dreams of others
They think it most fun to snicker and smother
To fly along with them, seems a great pleasure
Though, the longer you stay, you see there’s no treasure
Trot along with their gang, you’ll feel you belong
Though the moment you’re weak, you’ll be out of the throng
The faeries are cannibals, they will eat their own
The weakest of them, won’t be going home
They will turn on him if he falters or stumbles
Then it is his dreams that will be next to crumble
The faeries are pretty, their faces delight
Their delicate hearts, though, house only black night
They are praised and followed as if they were wise
Truthfully though, they bring only demise
They laugh at the world as if it were dumb
Though they have not the answers, their minds are quite numb
They think they are kings because of their beauty
Though their perfect complexions  cannot withstand scrutiny
Their faces are pretty because they wear masks
The features beneath are dirty as trash
Their teeth razor sharp, for tearing up people
Their wicked canines are pointed as needles
They suck out the life of ones who admire
Their seeming certainty, it’s false, they only are liars
They possess not the truth, the life, or the answers
These faeries are weak, and bewildered as hamsters
Then we should not fancy these winged tricksters
They should be estranged, let’s paint a true picture
These faeries are rotten and broken inside
Thou should heed not their laughter, don’t let them misguide

 

Fire and the Night

Sometimes we wonder
Why fire burns so bright in the most tortured souls
We look in their eyes as they bring us laughter
And only light seems to shine out, bright and clear
But we never see the night
When the people are gone the eyes may dim
The light burns down and almost dies
Leaving only a small, flickering flame
These embers can easily be breathed back into life
When people once again look into the eyes and laugh
But what about when there is no one to look again
Perhaps the last embers will finally burn to cinders

We look into the eyes of genius and joy
And behold such a glorious bonfire of life and love
But we forget that while fire gives life
It can also bring death
Shooting stars burn bright and brilliant
They also burn short
It seems the same with people
Those who burn the brightest, also burn the hottest
Soon, they burn out
Spent in the fire of their own passion

We look into the eyes that blaze with love
And forget that love is so very close to hate
They are on the end of a line so long
That it seems to bend all the way around into a circle
Where love and hate just barely touch
Often the one who burns with passion one moment
Finds themselves a cold piece of coal the next
Smiles are born in happiness
But they also find life in desperation
We think light implies life
But remember that the dry, dead wood
Renders the hottest flame
It will warm the world, but not for long

Next time you look into eyes alight with passion
Look a little closer and see
If the iris is ringed with desperation
Sometimes there is so much love to give
But no one to give it to
The energy to make gold
But no lead to transmute
In that moment, when the hand reaches for another log
And finds an empty firebox
A laugh of joy can become a scream

Sometimes the eyes of love
Search for an echo of the same
In the eyes of their watchers
When they find none
The smile freezes
The laugh stops
And the fire
Well, it just might die

From Dead Poets Society
From Dead Poets Society

“Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(This is what I see when I look in the eyes of Robin Williams. A man so brilliant and bright. But always you can see a joy tinged with sadness. A love tempered with desperation. He was a great actor, but not great enough to conceal himself.)

 
Sun and Storms

Life is sunny in the summer
The sheep can roam and graze among the rolling green hills
The lambs prance about, jumping and baaing
Jumping off anything taller than a blade of grass
The herd is strong and happy and at peace
All under the watchful eye of the shepherd
In the winter, though, storms come
Clouds roll over the grasslands
Foreboding emissaries of  troubling times
They once resembled the fluffy white sheep on the downs
Now, though, they are armored for battle
Their once soft skin now dark and hardened
They are heavy with the weight of their ammunition
Fat, cold raindrops, ready to suck the life from anything below
Large, hard hailstones, to batter and crush
Both the soft sheep below and even the earth they stand on
The sky has come to fight the land
The clouds unleash their downpour of water, liquid and frozen
Then they shout their battle cries of thunder
The war cries boom across the foothills
The crashes announce the real attack
Spears of lightning rain down on the land
Killing anything that has dared to rise above the dirt
The sheep are battered by rain and hail
The lucky ones have a shepherd
He saw the rain clouds form and took care
He led his sheep back into the fold
Finding shelter for himself and his flock
The unlucky ones have no one to follow
They are worn down by the watery downpour
And when lightning stabs the Earth they scatter in fright
The herd runs to the left and the right
All the sheep running in fear for their lives

Flock of Sheep In a Storm Ivan Aivazovsky
Flock of Sheep In a Storm, by Ivan Aivazovsky

The good times are but a memory
Now they wish only for the storm to end
Eventually the clouds will roll on
Continuing their journey of dominance on other lands
After the air clears the sheep will be scattered
And there is only one who can bring them back together
The good shepherd who guides and protects his sheep
Sheep need no leader in the summer
But in the wind and the rain, they must be led
Else they be lost and never again found

 

Beutifly

Butterflies flutter by
Landing on the ground
They help me to remember
All the beauty that’s around
They flap their wings all day
But rarely make a sound
So humble and so pretty
So beautifully demure
Butterflies are proof
Some things are wholly pure
No stingers and no teeth
No venom that needs cure

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I proffer them my finger
And they dance upon my hand
So light and delicate
Nothing in them’s bland
In my mind’s eye they reflect
All that’s beautiful and grand
For me this flying flower
Is proof that good exists
Their natural innocence says
On this Earth can be real bliss
And if purity is found here
Then love is worth the risks

 

Walking in Strangeness

They tell me to cut my hair
They say it makes me look crazy
Well maybe I am a bit crazy

They tell me to stop dancing
They say it is wild and foolish
I hope I am wild and foolish

They tell me not to throw away their wisdom
They say I will end up poor
I might not have a lot of money
But I will be rich in spirit

My surrender may be foolish
But I’ve given myself to one greater than me

 

Soft Spots

I love the soft moments in life

When the warm wind tousles my hair
The old breath of the earth ruffling the locks on the young head of this boy
When her gentle fingertips touch mine as our fingers meet and seek to interlock
When the bobber rests on the surface of the calm pond, just before the fish strikes
When a hush falls over the crowd as they all draw in an eager breath, still unsure if they will use it for a jeer or cheer
When the frog quietly contemplates my intrusion on his territory, unsure if he will hop into the creek or sit with me in shared seclusion
The moment before sleep overtakes me, and I lay in my bed listening to the crickets performing their magnum opuses
At the top of a hill on my mountain bike, preparing to take the plunge
When we hold each other in our arms, wishing we never had to let go

There are soft spots all over the world
Often we rush around to quickly to experience or enjoy them
I prefer to stay in the spot and let it last as long as it can
I let the Zeus play with my hair
My fingertips dance on hers longer than the song plays
The still bobber does not bother me, I let it relax
I’ll breathe in deep as I can, so my cry is loud and long
Share the river bank with the frog as long as he’ll let me
Listen to the cricket’s symphonies all the way through
Stare down the trail in sweet anticipation

And when I hold you, I wish I could hold on forever
One of the softest spots on this Earth, is my one for you

 

I Love You

Three words that are rarely spoken, but often wait on the tips of our brains
Yearning to leap down into our mouths and out into their ears
Three little words, that so often we hold back in fear
Fear that they will not echo back to us
Fear that the ears they fall on will let them fall off without hearing
Fear that these words are too much too soon
Too often, though, they are too little to late
The last words of millions are written on tombstones
But no one writes the last words said to them
I wonder how many had these three words spoken over them in their final moments
How many would have drawn another breath if only someone had spoken these three, little, words
An action can say the same thing
A hug, a touch on the hand, a smile, a kiss
Taking out the trash, washing the dishes
However, these words still need to be spoken
So I beseech you, hold these words back no longer
Next time you need to say them, draw in a deep breath
Steel yourself, and speak them
I believe that these words never return empty
Even if we only see their results far in the future
So I will speak these words to you
Speak them with me, and speak them to me
I want you to know tonight, that

I. Love. You.

 

Vocal Pacifism is Confirmation

Sometimes people talk too much
Sometimes they do not talk enough
Often times they are silent when they should speak
Often times their tongues are tied in fear
Every time a child falls and not even a word flies to catch them
Every time the downtrodden are trodden down and innocent bystanders stand by
It’s time to speak out in love
It’s time to speak up and lift the lowly with our voices

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”

 

 

Falling Asleep

Falling asleep is a lot like faith, and it’s a lot like fear
Every night when I lie down to sleep
I know what should come
But I never know what will

Before me stretches the deep expanse of the night
With all the unknown dreams
Or nightmares

I sit there on my bed
On the edge of the abyss
I know that I cannot control what happens next
In the darkness my mind runs where it wants
As I sleep men can do to me what they want
Angels or demons could whisper in my ears
Telling me truth, lies, or anything in between

I hope that morning will come
As it has so many times before
But this time could be the last
Maybe this time my soft sleeping breaths
Will whisper in the moonlight for the last time
Maybe this time I will wake up in another dimension
Maybe I will not awaken at all
Most likely my eyes will open again
To the sweet morning kisses of the sun’s first rays
But I can never be sure

So I sit on the edge
Fear creeping in
Saying, “You cannot know what happens next”
“You are powerless as you dream”
I know that, but I do not know fear
I have faith that as I have woken before
I will awaken tomorrow

Even if the night holds terror for me
In dreams or in reality
I know I cannot flee from it
All must sleep
All must face the night
Both the night of the moon
And the night in our hearts
So once again I close my eyes
And softly drop into the void

Not with fear at loss of control
But with faith in a new day

 

Understanding

Ever since my childhood
I wanted to be heard
But no matter how I spoke
There seemed to be no words
To tell others how I felt
Down in my heart of hearts
Now I think perhaps
I’ve found my voice in art
My lips tremble and stutter
My music fumbles and mumbles
With written words though
The walls between us crumble
I hope you hear me now
In these stanzas and rhymes
And it is my prayer
That in God’s due time
I will know others
And let them know me
This is why I write
To be known, is to be

Could my voice at last be found?
Could my voice at last be found?

 

 

Itching Scars

I wonder, what does healing really mean?

The scars on my arms and legs still itch from time to time
They remember the bad times in stress
When the sun’s hot gaze glares on them
When the deadline is drawing close and not enough is done
When something rubs them the wrong way
Likewise the scars on my soul still bleed on occasion
Not like they used to
They used to ooze every moment of the day
The wounds bubbled under the whitewash I had painted them with
Each time I would peel back the band-aid to see if they had healed
They would cry out to me with blubbering lips, dripping with dirty black blood
“Please, let us mend at last!”
But their appearance sickened me
So I pressed back down the dirty band-aid and tried to forget the filthy past
But now, the wounds seem to be closing
People say, “Don’t hang out your dirty laundry”
But if you don’t let it hang in the clean air
It will fester in the dark
Now my wounds are airing out
The festering has ended and the rotten skin has been burned away
The blood flowed clean at last
Now the wound is sewing shut
When it is done all that’s left will be a scar
But I wonder, if it will itch like the scars on my skin
Cardio

They say I should run more
Street cycle
Jump rope
To work out this muscle in my chest

But when I look into your eyes
My blood pumps faster than the steps of a sprinter
My mind reels more quickly than the wheels of a bike
My heart skips beats like the jumper skipping over the rope

One glance from you and I am already short of breath
Sweat rises on my brow
And I begin to feel faint

The only exercise I need
Is your love

 

No Words Unsaid

Words whisper in and out of existence
Rolling around in the flickering dots on our cell phone screens
Flying into the trash as the letter is tossed
Falling to the ground as they are muttered under the breath
Rattling on the keyboard behind “________ is typing”
Digesting in the stomach as they are swallowed back into the mouth
Burning as the flame consumes their paper home
Bouncing around in the endless situations in our fevered brain

But

No matter how many words we think
If we never say them, the world can never move forward
A million things could happen
Only one will

I will let the words flow from my mouth into their ears
Stream from my pen onto the paper
Hammer them onto the internet with my keystrokes
I am done leaving words unsaid

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The Ouroboros

Answer the call

Knock on the door

Go in

Shake hands

Sit down

Drink tea

Eat chipati

Preach love

Hug necks

Leave

Ride the bus

Get on the plane

Land at home

Answer the call

Shake hands

Sit down

Drink hot chocolate

Eat hot dogs

Preach love

Hug neck

Leave

The Ouroboros
The Ouroboros

 

 

How Shall I Speak To You My Dear

How shall I speak to you my dear?

Shall I speak with my sparkling tongue?
Embroidering words of gold and silver onto the air.
Speaking words of truth and love over you.
Shall I form a glittering crown of words and blow them like a kiss to sit up your head?How shall I speak to you my dear?
Shall I speak with my scribbling pen?
Writing words of longing and desire.
Etching indelible characters into the paper with the ink of my love.
Shall I compose a verse proclaiming your beauty for all to read?
How shall I speak to you my dear?
Shall I speak with my fumbling feet and hands?
Pulling on doors and chairs.
Hugging your body against mine.
Dancing us in ever tighter circles.
Shall I mold a space of love around you with my limbs?
How shall I speak to you my dear?
Shall I speak with my lips pressed against yours?
Saying nothing and everything at once.
Communicating with that universal language.
Shall we lock our love in each others mouths and breathe our breath as one?
How shall I speak to you my dear?
Shall I speak to you with my heart and soul?
Words spilling from my lips in the overflow of my heart.
Sentences snaking from my hands, the messengers of my mind.
Shall I speak with my skin pressed against yours?
Hoping that our souls would break through their fleshy barriers and at last collide in glorious fusion.
Shall I speak to you with my whole being?
Certainly my dear I will speak to you in all these ways and in as many millions as this world can conceive.
But my dear, I only wish I knew who you were.

Quiet Contemplation

Now out here alone I sit
Is this how I imagined it?
Fire burning with tongues of flame
No other man to call my name
The forest is a lonely place
But nowhere’s better to embrace
The fate of man that’s soon to come
We go alone when we’re called home

 

The Ant Always Goes Up With His Stick

Ants do walk and ants do dance
As if ants were in their underpants
Ants be nimble, ants be quick
Run along this burning stick
Ants are brave, they know no fright
Not even when their home’s alight
Ants will pop and ants will fry
With their branch these ants will die

 

Change

Fire gobbles up the wood
Reducing it to cinders
Effervescent is the water now
Escaping from the timbers
Don’t heed the vapor’s angry hiss
Observe the liquid turn to mist
More free than it remembers

 

Puzzle Peaces

How calm is this space
A small table
Covered in tiny scraps of cardboard
On them kites dance
Fishes swim
Suns rise
Stars shine
Animals run
Who knew that such a thing could bring rest
Peaces from pieces

 

That Itchy Reminder

That itchy reminder
Those many red bumps
He might have been kinder
To spare me these lumps
Now often I thank Him
For scratches and rashes
My eyes used to brim
Tears formed on my lashes
When I looked at my skin
Thought it ugly and greasy
For that same skin again
I wave proudly my receipt
A reminder of beauty
That I always had
Skin that’s mottled and itchy
Is not always bad

 

The Art of Hiding

It starts early
It starts with eyes that do not sparkle in return
It starts with awkwardness
It starts with fear

It’s time to hide
It’s time to deaden the eyes
It’s time to control the face
It’s time to even the tones

It continues three years later
It continues with words that return void
It continues with feelings that are not mutual
It continues with not even friends

It’s time to escalate
It’s time to deaden the soul
It’s time to practice the flat face in the mirror
It’s time to even the heart

It escalates three more years
It escalates with one after another
It escalates with lies
It escalates with hopeless despair

It’s been 10,000 hours
It’s been soul sunglasses
It’s been tears behind closed doors
It’s been practice

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It keeps on
It keeps hiding
It keeps failing
It keeps fearing

It’s easy not to scream
It’s easy not to cry
It’s easy to hide
It’s easy to create another person for them to discover

It never takes off the mask
It never cracks
It never breaks
It never reaches out

It’s just rejection
It’s just empty dreams
It’s just another day
It’s just life now

It gets stupid
It gets romantic
It gets broken
It gets a chance

It’s time to cry
It’s time to scream
It’s time to howl
It’s time to break

It cracks in tears
It cracks in talking
It cracks in needing help
It cracks in showing them a little of the real person underneath

It’s still not broken
It’s still limping along
It’s still a mask, though cracked
It’s still hiding

It finds itself cornered
It finds that God’s ready to break it
It finds that it hasn’t been healed
It finds that it’s loved

It’s breaking
It’s burning
It’s rising like a phoenix
It’s trying not to hide anymore

It needs your help

 

Upside Down

Sometimes people ask me
“Why would you want to go to a third world country as a missionary?”
Why would I do that?
Eat what they eat
See what they see
Drink what they drink
To know what they know
To feel what they feel
To love them as they are
I follow God where’ere he sends me
And honestly
I never wonder why I go
But sometimes I wonder
Why I come back

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At Makabore high school in Rukungiri, Uganda
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At Cicrin Orphanage, Ometepe Island, Nicaragua