my fairy tale

i used to be afraid. i lived in constant fear of measuring up, deserving, and failing.  i had a checklist covering every aspect of life and what i thought it should look like.  my checklist didn’t make sense.  i was housebroken.

and one day, i woke up and realized i wanted more freedom.

so i left the promised ivory palace and set out to write my own story.  i was rapunzel escaping my tower.  and the world was new and bright and different than i’d always been told.  but it was still frightening.  i suppose the terror is what gives contrast.  the shadows increase the sunshine.  but i didn’t know that yet.  i was frightened and i clung to any knight who would come around, regardless of the relative shine of his armor.  these knights warned me how dangerous the world was, and told me i needed their protection.

but one day, i woke up and realized i didn’t want to be afraid.

so i handed back the lances, swords, and shields that were fencing me in.  i asked the knights to go back to their tournaments.  and i set off to face the dragons, the cliffs, and the monsters.  i found they weren’t so bad. i found the real dangers were inside myself, and i began to face them.  i met new characters on the way.  jesters.  kings.  sorcerers.  shopkeepers, millers, candlestick makers.  heroes and villains.   thieves and priests.  i received new wounds along the way.  some encounters ripped open old wounds.  some brought me healing.  i was still shaky on my own feet.  i still hadn’t mastered my own protection.

and today, i woke up and realized i didn’t want to.  today, i woke up and decided i wanted to learn how to trust.

so today, i put down my sword.  i’ve carried it ever since i left my suffocating circle of protection.  and today i’ll leave it at home.  and i’ll find that i’m okay.  because i’m not in distress. and i don’t need rescuing.  not even by myself.  today, i step out of the world of fairy tales and towers and dragons.  today, i will just be in today.


balls and courts and shit

i swear the sun was just out when i got up
it wasn’t afraid to touch me; to get messy

i walked past a lake today
and thought how its dirty water might wash me clean

i stood beneath a tree, counting its leaves
and knew they would be warmer than this worn out coat of mine

i dug my hands into warm black earth
and found that this dirt was pure and comforting

so now i’m adam trying to unspeak my silence
i’m eve trying to understand your deception

i don’t crumple under the weight of your steel and coal shackles
you can’t break what only bends

and i’ll build my own garden
in place of the one that we lost

i’ll plant trust with my hands
and wait for my trees to bear faithfulness and justice

my garden won’t have any doors or fences
no windows, no floors, and no safety

i might have made a mistake
but at least i made something.


too tired to string more than a word or two together.

incoherence is my blanket tonight.  covering me in blissful simplicity and welcome thoughtlessness.

happy. exhausted. frustrated. resigned. surprised. quieted. striving. satisfied. willing. emboldened. genuine.

it only takes a few white lines of paint and some sunshine.

I’d like to see you again.

its been a long day

but its finally raining.  and that rain is going to wash me clean.

it smells and feels just like that day in Famen when i accidentally shut my umbrella in the pouring rain. the water fell down from heaven, landing on golden statues as tall as buildings, ancient temples housing ancient relics, and on you and i.

because we’re temples, didn’t you know? theres a lot to be said for the bones of sakyamuni, but ours aren’t so bad.

so rain pour down.  wash those gaudy carvings clean and take my broken body.

build me a pagoda and my light will dance.


My hands full of bottles.  Ointments for your dead body.  Perfumes, spices, all intended to cover up the stench of the death of hope.

I see the stone, cracked and broken.  I drop my burden, the ointments meant for your body now anointing the ground.  My feet take me where my mind can’t yet comprehend: an empty tomb.

In that emptiness, I become filled.  You appear before me.  I don’t just mistake you for a gardener;  I recognize you as a gardener.  The gardener tending the blossoms of hope and love, the tender shoots of peace and justice in the world.  The great gardener of Eden.

And you gently touch my face.  I fall at your feet while you whisper the words I have been so desperate to hear:

don’t be afraid.


Today I feel helpless.  I feel angry.  I feel scared.

Yesterday, at least I knew what to do.  Mourn.  Follow you to the hill and weep when they nailed your hands and your feet.  The sky reflected the anguish of that day.  The tearing thunder.  The blackened world.  We laid you in the tomb and my heart broke.  We were alone.

But what do we do today?  You’re still in that tomb. The stone is rolled across the entrance.  Your head and body wrapped in the burial shroud.  You are gone.  But me?  Your followers, your enemies, a whole world that didn’t even know you, we’re still here. And we’re still alone.

And today the sun is shining. It should be pouring rain. The skies should be hurling lightening and roaring thunder.  The ground should break apart and the earth shift.  Anything to reflect the utter brokenness that your death brought me.  But the world isn’t changing.  Its not shifting, roaring, or weeping.  Today is quiet. Today…maybe should life goes on.

Do I go back to the way things were before I met you?  Before you made me hope that the world could be different?  Should I go back to a life of casting out my net, hoping to catch enough to make me better than my neighbour?  Do I go back to a life of walking the streets with my head down because I don’t want to see the brokenness in the eyes mine would meet?  Back to a world that saw untouchables, prostitutes and lepers instead of people?

I’m too scared to leave this locked room.


Today I’m dressed in black because you’re gone.  The world feels bleaker.  Darker.  Infinitely more frightening and lonely.

When I was with you, I dared to hope.  In your words, in the feel of your hand on the small of my back, in your quiet gentle smile, I found the courage to believe again.  Being with you felt like coming home.

You taught us how to love.  How to love in word and deed.  How to look at our neighbour and see ourselves.  You taught us to celebrate and rejoice.  You showed us how to mourn.  To weep for the brokenness that surrounds us like a mother weeping for her children.

I trusted you.  I believed that this time, things would be different.  I hoped, as I hadn’t let myself hope for years.  Your promises gave me wings.

And now its all come crashing down.  And the fall hurts so much more.  I shouldn’t have believed.  How could I be foolish to believe that love could conquer hate?  That truth and beauty would crown creation?  That we mattered because we were?  Why did I give in to the hope that there was more?  That you were more.

Because today it’s Friday.  Today you’re gone.  Dead.  And today I’m empty.

tired and messy

lookin’ through the needle’s eye when someone robbed us blind/wondered how another man could do things so unkind/an experience like that in life might make you sing the blues/ but I was happy I had nothin’ left to lose

i feel burdened by excess.  i want my hands to be empty. no possessions i worry about losing or breaking.  to have no burdens or ties.  nothing to stop me from going where ever the road takes me.  nothing to stop me from leaving the path altogether.

i have no car, motor or bike/there are no roads but i go where i like

nothing to stop me from doing whatever this moment, right here, right now, seems to require.  even if the moment right after this will require something 180 degrees different.

sometimes i long for a symbiotic community, and sometimes i long so desperately to be self-sufficient.

all i have is freedom, it brought me up/teaches me lessons, shows me love/all i have is freedom, it keeps me warm/takes me where i want to go and does no harm

i don’t know if i want this because i’m scared, smart, or if i’m dying for a freedom i’ve never known.

and i don’t know how i would feel if i got it.

but maybe freedom could keep me warm and i’m so often cold.