Jargon of Uncertain Times

“Now more than ever” they say addressing “these uncertain times” while the quiet is a lovely, spooky thing

Like Prufrock’s curling fog or the calm eye at the middle of every storm

I play the sober girl’s version of a drinking game–keep a running tally of each meaningless thing we say

To ellipsize all the scooped-out half moon lost stitches

In the story of our world


not to be confused with epiphany, apophony, or even apotheosis, you nonetheless came to me in a dream where we were improbably happy…









All these lingual pawns arrayed for something.  Tug of the invisible? The inconsequence of a single human life?  

Spin them out from their mother tongue

Prophesy the child

Miraculously hypothetical

Salt marsh child

So reminiscent of your most beautiful 


A lexicon for grief

how many words for snow

how many words for rice or rain or storms

We humans and our specificity

Yet no words for listening 

Hearing you

Being there, holding on, loving you 

Looking into….

Oops!  Already well into 

Greeting card territory

When what a body needs is those…those

Ladies in the black organza 

Wailing in the streets.

Where are they?  When we need them so?

All those things we need them to



Say, not say, feel

a new vocabulary 

Esperanto for grievers

Words for here I am with you (ret)

Just being here for you (ghurt)

You are not alone (hyop)

Breathing here with you (fppt…)

There are empty rooms and rooms for more

Make more. More for all the ways

I will be with you in silence

Letters strung together for the careful listener

Unspoken I am with you

Through the storm.


I am familiar with stolen

Children stolen names

Borrowed children stolen names

Borrowed stolen beautiful

Girl metonymy

Is when you

Become a face in a crowd

The crowd then becoming

You in every face

I have looked 

You in every 




Can’t do that or you will lose

Her you never truly


Only a name

Crumpled broken paper fluttering down from the blown-apart skyscrapers which once defined our empire 

Mushroom clouded elephantine weight falls to its knees

Compressed neutron star mother

Heart the size of a sugar cube 

Weight of 300 million


On my chest

As I walk through the dark

Singing off-key these borrowed breakup songs

Fierce to the teeth 

Lost until I know

You will be


Men like trees, walking…

Mark 8:23-25 (NIV)
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” [24] He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” [25] Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

His sight restored.
There are modern stories about people born blind who, when they are restored to sight, struggle with the relationship between the words for things in the dark and the words for things in the light.

What I mean of course, is that an apple you smell and feel and eat is not always recognizable as a red or yellow fruit with a smooth skin and a core.

These modern folk have had to strive to revise their scope of the world and it has felt dangerously unsteady. Sometimes a “safe” blindness can feel more familiar than a vertiginously new world of sight.

Jesus heals this man in two stages–he first restores the physical mechanism of sight, then he gives him the language to go with his new world.

I think that heaven will be like that–our senses broadened and restored. In fact, the Sermon on the Mount is the primer for the language of heaven.

Do you want the language and culture of paradise? Then by all means abide with the world’s only native speaker–

Jesus. The Word made flesh.