Tell me you smell my secrets.
Tell my pores they've done their work.
Make lavender curtains out of my morning arms,
show me you trust me.
Let my forehead kiss yours
as we sway side to side,
like we're absorbing each other's
memories through osmosis,
like my 3rd grade embarrassments
are finding your comfort,
show me you trust me.
Replace my beeping alarm
with your pancake breath in my ear.
Tell me there's a few left over.
Tell me we have time.
Holding hands in the car,
let mine always rest on your thigh.
Smile slyly as my fingers wander.
Let your satisfaction stick to me all day.
When you're away, let your subconscious
count down the hours til you see me,
make fun of me when I do the same.
Leave me stupid messages on my phone,
telling me, in code, that you trust me.
Remember that I rise more frequently
when you become the occasion.
When you let me be your balance
across the high wire.
When the depression cancers its way into you,
when the fury burns the taste from your tongue.
My hands are strongest when you choose them to grip.
I know this is real when you fall into me,
knowing it'll take more than heartbreak for me
to let you hit the ground.
Knowing these bodies outgrew first times
and now ignite in familiarity,
your taking pride in knowing just what to do to me,
my pride in helping you realize you're a screamer,
we discovering the best ways to hurt.
Try to tell me what love is. Fail.
Try to outlove me. Fail.
Try to decipher the tongues of adoration
in my palms, and I'll believe whatever you say.
Somewhere between our cheeks pressed together,
there is an answer.
In unforgivable puns and eyefuls of lust,
there is an answer.
In the shadow of my lips over your left eye,
in the electricity of me tracing little hairs on your throat,
in our midnight salvation sleep,
there is a power the Lord forgot.
It rests in our pores.
In 3rd grade memories.
In pancake hunger.
I am not done earning you.
Tell me what to give. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Galileo was in love with God.
He pursued Her in the cosmos,
with blunt instruments hardly suited to peer
into the Gracious, I imagined he prayed through
his telescope lens, waiting for a glimpse of Breath
on the glass, hoping to prove that the sun was just a breadcrumb
to lead us back home. His was a harmony of faith and facts, mathematics
with the sole purpose of encrypting lullabies,
he pried them open, was teased with glimpses
and when the Church inquired about his progress,
he'd say, "still praying."
There was a time when Science was a celebration of God.
When there was more to the discussion than intelligent design and stem cells,
when the blueprint of creation was just a classroom away.
In high school biology while we pinched ourselves to stay awake
I wish it'd occurred to me to say,
"Mrs. Edmonds, tell me when you first witnessed the communion of
photosynthesis and slipped into awe, tell me when your microscope first
revealed Breath on the glass. I want to know when you knew this was
more than pop quiz material, when you knew you were sharing the
building blocks of ecstasy. This knowledge is not enough for me, I want
to know if this is how you pray."
It's common knowledge that playing little kids Mozart helps them feel
smarter, so I wonder how many of their parents will tell them his mind
was a playground of the unspeakable, that his harmonies were
architecture of the highest order for the purpose of glorifying God,
when they teach kids about da Vinci, do they mention that The Last
Supper was a model of geometry, linear perspective and proportion, when
they teach of the Earth orbiting the sun, do they mention that Galileo
treated science as the left brain of God?
I want to meet the physicist that teeters on the edge and dares God to prove him right.
Show me the chemist that dreams of dying in water.
I want to read the chapter where Mary tells her son, "Energy is neither
created or destroyed, but changes from one form to another, so go on
baby, I'll be with you if you promise to visit me in rainfall."
I wonder what Mrs. Edmonds would tell me, if I asked her about God.
I imagine she'd blink, and smile awkwardly. She'd tell me this isn't the place to discuss such things.
Then, maybe, she'd smile softly, and tell us how the grass glows, when it rains.
Artists For Rent
I've never felt more proudly American than March of 2002, at the 6 month anniversary, when I was one of the 60 chorus men to sing Alleluia at Ground Zero.
There was no ceremony, no cameras, just shivering boys and men in tuxes, just New Yorkers and tourists that happened to be there, just music that promised to wash us all.
I don't remember when I first believed I could make a university choir. I don't remember when I first believed I could even sing, but I remember it was some time
at DSA, the first and only arts high school in Detroit, where the students were as nutty as expected, where some of the teachers were even nuttier,
where the halls rang with vibrato voices, grooved with the lithe motion of dancers, echoed the blaring orchestra graffiti-ed itself with visions of teenaged painters, shouted with the passion of young actors trading their drama for Shakespeare's, we seemed determined to recreate the world of "Fame".
To really grasp the feeling of being an artsy kid in an arts high school, ask the regulars at the nearest gay bar. Ask the Trekkies at their yearly conventions. Ask any hippie in an uninterrupted drum circle and they'll tell you "You never forget that you belong."
Jonathan Larson's musical Rent was taking over Broadway, which meant that every single kid who thought they could sing morphed themselves into bohemian multisexual artists making poetry of AIDS. Damn, that was annoying. I hated Rent.
But twelve years later the songs still yell familiar, I look back at all those faces contorted in passions they barely understood, I remember that many of those faces belonged to gay boys and lesbian girls that finally found a voice their throats could welcome home.
Legislation can dangle liberty, counseling can repair fractured lips, but I can only wonder how many suicides were set aside for a musical. There is something to be said for the practicality of art.
While arts funding is viewed as expendable, studies are speaking another truth. Every dollar invested in after-school programs promises a three dollar return. Kids in rigorous arts programs are four times as likely to excel at academics, four times as likely to enter math and science fairs, three times as likely to win school attendance awards, three times as likely to be elected to class office.
But beyond those numbers, there is a fire that's lit in the artistic heart a reminder that it is just as crucial as the mind. If a jock sings in choir, he is less likely to call artsy kids "fags". When the quiet kid gets the violin solo, we can call her voice gorgeous. When the drama kid gets the courage to sing, he can find himself, years later,
in a chorus of 60 men singing Alleluia at Ground Zero.
The artist can stop feeling expendable, and take a personal role in the healing of a nation. This is about more than funding. The money is just a glove for the bare grip of respect. Witness the eternal in a child's latent genius kneel before a kiss of washing music. Cry out for a commitment to grace and a glowing of the soul. Make your morality tangible, give our faith a face. Liberate the word of God from your pockets. Praise Him a revival.