Waves

We created oceans with waves,
and I know that doesn’t make sense, for sounds to come
before vibrations and light before the rising sun,
but everything was seismic to us.

When I think of the first time I saw
you I can’t see past the sand particles sitting
on your right cheek. Each grain
held onto the curvature

of your face and before I knew it I was
buried knee deep, flipping and flapping
my arms like a child awkwardly astounded
that you were made up of atoms

and particles that were smaller and of more
abundance than God’s poetic dirt
stuck to your sunscreen skin.

I felt big when I was with you.
Not domineering or powerful, not overbear-
ing or oppressive – just important.

Yet if anything I should have felt small.
Your ocean heart constantly
brought in a tide that forced me to swallow
my salty pride and listen to a sea of

whispers that could only be heard
when I stopped picking up seashells and
pressing them to my ear. There
were other things I needed to hear, something

different than a back-and-forth
reflection of waves inside of my head.

And so little by little, wave on wave, you taught
me how to use my hands. With shovels and shells we built
castles out of worn down rock, making the
defeated strong and sturdy again.

I felt taller when I was with you,
and I know I said smaller, however this
statement is just as true because tides
eventually knock down tyrants’

castles and the strong waves knocked me down
too. But every fall into the sea
left me with more seaweed between my toes,

salt dried to my skin, and another chance
for my legs to walk to shore
and stand again.

To think that I thought the oceans
carried the blue waves and then pushed
them, telling them where to go;
what to do; who to be.

I now know it takes the small
to make the big:

One wave
can make a sea.

xx, Hannah

 

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The Progressive Painter

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Everyone leaves after the sunset, but
I don’t understand why they don’t just wait:
for it takes a second for colors to ripple
upwards and deep blues to spread

in hot pinks and strong oranges like a
mad painter dipping his brush
wildly into a pallet that was made to be
spread across the sky.

I wonder why those radiant faces
think that the show ends when the sun’s rays
turn to the other side of the Earth
and their bodies turn into silhouettes that slowly
disappear as night creeps in.

Don’t they know that at the end of our day,
it is the beginning of another and that our
sun setting isn’t light resting but preparing
itself for more work to be done?

To think that the painter’s job is never
done, smearing lights and dipping dabbing
dragging his thumb in blues, pinks,
and oranges – color after color – until his
thumb is as black as night.

And so why do we wait and leave
while he is still painting? Can’t we see
each halo of light is him erasing
and each layer of vivid hue is him
contemplating what to make next?

If we would only sit and wait, we would
see creation in its rawest form
as he works, and he paints, and he steps back,
admiring his portrait with a grin.

He makes a signature with the mark of a
slivered moon. He grabs a blank canvas.

The tired shadows leave and go to sleep.
It’s time for him to start again.

xx, Hannah

But Grace

It’s when your lungs are tired
that He shows you the heaviness of your sin,
as if you could bare to
stand the weight of a feather. 

There, when you are gasping for breath, He
hits you on the back with iniquity,
a word you thought you understood

until your strong legs are bent at the knee
taking a humble plunge into the dirt,
drawing sin in circles as your humility crawls
into a submission that writes every lie

you have told, every time you strengthened
your ego calling yourself Proud and Good and God;
here you are. Admitting it to yourself now. God.

That is who you thought you were.

Thinking that you could count the sand,
that even now, with your cheek pressed against each
and every granule, you are overwhelmed at the number
of grains lying across the width of your nail.

Thinking that you could never
yell hate at your brother and mother.

Thinking that you could stand tall and firm,
holding justice and righteousness in your palm
that makes a dying effort to propel
your feeble body forward, to lift your head just enough

to see past the infinite
sand — sin — you have been forced
to examine as if you are a microbiologist
with his eye pressed against the lens.

This is you. Every particle of your being is
made with hatred and fear and anger.
Now your naked eye perceives it, you don’t
need instruments to peel back each layer

to know that the trend of selfishness and pride
bleeds into the second and third.

This is you. You can’t even hold the weight
of a feather without it sending your lungs
into a corrupted convulsion that screams:

God, my God, I need Your help to breathe.
God, my God, I need You to live.
God, my God, forgive me of my iniquity, my filth, my sin.

But then, with those words, the weight begins to lessen.
Immediately death takes paces, lunges, leaps back.
He gives you enough energy to raise your chin,

to tilt it just enough to look at the stars,
resembling the grains of sand. And you are reminded,
so you say it again:
God, forgive me of my iniquity, my filth, my sin.

It’s a word you understand.

With more strength that He gives you,
you pull your knee to your chin and you press your feet
to the Earth so that you can see the wealth
and splendor of the millions of lights, your

head closer to the heavens than it was before.
From here the view is much different.
From here there is much more.

He gives you the power to stand and eyes to see
all the weight that you were carrying. Most importantly,
He gives you grace, so you lift hands high to the sky.

Your lungs open up and sing, you
praise the God that brought you eye level
with each and every grain of sin. You praise Him
because now you know what it is like to
truly, freely, and undeservingly live.

xx, Hannah

Words (Part II)

A few weeks ago my sweet friend Bolora filmed my poem “Words” for her up and coming YouTube channel, Chasing Light Collective. Having creative friends like Bolora who encourage my writing make life all the more fun. If you haven’t already, check it out as well as her channel in the future weeks.

xx, Hannah

Words

As I was waiting to get my coffee the guy standing next to me complimented my skirt. In return I said thank you and as I walked away, he did too. Our conversation turned into small talk and in a state of feeling entirely antisocial I immediately spotted a seat, set down my coffee, pulled out my computer, and got my headphones out. With no other free tables around I looked up after claiming my seat and there he was: “Can I pull up a chair and sit here?” he asked. “Of course,” I answered. But in sync with my seemingly inviting response I pulled my headphones over my ears and began to write. I was not in the mood to talk. I wanted to be left alone.

I pulled open a poem that I had started to write a few days earlier and as I tried to concentrate on syntax, on sound, on what I wanted to feel and what I wanted to say, I noticed the boy sitting next to me continually glancing at me. To make him realize I noticed he was looking at me, I turned my eyes and head towards him.

“What are you writing?” “A poem.”

This caught his attention. Explaining that I was writing a poem for the heck-of-it (why else would you write poetry?) he told me that he performed spoken poetry at Spiderhouse, a coffee shop nearby that puts on poetry slams every Tuesday night. From then on he had my interest. We talked about poetry, about books, about the sounds and juxtapositions of words; I even let him read what I was writing. My poem, coincidentally, was about words.

How ironic is it that all it took were words for my mood of apathy to become one of joy? Even though I was writing about words, I did (do) not fully understand the power that they possess.

To that end, here is a poem about Words, their power, and my inability to understand them fully or as they were intended:

In the beginning was the Word
and before the Word all was black.

Light didn’t roll off the tongue because there
was not a vessel to carry it
from the dark hole of our mouth
into the sea of words
that are the beacon of our thoughts and
our feelings; the ships riding the chaos
into the calm of sense and reason.

There were not groans or mumbles.
The waves did not smack because
they could not yet imitate the lips of
God in a holy thrash of “Let there
be light.”

But then there was.

And with the I am was the was: a sea that
is when it was not, a sound that was the
purest of silences that it was
not even silence at all, spoken by
the one who was before He said He is.

With three words phrases became
twisted and the ocean learned to
speak, slapping salty sentences
like palms after the job is done.

Though the job wasn’t done.

With a tide of words He continued
to speak and words learned to pile
into a mountain or to sink into a valley,
words learned how to be soft, they
learned to be tumultuous and heavy.

A crescendo of “goods” He sang,
and with the upward swoop of His
voice the birds he created. Sounds
made sounds. They chirped. They trilled.

To take care of the birds that composed
songs He created man: Adam and Eve.
But from the words He spoke, Adam and
Eve created a completely different tune to
the harmony of His sea.

Unlike the waves that learned to roar
and the birds that learned to whistle,
man spoke with “I, and me, and my” –
learning to speak for himself.

“Free,” Adam said. “Free!” echoed Eve.
“Me” they shouted together. “Me.” “Me.” “Me.”

Free was beautiful until it was not.
A soft, translucent wave becoming dirty
as man delved into its purity, running much
like the pollution that ran through man’s veins.

The world became black. Man dirtied
the Earth with his dust that he shed. No longer
was it “good.” Could the words “good”
even be uttered by human mouths again?

Yet something in man’s tongue
still created light like trying to light
a match. Watered down words and
phrases still possessed a rearing roar
when man said “God” instead of “me.”
Words became much more.

There was still the power of God
when man spoke like the current’s choral,
taking boats back to shore, swaying
towards the light —

The light.

In the beginning was the Word
and in the Word there was light.

Woman of God

Looking at myself in the
bathroom mirror; make me
a woman of God. Closing
my fists and beating them hard

against the wood; make me a
woman of God. Yelling
at brother with slams and
stomps; make me a woman
of God.

Lying on the floor and lying
to myself, make me a woman of God.

How many times have I cried, my
chest falling to kiss my knees? Saying,
wait, I am not yet ready to give
you the dough to mold these cookie
cutter dreams.

They have not risen like yeast,
and so I continue to cling. I stand
at the dirty sink wishing
that beauty would stain
these scorched and tired cheeks.

Never have I asked for joy, I tell
God He doesn’t understand, when I close
my fists and I push away the palm of
His hand. “Don’t you get it? These
hands were not made to be lifted

in praise, only to fight the hard
fight in the heat, to press and
press away.” So I yell at mother
and brother over dinner, again,

looking at my Father as he breaks
the heavenly bread. I say: “Can’t
you see I was made for this?” Made
for cursing, made for lying,
made for living …
and made for dying?

Dying, dying, dead –
He shouts stop! To these baker’s
thoughts in my head. Life will
continue even when your hands do
not have the strength to knead
and bring manna to the table.

No more broken hallelujahs,
no more pushing Him away, He
promises all of the hot and heavy burns will
stop if I quit the fighting and let Him stay.

Today, He will made me
a woman of God, he promises;

Yes, today.

“But it is under one condition;
you must let go of all you love. You will
see, my daughter, that the
kisses of flour that disappear from your
forehead, the fights with the dough,
they are not enough. No, I want to

rejoice over you with singing
and crown you with jewels of emerald
in gold. Call you bride and beloved —
call you beauty, my own.”

And so I open my hands, let
the cuts and stains show, I do
not fight; I let him hold me.

A Father embracing
His daughter, now
this must be Holy.

I give up the tears
and slowly I give up the rest too —
the anger, the bitterness, the parts
of my heart I have sculpted
with my own worn hands.

He begins to remake me and I see
it myself, wisdom flows from my lips
like honey. My palms
are turned open in praise. I am
no longer wearing an apron stained in yolk,

but a dress that yokes me to Him
on my wedding day.

Make me a woman of God I asked
and faithfully my Lord gave, my tears
of anger into gladness, anointed oils
and joy. So I stand at the stone
kitchen counter and thank my God,

I thank Him by placing my dusty
hands on the ground, letting my chest
meet knees tired from standing
on the hard wooden floor.

I pray: “These bakers rags have
been worked into righteousness, You
have shown me your
grace. Before I was a weak and tired woman

yet now, I do not fight when you call my name.
A woman of God I am when I roll
the dough, when I line the pan, when I burn
my hand against the sides of the oven
from time to time, again … and again.

I will not answer in curses, and I will not reply
if you call me baker, or beauty, or fear,
so when you call me, I ask that you simply
call me daughter.

Because now I whisper it, (no I shout it!)
I yell it proud, I cannot help it,
the humming oven, the smacking
of brother’s insults, the image looking back in the
stupid mirror must hear it and hear it loud:

I am a woman of God.

xx, Hannah

The Resurrection

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I am like Mary
weeping at
the foot of your cross

and I am like Mary
rejoicing

at the sound of your
voice

that calls me by name:

“Daughter, I have risen!”
“Daughter, I am alive today!”

I know this is joy,
the kind I have been
searching on my knees

my whole life to find:

“You have risen!”
“You are alive!”

So I rise up from weeping,
the treasure is here —

in your grace
I stand.

xx, Hannah