Thursday, September 30, 2010

Psalm 27

One thing I have asked from the Lord

that I shall seek

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life

My best friends dad would answer the door

slam it in my face and yell

“Garrett, your idiot friend is here”

then welcome me in his home

we’d play Doom in the basement

and his dad would come down

every half hour to tell us to be quiet

in the morning we’d have frosted flakes

by noon we’d be eating hot pockets

and playing video games

until his dad came down

to tell me to go home

For in the day of trouble

He will conceal me

in his tabernacle

When that day comes

no one will tell me to be quiet

the Hot Pocket’s won’t burn my mouth

and no one will ever tell me

to go home.

2 Corinthians 13:14

Reflections on.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,

on Robson street

she sits next to a streetlight

with bare feet

on a newspaper

rattling a Tim Horton’s cup

when I walk by

I stare down at the sidewalk

and speed up

the love of God the father,

when I first heard

Reverend Falwell

linked 9/11

to homosexuality

I think my exact words were

“that dude needs

to get punched”

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

the awkward man

smells like curry and body odor

stationed himself

next to the coffee

after the morning service

last week he explained to me

how the communists infiltrated

the Democratic Party in 1968

and how the Apostle John

foretold this very thing in Revelation 12

I was nodding off during the sermon

and I know my church values

strong, delicious, freshly ground coffee

but I skip my cup this morning

leave quickly, skillfully

avoiding eye contact with

the awkward man

be with you all.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe

The barista
was cute
I was
not surprised.

“You read that poem
with the Silmarilion reference,
that’s like my favorite book.”

My heart dropped
somewhere around my ankles
but she didn’t notice
so it wasn’t awkward.

When she handed me my coffee
I noticed one ring on her left hand.

I wish she had kept it secret.

Are You Ok?

Graham had allergies
that made his eyes water
people would ask him
if everything was alright
this would I annoy him
I knew this
but asked anyways

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Trumpet Shall Sound

1. A Voice Like a Trumpet

I played trumpet
for four months
when I was ten
I couldn’t quite get the timing right
had trouble holding notes

but I could play loud
and noises like those
are best blown in
unsuspecting sister’s ears

the surprise was terror
I never thought
about what would happen after
I just blew hard
worked the diaphragm
hoped for the best

2. The Whole Creation Groans

the trees clapped their hands
the stones shouted out-loud
but the whole thing was off

the trees only clapped sarcastically
I waited for them to speed into a crescendo
but they didn’t

the things the stones shouted
I can’t repeat
such awful hateful things
drenched with bitterness
laced with profanity

they’d lost patience
a long time ago
waiting for people
to get their shit together

they were disillusioned and cynical
and I couldn’t blame them

3. Come and Eat

growing up thanksgiving was my favorite holiday
my entire family would come together
to eat turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and gravy

but the turkey was never on time
the table would be set
the cranberry sauce ready
the rolls covered and waiting
but the turkey was always off schedule

I’d complain to my mom
“how much longer,
I haven’t eaten in years!”

“you’ll just have to wait
like the rest of us
it’ll be ready when it’s ready”

it never failed
the second I gave up
left the table
to watch football
the turkey would come out
on a platter
with the gravy and stuffing
following close behind.

4. The Trumpet Shall Sound

I’ve never been a competent musician
but I’ve been blessed
with musical friends
with large amplifiers
and an affinity for metal
I’ll be deaf by the time I’m forty

while I have faith in technology
even without space-aged hearing aids
or laser-guided restorative ear surgeries
I have faith I’ll be able to hear well enough
to be surprised like terror
when the trumpet sounds.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Car Rides

Whenever any soul music came on the radio, she’d get quiet. This was not a normal thing for her. And after she was quiet she’d start a sentence with “you know the thing about.” The comments would always be insightful, but sad, reflections on the mixed-ness of blessings.

When the song “Cat’s Cradle” came on the radio, he got quiet. From the drivers seat I looked over and saw his lip start to shake. And the conversation turned sharply. To nostalgia and fatherhood. I hate that damn song and change stations whenever I hear it.

When we were in college, we’d take drives and listen to new albums to stave off boredom. And it worked for the most part. Following back roads through flat valleys we’d stare out at silhouettes of mountains and talk about girls. The lulls in conversation weren’t so bad, but that’s probably because we liked the same music.

Band T-shirts

I realize
I own a lot
of t-shirts
for bands
I don’t listen too

but the shirts
are artifacts
that show
I was once
someone who was
somewhat hip

someone who knew
people with guitars
and played them loud
and never thought
of finger picking
or turning down
their amplifiers

these shirts
stop me
from being old
no matter what
my joints say
or how early
I go to sleep

they are magic
time machines
like Doloreans
or phone booths

making me
hip again
despite my
tapered khakis
and worn out
tennis shoes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Clubbing in January

It was 20 degrees
the wind swept
downtown streets
of all things warm

But it was Friday night
were people supposed to stay home?

The ladies walked in pairs
between clubs
down icy side-walks
in four-inch heals and dresses
hanging just past their waist

Heads turned
and in their minds
this was probably
the result of lust

But I’ve seen heads turn
in a similar manner
as I turned the wrong way
onto a one-way street.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mission Folk Festival

I’m eating
an elephant ear
(fry bread
covered in cinnamon and sugar)
at a folk music festival
in the ruins of an old
reservation school.

These folk festivals, for all their celebration of diversity,
are remarkably similar. The same dred-locks,
smells, crystals, and arrhythmic dancing.
It’s easy to mock. But

with the full moon
sitting above a pink Mt. Baker
and the sun setting on the opposite horizon,
it’s hard to hold these hippies’
new-age sentiments against them.

The band on stage
is from somewhere in the South Pacific.
They’re familiar with things like reservation schools.

The patchouli stink is like incense
as the band sings about the regrettable results
of a great commission that lost it’s way.

It’s a strange setting for a festival like this.
A place where native culture
was systematically destroyed
not more than a generation ago.
And now it’s crowded with white people
wearing dream-catcher ear rings.

As I eat sweetened fry-bread
I wonder if all this is cultural misappropriation
or an awkward form of redemption.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Poets and Prophets

that awful man
made good art
and lots of it

it wasn’t beautiful
but is was an honest ugly
you could see
shit-stained truth
on the edges

when God told the prophet
to chew up and choke down
the word of the Lord
one wonders what it smelt like
when it finally came out

Oompa Loompa

the woman who made my iced coffee
was practically glowing orange

there was a cheerleader at my high school
who had the same complexion

we called her Oompa Loompa
behind her back
because she was a cheerleader
and thus any cruelty towards her
was excused

later someone told us
she had some type of skin disease

this was a few years after high school
and suddenly our cruelty was unexcused

but what could we do?
it’s not as though she knew who we were
and what we called her
behind her back
what good could an apology do?

I tipped my barista a dollar
on a 1.65 bill
and hoped that God was watching