Questionable Magic

questionable magic

I can decide who I am.
And I can decide who I am not.
But I can’t decide who others think I am.

And that is a difficult part of life.
Because who I am to myself and who I am
to everyone else
is rarely the same person.

And how does that make sense?
How is one person
in the face of the whole world?

This is no swan song pronouncement.
This is the point of all my songs:
How do I decide who I am when
every person in the world is telling me something

How do I decide who I am not
when the very fibers of my heart
spin outward,
opposite heartstrings
tugging east and west,
driving me toward sun and moon and stars?

Because this is the story I thought I would’ve told by now.
That girl, fourteen,
discovering that her voice makes other people feel things –

That girl made a decision to bear her soul
to a world that called her
too many names.
She decided that who she was
was a poet and a thinker.
A storyteller
and a magician;
a weaver of invisible abstractions,
of threads too thin for others to slip through a needle.

She made a decision to start a tapestry
that even she couldn’t imagine.

And I think she discovered,
year after year,
poem after poem,
night after night of spinning thoughts into words
and words into stories
and stories into golden patchwork quilts fit for queens and paupers –

I think she discovered that she still never got a grasp on her own soul.
And maybe that she never would.
And maybe that she never wanted to.

Every moment spent trying to be somebody
for somebody else,
till she was telling the stories so loudly and so boldly that
she lost herself.

realizing it.

Is that how it happens?
Do you become the person you are
without deciding to become the person
you are?
Is that how it was supposed to happen?

Do we write ourselves into our own stories?

Do I let every poem end unresolved
because mysteries are all that girl ever knew how to write?

She was a poet and a magician.

She thought so.

Did I make a decision
to make myself
to my self?


sunflower crowns

Are you telling the stories I gave to you?
It is a haunting and ever-present question,
buried deep in my heart and pounding the air around my ears –

Are you telling the stories I gave to you?

Does your heart open up,
do you bleed the words and the feelings and the
are you sure that this life is not lived
in silence?

And the fear comes here:
I have become so much and so little of myself in the past two months.
I am ten thousand miles into a journey
that is ten billion miles long,
my life a plain stretched wide across the canvas of
some great celestial painter.

I have lived so much life in the span of two
months –
new job, new house, new life, new people, new ideas, new experiences, new
depths delved deep within.

My heart, harried and tired and raw like new skin,
beating a hundred different rhythms as it once again finds its own,
is bursting with stories that have only unfurled their
before a few.

And that same question,
filled with the guilt and the grace of every god who has offered either:
Are you telling the stories I gave to you?

Because that’s the thing you don’t know about me,
that’s the kicker,
the punch,
the twist in the plot and the slash through the canvas –

There are too many gods asking me for my stories.

They beg of me:
Tell the world the story of the girl who lives to work, who dedicates herself to the job
that she is still making sense of.
Tell the world the story of the student who graduated from the place that taught her all at once
that faith can never be simple or difficult again.
Tell the world the story of the daughter who is struggling to make
her own home.
Tell the world the story of the girlfriend who so desperately longs for
he who makes her more herself.

Tell the world of the anxieties, the fear, the hope, the peace, the racing heart, the fumbling fingers,
the mind
always ten steps ahead
and ten leagues deeper than it should be.

And those gods,
who demand all my energy and my time,
self-created and inundating
my brain and my heart –
The gods who heave
blame and shovel
shame and take back all the

grace that is offered to me –

Those are the gods I deny my stories.

And now,
I will tell the one story that reaches,
words like spindly fingers
and words like sunflower crowns –

Reaches into the sky like bravery made solid:

Give me the breath again, my God who breathes,
to tell the story
that oxygenates all of me.

I am more
than I think I am.

Hope Fully


There is hope here,
she said
eyes expectant
heart beating
heart waiting.

There is something coming,
and the truth of it sped through
her veins.

she said,
perhaps you will make something of yourself

And what’s more,
said a deeper voice
a voice living further down in her soul,
and what’s more,
perhaps it has already begun in you –
the making of yourself.

Would you listen to
the voice
telling you that you are
already something,
that you are becoming more and more
the something
that you have always

There is hope