Like Wine Pairing, but Not Really (Also, Hi Again)


Heyyo, peoples of the internet!  So… how’ve you been?  *sigh*  I hate being so busy.  I rather feel as though I’m neglecting you all.  But I’ve got a moment now, so I thought I would post something to cap off the evening.

An idea came to me the other day, you see (well, really two ideas).  The first is, since I am an avid listener of independent music, and, by His grace and blessing, a follower of Christ, to combine these two aspects into something interesting.  (Maybe.  Hopefully.)

The other idea is to post small pieces of Laudato Si, reflect on them, and open a space for discussion.  So that will be coming soon.  In the mean time… well, it’s probably easiest to just show you.

I thought I would take a look at what’s at number one on the Christian charts…

… and pair it with something indie.

Why?  Because I think these two songs offer some interesting contrast to one another.

Let me start off by saying I was pleasantly surprised by “Brother”.  Family and supporting one another are both awesome themes, and the song makes deft use of its genre.  I don’t understand why the Christian station near my house doesn’t play this kind of stuff.  I might listen to it regularly if it did.

Then we have “My Body Is a Cage”, a number vastly more subdued in tone that finds its crescendo two minutes in. Arcade Fire’s songwriting and ability to inspire emotion are not in full force here, but it’s still a fine song with some fantastical instrumentation, an anthem that in fact bears a lot of similarity to our first one.

The most obvious connection between the two lies in a single word: cage. Both songs speak of being locked inside a cage; Bear Rinehart has dropped the keys face down in the desert, while Win Butler maintains that the key is in his mind. They’re tied to each other by a desire to transcend the limits of this prison.

Still, a few things set these two songs apart from each other. The setting for “Brother” is a wilderness, while “My Body Is a Cage” takes place on an empty stage. Despite the implied barrenness of such a landscape, salvation is only as far away as the chorus for our first suffering hero, whose brother is by his side to help lift him up. And we all have someone like that, don’t we? It doesn’t matter how much of an introvert you might be. We need people; we need community. That’s part of what church is all about. You could go and worship God on your own terms, under a tree or somewhere cliché like that. But how would you know if you’d fallen? With whom would you share your moments of joy? After all, “Where two or three are gathered in My name”…

(I had to. I really did.)

Does salvation come at all in the second song? It ends almost like a cliffhanger… but I like to think so.

Though the two bands bear absolutely no relation to each other in real life, one could almost view “Brother” as a sequel to “My Body Is a Cage”. Butler cries out at the end of the song, “Set my spirit free!” He exists in a surprisingly Christian world, “living in an age that calls darkness light”, and like a puzzle piece, his last realization is that sometimes the key in your mind is not enough.

And then Rinehart appears walking out of the desert, reaches out his hand, and sings: “Brother, let me be your shelter”.

Red & Black


if I paint the skyline
too close, and
force red and black
to define the pathways
you weave in the sky,
throw my paintbrush
to earth. sometimes
i bind myself to it
too closely.
one foot in front
of the other, begin
with a single

(7 August 2015)


No need to bother with the last five minutes of this one.  Unless you’re really bored or find it soothing.

Semi Crushes Minivan


Catching up on some poetry here at WP…  Haven’t posted much of it lately, so I thought I’d schedule some for while I’m on vacation.  (If I don’t respond to comments, etc., that’s where I am.)

So without further ado… the first of three.

P.S.  Lest you all think that I’m feeling lousy: a) I often write poetry just to get my feelings onto a page, and haven’t made the effort to write any bright, optimistic, observational poetry lately; b) as these written over the space of a month, they are not necessarily indicative of my current emotional state.

I mean, who am I kiddin’, I’m at the beach.  Of course I’m happy!  Wish you could be here too, dear reader.  That would be fun.  Someday when I’m rich and famous, I shall invite all you fellow bloggers to the beach, and we shall laugh and talk about thing bloggish and non-bloggish until the sunrise.


Semi Crushes Minivan

scene of the crash
fragments of sky
azure, dance across
your face
but we smile like
nothing happened.
have you not seen
just out of sight
some songbird
laments my passing
but i step close
to find you still
smiling. so i laugh
then wave goodbye.

(10 July 2015)




Irony is everywhere.  Take, for example, the irony of my supremely irregular posting schedule this summer after I looked forward to having more time to blog all semester.  (I’m just really really good at wasting time.)

But enough about me.  Let’s talk about you.  I hope you’ve been well, whoever you are that’s reading this.  I’m in the mood for writing something lighthearted today.  Let’s see…

Sitting here, I happen to smell something burning upstairs.  It’s quite amazing, the noses God’s given us.  I’ll admit to being a little jealous of our dog sometimes, but it’s remarkable that even my sense of smell is capable of assuring my brain it’s someone’s food that’s burning and not the house.  Of course, I could be wrong.  You can’t always trust your senses, and that’s assuming said food and house actually exist.

But we’ll shove Descartes back into his cupboard for now.  To be honest, the argument that it’s possible nothing exists but me, myself, and I has always struck me as a tad arrogant.  But I really can’t see any way to counter it.  So, maybe you’re a figment of my imagination.  Or maybe I’m a figment of yours, and if so, I apologize if ever I am annoying or disappointing.  Personally, I think I have a pretty good track record for a figment.  Any of my flaws are really the fault of your own defective imagination anyway.

I actually don’t think the English muffins are burning though.  Just well done, which for baked goods is generally the way to go.  Cookies you can eat à la tartare, but I don’t recommend eating your pancakes rare.  May I just add that if you’ve never had homemade English muffins, you absolutely must.  Find a good recipe and to your nonexistent kitchen with you.  (Many thanks to Mom, head baker.  You’re the best.)

Then again, I could be wrong that those are English muffins I smell.  Or that England exists.  Or that the song I’m currently listening to exists.  But then, that would be really sad, ’cause it’s a beautiful song.  I’m not gonna make you listen to it, but you get extra credit if you do.  Like 3 free points here on your final grade, no questions asked.  (Ugh, I’m so not ready for school to start yet.  Thank God for our beach trip next week, and I mean that with all my soul and to the credit of His name.)

It would be hard to say I’m excited for the beach (clever transition, eh?), because Cape Hatteras isn’t the kind of place you go to find bright lights and oceanfront hotels… that (*spoken with contempt*) kind of beach.  It’s literally a beach.  Dunes with grass on them.  Lots and lots of water.  No cars on the sand.  No lifeguards, even.  You can take your dog on the beach.  And if you’re that member of the family that isn’t really fond of the beach proper, there is a mini-golf course / ice cream parlor, two thrift stores, and an even less-developed neighboring island.

It’s really a beach for people who like the beach.  And it’s not something I’m excited about because I don’t get excited about quietude.  But it is something I am looking forward to a lot.  Quietude is something that only gets harder and harder to find.  It’s something I need.  It’s something we all need, really.

Unless, of course, Cape Hatteras doesn’t exist, but I choose to believe it does.  It’s too awesome not to.

Even if it’s not possible for you, dear reader, to visit the ocean any time soon, I encourage you to get your daily recommended dose of quietude today.  Close your door.  Meditate.  Pray.  And then venture forth into the world to be awesome.  ;)  You got this.

While we’re making lists, stay hydrated.  Can’t tell you how important that is.  Make sure you eat something (healthy), find something that makes you smile, tell your best friend you love them.  Give yourself a break from the internet, maybe.  In short, dear reader, take care of yourself.

Assuming you exist.  But then, you are at least as awesome as the beach, so I don’t doubt that.

Be sure to drink your Ovaltine quietude, and God bless you.

Here’s a little something to go with your quietude this afternoon:

Pax vobiscum,


A Centennial of Sorts


This blog has always been pretty much whatever I feel like posting.  It’s not really formal, and it’s not at all professional.  It’s just me.  And if you are reading this, I am so very glad that you are okay with that.

It feels like I’ve been absent for a long time, but in the grand scheme of things, the idea of a fortnight being “a long time” is really rather laughable.  We’re so tiny.  We’re here on this Earth for such a tiny span of time.  And I’m not sure what it means that you would spend some of that time reading my blog.  But it’s quite an enormous blessing to me.

I’m not entirely sure where I was going with this.  But I guess this is a good time to say thank you.  Because I hit 100 followers a while back, and that’s awesome.  So, thank you.  Sure, some people have 100 thousand followers to my mere 107, but why would I want to be “some people”?  I came into this last year with no expectations, and I plan to keep it that way.

Actually, I guess I do have one small expectation.  A favor to ask, if you will.

One of the most gut-wrenching things about our brief stay on planet Sol-3 is how crummy it can be sometimes.  Some days, life just sucks.  Don’t get me wrong; the joy and beauty and love and laughter and mind-blowing creativity to be found in life makes the pain worth it in the long run.  But that is often so hard to see in the midst of darkness.  Hindsight is 20/20 but we never understand our own stories until they end.  Or, if you believe in heaven, until they begin in earnest.

So, here is the favor I want to ask of you today, or if you’re reading this in the evening, to accomplish tomorrow.  The favor is this: find someone, someone who’s having a rough time of things, someone you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed or interacted with.  I ask you, dear reader, to seek out a personal encounter with them, and brighten their day.  It can be through a kind word, helping them with their errands or chores, a very large bouquet of flowers, spiritual and/or physical sustenance they would otherwise have had to make it through the day without…  Anything. It doesn’t matter.  Just find some simple way to love them.  Let them feel the light of Christ that shines in each of us.

After all, the instrument Christ uses to spread His love to each human being… is us.  And if I could accomplish one thing through this blog, I would want it to at least have made a few people’s day a little brighter.  My poems, my lists of songs I like, they’ll be forgotten.  But a kind word can save someone’s life.

That’s my wish this summer evening.  And I wish every blessing for you, dear reader.  Please pray for me, and I’ll do the same for you.

Love always,




You can’t pretend that the sun won’t die
After every forced smile and each tear you have cried.

Though we never outgrew our fear of the night,
Perhaps some things are clearer by lantern light.