Wednesday, December 31, 2008

ring out the old, ring in the new

what about what's good,
what's true from those days?

- carry me ohio, sun kil moon


as i travelled by train today, i started writing a gratitude list for the outgoing year. this is a work in progress. i'll be adding more as i recall them...

in absolutely no order of relevance whatsoever, these are things i was and am grateful for:

+ cookie making with sylvia and zoe
+ lying in the hammock with Asher in my arms
+ beautiful day trips to beautiful places: mount lemmon - first time on a ski lift; the desert museum, tucson; Bizbee
+ the 2008 procession of souls, tucson
+ms c's and an epiphany that i longed for a cowboy to do the two-step with but that i'll line dance with those cowgirls anyday
+ watching Matthew teach his kids to play poker.
+ Nadia getting her liturgical sleeve tattooed
+ conversation with that beautifully tattooed lady
+ finding my commitment-to-myself ring
+ Mackenzie.
+ being licked in the face by Duchess Haworth
+ the grand canyon
+ the advent retreat
+ sharing "our birthday" with my soul sister, julie lee
+ learning new games (backgammon, poker, chess, and the gift that was cribbage)
+ that Jayne survived her surgery in one piece
+ the gift of hospitality, friendship
+ that Mark and Sara found each other
+ welcoming Sara to the community
+ Beth moving to NI
+ seeing the scan photos of my nephew-in-becoming
+ civil partnership in NI
+ hearing my neice say my name
+ getting to know Peterson and jazz like conversation that ensued
+ greenbelt 08 - the deep blessing that was julie, aaron, whitni and nathan's presence and their enthusiasm for community. and their music.
+ sharing in deep real conversation and bizarre moments with Sarah
+ dorothy day dark - for testing my discernment and me not screwing it up
+ cathy simon's stage productions
+ late night conversation with Jared & Jaime on the porch
+ falling asleep to Speaking of Faith
+ dinner with Joel Dark
+ two blissful weeks in julie's little cottage...
+ and getting to be neighbour with the Darks.
+ forgiveness
+ my fellow Inner Path alumni at Cottonwood de Tucson. for their deep bravery and solidarity.
+ for the horses
+ Everything is Broken at Vanderbilt
+ a Christmas Day with good friends
+ a knee buckling kiss
+ a night of chocolate porter and presence
+ cross country skiing with my brother
+ no longer having a fear of flying
+ seeing Greenland, 1st march 2008 from 30,000 feet. breathtakingly beautiful.
+ gin blossoms at Hotel Congress
+ Padraig's poetry recital at greenbelt
+ the confetti explosion at the end of the sigur ros gig, phoenix, AZ
+ jayne pulling me from my bed and making me eat on the darkest day the year

and so it will go on...


so much of this year has been about life being suspended like scales, in the words of Gibran. our joy is our sorrow unmasked and sorrow our joy...

i have known the depth of my hurt by the times i have had to pray for compassion to thwart my desire for revenge. too many moments, hours, days, weeks, months were marked by the weight of sorrow pulling at the joy... of sorrow's inescapability...

May 2009 bring a shift in the balance... may be it be known by the mindfulness and attentiveness to the "and joy" that is present in every moment and breath... may i rediscover the greenness of living...

as i learn to trust, may i also keep learning to forgive & live only with compassion for the wounded soul in each of us... grateful for the many small mercies that were known by their life giving light...

there is so much to be thankful for and tonight, safe in the knowledge that one of the cruelest weeks i've known in any year is safely the past however much it grasps still at my heels, and that the future will come what may, i will celebrate the present in the company of some dear friends, and think fondly of those far, and those gone...

goodbye old year... you have taught me much and i am letting you go...

come new year... i have so much farther to go and much more yet to learn...

have a good new year, wherever you are. may you be safe.


Sun Kil Moon - Lost Verses

my song of the year.

deep wistful fragile melancholy remembering that is best said as kozelek-ey pulls longing and anxiety like fraying thread through the veins. and then as tears are choking, hope comes from the shadows with defiance and quietly half-smiles triumphant...

this man has been the soundtrack to my year. has said everything i couldn't on the days when coping is the best we have to get us through... and as has he has done for so many years now, set a benchmark for truthfulness in art that most in any medium fail to come close to... i don't know how he does it but i hope he never stops...

comes from April, my album of the year. not gonna make you smile much with chipper glee, it's not charming, and it's not adorable. but i beleive it's the real deal. go buy it. preferably direct from Calo Verde records.

Monday, December 29, 2008

what half dark, half light place this?

sitting in a bitterly cold dublin with a wifi link working at crankshaft speed, attempting for the umpteenth time to write something on these pages, or indeed on any page...

is the passing of one year into the next an ending, or a beginning or a going on?

it almost seems cruel to have to pass over from one to the next when the days are at their darkest, only just past solstice and lighter, greener days merely a promise rather than a reality...

so many days in this year have felt like this... and if there is one characteristic of this darkness then it is its power to overwhelm... one has to be mindful that it is not all encompassing. to tell ourselves that there can be a time again, just as there have been days before, not marked by deep sadness or regret... that hope is something constant. even when we can't feel it. some days we are called to hope in hope itself and prayer looks like asking that it will do the seeking and find us...

the path out of this valley is not one that can be faked... you can't dress up depression in new clothes and pretend it's joy...
only kindness to the soul truly heals... this damned frustrating practice of daily resurrection, of feeling gratitude at being alive when in shadow, is a craft that needs constant attentiveness... to see the possibility in each moment... to hold this fragile, broken nest of the heart with tenderness... to believe in light even when light seems far off...

this year began by putting my nest out on a new limb, trusting in sentiment that proved momentary rather than lasting... words that should be meant for promises and longevity but used with feint intention... what should have been life bringing left me feeling as much deceived, confused, fearful... so many moments have been a battle to live with compassion over resentment, especially towards myself... to not let myself harden... to find a truthful voice to express painful feelings... i have failed myself many times... and all too often hollowed myself out with silence rather than living in the wholeness of my truth...

my prayer for this approaching turn of year is that hope will seek me out... make itself known... sing only a tune of truthful intent... and that my heart would learn to listen deeply... to mature into protective discernment so that i might once more regain a belief in trust... and find an inner energy, a persistent will, to keep on keeping on... to be mindful that one does not walk alone... and the creativity to repair my broken nest with all the woven colours that i am... that i would learn have the courage to be warm home to myself...

for this journey cannot go on from anywhere other than where we are in the present moment...

come hope. come and come. and come. and i will watch and listen for another day yet...


Monday, December 08, 2008

the promise of Peace

wishing you an advent marked by the expectation of and witness to that which is coming near...

and praying what's coming near will find us and bless us all...

what's on the inside...

i loved this.
Beauty and the Beast gets a serious reworking for the 21st century and the result is a delightful fable.
made me smile with joy.

Penelope (2006)

that's all. enjoy.

Friday, December 05, 2008

simple name and rhyme

Just as F is for Feathers
and Forgiving
and Fragile
Or as
N is for Naming
and Nest

for all that is tender
so here will i letter
the thing that
the birds know the best...

that though L is for Losing
it's also for Loosing
and Loving and Living and Leaves

just as B is for Broken
but also Beginnings
like Birthing and Blessed and
to Breathe...


Thursday, November 27, 2008

just one person in a sea

...of many little people who are not aware of me.

file this under "must see"...

Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York

i could write many things about this film but suffice to say,
this is a complicated story with an ultimately simple truthful tale to tell. and i felt as much as watched this. and if it moved me, it was not so much for the story itself, but the relief that someone could be so honest as to how lost we can feel...

there are so many ways to interpret what's going on in this play. but one is certainly that
morbid fear, depression and narcissistic inadequacy all have the power to swamp the self with a narrative so that the person no longer experiences life as it is, but life filtered through that narrative. and that inner story of loss or fear or loneliness or failure spills out and influences the real life being lived on the outside. and so the narrative keeps being affirmed. and before you know it, real life's over and was never truly lived at all as it could have been. and at the centre of that story is that one cannot see beyond one's own experience, so that everyone else is just an extra, or perhaps, simultaneously, that we ourselves feel like an extra in our own life and have no idea how to direct ourselves beyond disappointment...

for as complex and richly layered as this film is, Charlie Kaufman has made an incredibly emotionally honest film... and for a film about the unavoidable nature of death we all face, and for as desperately sad a story as this is, it didn't leave me feeling depressed, but somehow quietly hopeful, that maybe one day one might meet someone who'll have the courage to say, 'what are we doing?' and hold on for the time we've got left rather than leave...

or maybe that person will have to be me. for, "no one is an extra" in their own life story...


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the smallness of us

got to witness the grand canyon yesterday, or perhaps be witnessed to. kind of puts the smallness of one's existence and what supposedly matters into perspective. we are not even a brush stroke in the scale of time it took for these colours to lay themselves down.

hard to have an ego when faced with eons...

it's the kind of place where wonder meets nihilism.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

if it can be broken, then it can be fixed...

thanks to Brook (welcome) for bringing something i wrote way back in May to my attention. sometimes it's good to see how far one has come on the journey. other times, like now, one sees wounds still raw and still needing mended...

colour me struck that it's the kind of stuff that doesn't get healed in a day and it's safe to say i'm still trying to work my way on through all these months on... i'm fairly certain that compassion for the other and for the self aren't mutually exclusive but i've made a brutal habit of rejecting the latter in order to achieve the former. and silencing that which needs to be voiced if it is ever to be healed continues to hold centre stage. if i have been increasingly quiet on these pages it is only an extension of my silence elsewhere. a lesson known is not the same as a lesson lived. silence caused suffering and silence has caused only more.

so as i make faltering attempt to live in conversation that is not possible without risk, that needs trust & a holding steady where trust has been unheld, so it remains now, as i wrote then:

i'm terrified of being vulnerable, and i have no idea how to do this...

may we all find our way through. and the courage to keep on keeping on. life's too short and the one's we love and desire to trade the uncool with (however painful that can be), like time, and ourselves, are a precious thing.

just a teenage dirtbag, baby...


Monday, November 03, 2008

cast in a pod

Podcast of the Vanderbilt conversational gig available here.

just out of a week long therapeutic retreat. will post more as things find their place. for now, i have much to contemplate and much to work on to put flesh on my vision for my future. and when not doing that am making honest attempts at being as uncool as i can with sheltering folks significant to my heart.

all is well here in Tucson, hope it is well, wherever you are.

be uncool. and if you're Stateside, go vote for change, while you're at it. i feel privileged to be here for this slice of American history-in-the-happening.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

we are folded over

Vanderbilt – Like A Prayer Lecture 23 October 2008

the whole evening of music and conversation is gonna be podcast. i'll link it when it happens. in the meantime, the essay is hyperlinked with sources that are worth your time.

:: everything is broken ::
(an essay of sorts)

It has been said that,
Next to silence, music is the closest thing to God.

And I am here in this space speaking, not as a musician, for that’s not what I am, but as something like a writer-always-in-becoming.
I like words. And more than words I like the spaces between them… the ellipses that speak of the pauses and gaps – the unsaid, the words that fail us… the things we cannot utter… the confessions we dare not make. Our speechlessness… our silence.
And the art of making an eloquent point is the art of resisting what might slip out – of ::not:: saying what we ::really:: think or feel.

Shortly before his sudden death last winter, the late Irish poet and philosopher, John O’Donoghue, was interviewed on American Public Radio.
His interviewer, Krista Tippett commented,
“…Celtic music… seems to express the greatest joy and also the deepest sorrow, almost indistinguishable from each other and yet both with a kind of healing force…”
John responded,
"One of the things I'm always amazed about Irish music, for instance, is how in some way the lines of the landscape find their way into the music, the memory of the landscape almost, the memory of the people too. And that in some sense, despite the sorrow that we've endured…
He went on,
"I love music…I love poetry as well, of course, and I think of beauty in poetry. But I always think that music is what language would love to be if it could…"

So, next to silence, music is the closest thing to God. And music is what language would love to be if it could

Another Irishman, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, violin player with my favourite band, The Frames, recently released an album called “The Hare's Corner"
As the tradition goes, at harvest time there is a corner of the field left uncut – a shelter for the hare. This imagery also speaks to the gaeltacht – those small pockets of Ireland where the Irish language is still spoken as the first language- like a temporary reprieve from the reaper’s blade.
I believe that Art itself can be as the long grass – a shelter. But surely community too acts in the same way – as long grass protecting us from the reaper’s blade…

My dear friend, Padraig O Tuama, a Belfast resident like me, like Colm, a native Irish speaker, and a fine emerging poet, shared with me this gift of a line from his mother tongue,

:: ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine ::

or in English,

:: in the shelter of each other, the people live ::

We don’t get to do this thing called being human on our own… the one thing we have in common is our vulnerability… as Frederick Buechner wrote,
“We need each other you and I…You, stranger who are no stranger.”

To be human is to be unique – to be separate, other, alone, apart. It means I can never get inside your body to look out through your eyes and feel what it is like to be you, just as you cannot feel what it is like to be inside mine and be me. What a horrifying blessing this seems...

At the end of Cameron Crowe’s movie, “Almost Famous”, Philip Seymour Hoffman, playing rock journalist Lester Bangs utters one of my personal favourite lines ever spoken by a human,

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world... is what you share with someone else when you're uncool.”

But this being uncool with one another, this bridging the gap between us seems so elusive, so beyond us… most of the time we are concentrating to avoid, to resisting telling the truth of what it means to be human, of exposing our wounds… and much of the time being human is to feel unsheltered…
art is perhaps what gives language to the things we are too ashamed to say to each other for fear of being found out as being merely human. Or for fear that we’re not in agreement on the being uncool thing…

Music perhaps speaks to the silence between our words, and between us. It helps us express the inexpressible, which is perhaps just as easily called the divine… because that silence, that unspoken is the truth...
I could not write without music. I wouldn’t know how. I know no other way of writing than in the context of being ever inspired by what I hear… It is as if, for me at least, there is a conversation between music and writing…A kind of liturgical call and response…

So that when a friend makes me a mixtape, and there’s a Tungg cover of Bloc Party’s The Pioneers, with it’s opening line,

If it can be broke, then it can be fixed…
then I respond with poetry or prose on my keyboard, adding my words to the conversation – of what’s broken and what needs fixing… and the very act of writing becomes the fixing…
writing is repairing… the very act of placing words cheek to jowl become the art of survival… line by line one survives… to borrow from Wendell Berry, writing becomes one way of Practising Resurrection

Practising Resurrection… the daily act and sacred art of bringing what seems dead to life…

Where does our personal identity end and our religious or communal or creative identities begin? For we are surely all at our personal core at once religious, communal and creative.

It has been said that we are broken and wounded as human beings and that allows G-D to dwell in us, break into us, break us open.
Perhaps G-D is better understood as the wound itself… for it is that wounded part of us that is so often in need of shelter that yet can become compassion for the stranger if we dare to be uncool with one another. It is at least that this God-of-the-gaps-in-us seems at home within our communal and religious and creative selves – seeping out of our pores… in our confessions, our yearnings, our bleeding….

My friend Beth Gilmore told me the other day that a teacher once said of words,
“You know why you call it spelling? Cause you are making spells…”

There *is* a magic quality to language. Perhaps with music even more so. I believe the spells we are conjuring are an attempt to tell each other the truth, that so often we feel like everything is broken… music and art are how we attempt to fix things… to magic redemption…

Art if it’s worth anything at all is an attempt at honesty, that life is both immense joy and deep sorrow and that these two can seem inextricable and so often their combined weight is unbearable… in the shelter of art, as in community, is an attempt to speak of what it’s like to be out in the field under the swinging arc of the reaper’s blade…

We are attempting, always failing and always driven forward by the dissatisfaction of that falling short, to play that secret chord – with its minor fall and the major lift

That divine secret is perhaps best said in silence, and after silence it is music and after music it is our words… music, poetry, prose… these things are how we express the things we so often wish we could tell each other when we are an :: honest uncool shelter :: to one another…
Collaboration is the space where being in art and community weave and where we flourish in the expression and shelter of togetherness…

:: Honest broken art and honest broken community are shelters,
and they are shelters to one another ::


(with sincere thanks to Steve Mason and Charlie Lowell for beautiful broken spontaneous musical accompaniment. performing words without your collaboration is gonna seem a kind of loss)

:: everything is broken ::
(a poem of sorts)

everything is broken...

and each new ending

that is its own beginning
starts in pieces

love ends
heart stops
blood freezes
time on hold
life ceases

we’re shattered
shard and sinew
all sharp edges
of dis-comfort
plucked into
fractured apartness

broken barely standing
from so much
falling and landing
this'll take a whole lot of mending...

like bone striking tile
pieces scattered so far
beyond reach
or will
to weave together

broken like plates
gaping with fault lines
when peace
ends in battle
we left are known by
these creases
in doubled overness…
for folded over
all of me
misses you
in parts

screams are like
as words fail us
we legion
clinging to the surface
for you to come back

We who
Want… nothing
Need… nothing
Feel… nothing
hope… nothing
love… nothing

We, who scratch:
Expect nothing
Get nothing
Give nothing
Have nothing
Grieve nothing
Regret nothing

and we lie,
"be nothing
stop loving
so you'll

stop hurting"

but then,
someone within
“Come out!”

magic-ing redemption
is what the Saviour did…
and surely Lazarus died again
but it must have felt like practising resurrection
all the same

dragged from grave
from tomb
no birth from womb
no wet rush
into gasping air
but dry rasping
like old bones in spasm

“Come out,
come out”

shrugging off shrouds
a cross a threshold
back through a door
meant for exiting

“Come out”

can i meddle with the hinge?
keep breathing?
keep loving?
keep bleeding?
keep living?

for still He sings…
less Saviour... more Demon,
“Come out,
come out
take off the death clothes
and let him go...”

everything is broken
and each new ending
that is its own beginning
starts with resurrection
in pieces


it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah...


something's moving

so. my two weeks in Nashville rapidly approach their end.
this has been an amazing leg of the trip. words like nourishing and nurturing and challenging and affirming and inspiring come to mind.

so by way of invitation from David and amidst serious cheerleading from he and his angel-in-crime Sarah to get back to the page with seriousness and commitment, i found myself speaking at a lecture that was more like conversation in Vanderbilt Divinity School a couple of nights back. i'm gonna post the words i shared in the next post. one part essay one part poet riff on the theme of :: everything is broken ::
the dust is yet to settle and i find myself in a bit of resistance to an overwhelmingly gracious reception. not quite sure where in me to let the affirmations sit in the aftermath of "doing what it is i do while surrounded by those i would want to describe as seriously talented" ... it was a humbling experience and i enjoyed getting to chat with folks after. for those who are visiting these pages as a result - welcome, pull up a chair.

i'm gonna try and pull together a playlist of the songs that were performed to post here. a thought provoking night and what i hope will mark the start of an ongoing conversation within and beyond the divinity school...

in the meantime, i think i may have reffered to this track recently. i find myself coming back to it on the ipod so that it's fast working it's way up the "25 most played". *flawless* songwriting by my measure.

:: live the wish ::


Saturday, October 18, 2008

gently does it

so. this fine autumn afternoon finds me just turned 35 and in Nashville; sitting once again at my favourite table at one of my favourite haunts drinking some of the best coffee i know and finding my way back to the keys... stopping by way of this journal once more as if to practice sitting words cheek to jowl in sentences...

vintage clothing, mural painting with Sarah, conversations everywhere i turn, music on the stereo and staying in Julie's cabin are all weaving together and pulling at threads within me - drawing creativity back up and out... something that was beyond me these past few months is returning -- reawakening from coma that has felt not-so-much like apathy as inertia...

the penumbra of desire returns to enfold me as i keep vigil and a steady calm hold where all-too-often i've found myself spinning in longing and i yet still i find an honest passion walk back in like a long lost friend and wrench me into each new day with expectation... that oh so evocative feeling that one simple touch of lip on lip could birth bounty like the box lid being flung open once more...

it's a heady feeling to be alive on days like these... strange how heady is never so much a sensation of the mind at all but of all the body singing in want... it all feels so close to touch and yet not...
the space between is a thin place... i feel myself wanting to ease and ooze out of my pores... to drip from my own fingertips... to swallow and be swallowed... on that threshold where one can't tell if this is sinking or soaring... the desire for the liminal bothness of where i and you become this e-merge-ing iyou in spite of ourselves...

some things are beyond naming... and these days i'm not trying to do anything but sit with hands open as if receiving the fragile power of the eucharistic bread like a bird's nest...

no sudden moves. some moments in life might be for sliding into...


Sunday, September 21, 2008


ever wonder if you're at the end of the beginning or the beginning of an end, or perhaps this is the beginning of the beginning...

not that it makes much difference to these pages since i've been here so rarely of late but with 10 minutes left on my battery before i give up my laptop and head out to a therapeutic retreat in the desert thought i'd stop here and mark the day that's in it...

who knows what this week will bring. the past will i hope be met with healing and the future find itself unfurling before me with a new sense of courage. walls will be dismantled a little and new boundaries drawn.

am thinking so much these days of what it means to live with an open heart and with integrity and yet in such a way that one is not taken for a ride or a fool.

been thinking too of this line from josh ritter,

the heart has no bones so it won't break
but the point of love
is the pounding it takes

battery is gonna go - this is
the end of the end,


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

at loss of friendship

this has been a year of endings... of silencing... closing down... letting go... departures... absence

there's not much authenticity i can bring to these pages these days... not without honesty...

and the things i'd honestly write are things better honestly said
but the honest words i have to say
are not the words i'd dare to speak

words like,
i feel hurt by you.

words that ring in the silence
echoing back and forth
back and forth
in an empty room
inside me.

this has been a year of endings...
and of silence
and of absence

and, if, when i walked into court
for an ending
second perhaps only to death
in its finality
if there was healing
and dignity
and i felt human
if... then
it was thanks to words
and to real presence

of togetherness
of sharing in loss
and intention to care
of not pretending, and
of giving strength to the other
like a parting gift...

this has been a year of endings
and of silence.
and i am hurt.

i walked
side by side
into a courtroom
and i finally understood
what friendship means

it is not something that
is said
it is not even something that is simply
done by one...

it something that is shared...
like smiles.
and tears.
and truth.

for all its good beginnings
this has been a year of endings...

and perhaps it is not over yet...


Thursday, August 28, 2008

after greenbelt...

from today's writer's almanac...
"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being."

- Goethe

oh how i need that lesson... not only do i fail to treat people as if they were being what they ought to be, i fail to treat them as they are, opting instead for treating them like i perceive them to be... and which all to often sells them short on their humanity and complexity... i so desperately want to run from all that seems fake, false, shallow, & plastic wrapped for a demographic rather than our humanity... to run toward that which is solid, real... authentic... substantive... but the path that leads from cynicism toward compassion can seems narrow some days, narrower than i can tread... most days it leaves me in need of forgiveness upon forgiveness...

i have 3 weeks before i head to the US for just shy of 3 months... i wonder what lessons it will bring... which will be hard won... which will come in the form of an easier grace...?


Sunday, August 17, 2008

from before greenbelt

with appreciation for those that help us through...

finally getting around to jotting down some thoughts... something i have (clearly) struggled and failed to do of late...

the summer, if we dare call it that after 60mm of rain in 12 hours, has been hard but improving... but these have been days of unrest in many guises... the past few months have been lessons in holding steady... and where once deep lows were followed by peaks of overwhelmed thankfulness and surprise, these days are marked by a slower, quieter kind of acceptance that i cannot do this alone... there has been little celebration this time of survival, but instead a close-to-tired acknowledgement that sometimes when we hope, we are rewarded only temporarily... i am mindful now that if there was not the risk of failure then it would not be a risk at all. my heart perhaps feels beaten... and while i am aware of great love in my life, i also sense the deep sadness i carry... that maybe this time i am not going to refind the wild hope i had a year ago... and so we hope for hope itself...

and it is with mystery and the ever present sense of stumbling that i find faith has pulled me through from dark days of lostness that i find myself still being found... still listening for something that might be listening for me...

sarah m and myself have been writing words to one another on prayer... wondering at how one prays when that to which we might pray seems absent... yet pray i do...

if the lab can work fast enough, i am looking forward to receiving a new pair of glasses this week before i depart for greenbelt08. it will hopefully make working on the laptop less tiring than i am finding it at present. i guess i need clarity in more ways than one.

somewhere between grieving and breathing, there is a thing we do called living...

post 'belt thoughts will follow. i hope...


Thursday, July 03, 2008

hope in hope itself

well lookey here at who's got a new blog.*
those who've been around these pages awhile may remember duchovny's last blog (while he was making House of D) was the reason i ended up with a blogger account, which i then decided to scribble in. thus, blame him.

he's also the source of the tag line above - we may catch fire yet - which i stole, from a posting he made, in an act of flagrant borrowing. but what a line.
krista tippett wrote on the latest Speaking of Faith that she is, "not an optimist but a person of hope".

i wish i'd come up with that line too. and i think they are probably singing out of the same hymnal if not off the same sheet...
i hope that July will be a month in which i rediscover my hopefulness. well, that hope is itself a start i guess.

one day at a time, sweet Jesus, one day at a time...


*i did some checking. it's the real deal. probably worth keeping an eye on. the HoD blog was nicely written and frequently thought provoking. although ear plugs are recommended for the comments. there's a fair bit of high pitched squealing.

Monday, June 30, 2008


so begins another week.
the last was one of knuckling down to some hardcore work on the internal world. with that paid off i am feeling a whole lot better than i was. i find myself grateful for those i love and for reminders of why i love them. as the dark veil lifts i see their beauty. but beyond... i feel it again. feel myself connecting with the warmth it brings into the atmosphere.

this past weekend saw the first Corrymeela Summer Festival. 300 folk gathered up on the north coast for a kind of day long mini greenbelt. seminars, workshops, music, art making, exhibits, a barbecue.
i went primarily to accompany jayne, who was working at the festival - since it was her birthday i wanted to honour her with stepping out from my comfort zone of isolation. i am glad i did. i gained greatly from the mental challenge and stimulation from the likes of Donald Shriver and Nuala O'Loan, enjoyed getting to see my friends in the Lowly Knights inspiring folks to dance and was mightily impressed by The Delawares, who headlined the evening's festivities.
met familiar folks not seen in months and encountered new people who left me humbled and encouraged. laughed over wine with dear friends and felt grounded in their presence. we stayed overnight and hit the beach in the morning. i felt refreshed and awed by the raw beauty of the coastline. was awash with memories that i chose to embrace and cherish rather than pretend i was forgetting...

to feel the flooding of the self by more emotion than one can bear recede has seen productivity start to return, and words fill pages.

strands of themes start to emerge - old themes finding new expression...

two points of inspiration weaving with my own embryonic thoughts of the week... affirming me to stay on this path, to follow where my heart leads, to trust my instinct...

today's poem courtesy of the writer's almanac is a beloved one and i was grateful for the reminder...

the summer day by mary oliver...

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

"The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver, from The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays. © Beacon Press, 2008.

and this, totally new to me, an incredible project... We Feel Fine...
you can get a guided tour of how the site works here at the TED site. technology is rarely this beautiful and moving...

your one life is wild and precious...
whatever you do with your one life, let your light shine, make your unique voice heard...
want more in this life than to live it vicariously... want nothing less than the real thing...
your one wild and precious life is a story in which you, and no one else, are both the author and the central character...


Saturday, June 21, 2008

come on Baby, do the Locomotion with me...

depression seems to slow time down. or perhaps better said, stretches and pulls it. like toffee. yet it has such sharp edges...


heard garrison keillor read this beautiful poem this morning. made me think of my father, who is currently in Africa. he gave me a love of trains. but not jazz. i'm not sure if he has ever listened to jazz. i can't honestly say i ever heard it in his company. i've always found jazz intimidating. as if it some secret language i do not understand. will maybe never understand. jazz lures me and yet leaves me feeling left out of the world. without fluency.
the sound of a train has always brought comfort. clackety clack has a constancy. no surprises. no detours.


it would have been my mother's 61st birthday this past week, were she alive. i wonder what i would have gifted her. i cannot remember the last gift i gave her, on her 52nd. strange the things one remembers and the things one does not...


also heard on the writer's almanac today:
Writers are like jealous lovers. I just want you to think of me.
- Ian McEwan

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

grow up

SATC: the movie has restarted the all too familiar critique that the lives of Carrie Bradshaw et al perpetuate a myth that to be fulfilled these women ultimately all must acquire men. hearing that critique again, and a very challenging conversation with a gay man who's lifestyle is polyamorous, has had me thinking about why it is that heterosexual desire on the part of women - in the form of monogamy - is something that can be openly critiqued or even ridiculed. is monogamy a myth?
it seems one isn't allowed to be an intelligent, educated, sophisticated (see interview below) woman and then expect with reasonableness to be in a long term faithful relationship, particularly if one's object of desire is male. or perhaps, you can desire it but just don't vocalise it. men, on the other hand are permitted or encouraged in patriarchal systems to be limitless. our culture is such that men are not expected to ever weigh up the cost benefit of career success, parenting, partnership. can women "have it all"? men certainly can. and do.

and then today i was passed an article by Wendell Berry, which in its thesis (on our current economics and their ecological effects) argued that [American] culture is based on limitlessness...
i was struck by this line...
The normalization of the doctrine of limitlessness has produced a sort of moral minimalism: the desire to be efficient at any cost, to be unencumbered by complexity. The minimization of neighborliness, respect, reverence, responsibility, accountability, and self-subordination -- this is the culture of which our present leaders and heroes are the spoiled children.
mindful of the fact that our leaders and heroes are for the most part male, it reminded me of my reaction to this, which describes one perspective on what's it's like to have it all, and want more...
The Affairs of Men
- one of the most depressing pieces of writing i have read in a long time. on a number of levels.

stephen colbert interviewed the author, philip weiss. in fact i hunted down the article because the interview (of Monday 9 June) was so memorable. Colbert's mask slips for a moment and he goes straight for the jugular. or was he plunging a knife below the table? regardless, he asks the question this guy never seems to have bothered to ask his buddies or himself although he does admit to feeling guilt, which he resents.

boundaries, limits - they exist for a reason. the article references georges bataille. in his book, eroticism, if i am remembering correctly, he writes about taboo. the argument runs: taboo exists in order that we can function as a stable society. all eroticism is transgression. what is permitted is not erotic. taboo is where we put the stuff we shouldn't do that would undermine our stability. so taboo is kind of like a closet full of our guilty pleasures. and it is a kind of necessity for us.

so, we could assume that the breakdown of taboo is that we get what we (apparently) want without such stabilising constraint. to live without taboo is to live without limits. and yet maturity is surely about limits. limits don't just exist to protect the self, but to protect others.

the spoiled child gets exactly what they want, when they want it. perhaps philip weiss would be happier if he didn't treat his wife like she is his mother.


Monday, June 09, 2008


last night saw the last ikon gathering of the term in the black box.

this is the piece i wrote and performed.
the blurb that follows was not used last night and is intended for the ikon wiki, where a written version of the gathering is being constructed as we write.


:: Nothing::

When Pilate asked, “What is truth?”
The man who stood bound and barely upright
before him with swollen eyes and bloodied split lip

“What is truth?”

What Pilate got for an answer
was the terrible gift of silence…


I have nothing.
Nothing to sell.

What is to come
Is not a commodity,
Will not be
Cannot be
Packaged, marketed, advertised, pitched, branded,
Bought or
There will be no free binder with part one,
No special offer for new subscribers,
No interest free credit for 12 months,
It cannot be charged to your account.


I have nothing.
Nothing to say,
Or at least, nothing worth saying…

What is to come
Cannot be written.
If I write – I write out of DISsatisfaction
Every line, every Word,
Is a striving, desperate attempt
To uncover truth
To express the real
The authentic
The meaning filled
And every stroke of
the nib on the page
is Failure.


I have nothing.
Nothing to speak.

What is to come
Cannot be said.
Not uttered,
Not mentioned.
What is to come
Lies deep beneath words
In the place where there is only silence.
The closest we can manage most of the time is
A cry of despair
A howl of pain
A lover’s gasp
The first breathe of air we draw
And the last we exhale.

What is to come
Cannot be explained
Cannpt be systemised
Or made doctrinally correct.
It can only be done


What IS to come?

I do not know…

But something that is more like nothing
Pulls Hope from me
Drags me on when I would give up.
For what is to come
Is not an answer
But a Possibility…


Blessed are you who are at the end of your rope
For you know just how much you need,
How priceless Hope really is

It is you
Who see the man with swollen eye and bloodied lip
For who he really is
You, who have nothing,
(Not even words…)

You, in your desperation,
You will hear truth in that
Terrible silence that is a gift…

You who have Nothing,
You who have Nothing to lose,
You who expect Nothing,
You who have felt
The Loss
And the cost.
Who are empty
Like a tomb
You, who are a cup -
Perpetually waiting…
Waiting to be filled.
You who are without
Anymore words…

You are closer to something like truth
Than you have ever been…


I have Nothing.
Nothing to sell.
Nothing but hope in Hope itself


Silence is a terrible gift.
Nothing… is a gift.


Author’s afterword:

This piece returns to a theme I have explored time and again in ikon gatherings: hope in absence – finding life in spite of pain, particularly loss, and in spite of ourselves.
The starting point came from Jon Hatch, who in discussion noted the idea that writers (and indeed all creative artists), can be seen to create out of dissatisfaction rather than satisfying fulfilment. We write another line or paint another painting because of what we have not yet said – that art is an attempt to express that which is just beyond our fingertips. But we keep coming back to try again. This resonated and so I took it away to see where that frustration took me. Since many of the other elements in the gathering were selling something, and prefiguring the gift we were to later offer those present, the authentic alternative appeared to be to have Nothing to sell, or to say. And of course, that inexpressibility is an echo of our idolatry in trying to pin down the unnameable name of the divine.
This piece marries, and again, not for the first time, my own motifs with central images from Frederick Buechner’s “Telling the Truth: the Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairytale”, which has influenced and haunted me more than any other theological text– particularly that of Pilate and Jesus meeting, and gospel, “as silence before it word”.
See also, John D Caputo’s “The Weakness of God” – specifically, the notions of the “to come” and “hope in hope itself”.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

just like you and I

On Thomas Merton,

"For him the vital religious questions will always be variants of the question: Who am I, and who am I meant to be? In this sense he was representative, even a typical, modern person, whose strong sense of self if constantly met by the sense that the self and its preoccupations are unworthy or illusory. his answers will always involve a pledge to devote himself to an ideal way of life, and this way of life, and this way of life will be bound up with an ideal setting: a space, a place, a destination, a habitation. If only he can find the place where he is meant to be, he will tell himself, he will become the person he is called to be - will fulfill his God-given nature."

p.21; The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage by Paul Elie (FSB, 2003)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

on the shoreline

first up, thanks for the messages left here. much appreciated. really.

this life by the sea is so far so good. still getting a thrill at having everything on my doorstep. enjoying being able to dander along the street for purhases local and organic. belfast feels very far away and i'm not complaining. not sure i can call this a honeymoon period but perhaps better a recognition of the good things about this town. i've given myself a couple of days of nothing but rest and relaxation after the hard labour that was moving week and some hard core work in therapy to get round the corner of recent depression. tiredness and anger that has nowhere to go has left me struggling to encounter other humans so some momentary retreat is well in order.

spontaneously bought a new touring bike yesterday (not exactly the cool retro European style i'd have liked but at a quarter of the price it's gonna do the job) and cycled along the lough with the tea time sunshine casting diamonds across the water. we're enjoying freakishly good weather here in our little corner of the world and we're enjoying it all we can, lest we get a repeat of 2007's 2 months of rain that had no right to be called a summer. planted window boxes and pots with some vegetables and flowers this morning on what my landlord and housemate, the good Father, calls his front terrace. whether the courgettes, basil, dwarf french beans, butternut squash and outdoor cucumber will be edible remains to be seen but we'll give it a shot. it's been a while since i had my hands in soil and it was therapeutic. my hope for the summer is for a simpler way of being. little by little discontentedness gives way to calm and what i'll admit is probably some kind of resignation that life is always gonna feature asshole behaviour of others, including my own, so i better get on with learning how to live with the reality.

right, off to the butchers and then it's time to cook a big pot of chilli for team fury.

be well, wherever you find yourself,


Sunday, June 01, 2008

goodbye to the castle

final posting from the upper th'east side. as of today i'm resident in Holywood, Co Down.

after a 4 days of moving belongings i'm knackered and not particularly looking forward to the sorting out of boxes at my new abode - there is much to be recycled and delivered to the local charity shops. but the apartment is empty and it feels a relief. as i wait to hand over the keys, jayne and i are lounging on the lawn by the pool and taking one last swim.
this has been a great place to live. quirky and full of rambling character. will i miss it? probably. are they great advantages to the move? many. reducing my life once again to one room makes for a lot of extra work but is cleansing - forcing me to get rid of stuff i should have given away two years back.

i wanted to try living on my own. i found somewhere that made me more excited than afraid to do so. and this old mansion has done its job.
this has been an eventful year. the past 6 months especially so. in 3 and a half months i leave for the US again. in the meantime i have a summer by the sea to look forward to and a deadline to meet.

so, one chapter ends and another begins.

a house is bricks and mortar. home is something very different. home is where the heart is.
home is therefore something you can build anywhere you bring your love...


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Matryoshka... by way of many...

And if you walk--walk away save yourself you've got nothing to prove
And if you give what they take you can bet they will take it from you
You're not the same as the day that you came
You can choose dignity or shame
You've got to carry your heart like a torch in the night
Little keeper of light burning deep burning bright in the dark
- Crooked Fingers.

Frederick Buechner, wrote in the Hungering Dark essay, Pontifex, which i am sure i have recalled here more than once before, "...we need each other, you and I…"

As i struggle to pull myself up from that dark well of loneliness (to steal a phrase), which i have also recalled here more than once before... as i try to give myself compassion at a time when my emotional insides try and catch up with my desire to love where i feel hurt dealt - i am drawn again to those words of Buechner's. to wonder what the G-d's eye view of our lives is... the eye that sees the need in us so much better than we do...

i do not know if it is faith that keeps me alive. but it is something like belief that there is always another way to view our lives. that if right now i am struggling to keep afloat, i should be wary of anything that feels definitive, an end point, a final solution... i must remain open to possibility - to that which is to come. to hope. as Caputo names it, "to hope in hope itself", even if, by way of Foy, "Hope deals the hardest blows"...

i have been recalling once again the words of a gospel preacher i witnessed delivering a sermon on the fourth verse of the Psalm 23 in Nashville. it was November 1998, in the weeks following my mother's death,
"Brothers and sisters!" he exclaimed with passion and dancing limbs, " 'Yea, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death'. Through beloved! We are walking on through..."

i remember, or someone remembers in me, (perhaps it is G-d who is remembering, by which i might mean, perhaps that part of us that does not give up is what we would be best to call G-d, that something that does in us in spite of ourselves), that the only way out is through...


It is often noted by those that know me well that I have a curious or irritating ability to remember exact phrases, entire conversations. Such exactitude is both a blessing and a curse. There are many conversations and comments I would prefer not to remember. They keep we awake and wind round and round, replaying a barbed tune, like thorns on the inside of the skull. And there are many words that others would prefer I didn’t or couldn't recall... and i wish that i could marry that remembering with doubt, an ability to not believe what others say, since we humans so often seem to say things which we will later retract, deny, disprove, betray...

One of the (perhaps) mixed blessings of technology is that when we do what we call instant messaging we can save our conversations.
We get to rewind time if we choose and listen in on what we were thinking, feeling, saying, not saying on any given day. this morning i revisited a conversation of a few weeks ago, in which i had written, acknowledge pain is not a hurtful act to anyone. but to try and weave through life without being honest about our hurts is always destined to make us make bad choices or end up hurting one another...
as i read my words, i found comfort. met the stronger me. saw grace in action. little did i know how hard i would later, now, feel the cost of that attempt to live with grace, the attempt to make peace, let go of anger...
little did i understand then that even as i wrote that line above, i was swallowing my hurt and not allowing myself to be vulnerable. to admit pain. hurt. that apparently stronger me makes the repeated mistake of not taking care of the vulnerable me, the me that needs nourishment, security, caretaking...

when i do not listen to that me, it sits beneath, silenced, to be dragged by the stronger me, the one striding forth in the name of love and compassion and grace for others. the one that all to often forgets about me i was before i had words for love, compassion, grace ... the me that believes so passionately in love, in goodness, redemption, so often does too little to nurture, parent even, this more vulnerable me... it has such will, such force of belief it refuses to listen to the child who is desperately trying to speak within me, but who only has tears...the strong me silences and in doing so succumbs in the end to the wealth of grief being felt and i regress back so that all i can feel is that inner child... and such is the grief, i shut down on the outside...

of course there are no two parts, they are one... and yet there are more than two, within myself there are many... so let's scratch that, let's say that perhaps we are like russian dolls...

the largest is the one you see. the present self. the one that faces the world, has a mouth and eyes and ears. and inside, wrapped up inside one another are the many selves... to encounter each one is to encounter the past parts of ourselves...each one smaller and younger than the last... until down there in the centre is that part that has never been touched by the world... down in the place within us where there are no words, where G-d dwells... our true, unbattered, unwounded self... the source of our unique beauty...
each self wrapped inside another has a different story to tell, some are so young they have little language to express what they experienced, no way to tell us what it was that happened to make them hurt so much... they need great gentleness... others need to be allowed to be angry, to scream... others need to be affirmed, to be set free, to dream... others need to speak of neglect, injustice...
in every conversation, in every moment, there is always the possibility that we will awaken the memory that any one of these selves carries... and if we are not careful, those selves do our feeling for us, they believe the past is repeating itself... we need such discernment to be whole humans... we need to know the difference between the present and the past... to nurture those past selves... to love them within us...we need to remind them that what is past is past and that they are safe... we need to let them speak... but we must reconginse that they are speaking about the past, their time, not the present...
but by keeping them silent, by refusing to really listen, our present self struggles to control the commotion... who to listen to, who to let be in charge..? inside there is panic, fear... we become legion the more those inner selves are not taken care of... and for others... well, they shut down rather than face those inside... they retreat into perceived control rather than allow the perceived chaotic pain of hearing their own stories, rather than admitting there are parts of themselves that do not have a clue how to live in the grown up world... who have no control... who need taken care of... who are ashamed of what lies within them... who cannot bear to face the hurt in some of the stories needing to be told...

sometimes we stuff the mouths of those inner selves to keep them quiet - with material goods, food, sex, drugs, alcohol...hedonism. sometimes we silence those inner selves by starving them, neglecting them, denying them what they need, keeping them under strict guard. sometimes we will silence them by physically hurting others... and sometimes the noise is so intolerable we give way to what the world sees as insanity... we will, it seems, go to any extreme to pretend we are in control...

if i could carve in wood, i would build a whole series of life size dolls, one for my present self and one for all the pasts... and stand them in a row, perhaps a circle so they could be witnesses to one another... and speak to each of them... tell each of them what they need to hear... and i would keep speaking to each of them until they stopped hurting... listen to them til they had said whatever it is i need to hear...

perhaps that's what therapy is... perhaps that is what writing is... perhaps that's what these pages are all about... perhaps that is what the book i am writing needs to be about... the conversations we need to have with each of those selves... the stumbling attempt to make each one feel welcomed, heard... to let each of them speak... to not be silenced, to not be shamed... to allow them to sing and weep... to acknowledge that they all to often did not get what they needed... and so often, the G-d eye knows they were hurt by the silencing of the inner selves of others... we are all co-conspirators of our unhappiness by not listening for what is really needing to be heard... health is being in good conversation with the self...

true loving is being loving all the selves in another... of wanting them to be able to speak too... to treat them with dignity, care, nurture.. but when we're all trying to pretend we don't need, that we are whole, undamaged, invulnerable it can be hard to love one another, to find a way to have healthy conversation...

even if we understand the need, with all the self insight we can muster, we can still fail to do the work of responding to our vulnerability - of healing it, living with it, accepting it as being part of being human. instead we persist in making choices that make us seem less vulnerable. Be they when we choose not to speak in specific conversation, or when we silence ourselves and others completely by refusing to have honest conversation at all...


i recall, again, not for the first time, the words of one of a song that kept me alive with its solidarity more than once before... i don't mean to bug ya with repetition... but when one's therapist says, "i love music, it has saved my life", then i take that as tacit permission to allow music to do it's work at saving me too... whatever we need to get through... and here is stand on familiar ground, with one who does not with their art betray me... this is the authentic i need to keep me keeping on... reminding me that i am not alone. reminding me not to be ashamed of feeling, being vulnerable...
What Happens When The Heart Just Stops
so what happens when the heart just stops
stops caring for anyone
the hollow in your chest dries up
and you stop believing
so what happens when the heart gives up
but the body goes on living
the blood crawls to a slow and stops
and flows away
well we got no one to meet
no love we would beseech
we only have ourselves to blame
for everything
there was no answer in the dust
now I'm missing you so much
and now you're sleeping
and I'm leaving
empty handed waiting
and time it will subside and we'll agree
it was a given
there was no standard we could set
and the world it does regret to have to
leave you in this state of bereavement
see I'm feeling everything
nothing gets by
there is a hollow in my chest
a time I won't forget
there is no comfort in the eyes
that put us always to the test
I can't prepare myself for that
but I'll work it out in time
there is a love that flows between us
ever changing everyday
I worked myself up to a crawl
but I'm not fearing it at all
we have no reason left to stay
and that's why we're leaving
there was no answer in the dust
and no one out there to trust
there is a lie that drags us beating
and pulling into disappointment
so you're gone


is it love that causes our suffering, or silence..? i wonder if it is the latter... we silence the soul in shame... and the more we silence those voices within us the more brutally we treat one another... the more we make others pay the price of our own pain we would rather avoid...

we all have fault lines... or perhaps we might say, all of us have inner selves that are broken... that is nothing to be ashamed of... but knowing that and not doing something about it, allowing those selves to hurt others, that is when we have to dig in and do the work, bend into the ground and climb... and we make a fundamental mistake time and again by living as if it was our vulnerability that is the cause of the pain and hurts in our lives... when in actual fact we hurt more when we refuse to admit we need one another. we hurt by persisting in pretending that we are not vulnerable. like we don't need help. that we can get by on our own. this is the human error. by avoiding our own pain we make other's pay.

i did it. i repressed so much of my past that i hurt over and over. gave another my anger. and they too repressed. withheld anger and controlled by passivity. both desperately not wanting to admit just how much we needed care for our inner selves, by silencing who we had been, for being ashamed of being what is erroneously seen as weakness. we lost one another in the process.
i thought i had learnt my lesson, but i let anger give way to fear... instead of screaming i chose silence... tried to have intimacy while not speaking up... instead of saying, "i am terrified, there are parts of me that do not have a clue how to do this but i want to learn how", i kept quiet... the barbed tune in my head is often made of the conversations i never voiced, the things i should have expressed and didn't...

and the painful proof of this always comes too late... when we see what we have lost, the cost we have paid... everyday we humans like to play make believe we are not wounded... and when make believe won't work anymore, we hurt others so we don't have to face our woundedness...

but i believe where there is love, there is no shame...

where there is love there is no shame
where there is love there is no shame
where there is love there is no shame
where there is love there is no shame

i'm terrified of being vulnerable, and i have no idea how to do this...

i'm a loser, baby... just like you...


Sunday, May 25, 2008

all that can't be left behind...

she's packing. in a week she'll no longer live here. boxes and belongings strewn all about in chaotic disarray.

she doesn't know what all this keeping's for. possessions held over in dusty attics all over town for some unknown future.
keeping things for the possibility she'll be needing them somewhere down the line. she'd rather give it all away. give it to people who know where they'll be. people who feel settled. rooted. have expectations beyond six months from now.

she feels the volatility of frustration racing through muscle and vein so that the body never feels still. conflict does not lie without but within. outside there is loving, hoping, smiling, striving, forgiveness, redemption. but inside, where the soul lies broken there is a whole other world... built with broken pieces that cut with their edges of unrest.

someone writes and says he wishes he could have her life... but he only sees what he wants, or perhaps needs, to see. only sees her frame. sees the keyboard. seeing the words. but not seeing her heart.
the fragments...

not seeing her waking in the same state she fell asleep in, silently crying for something that she cannot have.
not the longing so strong it is physically nauseating. not the feeling of absence like a body spooning her as she fails to find rest. not the paralyzing homelessness. the searing loneliness. not the hours spent on her knees praying to find home. not the feeling of adriftness. to want to be anywhere but here. to want nothing but what she cannot have. not the emptiness felt when surrounded by people and experiencing nothing but being utterly alone. not the burden of feeling love, desire, want, need and having nowhere to put it. not the feeling apart.

she is writing. for every message of defiant, valiant hope sends there are many more that never get sent. that speak, cry, of hurt, loss, giving up. and if he does not see beyond her frame, the outside, it is because she edits. out of some kind of broken want and need to spare she writes only the good. the hope. the love. like a gift. every single word meant. but as if it cost nothing to believe.

and hidden, behind the lines, in truth, she lies amidst piles of unwanted belongings and, unedited, weeps...
for the arms she misses.
for mother she cannot ressurect.
for the child she may never birth.
for the intimacy she craves.
for the loss she bears like a wound that never gets to heal.
for the lie she wishes she could have back:
that she was safe in the arms of patience.
that she was found.

she is writing. pretending by all this giving she is anything but bereft.
she is packing. pretending by all this keeping that she believes in some kind of future. that she is anything but lost...