Sunday, April 26, 2015

My First Purchase

The first item I remember purchasing
with my own $10
was an utter disappointment.

The commercials pitched it as
one exhilerating adventure
after another.

To my surprise and dismay,
it was just a small plastic set of
not from
a long time ago
in a galaxy far, far away,
but from China.

And apparently,
the fanfare,
special effects,
and nerdy friends
advertised in the commercial
were sold separately,
presumably also
manufactured in China.

I've held onto it for
two decades,
partly out of nostaliga,
I suppose,
and part pack rat,
and later,
part reminder of the chicanery of the
marketing establishment
and my own resolve to resist such.

Pete saw it a while back
and wanted to play with it.

The way he
animated the characters and
lived and relived the conflicts
on this tiny world
weighted it with such import
that I found myself
sucked into the narratvies
by its new-found gravitational pull -
playing as I suppose
I had imagined myself
to be able to play
when I had bought it:
Side-by-side with Wicket W. Warrick
on Endor.

I was surprised again
- though this time in reverse -
that the marketers hadn't
completely lied
in their depiction
of unabashed toy joy -
they'd just misrepresented,
and neglected to include in the instructions,
how to glean the maximum glee from it.

Despite this gross oversight,
I've decided to take the high ground
and not sue.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Kite Line

When we stepped into the backyard,
My son, Pete, and I,
With the kite,
My wife, Kim, warned us,
"Don't get it caught in the tree."

Now that you know
How this story will end,
Let me fill in a few details
And the inevitable
(or in this case, Higher)

We really flew it quite well,
Avoiding the tree during gusts
By stepping swiftly aside,
Until Pete had the idea
To fly it atop the playset,
Which was too close to the tree
And too fenced in
To allow for any quick maneuvers,
But 30 minutes of successful kite-flying
Had made us arrogant
And perhaps a bit hungry for danger.

It caught first on a side branch
From what I unsuccessfully tried
To convince Kim was a freak wind.

I didn't know whether to pull tight
And risk breaking the line,
Or to let loose
Risking further entanglements.

Either option seemed
Equally likely to produce both
Extremes of possible outcomes. 

I let loose,
And it went higher,
Eventually spider-webbing itself
Stickily into more branches,
At which sordid moment
I did what any self-respecting
English major would do:
I started composing this poem
And took some pictures
To accompany it.

Yes, it's still in the tree.
Thanks for asking.

Once upon a time,
My dad told me,
Several years after the fact,
Of how a sibling of mine
Had become a bit
Not terribly bad,
Just a bit.

And he contemplated reining in with terror,
Controlling and constricting
Until immediate safety was secured
But the long-term,
Thread-thin at times,
Father-child relationship almost certainly severed.

He said he had felt,
Upon praying about it,
That his only hope,
His only link
Was that kite-line-thin love.

So, he just held it,
Firm and present,
But not forceful,
And that sibling's soaring fine now.

But if our muddled up efforts
Still result in the 50/50 chance of getting
Even more stuck
50 feet up,
There's always the route
Pete keeps exhorting me to take
But my manliness keeps
Preventing me from pursuing:

Call the fire department - 
They'll don their red gear,
Cross town,
Raise themselves up on that tree,
And descend back below 
To allow that kite to rise up again,
All for free,
I believe. 

Now, if I could only remember
Their number...

Friday, April 3, 2015

Walking on Water

With the story
Of Peter walking on water,
We often think of the lesson
Learned by his falling into the sea,
Becoming afraid of the storm
And taking his eyes off the Lord.

And indeed,
It's good to learn
From others' failures.

But what about his reasons and success?
After all, he's the second
And only other person
Besides Christ
In the history of the world
To walk on water.

I always wondered why he asked
The Lord to bid him to come to him -
Was it because he wanted to walk on water, too?
Was it because he just wanted to be with the Lord?

I think it might be because
He felt safer standing on the surface of even a tempestuous sea with the Savior
Than he did sticking with the standard style of sea stability during storms in his day.

There was no commandment for Peter -
And is none for any of us -
To walk on water,
To do something
No one has done before,
Especially something that breaks
Some previously perceived physical law or
Limit to human capacity.

But he still did it.
Some mix of personal motive
And the Spirit's prompting.

So, perhaps,
When our own storms rage
Or when we insert ourselves in the storms of others
Either out of stewardship or friendship,
Perhaps we should
Abandon the ship
Of conventional certitude
About what the problem and/or solution is,
Espying where the Savior is
And striving for his position
No matter how precariously impossible
It may appear to reach
Or stay

Not being bound by laws of nature or norm -
But not breaking them either -

And, inevitably,
We'll fall short.
But isn't that what Christ
Is there fore?

Saying, "Come,"
And then saving us
When we falter.