20 years into this century
and the West burns,

the land inflamed, unceasing.

It burns in the forests
and the fields,
it burns in the streets,
with fires small and great
all stretching out for the same air,
all feasting upon the same oxygen.

But empires thus
are built of bone
and of sweat,

and within the elements
of things closest to our hearts,
from the private
to the pestilent,
we wait
and we watch
with dilated eyes
the assault and decay.

To breathe! Only to breathe…

The body has a finite amount of blood.
The mind can only take so much.

They will not stop, you see.
They will never


This is the desolation.

Oh rise now the midnight daughter,
oh rise now the twilight son;
keep your blades sharp,
your torches dry,
your eyes up.

Under the roaming haze
under a descending sun;
late now, the domain of summer,
and the long dark

There is but one bastion,
one shield,
one bulwark,
one fire in the night:

hold fast thy memory,
thy faith,
thy hope
and thy love.

You know
in your deep-heart
what is right.

All else is anathema,
all else is so much dust,
for there are no spells
with which to resurrect the dead.

In Memoriam: Patrick H Lee


Feast of Light

(the song my mother taught me)

Yea, though I walk
through the valley
of the shadow of Death,

and you lament your simple self,
and shed tears in your unadornment-


for I too have cursed my own shadow.

So let us instead consider
things that carve and pierce,
let us feel the ground
upon which we stand,
for you only know the walking dead
by their tranquility,
and the truly content
by their graves.

Speak to me your nightprayers.
And watch.

We will learn of knots
and grindstones,
of prows and lathes,
of ecstasy​, of aurescence,
of momentum.

Let me then become
the bride of the earth,
and the groom of ships
that plow the rising waves;
let me be as one
who stalks and slays fear,
who preys upon the darkness,
who bathes in the falconfall
coup de grace of our prisons,
who devours
the terror in midnight
that chews and rends and swallows
your soul.

Let me sit then at the table
with your demons-
see how I’ve prepared a place
for them.

pay attention,

for the night is flayed open,
and the maw widens in hunger.

Can you learn to tack into the wind?
Can you sail into the storm’s embrace?
Can you carve the roil,
and bring your sails unfurled,
riding this deathsong
to strike through thunder’s inertia?

This is the only way I know
to cut off the black hand
that holds your heart,
for I can see your song;
it carries out
past the edge of lightning
sunset into glory.

My dear,
your heart is a spear,
and a compass-needle;
your soul is a sailor,
young and bold,
come to spit in the Devil’s eye;
you are Incarnate,
you are Destiny.

From here, the stars.
From here, the stars.

artist credit requested


What can I say about you
that wasn’t already said
by Monet’s brush,
by Gibran’s pen,
by Carter, opening Tutankhamen’s tomb,
by Einstein’s math,
by my mother’s hands,
or by my dog’s tongue?

What can I possibly describe about you
that wasn’t already given to me
in the absolution of the wild,
that wasn’t felt by my sister
on the first horse she mounted,
by my father
the first time he wandered the woods alone?

What on earth
can my heart not say these days
as it pulses fragments of dead stars
to my eyes,
that I might turn them
on the night sky, itself
half-made of dead stars?

What can you show me
that is not in itself
a miracle?

And what can I say to you
that does not come out
“we are here for the space of a breath,
and no more”?

The Most Convenient Definitions

“Battling your demons,”
they call it.
Fighting the monsters.
Taming the beast.
Or, perhaps,
rebuking the Devil.

You must cleanse yourself.
You must take this pill.
You must do yoga.
You must read this book.

You must.

I suppose I can’t lie;
shedding the past is good.


do you remember?
Think back.

Before you were told what to fear.
Before you were told what to hate.
Before you were told what was wrong with you.
Before you were told who to be.

I’ll tell you true,
cross my heart, hope to die-

’cause I seem to recall a boy,

whose demons brought him food,
whose monsters came out from under the bed 
and gathered ’round for story time,
whose beasts ran with him
past the high school lockers,
and who walked the prairies and woods
with Lucifer and Jesus both;

we shared Canadian whiskey,
Dominican cigars,

and harmed not ourselves 
nor any soul,

traipsing the beat
in the heart of creation.

Audacity Beyond 2017: A Love Letter to the Human Race

Hope. Change. Love. Transformation. Luck. Finally.

Did these words bounce around in your mind as the clock rolled over to the new year?

I don’t blame you. Not one bit.

Our new culture is saturated with keys, triggers, signs; easy nuggets of hope that in turn saturate our subconscious, leaving us salivating for beautiful fruits that may never bear.

It’s ok, folks. I’m telling you, right here, right now, it’s ok.

I have walked with the hopeful, with the dreamers, with the expectant mothers and purposed fathers, with the wish-makers and wayfinders. I have also walked with the hopeless, with the downtrodden, the abused, the reckless and disillusioned, the cast-off chaff of this new world who’ve all but given up their faith in humanity.

Still, I say: it’s ok.

Are you calling me out on my BS yet? Please do. 

Bring me your broken dreams. Bring me your deaths. Bring me your fear. Bring me your burdens of blackness, your wreckage that writhes and grins at you in the night.

Do you truly believe, in your deep-heart, that an arbitrary number has anything to do with the timing of the universe, with the random dance of molecules or economies?

I don’t think you do. But it’s nice to believe, isn’t it?

That’s my point. Right there. I don’t care what you believe in. Just believe. The fact the you WANT to believe tells me your heart isn’t dead.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the symbolism. “New year, new you.” Fair enough. But I need you to do me a favor.

Accept that a new year, in and of itself, won’t change a damn thing.

Trust me. Knock it off. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.

Set goals, yes. Retain hope in the future, yes. But you’ve just been handed an empty box.

Much like a new relationship, a new year comes with an empty box. What you get out is what you put in. It doesn’t come with anything. And this empty space is what’s important. 

We place value on the structure, but the space is what we use.

So what will you fill yours with?

I can’t stress how vitally important it is to define this concept. “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”? When did we become so lost in our hearts? It’s not wrong to hope, nor to have a back-up plan, but I’ll challenge you right here and now to “hope for what you want, but prepare for what you need”.

You hate this already. I can tell. You don’t need death. You don’t need disease. You don’t need loss. You don’t need breakups, financial hardship, hatred, betrayal, anxiety.

What you need is the hope of the undying.

Allow me to set you up for the pain of the coming year right now.


Some of you, this year, will lose something. Your car will get stolen. You’ll get divorced. Someone will die. You’ll experience betrayal. You’ll get diagnosed with something. You won’t get the job.

Can hardly wait, right?

Are any of you thinking of what could go RIGHT, though?

Hear me now.

In fact, how could we appreciate all that is Good without the absence of it? How could we grow in mind, in body, in heart, in spirit, without being broken on the altar of life? Without being hammered on its anvil? Would you wish for an easy life, or for the strength to endure a difficult one?

Better still, would you wish to walk through the flames and STILL COME OUT shining your light to the world, to hold out your scarred hand to a beaten soul and say, “come with me, for there is still Life up ahead”?

Would you wish, instead of being broken and clinging to your brokenness, of staring at your brokenness with resentment, to allow the light within yourself to shine through the cracks?

Only by being broken can we transform. In being broken, in being dealt a bad hand, we are given a choice; perhaps the most important choice in our lives.

You can choose to say “I didn’t deserve to be broken. I won’t trust life any more. I will exact revenge where I can, so I can reclaim some of what was stolen from me”…

…or you can choose to say, “I didn’t want to be broken, but I’m grateful that I did. Life has threshed my wheat from my chaff, has hammered my impurities from my metal, and if I alone can be broken again and again and AGAIN and walk away laughing, to love and hope and offer an outstretched hand, then I am glad.”

Peace is not found in what you get. It’s found in what you do with what you’re given.

Right here, right now, witness that I renounce all claims to what I think I deserve. I am not special. But nor am I a coward for losing faith, for wanting to give up. I am given a calling and a priceless gift. If I get what I desire, I will be grateful. If I do not, I will also be grateful. 

I will be lifted up on wings, and dashed on the rocks. My soul will dance at the coming dawn, and I will weep in my pain as I am broken again. I am being hammered on the anvil. I am losing myself, and I am becoming myself.

I will use my tears to wash the dirt from another’s face.

The universe will deal me the absolute worst hand, and I’ll say “Here, take my money. It’s time to play chess instead.”

I was so sure blackjack was the answer. But perhaps chess is the better path.

I renounce and refute my human inclination to be hurt by loss, to curl inwards, away from the world. To die from the inside out.

If my house is destroyed, I will wonder what my next house will look like.

Because if I don’t, if I hold on to my innate ability as a human for pattern recognition, and I apply THAT to what happens to me… can you guess what comes next?

Let me tell you. Listen.

I will be the victim of my own self-fulfilling prophecy. 

“See? It didn’t happen. I knew it wouldn’t.”

Bull. Shit.

I’m not advocating a relentless, creepy happiness. I’m not saying “be positive”. Nothing so trite and meaningless. In fact, I’d encourage you to stay as far as possible from sources that promote blind positivity. Or blind negativity, for that matter.

There is a middle path. And you need to walk it.

Good and Bad are cyclical. Sometimes, one wins out more than the other. And there is NOTHING, no matter what, that can take away your hope and the love hidden in your deep-heart unless you allow it to.

There’s always a choice.

We are such beautiful and horrendous creatures. Pitiful and incredible, we sacrifice out of love and wreak atrocities on each other in the same day.

Living for such a brief speck of cosmic time, staring out at the universe, we wonder. Why? If you find an answer that works for you, and you can be truly satisfied in your soul, then I commend you. If you don’t, then let me tell you again: it’s ok.

You need merely ask the question. That, in and of itself, is the mystery and the answer all in one.

The fact that you can ask is beautiful, even without a clear answer. The closure you seek may never come. But the closure you need comes from forging a new path, and to keep asking regardless.

Animals are blameless and pure. The angels some believe in are that also.

So here we stand. Brilliant and flawed, halfway between the ape and the angel, staring up at the night sky in hope. Ready to love and ready to fight in the same breath.

So as you watch the stars in this new year, and for the rest of your life, you might say “I wish for my shooting star, but it never comes. Maybe it never will.”

And you are right.

But this is not cause for despair.

Your strength lies in the ability to unceasingly watch the night sky, time after time after time, marveling at its beauty, drowning in the mystery and audacity of hope so that you might learn to breathe again.

And when someone else comes along, saddened and beaten, wishing for a star that may never come, you can say:

“Look! My God, just look at the stars! Can you believe we get to watch them one more night?”

This, then, is my only resolution I offer you: become a beacon of hope to yourself, and to others. 

Unfurl your banners of Light and watch the armies of death break themselves on your shields.


“Some day, you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

— C.S. Lewis


Years later,
he feels the vial
against his chest
that holds
the only fragment of lightsong
given freely to him.

At night, sometimes,
he drifts
to a dead and thankful sleep,
as it melts,
the glass unvitrified,
the sand photonic
hourglassing inside him.

the next morning
it is whole,
emanating the piece
of the light
of the heart
of the hand
that sought to clasp his;
and even to raise him up
out of darkness

Shaking his head,
he pushes forward,
raising his shield;

the demon is already swinging.

Orison 5:22 AM

Christ, these bags are heavy…
what exactly did you get?

Come look, I got
10 things they don’t want you to know,
and my god could beat up your god,
and 50% off,
and at least I’m not a deviant,
and she’d never think you’re
a good dancer,
and you really aren’t married yet?,
and they hate our way of life,
and that’s not what I meant,
that’s not what I meant;

and these dreams go on
when I close my eyes,
and rock my world little country girl,
and let’s stay together,
and they stab it with their steely knives,
and lovin’ is what I got,
and fire is the devil’s only friend;

1,000 days, 1,000 drops
of my saltwater ocean
hitting the ground,
and you’re not good enough.
Did you know that?
I’m and You’re not good enough.

I used to keep my drawings
under the bed. I never showed
burning running biting broken sheetrock lover’s footprints falling breath of evening illuminates the smell of bread in the oven colliding with rainwater tracked in from the science museum where the Most High God smacked my ears and eyes and lungs with the burden of dying stars and gave the final joke as a Christmas present tied up with a perfect bow.

My cells want to fall asleep.

This still makes no goddamn sense,
even though your head fits
in the crook of my neck
and everything else matches
like Lego pieces
and dust settles
on my grandfather’s desk
(a middle finger LOL to entropy
in this universe of endless light).

Human Nativity

We are products of melting,
sloughed from the purest ore,
dismissing what insults our own souls.

Tonight, as the dark shroud of heaven covers the earth,
the mother with child will kneel, asking, Why must I be your servant?
And a sister will say, You are blessed among women.

As a light seeks to pierce the blackened reaches,
the boy rises, and asks, Why must I go?
And a father answers, No one else will.

As the lonely shadows grasp along the land,
the man asks, Why must we learn to die?
And another counters, What is God’s will?

Tomorrow, as the old man rises to greet the spilling gray dawn,
he asks, Why?
And is greeted with nothing but the rain.

We are products of melting;
if we knew, we would be God.
And as the Multiverse asks the question, it shudders under the weight.