Saturday, December 17, 2011

When I was sinking down

Sometimes, when I have too much time to think about it ("it" being my "love life" and the time being those days right after the student finally realizes that there are absolutely no papers to write for absolutely zero classes), my heart gets heavy. Sometimes, your body is weighed down by some inexplicable force besides gravity. It can happen on the train, alone, witnessing a moment. A specific person comes to mind immediately. That person is the exact emotional and relatable substance you want to be sitting or standing next to you when you see or hear this particular moment. But, they're not there. That's all about missing someone, I know. Lots of people. It happens. Maybe it's also because my body's heavy from being sick, or because I miss my close friends, far away, or because I'm not singing. Or, the reality that, even during the "happy" holidays, hate, greed, and hunger still happen. True loneliness, grief, longing, inpenetrable sorrow.

God still calls us to lift our heavy hearts, bodies, emotions, not just at Christmas time but all the time. Because the Baby Jesus DID come and he DID die for you and me. So, it counts for something that we spread the cheer - faithfully and whole-heavy-heartedly keep the love going around all year long, not ignoring the evil, but spreading the good, not glossing it over, but penetrating it wherever it might be.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

As for my "love life," it's the only thing that's actually "lonely," but me, myself? I have so much to make me, well, not alone, which makes for a full, heavy heart.

What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down,
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on,
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Manchester Victoria Station

I came across some of my old poetry the other day - some that I wrote in the last five years. Seems more like a decade ago, because so much has happened. It was comforting to read my own words again, knowing exactly what they mean. Maybe it's because they're still all my words, not really meant for an audience. Not an essay, a review, a feature story. Just poetry. Just words and lines, and my own goofy life between the spaces and line breaks, inside and underneath. Maybe it's selfish, but it really is something to look back, know yourself then, and know yourself now.

I wrote Manchester Victoria Station for a poetry publication in college. The critics of the publication said there was a tragedy and desperate longing in the poem. I agree, and that stinking hopelessness really is there, because that's what I thought a lot of things were - hopeless. I've never even been to Manchester. It's ironic that I would write a "love" poem about it, though, because putting the thoughts into words confirms something, not sure what, maybe the existence of that actual hope of going there someday and having the conversation. It's all forgettable and memorable at the same time. So utterly and despicably sentimental.

I haven't written a poem in two years. Now, I don't think every thought and sentence has to be poetically unforgettable and sentimental. Not that all poetry is like that or should be. But, the sappiness of my old words has probably disappeared because reality slapped it right out of me. Sometimes, though, I still think in measure, iambic pentameter, and hopeless romanticism. But that's rare now, because I realize actual love isn't held together by these things.

Our kneecaps touched on the train.
A five-hour surge soda
pulsed through my veins,
at the touch of our denims

Your lips fluttered,
smooth and jagged at once
while stories spilled out and
laughter echoed them apart

Mine put to shame,
as they were bitten
and trembling

I felt your big-hearted blue eyes
wash over me

     off the stool and 
     onto the brick.

Your warm hand
on the small of my back
the fog of air from your mouth
hazing me closer

I could only hear the song of
the tickle of our eyelashes

And your smile
draping the rims of my mouth

And our kneecaps tapping gently
as your heat filled my lungs