seasons, levi the poet's third release, and first true studio album to date, was released in december 2012. it was an experiment that altered the course of the project. with the help of his wife, brandi macallister, levi teamed up with glowhouse's alex sugg and lowercase noise's andy othling to incorporate their creative musicianship into the record. for the first time, levi the poet was more than words. writing and recording with three accomplished musicians was a learning curve for an artist who was anything but. trying to explain song flow and direction through humming out-of-key ideas must have been tedious to discern, but they added priceless voices to levi's tone-deaf conversation. even so, seasons wasn't so much a "music album" as it was a spoken word record with songs included. lyrically, it stands unparalleled by his previously released work. levi's faith in the god of the bible, preceding years of theological study, recent marriage, and the deep loss of his father to suicide spurred him to write through a more doctrinally clarified lens than previous experiences had allowed for. through it all, seasons simultaneously became levi's darkest and brightest, despairing and hope-filled, suffered and redeemed album to date.
Harsh Men My dad said my pastors have made me a harsh man, and I should take notice while I can, before I am blinded to see: some will still is free. He'd bleed: you sure don't know much about mercy, and as you get older, elder, you'll see, there are other attributes that might benefit you, too. It haunts me, to think that that would be my blessing: the tone in dad's voice had seemed threatening, and now there's nothing I can do to reconcile them to you. And still I can't fight the fear that he was right; a notion that has left me terrified like he was when he went to sleep and woke up in glory.
Herman Melville Said the first mate to the ship captain, "Oh captain, my captain! I've not read the last page of whatever novel you've been writing down below but the bow is bending beneath the weather and your men hopelessly row against a current that I hope you can control..."
"So are the chapters erasable?"
Beneath waves of pipe tobacco and ashen ink that clings to the end of his quill, words spill across the oak tree trunk fashioned into a table, set before the author as he composes his fables… calmly, "sailor, I've enabled you to sail where I'd not and you've got a colorful tongue, boy, a rudder that rots at the root of the tree as the ship that you've built falls apart at its seams and you steer us deeper out into the seas."
The whole company's drowning. Thinks, god, that's so unfair to me. "But I've got a family!"
"Well then, father, you'd better feed your children, and stop blaming me for the immovable grasp that you have on the wheel! It's not like you didn't ask to hang your own sails, to raise your flag on the mast, to set course for a trail that followed gold to unknown waters in the mouth of a whale, so when the mast breaks in half, don't you say that I've failed."
And slowly, the sailer bows out the door, feigning humility, as the floor creaks, crushing worms that crawled out of his boots beneath the weight of such a scolding. That wormwood killed the crew, embittered them against the ship captain's last discipline out of love for you.
"My crewmen and my brothers and my friends and my son, all sank beneath the current pulled by the gravity of what I'd done, and these seas and the moon reflect the image of the one that left me without excuse once the end had come." Oh captain, my maker, I've got nothing left to say, would that I have praised, with nature, your invisible name but I bit off my fingers and left myself maimed, with a hook that's replaced years of pointed blame, It's too late! Is it too late to calm the waves? And would you turn your face away to drive me to grace? I am drowning! Awake! Walk the plank in my place. Walk the plank! Walk the plank! With my last words I say:
"Praise be the maker of my fate for the suffering he ordains."
The Teacher Speaks [A Time To Keep And A Time To Cast Away] It’s times like these that I used to be a lot closer to God. Well, I’ve got friends that don’t know him at all and when I miss him, well it’s a shame that they don’t know what they’re missing. This Will Destroy You is my writing music, and their progression makes me feel like I’m progressing through (or past) all of the empty inspiration and into something that might last – like letters to lovers could transcend their pages and cut deep into the heart of the receiver. Well I read a love letter labeled “Emotion” signed, “With Hate, love, The Deceiver.” And frankly, I couldn’t love him more!
Well I don’t know what’s in store for us but I know that not every glorious answer to prayer is from God, and some of these voices are not him speaking at all, but it’s so simple to convince yourself that it’s the Spirit talking to you (like each convenience is a virtue)… O! If practice makes perfect then I am going to pretend my way into feeling until I finally love my neighbor! But son, you are not writing out a single thing that is actually close to your heart, and I know the music tugs at its strings, but it hasn’t pulled it apart and you’ve been writing for everybody else for so long that you don’t know who you are! Because I swear the only way you find yourself nowadays is in these pages. (I mean, in those days, was in those pages.) I have not written or prayed for days and days and days and days and days and days and day AND DAYS AND DAYS AND DAYS AND DAYS AND DAYS!
There is a time for everything that’s under the sun and this one has run its course. I’ve sworn up and down that there is more to pour out but it’s all forced and I don’t know anymore. That sadness became my comfort, and maintaining it became my chore… Well there is a time to weep and there is a time to mourn and there is a time to laugh and it is fighting for it’s place in a time of war! There are still monsters in my closets, Father! (and I can feel the shadow people hiding in the hallways). Are they ever going to stop sneaking up behind me? Is anybody else my age still afraid of a black night, and do you run in the dark in a panic for the light?
Well, it’s the sunken, disappointed, creeping-through-my-stomach-in-the-morning rise and fall of lungs on the verge of collapse keeping me from talking to God. It’s the sunken, swollen eyelids making love to all things permissible but proven hardly profitable at all. It’s the walls, thick as paper. I mean, thin as paper. I mean, thick or thin as paper as thick or thin as the plaid pajama-bottoms patiently passing as a passive activist for abstinence in-between thick skin… IT’S THE WALLS! fragile as paper that I can’t feel you through! It’s all vanity and vapor that I cater to my emotions because I am the most important person in my universe. Interlocking fingers with both God and Satan, so that after I’ve made love to the devil, I can stay on my knees and start praying.
There is a time for everything that’s stuck under the sun but you’ve been stuck in one for years now, and it’s time to move on. If I have truly found a new beginning, then why am I so hell-bent on living in the past? There is a difference between what you know, and what you practice, and I’ve had to practice purging my practices because I know I’ve heard promises of a life that gets past this: What I want to do, I don’t, and what I don’t, I do and I’ve been practicing depravity rather than knowing you. God! If your mercies are new every morning, then all of this can’t be grasping after the wind and I’ve seen vanity reach out its sweet hand to me and I’ve built my “firm footing” on it’s fragile whims. OH!!! There is a time to keep and a time to heal (and I am numb cuddling with these werewolves) and I know that there has got to be a time to feel. And the time is long past to cast away these stones:
I’m still broken, but I know you can rebuild these bones. I keep looking back before I go forward, but I just want to set my sights on home. I’ve got no Plan B. I’m just running for home. I’m still dragging, but I just want to make it home.
College Ruled Lines I’m as empty as these pages start out before I fill them, but I’ve not filled one up in (I’ve not filled one up in)... And I’ve heard it said that a blank page is a blank page for a new beginning, so may the choices that we make, well...
Christ, if we’re being frank, then at times I feel like you’ve got writer’s block. It’s a tempting thought ‘cause you know I get that a lot, and I keep wondering whether or not it makes you more relatable. If you’ve made yourself available to sympathize with my temptations, then there’s got to be a correlation between the album I can’t complete, the way my wife pushes me to be a man that I can’t see, and the overwhelming fear of art that’s a product of my apathy. (And that that’s all that that’ll ever be.)
Or worse yet, the sum total of critique at the expense of creativity.
Dear dust, my soul clings to a lot of idols you construct, and I wish that I could just let my God be God, and his gifts be gifts. Yeah, let my savior be my savior and let my money be what it is. (But I’ve got a wife to justify the worry for the sake of my future kids, and the life that I’ll feel like I’ll have failed my son for, like my father did.)
But no matter how hard it gets in every single day I wake within this narrative I live in, there’s just no security for me unless it’s a story that you’ve written. It will always be a mystery to me that before I was it was finished, it’ll always be a mystery to see the mirror reflect your image.
O! you’re the only hope I have! All of my stories leave me wanting, and all of the ghosts I’ve conjured up in the past threaten to come back to haunt me and act like a foundation. If you make yourself available to sympathize with my temptations, then there’s got to be a correlation between the artist and his drawing, the perfecter shading in the final scene that I can’t see, and the ink that is the very fabric of his nature flowing in me.
(And that said author wrote himself into the story.)
So may that ink spill out onto these pages and bring you glory.
Dear friends, I love you with words no poet could ever pen. I love you with a heart that weighs as heavy as the ocean, and I will love you with a depth that reaches to its floor, but when (it’s floor opens up to swallow me whole, o! and) I am no more, the only word that will live on will be that which was never born!
“I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew, he moved my soul to seek him, seeking me; it was not I that found, O Savior true, no, I was found of thee! Thou didst reach forth thy hand and mine enfold; I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea, ‘twas not so much that I on thee took hold, as thou, dear Lord, on me. I find, I walk, I love, but, O the whole of love is but my answer, Lord, to thee; for thou wert long beforehand with my soul, always thou lovedst me!”
Dear friends, dear saints! Your story is secure. We all are more free together tethered to our maker than we ever were before. May our adoption be secure! The only word that will live on will be that which was never born.
Inconsistent When through unrepentant sorrow damaged roads these saints tread on, be grace to me, my savior, that I might join your song. Though I swim through lawless waters, peer through eyes blind and depraved, be calm to me, my savior, and in mercy hush the waves. And through irresistible grace, let my heart break at your call. In holiness, King Jesus, enthroned, redeem the fall. When through covenanted love devastation is ordained, pursue me, my savior, that I might trust your ways. And sing, hallelujah. And suffer, hallelujah. Though my voice be inconsistent, I will sing consistently. What a tragedy to ever cease in praises unto thee.
Infirmary [A Time To Plant And A Time To Pluck Up What Is Planted] You can build a firm foundation on everything you own, but those hands cannot claim their craftsmanship without the builder of their bones. Behind every builder is a builder built out of mortar and stone, and that dust can construct a house that creaks and groans, but he cannot make it a home.
Well I’ve been searching for a plot of land to put my hand to the plow. I’ve got a lot of friends out there that say it’s all about the south. Well, Georgia was gorgeous until I hit Oregon, so I don’t know about that now! But I’ve been searching for answers to questions that have yet to be answered, or maybe just yet to be found.
I’ve got a newfound friend in North Carolina. I sat on her back porch for a week and a half, and smoked cigarettes with her mom. She stared down at that cancer stick in her mouth as she packed her next round, said, “It helps me think better.”
“Well ma’am, my problem is that I think too much, and all of this chain smoking leads to chains of thought that I can’t turn off – now how can you help me with that?”
But I’m finally getting to quitting smoking cigarettes, two years after the two packs of 27s that I talked about two years ago in my poems, and yet there are rolling hills just south of San Francisco where 580 intersects with the aqueduct, and my last match could set a fire ablaze and leave the valley looking like my lungs. And I’d stand on the side of highway and watch it burn, watch it light up the sky (burn), watch it burn like the fire that you said you saw in my eyes.
It burns for you! I met a man who said he knew that passion, too, but he’s got coals in his eyes where the light burned out: he scared that he’s the one who doused it, it’s something he’s always thinking about! You can see it in his countenance – you can see it in his doubt – you can see it in his temper when he tries to let the pressure out. He shouts: “When it comes time for you to settle down, make sure that she’s the one,
cause I’ve got a wife in a house my kids call their home, but they don’t know what we’ve become.” And he smiles and it looks like sadness: says he still loves the Lord, but he’s wondering where the time goes, and if the Lord loves him anymore.
Just down the street from his apartment building is a house that weeps for him. We, friends that called it a home and invited everybody in, singing, “Solace! We are a broken family!" (Oh! So at least we all know that we’re not alone!) AT LEAST WE CAN SING WITH SINCERITY! “SOLACE!” We are a honest home!”
(Singing out of the dust we came, come: weathered temporary HOUSES THAT CREAK AND GROAN!)
(She steps out the back door) Puts away her keys, makes her way past the gargoyles guarding her porch from the street: she’s got her rain boots on! She saves them for days like these, sings, “I hate this rainy weather!” She laughs and she thinks of me. She’s got her rain boots on: polka-dotted pink against the leaves, sets her thoughts to thoughts of God, friendships, and family.
Jesus! I drove to Joplin, Missouri, with mourning in my bones and we all are decomposing houses, but I think you make us a home. I am an accumulation of sticks and stones and words, and as it were, I’m prone to wander, Lord I know, I’m prone to wander off on my own! Well I’ve been searching for a plot of land to plant my seed, and grow, but Great Mystery, of all the places I’ve been, you’re the only peace I’ve ever known. So be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home, but home is not where the heart is, my heart is a home, and where you go: I will follow. WHERE YOU GO, I WILL FOLLOW! So, Solace, we are a broken family. (Oh! But at least we know that we’re not alone.) At least we can sing with sincerity. Solace, we are an honest home. (Singing out of the dust we came, come: weathered temporary houses that creak and groan.)
“We are not afraid of the darkness! There are cracks in every house, it’s not houses we’re worried about!” “We are not afraid of the darkness! There are imperfections in our home, shadows in our souls!” (And still:) “We are not afraid of the dark! There is no place for the lampshade that covered up my heart!” “We are not afraid of the dark! Matchless flames we matches made out of one, single spark!”
WE ARE NOT AFRAID OF THE DARK
Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t I wish I could have found a better way to be a better son. I didn't do the best I could like I told myself I did when the guilt tried to push me home. (But I tell myself the truth now.)
If you were still alive, I'd still never come up that mountain because fifteen minutes is far too far to drive when you're as lazy as I am. I would wish my good intentions for you to interpret through a dial tone, whisper, "I love you,” and wonder after I'd hung up the phone.
"Well my son, he's a traveler, and he walks the same vein, and he speaks like a flood, and he carries my name, and when he comes home I mask all of my pain so that he want to visit me again." (Or that's what my sister will say.)
I wish I could have found a reason to be content, and been a kid for as long to you wished I would have, but you started missing me the moment I was conceived. I know because I always live in the future until I call it "now" and "here" is not a place that I've ever been.
It kills me, and it killed you. I'm done pretending that I've ever made the best of my time (I tell myself the truth now.)
If you were still alive you'd still lay alone on the ground day in and day out, doubting that I love you enough to drive fifteen minutes to spend fifteen minutes of the two months I'm home in our home. And you're right: I don't.
"Well my son, he's an author, and I've been reading his poems, and he writes like a fire, and he is bone of my bones, and when he's around I know that I know that I am the reason I am always alone.
But I don't know how to fix it.”
Dear Pianist (the writer wrote):
“I drove to California on my own to try to get myself sad enough to write a new album. I prayed and prayed for a salve that would heal the pain in my heart, and once the wound was held together, I pulled the stitching apart.
It’s like the Lord answered all of my prayers, and now I want my questions back, and search for ways to spite his grace, and get my old gods back. Dear, I can’t pretend that I didn’t thrive off of the emptiness I felt inside before the spirit invaded the void, just like I asked him to, and shared with all of you.
I stepped out the front door and tossed up my keys to find myself in a closet stuffed with all of my insecurities, and all of the things that I’m ashamed of, and every broken memory that I keep to cut my wrists – and be it vain or be it pity, well I know that I still bleed, and I keep the shards of mirrored glass to see my expression as I seep out onto the carpet and stain my bare feet in a puddle that I’ll drown in eight quarts deep.
When I was a boy, my daddy told me to unclench my fists – hold out my hands (like this) – and pray – like a picture of letting the Lord take your fears away. But he forgot to loosen his grip when it came time to practice it, and the thought got convoluted the day he went away. Jesus! If you see this, I hope I see him again someday.
I drove alone along the western coast to write a poem somebody could relate to. I reopened every wound and bled myself dry just to try to feel the same way that I used to. I drove past the city at night, with the windows down, to watch the lights – and be so cold that I’m uncomfortable: you know I do it to myself. These headphones could be playing something else, but ‘we’re at the bottom of everything’ like the songwriter sings, and I make myself shiver until I believe it. I know every word to every song about despair, and I keep the album on repeat to keep me there.”
She hit the first note and then that note set me free. Well, I fell in love with her sadness before she fell in love with me, but the best letters are those written in tears that smear the ink, so she played the keys and I started writing.
“I wrapped that sorrow up tight, like a noose around my neck, stood tall on a flimsy card table, and kicked it out from underneath my legs. And I’ve been hanging in a house of cards for months on end, swinging back and forth beneath a creaking rafter at the wind’s every whim. I always ‘forgot’ to close the windows so that I could let in the cold, knowing discomfort and disappointment were the only peace I’d ever known. I’ve got excuse upon excuse for every broken bone, but in the end, I broke them all myself to give the pain a home.
Dear Pianist, I love you more than you’ll ever know. I swear your smile saved my life. I swear your touch made me whole. But there is not an end to the self-condemning lies that I have believed, and there is no depth that I have not known in attempts to drown myself (or: set myself free) – to the point of pushing you away from me. I drove the country on my own in an attempt to break my heart, and I’ve opened my heart to every fleeting hope in an attempt to fall apart.” She said, “we fall apart and into our gods, but God meets us where we are! (and) Oh what a thought! (To live a life that’s free!) But we are such a self-destructive bunch, aren’t we? Writer, you are a part of me and there is nothing you can do to set to flame the fabric that has woven me to you. I will not be your broken heart and I will not be your empty oath, o! with our hands laid flat in surrender I swear we will both let go of the chains that choke us, that wrap their hands around our throats, and I will play you a new song and the lyrics that you wrote will accompany the melody” and every word she spoke was a land of milk and honey that I thought I’d never know.
I drove to Washington on my own to sorrow in the rain, but we danced over every puddle, and joy washed the pain away, and it rode the gutters into the ocean, and the currents out beyond it’s shores, to a whisper beyond the horizon, to be forgotten and thought of no more.
Van Morrison Will Always Remind Me Of You "I poured myself the stiffest drink my stomach could stand,” thought: Conor would be proud of the man that I am - and listened to a friend's local band jam old Van Morrison covers. “Ma'am, it's a godawful night for a moon dance,” and my dad used to sing along to "the stars up above in your eyes.” It's a fantabulous night to make romance to my mother 'neath the cover of October skies.
But a California King is a world in and of itself when all that is left of the king reigns from a picture on the shelf.
Well here I am: the end-all, who's come to judge and decide whether all of God's reasons for letting you die are damnable, or worthy of praise. (O detestable pride, I liked you that way.)
So do I rage at the Potter for destroying the clay that he made like we're somehow entitled to more than this? Or do I praise the Maker for giving and taking away? If you taught me that life is not meaningless, then this life is not meaningless.
To dust we go, and from dust we came. Blessed be your name. Naked we come, and naked we remain. Blessed be your name.
Well I said, "I do" two months after my dad disappeared and he was supposed to be the priest that married me. Daughter, your father loved you more than I fear you will ever be able to see, but I need you to receive it, because there were nights that he'd fight to stay alive just to see you, Bree. (And I’d step out the front to toss up my keys and leave and breath a sigh of relief while he wept bitterly never believing I believed that: "He loved me!") Wife, your husband loved you more than his life, and I think that maybe he thought he gave you yours back. "O! Every old photograph is a painful reminder of losing what we had!
I was one with someone! (and now I am but a half)."
Dear world, I wrote to tell you that the sun is shining down on Southern California today, and I wish that you could be here to see it. In the end, maybe God will piece our bones back together again, and me and my dad’s skeleton’s will drive too fast over the whoop-de-doos in death valley, just like we did in my memories, before death started eating at his spine.
I am not fine. At least sometimes, I am not fine, and if only years gone by forget the pain and wounds heal over time, then it’s just a different type of pain that comes to occupy my mind, like, “How could I be fine? How could you be fine?” And I start hearing these questions like the accusations that wake my sister up in the night, and leave her terrified to close her eyes because the demons never close their eyes (and I thought Jesus never closed his eyes but Christ, you sure seem blind sometimes).
Dear Dad, Van Morrison will always remind me of you. And it stones me to my soul to know that you were the ghost in our kitchen window, but not as much as it stoned you.
I hope you finally escaped that window frame that held you captive all these years.
Dear God, I’ve got a lot of fear, like are you big enough to handle all of my fear? And what exactly will “handling” it look like from here and: do you hear me? Do you hear us?
Stillbirth How we longed for our mother's womb (or stillbirth). How we cursed your name and turned to embrace the plague! "Watch and wait, watch and wait while I weep and pray, weep and pray!" How we tolerate the weight of the shame that stacks on its pounds! Our heavy eyelids, sleep betrayed, sleep soundly: sleep soft and sound!
"Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side; Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; Leave to thy God to order and provide; In every change He faithful will remain. [Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend, through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.]
Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake to guide the future as He has the past. Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake; All now mysterious shall be bright at last. [Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.]
Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart and all is darkened in the vale of tears; Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart, Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears. [Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay from His own fulness all He takes away.]
Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on when we shall be forever with the Lord, when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone, sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored. [Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past, all safe and blessed we shall meet at last."]
A Time To Speak [And A Time To Keep Silent] When the speaking ceases, I know I’ll stand alone at the foot of a mountain (as a footstool), feet sinking into the quiet beneath the mouth of a fool, thinking, “Be still and know that I am God!” Beneath storehouses of snow and storehouses of hail, with my head hung low, “I’ve failed! I’ve failed!” (My life was never mine at all.)
At the fall, when Eve stood subservient before the serpent, flicking his tongue, with his tail choking out the root: “I’ll make a god out of you; you’ll be the fruit of my labor. Together you and I will never die, like the creator!” (But God, I make such a terrible maker.) And the devil’s eyes dance from side to side while Adam stands idly by, pointing his finger. I swear passivity will prove to be the root of all evil, while the mouth, like an open grave, shifts the blame...
But I can speak out venom tethered behind my teeth (as sharp as the next man’s, or any beast on a leash). Yeah it’s poisonous, it’s cunning, it’s a venomous seed. It’s the fear that I breed. If gives root to a need to drag an audience down with me.
King David had knees as hard as camel’s, but I’m working on burning the enamel off my teeth, fuming, “My tongue is a rudder and a forest fire and the whole ship is ablaze, sinking into the sea!” [Mutiny! Mutiny!]
We will not stand for your hand of peace that you sweep over the waves, we do not want to be saved! I killed a man in my dreams. Woke up weeping to realize how much the hate in our hearts was getting to me. Well out of its overflow, the mouth speaks, so we are attached, and I am guilty of rash promises, a fool’s voice, and a hasty muscle that beats uncontrollably, and yet: like the pulse of the tumult colliding against brave Peter’s sense of safety, I act in control of my breathing until I am out of breath and then cry out, “Heaven! Save me!”
Hands cuffed over our ears! Mouths open and rash promises we fail to follow through as we offer them up like they hold conviction and when they come up lacking we can always blame you. It’s so convenient that I can make my passivity your responsibility - praise and curse you when I want to. So may blessing pour from my mouth, Lord, when I think that you are worth it (but I reserve the right to withhold it all on the days that you don’t deserve it).
James, sometimes I’m afraid I may have been grafted into a vine just to spark a flame that burns branches, bridges, and overwhelms the grapes (left raisins that betray the image of said glorious name before the rooster crows at the end of the age). God! I need grace bigger than my mouth! I need mercy that resounds ten thousand times as loud. I need redemption that rings clearer than my distortion. [I need you.]
I made it a goal: to write down a page a day, but then my chest started aching, and my legs started shaking uncontrollably; anxiety that swallowed whatever words I thought I had to say until I drowned myself whole behind those thick, paned-glass windows (the world beyond, but a transparency unbreakable). Tangled syllables, lost letters and words that mean nothing, but I’m trying to learn how to create a landscape from torn paper, a dry brush and vapor, as if I’m the creator who makes something out of blank space. Catering my forward motion to an audience, like I’m the only creature in the ocean that got God’s backhand with bitter providence, and wondering what it means to sing, “God left me!” and breathe, simultaneously. (As if I could utter another complain, hammer in another stake, or raise up and insurrection against the king who bore my fate without the common grace he gave me.)
We’re all hypocrites, baby. We’ve all got serpents in our throats that strike at one another’s heels and hiss as if to boast the pressure between the tongue and the roof of my mouth would be enough to withhold the heel that already crushed the entire skull.
I need grace bigger than my mouth. I need mercy that resounds ten thousand times as loud. I need redemption that creates a new song from my distortion. [I need you.]
Resentment It’s like the spirit answered all of my prayers, and now I resent him for it. Well, I used to take so much time for myself to just sit and be silent, I haven’t heard that sound in years, but I’ve replaced it with a lot of voices that claimed to be god.
The first poem I ever wrote was about San Francisco, and the homeless and what I was told; I was twelve years old and I rhymed “poor white bro” with “chips of Nabisco” given to a beggar as he pushed his cart down the road. That boy got buried at Height & Asbury, beneath the Ben & Jerry’s and a big city and a pretty girl is the only thing that gets his heart to beating again. But this all used to be for nothing and no one, and now I shout transparency, but I miss all of my secrets. I would rather know pain than be numb, but then again, we asked for the opiates to numb the pain for us.
Will I always fall asleep to dream to of mending up my wounds, then wake to spend the day reliving every bruise for the sake of a sad song, or a sweet repose, or seeing the blood flow from the stitching like it were a cavalry of demons in retreat, promising to leave me alone? They’re liars. The release is never as satisfying as the promise to fix what’s been sewn. We get bottled up like the alcohol gets bottled up and then we bottle it up in us, and I search for ways to define myself by some skeptical lack of trust, because if I can’t trust in anything, then I’m not to blame for my lack of movement, and I can abuse everyone’s pity, and I can convolute it.
My sister used to sing when she was younger, but the world, it got at her throat, and she put that dream away while coming of age acted as a serpent, and questioned her home. When I was young, I wanted to be a cowboy, and then I wanted to be Superman. And then I wanted to wear my cowboy boots over my Superman costume, and be Cowman… well I am a cow, man, all of my fantasies about my wife to be are based upon things I should have never seen (said all our fantasies about our wives to be are based on positions that should have never been…) Idolized by our eyes – worshipped as though they gave us life, but that’s the nature of the beast, and he still squirms next to wisdom as she screams, clawing for me on the streets. And how does life begin as a seed, that turns to scream out for something, like someone misnamed “gift” for “to be inherently found wanting”?
If there is so much joy to be had, then tell me where I went wrong, because for all the times I've tried to satisfy my mom, I still cannot write a joyful song. "So, mom, I tried, and near October, I thought that I could do it, but November threw us in to a whirlwind again, and come January, I knew it: all the things I told my fans about the hope that I had found are lying in a hotel bathroom, in a puddle of blood on the ground." And someone will love it because it’s honest, and someone will hate it because it’s crude, but as for me: for every time I give my testimony to a crowd, I'll lie awake at night and wonder about whether or not I've told the truth. God, forgive me. I believe a lot of lies that come from the mouths of a lot of good liars, (namely: me). And I'd rather tie a millstone around my neck and throw myself into the sea than perpetuate some emotionally-driven blasphemy that you don't care for the suffering. Suffering servant, give your children eyes to see the wonders that you have for them, and ears to hear the direction for their wandering, wandering feet.
Grieve with me! (Will you grieve with me?) Oh at the cross, the promise we receive: "I will grieve with you with groanings too deep for words, I will sympathize with the temptation to believe the lies that you have heard, I will mourn over the loss of finite family and friends, and I will defeat death so that you will know that death is not the end."
So at the cross of Christ I know that the bonds of sin are broken, that they bar the gates of hell for me and heaven's doors are open as wide as my sweet Savior's arms were stretched out when he died, and that love has defeated death with a life for me to hope in. At the cross of Christ I know that despair has been removed, that it drowns beneath the crushing weight of hope as found in you. As blood flows and puddles to cover every self-inflicted bruise, murder becomes salvation, the resurrected truth. At the cross of Christ I know that anger has found its vengeance, that righteousness became sin for me and that only at the remembrance of a man acquainted with sorrows do I stand forgiven of my resentment, as wrath and justice turn aside to crucify my defendant. At the cross of Christ I know that shame has lost it's place, that Jesus Christ endured the curse and scorned all the disgrace, and atoned before the throne as death fled without a trace, that I might enter in and look full on his wonderful face.
Boundless I am convinced that the love of God is as boundless as the seas were they to overflow and break the barriers into the expanses of creation’s boundaries. Were the water to rush like waves, were we the innumerable grains of sand, carried in its storm towards a timelessness, held in a sovereign hand… Eternity would be the first to sing that it were not enough, and it would burst forth into another in effort to contain such a love.
I am convinced that the grace of God is as unfathomable as the space that the seas of love would spill into as they pour forth and cover all of my shame. Should all infinity be swathe, were we the innumerable stars in the sky, swept by the flood into a righteousness, clearly seen by redeeming eyes… Eternity would be the first to sing that it were out of place, were it supposed that it should be sufficient to contain such a grace.
I am convinced that the joy of God is as incomprehensible as the heights of which the oceans of love and grace are subject to spill over into life. Were all of hell to bear its swords, were we the innumerable elect, lead into war behind a white horse, a king who defeated sin and death… Eternity would be the first to sing that it could not employ a volume or song sufficient enough to describe such a joy.