It’s a Dream Poem!

This is not a dream.

I am not at LifeWay
hanging blue and silver tinsel,
rearranging the wedding dresses;
or making decorations in the stock room
wary of the new management
with David sitting on a crate
in front of the large print Bibles
while I float behind the registers.
I am not at school and the Commons
has not turned into a field of grass
that we park our bikes next to
and my best friend and least favorite guy
lay down in it and stand back up with a baby.
There is no lion, no race up waterfalls,
no making of forts with lights in bushes.

This is not a nightmare.

I am not standing on a rise
watching a tornado sweep towards me;
I have not forgotten my best friend’s
or my mother’s birthday or
severed ties with anyone I really like.
I have not failed to write Dr. Hillard’s paper
and she is demanding to know where it is
while I say I thought it wasn’t due until Friday
but she says, No.
I am not falling off a ship and sinking
and drowning and not fighting but
giving up and closing my eyes
and breathing out.
There are no heights, no spiders,
no books with nothing written in them.

This is a soothing black disconnect
and I cannot feel my toes.


On “Faith in Humanity”

Last night I had an interesting thought. I was reading the introduction to a book of essays on euphemisms, and the author said something to the effect of something or other “reducing our shaky faith in humanity.” For some reason, this really struck me. Of course, it’s nothing I haven’t read, heard, or even said before. Because I have said things about so-and-so doing something to “restore my faith in humanity.” My thought was basically, What the crap?!

Where, oh where, did this supposed “faith in humanity” come from? Why do we have it or how did we lose it? If we are Christians, why are we admitting that we have put any faith in human-kind at all?

Coming from a non-Christian, I don’t suppose the phrase would bother me all that much. But, now that I have thought about it, I don’t believe it is something that a Christian should be saying.

Now, I do realize that the phrase refers to the fact that humanity as a whole is pretty screwed up, and continues to screw up, but every once in a while we hear something that this or that person does for good or the betterment of others. My problem comes from the “restore” part of the usual phrase. “Restore” indicates that before humanity got all screwy, at one point the one commenting had some faith that humanity was good and kind and wonderful, and then messed up. But the Bible tells us that “there is none righteous, no not one” and “all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rms 3:10, 23). This is not something that just happened – since the beginning of time, when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, man has been guilty of a sin nature. There has been nothing in which to put our faith since man is naturally a fallen, evil creature.

Also, from a Christian perspective, we are explicitly told not to put faith in the things of this world, but in Jesus Christ. He is the only one worthy of our faith, the only one that will not let us down or fail us. He came to this world in order to save humanity. Now, how can anyone put faith in a thing which needed to be saved by an external force?

I suppose that, what I am getting at is a need to be hyper-aware of our speech and what our speech indicates. I don’t really believe that a true Christian that says that something has “restored his/her faith in humanity” actually has put some sort of deep faith in it, but that is what can be taken from that phrase. I know that I have used this phrase before and never thought about it. But now that I have realized the connotations, I am somewhat embarrassed at myself for not taking care of my words and paying attention to them. Plus, regardless of the above points, it really is a bit of a cliche. Shame, shame on me.

So! Think about what you say! Mean what you say! Don’t use cliches just because they’re in your head and you don’t feel like taking the time to think of something that actually reflects what you mean/feel/believe. Yes!

(On a related note, I don’t know if this all made very much sense. I am tired, and my brain is tired, and I should be working on a paper about euphemisms. But writing this was more fun.)

Memory Poem – The Blue Box

The Blue Box

The blue box is on the ground.

The grass is green and
the shrubs are green and
the light is green.

The blue box gleams
metallic from the ground.
I will not look at the blue box.

The church is red bricks
and brown tiles.
The spire stabs white
into the sky.

The blue box, tall as my knee –
the edges are sharp and bright.
I will not touch the blue box.

The ladder leans against
the brown tiles – steps to the roof.
A boy sits and draws and dreams.
A girl tries to follow but stops –
ladders are frightening.

The blue box is cold
and heavy. There is some
thing inside the blue box.

The horse is brown among
wild flowers. Yellow flowers
in long grass. He moves slow,
chomps slow under the noon
sky. Cautious in the green light.

The blue box has a
lid. A lid to open –
I will not open the blue box.

Black clouds behind the
horse. They roil, they boil,
they spoil for sport. Rain
shines weird in the brackish light.

The blue box is empty
on the ground. A turtle,
green turtle, is in my hands.

Rain in the trees – they
bend under it – flail
and swing in it. The
rain won’t come this way.

Turtle, green turtle –
sea-glass green turtle
in my hands.

The blue box remains –
empty, on the ground.