Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas in the Northwest

[cheesiest Christmas song ever]

it drizzled

then hailed

then poured

I sipped coffee

from an oversized mug

wrapped myself in a comforter

and listened to rooftop percussion

over-top the Charlie Brown Christmas album

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another Christmas Poem

[this poem is the result of a snow day and Christmas music. Like musicians, my standards for Christmas material are somewhat lower than non-seasonal material]

The waiting is the hardest part

but then again

it is the only part

or at least

the only part we’ve seen

We like to remind ourselves

that we already have

the thing we’re waiting for

and that this is somehow

a comfort helping with patience

It’s like someone

wrapped up a refrigerator box

then told us

how everything we’ve ever longed for

is in that box

describing the contents

in excruciating detail

And this box

has been wrapped and waiting

for two millennia

and we’re stuck

waiting for a day

undisclosed to us

when we get to unwrap it

So every year

we practice

our waiting and unwrapping

as we remember

when the gift

was first placed under the tree

The Necessity of Long-Johns

my loins are freezing

I’ve got plenty of wool

cotton, and poly-cotton blends

protecting my torso

from the coldest wind

in two years

but my legs

are on ice

with only

a tough layer

of blue denim

between skin

and the elements

forgetting to wear long-johns

was a regrettable mistake today

Monday, November 15, 2010

Psalm 56:3

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

When I was four

my Christian preschool

taught us bible verses

we’d memorize

for gold stars

They taught us

Psalm 56:3

King James Version

the first verse

I ever learned

On a picnic

with my family

at the park with

a dragon fountain

I wandered off

up a tree

got stuck

Unable to move

up or down

my parents not around

just me

in a tree

I started to cry

mumbled to myself

the memory verse

and was unstuck

That was my conversion

when I learned

God was the one

I could trust

when I was afraid.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Daniel 3:22-23

Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

As a Seahawk fan

I’m used to things ending badly

seeing the glimmer of victory

swallowed up in the inescapable jaws

of ineptitude and failure

leads squandered

come-backs falling short

penalties, fumbles, and interceptions

dramatic games won

by last second touchdowns

make for good TV

but are hard on my heart

. . .

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

were thrown into a fiery furnace

but the son of God came down and

protected them from the flames

this story and Johnny Cash’s “The Ring of Fire”

come up often when they describe their relationship

as if inescapable flames were romantic ideals

they are constantly about to break up

or about to get engaged

with wild swings between the two poles

even if the story ends at an altar

it will be hard to convince me

it was a happy one

. . .

Every Thanksgiving

people burn their house down

because of unfortunate mistakes

while deep-frying their turkeys

I love fried food

but I prefer to leave it

to the professionals

at McDonalds or KFC

because grease that hot

makes me nervous

I used to clean those things

when I worked at a cafeteria

I know what it feels like

to get burned by grease

several hundred degrees hot

I prefer to cook with crock-pots

set on low for twelve hours

until the flavors are mingled

the vegetables are soft

the meat is falling apart

all with a very low risk

of getting burned.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Psalm 82

Reflections on an Election

God takes His stand in His own congregation;

He judges in the midst of the rulers.

How long will you govern unjustly

And show partiality to the wicked? –Selah

Vindicate the weak and fatherless;

Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.

Rescue the weak and needy;

Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.

It’s been a long time

proving the same point

over and over again

people with means

don’t care for

those without means

and we can march on national holy sites

hold signs and chant slogans

we can vote out the corrupt

but the ones who take their place

will become just like the ones they replaced—Selah

If our hope is in voting booths

legislatures and the oval office

our hope is dead

in three thousand years

nothing has changed

because those who govern

care more about keeping power than

taking care of those in need

Rise up, O God, govern the earth,

for all the peoples are your possession.