Saline (pt. X)

The first time I dropped in on a wave, really dropped in, I finally knew what it felt like to be in my rightful place in the world. The timing, paddling, pop-up, and steering had culminated into that ever-desired perfect glide. For a few seconds, I spread royal wings and flew. For a few seconds, the sky rolled back to show how it was made of something as beautiful as an abalone shell.

* *

The painting is titled “Theology,” I said. One hundred eyes passed over the piece, consuming its wild blue spilling and plunging. Now they awaited my defense and explanation. 

The correlation is simple, this idea of Sublimity in the character of God; One experienced as powerful, infinite, mighty, and ultimate. Yet when we experience this, we are somehow allowed to live, often leaving full of something like love or respect. The same experience is manifest when I am in the ocean, delighting in its power without it killing me–hence the “theology” of the crashing wave.

* *

It is an important moment in life when you realize that the calmest part of the ocean is the water directly beneath the wave. It is like finally realizing that to dance in the arms of another person, you have to stop struggling to lead your way. It is a moment of enlightenment in which you realize to keep from drowning, you must go underwater. No matter how the white water roars, if you duck below the plummets of the break, there you will find peace. Finally, you must learn to listen to the sea, for it will tell you when it’s safe to return to breathing again.

* *

Noah arrived by my side and with his classic bemused half-grin and complimentary fist-pound. Kick-ass were his first words. Others had offered similar congratulations. But he followed to say something more striking in clarity. Good job capturing the calm water right under the wave. A lot of people forget that part, he said. I looked back at the painting. The effect had been unintentional, but now that he pointed it out, I saw it. And I realized it was something I had known about all along. 

An Engagement with φιλια: Part B

The Unfolding Present Engagement with φιλια

We band together and they determine to become my new family. My full circle of restoration. Barely acquainted, yet I am surrounded by smiling arms. The wise Owl speaks over us, People are more important than stuff, dammit. Eyes kind, hands so strong. We take a night trip to the lake and bare our bodies to the element. The water stark as trust, but the view of stars matchless, aiming at the heart. He could have sent the blow, the fierce wind to beat against my ramparts; instead, gentle sunlight allowed, and so my tears are shed to the sky. Trust, tell me now that I have engaged your soul. We talk about God. Getting lost together never so reassuring. It seems I am remembered. It seems I am born. When we kayak out onto the lake, the water invites, we speak to one another, and we race back to shore, cabin lights like planets fixed in the trees. Our forest home, we share together, and so I fall asleep next to you, wake up next to you. Single beds, empty rooms a fading lonely memory. We take up learning, becoming holy together with dirt smeared on our faces. Engage συνηθωςWe give each other seats at the table, intertwine our nerves, reuniting ourselves when the day is done. Family is not a biological term. We commune, we eat bread and slowly become unveiled. Trust, I tell you, I am scared, I tell you, but I want to be known. Share my gaze, share my aches, share my mirth uninhibited. Our holy hymn, massaging sore wings, breathing in our scents, as we step to each other’s beats. Peace following me to sleep. And when I howl at the moon tonight, you all will join me, and the twilight world will ring with our dissonance and harmony complete.



συνηθως–A word to describe the bond of those who have walked trails together


Woke up this morning to rain falling sound,
while lying safe beneath magnanimous 
roof upon a wooden stage. Woke up this 
morning to family of slender hooves, 
watching beside the fatherly antlers 
wise, as I stirred enough to wonder if
this was indeed the grey November dawn, 
or rather remained in misty dreaming
where waking was still yet beyond. 


Dear brothers and sisters, I come to you
with fear and trembling.
As one once said,
“I pray we survive this blessing.”
In our leisure, in this place,
may we be moved to Elevate.
The words spill out and swirl our minds–
may we obtain the strength to meditate.
Take these books, make them hymnals.
It is time to birth a new breed
of Homers and Aristotles.
Read aloud to one another these liturgies–
Read aloud to one another even
your own philosophies.
Find your peace,
contemplate with trees.
In the silence of wind and
woodpeckers, sunlight and shade,
ask the way the world was made.
We are here, for now–
our time will be ending soon.
Let us struggle to complete,
let us become kings and queens;
let us become such wolves who break free their voices
to howl at this moon.
Ask, can we be red, can we be read,
can we let ourselves be bled?
Daring to chase revelation,
move ourselves to Elevation.
Dear brothers and sisters, I come to you
with hope and trembling.
As one once said,
“I pray we survive this blessing.”

Poem: When I woke up last December

Everyone was hours gone
Curved down the mountainside
The winter fog closing the oak trees in
Their voices still ringing in my ears
Their hands not yet forgotten
But because our books have closed
My bags and boxes sit on rough granite
Where I last dragged them

Where my bare feet tread
Cracked because the earth kissed them so often
As the threads have been so fondly torn
To fray this old green couch
Smelling of dirt and translated books and worn shirts
Here I sat with Aristotle
Here I sat with Augustine
Here I sat with you

And all these bones are made of wood
And every stone will tell our stories
Leaving a fullness to this emptiness
Now that the floorboards cease to creak
Unprepared, these realizations will grow in a year
To full-fledged and heavy νόστος
To bend me to sink down with Odysseus
To drench Calypso’s shore with tears

As I remember and try not to forget
The breath of the wind on my neck
Those sighing fingers through my hair
Rushing infinity loops with dancing pine dryads at night
But for now my eyes can barely bear to blink
No one here to make the floorboards smile and creak
No one to hear me drip this stillness sound with Fender guitar

My hair was tied with a buffalo tooth and beads and feathers
His blue and black flannel wrapping my arms
And when I woke up in that buffalo plaid
To see my father’s face in the doorway
Everyone was hours gone
And I suddenly had no idea where was home

Since then I’ve lost the buffalo flannel and him as well
And the tooth rests white in a drawer
But my hair is still tied with beads and feathers
And some nights I look up to the stars
Some voices I hear, while some are written in distance
Some, silent earshot
And some hands are now foreign,
Some reach out and hold my own
But some days I have no idea where is home