Merciful Heart

A Sandy Hook memorial.

A broken twenty year old boy declared war on humanity and slaughtered his own mother, twenty first-graders, six elementary school staff, and then himself. This was six years ago and it doesn’t hurt any less.
My hope is that anyone who suffers in isolation, anyone who feels unwanted by ‘the rest of humanity’, be the first to see the light of Christ this holiday season. It is a lifestyle change, friends. Instead of asking ourselves, “What should I get my mother in-law for Christmas?” let us seek to ask and then be the answer to, “How can I serve God to help allay those who have turned to despair, hopelessness, and even hatred?”
One more prayer is for all parents who have ever lost their babies. May the grace of our Lord be exceptionally powerful in your lives this holiday season and may the absence of your beloved be overcome by the joyous presence of their divine spirit. Read More



Let breath be held and time rest still
When winter lands with her soft kiss
A plum linnet taps windowsill
As breath is held and time rests still
Mother and child witness her chill
Blanketing this holy fortress Read More

Lunar Lament 

Photography by Buzz Aldrin

You stamped your signature on my powdered skin
I dare not wipe away the lines pocked my face
Of silver razor blades and love waning thin
Oh how I dreamed an impassioned first embrace!
Yet sadder are the giant steps of mankind
To have forgotten your wish upon a star
At once I was a rare specimen to find
My only friend, here now and never so far Read More

A Hundred Flowers

‘Under Syrian Skies!’ by Suhair Sibai

What are you waiting for?
For me to admit that, like you, all I ever wanted was an open-concept floor-plan and a walk-in closet just for shoes I only wear once or twice a year? For a selection of grocers within a five-mile radius from which to choose where to get my daily bread and a comprehensive health plan with a highly-rated HMO? For me to smear coquettish makeup on my face and slap on a cursory smile of tied-together hyphens so when you look at me it’ll be like looking at yourself and you won’t have to be so scared? For a hundred flowers to bloom so you can pluck them for a day’s centerpiece and throw them out the next? For me to fall back into a pillowy existence of first-world security and not drown in the suffering of a screaming planet? Read More

Three Years

Photography by Amaya Engleking

Since last summer I cannot look a person in the eye. You and I need to quit the pretense that we’re free from guilt. And when I die by gunfire or fire, humiliate me no further with a funeral and feigned sadness. There is only one sadness. Listen to Yo-yo Ma in the rain and drop to your knees and confess.

With one more calendar of blogging set free on the quaking stream, rippling on in dichromatic shadow, I must revisit this past year and assure that I’m not just writing what is true, but what is helpful, a trusted refrain. While organizing the bookshelf a few nights ago, I flipped through a journal from the Asia days and found how uninhibited I was in print, beholden to not another soul. I didn’t have a phone or camera for those five months and only got a cheap flip phone when I got back to Chengdu in the spring in order to continue freelancing. How many portraits were drawn with the only teachers being the lines themselves?

“Oh sweet nuthin’ She ain’t got nuthin’ at all” Drawing by Amaya Engleking

‘Trinity Freak’ Drawing by Amaya Engleking

After Ezra Pound
Be hoboable
Curiosity killed the Catholic
Consumers suck Read More

Walking to the Lake on a Late Autumn Afternoon —

Amaya and Oriahn Ruah

“When a bird sings
when dewed branches tilt sunlight into eyes
when curtains are soaked with light
when mirrors drown in shadows,
take your day to the shore, my child.
Put out the words that fired your waking,
scatter them on the sand like seeds,
then with your feet gently tap them,
and let the bright waves
receive your meaning.”

– Khaled Mattawa, from ‘Bedtime Reading for the Unborn Child’

Nada se pierde con vivir, tenemos
todo el tiempo del tiempo por delante
para ser el vacío que somos en el fondo.

– Enrique Lihn

The Dells


Painting by Benjamin Haughton

Across the augmented valley,
Dells unroll in melismatic musics
Harmonizing with morphing cloud shadow
A scent of mushroom and wet pine
Snakes through glades as a descant
With overtones of cinquefoil in sun
For the creatures of fertility Read More

Lay Low

Photography by Peter Lindbergh

“Lay low awhile.”
Din of grungy mahjong slot machines, smoke thick as port-town smog, slurps of Chongqing hot noodle soup
Watery lager, grease stains, and spit riddled the cement floor,
For the right price she could decipher them too —
“Too many eyes on you and this,”
Boss held up her Read More