wHere Life is Real


Poet Mother

a  fragment


When you forget how to be a poet

and your days are full of dirty diapers and bottles and slobber

and empty of the poetic or lovely or worthy of verse;


When you forget the beauty of language

and your ears are full of whines and cries and I wants

and no beautiful sound drops into your life or your page;



any workshop-esque thoughts?

December Perspective

for Tom

We went into the woods to find a Christmas tree.
Our boots crunched though the untouched snow.
We walked deep into the fragmented woods–
bare trees shriveled in the cold, but we finally found a tall cedar:
it would smell good in the house, we figured; Mama would like it.
So my brother began to chop, a small hatchet his only tool,
and he chopped until youthful arms lost their vigor.
Dragging it back to the truck proved another difficult task.

When we propped it up outside the house we realized
that when surrounded by the fragmented white,
hints of summer skew your perspective,
making you think grandeur is just something
you can cut down and place in the corner of the living room.


Chasing the Dreamer Down*

For Bill


the dusk of time when dreams become tangible animals loosed to the world

flashes rise before me with the smell of burnt motor oil and engine heat

a movement–a burst of motion outstretched

a length of brown reaching across our path


the nighttime is on my tongue

I swallow flashes of light, peripheral and brief

a hushed buzz vibrates the air

the round tone of a distant frog answered by one near

slicing sounds of insects then sudden silence


my clothes drape with the heaviness of the air

freedom, always freedom, when this summertime weight falls on me

my body moves through the underbrush

here, where the night knows me


*remembering a magical moment when my brother and I rode a four wheeler through the Forked Deer River Bottom at night and a doe jumped in front of us.


Something Out of Nothing

In the beginning there was nothing.

Nothing to hear. Nothing to feel. Nothing to see.

Only emptiness. And darkness. And…nothing but nothing.

But God was there. And God had a wonderful Plan.

“I’ll take this emptiness,” God said, ” and I’ll fill it up! Out of the darkness, I’m going to make light! And out of nothing, I’m going to make EVERYTHING!”

So begins The Storybook Bible. And last night as I read this to my two daughters, I realized this picture reveals so much about the character of God, about Jesus.

There was nothing. Nothing to hear, or feel, or see. Only emptiness. Only darkness. But God had a plan–to fill up the emptiness, brighten the darkness. And as I sat there with two little girls clambering to sit in my lap, eager to hear me read from their new books, I thought about my own life and the life of some of my friends. And I thought about Jesus.

Here, in the creation story, where we meet the Creator God and where we learn His first attribute, he revealed to me another aspect of his character. He is not only the Creator; he is also the filler of all things empty, the brightener of all things dark, and the voice in all solitude.

Isn’t this what Jesus does?

He takes our emptiness and fills it. Later in the story, we learn that what God creates to fill up the emptiness is good. And that’s also what Jesus does. He fills our emptiness with what is good. That is all he can give–good. He says in John 14:27  that he doesn’t give like the world gives. Meaning that what he gives won’t decay, won’t wither away, won’t diminish. It will remain.

And doesn’t Jesus brighten the darkness, too? He is called The Bright and Morning Star, the Day Star–a star seen before sunrise, an indication of the coming light. All of that darkness slowly turns to gray and eventually reveals the colors of day and life and hope–all with a little light. Hopeless places in our lives can turn hopeful when The Bright and Morning Star climbs through the darkness. A star–the evidence that even in darkness and during the times when we feel most alone in the world there is a presence; there is a light.

When we look around and see nothing but Nothing, remember: He makes something out of the nothing, and He calls it good.




There’s a little boy speaking Hindi outside my apartment tonight, and I can catch the sounds of a violin playing a few floors up. Across the way, small dogs bark and bark for their missing owners, and the construction site to the south sends up sprays of sounds.


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