Luke 17:33 NIV

[33] Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.

For a year I have called people like Archimedes or my own dear children badass because they are but also because of Tara Badamo whose voice was always husky and calm when she talked to me, who told stories with vivid pieces, who was still young and pretty when she died who once called herself and the father of her children badasses to signify that the children in question had come by it honestly.

Honestly I miss her.  Want to take words like stones and shore up the well of grief.  Grief for her might-have-been.

But I won’t write letters to the dead.  Why should I?  They can hear us clearly from there, thank you very much, where they sit at the table in God’s kitchen 

Willing all the fairy tales they tell to have

happy endings.


Someone to watch over us

Once I went on a city-girl camp out. The forest, like the one in the fairytale, was deep-green lovely.  Alive even.  We packed without regard for the physics of making fire, which meant green wood, cold hot dogs, no true s’mores, and the ultimate kindness of strangers.

We had pitched our tent in the light, but in the Appalachian night all the trees looked the same.  At that point I was the one who believed the most in an Interventionist God, which meant quite a bit of out-loud-supplication and some amusement from my agnostic companions.

Funny sense of humor-God.  He did not seem fazed by their scepticism when He was the one who found us out tent again in the moonless night, but they were the ones who did not sleep, one afraid of bears, the other-human intruders.

I, myself, am afraid of both

But slept like a baby because I knew they would stay wide awake.

Old story now, this interventionist God-someone to watch over us.

Of Biblical Proportions 

I tell the little girl who lives inside my head, don’t look straight at the sun. She knows by heart the encantations  against fear and the haunting past we once lived in together like a candy house in a crumb-consuming forest. Leave stones instead along the path home.  Watch out for cages and unexpected hunger. You think it will be the wolf you must run from when all along the danger is so near, crouched in the corner of everything, assuming the guise of the familiar.

One Thing

The lady in the picture is a fraction of her whole-a bit of glasses, hair like mine.  Did she shape the assignment or was it the Wizard of Oz for freshman comp?  I don’t know, but as with so many words shaped into injunctions it sticks in my craw–pick the one thing?  Not a good thing?  Not one among brothers? I suspect literary ambush, which then feels like literary paranoia, but I kick around/go into the weeds with this one thing-

You.  You are the one thing.  The voice in my head steadying my coward’s heart. My man, Jesus I tell Madeline about that universal division of time into before and after You.

Like if you believed in evolution it would be 50 billion, million zillion years BCE, and those sylphish, wispy 2000 after.

After you.

Let me just

Tag along after you

Big brother

Strong tower

Never-leave-me God

Calvarium 10

I once read about a woman who believed she could dissipate 

…the clouds with her mind

but after much thought I have decided I do not want them to go

I see all their stories

As though God Himself were

Finger painting sand art

Casually insinuating angel wings here or the mirror reflection of the map of China in fluffy white

Clouds like babies come and go

Maybe they too grow up 

Go to college, stop needing us anymore as we gaze up at them snow-globed in blue sky beneath inky infinite wonder, fields of burning stars, 

Called all by name.

When words fail

Poetry or prose.  

For the last three weeks I have had hives. Still have hives.  I have sifted words in and out of how this feels and each time all words have come up short.  They do not stop the itch. Like quack doctors, snake oil salesmen, or phone-a-gypsy psychics they play at reading my palms then leave me with no…


No remedy

No salve for my slowly metamorphic 

reptilian skin.

So I threaten them with silence or just undoing their fragile orthographic pieces unbending bes and esses into straight black lines

Because from geometry we know

Lines go on forever (in either direction)

Moving away from the itchy round helpless

Woman who once loved them

Out to the ends of time and light

To the place where God 

hears our wordless



not to be confused with epiphany, apophony, or even apotheosis, you nonetheless came to me in a dream where we were improbably happy…









All these lingual pawns arrayed for something.  Tug of the invisible? The inconsequence of a single human life?  

Spin them out from their mother tongue

Prophesy the child

Miraculously hypothetical

Salt marsh child

So reminiscent of your most beautiful