Perhaps political conventions are necessary.
It feels smart to admit, however, that they’re
pep rallies really. I’ve no problem with pep rallies.
They occupy a hallway in my public school memory,
those mornings when first thing we’d file into the
gym and watch closely for glimpses of cheerleaders’
bloomers and fully ignore speeches by football captains.
It was a chance to skip first period which was usually
a snoozer like Civics or Math. So the student body was
rah-rah but not really about the coming night’s game.
Those cheerleaders would hurl miniature plastic
footballs with our mascot’s image on one side and the
name of a car dealership on the other, and we’d
fight even best friend to catch their wobbly spirals.
Of course sometimes those cheerleaders would step up
into our knees and hand out ribbons with the outline
of the opposing mascot and “Beat ‘Em!” printed below.
To receive a coveted spirit-ribbon was an honor, you
felt called, like she had eyes for nobody else but you.
Rallied in such momentous pep you dared to believe in
something beyond winning or buying a Coker Buick.
You pinned the ribbon on, and cheered for love.
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An Older Woman

Hers is a used and casual
beauty, the best kind actually for
it never needs to trumpet itself.
It simply is, like the world.
She’s lived by rising and falling,
perfecting symphonies of self-love.
Her speech is worn smooth as the
throats of wild flowers.
She thinks with her body
which means she thinks long,
lithe, limber thoughts.
But she can’t stand missionaries.
Her dreams are as dark as
last night’s wine, which is to
say she sleeps sound and sane,
with untroubled eyes.
She believes in a grounded heaven –
people will still have sex,
and we’ll keep our four seasons.
But she predicts pedicures for free.
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Viewing Habits

According to the news
an unforgivable theft of
words occurred. And we
should be very, very afraid.
According to the night sky
the bucks are beginning to
grow their new antlers. And I
find myself speechless.
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In This Night Of Our Age

Teensy little girl in a shopping cart pushed
by her boy-cheeks father at speeds exceeding
those posted at the grocery store, we heard her
delighted squeals aisles before seeing them.
As the rest of us slugged along weighted
down with items on our lists they lapped
us carting nothing but themselves and joy.
We shopped in this night of our age while they
sped on consuming life, and we gave them
safe passage, cheering Go! Go! Go! Go!
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Dear Winn – 16 July 2016

Dear Winn:
I’m so glad that you and your beautiful family have been on vacation this week. And I didn’t see any live tweeting or Facebook photos until the one yesterday when y’all were on top of Cadillac Mountain. In other words, you spent your time with each other instead of the rest of us. Good on ya, my friend, good on ya. By the way, your boys are sprouting up like oaks of Mamre. My lord.
Meredith’s healing is all on schedule, just not the schedule she had lined out for her summer. The initial physical pain was hard to see her in, but what’s been harder lately has been seeing her pain at not being able to get outside and hike around like she loves to. Its strange, you know, how life often knifes us in the very core of our affections, like a hiker suffering a broken ankle. But along with a repaired tibia and fibula, she’s gotten a new set of eyes, and she’d be the first to admit that to you. When we’re out and about, and she’s venturing out a little more each week, she quickly notices the people who are on crutches, or have a foot stuck in a walking boot, or who are struggling in some way to get around due to a bum something. Exponential empathy increase, she’d say. And we’ve both seen what an amazing help the gift of a meal can be. We’ve had folks bring us everything from pizza to pulled pork to kale soup. Those gifts have touched our hearts in a deep way, and reminded us of a truth we know but often forget: Don’t overthink helping someone, its really not that hard.
The country’s still in the crapper, huh? And I keep seeing #lovewins. While I understand that hashtag, I really do, I believe it is insufficient for our times. I want us to be more specific – tell me what kind of love wins. I bet my boots that the “I love my Ford F-350” love is not the kind of love that’s going to carry us in these days. In fact, that kind of love may be one of the reasons we’re in the pickle we’re currently in. Seems to me that the “play second fiddle” love (thank you, Eugene Peterson) is what we so desperately need, that sacrificial love that sets aside our personal glory and dives into the wreck (thank you, Adrienne Rich) to try our best to help one another. I just want us to use precise language, because our children are watching and listening, and they, like us, are being formed by the words we use. But you can’t really hashtag that kind of love. You have to bleed it.
Sarah, Meredith, and I are headed up to Denver this morning for a Pepperdine meet and greet, a gathering of current students and entering freshman who all share the common good fortune of living in and around Denver, Colorado. I’m sure it’ll be interesting. There’ll be the usual sniffing and licking, sizing up of each other, the “Oh, and what do you do?” between parents. Meredith’s got her cast on and shuffling around on crutches, so we should get the sympathy vote in no time flat. I’ll tell someone I’m a writer and they’ll no doubt say, “Oh, and what have you written?” I may tell them I write letters to friends that I miss, friends who live too far the hell away (that’d be you, pal). The invitation indicates the hosts have a pool, and all are welcome to swim if we’d like. That made me grin. With the exception of face, neck, and arms, my bod’s as pearly white as the belly of a fish. I’d cause some sort of white eclipse if I jumped in that pool, blinding hosts, current students, and entering freshmen. Yes, all things are possible, but not all things are profitable.  Anne Lamott’d say, “Oh, go on and jump in, John.” Boy, sometimes that Anne Lamott cracks me up.
Go slow in your re-entry from vacation. Remember those space capsules coming back into the earth’s atmosphere, they have to take care or they’ll burn up. Don’t burn up.
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No, It Is Today

And darkness was upon the face of the deep.
That is until the sun began its rising. At first
I despaired because the shapes were so like
yesterday’s. But then I listened, and was told
No, it is today – the quintessence of love. Go,
be Adam. Name everything. Not again, but anew.
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If I’d Had A Harp

He came in from another long day
on his summer job and because I’d been
home a few minutes I had some news.
Not new news. Just same old exile news.
“We killed another black man today.”
He sighed. I sighed. I’d swear the
kitchen sink we stood at sighed.
One of us, I can’t remember which, said,
“Well that’s no good.” And we sighed again.
The sorrowful sighing of a father and son.
Does it count for anything at the end
of a long summer’s day? I don’t know.
He walked away to claim a shower while
I tinkered at something for dinner.
While the waters of Babylon rinsed the
dirt from my son’s body I thought of
Zion, and sighed again at our captivity.
If I’d had a harp I would have stepped
outside, and hung it in a willow’s tears.
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