Thursday, June 19, 2008

Loud and Unclear

Her voice was unnecessarily
loud and obnoxious -- making
it hard to concentrate on the
book about nonreligious
thoughts on Christian spirituality
that I was reading in
the salon chair next to her.

Why is she talking so loudly,
I wondered to myself, irritated
that I was re-reading the same
paragraph for the fifth time.
Does she have any idea how
annoying she sounds, I thought,
noting that her stylist seemed
to be put off, as well -- assumedly
speaking only once in a while
to preserve her own sanity.

Before I did anything I would
immediately regret, I checked
myself. Why was I so perturbed?
It wasn't time for PMS and it hadn't
been long since my last meal.

Suddenly, it hit me like a hummingbird
plowing into a glass door.
She was insecure, I reasoned,
and unable to rest in silence, let
alone enjoy it. She had to fill
every moment with some sort of
blabber -- followed by nervous
laughter and a new batch of jabber.

She doesn't like herself, I
suspected. Has she ever
felt cherished and celebrated?
Does know that she was
created to be captivating
and valuable, even irreplaceable;
who is going to tell her the truth
about who she is meant to be?

I watched her hair dresser
finish her cut, then blow dry and
style the woman's strawberry
blonde hair out of the corner of
my eye, and noticed when she
walked toward the front
counter to pay her bill.

I felt as helpless as a hostage
in my chair. How could I
make a difference in an
absolute stranger's life?
I said a quick prayer, asking
God to bring someone into
her life to love and help her,
and went back to my book.

It was clear to me that she
needed to hear the truth, but
unclear as to how it would happen.
Part of me wanted to take off after
her in my salon frock and aluminum-
foiled hair to talk with her. The
other side of me felt like I do when
I see starving children from
Africa on TV -- hurting for them
but frozen in another land.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

(Office breakroom zoo)

Office breakroom zoo --
is the workload so bad that
we seek solace there?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ink on Ink

I have a problem
marking in a poetry book.
I can use a pencil, mind you,
to underline, applaud or question
a passage, line or word in a book
of poetry all day long. But I have
some kind of curious aversion
to doing so in ink – as if adding
my ink on the page would
somehow dishonor the existing
print on the page.
Stranger still, I have no problem
using a pen in a work of fiction
or nonfiction. But
a collection of poems
somehow commands a sort of
respect, a sacred care,
a reverent response – like
a sunset or the miracle of birth.

Monday, June 02, 2008

If Melody Is Nourishment, Harmony Is Healing

Do you ever wish you could
drink music – first in soft sips,
then steady swallows, and,
at times, greedy gulps?

I need consistent installments –
like doses of medicine
carefully measured out
by the hours, days, and
weeks of the month.

It moves me like the
majesty of a mountain,
the splendor of a sunrise,
the openness of an ocean;
like the moment you know
that you're home.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

(By the time you finally)

By the time you finally
understand your job,
you no longer want it.