Unexpected Chemistry


Unexpected chemistry

Came long after our chances

Passed us by-

I traced the edges of my

Hesitant heart and found instead

An impression of your smile.

Unpretentious poetry

That springs forth from the deep wells

Of my mind-

I held my secret gently

Like a bird with broken wings yet

Never let it see the sun.

Not suspecting treachery,

The guards were sleeping at their

Posts, until-

They woke with sudden haste and

Realized much too late that it was

You, I loved you all along.

Elderly Couple on the Bus


They wore their years like jewelry-
They loved without disguise,
Their silence was a melody
Reflected in their eyes.

White hair that shone like heaven
Crowned each of their heads.
Their comfortable presence
Spoke of the years they’ve tread.

That smile they shared so gently
So unplanned, so divine
Had been clearly rehearsed daily
Since the beginning of their time.

There was no swell of music-
No violins did play,
No fantastic illusion
To accompany this display-

But I couldn’t speak so clearly
With every word I know,
And I couldn’t love so dearly
With everything I show.


They won’t like me if I’m

Too Much.

But They won’t like me if I’m

Not Enough.

I can be

Not Too Much.

I can be

Just Enough…

I’ve practiced it,

You see-

I’ve carefully curated

A cautious caricature

Cobbled together:

A puzzle piece me!

But then something happens:

I have a Tired

Or an Oops

Or an Anxiety and

Just like that

The Mask



And tumbles

To the floor.

I’m Too Much

All over again….

I’m Not Enough

Once more.

My juggling hands

Grow tired.

Each light

Flickers out

One by one,

But I’m not gone-

I’m still

Trying, trying,

A sinking swimmer

Out of sync

With who I’m

Supposed to Be.

I’m a whirlwind of everything,

I’m a vortex of me.

How did I become this?

I just want

To be known.

I just want

To be understood.

How can I untangle


From layers of


I have a new resolution:

I’m giving myself permission

To be different.

I am not Too Much.

I am Enough.

I am


My heart is too big

My heart is too big

To fit on my sleeve-

Too many thoughts,

Too much to believe.


A kaleidoscope mind

Stuck only with grey,

A symphony soul

With one note to play.


I reach for the words

To hang on each thought,

How can I prove

That I’m not a robot?


For women are supposed

To show what they feel,

Their face and their body

Can never conceal


The waves of emotion

Crashing up and down,

To light up with joy

Or collapse with a frown.


People think that you’re fine

Unless your eyes leak

Your sadness straight down

Your shuddering cheeks.


They won’t know you’re in love

Unless you preen and flirt,

And follow the script

And never assert.


I’ve tried and I’ve tried

To be what they expect,

But I’m either quiet

Or unfailingly direct.


These games of hearts

Are not worth the charades;

And as for charm:

I don’t have it in spades.


I can’t be a wall flower

When I’m so off-the-wall,

And if I could choose

I wouldn’t change it at all.


My mind is just right

To fit in a book,

So I write and I write

And I hope people look.


Image source “Poppy Field”- Vincent Van Gogh

Your words

Your words can go

Flying haphazard in one ear and out the other,

Your words can stay

Lodged in a heart to grow a newer and bigger meaning,

Your words can live

Long after time erases your footprint on these fateful shores,

Your words can die

Unwritten, unsaid like dry seeds turning to dust.

So they tell you:

Be cautious and be carefree,

Be passionate and be wise.

Be sharp and be soft,

Be truthful and be kind.

Don’t let them hurt you but

Do let them love you.

“I’m sure that once you’ve had sex, then…”

“I’m sure that once you’ve had sex, then…”
That statement froze me with surprise. The context: a friend and I had been discussing musical composition. I guess I had said something about being emotionally blocked at times, and maybe it influencing my ability to compose music. He asked permission to be blunt with me, and then came out with that statement. (To be clear, it was not a “come on” but just a statement of what he thought!)
I’m not offended that he said it, because I appreciate when people say what they think. I of course knew immediately that something about it was deeply wrong. It is not an uncommon message: it is just not normally so directly said.
It implied that you were less complete without sexual “experience”, without a relationship: Graphically speaking, that you weren’t all you could possibly be without someone literally being inside you. As a feminist and a Christian, I don’t agree with this at all. God created me as a complete human being, and I’m not less whole or worthy without having sex or a romantic relationship.
This pressure comes in a lot in the “secular” world. However, religious circles can unfortunately send the same message in their dialogue surrounding singleness and marriage. As someone who regularly traverses “both worlds”, I’ve noticed this commonality.
“Don’t worry, God has a special man set aside for you!”
This statement has come to me in various forms by people in the church, usually accompanied by a well-meaning smile. It always feels uncomfortable, even though their heart is in the right place. How do they know whether or not I want marriage? How do they know what God’s plans are for me? Marriage is not a guarantee. It’s not something you receive because of being more or less ready than anyone else. It’s not a reward for faithfulness. Singleness and marriage are just 2 different states you could be in. God uses both to His glory. I’ve seen people in either state have varying levels of maturity and different sets of gifts and challenges.
Statements like this can make the single person afraid to talk about their journey of singleness. Singles who don’t want marriage (whether right now or ever) can be afraid of a response of judgement or confusion. Singles who want marriage are afraid of admitting it because they don’t want pity, or to be perceived as needy (especially by the opposite gender).
“I can’t wait til God sends me a girl to turn my life around!…. and I hope you get a man someday to turn your life around!”
I bit my tongue. This was a young man who claimed to follow Christianity. It was on a coffee date (which was not followed by any more coffee dates). This person meant well, but it just made me sad to hear him say that. It reflected a certain hollowness within.
It’s the same lie: that we are not complete without romantic love. As if we can be “saved” by another person as imperfect as ourselves… I wanted to respond, “The only person who should ‘turn your life around’ is Jesus!”
The reason this lie appears everywhere is because it’s a deeply rooted identity issue. We all have that same gaping hole inside: what defines us is how we try to fill it. Nowhere is this more apparent than in how we approach romantic relationships.
It’s okay to want marriage or a relationship. I want those things. Through my journey of singleness, God has taught me that I don’t NEED those things in order to serve him or be a worthy child of God.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God….This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:7, 9
Image source: Van Gogh, “Fishing in the Spring”

Am I determined to be unhappy?

Am I determined

To be unhappy?

To always chase

The Sun around the corner,

To never thank the

Earth holding me up

With kind mother hands-

Does it take

The world tilting sideways?

Ground becoming cliff

And sky behind my back,

And now I’m

Falling, suddenly falling,

Betrayed by the force of gravity-

Must it take

Stomach-wrenching fear?

Clinging fingers complaining

To white knuckles,

Reluctant tears crawling

Slowly down

To quivering lips-

Does it really take all that

To make me stop?

To lift up my face

Wild-eyed and snot-nosed,

To look around

And to realize

You were there all along?

The bus stop on tenth

The subtle rhythm of the streets

When you get on,

And get back off again

At the bus stop

On the corner of 10th

You imagine

If things had gone a different way

Would you be sitting at

That bus stop on 10th?

The little voices in your head

They will ask you,

If you went back again

At the bus stop

On the corner of 10th

You wonder

Would you say those same things

Would you be standing at

That bus stop on 10th?

There’s a feeling that you’ve lost

Your sense of direction,

So you get back on again

At the bus stop

On the corner of 10th

You consider

If the winds had blown much colder

Would you be waiting at

That bus stop on 10th?

There’s a sighing as the doors

Open up to you,

So you get on for the last time

At the bus stop

On the corner of 10th

You realize

If you could do it all again

You would still choose

That bus stop on 10th.

Being there

From the outside of grief,

When you ask if someone’s okay

It seems useless because

How could you fix it,

How can you make something better

Like death?

How could you fill that hole in their heart, but

What you learn from the inside of grief is that

Just being asked,

Just being noticed,

Just being there

Is enough.