the lord’s prayer.

our father, who art in heaven
there are only a few numbers i know by heart these days.

remember when we used to talk all the time? now,
is the buzzing in my ears a dial tone or busy signal?

do you prefer to text? now–
thy name? i am,
of course, but i am i am
stricken dumb as a priest, deaf
as a disciple.

yet you gave that donkey a voice to cry out against the bruises inflicted upon her back. no one could hear me when
he wandered in without a sound.

let’s break the ice:
let me introduce you to your daughter, the
Redwood Tree, who
can’t be born without the scorch of forest fires.

if burn scars tell better stories, well
you should see the scars on me, i’ve
got a st. paul-sized thorn in my side, give us this day
our daily coffee and sourdough bread and ibuprofen, i swear
he wandered in without a sound,

and (now) i know i’m not the only one.

dear augustine, is the king sun really so far away?
dear augustine, i’m afraid we’re sitting in the dark.
anyone got a nightlight for this cave?

got a light for a joint of grace? fragrance
holy and pleasing–wait
is it bad to inhale smoke?–just smoke? who cares
i want to feel fine, and i’m pretty sure
this is how fine feels; you know
more like barely feeling at all.

hardly aware of our own existence, how
can we be aware of those around us? we’ve
gleefully pushed ourselves down the drain, tailspin,
dragging all we can touch undertow.

tell me, what’s the difference between the world and the heart,
deceitful above all things,
tell me, he asked, who can know it?

tell me won’t you tell me what is truth tell me tell me tell me why won’t you why why won’t you please tell me tell me WHAT IS TRUTH.

you’ve hidden them in my heart, specifically:
that to kill is to hurl the world into a million pieces. look,
my normal average day, my watching her standing in the kitchen with her collarbones pulled tight and her eyes staring at the ground–
my getting through the day as normal is letting thousands of people die.

yet sometimes i wonder whose hands are bloodstained the most. now i have said something terrible. now do i have your attention?

because awareness comes to me like staring at the sun. topographically,
the distinction between enlightenment and blindness is slight. wondering,
if this this apple-tree knowledge is the lesser evil (because sometimes I have my doubts).

because awareness comes to me like swimming under a tidal wave filled with heaps of seaweed embroidery thread,
all flooding full the wedge of a granite crawl space.

all the while, the earth is rotating at
1,037 miles per hour. ever considered
the miracle that we aren’t all hobbling around with speed-of-light-induced migraines?

so don’t you dare talk to me about the stupid weather, ask me
how i’m managing to keep myself from spinning out of control. because awareness comes to me like GOD IT’S SO HEAVY WHERE CAN I PUT IT DOWN DOWN HERE I’M NOT SURE WE’RE BREATHING MUCH AT ALL.

can petitions for healing raise the five bodies i’ve watched exhale back into dust during the past three years? (i think we both know they were taken away too soon).

can petitions for healing reconstruct the roadmap in his mind, who often considers the ways he would like to exhale himself back into the dust? what the hell
is wrong with the blood in our brains?

and lately, i confess–
i’ve been taking my own turn to go swinging from the ceiling.

an embrace can cover a multitude of sins, but
where are you when i am less than sober, and want to stone myself
for my own transgressions?

am i not allowed to cast stones on even myself?

i’ve been trying to determine the differences between things i want, need, and have been given too much of without letting my eyes get all blurry–i’ll streak the mascara, you know–because i’ve been drawing in meagerly professional eyebrows in the day and smearing teal shadow at night, but everyone knows, you know, that caramel is the best color, not a wasted yellow like piss, or black umber like burnt coffee but caramel caramel caramel and oh i’m going to drink it like kisses, drink it in like kisses, I SWEAR…

i swear i swore myself i would never tell anyone else.

i swear that when he began to kiss my forehead and my cheeks it felt like tears running down my face, pseudonym gentle;
more like a feverish prodding, picking
at my scabs, at the pathetic
rages i kept caged inside of me, hung up
on the walls of my skull, embellished
in smudges of ash and smelling of rain.

and i swear he wandered in and left without a sound.

but i was the one who woke up underwater, falling
under the lethe, i think…i’m starting
…to forget…if…
i’m…breathing…or
if…i’m…drowning.

catch…me?…i’ve been sinking all night
for far too long.

you,
YOU WITH LION’S TEETH IN YOUR EYES,
IF YOU LOVE ME, CATCH ME.

with muddy arms, with holes
frayed in the knees of your jeans.

lead me not into fragmentation, but deliver us
from, specifically, deliver me
from cutting off–even so welded with scar tissue–deliver me
from cutting off my own ears.

i question that you’re the sky; i
think you are the sand, and the dirt,
for that is exactly where i am made every day, and i’ve seen
your muddy arms, and the holes
frayed in the knees of your jeans,

and the way YOU sweat RED over the stained glass you create.

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Keeping Faith While In Despair

Hey all! I received the privilege of publishing an article on Self Talk the Gospel, an online writing community that I had been interning with as a Content Curator during the previous six months. I wrote a guest post for their Impressed Series, in which their writers describe an experience with a piece of literature that left a lasting impression.

For my article “Keeping Faith While in Despair,” I chose to write about Soren Kierkegaard’s book Fear and Trembling (even a year since graduation, my humanities classes are still ringing in my ears), along with my experience of faith and spiritual depression. Here’s a snippet:

Finally. I had finally encountered a fellow lover of wisdom and member of the Christian faith who told me that the authenticity of my faith doesn’t depend on how I feel before I go to bed at night, or how I feel during worship at church. That my choosing faith is what matters, as opposed to depending on whether or not I feel like I have faith.

You can read the rest of the article by following the link here. If you’re curious about topics of Kierkegaard, the nuances of spirituality and faith, despair, and/or my writing in general, check it out!

Enjoy,
-Jennifer

Rock Climbing: What’s the Point?

Hey everyone! I just wanted to share the news that a personal experience article I wrote for Summit Adventure just went live on their site today, and I wanted to share the link with those of you who follow this blog (also with those who happen to stumble in here randomly now and then).

In “Rock Climbing: What’s the Point?”, I reflect on how the highs and lows of learning to rock-climb have helped me to better understand some of my own life experiences. Here’s a snippet preview:

…I live an hour away from Yosemite–home to some of the best climbing in the world. And, with the aid and friendship of an experienced coworker, I’m taking advantage of that convenience. I exercise throughout the week to prepare for day-long climbing trips on the weekend, or the half-day excursions that sometimes occur during the work week. My body is often tired, sore, and dotted with bruises, scrapes, and scabs. I started realizing that I fork out a lot of time and energy to yank myself up rocks.

And what’s the point?

Sure, I can value the sense of accomplishment in building up my strength to achieve a goal, specifically that glory-feeling in completion of a difficult route. The community factor of spending time with friends by sharing an adventurous activity is also a positive, less narcissistic value. But the more engaged and skilled one becomes in rock-climbing, the more easily it becomes consuming with the need for more gear, technique, commitment, energy. I could just as easily set my physical goals in something simpler and less consuming like running. And I could just as easily invite friends over for dinner to spend time with them.

So, again: what’s the point? Why go rock-climbing?

You can read the rest of the article by clicking here. I hope you are able to spend some time reading it…maybe even leave a comment? ;) Check it out!

Grasping for clarity about the matter in Ferguson…

This is the moment of truth: no one in the media is going to tell the exact, “true” story regarding Ferguson; there is always a spin or an angle or misinformation crafted toward the target audience that will deviate the story from the “whole” truth. That’s how journalism works.

Everyone needs to feel the right to be frustrated by the media, because it’s an entire bucket of red herrings. I’ve flooded my brain with enough different viewpoints streaming from social media to just want to crawl into a dark hole of frustration.

But the fact of the matter remains: a cop killed a black person.

Law enforcement should not be killing people. Killing another person is NO ONE’S job and should never be anyone’s job. This is my belief as a (developing) Christian pacifist. Law enforcement, across the board, needs a widespread change in their value system.

The fact of the matter also remains that blacks STILL experience systematic discrimination. Yes. Do. Your. Research.

Whether or not the cop acted out of self defense does not negate the fact that racism still allowed the entire event to occur.

And that should break our hearts.

The world is a long, hard day. We’ve got to start loving our neighbors if we want the hope to survive it.

If you’re looking for some more help grasping with this issue, check out this article a friend of mine shared with me: 12 things white people can do now because Ferguson. 

Diagnosed with Kierkegaard

Awareness comes to me like watching the moon fluctuate phases.
I am old enough to draw in my eyebrows daily, I am young enough to  skateboard sidewalks between meagerly professional responsibilities.
I trust this is not fragmentation.
Thank you for your commitment to the art of stained glass.

Awareness comes to me like the knowledge of the twisted friendship bracelet thread tangled up in the box under my coffee table desk.
Try to determine the things you want, need, and have been given too much of.
My eyes are blurry.

Awareness comes to me like the rotations of the earth.
Shouldn’t I be spinning out of control by now?
Shouldn’t the speed of light give me a headache?

Awareness comes to me like staring at the Sun.
Topographically, the distinction between enlightenment and blindness is slight.
Sometimes I have my doubts.
What happens if I try to turn the lights out?