April 4th, 2015

I believe in the risen Savior, that before he rose, he lay in the grave for three days. He was the firstfruits of the grace I receive daily despite exuberant blessing and the apparent curses that accumulate onto my falling life as it falls like a boat sinking caked with curses like barnacles into a final baptism I too will rise from.


I apologize for being “erudite” recently, as one of my friends called it. I am honestly not so sure why I have been. If you are interested in my less “erudite” writing, I will try to keep these journal entries non…erudite.

To describe my life right now would be to give you a snapshot of what blessing looks like. I cannot keep up with all of the thoughts that rain on me at every single moment; I get overwhelmed so easily.

I bought a little book (a libretto) at The Storm Cellar to record my thoughts for the book. When I say “the book,” I am referring to the next book. I would tell you about it–trust me, I would love to–but I made a binding agreement with my friend, Matt, that I would not rant about something that I have not yet finished. So, unfortunately, here I am trying to contain my excitement about this book.

January and February for me were the most active I think I have ever been. My brain and my body were on fire with energy and projects and gorging on the world. The Spring season is shaping up to be a hibernation for me. I felt like I was running to get nowhere those two months and, subsequently, ran over myself.

I love the sun right now. I am sitting in a hammock on a friend’s porch, the birds are singing in some trees about twenty feet away, the wind is the only thing that might make me chill, I am book-ended by two old hanging window panes, moving slightly in the breeze. The sun is screaming (my attempt at poetry) at the shadows, so they are hard to find, shrunken in shrunken corners. I am listening to a song right now, the lyrics to which are below:

Well the rain it has been falling
Like it wants to drown us all
And the trees are gently swaying
Like they’re thinkin’ ‘bout the fall
I still get shivers when I hear
You singin’ down the hall
I’m gonna kiss you all over Ohio

And the starlings they were flying
Earlier today
Doing their maneuvers
Clouds of feathers on display
Makes me wanna kneel in prayer but
I’ve forgotten what to say
I’ll just name all the birds in Ohio

Now the reason I am writing
Is to tell you ‘bout the flood
Ah, the river is so beautiful
But it leaves a load of mud
All I have now are these dirty songs
I guess they’re in my blood
They make me wander so far from Ohio

It’s a silly undertaking
To fly halfway ‘round the earth
With an imaginary womb of songs
Intent on giving birth
I gave all that I had to give
I’m not sure what it’s worth
Scatter the ashes right here in Ohio

All I wanna be is a thousand black birds
Bursting from a tree into the blue
Love – let it be not just a feeling
But the broken beauty
Of what we choose to do

And the halleujah chorus
Used to make my Daddy cry
I still wonder ‘bout the ruckus
Angels make up there on high
In the meanwhile there are measures
We can take to get us by
Lay me down next to you in Ohio

But my expectations stand still
Like beggars at the door
I’m flat broke from the dues
I’ve paid them all before
Gonna let the Cuyahoga
Wash me up on burning shores
Shipwrecked with you in Ohio

I have seen the slow corruption
Of the best ideas of Christ
In the pulpits of our nation
Gospel turned into white lies
If you preach a subtle hatred –
The bible as your alibi
God damn you right here in Ohio

But my shameless hallucination:
He’s still knockin’ at my door
And I know how this one’s gonna end
He’s gotten in before
I’ve run as fast as I can run
I’ve had to ask, What for?
He haunts me all over Ohio

All I wanna be is a thousand black birds
Bursting from a tree into the blue
Love – let it be not just a feeling
But the broken beauty
Of what we choose to do

The best ones, like the Song of Songs, capture the love of Christ for his church. That, at least, is my response to romanticism which could infect me with loneliness. I don’t get lonely, but I can empathize when others are. Sometimes that empathy becomes so deep, I can barely hold myself together. That is not just true for love songs, of course. I sometimes daydream about their days and their dark thoughts.

I saw a guy sitting in public yesterday who I just wanted to ask him how he was doing and give him a smile. He was about fifty, no wedding ring, drinking a beer, and glancing at a group of young couples chattering loudly to their phones. I didn’t talk to him.

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