Tag Archives: Poetry

New Poetry Book Available

1 Dec

In 2009 I self-published a collection of poems I wrote while traveling through China and Central America the previous year. My hope was to raise money in order to move to Asia. Plans changed, as they do, but I was happy just for the accomplishment of getting my words out into the world. Years went by and I toyed with the idea of doing another book. Procrastination got the best of me, as always. After all, it is so much easier just to press “publish” on wordpress. Finally, after many life changes, moves, marriage, a baby and another on the way, I published “What the Water Does for My Words.”

It’s interesting to see how my style and voice have developed over the years. Also, how I really still have no idea what I am doing. I am not a poetry expert. Sometimes when I read other poems I think, “my stuff sounds nothing like this.” I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it’s just me. I’ve found over the years, it’s the one medium I can be completely free. Despite what experts may say, there are no rules. I like that I can feel the freedom to play with words and not worry about being relevant or cheesy. Either it speaks to you or it doesn’t.

I think poetry is one of the most overrated and underrated forms of writing. I say this because it has a bad reputation in modern society of being sappy or cheesy. Like greeting cards or Christian rap. But throughout history it was the language or lovers and warriors alike, an artistic form that surpassed logic and science and went straight for the heart.

I think that’s why I can find my home there.

I have a hard time categorizing poems, I guess that’s the whole organizational thing that doesn’t really come naturally for me. But I attempted in this book to group them into three overlying themes that came out as I read through them:

Earth.

Wind.

Water. 

Many of these poems are about finding peace and contentment in nature. Others explore my frustrations with modern society and myself. Others are more about my struggles with Christianity and my journey from religion into grace.

If you’ve followed my writing at all over the years, I think you will like it. 🙂

Thanks for reading, friends.

book

 

Click here to order the paperback on Amazon.

The Poetry Marathon

13 Aug

Today I participated in The Poetry Marathon. Basically, you sign up and commit to writing a poem every hour for 12 hours (the half marathon) or 24 hours for the full marathon. I decided to do the half marathon because I need my beauty sleep.

I signed up last minute in hopes to kick myself out of the writer’s block I’ve been stuck in. I usually don’t take these things online too seriously, and I proved myself right when I woke up late this morning after staying up late with friends and said “screw it.” It was past the start time and I was feeling too tired and uninspired.

But I really had no plans for the day, so I had breakfast and sat down to write a line or 2. I am glad I did. I am not in love with any of the poems, but it was a great creative exercise. I may even suck it up and do the full 24 hours next year.

So here you go: 12 poems in 12 hours.

FullSizeRender (13)

8 am

The sky is bleeding today
It’s a comfort to say the least
Less I run out of words to say

The idea that I can change the world
Feels old and retired
Feeble and expired

Coddled up next to dreams
Barely holding on by life support
Beside kin argues whether to pull the plug
And I am forced to choose

Do I stay or do I know?
Do I leave it all behind in my mind?
Refuse and waste
Allowing practicality to govern

 

9 am

Before I go down to the river
Lend me your hand
So I can understand how
The way your veins run with blood
And how the water runs over rocks
Are the same

 

10 AM

Lovely.

That’s what you said
As you whispered thoughts that have never come up for air
Drowning in your sentences
New and alive
Words melting icicles
Dripping wet in the sun

Good morning.

That’s what I said
And the newness of the day wrapped around us
A blanket covering our nakedness

 

11 am

Billowing questions of worth
Transcend time and matter
As we walk against the wind
Barely holding ourselves up
How can we get anywhere
When questions like this prevail?
How can we make a dent in the ground
To plant anything worth harvesting?
How can we plan for the future
When we don’t know our own names?
How can we bare children
When all is left barren?
When the storm shouts
Deafening us to any other voices
“You don’t deserve this.”

 

12 pm

Little dove
Don’t worry about your destination
Your wings are strong enough
Despite what you’ve been told
You carry the weight of the universe
In your feathers
Yet the upward motion comes
As easy as the rising sun

Little dove
All will be well
Despite what the news projects
You carry the potential for peace
In your beating heart

Don’t let the world bring you down
You belong in the clouds

 

1 PM

Lately I feel it all
Rushing into me
A house fire blazing
From room to room
Leaving only charred foundations
Caked with soot
And I am left standing
Shivering in the ashes
Grateful for the in and out
Of my lungs
Grieving over what’s lost
With the tiniest certainty
One day I’ll rebuild

 

2 PM

I live for the imagery of travel
The journey and the road
That finds us closer to the sun
Away from the cold, dark forest

I live for the endless roads
Stretched out across vast lands
Of my imagination
Winding mountain passages
Going straight to the heart

Come with me as we drive
Windows down
Air freely moving
Into the soul of these words

 

3 PM

Walk with me
And tell me amazing things
Of how you conquered the world
Inside your own head
Slaying those dark thoughts
With glimpses of light
Beams of grace
Illuminating ghettos
Show me your scars
While telling war stories
Of how you barely lived
To see today
Just so you could walk with me

 

4 PM

I feel a relief sweeping through me
Like knowing summer’s almost over
And soon I’ll be able to be outside
Breathing in air that doesn’t suffocate
Like soon I’ll have a place to rest my head
Away from the chaos I create

 

5 PM

I used to imagine the afterlife
A sparkling city with a dark sky
Literal golden mansions
Where flawless people picked fruit from backyard orchards
And bathed in clear waters
Walking on diamond covered river

Now when I do think of heaven
My mind is blank– there’s no scenery
I only picture the immense feelings
Of loving purely– and being loved
Multiplied by infinity

 

6 PM

I close my eyes and drift to a place
Where I am always happy and at peace
Where I am organized and productive
Where my life is shining and clean
Where my book is a best seller
And I travel the world with my babies
Where every word I say matters
Then I stop
Rewind a bit
Backtrack from an imaginary future
To the past
Where I was a scared little girl
With nothing but dreams
Afraid to speak
And that I’d never be enough
And I know
We’ve come a long way, baby
This is only Part 1
The rest of my story will have plenty of twists

7 PM

I am tired but I am here
I just want to be more than here
I want to be present
Fully alive
Available
Myself
I want to be captured by beauty
And be ok in my own skin
To stop overthinking
And really live
Maybe one day I’ll write about more
But for right now
Every line in my poem
Leads me back to this:
Happiness comes when I am fully awake

 

Divine Unknowns

2 Sep

In the stillness of the morning
I close my eyes
and feel covered by a peace
that warms the sensitive
skin of my soul
fragile and yearning for comfort
a warm cup of obsoletes
in a room of shivering uncertainties

I don’t have a clue
but I’ll stay inside the mystery
this land of unknowns
it’s wild and open and free

I’d rather be here then the bleak, cold bus station
thinking I know my destination
riding in circles to fake conclusions
living half-awake with no anticipation
drifting into a monotonous drive
where everything looks the same
all is safe and colorless

I’ve forgotten how to be alive:

be here
where I don’t have a clue
inside the mystery
the land of unknowns
where it’s wild and open and free

I’ve been down this road before
a clear map in my imagination
pale faces line the highways
and I don’t turn to see
I am too focused on my destination
I forget the point of the journey

there’s no time for ignoring humanity
no room to fall for the same old spiel
lies to fake what’s inside of me
fear is a traffic jam in my head
and the noise is unprecedented

but love is the driving force
love makes room
for the swirling apprehensions
and the deafening doubts
love doesn’t fear them
love resists forcing a hand
or controlling a plan
loves steers off the wide road
and brings me home

so right now
I don’t have a clue
but I’ll stay inside the mystery
this land of divine unknowns
where It’s open and wild and free

This Morning’s Analysis

7 May

 

I came to the conclusion

while walking today

that the amount of effortlessly formed words

is directly linked

to the amount of time

spent under tall trees

allowing their safe branches to shelter me

 

I discovered

the desire to create

is fueled by the smells of green and growth

and staying indoors

is synonymous with

staying in my head

all locked up with man-made objects

nothing to provoke wonder

 

not like wandering

going

moving one foot in front of the other

down the block

or across the world

 

maybe it’s nature

returning to my roots

a scared child who found

freedom in the woods

 

maybe it’s the unfamiliar

fighting its way into the mundane

parts of my day

 

and maybe

it’s the need to be part of something more

than my tiny life

my several decades

my decisions and doubts

my dreams and desires

 

my panic that rises lately when I think

of all of this being over so fast

 

it’s why we conceive children

and build towers

why we write books we hope will last

It’s why we watch sunrises over mountains

and start causes to rescue the world

it’s why we live in communities

and go to football games and concerts

it’s why we get lost in throngs of people

and sit solitary facing crashing waves

it’s why we fall in love

 

we have to know

this reality isn’t just

reality

 

we have to know

what the trees know

 

we are part of an expansive, connected, beautiful universe

no life is separate

 

and so I suppose

my final

simple

conclusion is this:

to be happy

to be at peace

to live creatively

I must

get out of my house

get out of my head

and live

 

findpeace

My Heart Is An Open Window

10 Sep

My hands are ready to create something new
My soul is open to all that is true
Come in however You wish please do

Thousands of miles across the world
New colors paint streaks in my head
Red, green, and gold overcome cobwebs
This goes against all I have been told
This story of beauty and joy is possible

I am aching for a new way to say
How this flower is blooming again
I am longing for a new script to this play
And believing all the world is a stage

Come to me truth, run into my arms
Embrace me and whisper the secrets of old
I don’t have the answers anymore

Windows flung wide open I hear streets below
Calling out for justice and peace
Beckoning my pen to come alive with stories dying to be told

My eyes are ready for a new scene
My heart is thirsty for grace found in You
Come in however You wish please do

Distant lands the beautiful
Faces pass I see one, finally one
”Wherever you are, be all there”
I have searched my whole life, now I am done

Welcome contentment this is your home
Now I am happy
Now I am loved
Now I know I am never alone

New scents ride on the wind and I breathe them in
I allow them to imprint tracks on my memory
Here will be forever a part of me

My hands are ready to create something new
My soul is open to all that is true
Come in however you wish please do

Morning’s here again and I throw back the
curtains and let the light shine in
Laughter visited me last night in between awake
and a dream

I have never felt a joy so real
And it’s all because I know You
Only you can create something so new

My eyes have found new scenery
My heart has found grace in you
You have come in and stirred up my world
Shook me through and through

*This poem can be found in my book All Things are Becoming New.

Help “All Things Become New” For My Niece Sierra

28 Nov

Sierra Luby

This darling girl is my *almost* two-year-old niece, Sierra.

She is one of twin girls, born to my brother and sister-in-law Davis and Mindy.

The (Other) Lubys- Mindy & Davis, AJ, Julia & Sierra

Sierra is special, and though I’ve only had the privilege of meeting her once, she holds and special place in my heart.

Sierra, like my younger brother Robert, was born with Down Syndrome.

And like Robert, she was diagnosed with Leukemia before she turned two.

One of the Best Guys I know

Thankfully, my brother is a perfect picture of health, happiness and just plain awesomeness! He turned 22 a few months ago.

My family is praying and believing the same thing for Sierra.

What Sierra Thinks of Hospital Food.

Sierra started treatment about a month ago and will be in the hospital for the next seven months. Family and friends out in Northern California where the Lubys live, are looking for ways to raise money to help meet the hospital bills that will soon pile up.

So from today on, if you buy my self-published book, a 75 page collection of poetry, All Things Are Becoming New, all proceeds will go to the Luby family to help with Sierra’s medical bills.

It’s only $7 and available through create space by clicking the link above. 50% of that money goes straight to the print-on-demand company to actually make the book, and 50% will go to Sierra.

If you already have my book or hate poetry or just want to give more, you can do so directly through paypal by clicking here. 

Thank you so much, and thank you for all your prayers.

Here is an excerpt Mindy wrote from her Caring Bridge Journal recently.

All Smiles

Sierra makes such an impression on people… even after they leave pediatrics and head off to some other department, they  are still keeping up on her status in the hospital medical record computer.  Their reaction to seeing her is hilarious (for lack of a better word).  After they have read about what’s going on and how her blood counts look they expect to come see poor sick little Sierra laying in her crib looking pitiful… instead they are greeted by a smiling, waving, up and walking around, trying to escape the room, Sierra.  Thank goodness everybody has fallen in love with her… with my regularly-scheduled melt downs and freak-outs I’m certain we would have been kicked out of here by now if it wasn’t for her.  She even melts the hearts of the other kids… there’s a little boy (he’s 3 years old) and I see him all the time when I go out into the hallway.  He’s not in isolation like Sierra, so he goes outside of his room and walks the hallways… I always wave and smile and say hi to him… he stares at me and never cracks even the smallest of smiles.  Today he and his dad were walking past our room, he looked in and saw Sierra waving at him and he smiled and waved and stood there and watched Sierra for the longest time.  I wish she could go visit with the other kids, I just know she would make them feel better. 

Click on the link below and for the twin ultimate cuteness! (You have the watch the whole thing, it’s so worth it when they start to laugh)

http://www.facebook.com/v/1582504373936

Ten Senses

19 Sep

I’ve been given a new set of senses
whether I use them or not is up to me

a willow tree’s skirt sways in the breeze
beyond where I sit, toes brushing a green carpet

could this be the longing we’ve all been
slowly dying over?

to see all that we have,

this abundant world
a kingdom in our backyard
royalty behind each face

possibilities of pure magic in dull tired traces
of endless tilling and toiling
planting with no show of growth

could this be the sign we’ve all been
constructing from gutted homes to see?

a chaotic cacophony of sound
and color bleeds together
where light and shadows meet

aging paths etched from the corner of eyes
blazing with glory and grace

could this be the daunting desire
that overcomes and suffocates?

until you realize new lungs have been implanted
flowering out songs from each breath

a dazzling finish to seventy years lived
with ten senses

Grace My Feet- Life Changes, Writing & Itineration

30 May

Check it. Comments, opinions, please.


 

I’ve been wanting to do videos to my poems for awhile, I did one a few years back, but it got deleted when my youtube account was hacked. In the future, I hope to actually get more video and less pictures, but we will see.

Side note/bragging excitement: This poem is one of my favorites and it actually just won first place in The Shine Journal’s Contest and was nominated for The Pushcart Prize. I am excited this is like the first writing contest I have ever won and I have literally entered hundreds.

This past week I turned 26 and spent my last day at Pais. I honestly expected I was going to be there longer, but several different changes and opportunities made me realize it was time to move on. I am going to miss the people I worked with, they are amazing and have truly added so much to my life, I am so thankful for them. I learned a ton at this job and I know I was there for so many reasons.

Life is an adventure, I never really know what is around the bend, but I am reminded again, this is how I thrive. I remember my life song, Faith My Eyes by Caedmon’s Call,

and I don’t want to know, cause life is better off a mystery….

Yes. A change will do me good. I am used to the good-bye’s and hello’s, it seems to be how life rolls along. At first I struggled with thinking I have commitment issues or something, but no, this is the way God made me. I come alive when I itinerate.

so keep on coming, these lines on the road…

I am now currently a full-time freelance writer. I have a few writing projects I am pursuing, including one opportunity to co-write a book with someone who has enormously influenced my life. That is going to be my main focus this summer and most likely beyond. It is something that has been burning on my heart for the past three years, it is incredibly important book the world needs to read- a journey from bondage to grace and life. I am so excited because I feel like God is finally releasing me to jump into this. More on that later. 🙂

Keep me responsible be it a light or heavy load…

I also contributing to this beautiful book called Teach Your Daughters to Cry Loudly. This project is by Jonathan Almanzar, the same talented writer who co-authored the book, Crabgrass and Oak Trees, which I reviewed earlier in my blog. Teach Your Daughters is collaboration of stories of oppressed women all over the world, a way share in their suffering and have our hearts broken until we must do something to help ease their pain. The story I have contributed is one about a girl I met in the brothel in India, the sister of one of the girls in the children’s home we worked out. Seeing since how the soul purpose of our trip to India was to tell stories, it is amazing to me how one year later, it is really happening. This book is so much my heart and I am honored to be a part of it.

Keep me guessing, these blessings in disguise…

If you are still reading, thank you for being a part of my journey. I am going to try to blog more often here.

I’ll walk with grace my feet and faith my eyes.

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