Monday, April 19, 2010

Behind sepia shuteye laden with grey good intention,
Aimless rapid eye movement and cold stare. She hums
Cradle tunes on days when the sun evaporates joy to fuel its own laughter
Kindly look here, please. In all these pictures your face says
Boredom, blatant boredom. Clothes that fit too well that drape
Over bodies bruised by limitations, beaten by formality
No one is in charge here.
Everyone is his own boss.

March 22, 2010

Here’s a question:
I wonder if Thomas Edison
ever objected to his incandescence/
invention becoming commonplace becoming
a symbol for bright ideas becoming the punch
line of jokes about incompetence? Or being a
euphemism for people pushed
t o o f a r
b u r n t o u t
as ancient stars.
Can you imagine
where all the
burnt out lightbulbs
go? Do you see them
piled beautifully
burnt or broken
in a landfill somewhere?
Filaments snapped,
shattered glass.
Don’t play with
the lights. How
would Thomas feel
knowing that to-
day it’s the cheaper
less efficient way to
light your home?

March 22, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

"'Lord, by thy Cross and Resurrection thou hast redeemed the world'

In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Lent is a particularly appropriate time to attempt to penetrate the true meaning of this sacred image represents through prayerful contemplation; and to study the traditions surrounding the Christian symbol of the Cross.

Looking at the Cross in prayer helps us to truly see it. Most Christians have crosses in their homes. Many wear a cross around their necks. Some of these are very beautiful, perhaps made of precious metal and embellished with jewels. The beauty of these devotional objects may emphasize the glory and the victory of Our Lord's Cross; but too often representations of this central symbol of our faith are regarded primarily as decorative, and its true message is lost.

It is fitting that Christians glorify the Cross as a sign of Christ's resurrection and victory over sin and death, of course. But we should remember each time we see a cross that the Cross of Jesus' crucifixion was an emblem of physical anguish and personal defilement, not triumph-of debasement and humiliation, not glory-of degradation and shame, not beauty. It was a means of execution, like a gallows or a gas chamber. What the Son of God endured for us was the depth of ugliness and humiliation. We need to be reminded of the tremendous personal cost of love. "

Sunday, March 28, 2010


it’s a figure of speech
tip me over and pour me out
everybody's doing a brand new dance now
come on, baby

Monday, March 22, 2010

distracted in hunt library, listening to sufjan stevens

see them
shut away neatly arranged sitting in stacks between forgotten hours
spent categori- analy- philosophiZING sculpted and laid out on pages no one's touched for years
heads bowed in prayer to all unknown founts of knowledge
poring over melodic lines
pouring over mellowed winding paths into the dank and dusty future
beauty too tragic to be summarized here: self-pity
where does youth (butter)fly away to?
cradled in careful shadows out of sunlight
blinking before (en)light(enment)
reassure me. if it was loud here along with dark
and crowded
if pressed upon not by books and intelligensia
no, by hearts beating in time
how would we be?
next time
next time

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hooray, Spring Break soon!

And hooray also for God's perfect timing - and his really interesting sense of humor! Yeah, real funny

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I ride my shopping cart like a parade float
at the supermarket circus
Where the ringmaster at the meat counter
shout tonight’s attraction with a flourish
and acrobat shelf-stackers prance from lane to lane, paper price stickers like streamers and confetti in the air
I am surrounded by LOUD, BUY ME, cacophony of color
Patterns and oversized portions of spectacular
I dance everywhere
I’ll buy everything
I’ll believe anything
But it falters at the finale
Tinny music overhead
Sterile lighting at the checkout
Plastic bars to separate my revelry from her newspaper, yogurt, and chewing gum.
Beep. Beep. Paper or plastic?

January 20, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010


Off to MAC for the weekend to spend some time with God and learn about how to develop more authentic relationships, how to minister and interact genuinely when cross-culturally (and otherwise). Praying that we don't get stuck in the snow.

Here are two poems - true stories - and verses I read last night that are very beautiful and encouraging.

I missed the exit I was supposed to take
Someone rented this car for me and I am so close to crashing it
Thank God for satellites and my raceway commentator announcing, “[You idiot] . . . Recalculating”

I drove once into the change-only toll lane
I swear I can read English. I just can’t command a steering wheel. I wish there was time for more than a one-word apology
And dollar bills seized through the passenger-seat window, wilting in the glare of an attendant who cannot believe this dimwit congesting traffic right before her afternoon shift is over.

I’ve been awake since 4 o’clock in the morning.
I was late for my interview because I drove on backroads instead of the interstate
(see, I was nervous about driving in a city I didn’t know; I was trying to be safe).

And it’s Christmastime, so Fords and Volkswagens and Hondas line up outside shopping centers, which by some curse or miracle were all built on this road. They bypass patience, encroach upon bumper space, flare their headlights and mumble threats – to do what? – through their mufflers.
I don’t register this display of goodwill because my nerves are steeping in adrenaline
Come on, green light.

And now I wish that rental cars navigated like homing pigeons and the airplane I need to catch would know that I’m not on it,
That I would be the one in the right place, waiting. So much of life is spent waiting.

Everything looks the same size in Texas, actually.
I am lost somewhere in Houston.
Later, I get a phonecall from my friend in Maryland
“Did I just pass you on the highway?”

January 27, 2010

I wish that with this heartbeat, all would
vanish from the room, and that the sound
of cymbals falling crashed like gritty
hourglass seconds. Nobody would notice

where your tongue collides with teeth and cheeks or
symbols on a page. You can’t decode this English, and I
sense the dents of your frustration. Should it start like a “tsunami,” or
unravel after other approximate consonants?

Barnum elephants are more graceful
when they stampede in the dark
over tents cushioned with dirt. Painless.
Perhaps you’re supposed to know what to do,

how to speak correctly, you’re a teacher,
not a bumpkin, so you’re sorry
but you don’t stop yourself, you forget
that somewhere, someone else might be embarrassed

even if you aren’t. You articulate with a butcher knife
much like women in marketplaces of
places where my parents walked as kids.
My name can vanish there in a maelstrom of sounds, similar

to needles, real and whole
and to boxes and to thinking
and to the implications of intonations
infinite, immense.

I am immobile beneath your roster
my mortification is louder than your juveniles
whispering jokes about a word that they don’t know
I can’t repeat two syllables enough to dilute your non-native speech.

My parents should have hidden ancestry in the middle
mystery of an initial to be revealed in a late-night
conversation or the next step in a relationship
but no, it’s spelled out here

slouching naked through a courtroom in a dream
Though now in daylight, in a classroom.
I know that pause at the end of the alphabet.
Stale humiliation, repackaged every year.

I know all the words to the Beegees
And ABBA and John Denver
It’s Tsen-Shan. Sunshine?
Call me Sharon

February 1, 2010

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

John 14:1-4, 27 (NLT)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I'm taking a poetry class

I so thoroughly convinced myself that I'd hate creative writing (the process, not the final product; the way I write . . . I take forever, it drives me crazy) that I decided not leave it alone in college, until now.

It's making me remember all these funny incidents that I want to write about. Or come up with silly ideas for poems. Our next assignment is to write a sentence but to slice it with creative line breaks like a Stanley Kunitz poem we read today. It made me remember a homework assignment from kindergarten or first grade when we were learning how to count money, and my mom took me to Giant (grocery store) and we picked out a 60c ruler (like 8" or 6"), clear blue, and then took it to the register. I proceeded to count out 60 pennies while people waited in line behind us with actual groceries . . .

Anyhow, I'm loving creative freedom, assignments so different from engineering, and writing on puzzling and fun prompts, mixing up words and trying new forms and different things. It's pretty cathartic, too, which isn't bad.

Sleeping with the dictionary

I like this poem a lot. This is called "Illuminate".

My mind differentiates with
sound. See, never has there been a
light nor dark – my lexicon holds
footsteps, sighs of boredom, zippers
sealing shut in wintertime, cold
doorknobs turning, pages turning,
cam’ra shutters staring, blinking.
My eyes wonder, wander; I de-
sire Truth as much as you, through
auditory fashion brought to
beat on drums and hang on lobes, pre-
ferred to sight, to tricks of light.
Illuminate. Illuminate.
Sounds blur, as do faces when in
crowded places (metro stations),
so I’ve heard before. But yours, your
voice is bold and new, and parses
rhythms like a lisp wound round a
tongue depressor, ice pop gone. If
only I could see that smile – you
say your fav’rite color’s yellow,
like I’m wearing, accidental.

(Prompt: Write a poem in which you revise, revisit, expand, or challenge the definition of a word. See A. Van Jordan, "from".)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Re: And a fun task!

How to sing the song

Bundled up on the side of my head and messy from dancing and unfortunate midnight meeting with my friend’s couch
You, go and get me a sandwich
When I walk beside the road, I imagine sidestepping Converse-clad onto cracked asphalt and feel air like a wall as steel propels into my ribs, forward into femur, bones crumpling faster than the blaring of car horns
If you want home-style tofu, be nice to Mom and she’ll probably oblige
I walk as far to the right-side of the sidewalk, always. I focus on where I’m going.
“You just seem like you’re so organized, so on top of things.”
Last night, I dreamed my friend gave a speech and started crying at the front of the room, which is so unlike her. Also that Twitter was actually medication for puppy urinary incontinence and had begun running cartoon ads.
Like throwing punches through molasses, no thrust and no recoil, just futile resistance against slumber and then plunging into the sweet, sweet dark
The girl said, Why didn’t you try the escape hatch? And the man said, I would have, but there were too many people in the cell
All I can see of my umbrella is the handle hooked over the side of the table.

January 25, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


And I love changing my surroundings, going home, and having MORE honest conversations!

Going from reflecting on true, biblical Christian community and being honest and vulnerable about sin to hearing about what it means to be a black student at university, underachieving, having standards being ostensibly set for you by your race, and what the heck is going on with schools in the U.S. and the education system (the latter with three students who also happen to be earning degrees in the School of Drama). I love it when people care and when people are coherent and open enough to voice their passions. And the conversation continues outside my door between women studying ECE and drama.

God, I love how you're at work here and how you work even when I don't know, even among situations that I don't see or relate to. I love how You're touching everything! You are beyond good.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The "Marriage Benefit Imbalance", among other things

"Hitched", a book review by Ariel Levy for the New Yorker


And a fun task!

Here is the poetry assignment we had for today - I really want to read yours, so post it and I'll post mine later this week! We had some great ones in class.

NOTE: DO NOT PREMEDITATE, COMPLETE IN ONE SITTING. Just write what pops into your head and don't try to give it more finesse or style - no apologies, just write.

Without worrying about whether or not your poem "makes sense," compose it by following the steps below:

1. Name one thing you've obsessed about in the past week. Make this the title of your poem.
2. Make an immediate observation about your hair at this moment.
3. Give the reader of your poem an instruction.
4. Make a confession.
5. Give the shortest instructions for preparing your favorite home cooked meal.
6. Contradict what you said in #4.
7. Quote something your parent(s) or friend(s) want to believe about you.
8. Write a word you've never spoken.
9. What did you dream last night?
10. Use a simile to describe how you felt before you fell asleep.
11. Tell the punch line (only the punch line) of your favorite joke. If you don't have a favorite, make one up.
12. Without using a simile, describe a nearby object.

My favorites (when I listened to other people's) were #3, #4, #9 and #11 - I laughed at so many people's punch lines because I was trying to imagine the jokes that preceded them. I had such a hard time finding #8 because (I wrote this at 8 o'clock this morning) I was Googling "SAT words" and the browser kept closing and popping error messages!

At the end of class, our professor said to the everyone, I think this was your first poem. The first poem you wrote for this class.

Cool :)

Writing an angry poem

This is one I wrote in class this morning:

You need to leave
Get out
Or this smile you admire and your lips mimic with spite will be gone forever
Don't coddle me with "It's okay"s or
Tell me it was just a phase
I'm annoyed now, blood flowing like acid through my veins
And when blood boils, humor is the first to evaporate
I like you
And I thought I l
Well, I just lost my train of thought
in the sound of pianos talking and the crinkling of Valentine's Day cards.

I need to revise this into a 19-line poem, so it's not complete yet. The prompt was to write a list of things that you'd lost (see Elizabeth Bishop, "One Art") and then write a poem featuring 1) a dominant color, 2) a dominant motion, 3) no adjectives, 4) no adverbs, 5) direct address, and 6) a refrain. So that's interesting - on my list of lost things I wrote stuff like "erasers," "pencils," chapstick,

Well, I'll just write it out:

Many erasers, many pencils - so annoying
My place on a page
My train of thought
First chair of orchestra in 8th grade - lost it to Ha Eun Lee
Lost my life to Christ
Facsimiles of love, which were crushes taken too seriously
I lost my mind when I tried to take two classes held at the same time, and one of them was Intro to Chemical Engineering
Lost my sense of direction on a highway in Houston
Lost my voice

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


This is what I ended up submitting in class this morning, but it doesn't feel finished.
I remember the sound of coffee before the smell.
More soft-spoken than its flavor
Erratic sifting through the filter
Beckoning through dust and dreams and from within my pillowcase
Good morning.
Stir awake and stir "hello"
I stir cubes of Domino and too much store-brand creamer into one chipped China mug
Concentrically intoning the icebreaker between me and this alarm clock that rivals rain
And this morning, She levels her gaze through ceramic, saying
Beware of artificial sweetness.
Because tastebuds and heartstrings are easily deceived,
not recognizing sweetness as a mask for something else
And unable to discern without first cultivating sophisticated tastes for things more bitter.
You wouldn’t trust your judgment without a double-take
Nor would you move forward claiming to be sure based only on a feeling
Would you?
Why then, upon first meeting, would you believe sweetness to be something’s actual taste?
In my time, I’ve learned to question the artifice of sugar and honey,
Who take advantage and presume the last laugh,
And iron woven threads of deceit like the fallacy of fondant to smooth over imperfections.

But I, who lauded “Disney princess” a life calling,
am desensitized by Gene Wilder’s flunkies who preach in choirs bearing technicolor monosaccharides,
cannot pronounce “aspartame” and confuse my Flinstone vitamins with other things high in high fructose corn syrup,
I, who won’t keep count of betrayals and misunderstandings, no matter the enticing or revelatory flavor,
Trust persistently and
Have nothing to fear of artificial
Late-night writer's block PLAYLIST (abridged)
circa 10th grade

David Gray, "Babylon"
David Gray, "This Year's Love"
John Mayer, "Split Screen Sadness"
*NSYNC, "This I Promise You"
Imogen Heap, "Goodnight and Go"
Five for Fighting, "Superman"
Train, "Drops of Jupiter"

Haha the video for "This I Promise You" - so much cheesy seriousness and slow-mo. And late 90's/early 00's garb.