Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Conversations at Starbucks

Light sits on yellow
The color of burning
Burning burning
Mix the swirls and brown pine
The color of soft light

In the great masses of grey sound
That gather outside the glass
Can you hear it?

All I hear is the soft sound
Of voices talking about the
Latest magazines
Discuss the latest tolls

Wipe your hand across your mouth and laugh
The world revolves like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots

Wind you said
All I want is the wind in my face
No strings to attach or tie me to a place
I feel.
I feel that here
Here I can be anything.
Nothing to lose is nothing to gain
To hold me back
Is nothing to make me stay
Our gift of life is through truly dying
We are community
The weight is a gift.

Driving in the Rain (2007)

I tremble at the
the rhythmic swiping across
the window panes
remind me that I am dry
I am dry
An ocasional noise from the branches swishing
of a wind i cannot feel
the light is green.
Brings me to a sudden realization
that I never meant to go.
I never meant to go at all,
and now the light is green again.

Monday, September 14, 2009

before boston

the day you turned 18- us
all night at Anna's
the rain on every window
a sanctuary

your mom gave you a
ukelele. we felt fine
drinking tea and art
the "last time"

we lit one candle
there's just one you, anways
i put it in nutella
none of us can bake

and when you smiled
he comlimented your teeth
even though i know
you can't get braces before you leave

it's just as importaint as
growing up-
Before Boston.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stars Azaleas



The sand felt soft in my hair
We sang to the night
When we looked at the sky
Penetrating lights

The first words we spoke
We whispered
Listen. To the waves
Too much for us to say

Me:“They remind me of something
Bigger than myself”
You: “Like God. Look!
There’s another one
That one flew across the sky.”



I like the smells of your truck
And the way my hair never
Looks good when the wind blows it
Sunlight touches things that grow

When you drive me home
We talk about forever
Or hear old music
Blast through the broken radio

You move your arms around
As if you’re conducting a symphony
Composing excitement
We laugh at life with the windows rolled down

Me:“You remind me of something
Bigger than myself”
You: “Like God. Look!
There are hundreds of them
Let’s not let them pass before our eyes.”

The Quotes Collyn loves :)

Read these words when you’re quite alone
Read them when you’re scared
Many times you will approach a
Problem unprepared

Say them when you’re standing
And when you see injustice
Like a wave of fear, seeking
Stand up and start speaking.

Read them by the light of candles
Dream of things we cannot see
Words have stayed a nation’s heart
While the world is torn apart.

Whisper them to a baby
One sleepy afternoon
As you intertwine one heart with yours
Your greatest gift is truth.

These are words of strength
Like ancient runes or guarding prayers
Strong words. hopeful words.
To make us somehow more aware

With new eyes we see
With new ears we hear
By timeless truths we judge our worth
With timeless words we shake the earth.

A Tale of Two Cities; The journey of Sydney Carton

In A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, the character of Sydney Carton undergoes a journey. His journey is as much figurative as it is literal. That is, it is as much shown outside himself as it is shown inside him. Though his character may at first seem only a minor one in the story when compared to the long chapters devoted to Lucie Darnay and Charles Darnay, the journey Sydney travels throughout the course of the novel proves absolutely vital to the story.
Sydney Carton is first introduced to us when he discovers the startling fact that he resembles Charles Darnay. In fact, the two look so similar to each other that it is almost impossible to tell them apart. Their only difference lies in their character and life style; and in that they couldn’t be more opposite. Sydney Carton is man to whom life had thrown every opportunity and fortune- and yet he had wasted it. Sydney is a lazy man who drinks too much and hides from himself. When he sees the integrity of the upright and heroic Darnay, Sydney is forced to see himself in the true light of what he might have been. This journey starts out with the coincidence of the meeting of Darney and Carton but immediately triggers the inward journey of Carton into his own soul.
Carton struggles with himself for a bit, and right before the happy wedding of Lucie Manette and Charles Darnay he confesses his love to Lucie. This is a drastic change from the apathy of his character in the beginning, and yet still shows no real change of heart. Carton still remains in his old habits he is convinced he can never change, and then seems to fall out of the picture entirely, as we trace the happy lives of Charles Lucie and their children, and the growing unrest of the beginning of the French Revolution.
When Charles Darnay is forced to go to Paris and it becomes apparent he may be murdered there by means of the infamous guillotine, Sydney travels alone to Paris. This is a physical journey as well as a spiritual; going both to a new and dangerous place in his heart and in the world itself. When Sydney arrives in Paris he makes careful plans to switch places with Darnay. This switch is very much a metaphor for the internal switch of character between Sydney and Darnay. Sydney is finally stepping up to be the man he always saw in Darnay and finally now sees in himself. The final step in the journey comes when Sydney is beheaded. The words he speaks with his final breath sums up the very theme of the book;
“A little time ago, none in all the world. But somebody will weep for me now. And that knowledge redeems a worthless life. Worthless but for this final moment, which makes it all worthwhile. It is a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done. It is a far, far better rest I go to, than I have ever known.”

The redemption of life in death is the central theme of A Tale of Two Cities. Although it is shown in many places throughout the book, redemption is best characterized by the life of Sydney Carton. The journey of a worthless man becoming a man willing to take up his cross and “lay down his life for his brother” (1 john 3:16) is one that shows an infinite grace and hope which is deeply rooted in the Christian principles that were central to much of what England of the 1800’s accepted as truth. Indeed, in the last chapter of the book, Sydney rises to a metaphor of an almost Christ-like figure, and secures a hope for a happy life for the Darnay’s in his death. The internal and physical journeys of Sydney Carton characterize the ultimate redemption of a lost life, and so carry the central theme of A Tale of Two Cities.

New Years Eve

Collyn wears a pea coat on New Year’s. Downtown she dances with her eyes closed singing Journey by herself. I watch the way she captures people, the eyes that sparkled and mouths left breathless in the frosty air. There is no doubt that my town loves her. No doubt they see something absolutely untouchable about the way she holds the corners of her lips, as if the whole world were a car ride with the windows down and her golden hair blowing tangled in the air. The air of my town, so far from her reality, so far from Baton Rouge; seems brighter and clearer for the distance.
Downtown we sit on a bench overlooking the pier; there she says to me
“I just want this- the wind in my hair. I don’t want to be burdened with what people say or think. No one to hold me down. Here I’m free- everyone wants to be new. Everyone wants to go far away. Here it’s as if I can be anything.” So I reply softly as the wind clangs bells on the boats in the pier below us, a song that I knew she would love-
“They weren’t there beneath your stare, and they weren’t stripped till they were bare of any binding from the world outside that room. And they weren’t taken by the hand and lead through fields of naked land, where any preconceived ideas were blown away. So I couldn’t say no.”
“Yes exactly.” She almost jumps from the bench in excitement and passion. “Those words say so much!” I see how she is caught for a moment, lost in some thought, until it fades, or resolves, or moves like her thoughts always do, and she leans her head back on a park bench and keep her hands in the folds of her coat. My eyes drift in the dark to the twinkle of lights down at the bottom of the bluff and water on the other side of the lights.
Quite suddenly and unexpectedly she stands up and begins to walk towards the edge of the bluff. Her steps seem deliberate and purposeful, although I have no idea what she’s doing. She comes to the end of the highest part of the bluff and is still. Out of curiosity I follow behind her.
She stands there silently. At first I don’t get it- I’m antsy and can’t figure out what she’s doing standing so perfectly still on the edge of the bluff. Then, for the first time, I understand. This place I drive by casually every day for work, this place that has become just the background, the setting for my life, is something wonderful to her. As she stands there, I see it. Through her ears- I hear it.
Slowly. The leaves in the trees. They rustle above my head. The ocean line is barely visible beyond the lights, but you and I can feel it’s pulse- the rhythm of the ocean beyond the bluff where we stand. I hear the metal clanging like bells of the sailboats and yachts in the marina. Some harness of rope and steel enveloped in the majesty of the water that beats against itself as if it were made for nothing else but to ring it’s bells in the harbor. I have to stand so still to hear it all- to get lost in the sound. Breathe it in like clear air cut with the bright cold of the night and the sharp, briny smell of the salty, wild water.
She loves me, you know. You can tell by the way she spreads her arms wide and tilts back her head and drinks in the moment.
"Brandon thinks everything is so simple. It IS simple for him. He's kissed so many girls- so many. But when he's kissing me, he's not thinking about that, or forever, or anything. He’s just thinking about how having me makes him the luckiest guy in the world. And it's enough.
But I always have to ask questions. Like how is this working and what does it mean and why and when and to people like Brandon- Life is so simple.Life doesn't have to be so complicated.”
Her words fade off into the air and the wind plays with them like a wild creature that won’t be tamed until finally it chases off the end of her phrases to somewhere deep in the night. Life is so simple, with words that stir all in my head and don’t formulate into respectable sentences in their proper order. Words that don’t have any logic to them at all.
“When you talk about Brandon I feel as though I know him. I feel as though your world is just beyond a screen I have to break through.”
Collyn lifts her hands high in the air and I wish that I could capture the absolute burst of joy that covers her mouth and eyes and hair. Part of me wonders if this is even real- if I am even here and if she isn’t going to blow away any second and become part of the wind. Collyn of anyone could be anywhere or everywhere at once. I become suddenly aware that I am not that way.
“Maybe, maybe that’s how it’s like for me. Being here. Your reality- your water and people and your downtown lights and street artists, it is to me like a screen to break through. Do we make it real for each other?”
This isn’t like the conversations we would have on the phone, late at night spilling our guts, our latest stories, the people we know or places we’ve gone. Something inside me says that this is on a much deeper, a much more vulnerable level than we would be able to put into words. The wind spoke for her almost as much as she spoke. It said all that she couldn’t say with her raspy voice. Her voice is part of the wind and explained by its wild and frivolous dance, shrieking and laughing and holy.
But I could never be the wind. I could never be free, the way she wishes to be free. The way my town makes her feel is never how I would ask to feel. But my words aren’t aided by the wind and laughter, so they stick on my tongue and fight around in my mouth a bit before they come out. I have to restate her thoughts just to grasp at my own.
“You know Collyn, being here- you want to be anything. You want to be free from the opinions of Delia or even Brandon sometimes. All the ‘preconceived ideas’ “
“Yes!” she cried passionately.
“But” nervously I tuck my hair behind my ear and it drapes back in my face again. For a second I take my hands out of my coat and move them around, very unsure and hesitant to say what had been bugging me all night amidst the beauty that she found in everything we saw. “We are community. We are meant, created, purposed not to be independent. The burden of humanity; our awkward, painful, naked selves- it’s what I need. It’s what you need. You need people who know you, who love you even if they don’t make you free. The burden, the pain is a gift.”
She sat there for a second but then shook her head thoughtfully.
“No, the pain isn’t a gift. Pain isn’t good. The pain we inflict on ourselves, the burden is not right.”
“Well, maybe pain isn’t right, but it is a part of loving other people. It is what we are created to experience.”
She sits there a long time and I know she listens. I know Collyn hears me and part of her understands, but part of her wants to stand there free. Part of her soul ties itself to the wind and stands with her arms outstretched and face tilted back on the highest point of the bluff.
I envy her freedom at times like this. I am downright jealous of how beautiful of a picture she makes when she stands there. I know everyone watches her as they walk past and sigh a little, how easy it is to love beautiful Collyn.
Now on the bench I sit and watch the lights on the pier, still beautiful for their reality. And she stands with her arms to the wind and her laugh lost in the romance of the moment with her back toward me and face towards the ocean.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Christian Mentality: Conversation

“Would you still talk to me if I was Lesbian?” He gave me a funny look, the shrugged
“No.” he responded
I looked up in surprise. Granted I wasn’t really surprised at his answer, but I had assumed he would say it a bit milder, that he would water it down or beat around the bush a little more.
“Really?” was the only thing I could think to say at the moment.
“Yeah I wouldn’t” he stated.
“Oh..” I said kinda softy. Somehow that mattered. I had no intention of being Lesbian, but that just mattered for some reason. It was quiet for a minute and he began to get defensive.
“Why do you think it’s so horrible that I can’t stand them?” he tensed up. But the fact that I wasn’t trying to defend a position, that I was just sitting there, made him keep going. “It’s a sin against God and the Bible.” he folded his arms in front of him and sat back waiting what I would say to refute THAT, with a superior look on his face.
“I know.” It was all I could think to say again. I do know it’s a sin. I wasn’t validating it. It just bothered me. I looked at my empty tea mug.
I looked up again and started talking about the movie, trivial things. I don’t remember what we actually said after that, I just remember that eventually I brought the subject back again.
“Would you talk to me if I drank everyday?”
“No.” He said simply. My curiosity was sparked.
“Would you talk to me if I did drugs?”
“No.” He shrugged again. I wracked my brain.
“What if I was really depressed and suicidal?”
“Yeah. I would.”
He said yes! I leaned forward in my chair.
“Why?” I threw out rapidly
“To talk you out of it.”
I was equally dissatisfied.
“Oh.” But why could he talk me out of suicide but not drinking? Or being Lesbian? Or whatever? Why is it that he would pull away from one sin and not either every sin or none of them? And why on earth could I somehow not get those words to come out of my mouth? “Oh” I said again.
“I don’t understand what your problem is Mallory”
“Yeah…” I started to change the subject, avoid the fact that this conversation was now turning around to be about me.
“I was just wondering.” I am still wondering. I think maybe Jesus would be very very upset if I started drinking or wasn’t straight, but I don’t think stop talking to me…