Dorian’s Palette

042414Made of failure,
constructed of disappointment,
she is set down before Beautiful
with her empty bowl
and her crushed being.

Twisted and untruthful,
plank-eyed and a great arm for stone throwing,
she is brought to Beautiful
and placed on her mat,
given her bowl.

Her portrait is a glossy masterpiece
in Vermillion
in Prussian Blue.
The brushstrokes are masterful–
a rich blending of evil
of intention
of all the good colors.

She holds out her bowl
to take up the collection,
the things she needs from others
to cover up her own contributions.

All her betrayals
and every dead thing
she’s made or believed
go into this bowl
as she sits on her mat.

At night she brings out her mortar and pestle.
She brings out the linseed oil.
She grinds the contents of her bowl into
lovely pigments
to correct her portrait.

But each morning she must
be carried out again.
Unable to stand,
she is set down.
She holds out her bowl.

Until she hears,
Look at me.

And she does.
Beautiful looks at her.
Beautiful takes her hand and
pulls her up.
Beautiful is where she’s always been.

Standing up,
her knife is no longer flat and dull,
no longer for mixing facade.
With the new blade
she can destroy her portrait.

When they ask her what has happened,
she will say,
I looked up. It is Beautiful.

Watch Repair


I get tired.
I sleep on the job.
I look around
but I do not watch.
I love the trees–
how they dwell in their grassy silent chambers.
And I hate wandering
on the edge of those gardens of knowing
the terror is only just ahead–
but not yet.
I would feel safer in a tower,
walled off and lifted high above the danger.
But I want to be like the trees,
brave and standing and rooted
yet reaching.
I want to be
not far.
A tree is tall.
A tower is tall.
But even if I climb to such papery or stony heights
I do not watch.
I kiss you.
I kill you.
I fall asleep in the cool breeze
and in my heavy worries.
I offer you my small things
but I know you don’t really need them.
I’ve seen many towers standing alone.
They offer good vantage points.
They encourage pause.
I think a tree must not like to be alone.
However tall and standing and rooted,
a tree must grow taller with a fellow.
You want to be with me,
want to bring me to where you are
and to see me awake.
Because while I was sleeping,
You were saving me.



From under the stones-
in a flurry of sticks-
the weapon bursts outward.
The weapon is singing a song.
The mission has a soundtrack.
Lists, signposts, a return address:
they mark the map I follow.
I want to hold the weapon–
for protection
for promise
for prosperity.
It seems to have new batteries though.
The weapon goes out into the fray.
I follow at a distance
out of respect
and safety.
But the song it sings is catchy.
I need to hold the weapon–
because of danger
because of defeat
because of death.
I feel disgrace when I lose sight of its shadow
and am left only humming the tune I’ve learned.
My hands want to hold the weapon.
But then I look around the field
where I’ve been in the fray
and realize the weapon has been holding me.

This is not about the election.

They have to leave us.

They try to do it strongly.Version 2Version 2

We have to let them go. We try to do it gracefully.20161110_201110

They have to go far away. 20161110_185628We have to stay put. But it doesn’t always happen fast. Sometimes it drags out over days. Version 2Days of waiting to leave. Days of knowing they are technically still here. But we can’t see them. Then they are gone.img_0605 And they have to do hard things. 20161110_18575720161110_193815They have to live in hard places. 20161110_193857Version 2They miss us and we miss them. 20161110_193734100_2532We try to be brave like them. Version 2Version 2 Things happen to all of us. img_0514100_3275100_2507Version 2100_3056Version 2But they miss our things. 100_2990OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA100_3183100_3403100_2731And we miss their things. 20161110_185713Version 220161110_194029It’s hard for each of us to understand the other’s things.

And then one dayVersion 2 they’re back. img_1387_zps676d09f1And there’s more waiting. img_1519_zpsba00bc47Agonizing minutes and hours of waiting. img_1521_zps2bec4be9We can see them. img_1527_zps1a17229cWe can almost touch them. img_1539_zps152cc91aWe are about to lose what’s left of our minds. And then


Welcome home. And welcome back. And whatever the world is like, it will always be changing–but the reason we send you and the reason we wait for you is the same as the reason you go and the reason you go again, and again: we love our country and what it was built for and we love each other because we have this in common.

Christina Fishburne: Worst Time Lord Ever

First of all: No. You haven’t lost time–it has been mere days since I last posted, not months (as is my custom). You weren’t expecting to see me again so soon, and honestly I wasn’t expecting myself to have anything to say so soon. That is because we internalize, Precious. We internalize like a mofo.

I’m on a two-year moving cycle. When we hit two years in a place, I’m ready to leave. I start backing away from commitments. I decline invitations. I stop watering my plants. I start throwing out a lot of stuff and filling boxes with useless possessions. I clear out pantries. I go to Costco less often.
This is all very effective when on the cusp of a move.
This is not at all helpful when one is not going anywhere.


After an event one day, I was given two extra nice loaves of bread. I didn’t need them and I thought one of the many many homeless people I pass every day might appreciate them more. I was feeling pretty good about helping someone out and couldn’t wait to see the guy I pass almost every day at one of the stoplights on the way to school. He wasn’t there, but another guy was. I asked if he would like some bread and then presented him with the bag. He was very cheerful and smiled, thanking me, saying he had some little bird friends who would love this bread.
…Um. Ok. If that makes him happy. Sure. Why not.
Then the awkward waiting for the light to turn green. I sort of wished I had saved a loaf for the other guy I see every day at the other stop light.

It’s a frantic sort of feeling. I want to be doing something. I need to be moving on. I have to compartmentalize emotions and rank them in order of Freak-Out Worthiness. Cuz, make no mistake, there will be freaking out. How much does it cost to ship a vehicle? What is the school situation? IS THERE A CHICK-FIL-A? Should I be stockpiling winter clothes that are on mad crazy sale here? The garage needs to be cleaned out. Borrowed books need to be retreived.

One of my dearest friends just moved away. It was gut-wrenching. It cut yet another chord loosely holding me here. It further advanced the feeling of Get The Hell Out of Dodge.
But there’s nowhere to go yet.



I came to the stoplight the next morning and there was my bag of bread.


Hanging like a head of one of Turendot’s victims off a chain-link fence.

The effing little bird friends couldn’t even get at the loaves.

This pre-move self has been around for six months now. That’s six months of heart clenching reluctance to invest any more emotion, energy, or growth than absolutely necessary. I’ve rearranged furniture to make my home feel different. I impulse buy out-of-character clothing at Target. It helps, but I’m not fooling Pre-Move Self. Ya know what doesn’t help? The fact that the weather is a constant 87 degrees. It could be loads worse, I know…East Coasters put your snow-shovels down…, but I feel like there is no passage of time. It’s maddening. I’m both wasting time and stagnant in it.


I was flooded with shame at that stoplight. It felt like everyone knew it was my bag of bread getting gross in the hot sun. Offensive. Condescending. Wasted. What a stupid thing to do, giving someone bread. How arrogant. He probably thought I was giving him old bread. Stale bread. Bread no one else wanted. Bread that would insult even the birds. Not the good stuff. Better to leave it in the bag.

I know in my brain that it’s foolish to squander the time left with my friends here, but my heart is already grieving having to leave them. My kids are in such a gloriously fun stage of life and I want to enjoy it, but I sort of hope the days go quickly so we can find out where we’re going next. I have responsibilities here; there are things I’m supposed to be doing. But I don’t care enough. I’m cutting corners.

But I don’t want them to remember me as someone who gave them only the leftovers. I want to be a real friend. I want my kids to have a mom who not only has a vague idea of what games they’re playing over there, but is also a character in them. I want to be present and useful in what I’ve committed myself to.

There’s a plant on our porch that’s been without water for months. It used to be awesome. Bloomed bright pink waxy flowers for 2 years. Until I let it die. Slowly. And on a lot of purpose. Now it looks like a cactus.

I want to plan.

I can’t plan.

This vexes me. And then I decided to really engage in the Bible study I’m sort of a leader in… Remember the story about feeding the 5,000? Remember how He did it twice?  Yeah, neither did I. He did it twice. In a short amount of time. But the second time when all the people got hungry the disciples were all, “What are we going to do?! How can we possibly feed all these people with a few loaves and fish?!” And I was right there with Jesus,


The exasperating truth is: I want to plan, and planning is good. But I need to trust.

Then one day, after I’d given this guy up for gone, I noticed this.


No new leaves. Just flowers. Just the good stuff.