I am attracted to art.
I love trying to figure out what humanity is trying to figure out. I love to watch our troubles, study our past thoughts, and learn.
We have been trying to figure out emotions and transcendence--beauty, life, pain, anger, and happiness--and pin them to a page. For centuries we have nailed down nothing other than empty shells.
We still try. We keep writing and singing and painting.
Artists and authors, musicians and madmen, perpetually trapped trying to understand a world that simply wants to revolve in peace.
Art is awakening to the wonder of the world.
Sleep deprivation is the norm in my circles
the norm in my friends and my peers
scrambling to meet deadlines and reach goals, they lose their edge and are dulled by the constant mourning of their bodies crying out for rest.
Caffeine addiction is the norm in my circles
the norm in my parents and my church
scrambling to sharpen their minds and stay alert, they bury their hidden exhaustion and slowly sink into crumbling ruins, driven by a bean and its guts.
We dull ourselves and lose ourselves
addicted to addiction
lost and stranded by
our actions are our enemies.
Time to trade the Kansas flat for eastern forests, Virginia hills, and home.
Was I right to leave?
To force myself away from family, friends, and teachers?
To leave my mountains in the distance, lonely for lack of my eyes on their peaks?
To try and grow elsewhere, to try to make roots of my own?
I have learned, certainly, but not the things I expected.
I have learned, certainly, that I miss my hometown.
I have learned that some things should not be left behind. †
I am going home
to greet my loving homeland.
And I am happy.
I feel like such a first worlder
Riding in an empty bus, complaining of lack of space
One night away from a feather bed a travesty
I once rode on a bus this size down the main streets of
Brimming with people we swam through traffic and dad and
lucas and I didnít get off at the right spot and we had to walk back a block
and a half in the rain
I was whistling the whole time. I was alive.
Here, 30 people in a 40 seater bus stare at their screens
and long for their mattresses.†
Tours always begin in a frenzy. Some people are late, some people are early, there are squabbles over who sits where, there are worries over what needs to be packed, and chaos rules. But then there is tranquility, and for a bit we drive. Breaths are taken. Invariably, however, twenty minutes down the road someone remembers what they forgot. In our case, Eleyaís cellphone was discovered missing. We said Ďoopsí and kept driving east. Slowly anticipation and excitement died down and we became tired bodies, unable to sleep or fully wake. What a way to start a week. Ah, tour.
Help Wanted for the following position.
Applicant must: Sleep 18 hours a day. Enjoy taking naps. Cry as infrequently as possible. Be willing to sit in a car seat. Love parents and follow rules. High IQ, musical and or athletic ability a plus. †
Pay is $250,000 over 18 years. Bonuses include innumerable snacks and kodak moments, family connections, a house to come home to with friends over college breaks and holidays, an education, and parents who will never resent you for how often you wake them up in the middle of the night after soiling your sheets.
My attempts at love poetry always leave me wishing I had become an engineer.
Is her hair Ďbeautifulí or Ďbountifulí or Ďboundless?í I donít know, though I know itís pretty.
Is her smile Ďradiantí or Ďradical,í or even relevant? I donít know, though I know I like it.
I wish I could say why, though I guess I should give up trying and get some sleep.
It is hard to explain why I feel this way when you walk into a room, why all I can see is you walking down the aisle towards me, your handsome groom.
In a world torn with war and poverty we find our friends and
family spread across the globe, the nation, in pockets of Anabaptist bliss,
training their children in the way they should go.
From the mountains of Virginia to the hills of Oregon we are
hiding by our more conservative and famous brethren, less conspicuous in dress
but nearly as selective in our connections and lifestyles and friends.
To Ohio and Kansas, Indiana and more, we have journeyed from
Pennsylvania, well, Germany before.
The blood of my fathers, my family of faith, is spread all
across these United States.
Our world runs so seamlessly and falls apart so suddenly
A wayward car or burnt out bulb reminds us of our frailty.
We are lost without our laptops and our smartphones and our screens
We are lost within our world of endless spinning death machines
We try to fix the future and we try to fix the past
We modify our minds and make our first mistake our last
But in the fixing and preventing, what is lost with all these changes?
Our willingness to grow and change adapt we pay in wages.
Our place beneath the stars lies empty.
A life dream of mine is to own a bookstore. Not a bookstore only, hopefully, but a gathering place, a community center for the intellectual community to come and breathe together, breathe the air of books and learning.
We have certainly come a long way in our many years of humanity, from cave dwelling gazell etchers to city dwelling nature forgetters and we have chronicled our triumphs and failures on leaflets of paper which we often seem to forget about entirely.
Open a book and open a world, so open a bookstore and open the universe? I certainly hope so.
Today I walked past more homeless people than I could count. Humans forgotten by society, these castoffs of our capitalistic race of consumerism have given up, it seems, on our--and their own--humanity.
Steve, Frank, and Andrew, Emma, Lydia, and Jenny.
They are human. They should not be, but are, forgotten.
They did not smell good, look good, or, I assume, feel good. They gazed up at me expecting nothing and simply begging for me to notice them
and help like any normal human would want to.
But I walked past.
Where is God? Where are Godís people?
Where am I?
Long after this is done and Iíve forgotten that snappy casual became masterclass attire I will remember the music flowing from the throats of our eclectic blend of Mennonite youngsters trying to praise God and please the world and make some friends.
I will forget you, Iím sorry to say
Time, in the end, will wash you away
But the music wonít end, like the night ends at dawn
The songs we have sung will still sing till Iím gone.
Music is timeless and ends with our death
Time is just music and sings through our breath.
Farewell, Bel Canto.
The night ends at dawn, past beauty must fade,
But the leaving of night gives full birth to the day.
New life comes from death, we pass on our breath,
Life cannot live unless deathís had its way.
Time keeps on going and I keep on growing
Stars keep on spinning round over my head
Iím fighting the song, canít stand still too long,
Lord knows I wish I could stay.
And onward we struggle, some good things die slow,
And someday weíll look back at each sunrise glow
And be glad that we let our once treasured things go.
Routine calls me back like an ex who never forgot the way my hand caressed her face. Time away does little. Iím back, and Iím back in my worn out footsteps, climbing the stairs in my aging flip flops once again.
People donít change and I wish that wasnít true.
Routine takes me back like a mother with a strict curfew greets her child who arrives home an hour early: happily, pleased she won the war. Iím back, and Iím back to my old, slow, uninterested, selfish, destructive, societally dictated ways.
I donít change and I wish that wasnít true.
Life successfully conspires to hurt the people who deserve it the least. Once again this fact envelopes me in the arms my heartbroken friend. We cry together. A pure heart means nothing and fate breaks everyone eventually.
It is a pure agony, this life.
How can I hope to find love, friend, when you cannot? You are a better man than I by far. You sing the songs and dance the dances I wish I could but you are as stuck as I, in the end.
Someday, we will laugh about this day, our wives at our sides.
Today was a good day.
I hadnít done the reading for education but I still knew the answers.
I didnít do anything different in wellness but I didnít get sweaty this time.
I went expecting a normal MA meeting but we were laughing the whole time.
I played badly at my cello lesson but my teacher was still impressed.
I realized my time here was running out but then I forgot and enjoyed.
Basically, I was underprepared, angry, and apathetic. But some days none of that matters and everything just feels right.
That was today.
I really need some more sleep.
I just keep snoozing in the morning and Iím always late for class. I donít know why Iím expecting something to change from day to day but nothing does, itís never easier to get out of bed and the ring hurts more each time, the quite decibels too much for my tattered morning dreams and I am awake in body but not in mind when I stumble to class like the unshaved pubescent primate I am.
I could just sleep a couple extra hours if I didnít do my homework. Or eat. Or sleep.
People are born, people die, and the earth keeps spinning.
Nights turn into days, days turn into months, months turn into years, and mostly we waste them missing things we used to have and eating unhealthy food.
You see, we are just tourists on the carnival ride of life. Itís enjoyable, I guess. It sure beats the unknown alternative.
But I would still love to have a good long talk with the dude who made this thing and strapped me in without telling me where I was going, or, for that matter, why I was here.
The earth keeps spinning.
You walk in and I feel you
Your soft skin under my hand
Your hair pressed against my lipsÖ
It doesnít seem to matter how many times Iíve made you cry
How many times Iíve cried because of you
All that matters is youíre here
And Iím happy to see you.
God knows why.
In some alternate universe
where there isnít an ocean between our homelands
And where I havenít left you three times already
There, in that land, we will grow old together. Happily.
Iím glad to know at least some version of us gets that chance.
As the empire continued to decline the government attempted to placate the masses by holding large sporting spectacles of different sorts throughout the country. Many cities had multiple arenas boasting huge capacities and state of the art architecture. Citizens would flock to the events, and often whole provinces would temporarily shut down during the events due to lack of business.
However, this strategy of distraction only worked for so long. Crumbling infrastructure and mass discontent began seeping into the heartland from the auxiliary states and eventually the government collapsed, allowing the power hungry Canadians to conquer the once great democracy.
What a day! The sunrise above the Kansas prairie, only now beginning to be familiar and soon to be a thing of the past. I have spent my time here wishing I was not, and as a result, not appreciating the two good things about Kansas: the sunrises and
The sunsets at what feels like exactly the right time. What a balance! The equinox makes me want to live on the equator, the balance, the yin and yang, is right, just twice a year, it's right.
Balance is glorious, but indulging on sunlight is heavenly nectar. Bring on the summer.
I just want to sleep, but I need to hydrate and the water flows right through me. My throat feels like sandpaper and my head like a watermelon about to split. Ugh.
This is my first time being really sick since coming to college. It sucks. I donít even get the satisfaction of mom taking care of me or my teachers asking how I am, I just shut the door of my dorm room and suffer away from the rest of the world.
I have stuff to do. I just want to be healthy again. Stupid stupid bug.
I would love to have written a book.
I canít imagine how amazing it feels, having a real, thick, creation between my fingers, my name on the cover and my title on the front. It would be the joy of my life to have a couple hundred copies stored in the house, on every bookshelf, just waiting to be pulled down and lent to a friend, marveling at my focus and creativity to have created art out of the phoenician alphabet.
Scratch that. I can imagine it, clearly.
I promise you, world, someday I will leave you a with book.
I am not a pessimist, Iím just a realist with a healthy understanding of the things that could and will and do go wrong.
For example, I think that modern civilization will come to a burning halt during my lifetime. I believe this because of logic, not some mystical learning within my soul.
Plus, are optimists even real people? Have they read about the world wars? Met a homeless person? Can you really have faith in the generosity of the random universe after meeting the people it has so kindly blessed with misery and death?
I canít. It isnít logical.
Many have asked what kept you, what put you on that cross. But I believe we know. I believe we have always known, we just donít like the answer.
We put you there.
We put you there, whether it be our sins holding you or our sins accusing you. We put you on the cross with mistreatment of others and slander and doubts. We put you there with our insecurities and endorsements of this puppet world and its fleeting powers.
We, the people trying to do the right thing, failed.
We put the nails through your carpenterís hands.
We find safety in traditions
In living the same day again and again
It is a shield from the sadness and unending toil of the unexpected madness that is life.
For the past year I have
Woken up in the same bed
And walked the same paths
And talked to the same people
And eaten in the same place for every meal.
The variations in the patterns are insignificant
When compared to all the places I have never been
And never will go
Or even dream of going
In my patterned boxed in world of endless numbered days.
Why is it that the important things like family and faith must take a backseat to the immaterial material realities of work, and often, even, pleasure?
Since the renaissance (at least) we have been trying to figure out how to give ourselves as much leisure time as possible, but instead, it seems, we have figured out how to occupy our shrinking free time with ever-growing nothings and wraiths of self pleasure.
But you know, Netflix is pretty fun.
And why not rewatch this movie? I laughed the last time, I will this time too.
I will pray another day. Again.
To the inattentive observer the Hesston night and Manila day share nothing but the ever present spread of star made atoms and the temporary creations of humankind.
However, to the sniffing dog and laughing child the two worlds are one, united by the floating afterthoughts of flame. In its dancing, joyous life, fire bears to all around the sickly sweet and ever familiar call.
Wood and grass, once so proud, was consumed and flung towards the stars by its mischievous destroyer turned creator, only to drift downward again, ash.
And Fire sings for all to hear
I have lived!
Somedays when I wake up in my too-small bed
And see the cracking ceiling up above my head
I rest upon myself, for I have chosen this
I chose to live the life Iíve lived, I didnít miss.
I am special always to those who know my name
If I had the drive for it I would reach fame
The sky above my limit, count just one two three,
I kept getting pulled back down by gravity.
Iím sure that I am made for greater things than coffee shops and endless streams of days where nothing ever happens but routine.
This is how it goes:
A few too many laughs and smiles give it away, and furtive glances become sustained looks.
All around friends start talking, picking baby names, and gathering info.
Denial gives way to admittance and things begin in earnest. The first hand holding is typically followed soon thereafter by the first kiss. The first few weeks are great.
The next few weeks are not.
Her voice is too shrill, his room is too messy. The cracks deepen, small at first, but soon lunch is taken separately, then supper, then everyone is left with nothing but tainted memories.
At the end of day, a good long day with friends and food and family,
I lay my body down to rest and drift away to black.
I return refreshed, ready for another stop, another step
On the endless journey towards everyone's inevitable death.
With every breath the knife gets closer, with every night the noose gets tighter, with every sunrise and moonrise and trip to the lakeshore the end of our stop on this marble gets nearer.
There are few things in life that I know that I want, and one of them is a time machine. Preferably soon.