A Kingdom

There are simply too many things about which to write. I had an entry all planned out about stories and heroes and heroines – its an unfinished memoir/something-of-a-revelation that I began a while ago and merely had to finish and post. But, here I sit in a large, smelly warehouse full of wooden ramps and skateboarders with my books of poetry and fiction and the weight of a failed test impeding on my mental function and millions of other stories and thoughts mill about and make my fingers itch to write them. So, the other post will be stowed away for a day less full of eager words and I will release these ones to meander about spaces much larger than the tangled, wide-open web that is my mind.

There is an odd infusion of life happening now – a strange convergence of a great many unrelated, yet intertwined things that are nearly enemies, yet exist now in contented peace. Even the air in this large, simple space is contradictory. It’s crisp, clean – the kind of air easily breathed – the kind that is cold, but doesn’t necessarily beg to be somehow different, warm. This is my favorite kind of air. It’s the air that fills large, old houses in the winter, the air that whisks above the ground on early autumn mornings before the sun has come to bring change. It’s waking air, clean air, new and wise air, it is writing air. Still, I don’t like the air here because it carries the unwanted stowaway that is mildew and sweat. It is as if this lovely, treasured air accidentally slipped through a boys’ locker room on its way here and the locker room air clung on and would not be shaken – as if the glittering, golden thing that is my favorite air had unintentionally brought onto itself a grey, grimy swirl.

There is music carried on the same air, thought it is only a somewhat more melodic din and clatter added to the quiet roar of skateboards and their riders gliding over every wooden surface available. It sounds almost as if I’m siting above a den of lions, roaring and rattling the chain-link fence around them. There is a rhythm to the skaters – a silent, invisible conductor stands and moves his arms, now you, now you, now you, so the sound fades in an out like waves, so the lions roar like the ocean and not in unrestrained chaos.

My mother and I sit on two metal chairs that are situated on the edge of a balcony, a few feet away from a heavy metal fence, they are a shade of something-like-tan-only-worse and as beat up as the floor they weigh down. We sit there surrounded by journals and books of poetry and fiction and memoirs and beauty. It’s as if we were queen and princesses, looking down on the rest of the warehouse as if it were our kingdom, searching now and then, for a small boy dressed in black who is trying very mightily to tell the story that he is worth watching, worth being around – and he is. He is my brother, hypothetical prince of this odd kingdom; and it is an odd kingdom. It is a kingdom whose supposed rulers are nearly the opposite of it. She reads aloud to me, the queen, and I can almost hear the graffitied walls around us curiously proclaiming this does not belong here, but it is not unwelcome. As if they are unsure of what to do with us, yet they want something of what we bring, something of what we are. We are a stroke of golden and warmth and lavender in the muddled, sweat-smelling air. There is nothing more or less glorious about us than the rest of the kingdom.

The skateboarders fly – I swear it’s true. They fly on the ground. I didn’t think it possible until I saw it, but they do. Their clothes whip about them, their arms rise and fall, they look weightless and free – they fly, and that’s glorious. Even the ragged, scarred walls, the rancid air – they are glorious – longing to burst forth with life. It reminds me of another kingdom, an infinitely more glorious one – things that are contradictions just in their being, existing purposefully, peacefully, beautifully together; a silent, invisible conductor ushering rhythm into the chaos, orchestrating an extravagant, simple, breath-taking song; people who fly, free, on the ground; people who just by their living awake something long still inside of people on the fringes, call the unwanted, unloved to curiously proclaim this does not belong here, but it is not unwelcome.

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My Diabolical Plot for all Libraries (and another untitled poem)

Sitting amongst a plethora of things so lovely as books, one would think that I would be perfectly content and happy and at peace. I am not. In fact, I’m sick. I believe I may be sick aside from the books, but ever since I sat down amongst them, I’ve been restless and achy and a pain has made itself known in the pit of my stomach. I sit in a library, an entire building full of books, and none of them are real, true books. It makes me want to weep for all of the people that must come here and read these worthless pages seeking something to fill their time, or even deeper things. It is all complete trash, every page, and there are millions of them.

I’ve thought multiple times in the past hour or so of burning the whole thing to the ground. I imagined myself retrieving the few books worth saving from the sickening shelves and pouring kerosene over all the rest, then running outside to hit it with a flamethrower, watching in pleasure as the whole thing burned like that Roman library so long ago. It sounds twisted and villainous, I know, but truly it would be a heroic act – ridding the world of one worthless, mangled library at a time. I’d rebuild them, of course, and fill them with real wooden bookshelves- the kind with rolling ladders attached. And on the shelves would be real books full of words that push back the darkness. And in the corners would be large, old chairs that swallowed you whole in the most delightful manner as you devoured the book in your hands. And there would be fire places and lighting other than florescent and it would smell like a library – and the books would have worn covers – all how it should be. And coffee. There would be coffee and tea, both in giant mugs that fit snugly in one’s right hand so that the left one is free for turning pages, still there is always a warm beverage seconds away from slipping down one’s throat, creating a toasty glow that in its mere existence invokes a sigh of contentment. That is the way a library should be, and the place in which I now sit is no library indeed.  

~~~

(another) Untitled Poem

Night is so dark, so cliche,
It closes each day,
Brings to each home quiet rest,
And we take much for-granted,
That it will come falling
In place of the sun brightly set.
And most come to it heavy,
And some come to it ready
To shut down their minds and be still,
But I come to it waking,
with wide-eyed excitement,
For night’s when my mind roars to life
and the creatures inside it,
can no longer hide,
they wake up, roam about, have parades.
Then my pen takes to paper,
like a boat to the water,
on the sea of my soul we do sail,
and sometimes it’s pleasant,
and sometimes tempestuous,
and most times I’m sick o’re the edge,
but none of this matters,
for life ends up splattered
all over each page of this girl.
So, night is adventure,
not mundane,
not empty,
not slow,
and not to be greeted
with anything less
than high sails,
high hopes,
and strong pen.

Emily Dickinson and I walked into Starbucks

It’s a funny thing, Starbucks. It claims to be a coffeehouse. It greets you upon your entering with the deep, earthy, buzzing smell that boasts of a coffeehouse. It looks somewhat like a coffeehouse. In rare slow hours it sounds like a coffeehouse with its slow jazz or recently “discovered” musician drifting lazily over the scream of the espresso machines and the drone of contemplative people. And yet, there is something very different between Starbucks and a true coffeehouse. The furniture matches, the espresso is so-so, and the merchandise is pushed as much as the atmosphere, all of these contributing factors in the nearly undefinable gap between real coffee and Starbucks, still, there is something more than this. Starbucks is a place for business meetings and social gatherings. Starbucks buzzes, coffeehouses hum. The sacred air that coffeehouses hold which causes their visitors to keep an unspoken vow of library-like reverence is sorely missing from Starbucks and in its place, boisterous life. All of this, of course, is not bad. No, I quite like Starbucks thank you very much, I merely feel that is important to recognize that difference – the difference between that local haven of artists, students, philosophers, musicians, bibliophiles, dancers, and writers alike and that local meeting place of philanthropists, CEO’s, social beings, stay at home moms, and small business owners – the difference between the place of staying and pontificating, and the place of in and out as quickly as possible, unless otherwise planned. I had planned otherwise. I am not an “in and out” kind of person. I like to sit and soak in the atmosphere so that when I emerge, I carry with me the wafting scent and idea of the place I’ve left behind.  There truly is a lovely thing about the life bubbling throughout Starbucks this morning, spilling from person to person. There is a tragic something empty about it too – like a jazz song rippling through the steadily marching morning with only a brass harmony, and no strings or real melody; only pieces of a complex and beautiful puzzle. I thought about this for a while and came again to the conclusion that we are tragically beautiful people, who, with Jesus alone are whole and full and a meaningful harmony.
~
Emily Dickinson and my sister are my companions. My sister sits in a far off chair, sipping her coffee and writing in her journal, feeling and looking very grown up and important. I’m left to smile at the thought of her and her lovely mind and turn to Emily for companionship. She’s good, thought-provoking company, Emily Dickinson. I’ve read the first 15 or so poems in her book at least 5 times a piece and still they are lovely little puzzles – riddles to be pondered and unwoven until they lay plainly in front of you with at least a hundred different possibilities and answers. Reading Emily’s poems is peeking into the mind of one who sees the world as entirely not the same as everyone else – a wonderful, story-ful, sparkling, sorrowful, and entirely real place. Peering into this mind, I feel both very alive and very hopeless. Hopelessness comes from the wonderment at how one could see everything so poetically, capture it so beautifully. I feel that even she doesn’t know how she does it; it’s simply Emily and there is no rhyme, reason, or pattern to follow. I think Emily would frequent both Starbucks and coffeehouses; the former for writing, the latter for observing the world and its people through that lovely lens of hers. I have this philosophy that were I to sit with her amongst coffeehouses and Starbucks’ and parks and some splendid old house, those wonderful pieces of her that fall into her poems with such ease would seep from her to me. This is why Emily Dickinson and I walked into Starbucks this morning.

An untitled poem – the first, most likely, of many

Here is where we find ourselves,
Color in the midst of a grey sky –
It’s true too, when the sky is this way,
The world falls into dismal state,
We’re left to either submit,
Melt into the grey,
Or be like you and I today,
Defiant in our vibrant state.
And we are,
don’t you see?
The population looks
To you and me –
don’t stop.

 

The Purpose

Here is where I had planned to explain this blog – or, whatever it is, I don’t like the words “I have a blog,” they sound cliché, and I have a complicated relationship with cliché, so it’s best that I avoid it – but I have no actual idea what on earth I am explaining, nor how to explain whatever it is.

I like to be heard, really. I like people to read the things that I write and tell me how lovely they are.That’s the human truth of the matter. This thing, that for the sake of ease, I suppose I will call a blog, is so that people can read what words I have and catch from them pieces of who I am, and perhaps see from those pieces who they are, and most gloriously, perhaps even who God is. For are we not made in his image? Does this wonderful truth not mean that as we begin to discover who we really are, we must go to God to see that. And lovelier still, that as we begin to discover who we really are, we begin to see who God really is. It’s a complicated concept that could be picked at and debated over and yelled about for hours, but I am not here to yell – not today anyway – I am here to say “hello.” I am here to say, “hello, I am human. I am human and I am seeking God and God loves me. And this is a place to seek him outloud, and to be human outloud, and to be loved outloud, and to find beauty in all of it-” join me, fellow humans, in search of the Beauty, Love, and Truth that is God – the Beauty, Love, and Truth that we are meant to see, partake in, be part of, be manifestations of, sing, write, dance, shout, run, know, adore.