Friday, December 23, 2011

To Sing a New Song

Sing a new song…

My spirit longs,
But flowery words are never quite enough, are they?
There's always a simpler, truer
Way to say what one wants to say.
But it's never quite said,
It's just longed for,
And how long it is.

And yet a song…

The love of Elohim is more beautiful
Than any rose and more than any flower.
And the love of Elohim is strong,
Stronger than any manmade tower.
And the love of Yahweh is moving,
Such that you can sit still and feel its power.

And so.
But how about a new song?

Here I am, once again…

No, a new song.
A song of freedom this time, and just as honest—
One that bursts up from the depths
And falls from the sky
And floats through the air.

Can you hear the melody?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Chronicles of Nowhere

Just a quick post about my newest project, The Chronicles of Nowhere.

You can visit the official website:

Or you can visit and like the Facebook page:

I'm quite excited to working on this project and hope that I can make it as interactive as possible. Feel free to follow along as the books and the world of Suburbanism beging to take shape!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Pail

On a sunny morning
Out on the hill covered with purple flowers,
Stands a girl in a blue and white dress,
Closing her eyes as the sun warms her face.
The clouds pass by softly,
Making a shade that's not cold,
And the breeze feels nice
As it moves and folds her light brown hair.
She is there to enjoy
The moment of being alive and feeling free,
When light brings warmth
And the fact of the world is not cold.

Realizing this, she smiles
As she looks down the hill upon the farmhouse below.
She wonders if this day
Of warm happiness and feeling free
Is something she's been looking for
But because of boredom could never see.
Not that she couldn't have seen it, of course.
She just never did.

So she walks down the hill to the farmhouse
And finds a pail near the corner of the shed,
Taking it to the well to draw up some water.
Once it's full, she goes to find the dog,
Jacob, in case he's thirsty.
She finds him sitting
On the other side of the house,
Tongue out, watching the field butterflies.
When he sees the girl,
He wags his tail and gladly accepts
The pail of water she sets before him.
He drinks and the girl crouches beside him and watches,
Wondering again
At what she never realized before.

When the dog is done drinking,
The girl takes the pail, empties it on the ground,
And brings it back to the corner of the shed.
And then, unable to know what best to do
In response to her wonderful mood,
She goes inside and waits.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Toward Home

Floating out into the black
Into the darkness of the far outer beach
Where the kingdom come
The will be done
And we hear the melody—
A thousand little photons
Dancing around a greater fold
In the cloth that covered us
After we were born
Before we could see
Before we heard trumpets play a tune
That called us to stand up
To bow our heads.

And all of these little lights
That invade the privacy of our soul
With a memory of the cloth
When our mother first touched us
When we first experienced that—
Before we could read the clock on the wall.

Dancing to a song
Running to a rhythm
That is somehow found in this blanket
This white blanket that now
We feel and are comforted
To have in our grasp—
We are reminded of innocence again
And a place that makes less sense
Now that we understand more.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Research, Pt. 3: Suburbanism Can Wait


So apparently H.G. Wells spent his career writing about utopias.

For example, in The Time Machine he invented a future world in which everything was perfect. Every social or political problem had been resolved, and the beings of the world live in harmony. Or in War of the Worlds he considered a sort of dystopia, in which a world is thrown into utter chaos, in this case by a strong outside force that wishes to use imperialism to their own advantage.

He also sometimes presented anti-utopia, which looks at the world fragmented, questioning, revealing contradictions. Instead of examining a grand whole utopia or dystopia, he questioned the details of life as we know it, even the details of perfection or dis-perfection.

At least, that's what I got out of the three articles I looked at. And it got me thinking about my next book.

It's a story about cities and hearts, or something like that. Places where everything can be perfect, or dis-perfect, or if we want answers and solutions to our deepest questions, broken.

I do think perfection is good. It would be very good. And to change subjects a bit, why are there so few good guys anymore who are really good? I mean like really, really good. Like sure, they have their problems, but they never let that get in the way of doing the right thing. Maybe we need a good hero's journey. Maybe the hero of the story needs to go outside, face some bad guys who are really bad, and eventually save the day by his persistence. Maybe. We'll see what happens.

And until we meet again...(and during and afterwards)...keep on thinking free!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011



On the bright side, everyone reading this is still alive. So that's good.

P.S. Anyone who knows what the title is referencing and sends me a message with the correct answer...I'll write a poem about you. (Guess we will find out if that's an incentive or a hindrance.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Let's write a blog 2

"Hey boy, don't believe 'em, we're the nation that eats our youth."

Someday, this body of mine is going to be no more. Someday, these flesh and bones are going to be gone along with all of these passions and all of these desires that both aid me and betray me. And I have hope for that day.

Until then, I am left to wonder. I contemplate the meaning of life, the right and the wrong, the light and the dark, and all of the troubles I face in the meanwhile. I look at the world around me and see faces that long for hope, but cover up what hope they do have with a mask of guile. They cover it up with a veil and pretend that life is something that it isn't.

I'm not sure what this means. Why is that those of us who are supposed to have the most hope--that is, those with youth to help us--often appear to be the most hopeless. What pain has been incurred that we must cover up to protect ourselves from the external violence that tears through this world? What terrible fight in our hearts has made us so weak when it comes to withstanding the forces that push in from the outside?

Why have our own youth covered the city gates with a curtain instead of an iron-clad door?

Why in my own heart do the contradictions of right and wrong make me so weary? All I want is to rest. All I want is to see truth and to know that it really is true. Where has my assurance gone? Why am I continually picking myself up off the floor so I can shout in the face of the storm one more time?

If something is not true, then it is a lie. And if it is a lie, then it can't stand up to the overpowering light of truth. So then, saying that I prefer the light over the darkness, why do lies still come knocking at my door to whisper in my ear? Or of greater terror, why do I hear lies from the mouths of those who claim to love truth? Why do they claim as law that which is merely a good idea at best? Why do they continue talking when all they've done is add to the noise? They talk for their own sake. Their words don't heal. Their words devour.

Father, let me bridle my tongue.

"When nothing is sacred, all is consumed."

I have seen those dear to me turn their backs on their beliefs. And I do mean those who are my age and younger. I have seen friends pushing to find truth that they once knew to be certain, but faced one too many lies to know which way was up anymore, if any way was up at all. And so I begin to wonder, which way are we going?

Like I said, I know that this ol' body of mine can only survive for so long. It is passing away. It is temporary, it is not my home. It is slowly being eaten away to rust and dust, even in my youth. So again, where is the hope of my youth?

I think maybe it's in being able to look at this world of lies and corruption and saying, 'I do have enough strength to overcome this.' No falsehood is strong enough that it is too much to be overcome. I believe that indeed there is a coming kingdom that will overthrow all of this wicked tide that we have been told must be right, just because that's the way things are going. Yes, in the larger painting of all things, I believe that the real motion of things is in favor of Yahweh, the Almighty.

"And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of Yahweh and His Messiah, and He shall reign forever and ever!'" (Rev. 11:15).

I believe that no matter what the consequences are, serving Yahweh is the way we are going, regardless of what we want to think. We may face hardship, we may face persecution, we may die, but Yahweh will reign, whether we choose to follow him or not. So I encourage myself and anyone, especially those young enough to change their habits, to not exchange the lies you were told for other lies that you were told. Nothing temporary is truth. Search only for that which lasts. Seek out the Messiah, that he may lead you to the throne of Yahweh. Go stand in the court of the King and say, "Here I am once again, broken as usual, but I still want to serve the side of victory."

My brothers and sisters, we are all in this together. Most of us in the world are pushing the wrong way. Every time we sin, we are pushing the wrong way. Or rather, every time we are pushing the wrong way, we are sinning. Someone once asked me, "What is sin, anyway?" It is this: violence and confusion against love and truth. This world is a mess. There is a reason they often call it Babylon. I will not stand for it. I will not condone lies just to keep pretending that everything is alright.

I have hope for the hopeless. I have faith for the faithless. I push to love the loveless. And I am very far from perfect. But let us stop devouring our youth. Let us stop telling them their hope is in festivals and new moons and well-spoken word studies. Instead, let us find our service at the foot of Yahweh's throne and in feeding his people. Let us live--breathing in and breathing out--like we mean it. Because we do. We have our youth, and the youth want something better than has ever been seen before, just as long as our elders don't consume it first.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Endless Hope

This one is for the one
who has an endless hope in her heart,
given to her by the one who keeps her soul.

See, all day long she tries to find Him,
but sometimes the world talks too loudly
when He sings to her quietly.
Maybe she can't make out the words,
so maybe she pretends like she can't hear Him.

And sometimes at night when she tries to sleep,
the only voice she hears is her own
and it's never enough,
because even if she tells herself she will be all right,
she still doubts that the morning sun
will ever chase away the darkest night.

But in the morning, she sees that all is still alive
and all is still breathing life!
—until the world's devilish shouts
try to scare away the love that she has kept
secret and kept cherished.

Oh, her heart—
her heart!
It wants to harden,
it doesn't want to break again,
it doesn't want to be broken shards
that shred her up from the inside
and leave her body torn and useless.

See, she wants to smile again
and laugh her joy when she sings to Him.
But all day long the voices tell her she's
wrong. They tell her that her voice isn't heard
by the keeper of her soul,
that she ought to give in,
give up, because she's so tired,
so tired,
so undone, give in, give up,
give to sleep, go to sleep,
go to sleep and dream,
dream nothing real
but something of dream,
because dreams
feel good….

give in.
And again, don't give up to the voices
that try to lull you to false rest.

See, what she wants is something pure.
What she wants is something strong,
and a quiet garden to walk barefoot in
as He draws near to tell her of a new song,
a song she used to know
but somehow forgot
when the world lied to her.

And her heart remembers
and begins to beat the rhythm
as her lungs take a deep breath,
waiting eagerly for Him to smile at her,
to tell her with His one voice of truth
that now is her moment.

So she sings the new tune,
even as it was an old song,
and she remembers it once again
word for word as it always was.

When she is finished, He offers her His hand
and she laughs and takes it.
She breathes in and breathes out
and her heart beats.

See, the beautiful,
He has found her and she has found Him.
Watch as they dance and sing
of the brightest love.
See how in His arms
she is finally free.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Broken Cisterns - Ordering Info

Broken Cisterns is now available through You can purchase a 6x9 physical copy for $12.99, or download the PDF file version for $5.99.

I hope you enjoy the book, and I look forward to any and all comments you might have!

Be blessed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Broken Cisterns, the first copy

Finally, Broken Cisterns is here! Here are a couple of pictures of opening and looking through the very first hard copy. Easily one of the prettiest things I've seen all day. (Special thanks to the artists who helped make that prettiness possible!)

The information for ordering the book will be available in a couple of days. The pricing for a 6x9 physical copy will be $12.99, while a downloadable file will be $5.99. Save up your pennies! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Research, Pt. 2





Tuesday, August 16, 2011


In the bright green and yellow fields
Where the lion had compassion on the lamb,
The children danced something new
To the sound of harps playing a song—
A song to which they all knew the words.
Truth played a melody that sang
Through the leaves on the trees,
Over the forest and into the valley
And through the mountains that were moved
To cry, 'Holy! Holy! Holy!'
Because the river of life quenched every thirst,
Bringing to bloom the tree and the fruit,
With the leaves singing harmony,
Healing every wound that a broken heart could endure.
And the children danced more.
They danced until they looked up with joyful faces,
Laughed, and said, "Father, let us dance a little longer!
Please, may we dance with you?"
And the answer—oh, the answer!—
Can it possibly be imagined?
Could it be heard with an eager ear?
Because the look on the children's faces
When they heard their father's approval,
Has never been witnessed before.
And so they danced and sang something new,
With the sound of their laughter flying.
And they were free.
They were brilliant.
They left behind the old paths of life,
Set sail for great beauty,
And found a powerful but familiar light.
They found that the light persisted,
Even as they danced,
Even as they sang,
Even as they laughed in their father's arms.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Research for my new book, Pt. 1

Broken Cisterns: The Book, and other, etc.

Well, the writing and revision process for my first book of short stories is complete. Now it's just a matter of formatting the book, publishing it, and letting whoever wants to buy so. It's plenty exciting to be this close in the project to finishing.

Just for fun, here's a link to the Facebook page for the Broken Cisterns.

And beyond that, please let all of your friends and family know about the book, and if you're up to it, beg them to buy their own copy instead of letting them borrow yours. Even though I don't really believe in that kind of thing, because books ought to be an open source of knowledge and ideas, etc.... I'd still really appreciate it because, you know, it helps me out. You know, me...the poor college kid who is almost done with college kid and then will be a poor college graduate who will almost definitely need all the help he can get. *Tries most convincing smile*. :)

And hey, just for the fun of it, as I just realized I unintentionally referenced it:

Also--and because this is the formerly secret purpose for this post--now that Broken Cisterns is nearing completion, I have now begun "research" on my next book. This time it will be a novel. Exciting stuff. Look for behind the scenes footage of the "research" process, coming very, very, very soon. (Perhaps even by the time you get around to viewing this post.)

May Yahweh bless you all!
Jared Leys

....P.S. I just thought up this quote: "You see the dark circles under my eyes? They are caused by staying up half the night reading quotes by famous men, both Atheists and Christians alike. And instead of finding a list of answers, I only discovered a list of questions." What do you think? A little long, maybe... but a true story.

P.P.S. Not very suprisingly, C.S. Lewis was the winner of the quote debate. Well...actually, no...because, see....

P.P.P.S. Nevermind, I'll explain later....

In the Great Field at Mount Holyoke, Under a Dome of Stars by Greg Rappleye

This is one of my favorite poems, so I figured I would upload it.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Let's write a blog, shall we?

In the absence of a proper job, and having the self-imposed job of writing a book, I find myself with plenty of time or free thinking. I've had the opportunity to think about life, love, and all that is pre-shrunk and cottony. (Congratulation to you, if you got that reference.) Lately, for whatever reason, my mind has turned to some of the deeper considerations concerning human experience and the relationship with our Creator.

The other day, I read the following quote by C. S. Lewis: "You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body." Take that quote as you will, but it got me to thinking about what it means to be here on this earth and in this time. I find myself asking questions about who I am, what I am, where I come from, and what it means to be alive. With just one life to live, what do I live for? With only one life to give, whom do I serve? Am I living life as if there is something beautiful waiting for me on other side? Am I living life as if the life I have right now is worth living? In all of these things, I am well aware that I am without a complete answer.

The simplest answer I can come up with is to choose, above all, life. A few years ago, I came up with a saying which goes, "What is the point of life? To live." It still bothers me to know that Buddha or some such bloke came up with the idea first, even though I thought it up quite independently, but more importantly than that, I find that I must question whether I live up to my own saying. Yahweh gave us life. He gave me life. And on top of it all, he sacrificed his own son so that even if I deserve death, I can and may still live. Who am I to deny any of that?

And if that is the basis for what I believe in, then what other basics can I confidently tell to the world? Well, I believe that Yahweh created the entire world, all of the stars and galaxies and beyond, and all of life. I believe that his son Yahshua came to this earth and gave his life for mine. And I believe that with the sacrifice and subsequent resurrection of Yahshua, we have been granted a possibly incomprehensible freedom. In this freedom, in the willing service to my Creator, I may find the fullness of life.

But what does this fullness of life entail? That is a question to which I may not have such a confident answer. I have been presented with many ideas in my life, but none of them stick very much other than to allow my Heavenly Father to guide the freedom of my life. But at the same time, I worry that I may get lost in the simplicity of that statement. I am concerned that if I simply say, "Father, take my life and do with it as you will," then--even with as vital as this statement is!--I may quickly find myself staring at a life full of a lot of faith but with little accomplishment for the Kingdom of Heaven, the new home I look forward to inhabiting some day. Indeed, my freedom comes with a responsibility. I can have faith all day long, but faith alone can be worthless. As the scripture says, "You believe that Yahweh is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!" (Jam. 2:19). Surely I am better than that. In fact, I know I am. So then, what is the proof of my faith?

Some say that faith is proven through obedience. There is undoubtedly merit in this answer. Some say this obedience is proven through keeping the torah of Yahweh, his instructions, and with this I must agree. There is immense value in keeping the ordinances of our Creator, the things he has had written down in the scriptures for us to read throughout the ages. These are the things I believe in. But when these things become the end-all of my faith, then I know my faith and my freedom is failing. The keeping of the written law is never the greatest fulfillment of my faith. And to be told it must be done, it is religion. And as religion, what can we say but what James has also told us? "If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our Elohim and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world" (Jam. 1:26-27). If you tell me what to do, know that you have given me religious practice. If you tell me how to believe, know that I may have listened to you, but that is not between you and I, that is between me and my Father. (And as a side note, I hope that none of my words cause any unnecessary conflict...I just hope I'm being honest.)

So with all of that swirling through my head, I must admit that I feel very little need to defend my faith. In defense of my religion, I may have a word or two of my human insecurity, but that is to be expected. When someone questions why I believe, I pray that I have enough confidence and enough unity of spirit to share with them any or all evidence I have been given, knowing full well that their belief is a question of their relationship with their Creator, which is not directly a part of any relationship I share.

I have my doubts, I am a confused soul at times, and perhaps that is why I desire for faith to be built upon things that are sure, and not things that need to be proven. I just pray that my Father has mercy on me as I contend with this flesh which both aids me and betrays me.

I want my life to be built upon the grace and love of our Master and Savior, our High Priest and King, our brother and friend, Yahshua the Messiah. Perhaps some day I will be able to see love and practice love just as he did. In that day, even as today, I will know that I am an abundantly blessed individual.

And of course, that brings us to the point where I talk about love. It's such an interesting thing, this concept of love. It goes between here and there, and between everything and everyone in some way, and yet what it exactly is, we all have trouble saying. I believe that the strongest physical example of love in this world is between that of a husband and wife. There is no stronger bond that literally represents our relationship with Yahshua and with our Creator. That's a discussion for another time, but it sure gives me the opportunity to think, Well then, why don't I just go ahead and get married? That's a good question, and lots of people I know have opinions on the matter. The conversation might go...

Them: "You really have to wait and let Yahweh bring the right person into your life."
Me: "Yes. Yes, I suppose so; I know you're right."


Them: "How are things going on with you and your girl?"
Me: "Uh...well...that kinda ended a few weeks ago, so...."
Them: "Ah, I'm sorry. Well, you'll find the right one soon enough."
Me: "Yeah."

or my personal favorite,

Them: "I just looked on your facebook page; it still says you're single. What's taking so long?"
Me: "I guess I just haven't gotten around to it yet."
Them: "Ah, rush."
Me: "No, I suppose not."

And while I write these conversations here for amusement, I nonetheless appreciate them and know they all come from a good place. Clearly, most everyone I know understands, at least on some basic, instinctive level, that the love of marriage is something to be cherished. It is something beautiful. It is something, unless we are called to something greater, that is the epitome of love in our lives. And so I wrestle with this idea of love, both amused and frustrated that we must play the games of romantic love in order to obtain truer love--all the while considering the verse and the man who said, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." What great love this man had, that he was willing to die daily so that all men, women and children in the world could have the opportunity to call him friend.

Love. If only I had such faith.

Earlier I mentioned that I am writing a book. This book, full of short, ficitonal stories, is largely based on the phrase, "Broken Cisterns", which is also the title of the book. The story for which the book is named is one that I wrote a couple of years ago. At the time, I was contemplating thoughts of life and love, what it means to be broken and what it means to be healed, and how we are both capable and incapable of dealing with a life that does not always make sense. Indeed, I must have had quite the similar mindset that I do as I am writing this. The concept of 'broken cisterns' comes from Jeremiah 2:13, which says, "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water." It also comes from a song I was listening to at the time by Jon Foreman, called "The Cure for Pain", the opening verse of which says, "I'm not sure why it always flows downhill/ Why broken cisterns never could stay filled/ I've spent ten years singing gravity away/ But the water keeps on falling from the sky." My story about broken cisterns is just another example of the struggle found in both of those quotes.

The story is about a young man who has written a letter to a young woman he loves, and yet finds himself inpatient and insecure when a reply letter is long in coming. All he is looking for is something soothing in this hurt and burning world, and yet with hope fading, he feels that he must turn to other means to fulfill his calling to live a life worthy of service to the King of heaven and earth. So he starts a bible school, which is successful for a time. But as with anything man-made, it is just a broken cistern that can hold no water without the mercy of Yahweh, and indeed, the dilemma is increased, as the mercy of Yahweh is that very water which trickles through the cracks.

And so what do we do? In life, we continually make for ourselves things that we know will not last. We face pain and search for ways to chase it away, cry out to heaven for something--anything!--to heal what we cannot heal ourselves. And so we try, day in and day out, to make for ourselves methods to overcome the pain when the pain continues.

We cannot escape the pain until we understand that it is just our dark, short-sighted resistance to the compassion of our Savior, who joined us in our pain and suffered with us, and continues to suffer with us. If only I had enough faith to not run away when he holds out a helping hand.... If only I had enough faith to take his hand and find freedom from everything I hate.... If only I had enough faith to love as he has shown us how to love....

But I do have enough faith, if only I believe.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


"Often an entire city has suffered because of an evil man." --Hesiod

"But they who give straight judgements to strangers and to those of the land and do not transgress what is just, for them the city flourishes and its people prosper." --Hesiod

"This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are." --Plato

"A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one." --Aristotle

"Moral habits, induced by public practices, are far quicker in making their way into men's private lives, than the failings and faults of individuals are in infecting the city at large." --Plutarch

"I called to my lovers, but they deceived me;
My priests and my elders perished in the city
While they sought food to restore their strength themselves.
See, O Yahweh, for I am in distress;
My spirit is greatly troubled;
My heart is overturned within me,
For I have been very rebellious.
In the street the sword slays;
In the house it is like death."
--Lamentations 1:19-20


Those who trust in Yahweh
Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So Yahweh surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest upon the land of the righteous,
So that the righteous will not put forth their hands to do wrong.

Do good, O Yahweh, to those who are good
And to those who are upright in their hearts.
But as for those who turn aside to their crooked ways,
Yahweh will lead them away with the doers of iniquity.
Peace be upon Israel.


Unless Yahweh builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless Yahweh guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

Behold, children are a gift of Yahweh,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.


Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Yahweh.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
If You, Yah, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

I wait for Yahweh, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in Yahweh;
For with Yahweh there is lovingkindness,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
8 And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Shabbat XIII

(I completely forgot that I wrote this, and even looking at it, I don't really remember writing it. But here it is, and so I might as well add it to the collection.)

Let's abandon this darkness,
Desperate for more than nothingness,
For more than this world
Has to offer.

Let's abandon this bad news
We understand so formally,
To rest in work that is completing
This circle of one.

Let's abandon this waste of time,
With this silent nation I can only accomplish
On my own, and run to
The celebration wedding.

Let's abandon this shadow
That builds our guile and veil,
To face the bursting dawn that burns
Our bodies clean.

Let's hope in the morning
That all will be made well.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Soliloquy

The following are the opening lines from a very, very, very, very serious play I started to write a few years ago entitled, Not the Fish!:

The fish or not the fish—that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler for fish to suffer
The hook and sinker of outrageous fishing,
Or to take fins against a sea of troubles
And, by swimming past, end them. To die, to fish—
The hook—and by a fish to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural hooks
That fish are heir to—‘tis a consummation,
Quite truly, to be fished. To die, to fish—
To fish, perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub,
For in that fish of death what dreams may come,
When we have run out all this fishing line,
Must give them paws. And with these paws
May they learn to walk on land.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

No one to tell it still haunts these dreams

To lose a dear sister
into the swift wind of days
and the dark hands of death
you need

To find some choosing
find some

And then make a decision despite corruption.

It's all there
under the shadows
with moon
over the living grave

At the exact same time it is stagnant.

And a swift air
silent voice,
let it go on,
remember love,

But what about the runaway?

That burden is not
on you.
That burden
is mine.

Tears will still fall

Into the swift, if that's okay.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


When Neal the alien from outer space first arrived on Earth, he astonished the world in his first appearance on television by announcing that yes, indeed, God exists in truth, and that he had proof. This caused quite a stir across the Earth for the ten days Neal remained with us.

Immediately, those who had a fervent awareness of the Creator's name tried their hardest to find out if this scaly alien was actually a false prophet. "After all," they pointed out, "if he really knew the Creator, he would also know his name." In reply, Neal pointed out that he was merely using the common vernacular of Earth to reference a 'mighty one' and that furthermore, due to his alien language and severe accent, the name people had undoubtedly misinterpreted what he had said. The name people noted that he had spoken English. In response, Neal said, "Exactly."

Upon being theologically satisfied, the more religious people of Earth carefully examined how they should best follow the new teachings of this stranger. In his announcement, they realized, he had used the word 'indeed' to describe God's existence. That is, in deed, and with hardly any need for faith, God could be found. So the men circumcised themselves, the women started wearing full head coverings and veils, and everyone went on their merry way. The apostle Paul churned in his grave.

The conspiracy theorists and ufologists took a somewhat different approach to Neal, though it was found to be just as loud. They pointed out to the media that this alien and supposed do-gooder looked very much like a reptilian and therefore could not be trusted. Every word he spoke was a lie, and that in the real truth, it was all an intergalactic conspiracy to overtake the world from the inside. To quell their concerns, Neal explained that his scaly appearance was simply due to dry skin and besides, he was obviously acting alone. The conspiracy theorists answered by saying, "Clearly his denial of the truth is enough evidence that the truth is true, so we must admit that the great deception has finally arrived." Neal made no comments about the irony of their statements, and so the media became bored with this new angle of the story.

But just when things appeared as if they were about to calm down, the secular politicians of the world caused the biggest uproar. Regardless of any theological, philosophical or otherwise tricky statement this alien decided to make, he needed to be controlled, and so for two and a half days, World War III was fought for the rights of one country to give this strange being over to the international community of scientists. Unfortunately, when the smoke and the fanatics cleared, it was discovered that no one actually knew where Neal had wandered off to during the battle.

In no time at all, he was tracked to South America, where he was visiting a small Peruvian boy who was sick with cancer. The authorities quickly ran to apprehend Neal, and they were mostly successful in doing so. However, as they grabbed him from the sick boy's bedside, Neal reached out one last time to comfort the boy. As he reached out, he lost his balance, tripped over someone's boot toe, and fell backwards, hitting his head forcefully on a cinderblock in the corner. He was killed by the impact.

Thus ended the ten-day period of Neal the space alien, which was later to be memorialized in the factual account written by Josiah Swanson, entitled, "Neal, If Only We Knew Him Better." And soon enough, things began to return to normal, with Neal's claims that God definitely exists becoming what seemed to be no more than—except for those who had been circumcised—a faint memory of a brief moment of clarity. A great candle, people said, had been held high in the darkness of the times. What beauty, what beauty! they cried.

Sadly, no one ever got around to asking him about his proof.

Message in a Bottle

Oh, what can I say that hasn't been said?
I know what I want to write here,
That I have been blessed abundantly,
And very specifically, concerning one cheery person.

I want to do it with some wonderful pictures—
A view of the stars on a cloudless night,
The feel of a fresh sheet of snow in the beauty of winter,
And the smell of a sweet flower meadow full of mountain laurels.

But I don't have the words.
I've not been so blessed with that much today, it seems,
At least not as a poet
Would want them to flow like a river smoothly.

So I settle for writing this,
Because I want to have something written
For that certain feeling, and that more than a feeling,
When all is made well, is made well, is well.

Also, because it is Sabbath, I want to say outright, Yah bless you all abundantly!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

As She Holds Her Lamp to Be Lit

Perhaps madness is a defense mechanism
When you are afraid that the truth
Is more terrible than the life you're living,
Where the wind blows away the dust particles
Of guile and doubt, and the rains fall
And paste these trials to the ground, underfoot.

Perhaps peace is the essence of survival
That calls you to sleep every night,
All those hours when you are watched and protected
And light shines on you and from you,
When you hear the cry at midnight and leap up
And do not turn to the right or to the left.

Perhaps then, when your crooked soul
Is made straight with the loving light of truth,
With the solid, strong and uncovered blessings of rain
Dripping greater particles of glory and grace,
You raise your eyes and turn your face to see
The snow-white clothes and smiling embrace of a Savior.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tomorrow We Party, Tomorrow We're Boring

Lie down upon the warmth of the day,
Where green and blue cloth covers your eyes
As you think on all your failures and all your sighs,
And breathe, wait and listen to her say,

"What are you doing, because I'm curious
About where you are and what you're doing,
And if soon you desire to be going
To that place, then wait for me, I'm serious!"

And then the afternoon comes around
When those failures grab and begin to haunt
Every sharp dream and every doubt you fought,
Though you know there is truth, because you found

That viruses are tricky things and need to be guarded,
But in the meanwhile, "I'm so happy for you!"
She says as she makes you proud for what you do.
"Tomorrow we'll have a party, and once it's started—"

But wait, you think, didn't it start the day you decided
That life is most well worth living
When you can rest and be boring?
Though now you know you have someone to confide in.

And the day goes slowly by, as you wait,
Wasting your time and your brain
On things that might not help you be sane,
Until finally you open that sweet gate

And hear her say, "So what's new,
Besides all those wonderful things?"
And truly, it's as if she sings,
Because that's how you know you are you.

(All great equations have proofs.)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Spinning Schrödinger's Cat

You know the world is upside down
When the snow is falling up.
And you know you have a lesson to learn
When the dark glass through which you are looking
Shatters in your face.

I suspect that's when wise men go blind
And blind men learn to see.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Nuclear Force and Colorful Garments

When a star explodes,
it is caused by the gravitational pull of its great mass
no longer being able to overcome
the extreme outward pressure of its inner electromagnetic forces.
And thus, the particles of the core
are pushed outward at a high velocity.

Likewise, when a well-adjusted human being
can no longer withhold the tendency
of their limbs to spread forth,
and internal pressures can no longer be pulled within,
the common result is observed to be
a violent outward impulse.

This is what happened when Marco—
on the day he ran over his wife's tulips at the end of the driveway,
had his favorite pen burst in his front pocket,
and found the cookies he had saved for lunch crushed at the bottom of his bag—
saw a man wearing a green-and-brown plaid jacket,
and thought to himself,
What a terribly ugly and offensive thing to wear!

When the police arrived,
they used a new package of Oreos to finally convince Marco
that yes, it was okay to spare the life of the plaid jacket
and the man wearing it,
and no, it really didn't seem necessary
to drag that man out into the street to be shot.

When they took Marco away,
he screamed obscenities about the evils of poor loom design
and the absurdities of clashing color schemes.
For the sake of politeness, not wanting
to bear Marco's embarrassment further,
nobody listened.

Monday, April 18, 2011

After Midnight

How long until you rise again?
Because the lame will learn to walk
and the slaves will be set free,
but the more I know about the things I don't,
the more I see that something grand
is meant to be. And we don't know
what we can't hear and are too blind
to see with these tired eyes.
But these sleepy eyes are all we have
to prove that we still believe
and still wait up, watching,
listening, and breathing.

And death descends upon these wistful houses,
so put your sword away,
the sword you brought with you,
the sword you want with you,
because this cup overflows
as sweat drips to the ground like blood,
and put your sword away,
because death has passed over you;
it is mine.
I am life.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Not Forgotten, a World, Now a Place of Beautiful Dreams

I may never understand what inspired me to write
That winter has come and winter has gone,
That she is here and she is there,
Or why I felt the desire to respond that way.

But I know that despite all of it,
Despite any wrong turn that I could have made
And any that I did make, I have been blessed
In this moment, on this day, and in the future.

And today it strikes me, as I walk alone,
That I am no longer running around,
Searching for a hope I can't find on my own.
Instead, I patiently wait as plum blossoms bloom.

And I hear,
"Brilliant array of lights caught the evening dusk.
Glowing on us as one who smiles.
You say you’re not perfect.
Curled up in a corner like a cat."

And I should laugh and laugh and rejoice,
Because it is calm, like an undisturbed lake,
A fresh field of snow in the morning
Or a bright blue sky that goes upwards forever.

Monday, April 4, 2011

How We Know We are Blessed

Despite all of it,
Despite what we deserve,
Despite this flesh,
We still breathe in
And breathe out.

Blood still flows hot and cold
Through my veins.
Each morning I still rise
From my rest.
Daily I yet receive
From the bread of life,
And I am blessed
When I don't have to ask,
What is this?

Each hour I may wait impatiently,
But penitence tempers me.
Each day I might find no hope,
But the infinite bursts through me.

I have seen nothing,
I have known nothing,
I have held nothing,
That can compare to this beauty.

And I know.
And I know
We are cared for,
No matter how long the night.

Monday, March 28, 2011

To Die, at Last

Quite literally,
He smiled.

Up from the water,
He trudged
—no, not trudged,
He was without

He had tears in his eyes—
But too hard to tell
With the water

Unburdened now,
That's the answer.
Slavery now,
That's the answer too.

And he found—
Because I lost faith,
He loved me.

And he loved.

When freedom in slavery
Tackled him,
Tortured him.
He learned the meaning
Of baptism.

And it's always yours.
And he's always yours.

And he loved.
And he's loved.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Concerning that Evening outside Lexington

Always trouble talking about science.
Even the poetry house welcomes you and says,
"Es muss sein!" — "It must be!"

I remember an evening
when the stars broke their orbits
and came down to meet me
as I stood in a crowd of people.
Our bright lights, heavier than I knew,
reached out their hands and grabbed my head
and shook my shoulders.

Everyone standing there watched, astonished.

Some said, "What we have here,
though difficult to understand, makes sense."
Others said, "Only by some dark, dark magic
could he have made the stars come down."
Still others—maybe those with sense—
simply ignored the whole spectacle.

And at the end of it,
the stars decided to shake my hand,
burning it, I assure you,
right before they said, "Have fun!"
as they piloted up through the atmosphere,
back to their rightful spectrum.

So they left me there
with their maddening partners,
the sub-atomic particles,
who I barely had time to meet and understand
before the girls in the crowd gathered around—
addressing my success
and addressing my wounds.

Distracted as I was then,
and as life spun me onward
away from that evening,
sometimes late at night
I look at my scarred hand
and consider what I learned
from those great masses of burning gas.

I remember how either way,
soon after the stars left,
the crowd grew weary of me.

And the religion house,
the murderers of every prophet,
even they welcome you:
"Es muss sein!" — "It must be!"

But the stars laugh and say,
"Consider how the little girl rose and
was saved from the dead!"
Always trouble talking about science.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Burning of the Bridge outside Concord, Followed by that Night outside Lexington, and Then, Somehow, the Kiwi Lux.

Hello hope, good day, how you do?
I like to think that all is well.
But like a rush of a sonic beauty comes something,
Magnificent you might say.

You can't silence my love.
The sky brightens up as the night darkens as the sunrise
Bursts in bold displays of beneficence.
The tree catches fire in the middle of winter.

How sad, the burning arbor!
And it seemed so well.
And it seemed so free.
But everything inside of me surrenders instead.

With the authority I am granted—
Oh, I am a failure—
But what power I have!
These choices…these choices…

The soul comes ripping out,
Remade and renewed,
Refreshed with a test of irony,
Halleluyah, you cannot silence my love.

I am a sinner! I am a saint!
There is a season for everything—
I am cast away, I am gathered in.
Our hearts still beat, still beat.

Let's go, let's go, let's go, and beyond the horizon.
But who is gathered first,
The wheat or the tares?
You cannot silence my love.

Dear white flower, good day, how you do?
One couldn't imagine a more beautiful you.

The ones that run me through,
They run me through for you.

What the cow am I talking about?
No one knows, quite literally....

Friday, March 4, 2011


Breathe in, then breathe out,
Because you are loved.

Hope when the morning dawns,
Because you are loved.

Sleep with peace in your heart,
Because you are loved.

Listen to a song, then sing it,
Because you are loved.

Bloom and flower brightly,
Because you are loved.

Stand in the rain,
Because you are loved.

Wilt in the sun,
Because you are loved.

Feel dust on your face from parched years,
Because you are loved.

Thirst in the drought,
Because you are loved.

Hunger in the famine,
Because you are loved.

See loved ones fall in the road,
Because you are loved.

Bear the burden of your brothers,
Because you are loved.

Bleed from the heart on your sleeve,
Because you are loved.

Cry at the blood on your hands,
Because you are loved.

Scream for mercy,
Because you are loved.

Know your faith wavered,
Because you are loved.

Weep miracles from your eyes,
Because you are loved.

Watch the torture of dear ones,
Because you are loved.

Touch those holes through the wrists,
Because you are loved.

Cling to compassion,
Because you are loved.

Receive the water that washes you clean,
Because you are loved.

Fall into the grave and be born,
Because you are loved.

Plead for the lifeblood that covers you,
Because you are loved.

Hear the quiet wind rushing over you,
Because you are loved.

Light up like fire,
Because you are loved.

Understand the price that was paid for you,
Because you are loved.

Cease trying to repay it,
Because you are loved.

Believe that you are loved,
Because you are loved.

Friday, February 25, 2011

When constrained, expand vertically.

First of all, it is a blessing that it is currently the Sabbath. And on the Sabbath, we have our greatest opportunity to find freedom from the world, while still necessarily being in the world.

Poetry, a wonderful thing created by Yah, is far too often taken by the world for its own means. Nonetheless, it remains a beautiful way of praising our Creator. It allows us to reflect the magnificence of creation with the creativity that our Father has blessed us with. The problem, of course, is that there is quite a lot of disagreement about what poetry actually is.

Have no fear. I'm here to provide yet another definition. But again, don't worry, because this definition is no more than a restriction, a constraint on how to write a poem. Really, it's just fun with syllables.

A couple weeks ago, I came up with a new poetic form (at least it is new as far as I know...not sure why any serious poet would use it to write a good poem.) It works like this:

1. Each line must contain three words, and only three words.
2. Each line must contain six syllables, and only six syllables.
3. The six syllables can be placed across the three words in any fashion, as long as rules 1 and 2 are not broken.

And so, practicing with this form, I came up with the following poem:

The Beautiful Blessings (Released by Believing)

The stars illuminate
Unto deeper spirits—
Those human believers,
Visionaries called saints.

Starlight shines overhead
Before daylight arrives,
Blooming into morning,
When lilies imagine
The great celebration
Wedding—behold blessings.

Stars illuminate nights—
Saints feel mortality.

Flowers, blessings, children:
Mercy releases them.

Just something that came from thinking about how much of a blessing the sabbath is, combined with having fun with words and syllables, which is more fun than one might think. You can do all kinds of things with them, because...

I'm told people think in ten syllables.
I tend to think in nine syllables.

And then I think--does that mean I come up one short of normal, or do I require one less then normal to accomplish the same task? And then I think--do I need to find an answer to that question? It's poetry, no one really knows what it is anyway. And so then I think-- of that thinking. I think it's Sabbath and time to sit back and relax and let my praises to my Father be my praises to my Father.

Be blessed.

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Unbind him and let him go." - Sonnet Version

With bare feet, standing on the shoreline's edge,
George wondered, if water reflects the sun
And trees grow shadows for everyone,
Then why was he here to make a grand pledge
To love unconditionally? To hedge
On a wager he had heard from someone
At the 16th Street church, behind the fun,
Beyond the Christmas tree and Santa's sledge.
Would it be right to wager a stigma,
If nobody was around to object?
Could he tell God, wherever he was now,
That no bottle, not even Aunt Jemima,
Could hold his soul or have a strong effect,
If truth wasn't around to show him how?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Like a Melody in My Head

I feel as if I should make some comment about the following poem. Like explain in full how it's based on an actual conversation, no matter if it didn't happen exactly the way it's presented. But on the other hand, what does it matter, right? It's poetry. They tell us that poetry can come out of anything and from anywhere. That maybe you could even make a poem out of the words on the back of a cereal box. (I'm pretty sure it's been done.) So it's really hard to say what poetry even is. Us poets just keep on trying and hope that at least one person will like what we do. Whatever that means.
Nonetheless, here it is:


She raises her brow and continues to hum.
Now I'm going to go to sleep humming this song.
She says, "What are you writing?"

"A poem that you're writing."
She furrows her brow,
"I didn't know I was writing."

You don't feel your hand moving
And your brain hurting slightly?

I think I'll keep this poem to myself....

Saturday, January 22, 2011


It gets so terribly loud,
The chattering of glass at night
In the deep dark of winter.
I feel anything but free,
Seeing the wind blow down the road,
Just a wind in the mouths of the residents
Of this quiet neighborhood.

But in this neighborhood,
What you find is grabbing and smiling
And taking hold of the beautiful things, surely,
As the wind blows towards more open fields,
Where the nighttime decides to abandon the darkness.
It opens into dawn and the greedy wind
Moves swiftly and sweetly onward.

And as I run through the field,
Dead and white as it is,
I hear the greedy wind chasing too.
Chasing after the sunrise,
After the bight of solar rays,
Gnawing on hills of snow that have drifted there,
Where the morning brings warmth

On most of these days.
And it feels good,
Even if it's only from the outside inward,
Because it doesn't quite feel safe,
Even if it is a comfort in truth.
So as the wind reaches a bony hand towards the sun,
I stop running and consider the race I've won.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Passion and Wanton

Loosed, kicked, into the dream of spinning
it's launched like a fowl. It climbs the stairs of lift and down,
and after the gallop it tramples the bramble peat.
Whatever it is, this dream, it is joy, but too bitter.
It is disgrace. It is sown, gathered, published and declared,
until the need for another disgrace is the only answer left.

It is dreamed—it is disgraced. It is joy,
but too bitter. It is a comfort
and a song you sing. Maybe a desire that is left and surrounded
by darkness and a heartless soul.
But no, it is dreamed, disgraced, with social unnecessity—
but a need when the singular circle shows tonight.

There is a treason in believing that this is the best
of what is yet to happen, good or evil, and it must be evil
with this discomfort. And in hands
held high: the gloaming, the wine, the reckoning,
the blood. The cup overflows,
and with a burst, there is dawn—stop spinning.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sometimes in the Middle of Midnight, I Tell You Everything and Pretend You Can Hear Me

No one listens and no one understands
And that's how we know we live falsely.
That's how uncertainty traipses through the door
And how we know you can never fix me.

Around the campfire with comfort and cold
There is a forbidden desire for warmth.
And as the flames climb the unwitting ladder
We never accept the need for a choice.

And no one gets to join the circle of one
Because now is not yet the time.
And no one really knows what to expect
Even though there is no need for a sign.

And so I pray for you many days
Because I don't have enough faith.
And I never pray for my own strength
Because my faith makes me feel too safe.

But I assure you that there will be a great day
When the fire path unlocks this cold cell.
People will walk cautiously through the door
And for you all love will be made well.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Shabbat XII

My heart is a little girl
lying all but dead
on a bed.

And you,
my dear friend,
say, Talitha kum!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Shabbat Crook (XI)

Out on a green pasture,
The blue light coming down from the sky,
Stands the whole flock.
Sheep, waiting for the shining sun to warm the day
As the dew damps the grass,
Where their legs push past the flowers—
Yellow and purple and white.
And over in his den,
The wolf waits, lying on his bed of wool,
Watching movies of the kill over and over in his head.
The songs of dying lambs playing softly in the back.

A villain,
Once a week the wolf joins the green pasture,
Moving past the yellow and purple flowers,
Waiting for a sheep to walk past so he can bite its legs.
But this is the day where the sheep all gather together,
Bleating and laughing as time passes,
So the wolf must go join what he can't abide.
And the sheep know he comes to join them—
They know there may be a thief among them,
Whether or not he feels guilt for his violence, once or twice a week.
So he bites a leg…

And hears a growl,
As that sheep turns to him,
Loosely fitting skin folded over a mouth of sharp teeth.
Astonishment, as the wolf draws back
And falls in the wet grass.
The snout of his brother, dressed so wickedly,
Sneers and grins as saliva forms on the lower lip.
You'll ruin everything!
And so the wolf stumbles back to his den, hungry,
But loving the feeling of pain in his belly.
And he blocks off the movies, listening to the songs of dying,

Lambs playing softly in the back.