I am what You have made of me

You have pressed my brokenness between Your palms
and made of me a new kind of ordnance,
dense, weighty, deceptively simple and small.
You heft me from hand to hand
with fierce joy,
enjoying Your work,
savoring Your plan.
I am the stone in the slingshot,
the sickle in the field.
I am a bullet in the chamber
waiting for a spark,
I am the arrow held between Your fingers,
eager for flight.


one more chance

i cannot change the world,
i cannot heal it,
i cannot even fathom it.
i am glad
that i cannot understand.
if i could, i imagine
i would only
cradle my head in my hands.
i thank you God
for my light yoke,
for my small piece
of the puzzle.
i am sorry
for my anger,
my paralysis,
for the blank stare,
for the heart-numbness.
i thank You for Your patience
and Your grace,
and most of all
i thank You for today,
for one more day,
one more chance
to figure it out.


in dreams I often walk
some wretched maze–
all sharp corners, endless corridors feeding into themselves,
vaulted chambers alive with darkness, shadows with voices,
faces grinning in the black.
it goes nowhere, and I pace it alone, haunted by the echoes
of my own footsteps.

in other dreams, I watch
the calculations
of a massive equation–
the vastness of the universe distilled into numbers with names
but no meaning,
shoveled from one side to the other
for no reason
but to fill in the blanks.
it is the soothing boredom
of a defragging computer–meaningless,
but with a comforting sort of equity.

in still other dreams,
I sit at the bottom of a well,
tapping my fingers
and scratching off tally marks.

but in some dreams,
I walk with You
in a sunset field of tall yellow grass, three years old,
with hands big enough
to hold on to just two of Your fingers.

and in a very few dreams,
I walk the very fringes of the earth barefoot–laughing, strong–
free of limb and loose of tongue, fearless…


Presently, my day is measured out
In tablespoons of coffee,
And entries on the punch-clock.
Input sweat, output bills,
No slack, no overflow–simple.
But…I’m not simple.
It’s just a disaster
When I try to pour my big, messy self
Through the clean little funnel
Of work and society
And all that blah blah blah…
Callouses form
Where I chafe myself against the box
Of a carefully selected
Little pigeon-hole…
They say,
“In time, the stubborn ox
Doth wear the yoke.”
Well fuck that.
Who made the yoke king, anyhow?
One man’s mistake, a millenium ago.
Thanks for all the thorns, Adam.
They don’t make life suck, or anything.
Later on, another Man came along
To take those thorns upon Himself.
I put my hand to the earth
And strive with brambles and weeds,
And boy,
It takes the starch right outta me.
Is the sweat of my brow a consequence
Of the first man?
Or obedience to the second?
A bit of both, I think,
And when I run for the hills
I can’t hear myself think
For all of Creation groaning,
And even the empty prairie sighs
For lack of rain…


I remember as a child the afternoon sky growing dark as twilight
beneath the shadow of summer thunderheads,
and dashing out to play in fields
of tall yellow grass and crackling bracken.
breathing air thick with the smell of storm,
drinking wind that fretted the wilted heads of wild flowers,
I and the whole earth with me seemed to sigh
with the expectation of rain.
now that I am older, I hear You calling me
to walk again the open, windy places,
to step out of safety and into the storm,
and find that I am not made out of sugar and salt.
I am not some chill, frightened thing
to hide in a hole from the beauty and violence
of whatever Your hand lets fall.
no, I am like the trees that sway and dance under the tempest,
I am the drought-thirsty earth hungry for water,
I am a violet stretching upward to catch each drop and draw it in—
I am Yours, and I am not afraid.

in Your eyes

who was I in Your eyes
before I ever took a breath?
what was my first blue print,
first draft, first sketch?
is my loose-tied frame
still hung on Your intention?
or has my heart fallen deep
into a cage of my invention?
am I to fly arrow-true
the desired path of Your sight?
or am I a little sparrow
free to take my own flight?
am I a rat to You, that I
should stumble blindly in a maze?
or am I Your chosen champion
to run my race, and shout Your praise?
who was I in Your eyes
before we ever met?
and whom have I become
that You should think of me yet?

you can’t take my name

you’ll never make me break
’cause you can’t take my name.
you can’t conceive of a God
that you could never tame.
and you can’t take my soul
and you can’t take my song.
you might beat me down
but you will never prove me wrong.
I’ll never be your toy.
I’ll never be your slave.
you can’t keep me in control
’cause you have nothing that I crave.
no, you can’t take my name.