Three Poems: 7:51 am / On Cleaning Out the Car / Michigan Ave

Rilke cautions the young poet to not write about love.

It’s good advice to a certain extent, but from my experience, we have to write shitty poems about romance before we can learn to write about anything else. Part of me wants to apologize for some of the poems I’ve written in the last three years, but it’s all part of the journey and so while I won’t share any more than I already have, I’m not sorry.

Also, I think that every poem is about love in some form (the absence of it, the perversion of it, the love of mornings, of self, of god, of brother, of partner etc.) and so rather than being banned from writing about love, we should readjust the kinds of love we write about.

All that to say, I don’t know if I’ll ever be any good at writing poems. But I want to practice because that’s the only way to really tell. So here are three very short poems. I wrote them all tonight, but each are based off my own journal entries from last semester. In some ways, therefore, these poems transcend time in that they contain both old stories of pain and current moments of joy. If you hate them, it’s ok. me too (depending on the day). They’re works in progress.

As am I. (As are you.)


the surface tension on the cornea is too taught for light
to catch water and the dermis runs with
nerves accustomed to spread eagle sleeps
alone because I forgot your name as if I never knew it. Even more,
I forgot your face enough to see it new.
Esther found a small, toothless smile
and carried it as one would carry a flower picked in autumn and


On Cleaning Out the Car 

Beneath the seat,
we found unsent letters stuck to gum wrappers and
half -drawn monks:
there was a point of reference, but no shadows.

In the console,
we found words about the skin of teeth
(please do not forget the half-drawn monks).
All is shadow.

But we keep them
(the monks, not the letters).


Michigan Ave 
two blinks in the bucolic center of a roaring city
stilled at the glory of a head-tilted-back, upper-belly laugh of
those who have learned that love is aggression
and wait to rest among the lambs ear

Note: each of the journal entries was based on a song that I related to in that moment. While the poems that have emerged don’t completely align with the songs anymore, I still included them because it’s kinda fun.
Another Note: I feel like I’m breaking all the rules of poetry by explaining my process and attaching images and songs to them. If I were really brave and mysterious I’d just post the poems and let them speak for themselves. I’m not quite there yet.
Three Poems: 7:51 am / On Cleaning Out the Car / Michigan Ave

the intimacy of a zipper

this morning the zipper on my dress got stuck halfway between my shoulder blades, exposing my spine. i left the house that way (spine exposed). during my morning swing on the porch, the man working on the neighbor’s house said: “excuse me, the back of your dress is unzipped.” but there was no one there who was intimate enough to zip me. intimate enough to help me put on a dress, but also to put on life, to put on the spirit, to put on armor, to put on peace, to put on water-walking, storm-rising, tidal-stilling faith. to put on the person who will honor God today. to zip me.

driving to work, i realized that i never felt comfortable with other fingers on the pull; i remembered the long gone days when mom said “arms up” as dress came down overhead.

so for now, i want to push my dress together at the back, clasp the pull with my left hand and raise my right arm back over my shoulder to meet my left hand coming up from behind to zip it up on my own. and i will do this sitting on my porch each morning with nothing but the motion of the swing, the sound of the birds and the book of life. in other words, i will do this sitting on the porch each morning with far more than i need, with joy, with contentment, with peace–learning love.

SIDENOTE** I’ve never struggled to post things on my blog until recently and i don’t know why i’ve been so hesitant as of late because i’ve been writing unprecedented amounts. Basically, I almost deleted this thing today but then I didn’t and posted this instead.

I think I’ve narrowed it down to three things:

1. I fear being misunderstood

2. I fear that people read my blog and assume they know who I am or understand all there is to know about me.

3. I fear the vulnerability and potential of being rejected that vulnerability brings.

WOOOOOOWWWWW I just combatted vulnerability with vulnerability. Literally flying out of the state in less than 24 hours.

the intimacy of a zipper

i feel beautiful today


partially because my skin has finally cleared (i credit coffee grounds and coconut oil) and my hair is clean and i’ve been eating well and running lots.

but mostly because i feel at peace. i feel receptive to beautiful things and reconciled to the part of me that is always crying (for you, for my friend, for those gone, for those broken, for me). i feel ready for the long hours of studying today, the long test tomorrow morning followed by the long catching up for the long grad school Faulkner class tomorrow night followed by the long night of packing before the long flight home and the immediate doctors appointment.

I feel present here. and beautiful because life seems to be swirling and full of interlaced pain and joy of things i do not understand and cannot fathom. i feel present in the unseen vestiges of love in me and the unseen swelling of my heart for those near to me and the bucolic nature of morning porch swings. i feel present in the open chord on the violin and present in the sudden fog extrinsic to the warm, hot morning.

I am reminded that i rarely treat those i meet as if she were Christ. I am brought back to this morning when i angrily stared at the man who cut me off and to yesterday when the older woman’s phone call with her father irked me.

I am present and busy and trusting.

I didn’t realize until recently that I struggle to trust. I don’t trust that people want to be around me. I don’t trust that people won’t tire of me. I don’t trust that God loves me. But I am learning. and today feels full of trust and i think thats why i feel beautiful today.

i feel beautiful today

the joy of unnoticed freckles and waking alone 1

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 5.49.50 PMIMG_3505IMG_5369IMG_0266
ive never seen so soft a rain. it looks almost like snow, but it is not mist.  the birds and i rejoice because it will never cease to floor us that rain falls. then i look at the bird and wonder at its voice. sharp, clear, but (like the rain) soft. i have a theory that things only grow because the birds sing.
when it rains my chest feels full the same way it does in that moment in a song when the sounds become mimetic. i have a theory that the primary reason i’m still a christian is because i keep finding Jesus the most beautiful, the most true.(this is grace). today i am afraid that i enjoy waking alone too much to ever share the mornings with someone. i’d like to fall asleep together and wake apart so it is always just me, the birds, the rain. i have a theory that london was so hard because of the three feet between my bed and the window.

the joy of unnoticed freckles and waking alone 1

Sometimes I don’t know what it means to “Love Jesus”

To be totally honest, I don’t always know what it means to “love”.

Today I need the resurrection.

 Each morning mercy is new, because in the waking up I have a choice to surrender or to cling; I have an opportunity to be about the self, or about love; I have a new day.

It is beautiful.

But today it is hard.tumblr_lmbs9vn7py1qbxy5yo1_500 Continue reading “Sometimes I don’t know what it means to “Love Jesus””

Sometimes I don’t know what it means to “Love Jesus”