Friday, May 31, 2013

Crimson Red

To the ends of the earth
Till the last man is dead
Till our heroes are buried
And our skies crimson red

We will raise our last flag
We will fight one more day
We’ll endure every fire
Till we’re lost in the grey

Alone you have wandered
Lost in the gale
Fought through each battle
Though you knew you were frail

You’ve now come to save us
But the cost is high
Taken the last boat
Where the river is dry

I’ll sing you to sleep now
Lay down your gun
sleep now my hero
Your struggle is done

Not Forgotten

Charles David Gabriel
A solemn voice reads out name after name, of those fallen in battle, and those MIA. Those names, all engraved on the wall. Several roses were placed under a column, with a piece of paper attached to the stem. On this paper were names and dates of birth. And how many days they were in Vietnam before their death. Suddenly these names were no just the faceless fallen. They were people. They had families-wives, parents, grandparents, friends- left grieving after they were gone.
This wall is a memorial in honour of our fallen.

We will not forget.

Resting On My Shoulders

This small bundle in my arms is much heavier than it would appear. Not that this little babe snuggled against my shoulder is heavy; on the contrary, she was born underweight. But that only adds to her weight. I am so afraid, afraid that I’ll let her down, even though she is only a few days old. Caring for her by myself will be difficult, I know. Diaper changes, bottle feedings and eventually disciplining her, teaching her, training her, and loving her through it all. Raising a child is a weighty responsibility.

And all this responsibility resting on my shoulders.

oh Father, forgive me! {in which i share a piece of my heart}

Let’s just say I don’t agree with some (ok, most) of my coworker’s lifestyles.
And (if I’m honest) I’ve found myself judging. I’ve found myself shrinking away from them—avoiding contact because it’s uncomfortable (but God is the God of discomfort). Just this afternoon as I was about to go on break I noticed that one of my coworkers (the one I have had the most trouble interacting with) was also on break. So what did I do? I purposely sat where he wouldn’t see me so that I wouldn’t risk the awkwardness of maybe having to eat with him.

But as I thought about what I had just done I realized that it was not at all what Jesus would have done. In fact, it was the very opposite. Jesus himself provided food for the tax collectors and sinners. I had the opportunity to share a meal with someone Jesus died for, someone who needs a savior just as much as I do. I had the opportunity to build a relationship in the way Jesus so often did, to break bread with this sinner so in need of a savior. But instead I turned my face away in scorn.


I have my gun trained on him. 
But I hesitate. I look into his brown eyes. 

Why does it have to be this moment? 
Why am I the one holding the gun?

Why did he betray me? 
Why did he betray the cause? 

How did he come to this point?

Where he kneels in front of me. 
The gun jammed into my trembling hands. 

The words. “Shoot him.” 
Repeated over and over. 
In my head. 
Off their tongues. 

The noise grows, but no one else volunteers to rip the soul from his body.

Instead he just stares at me. 


Solus (for 5.30.2013)

“Have you ever stopped to realize just how alone you are?”

Shut up. Just stop it already. 

“Have you? Really?”


“I don’t think you have. Look around this room. All these people. They bare their teeth at you. But do you know what?” 

Be quiet, already! I’ve had enough! Shut up! 

Those aren’t smiles. They’re snarls. They hate you. Not a one of them considers you a friend. Not even one.”

Shut up! 
Please. Just stop. I beg of you. 

“Do you really think any of them love you? It’s all just fake.” 

.... I am alone. Utterly, entirely - alone 

Hypothermia (for 5.29.2013)

The water had been so long ago.
The submersion seemed like it had happened days and days ago. 

Now all I knew was the intense, painful cold. 

My body had ceased it’s shivering, and I couldn’t move to look around.
Everything just hurt. 
My lungs.
My hands.
My chest.
My legs.
Every part of me. 

I closed my eyes, but every time I did, something hit me. I faintly heard someone shouting my name. 
But I didn’t care. I just wanted to walk over to the fire and lay down in it. 

The fire couldn’t hurt worse than this hell. 

cynical hypocrits

“Just be yourself—everybody else is already taken!”
“Be your own kind of beautiful.”
“Being yourself is about the prettiest thing a person can be.”
“Just be yourself—it’s enough.”
Blah. blah. Blah.
“You should join that club it will look good on your résumé.”
“You should really do another class next semester because colleges look for a tougher senior year.”
“You have to pass this test in order to do the next field study.”
“It’s ok, employers really only look at the grades for the classes in your major.”
So be yourself as long as yourself is good enough.

Sing the Amen

How good a God is this?
Every day we break bread
We have no lack

How good a God is this?
We fall sick
And rise again, well

How good a God is this?
We leave our homes and
Arrive safely back again

How good a God is this?
After drought the rains come
He will not forget us forever

How good a God is this?
We see children’s children
Have loved ones for our arms

How good a God is this?
Did He spare His own Son?
No, and we live

And all God’s people said amen and amen

Painted Starlight

Ama gestured with her hands at the entire wall. "There's just stars!"

"Not just stars! They have tails too!"

Ama shook her head and smiled. "And?"

"Well, look! These stars used to be separated, and then they joined up here." His pointing with the brush was so excited that he risked plotting bits of yellow all over his painting. "And here, this star orbited around the whole lot! Then they all separated here."

"Ah." Ama paused. The room grew quiet. "I see. Isn't that vague?"

"It's OK. I'll write about them later, and then all my writings will make sense."

The Second Part of the Dance

"He wants a dance," Gregory thought. He grew solemn. "To dance, one has to think about the other person, and step in time with them. One has to become involved. If I involve myself farther than I ought, then Dirs and I will become a new identity. I won't be Gregory.

"Ah, brilliant. If I don't, Tiffany will take my place. Then he wins."

Gregory walked toward Dirs. With every step, Gregory's face became like a mask, unchanging and guarded. He was becoming the partner Dirs hoped he would be, and after this dance, neither would be the same again.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Last Lullaby

There’s a crackle in my ear and radio silence is broken.
I hear them, the voices of the last remaining children.
And they’re singing a lullaby.
For me.
Haunting. Desperate. They’re praying for salvation.  Singing me to sleep.
They think I’m saving them,
that when the ash settles they’ll be safe.
I feel the trigger beneath my thumb.
Even if there’s no promised land, I’ll blow this place tonight.
Sunsets, green fields,
moths in the evening breeze,
the smile on my brother’s face,
they’re nothing but memories.
And it’s finally time to forget.
It’s better this way.
It’s over.


Once upon a time…The end.

What happens in the ellipsis? He grew up. She got married. They had kids. Easy things to say. But much more difficult to live.

Growing up hurts. It’s hard realizing how scary the world is. It’s unnerving finding out that the grownups really don’t know what they’re doing.

Getting married is complicated. It’s tough to find two people who share the same brand of weirdness. It’s work to stay committed.

And kids. Little bundles of joy who ensure their parents will never sleep quite as well again.

There’s a lot of living in that ellipsis.


This evening the azaleas caught my eye. How many thousands of times have I driven this street, and never noticed how beautiful the houses, the grounds? Perhaps it’s the hurry. Perhaps it was the season. Perhaps.
“Don’t walk around with your eyes closed,” I used to tell myself. It seemed terrifying to miss anything. But life sometimes tells you to keep your eyes on the ground.

Look up. There’s beauty to be found in every dusty corner, every circumstance. The green lawns, trees in bloom. Even in draught or bleak winter. You are surrounded by it. Just open your eyes. 


Hi! My name is Kelly to! I am six! How are you? I am good. I love flamingos! They are my favorite animal. Is your flamingo pretty? I like plaid! Could he keep the monsters out of my closet? Does your flamingo have a name? I would love to have your flamingo if you can not have him. Where do you live? Could he fly to my house? I can not wait to meet him! Can you send me a picture? My address is on the envelope! I am glad you love flamingos! I hope you like college!

imaginary friend


Kind owner for a pleasing plaid flamingo.
This flamingo is well traveled and well behaved.
He enjoys trying to camouflage as one of your shirts in your closet and riding on the back of your bike. He also enjoys a good game of go-fish.
The only reason I must find a new home for this pleasant flamingo is because I’m moving away to college. Growing up. But I am hoping to find another child who could love him as much as I have. If you are interested please write a note to:
Kelly Mardy
P.O. Box 2598
Huffington, IL

Closure (For May 26 & 27)

I guess it all started the day you said hi to me. Isn't that how all these funny life experiences start?
I found your lisp more attractive than naught.
Little by little every minuscule spot in my heart was filled up with thoughts and feelings towards and of you.
It was funny how everything played out. In fact, it kind of went down like I imagined a fairy tale would.
I became lost in a strange feeling I couldn't quite describe. Yet, while I was stumbling over words, you knew exactly how you felt.
So you left. I can't say I blame you, either.
But, I have my heart back now, you know.
My hands hover over the keyboard. This is it. This is the last line to the closing letter of this friendship. How can I tell you that I'm thankful for the hurt? How can I tell you I'm stronger now than I've ever been? How can I tell you, you made my happier times happier because of the tears and the heartache?
And even though, our "us" didn't work out, I know that what I’ve dreamed of having my entire life, a prince who will make me feel beautiful and special, he’s out there.
I just have to wait.
and I hope, I really really hope, you find your princess.

Promised Land

Here in the darkness under an enemy roof
I close my eyes and shudder
I’ve seen the truth exposed.

Didn’t they promise a haven? Refuge beyond the perimeter?
Isn’t that why I came here, with this ticking weight strapped to my chest?
But where is the sun?
the green grass?
this land of milk and honey?
I see through slatted windows a wasteland stretching on and on forever.
Clear skies and birdsong vanish in the dust.
It’s the death of the sun.
Their last deception.
No more false assumptions
I do this, I die, and it ends.
Just like that.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dawn and Dusk

I’ll see you in the morning dawn, my love
When day is breaking over the horizon
When the morning dew is falling, cool and clean
When the moon begins to hide her face
Afraid of the sun
Or perhaps just playing hard to get

I’ll see you in the evening dusk, my love
When day is dying at the edge of the world
When the heat is fading, baked and dry
When the sun begins to run away
Afraid of the moon
Or perhaps chasing her around the world again

And I’ll not hide my face from you, my love

Alarm (for 5.28.2013)

They ignore me.
They persistently ignore me.

They hate me.
Consistently thrown into the corner. 
It’s not my fault. I’m made the way I am.
Sure, my voice is annoying. 
But without me, you wouldn’t remember anything.

Sure I interrupt you when you are in your happiest moment. 
When you’re sleeping.
I’m sorry, alright?

They hate me. 
They throw my body across the room.

They slap me about til I’m quiet. 
Til not a sound comes out of me.

Yet day in and day out I’m here.
 Waiting for my time. 

Waiting to speak in that annoying voice you hate. 

somewhere in the grey

Even without colors, they were able to make us laugh and cry, these performers hidden in the grey scale. Even with all the power that color has these comedians and singers, news reporters and characters, conveyed their emotions and the emotions of others. Even though it was visually less intoxicating they still managed to captivate their audiences. And maybe the effect was even more acute without the added distractions of HD and surround sound. Maybe their personalities and stories were all the more vivid because of the simplicity.

Regardless, somewhere in the grey a whole lot of color was hiding.

on love, emotion, and commitment (a double drabble)

LOVE: A strong affection (a moderate feeling or emotion) for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Would we demote love to this simple definition?
Love is not merely a strong affection; neither does it arise out of kinship or personal ties. For love is death to self (no moderate feeling would promote this) and it reaches far beyond those we will ever meet.
Only in the 4th definition given by Merriam-Webster do we find something closer to a complete meaning.
LOVE: “an unselfish, loyal benevolent (marked by or disposed to doing good) concern for the good of another.”
This, more or less, is love; concern for another despite personal desires, despite fickle feelings. It is everlasting; it is binding.
But again, it is so much more. It is an emotion that feels fiery passion, but is not driven by this unpredictable force; rather it is driven by the desire for good in another, a desire for hope, and peace for another even at the cost of your own happiness. But even more importantly it is the action upon this drive.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (ESV)

regarding you {forever and always}

On spring twilights I’d like to go dancing in a parking lot.
On summer evenings I’d like to sit and watch the sunset and hold your hand.
On autumn afternoons I’d like to jump in some crunchy leaf piles with you.
On winter mornings I’d like to cuddle next to you and sip a not-too-hot mocha.
And when the storms come and when the darkness falls I’ll be forever truly yours.
And when the sun shines and when the mist rises, I’ll stand here next to you.
Because in every season, on every day I’d like to be with you.


There is such satisfaction in capturing light on mirrors, turning something three-dimensional into electronic pixels. It’s tactile—cool LCD screen pressed against my nose, smooth shutter release button, hands wrapped around the textured plastic grips; it’s auditory—pressure against the shutter relaying a crisp, two-toned snap; it’s olfactory—inhale, exhale, pause, click; it’s visual—looking through the viewfinder, capturing moment for memory; it’s even gustatory—saliva and tongue pressed against the roof of my mouth, teeth clenched, as I pause everything to preserve this moment. It’s a complete activity, this thing called photography, engaging all senses, body, mind, and soul.

A Heartless Winter (for May 28 and 29)

The winter is here again.
The faceless cold that steals children from their mother’s sides, that brings disease, and death. And the snow. The snow that leads the trappers astray. The swirling, plunging, cold, blinding snow. It freezes limbs. It blinds all who try to venture out in it. There is no pity from the wind here, no hope to be spared from another cruel winter. A mother can only pray her children be spared from the harshness of winter and the snow does not lead their husband to death while he is checking the traps he so carefully laid.

The snow swirls outside the window. Brightly burning candles illuminate the bedside where a mother is sitting. Her children lay on the bed, snuggled together for warmth. A faint whimper draws her attention to the cradle by the fire of the one room house. She knows it is dangerous for a babe in a winter such as this. She rocks her infant son to quite his cries and prays a mother’s prayer that her baby survive the winter, her older two children remain healthy, and the snow not lead her husband to death while he is out checking their traps. 

a fan letter

Dear Harold,
I watched your show the last night and I just wanted to add my well wishes to everyone else’s and say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY! It is so awesome that you are now the oldest living avocado. I mean wow! A whole century is a long time for anyone to live—let alone an avocado. I love hearing your life stories—you’ve lived through so much. I especially like the ones about your wife and how you survived the wars. So inspiring!! I hope someday I can have as many amazing stories as you!
An Adoring Fan

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Don't Understand

Here in the darkness under an enemy roof
With death strapped to my chest beneath this uniform
Surrounded by a hundred perfect copies of me
Same green eyes, same radiation suit
Same kind of man with a past just like mine.
What turned you into murderers?
Was it when you were stolen from the fire?
or back when the sky first burned and the law burned with it?
or when they melted you and turned you into captives?
Is that why you hunt us?

Or is it for the very same reason that I’ve come here to kill you tonight.

Sixty Years

They were celebrating sixty years of marriage that day in the park, complete with cake and ice cream and great-grandchildren.  The sunbeams filtered onto the partygoers, spotted and speckled, light and shadow.

They smiled at each other, over the heads of their family members, gaze meeting in the middle, softening their worn faces and crinkling the corners of their eyes. And he walked over to her, cane supporting his slow movements.

His hand was spotted with age. Hers were bent and twisted with arthritis. But they clasped them together. And they were young newlyweds again. And love made them beautiful. 

Social Justice

       “We must do this for the poor,” you say. When have you ever encountered the poor without a look of disgust, without a complaint afterwards? “I can’t believe they let homeless people on the trains!” you say. Who is “they?” The same people you expect to take care of the poor so you don’t have to dirty your hands?
       That gentleman who had the audacity to sit near you? Did you ask him if he’s eaten today? Would you offer him the cheeseburger you bought to treat yourself after a long day walking in the city?

Hypocrite, hypocrite, hypocrite, hypocrite.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fool's Errand

I’m dressed in my enemy’s uniform. Trying not to think about how long it took to peel the dead man’s flesh from this radiation suit. Or about how green will be the last I ever see.
Am I a fool?
But this whole life has been a fool’s game without ever an end in sight.
Until now.
And damn if I don’t do my all to keep it.
But there’s one thing I can’t get out of my head, something digging deeper.
Just one bomb. One sacrificed life. Then everyone’s  free.
It all just seems a little too…

All Our Heroes Fall

      What if you were the glue that held everything together? What if you were the little bit of joy that kept people from breaking? You, the hope, the pride, the ambassador.
       We cannot bear to look around us. We cannot bear to see each other’s faces. So we look, instead, to you.
       And we can’t take our eyes off of you. That is why we all saw, every last one. We saw you fly. We saw you fly where none of us could follow. We saw you fly to God.

       Now we must find some other way to keep on.

Lost Ideas

I wish my memory didn’t go on strike so often. It makes me look so incredibly foolish when I’m standing in the middle of the room, eyes squinched so tight, nose wrinkled in concentration, hands waving slowly and aimlessly in front of me. As if moving those hands through space will trigger the synapses in my brain to start firing again. As if that blank in my head will suddenly fill with the lost ideas coming back home.

If I had a dollar for every idea that’s slipped through my fingers, I could pay you to remember things for me.


I heard the birds chirping. 
I heard the heavy popping of the machine guns. 
I heard the screams of my comrades.
I heard the cries of the enemy. 

I remember the blue skies. 
I remember the sight of empty cases flying. 
I remember the fear in their faces.
I remember the anger in their eyes. 

I felt the warm breeze on my skin.
I felt the weight of the souls I took with me.
I felt the bodies hit mine as they fell under the strafing. 
I felt their bullets tear through me. 

Please don't forget.

Remember those that fell. 

I Can't Imagine

I have a pretty good imagination. I was the child whose imaginary world was always intertwined with the real world. What would be considered games to some were another reality to me. Worlds opened up to me; worlds unknown to the rest of man.
But there are some things I can’t imagine.
I can’t imagine what life would be like after losing something like a limb, or my sight, or my hearing. I can’t imagine waking up one morning to the sun gone from the sky.

And I can’t imagine having to face the day knowing you are gone forever.