Give us your children
when you don’t know them anymore.
Give us the eye rolling masses
obsessed with making it new by remixing the old.
We’ll force them to read
and question everything they think they know –
since they think they know everything.

You’re welcome.

Give us the lost
who are seeing for the first time that they’ve
never actually seen many things clearly before.
Give us the self-absorbed, and we will show them where they intersect with their neighbors.
We’ll meet them in the process of becoming a bit more human.
Harness the abundance of energy and force the eye of the clever rogue toward the Good.

Give us the quiet pubescents
Who wear coats during heat waves
And shorts during snow storms.
Give us impulsive youth.
We’ll try to stay one step ahead of them, and
help them survive their teenage years.

Then we’ll march.
March to the homes of legislatures
who threaten our pay, who misuse your children’s funding,
and who make stupid laws that keep information from them.
We’ll beat down the doors of those who make this hard job
even harder.
We’ll march onto the sports field and support teenagers and their families.
We’ll march into our second jobs and pretend that we aren’t dog tired.
We’ll march to the store to buy the supplies we need to help the teenagers.

To wrangle them, we will study
make, process, plan, and
until we are sharp enough to be the
iron that sharpens iron.

I Surrender All

When the pastor prayed over me in front of the church
and kept repeating let it go,
I was thoroughly confused.
And when a mother of the church corrected me saying,
“When the Lord wants you to let something go, you let it go!” –
it became obvious that I had no concept of what letting go meant.
I told her that if I knew what I was holding, it would be easier to release it.
Everyone seemed to see what I was holding except me.

No more instruction came.

Surrender, like freedom or love, is natural for some people.
None of those things are natural to me.
Surrender is a foreign concept
because I’m a natural holder.
At any given time I am holding
Keys, a phone, a pen, a pencil.
I’m holding it together.
I’m holding your attention.
I’m always holding something.
I check my hands when checking out in a store
because holding things is so natural to me
that I don’t realize when something is there that shouldn’t be.

I hold tightness in my back, shoulders, neck, and legs.
hold thoughts in my head because I don’t want to be misunderstood.
hold desires because I don’t want to speak them and be made to feel ashamed.
hold anger because I don’t want to confirm any stereotypes.
hold sadness because I don’t want to appear weak.
hold accomplishments because I don’t want to be seen as proud.
hold happiness because I don’t want to be viewed as a green.
have to pay attention to everything that I am.

It gets expensive, but I lie and say that
I save so much energy when I hold myself in.
But I become bankrupt of human experiences because it is impossible
to be both free and held.
And that’s the part: I don’t totally trust the Holder to actually keep me.
I don’t trust zero gravity, so I
hold on.
But this ferocious holding has almost killed me.

The trip to the emergency room helped me begin to understand that
knowing when to give up, give over, and give back
is a survival skill.
Empty hands
Open heart
Free falling

“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:16-17


Church pews carry so much.
How many toddlers have rested their pudgy bodies on you?
What did they dream of as the angels whispered prophecy in their ears?
How many hot tears have spilled on you?
What stories did the tears tell?

You held us during the moments when we first believe
and all of the moments when we have doubted.
You kept us steady when we were overcome with the Holy Spirit and our feet got light.
Supported us when the weights we carried were simply too much.
You have always pointed us in the direction of the altar no matter who
occupied the pulpit.
In the back you offered us welcome and distance.
In the front you offered us access and heat.

Your existence is evidence of long-winded preachers
and the howling silence that sometimes follows prayers.
You help us wait on the Lord
and help us gird ourselves for battle.
You offer us rest,
and get us a little closer to the prostrate position of holy submission.

Water, Water Everywhere

What is love if not welcoming you in from the heat with a cool glass of water?

The seas bubble with the collateral damage of the vainglorious
who rush to play in the water
while the Dine thirst in an empty basin.
The red man has to beg to access the waters that feed the red river,
but the Titans relish in allowing only brackish waters.

When the People of Earth meet Titans (Titans who feel that they are something more than superfluous self-important men),
The People have to explain basic principles.
Have to explain that water is a necessity.
Have to explain that promises are supposed to be kept.
Have to explain that if the Titans were less wasteful,
the Earth would provide everything that man needs.

But Titans have never been good with humility
They know nothing of harmony
And always fight for supremacy of everything
from the cosmos to the Dine’s right to come home to a cool glass of drinkable water.

Drive on by

Bobbing along the water, lightning bugs bedazzle the bayou
entice each other, frogs, and humans alike.
So, when you finally pull into the carport
Causing the flood light to distract from the
lightbulb show,
I am reasonably annoyed.
It is insect ass that I want to see–
Not yours.
You are as welcomed here as an elbow to the ribs.

Without you, there is no tremor.
I don’t wonder who I should be
to accommodate for your many moods.
To be honest, I don’t know why I tremor.
Here, you are as out of place as an elk.
You demand firm land to trample, and like swamp
I yield beneath the weight of you.
Not all things that swim belong in these waters.

I am one with the alligators, snakes, and bears.
The spirits of my ancestors ride these waters,
And they taught me to top the beets and sprinkle the cinnamon to hide the signs of deeper roots,
And they they taught me what to keep next to the bucket of fishing bait,
And what to say over the jambalaya pot
That will make you stay gone this time.

So keep the truck running.
Leave your jacket on.
You won’t be staying here for long.


It takes faith to believe that hope will not disappoint.
To do a butterfly release in the pit of your stomach
To entertain the idea that
this time
Love could choose you.
To believe that you are now a main character
in a story that you’ve never been written into.
That this time it’s your turn.
That what you long for will be made manifest.

Hoping isn’t much and is easy for some, but not for you.
For you, it is everything that you need
to keep getting up in the morning, and
when you lost it, you convinced yourself that gray was the true color of the world.
And it has been easier to long for nothing
than to contend with the despair of disappointment
Over and over again.
It has been easier to create a new projection for the future
than to keep trusting with no signs.
Wanting has made you weary
and resigned.

But it seems like time to crack open what has been calloused.
To rewound yourself
if for no other reason than to heal correctly.
Develop a more pliable wound this time
And maybe
Just maybe
what you have silently desired for so long.

Own It All

Nobody really likes Monopoly–
not even the winner.
The promise of lighthearted capitalist competition starts off seeming like it will be fun.
The players pick the pieces that will bring them luck in this game of chance.
They all start with the same amount of money and the same probability of owning it all.
because being satisfied with having enough lacks showmanship.

But the drama drags too long, and that’s why
nobody really likes Monopoly.
The banker gets bored with the endless trading, borrowing, and mortgaging.
After a while, the sad faces of the poor become exhausting to look at,
And the banker leaves the game an hour into his shift.
Insults turn personal as an underhanded player fairly buys New York
knowing that the other two orange properties belong to an upwardly mobile opponent.
Accusations of rampant greed fly as a housing shortage ensues.
The railroad owners side-eye the utility owners.
The boardwalker stalks her Park Place with heavy lids
knowing that with three hotels, not a soul would announce his visit.
Three hours in, players get hungry but don’t trust each other enough to leave and get a snack.
One-by-one the destitute escape the clutches of this “game” and walk towards sweet freedom,
leaving the successful players to fight among themselves.

It’s lonely at the top when playing Monopoly.
People lie and plot.
No one rejoices when you rejoice or weeps when you weep.
The illusion of riches wears off too soon after the win.
Winners learn that it was never about community; it was only ever about a chest that exists only in theory.
The winner is left surrounded with paper and plastic, but
no one to share it with and nothing of substance to show for it except
empty hotels, a toppled dog, and deeds that no one cares about anymore.
Winners have to pick up the wreckage in this game of chance.
This is one of the only game where winning necessities an apology tour, and that is why
nobody really likes Monopoly.

The Never-ending Beginning

To fall off the edge of the Earth is to fall into a never-ending beginning.

First, you’ll hear God whisper muspell,

and a big bang will echo off the chests of the other gods into void ripping one apart.

From his pieces a fruit-bearing tree will form and a lotus will bloom. 

From the lotus will crawl a spider woman, and

she will drool onto a raven’s black egg causing it to crack.

Out from that egg a corn-chewing tortoise will waddle, but his fraternal twin, a snake, will refuse to leave the shell and rest until a more opportune time.

The tortoise will rub against the base of the fruit-bearing tree and so will a pregnant white mare.

The mare will give birth to a woman who will dance and fight with the now intrigued snake. 

The woman and snake will kick up enough dust

to mix with the vomit of an onlooking god which will always create a mudslide.

 Humans, oblivious to the strong winds quickly trying them, will form in the mud and war with each other.

Suddenly and persistently, the bang of man’s cracking and shattering will echo off the chests of the gods.

A stillness more solemn than a tomb will close all around you.

Darkness will cover the face of the deep, 

and from the deep,


The Dog Did It

The Indian takeout intended for lunch is missing from the fridge.

The son, reclining satiated on the sofa with fingers stained red,
says he didn’t eat it. He owes his satisfaction to Doritos.
Tell him that you know that it was him even if you’re not sure.
Lingering disgrace builds character.


The youngest daughter, lips the color of paan, storms by smelling of spices and states that
Though she didn’t eat it, she wishes she had
because you are a horrible mother
and deserve every calamity that befalls you.
Trip her for her insolence.

The eldest daughter, washing an oily bowl, is a known nibbler.
Her recent conversion to veganism means your chicken vindaloo should have been safe, but she’s a backslider by nature.
Smell her breath. Suspiciously minty.

The husband is chewing something quietly in the corner.
He would admit taking it if he had because he’s brazen and reckless.
Simply roll your eyes at this formidable opponent.
Let him know that if it was him, Hell itself will open her mouth to rain fire on his head.

Make a beautiful turkey sandwich instead.
Make sure that it’s envy inducing.
Use the last of the spicy salsalito turkey (everyone’s favorite), but withhold one slice from your masterpiece.
Place the meat on sweet Hawaiian bread.
Blanket it in provolone, artistically arrange the avocado, make money green lettuce and tangy garden tomato slices rain on that thing, and smear the aioli like you’re Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
And as you saunter outside to eat on the porch
Passing the drooling ingrates that you call family,
share a piece of the meat with the dog, the only friend
you have in this den of thieves.


She would shuffle across the chess board floor

Of her kitchen in any direction she chose.

Silver pots blackened with years of fire

bubbled tongues and released the incenses that 

rested like a glory in that place.


Family would lay the sacrifice of provisions

In all cardinal and ordinal directions of the room:

Mustard greens north

Red chilis northeast

White onions east

Hog head southeast

Catfish south

Cornmeal southwest

Tomatoes west

Sweet corn northwest.


She would take the offerings,

Rub them between her fingers,

Smell them,

Nibble at their edges,

And make of them something holy.

When finished she would declare that it was good.


Her family would return.

Passing the offering of plates.

Breaking the miracle of bread.

Consuming the sacrament of supper.

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