Thursday, August 14, 2014

Please Color Outside the Lines

I observe the show
swiss precision
every actor hits their mark
no line dropped
the tailored words fit well
songs in tune on tempo

but the one beside me yawns
the show is vanilla
without depression or passion
good costumes, yes,
but empty eyes

Please tell me a story
with dirt under its fingernails
sweaty socks kicking the dog
bread crumbs swept under the mat
wine stain across the pocket

show me
something worthy
of trinity split
blood spilt

Picture:  Everett Shinn, Footlight flirtation; accessed online, September 18, 2017

Monday, May 19, 2014

A New Day

Squeeze your eyes tight against the crack of light around the window blind and it becomes a cross under your closed lid.

Breathe deep. Stretch.

Pain murmurs down your right side from temple to tail, a remnant from the miracle rescue by guardian angels when, in your dark rush yestermorn, you pitched headlong down four steps into the unforgiving grey concrete garage floor.

Lay there shaking, spill thanks like a broken rosary, tears bead and scatter, gather you up angel wings and set you whole in front of the congregation.


Declare truth about chains broken and hips unbroken and falls healed and love restored after pitching headlong over twelve steps in your own dark night. The twisting pain from temple to tail as you break out of denial, shed the security blanket of blame and wear forgiveness like a crown.

And the angels marvel.


Squint tight at the light around the crack in your blindness and see it becomes a cross where love pours out.

This is where the healing begins.
The light meets the dark.
Dance on the ashes of your life.
Your life is a temple.
Go tell your tale.
It's a new day.

Picture: personal collection

Friday, May 2, 2014

New Journey

strip away the accessories of life
dog. gone.
sports car. sold.
safety net. released.
drama. dismissed.

stand, naked and alone
breathe deep
choose with care
what to take forward
into an unknown future

this is who you are

courage, come with me.
we shall pipe and drum
chains are loosed by our laughter
prisoners fly free in our arms

Photo credit: Joyce Rempel

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Report on Conditions in Latest Search

I search down empty country roads, around city street corners in the dark, street lights a flat white mockery: "Who ya lookin for?" I look through page after blank page of internet lore, lies and appearances, late night LED screen, URLs that show me everything and tell me nothing. I search the eyes of children who grieve through laughter and liquor, stumble blurry eyed through books required, unable to absorb. I lean into laundry, check pockets, shake out wrinkles, dry tears that never come. I read the children's book and velveteen rabbit tells me you're only real when someone loves you. I watch birthday and Christmas come and go like a freight train at the controlled crossing, arms down, wheels clucking, red light flashing left and right, "He left, that's right, get back on track, Jack."

I sign up for the right to mingle amongst mug shots, thousands of marital rejects gathered and groping in misnamed dating sites that are more e-discord than harmony, looking for someone with tender eyes and strong shoulders. And I, the Jack of all trades and master of none, add to my shelf the latest trophy: Champion Lover of the Not Real.

I read my journals, wander through memory. I find you finally. There. Right there. In black and white. Imprinted on every page of every book. The subject of every poem written by every poet. Standing on every street corner waiting for the light to turn green to cross over to my street. Embroidered on the clean white bed sheets drying out in the Alberta wind, engraved on the leather-gripped steering wheel of the German sports car, emblazoned on the label of every wine bottle, basting on every rack of juicy ribs. Filling up my mind, firing every synapse, invading every procrastinated decision. Tattooed in the deepening lines on my face. Touching my hair. Expanding to fill my body, my days until there is room for nothing else.

And nothing it is. You are everywhere and nowhere all at once. Your silence is my solitary confinement. Who are you? Where are you?

The weather reports the highway is bare and dry. All roads leading home are wide open. The want ads report single white female, 50-something, with aging dog, seeks long lost friend for daily communion. Telus, Bell and Rogers report all cellular towers working with no static. The Bible reports that faith, hope and love still hang out together, but love. Ah, love. Contrary to what you might think. It's Real.

It shows up in the strangest places. When the last jigsaw piece is placed. The last line of the play is spoken. Where women cry and men clear their throats, shift from one foot to the other. Where searchers gather, torch lights raised. Where eyes lock so briefly for so long and the SOS is transmitted.

My religion reports that what I really seek is not you but God. But even God admits it's not good to be alone.

Photo credit: Joyce Rempel

Friday, March 28, 2014


I rarely used to wonder
where you are
what you're doing

The thought follows now
like a faithful dog
quiet, steady, hungry
curls up with me at night
only to wake me at 3 a.m.
scratching at the door
wanting to run amok.

Picture: accessed online

Sunday, March 23, 2014

He Gives

He gives
not contentment
but presence
nothing to consume
pursue or attain
all to receive and embrace
He gives only (!) himself
holds who I am
who I am not
the whole and the hole
within the I Am
enveloped in Love

Virtual Reality

I wake slow and easy on a Saturday. Love on the dog, choose bits and bytes before brekkie, dig through the web to surf, sit around the net warming my open hands to stories, to life.

Stand beside my niece on her first trip to the ocean. Drink satisfaction in the recording studio with my son. Witness jellyfish and whales with Dale. Sing "In the Jungle" with Billy and Jimmy. Mock Alberta Spring with Marcia. Weep with two widows, dancing together on our ashes.

David shows why otherness is worth the hazard and John reminds me there's no transformation without brokenness. Serena shares a cup of grace, that faith isn't about perfecting a behavioral combination - it's about trust. Period.

And I pray gratitude for

  • an office in a spacious place
  • enlarged borders
  • forgiveness found and forwarded

This isn't social networking
This is the net working like a Body
All parts a part
A living breathing
Virtual. Virtuous. Vibrant. Reality
of love, loss, beauty and truth

Good morning friends.
God's got this -
holding us all in wide open
grace-scarred hands
and we get to be here
holding each other
and this dear reality.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Identity Tree

Deep bitter roots
anchor a furrowed trunk knotted
gnarled and split from growing round
old rusty lies and barbed words

entwined below and above
dying bloodlines slowly pulse, choke
from grafted resentment
anger and exposed wounds

but Hope breathes life
shines light into hidden spaces
where Faith gets on its knees
to reclaim this territory, inch by broken inch

Truth digs deep through hard-packed soil
trampled under years of neglect
makes a channel for Love to soak
loosen resentment's tight grasp

Prayer waters the earth with tears
whispers in petition, thy kingdom come
weeps release, thy will be done
and finally Forgiveness breaks free

The trees of the field clap their hands
in every rising branch, buds burst into blossom
begin to thrum the Tree's true name -

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Truth in Strange Places

I find truth in the strangest places.

The back of the newspaper buried in an obit. In middle of a medieval movie cloaked in the king's last-ditch pre-battle speech. From late night Facebook posts by renegades and rebels with long hair and deep roots. From celebrities getting awards for depicting horrible things. And in the stark, screaming silence of an unanswered email.

And though more rare, I still hear truth in tradition: sung from the choir, whispered in flickering voice by candlelight contemplatives. When long-haired music rises like a wave on the North Shore, dashes against the volcanic rock of my soul, formed when the world was born.

I see truth in the sweat of horses over fresh plowed earth. And I stand mouth agape, split open at the selfless setting sun, the clouds all gathered round in glowing admiration.

You leak truth out your pores, give it graciously in thumbs ups and likes, in coffee dates and broken bread, the way you bring the shards of your heart in your unwrapped shoebox and we put that let-go puzzle together again, sometimes with the help of the King's horses and men.

Truth makes its own path. Walks hand in hand with wisdom. It's spoken by old bald men and tall blonde women, bounces happy in a child's eyes and pulses in the laments of colleagues new and old. The next generations, from a troubadour father, pen it in videos, stage and song. It cheers in the come-from-behind win and weeps healing in crushing defeat.

Let the one who has ears to hear, listen. And never, ever, be afraid to let us see you sweat. You are tilling the earth in truth and we will feast together on the harvest.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Think on These Things

Only a mother knows what it is like to wait for her child's return.

Relief that first day you walk home from school alone kicking that pebble ahead of you.

Little did you know that she was on her knees half the day praying your heart would not be crushed

And it wasn't, not really, until that day in junior high, and you rush past her without a word, slam the door of your room. But her voice pries open the door and her arms around you accidentally bump the Niagara faucet of tears, her pulse a Richter scale of shattering sobs erupting from a ruptured friendship.

You start leaving in stages, stay away longer each time. Pack less. You touch home base, eat quickly, gather treasures and go learn from other mothers and fathers and brothers in arms. And a mother knows this is why she raised you, praised you, prays for you, stays for you. Waits for you in empty rooms once filled with your light.

She loves life too and lives it well. But it's never so full as when you fill her sight, walk by her side, share with her your other loves. She waits for this.

A mother loves you first and longest.
Perhaps history and kindness will show if she has loved you well.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Be Still

In the crush of all that is internet
The noise of all that is media
Relentless pursuit of better faster stronger prettier

I stand in awe
of quiet simple gifts:
the sigh of my aging dog
comfort of a handmade quilt
soft snow on pine bough and eyelash
voice of my Beloved calling:
Come away and rest for a while
You are my joy

And I am carried.

Picture: sourced online

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Heirloom Courage

She leans against the black granite counter
over white cupboards garbed in black sweats
under white t-shirt, head still covered from running
in face-slicing cold that frostbites fingertips

A twin to the girl with a pearl earring
she waits with sunset on her face for quinoa in the cooker
pours out her soul, a milk white strand of pearls
scattering across the hardwood

I recover the pearls, store them safe
in my heart shaped listening room
receive with awe the gift offered
try not to be swine

Thursday, January 16, 2014



He draws back the curtain
across a wakening sky
Earth curves the arch of her back
stretches arms of light
to take up the baton of morning
conducts the deliquescence of night
from indigo to amaranth bloom
while I absorb in awe and silence
embraced by a higher love

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

No Gift at All

Curse the plaintive cry
a lava dome rising 
from the bottom of my selfish crater:

"After all I've done for you…"

Unleash steam vents of guilt 
a chimaera draped around 
the slumped shoulders of obligation

Sacrifice with expectations
is a twisted tire iron 
a crowbar forged to pry
compliance from the hands of free will

A gift with strings is no gift at all

We drag down sacrifice to the dust
make it sad 
weary and despicable

It is not 
"giving up things"
but the opposite

I give with joy
my very best
to the one I love

A spectacular eruption
of unfettered worship

(with thanks to Oswald Chambers)