Posted in Writing

Poem: Snowflakes Fell in June

Snowflakes fell in June

Snowflakes fell in June
And hiking paths opened along the Mariana Trench
So governments argued over how to split the tax.

The Grand Canyon was a prairie
And talking heads talked of condos
To fill such a bland green space

Then  potato roots sprang from the clear blue sky
And air traffic control called in Mayday.
While tourists snapped square framed photos
from the Boeing Windows

Then Mt. St. Helens erupted ice
So Coke shot bikini models
Drinking from the fountain
And then they thought themselves quite clever
To have invented Lava Ice.

Mattel caught wind and Lava Barbie
Was planned for release
Early next spring.
Until Disney sued them all for rights
On what account, no one knew

Yes, snowflakes fell in June
And the world turned upside down
And that was how it happened

The night she left it all.

Posted in Writing

Poem: Theft

Theft

With little pudgy fingers
You stole my heart
And locked it away
Behind milky eyes of innocence

It was a theft without provocation
A crime without a cause
And now I am nothing
But melted chocolate
In your pudgy little fingers

Posted in Writing

Thursday Morning 

On the heels of Wednesday night, Thursday morning comes rolling in, wafting shades of sunny spring under lingering winter chill, and he asks me what I want today.

“I want the world,” is my reply with eyes wide and bright and dreamy.

To that he laughs, with bellows coming from deep inside and shakes the pink-hued sky.

“And you shall have it if you want it,” says he.

Then he opened the pastel blue morning and the world yawned and stretched under his watchful gaze.

“My child,” says he, “run the open fields and let the soft green grass tickle your feet. And let my morning sun caress your skin like a lover’s warm and gentle kiss. Drink deep of the earth cisterns and the hearty stuff of life. Love with abandon and let your heart run wild and free, while you taste the nectar of the earth. But remember, you only have twenty-four hours. Make it count. Because I do not own tomorrow. I can only give you today.”

And so I did. And never once did I look back.

Posted in Art

Art and the Birth of Idea 

This is my latest attempt at abstract art. This painting is called The Birth of Idea. It represents a spark inside of us, and how that spark can ignite, grow, and effect change.

I love art, particularly abstract and surrealists. Dali makes me swoon. Of course, from what I have heard, Dali tended to make many girls swoon. But that’s for another day. But, as much as I love it, I have never been any good at art.

My first memory of art class was in second grade. We were assigned to do western themed art for a chance to appear on display at the Houston Rodeo. You know, those little booths where they have framed art from all the little kids for the everyone to ooh and awww at, and say, “What cute little kids those were.” And of course, if were so lucky to win this distinguished honor, our art would be bestowed upon this gallery with a plaque reading, “Jane Smith, Age 7,” and then right under it the magic words, “Bammel Elementary.”

Rodeo art, as Ms. Miller exemplified, wasn’t just about you. It was about you, me, the entire student body at Bammel and the Great State of Texas. I rather thought the whole rodeo thing was quite redneck, and was completely mystified with the entire fascination. I really would prefer to read The Baby Sitter’s Club and swoon over Michael W. Smith. But alas, I was a good kid, so I took my stab at it.

So, we sat around these big tables with special paper, the sort that blurred the line between paper and fabric. And Ms. Miller brought out her special colored pencils and enlisted Ms. Destiguer from across the hall to instruct us. Ms. Destiguer had inside intelligence on what the judges were looking to find. “No sun,” she told us. “The judges think the art in the past has overused the sun, and don’t want to see it.” We nodded. After a few more instructions, we began our entries.

John Hartley drew this great Segura cactus. Simple, but nice. Although, being from the Houston suburbs,  none of us has ever really seen a cactus, except in the floral department of the grocery store where you could buy a potted cactus. Which, never made any sense to me. Why would you want to own a cactus? Just in case the water pipes broke? But, onward John drew and Ms. Miller approved. Until he asked if he should put a sun in his picture. Ms. Miller wordlessly went to the board, and wote in huge letters, “NO SUN!” Then she proceeded to vociferously lecture us on the meaning of the words. “No sun peeking out. No sun far away, no sun in the middle. NO SUN!!!” She repeated herself and clapped her hands for emphasis.

Then she and Ms. Destiguer circulated around the sweatshop and helped sharpen colored pencils and gave ideas and made sure no one drew any suns. I sat next to Lacy Noel who wore her curly blond hair in perfect braids and had an endless supply of those neon plastic rings that you put in the bottom corner of your T-shirt to make it look like you had it knotted. Lacy drew these magnificent brown Cowboy boots. They were strewn across the floor at an exacting haphazard angle, and even included silver Spurs. Then there was Robert, who ate glue, drew a green field with some flowers and a sun peeking out of the corner. I thought Ms. Miller’s head was going to explode.

I decided I was going to do a Texas Longhorn. Granted I had never seen a Longhorn, and I didn’t quite even know what they were, but I thought it would make Ms. Miller happy. So, I went through about ten sheets of paper drawing something that could have been a longhorn, could have been a dinosaur, or could have been a house. It was interpretative art.

Ms. Miller didn’t even waste a head gasket on me. She simply asked if I would like to read while the rest of the class finished. I wasn’t even patronized. This was the best idea I had heard all week. And so, this would set the tone for how I would approach art for the rest of my life.

Some people were Lacy Noel’s, able to produce exquisite work at the drop of a hat. Some were Roberts who had no clue that they had no clue, or that there even was a clue at all. There were John Hartley’s, who managed to do well, but not excellent, just by keeping it simple. Such is life, I guess. Then, there was me. Stick to what you’re good at, was Ms. Miller’s unwitting advice. And I was none too quick to take it. I was one of those people that couldn’t do art. And I was okay with that.

Over the next couple of decades I would, from time to time, check in with the gods of painting to see if we were still at odds. We were. There was the ill-fated Rothko imitation that never dried because I didn’t know you couldn’t do a painting entirely in oil. Then there was the Chinese symbol, simple black against white canvas, that I imitated from something I had seen at an art store. But mine just looked…dumb. Then there was the sun that looked like a giant yellow blob in the middle of the canvas. I even put spikes. This was all okay. I just wote more poetry.

Until about a week ago. I had an opportunity to paint. I sat at the table and thought and thought. I thought about what I had been learning in my brief foray into Photoshop for my poetry book. I thought about what had gone wrong with my previous painting attempts. I thought about my friend Caitlin, the artist, who paints all the time in our community house.

And so, I painted. It was fun and relaxing. There was a sense of satisfaction and pride as I unlocked places inside me and released them visually. I knew this feeling well from writing. But I had never experienced it visually. I guess, my point is, you never know what you can do until you try. And sometimes our attempts are not perfect.  In fact, sometimes they suck. But you get out there and you do it. And you just might find a new part of yourself.

Posted in Life

Liquid Crystal Friendship 

Last night, several of us went out to dinner. That sounds so much more sophisticated than it was. We went to IHOP’s free pancake day. To celebrate World Pancake Day, and raise awareness for charity, yesterday IHOP gave away a free stack of pancakes to all who wanted. So, like the starving artists we all are, we cashed in. Food everywhere, and no one was spending a dime. (Then we all felt guilty and started ordering stuff).

Anyway, we doubled Free Pancake Day with the release of my poetry book, and made it a celebratory dinner. (IThe guys were really more excited about the free food). It was a great dinner, and refreshing from the hum drum last few weeks of normal life.

Then the conversation turned to my poetry book. I pulled a copy out and passed it around the table, although most had already seen the final copy. And everyone began to compliment me, my work, and the accomplishment. I was flattered, but I’ll admit I didn’t know what to say. I never know what to say in these sorts of moments.

I smile and listen and say “thank you,” at each appropriate slot. And I certainly appreciate the kind words. But, the conversation inevitably dies with uncomfortable head nods and then what.

I’ve poured a piece of myself onto the page, or screen, in hopes that someone relates. And maybe, just maybe, it gives them solace that they are not alone in their intimate journey of their soul. And so, when they appreciate it, a piece of me jumps. And I wonder how their soul connected to mine. I wonder what it was that spoke to them. I wonder if it caused them to want to carry on, or think differently. I wonder if they have the same frustrations, or confusions that I do.

But you cannot ask these things at a dinner table, or in a crowded hallway. These are the things we ask when the light is low and the hour is late, and we want to let one another inside those places no one ever goes. And so, in the brightness of a crowded restaurant, with the clatter of dishes and the waiters grabbing empty glasses, the conversation dies. Later, in low-lit solitude, I will re-read the pieces they must have read, and wonder how it was that I found a friend.

But maybe that’s the point of writing, or any art for that matter. Art goes to those places that we can’t talk about. And that’s okay. Maybe that’s as far as I can go, a stranger in live human form, a dear friend in LCD. And you know what, I’m okay with with that. So, if you have found a friend in me, staring back at you from this screen, know that I appreciate it. And I will continue to write to you, dear reader, with the same pensive honesty, and sly wit as always.

And if you meet me, or if you know me, know that I so appreciate these moments alone with you, my dear friend in liquid crystal.

Posted in God

Fallen

It’s a fallen world and we are all broken pieces of Adam’s fall, floating, moving, and trying to make some sense it all. And in the middle of it, we are crying for God to come and save us. Because we are drowning in a cacophony of our own noise and lies and the things we won’t say. We are drunk on the stench of ourselves.We are sinners, and what else is there left to say?

We are lost in an epidemic of sin, and God watches from heaven–a planet in massive turmoil of hedonistic pleasure. Billions of people, lying, stealing, cheating to get one over the other, all searching for something to make their lives worthwhile. That somehow we are more worthy of love, of envy, of pleasure than the next. And so it goes.

Is there redemption for humanity? God is sovereignly merciful.