Category Archives: Poetry

A poem for my father


It’s been a while since I posted any poetry on here, and today seems a good day to change that.  This is a poem for my father, whom I will always carry in my heart, no matter how many years go by or miles I travel.  Daddy, I love you.



hidden in the nighttime shadows of this present world
are you watching me?
can you hear the tremor in my voice? 

Do you remember that cold winter morning
you called a taxi to take me the mile to school?
while others sent children trudging through mountains of snow in search of that brick schoolhouse
you ordered up a taxi—delivered on a silver platter
an absurd luxury in our tiny town of 9,000.
And I knew your love.

I miss that confidence—
love as tangible as bricks and mortar
or your hand in mine
sweeping me into your arms as you
killed the mouse
calmed the fears
sang me asleep every night with your magic charm
            “Good night,
            sleep tight,
            don’t let the bed bugs bite.”
As if I could fear bed bugs with a champion sleeping down the hall. 

Do you remember that cursed night you first knew?
I hope not.
I hope it is wiped forever clean from your memory.
That night our world changed,
I’ve never known such fear. 

There are so many things I want to tell you . . .
how thankful I am for the years we had together
how sorry I am for all the ways I failed you 

If I could go back to that night
I swear I’d do it differently
our last chance to be together
I chose myself over you
I swear, if I could do it again . . . 

But there are no do-overs when it comes to death.

Do you watch us from the shadows?
This lost family you left behind
or is it too painful? 

Can you hear me cry out for you when I think no one is listening?
longing for a shiny, yellow taxi to come deliver me to you




Here’s a new poem — it needs some polishing, but here’s the first draft.

elephants thunder
marking their presence in my mind
thick calluses imprinting the carpet
wrinkled trunks swaying widely
as they try to change course
360 degrees with a wide turning radius

locked away in their minds
hidden by giant leather ears
which trap my pain
haunting restless nights
trunks snaking across
reaching pails of water
sucking it up
and spray it forth
an endless stream of tears

they huddle in rooms
stomping out truths
imagined to be invisible
an SOS
to those clinging against the walls
pressed against the boundaries
searching for an exit
from this crowded room

Child’s Play


simple joy of a child
revealed in smiling laughter
on a tiny face
sparkling eyes—
beauty, innocence, naiveté
finger paints,
flying in the wind,
spinning round and round
can fall down — can’t stay down
childlike trust,
faith too strong
stars in a midnight blue sky
shine, sparkle, shimmer
trying not to fade into the conformity
of an adult world

Nine Months Old


Here’s a poem I wrote a couple years ago while living in the Middle East.  It was in the midst of the Israel-Gaza Conflict of 2008-2009.  Living in the Middle East as an American made that conflict the topic of conversation everywhere I went.

I’m nine months old here
With the vocabulary of a two year old
So when I listen to your voices on the radio
I can only pick out a handful of your words
But I don’t need a translator to decipher the emotion caught in your throat
Don’t need an explanation for why you keep repeating
“Gaza,” “Israel,” “Philistines,” “Hamas”
Don’t need a tutor to help me conjugate the pain carried across the airwaves
Silent tears fall in the back of some rusty taxi
And guilt follows me around like some dark shadow
Refusing to disappear like Peter Pan’s clever one
Instead I carry around this crate of remorse
For being born in a country with too many ties to this violence
Too few answers to offer in return
And I trudge through this night with shackles
Linking me to your mother’s cries
And I can’t be free of them
And perhaps
I never should be free of them

The Vision


Tonight I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite poems!  This is The Vision by Pete Greig.  Pete is one of the founders of the 24/7 Prayer Movement and is the Director of Prayer at Holy Trinity Brompton in London.  I hope you enjoy his poem as much as I do!

So this guy comes up to me and says,
“What’s the vision? What’s the big idea?”
I open up my mouth and the words come out like this…

The vision?
The vision is Jesus:
obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.

The vision is of an army of young people.
You see bones?
I see an army.

And they are free from materialism—
They laugh at nine-to-five little prisons.
They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday.
They wouldn’t even notice.
They know the meaning of the Matrix, the way the West was won.

They are mobile like the wind.
They belong to the nations.
They need no passport.
People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence.
They are free yet they are slaves of the hurting, dirty and dying.

What is the vision?
The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes.
It makes children laugh and adults angry.
It gave up the game of minimal integrity long ago to reach for the stars.
It scorns the good and strains for the best.
It is dangerously pure.

Light flickers from every secret motive, from every conversation.
It loves people away from their suicide leaps—their Satan games.

This is an army that would lay down its life for the cause.
A million times a day, its soldiers choose to lose that they might one day win the great “well done” of faithful sons and daughters.

Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night.

They don’t need fame from names.
Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again:
And this is the sound of the underground, the whisper of history in the making, foundations shaking, revolutionaries dreaming once again.
Mystery is scheming in whispers, conspiracy is breathing…
This is the sound of the underground.

And the army is disciple(in)ed—
Young people who beat their bodies into submission.
Every soldier would take a bullet for his comrade at arms.
The tattoo on their back boasts “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Sacrifice fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes.
Who can stop them?
Can hormones hold them back?
Can failure succeed?
Can fear scare them or death kill them?

And the generation prays like a dying man with groans beyond talking, with warrior cries, sulfuric tears and great barrow loads of laughter!

Whatever it takes they will give:
Breaking the rules,
Shaking mediocrity from its cozy little hide,
Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs,
Laughing at labels,
Fasting essentials.
The advertisers cannot mold them.
Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late-night parties before the cockerel cries.

They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive on the inside.
On the outside?
They hardly care!
They wear clothes like costumes: to communicate and celebrate, but never to hide.

Would they surrender their image or their popularity?
They would lay down their lives, swap seats with the man on death row, guilty as hell: a throne of an electric chair.

With blood and sweat and many tears, with sleepless nights and fruitless days, they pray as if it all depends on God and live as though it all depends on them.

Their DNA chooses Jesus.
He breathes out.
They breathe in.
Their subconscious sings.
They had a blood transfusion with Jesus.

Their words make demons scream in shopping malls.
Don’t you hear them coming?

Herald the weirdoes!
Summon the losers and the freaks.
Here come the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes!
They walk tall and trees applaud.
Skyscrapers bow.
Mountains are dwarfed by these children of another dimension.

Their prayers summon the Hound of Heaven and evoke the dream of Eden.

And, this vision will be.
It will come to pass.
It will come easily.
It will come soon.

How do I know?
Because, this is the longing of creation itself, the groaning of the spirit, the very dream of God.

My tomorrow is His today.
My distant hope is His 3-D.
And, my feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking, great “AMEN!” from countless angels, from heroes of the faith, from Christ himself.

And He is the original dreamer, the ultimate winner.

Across Continents


I drive down your crowded streets
20 people in a taxi meant for 14
bright pink stucco
painted to complement
a cell phone logo
in between:
corrugated tin shacks,
dried mud huts,
small brick sheds—
different places you call home
rubbish fills your three foot gutters
I watch people grill bananas
over gas stoves on the street
prepared bananas piled high
on a bed of peels
right there on the concrete
I walk through a maze of shades and shapes
but all of them unique from me
and they call out “muzungo”
like a magic charm or a witches curse
I’m not sure which
like they somehow believe
that I hold all the
I think such naiveté
must surpass my own
in this complex puzzle
I sit in the sun
watch a young girl twirl and bounce
to the steady rhythm of the blaring bass,
glance over and catch my brother and his wife
sweetly loving each other
across continents, cultures and colors
and think
I may never understand this place
but there is a beauty here
waiting to be appreciated