A swirl, an ebb and flow, a blend of joy and sorrow. Reds and golds and browns and the air that freezes in my mouth. The first sharp intake of breath.
Broken fingers painting pictures of beauty and love out-poured.
He speaks of things we do not understand but his eyes are bright and bottomless. The sky inverted and the sun upon his face. Earth upon his fingertips.
The water swirls and calls the names of loved ones. The rock splits and the world is shaped anew.
And I am not afraid. No, I am not afraid to laugh or to weep. To live and to love. At times limping, at times failing, yet ever assured of identity and the company I keep.
This then is the life abundant. Reaching for heaven and plumbing the depths of hell. Embracing light and darkness. Confident, whether I can see the steps that follow or whether I’m stepping into the unknown.
Come alive, come alive beautiful one.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
A city full of ghosts and shadows stained grey.
Catching glimpses of the skin of children wrapped in cardboard.
Born of angels
Who fell a long, long time ago
And forgot that they could fly.
“She’s still a trigger and I’m still reliving
The trauma caused by beauty and searching for a stronger muse.
But I only find
Her voice in parking lots
And her reflection in the windows of this train.”
And the friends that he has are all bleeding.
They’re addicts, and perverts, and thieves.
The story of beauty once broken,
The lonely that nobody grieves.
But in sharing a smile on the corner,
In comparing holes in their shoes,
He’s wishing the best for the other,
Even if the rest of them lose.
Though the room he returns to is empty
And the bedsheets are always cold,
He’s still singing songs in the shower,
A witness to weakness made bold.
He is treating his friends like his lovers
And smiling when no one can see.
His hands jumping out of his pockets,
Now touching, now telling, now free.
I trace the scars on your hands that never fully healed. I push back your hair and memorise the lines on your brow. Lifting your shirt I see the tree with forty branches on your back and the mark on your side that others have felt before me.
I don’t understand how you still bear these.
What is the wisdom that carries the scars of the old upon the new?
Who is this god that loves so deeply as to be forever wounded?
When we are finally restored, when all things are made new, will you also find your hands are healed? Will you then walk without limping and finally be able to straighten your back? Yes, it must be so. You will be made new alongside of us. Your tears too will be dried.
A sigh, soft, but I know it well.
Your arms flung over my shoulders, your body against my back.
That is to say
You enfold me with your breath.
These meetings, once so unexpected, have not lost any of their wonder now that I have come to know that you will always be here.
No, this does not grow old. Such words are formless here. Shadows without voice or substance. Here is the presence of the creative. Not simply the imaginative but that which brings something out of nothing.
To those who have only known deserts talk of an ocean is meaningless babble.
To those who have only known brokenness talk of wholeness is not compelling… it’s foreign.
To those who have only known sorrow, joy is simply three letters strung together.
To those who have only known death talk of life is laughable.
Only after one sees the content of speech can one understand the words.
I remember cresting the final dune. Both of us sore, our clothes stained by sweat and the sun. I remember the look on her face when she first glimpsed the horizon and realised the noise we were hearing was the tumbling of waves. There was salt on her lips and a light in her eyes as we dove into the water.
Holding the first deep breath.
As the sky changes from black to grey to blue I watch the light sketch out her features. Her brow, her nose, her lips becoming ever clearer. The shadows recede into the folds of the sheets and the storm-cloud of her hair upon the pillow.
When she sleeps she does not hide her face from me.
And for once the sunrise is more beautiful – and sad – than the sunset.
I wasn’t far off the Alaskan highway
when I got stuck on the road.
My knee was swollen and my shoulders sore
from carryin’ my load.
There was a reserve to the West but I was headin’ East and I was too tired to care.
I dropped my bag down on the gravel and decided to sleep right there.
But I was still in the mountains and the cold wind came and I hardly shut my eyes.
Too cold to sleep, too tired to move, I watched the grey sunrise.
I was passin’ through.
Tangled up in Blue.
She embodies her voice.
And if you ever heard her speak
You would realise how wondrous that is.
It was still dark when he opened his eyes.
Awakened not by the noise but by the silence that follows a mountain being swallowed by the sea.
And while those around him sleep
He lays on his back and smiles.
To the echoes of a miracle.
The streetlights flicker out like candles in the steel grey of dawn.