Incongruence is

21 06 2011

Gout of the soul

jagged little crystals rubbing raw with every false deed

Life without cartilage

self grinding on self until the edges of desire are worn smooth


Compassion is a death


I think of the white dog turned jet-black

shamed by cowardice, he gained renown for his sacred suicides


When you have nothing to live for,

die for others?


What if I have something to live for

but I kill it every day

kill it even now as I glory in verdant zeal of blooming garden?


When you hit rock bottom there is freedom to start anew

as masks are ripped from grasping hands


But if you languish in the middle?


The phoenix rises from the ashes

not the charred

not the singed


Where there is fear there is desire

but fear is immediate

and valor yet so very far away


So I reach for the rose

caress its silken petals

and hope that life, like water, is passed on by osmosis


and in case you read this and wonder, Michael, yes this was inspired by your post on congruence earlier today.


16 06 2011

This one doesn’t have a title.

This one doesn’t have my usual amount of (obsessive?) forethought.

This one doesn’t make my eyes well with tears.

This one doesn’t feel like it’s burning a hole in my gut–quite the opposite, in fact, as it’s all about the way I filled my tummy.

The essential meaning of this one is encapsulated at the very end, but the end is meaningless without the middle–so don’t skip ahead!

I burned my dinner to death tonight. I was making an omelet, something I have done so many times I could whip up the perfect one while sleepwalking…and yet, for some unknown reason this evening I turned out the worst excuse for a cooked egg I can ever remember making. I’m not even entirely sure I can call it an egg anymore, just a round of blackened cardboard. Twenty minutes later and I can still taste the char.

That’s right, I ate it anyway. And not just it; I piled it high with an abundance of the freshest veggies I have ever had the pleasure of working with, straight from Full Circle Farms: arugula, asparagus, radish, red pepper, and spring onions, with a couple spoonsful of my favorite salsa to top it all off. Any other night and I would have considered it an abomination to pair such sublime vegetables with that eggy travesty. Tonight, it was perfection.

With each bite, as I slowly savored the discordant combination of fresh and burnt, life and death, success and failure, I tasted pure joy. The worst egg I have cooked became an integral part of the best meal I have eaten in some time. Perhaps not since my last multi-day backpacking trip, when a week of vienna sausages and spam (and 30 miles of hiking with a 50lb pack) made the simple spaghetti we ate upon returning home seem as something transported straight from heaven into my mouth, have I eaten something that felt so right for the time, place, life I found myself in.

The road to perfection can only be found in the midst of imperfection, and it leads nowhere but deeper into the muck and the mire.

Above it all?

12 06 2011

I’ve figured that by the time I land in Seattle tomorrow afternoon I will have traveled 9,480 miles via six airports in a four-week span–and that’s just with measuring as the crow flies. It probably wouldn’t be stretching things too much to double that number to account for silly layovers and the like. I won’t beĀ  shattering any world records, perhaps, but for a homebody like me it has been exhausting. I am dying to sleep in the same bed more than a couple nights in a row (I just wish it could be my heaven mattress).

I knew I would be saving the best trip for last; what could be more worthy of a cross-county trek than standing next to the man who has been one of my very closest friends since the age of five as he vows to cherish and serve a beautiful, kind woman ’til death do they part?

contrary to what this photo would have you believe, Nathan and Sarah are not the subjects of this essay. I am. My blog = all about me!

I knew this weekend was going to be of the utmost importance for him. What I didn’t realize was how revelatory it would be for me, too.

Read the rest of this entry »

For Michael, in lieu of my presence at his party

4 06 2011

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Tonight a whole host of my friends will be gathering in a little house on the corner of 24th & Dravus to celebrate the past, present, and future of Michael Louderback. It grieves me that I will not be there to take part in the singing, dancing, feasting, and secret sharing. But I will not allow a mere 1,661 miles of distance between us to keep me from honoring you, Michael.

It strikes me as utterly laughable that I was ever intimidated by this precious man–and he by me–but such were the walls we had to scale before we could be friends. He was held at bay by my bushy man-beard and my penchant for silence. In my eyes he was one of the cool guys who I had long ago learned would not have much time for me (unless he needed help on his homework)…and yet…there was something about his easy smile and ever-present laughter that made me long for things to be different. I wished for the opportunity for our lives to intermingle.

That possibility arose on the occasion of his roommate’s birthday party, where the spirit of revelry (and a child’s sandbox-pail full of vodka) gave us the courage to peek over the walls of fear and see what wonders might lie on the other side. I treasure that evening in my memory, for it brought me to the door of a remarkable, transforming friendship.

Time spent with this Jake Gyllenhaal-loving, better looking than Justin Timberlake, powerful man is a true treat. He has a yearning for kindness in all its forms and the audacity to ask for that which he desires–and to live out that kindness with everyone he meets. His humility is infectious. The insight of his questions–about himself, the world, human nature–is matched only by the tenacity with which he grasps his ever-elusive answers.

To know Michael is to love him and to be inspired and changed by him.

When I look at the life stretched out before me, the knowledge that he will be in it for years to come is one of my greatest sources of joy.

Gosh Michael, I’m so glad you were born, and I’m so blessed to know you.