Isaiah 53.

Who will come to hear the story

one that God has painted true?

With no part about Him special

why should we keep Him in view?

Some before us did mistreat Him,

jeered and scorned the One who saves;

He became a man of sorrows,

Every grief in life He braved.

Though we failed to love His presence,

yet He bears our burdens whole.

We saw death, and thought, “He earned it,”

didn’t see He saved our souls.

He took the beating meant for us –

because of sin, the Son was killed.

He laid His life down for our peace,

and by His wounds, we are healed.

So all of us, who’ve turned away,

had our wrongs and burdens laid

silently, upon His shoulders,

He, our Lamb, atonement made.

He was treated by His people

like a robber or a thief.

He did no wrong during His years

yet the Lord put him to grief.

Now we see what our transgressions

bear as fruit: the death of Him.

We’ve become now seen as righteous,

He intercedes for us, praise Him!

 

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Submarines.

I’m just tired; I’ve got some work to do; I’m fine; I don’t know what you’re talking about.

He went with, “I’m just a little tired,” because it was the most convenient half-truth to tell at the time.  It felt like he could do nothing right that day.  And he knew – he had been told, really – that it was all just an overreaction to a single negative situation, and his programed response to it was to catastrophize.  Nevertheless, he didn’t care to fight back tonight.  He joked about physical exams earlier, realizing too late that she was anxious from her latest checkup.  The doctors were taking an uncommonly long time to return the results to her; in fact, self-diagnosing led her down a dark corridor with the walls closing in on all sides, stopping with just enough room for her to tuck her knees into her chin and hope beyond grace that it was all just catastrophizing.  He hadn’t meant to lead her by the hand back to the corridor.

How selfish he was, letting his regret show on his face, putting her in a place of regretting her openness about her very real issue while fighting to steady the darkness from encroaching upon the rest of her night.  And the way he left, making a big show of just how much he regretted making the joke, all the while leaving her ashamed and thinking – wrongly – that maybe she was being a burden on other people.  Maybe he was putting prison bars where freedom walked, giving in to the whispers of doubt about just how good of a friend he actually was, and none of this was happening at all.  He wanted to feel guilty about what had happened – he deserved to bear the responsibility for his mistake because he was supposed to be a good friend.  It was the most convenient half-truth to accept at that time.

The retreat inwards began, but he didn’t notice.  He just needed to get through to the end, and he would be home free – free from ruining anymore of his relationships, free to be silent, free to not live underneath the expectations that others had come to own.  He would just run from it all because after all, he was just a coward who couldn’t face his reflection when it surrounded him.  All he did was lie, sell himself as better than he really was, believe in his own lies, and continue manufacturing selves.  Positivity was his most polished mask, and his heart had accumulated enough of his half-truths to believe it owned a single, reliable shard of honesty.  At the end of the day, he was weak.  He wanted to be strong; he wanted to be reliable; he wanted to be honest; he wanted to be kind; he wanted to be free to know who he was and where he stood without the ground collapsing at the slightest nervous shift in weight from right to left, plunging him into the frigid and lonesome below.  He was catastrophizing.

Another mistimed joke, and he found himself lost.  Why was he? Had he not realized that he could have tried not belittling people around him for once, just so that his own crudeness could find a measure of stability?  Was it impossible for him to understand that who he was just didn’t fit who he thought he was?  He was pitiful.  He’d go home and paint something – painting would do the trick, what with the silence and the focus on making something really intricate so that he would just forget seeing his own face stapled onto his friend’s disappointment.  He knew that it had been a rough week for him, but he let his own charm poison the vial even more.  What a wreck.  He really didn’t know who he was at all.  All this time, he had the ridiculous idea that he had been doing him a favor when he himself was the burden.  Is it only now occurring?  He probably thought he was an idiot for even trying to show him in the most explicit way that he wasn’t the friend he thought he was, and here he was, thinking that he was saving him from the shadows.  There wasn’t a thing right about him.

He dove into the dark of the ocean, colliding with the side of the boat on the way down.  Abrasions didn’t matter anymore at this point; he wasn’t even sure he felt the slick, dull, trauma anymore.  I can’t do anything right. I’ve heard that one already.  Why are you wasting your time? Be honest about your mistakes.  You’re the reason we’re here.  Are you still here? Haven’t you grown up yet? Jeez. Get a grip. Move on. Stop worrying so much.  Time will tell.  Why didn’t you say anything? You disappoint me.  Where is the surface?  Don’t be a baby.  Where are you going?  You don’t understand.  Why am I here? You’ll be fine.  I can’t feel anything anymore.  Who’s fault is that?  You made this mess, you fix it.

His heart pounded and every beat felt heavier and heavier and slower and slower he felt it in his head and in his eyes until he was realizing that he was trying to breathe in deeply he was trying to breathe in but his lungs weren’t enough for him and he saw that it was dark except for a single moon far away though far from him and who he was and where he needed to be so he breathed less hoping to reflect on things more and realize that it was just catastrophizing it was just in his head it wasn’t going to be that bad it couldn’t be that bad what was going on he hadn’t felt this way in a long time but he couldn’t find his way out except to talk to no one about it because that’s who understood him best.

I can’t breathe.  Just let me wake up.

Please.

A Friend of the Mist.

He walked through the haze of memorial pain,

seeing the scars, the wounds.

He thought of each glimpse of once-certain gain,

knowing his soul it’d consume.

Onwards, he marched, until silence reigned –

solemn, severe, surrender.

He laid down his arms before stifled pain

beckoned him to remember

the spectres of his friends; they drifted

as mist upon his weary legs.

They bore him up, his spirits lifted

the bottle ’til the bitter dregs.

Moon Beams.

Tonight is a good night for nostalgia,

so go to the lake.

The moon says hello from the surface,

you wave politely.

~

What memories shall we make tonight?

Perhaps the trees will light aflame

in remembrance of

three hundred forgotten stars.

~

Your sighs howl in branches

and wind up in your lap;

don’t forget to look

up – and see yourself always upwards.

~

Eyes put on colder lenses

as the night grows softer, fuzzier.

Warmth yearns for freedom

from weathered tombs.

~

You let go of the clinging in your eyes,

scattered free on moon beams.

So they walked on the moon,

forever forgetting home.

Epitaph.

*Note: This was written on my old blog, Poet in a World of Prose, which has since been deleted.

What’s love to you, kid?

The young man hesitated, unsure of what to say to someone who was possibly the girl’s father.  His mouth was left half-open before he closed it and swallowed, preparing himself to answer.

Love is when you care about someone so much that they’re all you can think about every moment of the day.  For me, it was spending time watching sunsets with her.  I asked her why she stayed out to see the sun go down, and she would only ever say that it was because there was nothing for her to do at home.  Love is when you devote yourself to learning all about the person you love, when you are willing to suffer what they suffer so that they’re not alone.  It’s considering that at the end of the day, the life you live has been affected so deeply by that person that to lose that person would be to lose a part of yourself.  The Good Book says that love is patient, and that love is kind, sir.  I cared about your daughter more than you could understand.  She knew the parts of me that I wouldn’t dare to tell anyone else, and she shared the deepest parts of her life with me, until her life experiences were almost mine.   I think that’s what love is, sir.

The man looked hard into the young man’s watery eyes, holding him there in his gaze for a while.  Then, he spoke.

You’re right about love being all of that, for a young man.  That’s how I remembered it too, when I was chasing after her mother.  But there’s a part of love that you haven’t quite experienced, and I don’t blame you.  Love never ends.  That’s in the Good Book too.  When you were describing all of that, yes, it’s true that love is devoting yourself to learning all about that person; yes, it’s being willing to suffer what they suffer; yes, it’s about having them become a part of yourself.  But that’s not all.  When her mother died, there was never a day that would go by when I would tell people that I cared about her, because that care never ended.  So when you say that you cared about her, that she knew you and that she shared with you, you really do put her in this dirt we’re standing over; don’t you talk about all those things as if they were in the past, but speak of them as the truths that they are, in the present.  Every day after her mother passed, I would come visit her and talk to her as well.  When you love someone, she doesn’t need to be there for you to experience things about her.  When you love someone, the world is constantly reminding you of her and how she is.  I still love my daughter, kid.  She’s not gone because so many things remind me of her.  I’ve just retired, which is why you found me here so late, but I still woke up for the sunrise to spend it with her.  Call me crazy, but I saw her smile as that sun peeked over the mountains there.   But, that’s enough of that.  Point is, if you love someone, even the separation of death won’t stop you from loving that person.  Keep loving her, kid; she’s never been gone anyway.

With that, the man turned to walk away.  The young man watched him go, tears falling from his eyes like rain.

Oh, wait.  She left you something, underneath the pillow she slept on at the hospital; the nurse gave it to me when I visited the hospital late at night after she passed.  I never thought that I would meet the young man she wrote it for, but you’ve got to be the one.

The young man trembled as he opened the letter, and the man, with his hands in his blue jeans walked off, whistling.

I love you.  

I know you normally don’t start a letter off like that, but I just wanted you to know that that’s the first thing I thought when writing this letter.  I think that, as much as it hurts me, I don’t have much time left here.  The doctors and nurses have been wonderful to me, so pay them a visit and thank them for me after I’m gone.  

By now, I hope that I haven’t been wrong in thinking that both of us love each other.  It’s funny, I kind of knew that you always liked me by the way that you would always watch sunsets with me, no matter what.  I guess it was my way of testing how loyal you were.  But, you never missed a sunset with me, and I’m assuming you won’t even miss my own personal sunset.  I was never really interested in the romantic parts of life; I just watched sunsets because I thought they looked pretty.  But eventually, it was more than the sun setting that I looked forward to.  I loved the way that you would walk me home slowly after it got dark, the way that we could talk about anything at all that was on our minds, the way that you looked into my eyes and made me feel like I alone captured your attention.  The other girls at school always really liked you because you were so nice to everyone, so respectful…and so handsome.  It’s weird, but I feel like growing up together never created an obstacle between us.  It sounds so silly, but it’s like we were just made to love each other.  I wish I didn’t have this disease; I can only imagine how hard Daddy’s been working to pay for all of this.  But, I know that you and I will be with each other forever.  Daddy used to always say something like “Love never ends,” ever since Mommy passed away, and I believe him.  I know that eventually you’ll go off and marry a beautiful girl who adores you and would treat you as you deserve to be treated, that you’ll have a loving home and a wonderful future; I hope that you won’t forget me in the process.  I know it’s unfair of me to do this, to ask that you let me occupy your heart when I’m about to leave this place, but I hope that in that big heart of yours, you can make space.  Anyways, thank you for visiting after school every single day and bringing me wildflowers that you pick up along the road.  They always make my day, even when I’m feeling horrible.  I hope that this letter gets into your hands; I’ve told the nurse to tell Daddy who to give this to, but he might not know it’s you because he’s never met you before, and I’ve never talked about you with him.  I started this letter with my love, and I’ll end it with my love, so that you know that my love continues on from beginning until whatever end may come.  Take care of yourself, and keep on loving the people around you with as much love as you poured into me.

I love you. 

 

How Big?

The man sat ‘neath the moon and stars,

soul’s deep tears like liquid scars.

They asked him of how big his heart;

he spoke through whispers of his art.

He told the tales of paths mistaken

that made his heart swell up with hope.

Nightmares seen by Poe’s lone Raven

supplied his lonesome, noose-shaped rope.

How big a heart has he who gives

to those around for whom he lives?

He deigned to give the moon and stars

but he sighed instead with passing cars.

So now he writes a verse quite true,

explaining his enormous heart.

He filled his soul complete with rue,

detailed his end before the start.

He suffered much, and smiled slow;

his pain was great, but few could know.

Ask him not of how big his heart,

but ask him now: how big each shard?

Consuming Night.

Consuming night, the furor’s sound

does the soul’s cry for grace confound.

The tears of sorrow shed for naught,

a life of light with darkness fraught.

A God seems deaf despite the pleas

for mercy, grace, and love for these.

~

When love falls short of saving grace,

forgiveness deigns to hide its face.

Dark thoughts aswirl in tempests form,

alone we stand, our hearts forlorn.

We seek Your light for guidance true,

it’s You we lift our voices to.

~

With regret, the sky wanes black

with no way of turning back.

By Your grace, we pray

for redemption’s touch,

And ask for mercy’s calming flood.