My Blood is Warm

It always surprises them that blood is warm

They expect it to be cold

Lifeless

Dead

When they slice, when they stab

They expect my blood to leak like a long-abandoned puddle of rainwater

 

But it gushes

Flows

It is a life-force

Hot

Fresh

Attached to me

Directly pumped from my heart

 

It coagulates on their hands and they grow angry

Why is it warm?  Why is it thick?

Why does it have weight?

Why does it stick and stain?

Why doesn’t it evaporate like transparent tears?

Why doesn’t it come off without painful scrubbing?

 

Because it is me.

Because you haven’t speared through condensing steam.

You have killed me.

And I beat warm for you.

My blood, my life-force carries my love

And it is hot.

 

Frost

Waking up, toes frigid

Gray daylight stripes through blinds

Prickly bumps on skin

Ice embedded in the chest

Ears rosy, breath cloudy crystals

You too

I wake and you still have not thawed

It shocks – gray stripes in your heart

No warmth, blocks of fear

Hide the sunlight that used to light your face

The tears that once shared

Crystals melted on your face

If only your soul was not frost too

Thanksgiving

When I was a child, the lists came easy

Four or five of the same things, always consistent

Mom and Dad and pecan pie

Stuffed animals, best friends, and a really fun movie

 

Giving thanks meant spouting the list

Not complaining or you’d get extra chores

Writing obligatory lines of gratitude on stationery

Making sure I smiled when shaking hands

 

Now that I am grown, the things I could name

Have sprouted along with me, an endless monologue

But instead of just writing my one thousand gifts

And calling it a holiday, I am now aware

 

That Thanksgiving isn’t a feast with loved ones

Or a card to satisfy a homework assignment

It’s an attitude like a heavy breastplate that must be strapped on

And the process each day can take hours

 

Giving thanks is a battle, the key fight in a larger war

It’s bloody and sweaty and exhausting

It’s ongoing because the enemy stretches like waves on the horizon

And each step makes my muscles scream, “I can’t!”

 

But each new foot place in front of the other

Is less hard than the last, I found

Each swing of the blade hurts a little less

And habits and disciplines appear

 

Because my Captain fights beside me

Gleaming white horse thundering forward

We’re all in a war against gratitude and joy

But I know who’s going to win

 

 

 

 

 

Gossamer Tears in a Patchwork Heart

If this isn’t bravery, I don’t know what is
Entering again with your second little lamb
Trying when advised even though you were the statistic
Arriving at the place where your heart stopped beating
Where his heart stopped beating and yours with it
Bravery isn’t falling off cliffs or high dives into the ocean
It’s not wrestling crocs and swimming in Amazons
At least not for me
It’s walking on your own two feet toward the dark stain of past blood
Erecting an altar and saying, “God I’ll try again.”
It’s letting the shiny gossamer tears reflect the light boldly
And not wiping them away.
it’s announcing my heart is a patchwork quilt of ragged, messy stitches
But it’s warm
It can keep us both warm
I have everything to lose, but my heart will add another patch
Let me hope and try again
If this isn’t bravery, I don’t know what is

– from Gossamer Tears in a Patchwork Heart
(Coming in 2020)

A Kiss

Sparks of light

Moonlight beams

Rushing torrents

Swooping dive

 

Tornado winds

Delicious sweet

Hypnotic trance

Summer heat

 

One small touch of flesh on flesh

Says acceptance

Enough

Desired

Beautiful

 

Tell me you love me

Tell me you’re mine

You think of none other, you don’t

But unless you kiss me,

Believe it I won’t

On the Nose

My hand wavers over the screen

I eye the things calling out your name

I wish I could send them or buy them all

But I fear it’s too on the nose

 

The tomes you could read, mementos to gather

Communities formed with like-minded travelers

Who pilgrim through hardship just like you

Extend their hands and cry out! On the nose.

 

I want to say “No!” as piercing as a scream

And tell you things are not what they seem

But you’re as fragile as a thundercloud

And I’ll be thought of as too on the nose

 

All of my gift ideas and nonfiction books

The self-help articles and encouraging talks…

Is my love also too on the nose?

Or is it simply not enough?

 

Veteran

Where is balance, who am I?

Am I seasoned veteran

Or backwards relic?

Does humility dictate I do nothing but ask?

Or do I limit my reach and my ministry?

 

Does all my legacy mean nothing

If it’s not modern and hip?

If in the arts one’s considered expired, only

After a decade; how do true seniors feel?

 

When I focus on beating down pride

And opening two ears while closing one mouth

Does this diminish my respect?

Where is the balance?

Wrong

Your eyes don’t see what the world all sees

I think you believe multiple realities

How can you possibly twist and turn

Your mirror like it’s a messy butter churn?

 

You are so wrong, I can’t say it better

But not in every little letter

There’s enough truth to fool those that aren’t close

Your cross-eyed gaze won’t travel past your nose

 

So now all I want is to be perpetually right

It may look argumentative, my clenched fists tight

But the risk of seeing the world wrong even a bit

Means I could turn into you, so I stop and sit

 

And desperately turn the kaleidoscope round in my brain

My thoughts obsess like a one-way lane

I’m sorry I’m so desperate but I need accountability

Because my relationship with reality demands fidelity

Timing

Can’t contain it

Uncontrollable

I am not sovereign

Without a chance to say no

 

Trials, suffering, bad news

You’re going to allow

The dam to be breached

And quite a lot this year

 

I’ve never been promised a fortress

I’m not the sequestered princess

In this life

I’m the knight with flayed armor

 

So instead of praying for no dragon’s breath

Instead I pray for time

Give me the meadows, hours of joy

Then do what you will, my King

 

Give me time to polish my armor

Give me time to prepare with sleep

Hold back the droplets when my plans are precious

Still I submit on bended knee

Better, But Not Enough

Insufficient

Exasperating

Controlling

Fearful

Worrywart

Cautious

Helicopter

Mother Bear

 

Fighting

Striving

Bravely trying

Stepping off the platform into the abyss

 

I am a conqueror

 

Yet when I step back

You mock my nerves

My sensibilities

 

You who have no idea how far I’ve come

The fathoms of change and growth

You know nothing

To you I will never be enough