The Call

They call me Ms. Tumbleweed,

When I was younger I would wear grass hula skirts and put daisies in my hair because the white of the petal and the red in my hair made me feel like a mermaid, and I liked that freedom.

Then the echoes of responsibility drowned out the symphony of childhood innocence

And freedom started changing and came with things like goodbyes and broken hearts.

So I called myself a gypsy and painted airplanes on old maps.

There’s a fine line between a wanderer and someone with a restless soul.

One goes for adventure, the other for the unknown.

And when you live your life turning what-ifs into definitive answers, there will always be something to run from, but nothing to run towards.

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Ike and Rita make a pitstop on 1-45

The era of the hurricane came with long days and longer nights.

The air was sticky in the morning and my hair frizzed into a puffball that stuck out in every which-way

And the beads of sweat suctioned themselves onto my skin,

Like the way the starfish at the aquarium stuck to the glass even when you poked them.

I was tan then, and the moisture made me glisten and glow

But not like a supermodel on the beach, oiled up in the sand,

It was more like a greasy pig, running through a wheat field.

With pork-soaked insecurities I would worry about muffin-tops and if the in-betweens of my legs touched when I stood still

But Mom would say I was too young to worry about things like that

So she fed me food from the fridge that she didn’t want to go bad

Like watermelon and old Chinese food

And we would sit in our green, plastic lawn chairs,

Dilapidated from their time tucked away in the garage

Between the old rusted bicycles and the blow-up snowman with laser eyes.

The inside was an oven, set to 450 degrees to roast us all up, so we’d sit outside and watch the clouds congregate on the horizon.

Mom was always worried about trees coming through windows,

So she’d shout directions at Dad, who’s hands were rough and calloused from tracing the chaotic splinters of two by fours.

I had my own pink hammer and my mind thought tough was relative,

But I always missed the nail, so the boys would shove me aside while the men of the house did the heavy-duty stuff,

And I would be put to work filling the little plastic water bottles half with water, half with vodka.

Once the sky opened up I’d set up my tape recorder and capture the sweet cacophony of the storm.

And I’d pray the lights would stay on because reading is easier that way

But the storm always knocked out the power – it never stood a chance.

So when the rain passed we would all gather outside in the driveway

Where the kids would draw pictures with colored chalk of monkeys hanging from trees but they could never quite get the nooses right.

And we would play cards or Mexican Train Dominoes but there was a missing piece or Joker or King so the men would talk about how bad the football team was doing,

And I would try my hand at sports conversation but at thirteen all you care about is how cute the boys look in their uniforms, and the older folk don’t care much for that.

Those humid, post-hurricane days were too hot for clothes,

So bras and underwear became the latest fashion trend.

The boys never minded so neither did we,

Except for old Mrs. Higgins who went around thumpin’ people with the Bible

So she avoided us and called us scoundrels from her living room window.

Once the clock ticked on and the sun became unwanted we’d sing songs about beer to welcome the man in the moon to our party of hurricane hoodlums,

He always looked more like a rabbit to me,

I told dad I wanted to feed him carrots but that would be wasteful so I never got to climb up to meet the mysterious rabbit man, and adventure through craters

And return a more solidified version of myself

So instead I would sit cross-legged and draw airplanes on my boney kneecaps with Sharpie.

It never stayed on well because the heat made my skin too slippery,

And the smell of permanent marker made Mom’s head ache but so did air freshener so I wrote stories in my journal about a non-scented girl and her non-scented family.

And eventually the darkness tried to breathe some coolness into the stench of sweat

But to no avail, so we would go inside and sleep by the only open window

We always left one uncovered in case we needed to escape a fire or a flood or Grandpa’s drinking.

And I would brush my teeth by moonlight while humming Bon Jovi songs

And sometimes I would make a mess on the counter with the toothpaste

But I couldn’t see a thing because the moonlight wasn’t all that bright.

The Johnson’s down the street had candles,

But candles made grotesque shadows dance on the kitchen floor and scared the dog.

No one liked it when he barked so we all agreed on no candles, but sometimes I would whisper ghost stories down the hall to try to get a rouse out of him.

Sometimes, a bolt of lightening cracked into fire outside in the yard, and it would scare the shit out of me and make me jump in my chair,

So I’d listen to “A Symphony of a Storm” on repeat over and over and over again Thank God Walkmans use batteries,

Because once the storm passed the nights were quiet and that was the worst part,

Who cares about missing school when it means you have to sleep with no fan on and roll around miserable from the dead stillness of everything.

So I would lay there, tangled up in sheets, kicked to the end of the bed and twisted around my feet like coils that fed electricity to everything but a house after a hurricane

And hours would pass with my eyes wide shut and my mind painting pictures of flutes and brass instruments playing sonnets to the man in the moon

Who wore a spectacle and a suit and tie and ate carrots at the opera,

And maybe I fell asleep but sometimes imagination is better than dreams, and sometimes I’d forget to take my sleeping pills,

So I’d wake up at three a.m. and pass the early hours in conversation with the stuffed dolls and teddy bears in the corner.

Luna was my favorite, but sometimes she could be a bitch.

And somewhere between imaginary friends and growing up I’d wake up from a sleep that I never remembered entering

And the mornings were the best part,

When I’d open my eyes and not be able to see or remember where I was or who I was

But I could still hear the sound of a leftover storm through my headphones and somehow there was comfort in that terrifying melody.

Deluge

You can feel the storm coming before the thunder even starts,

When the air gets thick and heavy with the weight of the impending torrent.

Moisture is everywhere and moisture traps heat in.

The difference between sweat and humidity disappears in the moments before a Texas thunderstorm.

Dark clouds paint the sky black and when the fury of the storm arrives you begin to understand what it might mean to have the floodgates of heaven opened.

Because when you’re four your mom tells you it’s God bowling and angels crying.

Because when you’re six you count the seconds in between the spark of lightening and the crack of thunder.

Because when you’re eight the craters on your tongue are perfect for catching fallen raindrops.

Because when you’re twelve you watch the spectacle from the window so your hair won’t frizz.

Because when you’re sixteen dimples and blue eyes make the beat of your heart rival the drum of the downpour.

Because when you’re eighteen the rain hides the tears packed away in old Polaroid pictures.

Because changes come in waves, and drizzles, and hurricanes,

And the line between nostalgia and regret is blurred by the memories that hit you in concentrated drops,

Like the rain from a Texas thunderstorm.

Paper Airplanes

I never could make paper airplanes fly.
Their tips would crinkle and smash into the floor,
and the invisible passengers would die an untimely death.
So I took my turn with darts,
the points were sharper so sometimes they would stick in the walls,
pinning down little towns on big maps.
They chose my destination and I’d take off.
But I didn’t have money and ten year olds weren’t allowed to travel by themselves,
so my mind was my jet plane.
It carried me to far away places,
to glittering seas,
and ice-capped mountains.
I always made it home for dinner,
but I never made it home the same person I was before lunch time.

In Awe

So on our journey to Tajzara we stopped at this overlook and, instantly, the tears came.  I found myself a little rock where I could sit in the presence of God and admire his amazing craftsmanship.  This is a snippet I wrote that then inspired the following song.  “Surrounded by something so big, and so grand, it is overwhelming.  You come face to face with how infinitesimally small you are and how infinitesimally marvelous God is.  Here, in the middle of a mountain of sand, you begin to understand how amazing a love is whose mercies and thoughts outnumber the grains of sand in all the world.  I am perpetually in awe of the hand of God.*  His beauties are never ending, his grandeur is evident in every rolling hill and clear blue sky.  He is the master architect of every life, and what a wonderful life it is.”

_

I see your beauty in the rolling hills

I see your grandeur in the wide open sky

I see your face and it’s beautiful

I see your mercy and I wonder why

Why me, you’ve captivated and created life in me

So overwhelming, is this love that you give so free

And in the midst of a sunset on the mountain I can’t help but stand in awe

Of your hand, that made the world and made the way for me

_

You’re beauty shines through every star

So that every eye knows who you are

Creation proclaims, your holy name

I see your beauty in the ocean’s waves

In chaos and confusing days

So amazing, this beauty that saves me

Why me, you’ve captivated and created life in me

So overwhelming, is this love that you give so free

And in the midst of a sunset on the mountain I can’t help but stand in awe

Of your hand, that made the world and made the way for me


*Yes, this little snippet also made it’s way into a previous post.  I’m recycling material here, I can do that, don’t hate.

When Stars Go to AA

When I was little I made wishes on shooting stars
but then the world got small and people got mean and I learned that magic doesn’t exist.
So I studied math and replaced emotion with logic.
Then he came along,
with green eyes that reminded me of satellites and supernovas
and he introduced me to the stars.
I waved hello as he read off their name tags,
“Hi my name is Propus and I like long walks through the milky-way”
I matched the freckles on his face to the constellations in the sky
and I called him my universe.
He took my hand and led me on adventures,
and somewhere along the way he told me he loved me
But commitment scared me and I thought love was for losers
So I climbed up mountains and reached for my new [fiery] friend,
But the galaxy is bigger than I expected and you can’t put stars in your pocket.
So I hid my heart there instead.
And from the top of my [molehill] I saw the moon look like a smile and I knew that he was happy,
Or maybe it was a toenail and I was just looking for ways to miss him.
My mind never could tell the difference between coincidence and fate,
but on the good days I knew to take steps forward
so I’d write letters to him and sign them Propus and mail them off with a stamp in the corner.
If I could I would have loved him,
and if he would listen I would tell him that I do.
But maybe love is reserved for Martians or maybe it’s my own fault.
So nowadays I take myself on adventures and sleep under a star-drunk sky.
I keep my name-tag covered and no one reads it out loud,
I’m lost beneath a world of anonymity and stuck in a world of the same.
Being known comes from being loved,
and loving back,
but I gave that up long ago for a quarter and the horizon.
So when it’s late, I whisper my dreams to the universe.
Sometimes it answers back in riddles and complicated metaphors,
sometimes it just laughs.
And sometimes my imagination makes inanimate objects talk.

This Is Love

I only have one small stanza, just six short lines – scribbled in one of my old journals in between devocionales and lunch – but they capture beautifully what this place is

This is Love

This is home

This is golden dust, and joyful laughter

This is my happy ever after

This is comfort, this is peace

This is where I need to be

This is love, this is love to me

Abrumador

Abrumador, overwhelming.  This is from last January – 

The gold floats and shimmers in the air

The laughter rings and echoes

The smiles are contagious, an epidemic of joy

The peace is tangible as it wraps around in tight embrace

The love – it is here

It is overwhelming

Abba Father

The word “Abba”, an Aramaic word, can be most closely translated to the word “Daddy.”  Abba Father is one of the most significant names of Christ as it displays how He relates to people.  I love this image of God, as my Abba Father, teaching me and protecting me.  I have an amazing Earth Daddy, so just imagining how much more my Heavenly Father cares for me seems impossible, but that’s what makes it so beautiful.  Christ is our Abba Father.  Just as we are to obey our fathers here on Earth, trusting that they have the best in mind for us, we are to follow and obey our Father Christ – and we can know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he has the best in mind for us*

This song, written shortly after my trip last summer, illustrates Christ’s love for us, His children, and the tie we have to Him as we call Him Abba Father and He calls us to Him.

Abba Father

You call me beautiful and wanted

You call me out into this world

You call me beloved, You call me strong

You call me right where I belong

___

So I’ll call you Father, Abba Father

And I’ll listen to whatever you say

And I’ll go where you will send me

For you call me to obey

___

My name is written on your heart

Your word is written upon mine

We are together, never apart

We are divinely intertwined

___

So I’ll call you Father, Abba Father

And I’ll follow wherever you go

And I’ll know that you are with me

For you call me as your own

___

You call me to you, call my heart Lord

All too often does it roam

Let my heart wander just for you Lord

‘Till you lead me safely home

___

And I’ll call you Father, Abba Father

And I’ll go wherever you want me to

And I’ll live life, every moment

To the hilt to live like you

___

I’ll call you Father, Abba Father

I will love you all of my life

For you are Father, Abba Father

My trust, my Savior, my delight


**Got Questions has an amazing commentary on the use of Abba Father in the Bible