September 12, 2015

Truth and Justice

This post is perhaps, in many ways, overdue. But this is something I have been thinking a lot about in the past year or so as I have been enrolled in graduate school, thinking more about Postmodernism, along with issues of truth and justice.

A few weeks ago, Cornel West came to speak at VCU. It was an amazing experience. He said that justice needs love to be truly potent. He has said that “justice is what love looks like in public.”

If this is justice, then what is injustice?  When we point to the shooting of Michael Brown a little over a year ago, or the shooting in Charleston, SC a few months ago and call it “unjust,” on what do we base this claim? How do we get to justice without a standard of absolute truth?

The philosophy of Postmodernism argues that each person’s truth is valid and should be accepted. But what about Dylan Roof’s belief that black individuals are inferior to whites? He acted in line with his beliefs. If this racist dogma is acceptable as his truth, what ground do we have to stand on when we say he should be prosecuted for this horrible tragedy?

Without truth, there is no standard for right and wrong. If, for example, the leaders of Iran believe that women are inferior to men, that is acceptable as their truth, according to Postmodernism. How can we fight for the rights and liberation of these women if we do not accept the fact that their treatment is unfair?

Without truth, justice loses its potency. If “justice is what love looks like in public,” truth is what gets love out of bed in the morning.

October 12, 2014

Adam’s Howl

The sculptural synchronization of the soil, molded smooth, Adam reaching his newly solidified hand into air, the grains of dirt falling away. Palm fronds lifting, eyes rising to that glorious day, the day of full repair, restoration, an up-cycled universe in a far flinging frenzy of life. The gasp of grace, the surprise of it, the same gasp of Adam, rib removed, Eve coming into her own. Once more there is earth life and color, a beauty too big for him to bear, a fellowship sweeter than any he had ever before imagined. A sky stretching as far as possibility, echoing with wide open eyes, vast reaching, gesturing to the great beyond, that fair country draped in gold, the good glorious culmination of memory and sound, things half recalled, familiar and strange, things whispered in the mind now unveiled. Grace, aching grace. The reverberation of all that is new in the world, now and forever.  Glimpses of His train, glints of His eyes shooting out sunlight, reflecting rays into their very stomachs, filling the vessels of their wrists with fire. The world cannot be ruined, there is pulsing life breaking forth in shooting green from the earth, the excitement of blue, the reassurance of grandmothers, the nodding wisdom, the ecstatic yes of being young, all that nods and whistles like grain waving evenly in the wind, bobbing its assent into the wide beyond.

October 12, 2014

Lovely Autumn Poem

The Beautiful Changes

By Richard Wilbur

One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides
The Queen Anne’s Lace lying like lilies
On water; it glides
So from the walker, it turns
Dry grass to a lake, as the slightest shade of you
Valleys my mind in fabulous blue Lucernes.
The beautiful changes as a forest is changed
By a chameleon’s tuning his skin to it;
As a mantis, arranged
On a green leaf, grows
Into it, makes the leaf leafier, and proves
Any greenness is deeper than anyone knows.
Your hands hold roses always in a way that says
They are not only yours; the beautiful changes
In such kind ways,
Wishing ever to sunder
Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose
For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.
August 13, 2014

From “You Are the Penultimate Love of My Life”

“The garden you plant and I plant
                              is tunneled through by voles,
                                                             the vowels
                                                             we speak aren’t vows,
               but there’s something
                              holding me here, for now,
               like your eyes, which I suppose
                                                             are brown, after all.”
August 13, 2014

Lines from “Twilight”

“You see, my mind takes me far,
but my heart dreams of return.”
-Henri Cole
August 5, 2014

The Art of Losing What I Never Had

Like a summer storm

that’s passed,

I hold you still:

a teacup full of sky, clear

–unlike your intentions–air

I pour into my open mouth,

other oxygen touching my breath.


We held hands loosely,

once I squeezed your fingers

–as if afraid of losing what we were not yet–

and you returned it.

We talked in a dark car,

and you broke it off, or I did

–it doesn’t matter–

it was water we were clasping,

already running through our fingers.


December 12, 2013

Eyes Open

My eyelashes waver on the brink 

of shutting


the world–the chaotic world, the loud tragic world,

the red world–


the droning, relentless, chase-it-down, traffic-mongering, stress-fed, glow-in-its-veins media-enhanced Barbie of a world.


If we saw it daily for what it is, what would we do?

Would we double over under the real tree, the whispering tree

so alive in childhood

and weep?


Would we hold its pulse

with the souls

of our fingers

and allow our irises

to expand

in reaction?

December 12, 2013


A poem of my own, also for advent.

Not so calm and azure:

the water under a bridge

in which you can see and slap

your own reflection,

grinning like a fool.



the quiet, unflinching fire

burning in the aorta of an old woman.

Beneath thick and towering oaks

it allows her irises to close

trusting their fingers

to support the sheet of sky.

December 12, 2013


For the second candle in advent…a poem of peace


All that matters is to be at one with the living God

to be a creature in the house of the God of Life.


Like a cat asleep on a chair

at peace, in peace

and at one with the master of the house, with the mistress,

at home, at home in the house of the living,

sleeping on the hearth, and yawning before the fire.


Sleeping on the hearth of the living world

yawning at home before the fire of life

feeling the presence of the living God

like a great assurance

a deep calm in the heart

a presence

as of the master sitting at the board

in his own and greater being

in the house of life.

-D.H. Lawrence

July 12, 2013




Anyone who didn’t know us better would think we were savages,

us omnivores,

leaving our remains scattered about the kitchen,

desecrating the sink.


Washing dishes, the soggy crumbs remind

me of the finite scruffiness of meals:

elbows jostle, knees hit table top.


Napkins address the excess—

the sloppiness of the whole affair.


I watch the sudsy bath of water,

engulfing our human instruments.

I remove the dishes red and blotchy,

covered with spaghetti sauce smears.


These dinners insistently repeat themselves:

interminable intertwining of fork and knife,

tooth and tine.


The rolling motion of the water skims the surface

of the bowls and plates, and then:


tongs, graters, openers, mixers, strainers—silly peelers!


The desperation of excessive utensils sets in.

They crowd my consciousness.

I wash the dish and feel its hollowness,

it’s white-blue underbelly of sound.


I scald my finger, lose my hold,

the dish slips.

The soul like a dish

is so easily missed—

chipped, shattered, sold.

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