Saturday, October 01, 2011
memory of what it once was - and will again be one day.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Artistic efforts in the avant-garde vein often sound much cooler than they end up being in reality. I think of Minneapolis' foray into a nuit blanche (all-nighter) at the beginning of the summer, which vividly described in advance a number of installations that a potential festival-goer could experience. Who wouldn't be intrigued by a "Sewer Pipe Organ" or "Panelectric Dream Streams"? Armed with a picnic, schedule, and short nap, Karl and I set out for a night of exploration.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
A memory. Me, a gangling kid in wool socks, laboriously shuffling around the beige shag carpet. My little brother, too. We worked up a bodily charge, then barely touched fingers, felt the spark leap, squealed with delight. Under the same charge, many times more powerful, soldiers in the desert lean over and puke.
The difference is the vast quantity of sand and the arid climate air. Dry particles lift easily off the ground, whipped by the wind. They rub together, creating a charge. Once the process of friction begins in earnest, the electrostatic field draws yet more sand up into the fray. Suspension of density. This continues and billows into gigantic, cloud-like formations, sometimes reaching two miles into the sky. Two miles. In this electric atmosphere, ungrounded vehicles being refueled will explode, the online Army Guide to the Desert informs me. People become nauseated, but they can drag a cable behind them to offset the negative charge.
They are only tiny grains leaping and dancing, technically "saltating" (L. saltare). But in a matter of hours, the whole topography of the desert can change. On March 25, 2011, a massive sandstorm in Kuwait prompted the photo above and a flurry of shaky cell-phone clips on YouTube of the event. Go and watch a few, and just try to separate heaven from Armageddon.
"Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. " Ezekiel 38:9
"And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." Luke 27:28
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Cisterns dried up in tiredness.
I tell all the old tales to myself,
Awaiting the return of a king
He who rides through deserts
To set me completely free, indeed.
I believe already, help my unbelief.
For all has waned to a standstill,
Caught in unmoving, restless time.
Perhaps a chance to firm feeble knees
And put feet straight on broad path
But there's no lifting power left in me.
Listless, I scribble many words
For the simple illusion of progress,
To keep the plot moving forward.
But inwardly I still groan, forlorn -
When will life have taste again?
Without vision I would perish here -
Lead me to the Rock higher than I.
Friday, April 08, 2011
Warm in the prickly heart
And inflames no more
Bare my soul and an arm
Swollen and tattoo-crossed
Self-made crown of thorns
Over the sin of my forefathers
Rage seeps from the bones up
Spreads its toxic fever bubble.
Try to suppress the humors deep
And the hidden tumor will burst,
Break the lips and shatter
On a unrelated but fated day.
To sublimate only serves to
Silt the reddish ire in the veins
Deeper ore still and unreachable.
Claw at the pain but cannot
Scratch away the inky deeps
It seeps into the life streams.
But there is another choice.
To see another's blood spilled
And split the ground with joy
Uprooting the old evil paths
That run me through and through.
Redeeming me from mark of Cain
When folly quits to stir.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Yeah, don't read into the question.
That's so weird, I was just thinking about that,
But I was thinking, what it's okay with me, flirt with life, I'm sure-
She was very quiet.
Three days of detox
I think that's a powerful experience – I wrote right back.
And so, I'm like
I don't know
We can talk about it any other time but now.
That's what you said the last time.
You would have been in serious trouble
See ya, hey, thank you
We're gonna hang out
It's been a while
It's been an hour.
Monday, April 04, 2011
when soundless lips
wrenched wide open
mouth again and again,
i want to understand.
would you show me
the fulness of your plan,
just let me read it all,
straight from your eyes,
as a man speaks to a friend?
but you know my frame
maybe this wracking pain
is but the backside of glory.
who can bear it up and live?
i beg to see his face
do i know what i ask?
but he hides me instead
in the cleft and shields me
from a certain death
and still holds me near.
lord, i won't complain anymore
when your love covers me.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
the dream and the hand of God
having labored an eternal hour long
upon my unswept wilderness.
i lay my body in a grave of sand
let my stormworn soul settle still.
then he comes, traces in the dust
ciphers of mercy i strain to understand.
why do they lie behind my memory
once morning beams light my eyes?
maybe a secret name to be given,
or a someday body to be risen,
will hold the imprint of very good.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Last weekend, a sabbath from the toil. The impudent spontaneity of a Sunday on the verge of warm kept us out after an afternoon concert. We whisked through cold blue shadows between tall buildings until we reached golden beams and lingered there, languorous. No flowers. Concrete and rusty pine from December, placed at regular intervals along the Mall. "Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged." I pick up a line or two and let my mind wander to gardens. Our feet follow, through the brass-handled doors, up the escalator seven times, and we find ourselves engulfed by buzzing crowds, the heady scent of greenhouses, and bursts of impossible color. Thank you, Macy's. Even if it is "the spring time, but not in time's covenant." Not in Minnesota, at least.
I am not a botanist, or even a well-informed amateur gardener, but it seems as if the best sort of bloom ought to also be a harbinger of fruit. When blossoms come to the end of their ephemeral life, shouldn't they go through that painful-seeming process of turning inside-out, transforming themselves into bread for the eater and seed for the sower? Woe to the tree that does not bear fruit.
And so my thoughts run for these long seasons of preparation - paths of beauty that have been unto themselves, many blooms holding out for transformation into something one could eat. We long for at least a partial fulfillment of the creation mandate: "Be fruitful and multiply." To reverse the curse of the ground. While we groan with Adam and Eve, we have a better hope. "Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands."
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
of once material things
whisked away in the wind
the snowfall leans long
this year in a shadow,
a dull white of weeks.
life is underground,
pinned down for now
like gabriel's great wing
held by the prince of persia.
where is my clarion message
from the almighty direct ?
covered hopes smothered
but this is mercy maybe
that renders them scentless
not senseless, i know that.
this is death's season
in death's covenant.
when we mourn
our falling, our failing,
his lifting, our raising,
above the snow and ash.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
I bend my eyes to the frozen topographical map that splays out under my feet, and imagine that I am looking down at a planet, each of those cracks is a fissure in the crust, each bend a river. Now I am an explorer, charting this moment, memorizing what I can for later, when I'm starved for beauty in a stretch of dull grey cubicles, stress, and fluorescent lights. Packing a meal for my journey through the worldly world.
I continue running, the crunch of mountains and valleys under my feet is satisfying. Looking up into the white-capped blue, I catch a snapshot of the endless of the sky. It keeps going, and going. Giddiness. Suddenly, I am back in the upstairs bedroom as a gangly girl, darkening my room late at night, and training my telescope on the moon till she filled my vision and my heart skipped a beat. Every time. I puzzled over that. Why does seeing a faraway, bright thing so close make the heart race so? I'm still not sure, but it's possible that it has something to do with glory. I never had a hard time imagining that the ancients worshiped the great lights. But they "worshiped the creation rather than the Creator." St. Paul, who grew indignant at the neverending pantheon of gods in Rome, says that this is "to exchange the truth of God for a lie." My head spins with implications, but my heart rests secure now.
I am too large in some topographies, stomping like a clumsy giant over ants and ravines in the sidewalk cracks and snow-tipped tufts of brown vegetation. On the other hand, I am too small, lost with my blood pounding in my ears for all the glory out there brought too close. "What is man that you are mindful of him? And yet you have made him a little lower than the angels, and crowned him with glory..."
Something else rings in the memory, something I read long ago: "les deux infinis" (the two infinities). Pascal. How did that go again? Finger runs along my bookshelf, and eyes across digital pages too, remembering, until I see and yes. This is what is happening. This is where I am. And it's meant to feel awkward:
"Let man contemplate Nature in its entirety, high and majestic; let him expand his gaze from the lowly objects which surround him. Let him look on this blazing light, placed like an eternal lamp in order to light up the universe; let him see that this earth is but a point compared to the vast circle which this star describes and let him marvel at the fact that this vast orbit itself is merely a tiny point compared to the stars which roll through the firmament. The entire visible world is only an imperceptible speck in the ample bosom of nature. No idea can come close to imagining it. We might inflate our concepts to the most unimaginable expanses: we only produce atoms in relation to the reality of things. Nature is an infinite sphere in which the center is everywhere, the circumference is nowhere. Finally, it is the greatest sensible mark of God's omnipotence, that our imagination loses itself in that thought."
"Let him behold the tiniest things he knows of. Let a mite show him in the smallness of its body parts incomparably smaller, legs with joints, veins in the legs, blood in the veins, humours in the blood, drops in the humours, vapors in the drops, which, dividing to the smallest things, he wears out his imaginative power, and let the last object which he arrives at become now the subject of our discourse; he might think that this perhaps is the smallest thing in the universe. I wish now to make him see therein a new abyss. I want to paint for him not only the visible universe, but all the imaginable immensity of nature within the confines of an atom. Let him see an infinity of universes, in which each has its own firmament, planets, earth, in the same proportion as the visible world; within this earth, there are animals and finally, mites, in which he'll find again the same things as he found in the mite he started with; and finding again the same things without end, let him lose himself in these wonders.."
Let me lose myself in these wonders.