Saturday, October 31, 2009

that feel

Tom Waits has a song,
"That Feel"
he says,
"You can pawn your watch and chain,
but not that feel
You can throw it off a bridge
You can lose it in the fire
You can leave it at the altar
But it will make you out a liar"
"that feel" is the unexplainable grace that keeps us reaching beyond ourselves
sometimes i lose it
i get mired down in the details
the ego
the tree keeps me from the forest
the world becomes too much about me
that's when i lose "that feel"
fighting to keep it is a never ending battle,
a narrow road
our Beloved never lost it while He roamed this earth
"that feel" was to be in the Father
Mary never lost "that feel",
the scripture says she was "full of grace"
St. Paul, the poet, never lost it,
and he teaches us all to keep running after it
Beethoven, Rilke, Van Gogh,
St. Francis, G.K. Chesterton, St. Pio,
Mother Teresa, Rich Mullins
all pleading with the world,
"don't lose that feel"

Thursday, October 22, 2009


i want to write truth
but i still guard my words
something says we must
but is this God speaking?
someone asked me,
"why are many of your thoughts so filled with struggle?"
i did not respond
i told her i would think about it
my answer is simple
it's how my pallet has been painted
my disappointments are dear to me
they keep my heart broken
and sometimes after bitterness
i move once again into contriteness
and what if this is all God wants?
nothing is fair
the cross wasn't fair
and joy comes like a flash of lightning
remember it
David always remembered how God so often delivered him
in the midst of his tumultuous life of sin, running,
friendship, brokenness, rage, lust, murder,
this man after God's own heart,
always remembered
i read a poem by a child this morning
it was full of trust in God
joy in God
amidst poverty of things
she is wealthier than all of us.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

the gospel of Luke

Hail Mary,
 full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
 Blessed art thou among women
and blessed
 is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
these are the words
of Gabriel
and Elizabeth
from the gospel
of Luke.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

lovers of the Crucified

lovers of the Crucified
before the world
He died for all to see
yet He rose alone
in silence
we are not ashamed
of our humiliations
our failures
our fears
our sufferings
we walk in them as He did
and one day
by grace
we will rise in silence
as He did
but on this battlefield
we are lovers of the Crucified
it's what we know best

Monday, October 19, 2009

the heaven of love

the lasting hope
the way we reason
the faith we struggle
catapult into mystery
burning up with ruin
always waiting
learning to ask for the right things
with the right heart
with the right mind
what a hell of mountain
we have to climb within
to reach the heaven
of love
for God and friend
and enemy

Sunday, October 18, 2009


new orleans
the days hotel
broken remote
broken clock
broken phone
 like a Bob Dylan song
my 18 year old son and i walked burboun street last night
a carnival
a circus
milling humans
 like a Tom Waits song
i kept thinking
"Jesus, You died for all of this
You love every soul walking this broken street
this boulevard of the beguiled"
He whispered to me,
"I even love you with all your hidden sin"
i thanked Him for reminding me
today after Mass at the St. Louis Cathedral,
we will see the saints play
what an odd world..


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009


it breaks my heart
when i break His Sacred Heart
my weakness to not rely
on His strength
yet He loves
He pursues me daily
Holy Spirit
Hound of Heaven
He disciplines me
calling me His son
i don't like the discipline
but He is Father
we often ask.
'what is it You want me to learn Beloved?"
"why do i fall in the same ways again and again?!"
He is silent
the answer is in His silence
"trust Me"
"Take up your cross, follow"
"Deny yourself"
"confess your sins"
"run the race set before you"
"lean not on your own understanding"
"I am here, always."
"visit me often in the Tabernacle"
"why would you not?"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

as we stumble after You...

the crucifix
think about it
dream about it
kiss it
hold it
study it
meditate upon it
St. Paul gloried in it!
do we?
 it is everything
it is our breath
our hope
the empty tomb means nothing
without it,
our Beloved didn't just die
He died on the cross
sing it with me
Lift High The Cross!
He redeemed suffering
we all suffer
 Beloved Jesus,
help us carry our crosses,
as we stumble after You..

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

where is this going?

where is this going?
the path is covered in leaves now
circus music in the distance
a calliope and trombone
the people on the square stare
none make eye contact with the soldier
his one good eye
he joined the carnival troupe after Iraq
no one else would hire a one armed
one legged
one eyed
the tattoo lady pushes him around in a wheel chair
she has an image of Jesus laughing on her forehead
parents take their children into stores
the barker walks ahead of them calling out through a megaphone
he is dressed in a red tuxedo
the color of rust
fall is in the air
the leaves unfallen shine yellow and gold in the sunshine
in the cool breeze
where is this going?
without mercy
without humility
we are just animals.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

without your heat

"the flames of His love burn beyond the stars"  St. Columban, abbot
when i read this from the Liturgy of the Hours this morning,
i felt great pain
St. Columban goes on to express his weakness
his weakness in being filled with the fire
from this pain...
oh Beloved i have asked you before
where do you go and why do you leave
i need your fire within my soul
your burning heart consuming me!
without your heat 
i am cold
you know how weak
i really am
please melt the ice
my frozen heart
my frigid fear
hold my shaking hands
oh Beloved i have asked you before
where do you go and why do you leave
i need your fire within my soul
your burning heart consuming me!
to burn for you
to burn for you
to be consumed
to burn for you
the flames of His love
burns beyond the stars
divine eternal
unquenching flames
I'm sitting here
as cold as stone
with no desire
can hardly pray
oh Beloved i have asked you before
where do you go and why do you leave
i need your fire within my soul
your burning heart consuming me!
to burn for you
to burn for you
to be consumed
for only you

Monday, October 12, 2009

Jack Gentle

what makes you wanna live
what makes you wanna move
what makes your moments mean a thing
is it something you can prove
we love as best we can
driven by what drives us best
it could be a moonlit night in June
could be a painful trial or test
Jack Gentle called me on the phone
told me he was hanging on
said the Eucharist keeps him strong
Jack Gentle called me on the phone
could be liquor
could be wine
could be drugs of any kind
for some it's money
for some it's things
for some it's an image
a style a game
Jack Gentle called me on the phone
told me he was hanging on
said the Eucharist keeps him strong
Jack Gentle called me on the phone
if i met an angel
how would i know
unless i saw some silver wings
to keep praying
is sometimes a fragile thing
emotions come
emotions go
 the hilltop highs
the valley lows
we live mostly in between
doing the same old same old things
Jack Gentle called me on the phone
told me he was hanging on
said the Eucharist keeps him strong
Jack Gentle called me on the phone

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Have you seen it?

have you seen it?
there is great need for it
a great void without it
all kinds of troubles
all forms of foolishness
when it is misplaced
i have seen this
not only around me
but at times in the mirror
what is this we sometimes forget?
the Incarnation demands it
our Beloved became one of us
as a growing fetus
He gave dignity to the unborn
as a child to children
as a working man to work
as the Son of Mary to family
as the Son of God to the Father ( Abba)
by living for 30 years in silence
He gives dignity to daily toil of living
by His 3 years preaching
dignity to the Truth of an invisible God's love
His suffering gives dignity to our suffering
He redeems suffering!
His death even gives dignity to death
His empty tomb
gives dignity to our hope
as Bob Dylan asks in his song,
"Have you seen dignity?"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

i know i do

the fall
the leaves of october
seeing ones breath for the first time
 deer and dogs
a reprieve from the heat
all of this is grace
but the homeless see it differently
always more than one way to look
to understand
we all have coats we don't need
new and used 
i know i do


Friday, October 9, 2009

as storms often do...

have you ever wondered
or been filled with doubt
as to what your time here
is all about?
there's a strange heat settling in
 humidity is 90%
and it will not rain, it will not rain
 doesn't make sense
prizes for peace
what peace
soldiers wanna know
so do mothers in despair
rambling and roaming
through a friday morning mind
worn out from praying
worn out by time
i wanna love somebody
 go the extra mile
 quit my complaining
stop thinking of me for a while
cause wonder and doubt
can lead to joy and belief
when i remind myself
this ain't about me
i just heard the rain is coming
be here by noon
the storm will bring relief
as storms so often do


Thursday, October 8, 2009

she kneels

she kneels
her mind starts to calm
outside this place
it is always racing
always tasking
but here it can slow down
she takes a deep breath
she imagines Gethsemane
she thinks of His prayer
"not my will, but thine be done"
then the scourging at the post
how did He do this?!
His flesh ripped and torn
'thank you Beloved"
the crown of thorns
the spitting in His face
humility and patience personified
carrying the cross
He told us to carry our own daily
"Mother, behold your son, son behold thy mother."
always caring for us
always caring.
she finishes the rosary by asking Mary to continue revealing the fruit of her womb,
makes the sign of the cross,
in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Why Don't We?

more troops
more giving
true sacrifice
should pray
show gratitude
even if we hate war
don't trust politicians
left or right
the sacrifice is real
for the Marine
the Soldier
the Sailor
the Pilot
we must pray
if we don't
why don't we?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Heart

i don't know about you
not even sure about me
Who knows these hearts?
these rooms of mystery
some days we  follow
some days we run
sometimes we're together
but most often undone
Who knows the heart
this restless rhythm within
Who knows the heart
 where love begins
Who knows the heart
 easily led astray
When love falls apart
ain't got nothing to say
confusing and clear
all at the same time
a bloom bursts through the pavement
waking up a sleeping mind
 Who knows the heart?
It's a pilgrimage of struggle
from day 1 till the end
but what a beautiful struggle
i think i'm falling again
makes us choose
 makes us seek
 makes us cry
makes us weak
makes us strong
makes us free
makes us hunger
for the Unseen
love is the heart
the heart is love
love is the heart
the heart is love
Who knows the heart?


Monday, October 5, 2009

ebb and flow

the autumn holds memories
the soft rain
the chill in the morning breeze
i remember the old shed,
where my grandfather cured ham
he smoked it for days
the aroma hung in the air
especially in the morning
the days are getting shorter
the light is changing
the world is forever with us
the good and the bad
the cycles of nature
reminding us
we are always dying
always living.
made in the image of God
all of creation groans
right along with us
and the hills leap for joy
right along with us
in this tension of being
in this never ending ebb and flow


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Signs from God

there are signs from God everywhere
in places we would not expect
in the bloodshot eyes of a lonely man
smelling of whiskey
in the kindness of someone who has no idea
what their kind words mean
we often want God in a box
keeping Him easily manageable
easily controlled
not a threat to our sensibilities or will
this is nonsense
and it doesn't limit God
it limits us
Our Beloved is not just in "this or that"
just "here or there"
He is always everywhere
in our despair
in our joy
in our foolishness
in our failure
in our devotion
He is all and in all
in Him we live
have our being
this is why sin separates us from Him
not Him from us,
He is still there,
waiting for us to repent
and to realize His crazy love
for us


Saturday, October 3, 2009


the flow of  days
  the weather

some sunny
some dark
you and i live in two realities,
maybe three
the ebb and flow of
"as it comes"
  the Other
the true spiritual dimension
i don't know how to say it
but sometimes my dogs look at me in a way i can't explain
i realize,
God is using everything to reach me
He is mad about me,
about YOU
let us turn to Him
adore Him!
love Him!
He is not afraid of our doubt
He is well aware of our weakness
aware of our inability to be faithful


Friday, October 2, 2009


the light came
the light came
in a flash and a flame
into the daylight
it came
i was shaving
doing something normal
needing a moment to hide,
but i couldn't when they called
so i went to Edwards side
 he was lying in a heap
 torn beyond repair
another Marine takes a hit
another mother weeps and swears
and a single tear fell
as i held his weak hand
 i told him i loved him
as he left this weary land
a single tear fell
 down the face i had shaved
and i won't forget Edward
till my dying day
none of us know
why we are where we are
some work in a liquor store
some sell used cars
some write songs
 some paint what they see
i used to break wild horses
and one or two broke me
so we keep on living
as best we can
one foot in front of the other
there is not a better plan
and love is always calling
to an Edward's side we'll go
giving our hands in mercy
giving the hopeless our hope
we can't even fathom
   what we may see
when we hear the cry of love,
and follow wherever the cry may lead.
inspired by the book, "Tear in the Desert"


Thursday, October 1, 2009

horses again

the light
the soft light
a cool wind
sirens fading far away
the panic of families
the nearness of death
i am only guessing
the horses run to us
as if to say,
"we remember you"
God is in this
He is as close as these horses
as they blow and paw the ground
their soft noses
breathing with both fear and joy
good to be together again
i feel the same
so does my son
another moment of grace
Glory to the Father!