follow the water

Follow the water
to the Throne,
and on dry land
bow and speak
before the Sculpter
of victorious kings.
He who gives sword and steel
to simple creatures of dust,
who creates and extinguishes
the fragile flame of life
with simple sighing breaths.
HE IS El Shaddai,
your Mighty God.

Follow the water
to His feet.
Become a piece of the earth.
Embrace the dust in reverence,
exposing the lashe, wounds
of slavery that have stolen
the flesh from your back.
Cry out in pain
as His tears fall upon them.
The drops are salty,
they burn cleansing fire
within each hidden pain.
HE IS Jehovah-Tsidkenu,
your Righteous God.

Follow the water
to the Pool.
With still-searing scars,
wade gently into healing,
every sign of injury or accident
vanishing from your nakedness.
Gentle hands wrap you in newness,
a strong skin restores your safety.
He leads your fingertips to feel
the safety and quality
of what He has created
to protect you.
Lean back upon His arms,
fall and reemerge from the water.
HE IS Jehovah-Rapha.
your Healer God.

Follow the water
to His Promised Land.
Watch with enamoured gaze
as He smooths a path before you
through mountain and stone,
His blessings carved into the skin
of every tree as trailblazers,
celebrating His companionship.
Take each step forward,
not discouraged
by the wobbly, unsure footing
of the road ahead and its mystery.
Instead, celebrate the immensity
of whole trust in the One
who stands before and behind,
a host of heavenly armies
following His every glance.
HE IS Abba,
your Father God.

Pour out water
upon the hurts of fellow travelers.
As you wrap each bandage,
tell with the wholeness of integrity
your story along the water’s edge-
your journey with Him.
He who grants authority
to chase darkness, arming you
with the fire and heat
of His constant Presence,
He who does and gives all
to pay the cost of your sonship.
He who loves.
HE IS I AM,
The Lord your God.

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to my mental illness

How dare you?
You, who flew through my mind
every time there was a sign
that this Night I have inside me
might find its way out.
You, who doubted every bit
of good news I found out,
and shouted,
“You should live without life
and be fine with your strife
because the moment you finally
feel fine, I’ll just climb out
holding a knife,
dragging the night behind me
to find the soft parts of your heart
and then slice them apart
just like your wrists.”
I couldn’t fight you with fists
because they still burned
from the first time you hurled
punishment on my knuckles,
my hand stuck in place,
unable to erase the thought
that it’s all my fault.
How dare you?
How dare you press me
under your thumb to the point
of numbness and dumbness?
You took my voice from me
and replaced it with the hum
of a flatline that used to mean life
but is now just the quiet whine
between being fine
and going crazy.
You accused me of laziness
each time I slept
rather than fighting with the haze.
But I’d rather gaze at the wall
all day than fall for that again.
How dare you
take the beauty of this world
away from me, leaving nothing
but a few dead leaves,
fleeing from the freezing breeze
you bring?
They say winter is beautiful
but they don’t know
it’s season you thrive.
And I’m in survival mode,
frozen in place
like the face of a computer
playing one of those games
you can’t win anyway.
You keep me screaming
behind this screen,
something that any second
can be deleted.
Just free me already.
I can’t be empty anymore.
Because what is this all for
if I spend half my life
picking myself up off the floor?
How dare you
try to destroy me?
I have a right to my own joy.
So you better be ready,
cause I’ll fight with the Night.
I refuse to believe
that there is no brightness left in me,
that my day has not died
that my Sun’s not dried out
by your lies.
Because at the end of the day,
I’m alive.
You lose.
Each time I get out of bed
I win.
No matter how much you try
to pin me within your section
of little dead insects,
you can disect me all you want,
but I will not sit still for long.
This is not my destiny.
I’ll pull this pin out of me,
and let myself bleed.
I’m not here to appease you,
I’m flying free.
So I dare you
to use me as proof
of your abuse, in fact,
I think it’s about time the abuser
became the muse
to set a new kind of beauty
loose in the world,
for each and every person
to refuse to hang in your noose.
I
dare
you.
Because no matter how many heads
you fill with lies,
you can bet we will rise.
You can’t defeat the ones
with nothing to lose.
So I dare you
to try.

the romantic

When you say to me
that you fall in love easily,
I say to myself-
Oh I see. You’re a romantic.
It’s written all over your face
I don’t even try to chase away
the butterflies
that leave their place in my feet
to tickle my stomach
when you look at me with those eyes-
the only ones I’ve seen
that are darker than mine.
You’re kind, inquisitive,
interested in the intricacies
of the life I’m living.
So I try to paint a vivid image
of someone super awesome spectacular
but I’m too intimidated
to remember my favorite movies.
And the charasmatic flirt I can be
takes a quick retreat
into complete silence.
But you don’t seem to mind.
You quickly find your way
to the unexpected,
wrecking the wall I have
protecting my art
and my heart feels bare, exposed
as my shy prose tumbles
tentatively off of my tongue.
My lungs breathe life to my words
for the very first time.
You don’t lie to me
and say it’s perfect,
but you show me
that it’s worth it to share.
I listen with care
as you turn the pages of your soul
to show me your poetry,
your words radiating
God-given beauty.
And I’m left nothing short
of inspired. The mindset
I’d had that my writing
was something to hide
was gone, because I saw the value
it could have to someone.
Your words call me to come
out of the shadows and say
Holy crap.
I’m not the only one.
You can be assured
that if nothing else
I will never forget that poem.
My heart roamed around those words
for hours saying to you,
I’ve been there.
I get it.
Because I have and I do.
And I don’t know
what you’ve been through.
In fact, I don’t really know you
but it will always be true
that I see your heart.
I just do.
Each time you fly through my mind
I pray you’ll pursue
the radiance God has placed in you,
that the universe confides
its most beautiful secrets
to you like an old friend.
I’m aware that I might
never see you again.
And whatever will be will be,
but for right now all you need
to know is that you inspired me.
You set fire to something.
And I would be lying
if I said my writing
didn’t begin to fly the night
I met you.
So if this poem is creepy
I understand completely
but this is really just me
letting you know
that you inspired somebody-
that I felt something when you said my words are incredible.
And on some level,
when you said you wanted a copy
of my first novel
I saw what I could be.
You found the romantic in me.
So when you say to me
that you fall in love easily,
I smile and think
you better choose carefully
because whoever you pick
she’d better be a romantic.

the poem of 2017

You know what?
I mess up a lot.
and each time I do,
I end up in the same spot-
discouraged,
my thoughts caught in the lies I’ve been taught that courage doesn’t matter as much as being perfect.
But how true is that really?
that a life that is perfect
is truly lived freely,
and not held to the reality
that no one exists flawlessly?
I’m left blindly trying
to find a kind of life
where I don’t have to hide.
I pause for a second
and look at the weapon
I have pointed at my own head,
my insecurities screaming
“Perfection or death!”
led in the lines of battle
by those that said my voice
wouldn’t be anything
but a death rattle,
that what I do won’t matter
that the outcast status
plastered to each of my bad spots
will remain there forever.
They say this is a good pain,
that it will make me better.
So I let my hurts fester
for the sake of self-improvement,
losing more of my true self with each minute just to prove that
I can do it.
But I couldn’t.
I could never go through with it.
And my demons whispered
I told you.
I told you you’re nothing.
You’re a loser,
no wonder no one would choose you
it’s only what you deserve to let your heart get bruised
because who you truly are
is not enough.
And you know what?
I believed it.
I breathed it.
I grieved over my life
like I had no choice but to leave it
behind enemy lines to die.
I was a corpse.
And of course I swallowed
the coarse sand of inadequacy
the world force fed me
because I was basically an hourglass waiting to break anyway.
But on my darkest day
a hand lifts me up and cries
You know what?
Not today.
Today the hourglass flips
Today the corpse sits up
because nothing can conquer unconditional love.
It’s not something to be won
or earned, perfection is learned
when we yearn after His heart.
So today I start embracing
the art of forgiveness,
no longer the victim
of this sick trick,this false idea that society gives
that I need to live giving
a vivid impression of perfection, because that’s all it is,
an impression, not an expression
of my actual intentions
or the precious value I posses in being real,
in saying what I feel,
in peeling back the mask,
breaking the caste system
to recognize my value in the Kingdom.
So I write with His hand guiding mine
because my words may not be perfect but they shine
and they’ll find their way
through the broken floorboards
and creaky doors of my mind
because I’m not hiding
in this haunted house anymore.
Because I know underneath, at my core,
There is more
than my heart’s injuries.
There is security.
There is confidence and beauty.
There is,
well,
me.
And the One who set me free.
So you know what?
Let’s just be.
Let’s let the world see
we’re all a mess
It’s no longer an impression
if there’s no one left to impress.
We won’t let our success
rest in the hands of any man.
We can be a part
of the army of anarchy,
no longer fighting ourselves,
but swelling with pride because
we are survivors.
And we walked through fire,
maybe not gracefully,
because there will always be times
where we break down and cry
or are so tired
we can’t move anything
except that desire to prove
that we can.
And we will.
And we’re not full of sugar and spice
and everything nice
because we already paid the price of believing we could satisfy society’s sweet tooth.
Because you know what?
the truth is
all you have to do to be perfect
is look to Him.

kneel

We watched you kneel.
The whole nation
feeling the desperation
to save the keeled-over bodies,
marked with the seal
from the heel of a
government-issued boot.
We watched them ready to shoot
with nothing but
a crude set of promises,
locked within restricted premises
close enough to believe,
but to kill for?
And on the opposite shore
a man dies standing,
demanding truth,
while you fall kneeling,
trying to steal from death.
And we all watched I horror
as the door to your future
closed with a bang,
or was that a door?
Because I’m pretty sure
when the floor fell
from beneath your life
you were standing on
Nicaraguan soil.
On the ground of those
that have toiled for years,
poverty sending them
searching for spoiled food
in a dump.
Sifting through junk
and broken promises,
pushing aside the lump
in their throat
so many times that when
they bump into happiness
they assume it’s fake.
And after all he’s taken
now it’s you,
just trying to make peace
from terror, your only error
was caring
and how dare they touch you
when you are just sharing
the care you are paying them
to learn?
It’s not fair
that you died
kneeling.
And a whole people cried for you
tears of blue and white
their sight no longer blurred
by the hope of the things
he might do, because
these people have might too.
And we are through
with kneeling
next to people like you,
because there is only
One God
we bow to.
Even when we’re surrounded
because we here the sound
of this nation’s heart pounding,
pumping the blood of
redemption,
and you are not an exception.
You will not die in vain.
And he may say that your life
meant nothing,
but we know it meant
everything, severing
the bonds of fear
to draw near to those
that needed it, those
bleeding injustice
into the street, beaten,
which no one to feel
for their heartbeat but you.
We watched you kneel
to heal this country.
So for you
we will stand,
flag in hand,
we are taking back our land
because there is only
so much this man can do before
truth hits him in the face.
You life was not a waste.
Because this country changed,
when we watched you kneel.

Dedicated to the sixteen Manguan medical students and Bluefields journalist, Angel, that died in the April 2018 Nicaraguan political protests. You are not forgotten.

stop: an ode to those who care

Stop.

Just for a minute.

I know we can’t

slow down for long.

There’s too much wrong

with the world,

throngs of people

needing to be freed,

refugees, torn families,

desperate pleas and

hungry yells, and

you are good

for helping.

For ringing warning bells

in the ears of those

that don’t fear

the loss of innocent lives.

You are good for striving

for a life that is better.

We need more of your kind.

But just for right now,

Stop.

Look around.

The world is not

a turning tragedy,

empty of beauty,

just yet.

The fact that you met

me here at this poem,

this moment,

is proof of that.

Can’t you see that beauty

flows out of the cracks

of the low places?

Can’t you see that the day

does not race to the end

like we do,

but chases the night

with the flight toward summer?

So stop

and wonder

at the thunder.

Not just of the sky,

But inside your mind

when you feel something

winding up to strike,

the lighting

of attraction,

of passion,

of something about to happen.

That’s beautiful.

It’s beautiful

that we feel.

It’s beautiful how trees

flirt with the sky,

are tickled by the light,

they giggle and sigh

as the night leads them

to rest,

like a pesky mom

telling the first boy

you ever kissed,

“It’s time to go home!”

So stop

and roam among the flowers.

Receive the healing power

of passing the hours in

Creation,

or the elation we feel

at the little things:

the only hole-in-one

on a mini-golf date,

or a late night waiting for

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan

to finally find each other,

the whines and creaks

of an old house in the wind,

that made you frown

at first,

but now you can’t sleep

without them.

Just stop.

Drop everything

and run sometime.

Play tag with the sun.

Get your face and hands filthy

and let a taste of childhood

heal your wilting soul.

Then nestle in tranquil waters

listening to the lilting songs

of our tilted universe,

as it rehearses

the next day’s mercies-

a cold soda pop,

a phone dropped

but not broken,

a free bus token,

a sweet-smelling lotion,

the motion of the sea

you hear from within

that shell you found

as a kid.

And I know it doesn’t always feel

like it, but in those moments

this place isn’t hell yet,

it’s almost paradise.

So stop,

and memorize the lines

of each human face,

don’t let sorrow erase

the amazement you feel

when goodness claims

a moment of fame.

Let the rain fall

on your picnic,

because close by the flames

licking at the base

of a mile of tall trees

are put to bed.

Or with every red light

you get stuck behind,

be reminded

that another precious human

making poor decisions

could have passed by

just in time

to crash you into

that longed-for green light.

The Universe

and The One In Charge

are protecting each

beat of your heart.

So stop and learn the art

of earning a smile

that hasn’t been out for a while

or enjoy a mile walked

in someone else’s shoes

We choose how we see

the bruises

on another person’s soul.

We can decide that the world

is cold and ruthless-

useless in the realm of

beautiful things.

Or see each human

as a miracle.

Stop.

And realize life is short.

We can spend it trying to

sort out the universe, or

we can stop in the

King’s courts first.

He calls to those who thirst

for something better.

Because He met each

bright and beautiful thing

as it arrived.

We are not meant

to live our lives

trying

and trying

and trying.

Surviving in a place

that’s just a home for the dying.

The human race

was made to thrive.

And only He is wise enough

to help us heal them.

Stop

and feel His presence.

Sense His hurt for the nations,

and then feel His transformation

from a spirit of devastation,

to a Warrior of Joy.

We will not be Darkness’s

toy soldiers.

We don’t have to carry

the weight of the world

on our shoulders.

So stop trying.

Live your life past sight

because everything is not alright

but

everything

is

beautiful.

So

change the world.

But keep curled

around your finger

a reminder

to stop

And get caught up

in the ecstasy

that people like you have sought

for years, let your tears

help you find Him.

Because in the end,

you fought.

But once in a while

you took the time

to stop.

peels

a list of places I have slept

a plane
a car
a train
a bench
a field
a gravel path
a block of cement
a doctor’s office
a destist’s chair
a desk
a kitchen floor
a yoga class
a church pew
a movie theater
just standing

places I cannot sleep

my bed
next to people I love
anywhere silent
where my sadness
has no one to fight