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a sense of wonder, only slightly used [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
a sense of wonder, only slightly used

faith-based journal entry [Oct. 31st, 2007|10:04 pm]
the other night someone mentioned to me that everybody comes to a point where we realize that the faith we've chosen was chosen in large part because of how we were raised and by our needs. it's kind of true, isn't it? i mean, faith is a malleable thing that you choose because it's appealing and fulfilling for you. your faith needs to answer your questions about where you came from and why you're here and where you're going. it has to give your life some sort of comfortable structure and meaning. then again, i guess i initially didn't really choose christianity because it was easy for me and because it aligned with everything i believed. it was really hard at first, and there was a lot of denial and self-hate. but i think that goes back to the first part: religion being a product of upbringing. and accepting what's handed to you without too much independent thought.

i'm kind of rambling. i guess i just don't know where i stand. my faith has gone through some pretty drastic modifications. as early as my sophomore year at northwestern i knew i didn't belong there, that i wouldn't be able to live the way they expected me to live and think the way they did. but i stuck with it because... i don't know.

every day i'm convinced that there's a god, or something. i couldn't articulate why. and i call myself christian even though i don't know many christians who really think even remotely like i do on matters of faith, which is why i don't have a church. but i wonder if i've just turned faith into a tool of my desire, something that fits me just right, even if it's all verisimilitude and no truth. or if that's what we're all supposed to do... to find something that works best for us, and that makes us people of love and compassion.

i think that's what most of the major religions are about, or are trying to be about. love and compassion. but sometimes loving god, or rather loving one's idea of who god is supposed to be, or loving the literalism of an old book, sometimes don't go hand-in-hand with loving your neighbor, especially if that neighbor doesn't walk in your fold and doesn't mouth your jargon.

anyway. i'm really rambling. i don't really know how to talk about faith anymore. my once-concrete thoughts on these things have become abstractions. ultimately i just want there to be more than this. this skin and this life. and if it's not god, then meaning and some sort of purpose and (in the words of fred buechner) being able to give peace and joy finally for everyone else in my life before finding it for myself.

apple picking [Oct. 29th, 2007|12:28 am]

the city disintegrates and the highway
siphons into a sinuous road along hills
and sprawling, emptied fields.
roadside markings advertise apples,
promise fun and home-baked goods,
scarecrow festivals and photo opportunities,
while the dry, browned vines in passing
pumpkin patches droop and curl,
spent filigrees waiting again their turn.
standing on gray limbs and broken ladders,
groping and studying, our eyes trained for
blemishes, we eat some in crisp bites
while the rottens fall into matted
mounds like small, unmarked cairns.

driving home, even at sixty-five,
time here seems to trickle slowly,
things seem to always be catching up.
now, with the backseat crowded with
apples and sunday closing like a vise,
i'm looking to the next weekend, the next
season, to ice and snow and the melt and
stumbling through without an
itinerary or neatly scripted plan,
and the cool wind from open windows
sprays the last specks of leaves from my hair,
and the retiring sun rinses the hills with gold.

beautiful poem. the last line describes my recent disposition perfectly. [Oct. 8th, 2007|01:21 pm]

It's really over now, summer, I feel
the next thing in the heaviness
of the grapes as they stagger downwards
toward the ripeness
they were born for.
Someone with more power than us
can't take his mind off war.
He wants us to believe power is knowledge.
No one ever told him the truth,
how bewildered he looks, how sad,
and how desperately he seems to long
for danger. Meanwhile, light surrenders
by 6:30 P.M. and rusty barbed-wire fences reappear
where once summer grass covered them
as an ocean covers a treasure sunk long ago.

Not an ounce left of that summer heat that wants of us
only the pleasure of our shirtless company,
no more red poppies like little fragile gods
that have dedicated themselves to ditches
and other lost places where gods
so rarely appear. Yes, the gods have shriveled up
and though the man who sells ice cream in the mercato
still stands behind his chocolate, his lime,
his luscious vanilla and hopes for the best,
in his heart he knows.

Soon the man with the power will point his finger
and husbands will be ordered to put on their uniforms.
Soon, tears and ash, bent heads, fields with the look
of raw wounds, raw wounds with the look
of abandoned fields.

It is the season when olive trees bend heavily
in the cold wind, scraping the ground
as if inviting earth to touch them.
Is it too late for that now? Too late
for one living creature
to touch another? The grandmother
holding the baby by the fountain has no choice
but to remember how happy
it is possible to be. The street cleaner
has the thoughtful brooding look
of a philosopher whose work has been unjustly ignored
for years. He drags his broom behind him
past the drugstore, past the newspaper stand,
past the shadowy boxes loaded down
with oranges from Morocco, cherries from Bari,
walks slowly back and forth across the square
refusing to clean what will only get dirty again.

Jim Moore, from Lightning at Dinnerr
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(no subject) [Sep. 21st, 2007|04:10 pm]
[listening to: |The Weakerthans - Night Windows]

in the stick count for the song
with knowing you're gone
glancing up at where you lived
when you lived here
i see you suddenly alive
and nearly smiling
i stop and hold my breath
and watch the way you used to be

the full moon makes
our faces shine
like over-ironed polyester
then disappears behind the clouds
and leaves me under empty rows
of night windows

we could walk to where these streets
get pulled together
blinking, lined with gravel
shoulder squared towards an end
where the radio resounds
from doppling traffic
where the power lines
steal s's from the hourly news

depluralize our casualties
drown the generals out in static
we turn and watch our city sprawl
and send us signals in the glow
of night windows

but you're not coming home again
and i won't ever get to say
remember how...
i'm sorry that...
i miss the way it could be...
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(no subject) [Sep. 11th, 2007|11:05 pm]
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