Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Inadequacy and Separation and Heartbreak and Wearing that Heart on that Sleeve (And a loving, forgiving, beautiful, joyful Hope...)

I’ve heard it said numerous times recently that stress and anxiety are severe forms of selfishness because they reflect an inability to rely on Jesus for the necessities of life. The last couple of days, I have seen life pass by in a blur because I’ve literally rushed through them in an attempt to feel accomplished about something. In return, in all honesty, I have not gotten a single thing done. Rather than waiting on the Creator, I’ve created this mess of tangled webs in my head, constricting my heartbeat to small, fast paced pulses. I’m not trying to be poetic. I'm wondering at the fact that I haven’t had a frickin’ heart attack. I’m breathing too heavy and my heart’s racing too fast. And since I haven’t been relying on Jesus, it’s led to sinful “fulfillments” of myself through thoughts and actions displeasing to the Lord.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”- Philippians 4:4

“When I am consumed by my problems – stressed out about my life, my family, my job – I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice. In other words, that I have a “right” to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities. Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives. Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control. Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance.” – Francis Chan

Isn’t It absolutely ridiculous how we, as Christians, can want something so badly, and turn over and over again to the very thing that takes us away from him? It’s incredible to me. It’s angering to me.

Lord, turn my thoughts of lust to thoughts of longing for you. Please, turn my self-reliance to a selfless reliance upon you.

In Christ, there is no condemnation. This blows my mind. When I fail, I’m prone to damn myself to a day’s or a week’s worth of sulking and self-pity. But in Christ, there is no condemnation. Yes, of course, there are consequences for sin, but so often if I start the day off wrong, or if I screw up in the middle of it, or if I end it in sin, I get into this, “Welp! I messed up, Lord! I failed you! Now you can’t use me today anymore! Now I’m worthless until the sun rises again and your mercies start anew!"

But God’s mercies started anew at the cross and into forever, for forever, and I am not worthless. In Christ, there is no condemnation. Thank Jesus for that.

I want a complete and total transformation. After seeking and knowing joy in Jesus, it is incredible how much it hurts when I fail and seek fulfillment in something other than him. It’s like my heart breaks. Shatters, even. It’s like this enormous, heavy disappointment in myself – this weighty separation from God. It’s frustrating to know that, on this earth, I will fail and I will sin and I will rebel against the God that I want more than anything else to be close to. Such is life.

I cannot imagine hell. Yes, the fire and the brimstone and the gnashing of teeth and the darkness are enough to know that I do not want to spend eternity there… but the separation from God… that’s what does it. It brings me to tears to even think of it.

Oh, how thankful I am for the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Because despite the inevitability of sin on this earth, in this place, in this time, we have the joyful anticipation of heaven – of perfection and closeness – a bear hug from Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Gossip Is Incredibly Annoying (Or, An Apology And A Call To Change)

So I have a couple things that I have to clear up, because if I don’t, even though they may be rather awkward in light of circumstances, then everyone else is going to continue to speak for me, and I am so frustrated that people are continually putting words in my mouth. Locally, where I live, there has been gossip and rumors going around about things that have gone on and things that I may or may not have said, and I want to clear them up.

The other day, I met a friend of mine who told me that I don’t like the band Poema. He told me that I don’t like someone else. First of all, that’s false. Second of all, I’m not saying that it’s false because I am going to tour with them – I’m saying it’s false because it’s false. I like Poema. I literally listen to their songs every day. Shealeen and El are friends of mine, and we have always gotten along great, and I’m excited to tour with them, and I’m excited about what the Lord has provided for them by getting to sign to Tooth & Nail and get their name out there. Even if I didn’t like them, who would I be to say what should or shouldn’t happen if it’s already happened and the Lord is planning on using them for his glory? I am no one.

Secondly, there has been a lot of talk about trouble between myself and Veil Arms. I will not deny that we have had our differences, and I will not deny that I have wrongfully been the source of gossip that should’ve been kept private about our relationship. This was sin on my part, and I will own up to it, and for the places that I sparked the flame, I will be the first to apologize to anyone and everyone that I may have negatively affected – burnt, even – by the fire in the process. The looseness in my lips was not edifying to Christ. But I will also say that VA and I have reconciled our relationship, are very good friends, and all has been forgiven and forgotten. I support what they are doing, because Christ has called them to their ministry, and they are following that call obediently. If you don’t know the details of the bumps along the way, it doesn’t matter, because it's in the past, and it is none of your business.

I could name numerous other things that I hear from here, there and everywhere about me or about someone else or about someone else or about someone else... And I keep on hearing about these lies going around as truths. And maybe it’s gossip in the form of a prayer request, and maybe it’s just straight “he said, she said” when the fact of the matter is that nobody knows what anybody’s said because everything is a skewed misconception of what it once was.

Regardless, I’m not posting this to ruffle anyone’s feathers. I’m posting this because I want to apologize for my part, and I have no idea who I need to address or apologize to in person anymore because random people that I don’t even know have been talking about all this stuff, and it’s ridiculous. One of the things that Shawn (the Veil Arms dude) told me that really humbled me is that we’re called to build one another up and grow in Christ and in community and not to be divisive. This rings loud and clear to me because that same spirit of division nearly ruined our friendship because of the words of another person, and none of the gossip was based off of any truth whatsoever. I have been a very divisive person. I am sorry – I am doing everything within my power to change that. If some of you read this, maybe know me a little bit better than others, and feel that I am being hypocritical – I probably don’t blame you – but I beg of you to have mercy on me, because I am realizing where I need to fix issues within myself as well, and I know that it takes time. All I am saying is that I am frustrated with the gossip – yours and mine.

One of the major things that the Lord taught me through my time with White Collar Sideshow last month, and has continued to instill in me through my own prayer and seeking to follow him is that we are all one body, and that we may not always all agree with one another, and we may not always all appeal to one another, and at other times, we might just straight up annoy one another, but for those of us that claim to be Christ followers, we are all on the same team, seeking the same goal, and in it for the same purposes, and it’s unacceptable to keep on screwing each other up.

“Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies!” – Psalm 34:12-13

So, my friends, I am so, so sorry for the lies that I have told, for the sins that I have committed, for the gossip that I have spread. This is certainly a lesson for me, as well. Sometimes people tell me that the best way to learn and seek conviction for yourself is to try to teach it to others. This has definitely been one of those circumstances for me. Please accept my apology as sincere.

And if it is applicable, please allow it to permeate your heart as well. I am apologetic, and I'm also so incredibly frustrated with this behind-your-back nonsense that keeps happening and happening and happening and happening. Please at least try to be respectful of one another, and I will do the same. None of us are perfect, and all of us know it, and not every single person needs to know every single detail of every single little thing, because it is so damaging, and it's ruining a lot of things, and doesn't show the characteristics of Christ that we are to be recognized by... love, compassion, etc...

Love you guys. See you on tour.

Levi

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tour Update - A Pilot Truck Stop In Kentucky

The date is Thursday, November 5, 2009, and the time is 3:14 pm, central time. Pilot Truck Stop, Kentucky.

Text to Jonathan, my friend back home: I’m doing well. I’m very happy with these guys, and I feel like God is showering me with so much conversation about Him and people that are living out their lives passionately for Him that I don’t even know what to do with all the thoughts in my head. Whether it be with White Collar specifically, or the people we meet on the road. It’s crazy. I was thinking today that this month has felt like watching 50 hours of some discipleship training video and soaking up God like a sponge, and that’s very exciting.

Have you ever seen a movie called “This Waking Life?” From what I can remember, it’s some weird cartoon movie about post-modernism or existentialism (which, I guess, are one in the same, basically) or whatever (it doesn’t really matter), and the entire film is a series of interviews about life and reality and meaning and vanity between these cartoon characters and the drawing styles change and it kind of follows this empty story line and, and, and...

Anyway, that movie specifically popped into my head today as we were meeting with Stump – the pastor at The Anchor Fellowship in Nashville, TN – because this entire month has felt like a huge series of intense, beautiful conversations – conversation that envelope depth and God and life. They’ve been conversations that have stirred up my spirit with burden and longing. They’ve been conversations that have tied my thoughts in knots and inspired so many ideas in my brain that it’s hard to know which are which and what is what and what the heck is going on. They’ve been conversations that have challenged and encouraged me to think about what it is I’m pursuing in life, in this project.

I was reading a journal entry that I wrote back in September. I am not going to divulge the entire thing here (because if I did, you may never listen to my poetry every again! ha!), but there was a part of it that caught my eye, which said something like, “I wonder if I’ll ever be a successful poet. Ha! Just think! A successful poet!”

If you want to know the truth, I’m rather ashamed of sharing that line with those of you that may read this, because it sounds kind of – well, I don’t know how it sounds. It sounds kind of stupid to me (stupid is a pretty good word) – maybe because I know where my heart was at the time, and what my heart is struggling with now, for that matter, and I know the thoughts behind it… the point that I’m trying to make is that I feel like, over the last two months – and even before I wrote that little line of brilliance – my heart and mindset have been radically challenged as to what exactly “success” is. Because when I wrote “success” – my definition was financial. Sweet Jesus! I ask with all of my heart that I would not equate success with finance, because that is not what this life is about. And I’ve been learning, seeing, thinking, wondering about the majesty of God, and about something that T.D. Benton from White Collar Sideshow drilled into the minds of people that we played for every night, which was this: We are called to love one another and to love Christ, and if we’re not doing those things, then what are we doing?

I would like my success, the focal point of what I’m doing in this life, to be Jesus Christ. I would like to be a person that loves and feels and relates and cherishes relationships the way that Jesus did when he chilled with people – and God frickin knows he didn’t base his success on the overflow of his pockets.

Every night before a show, I pray that Jesus would be noticed, glorified, lifted up, honored and praised through what I do. I wish that people would close their eyes for my entire performance so that they could hear what God has to say (I’m not saying that to sound pretentious or righteous – I’m saying it because I think that God really has something to say), and not focus on the distraction of a poet with the orange hat that looks like he’s cracked out of his mind because he’s so twitchy on stage. I have so many friends that I’ve seen give it all up for the sake of Jesus, and I would like to know what it is to be sacrificial without worry, stress or anxiety on the false pretence that I deserve credit for anything that I do.

So back to “The Waking Life” – somehow, almost daily, I’ve found myself looking into the eyes of these people that I am meeting and have come to admire – these people that I view as examples of faith that I desire – as they go off on these monologues about what God is doing and how he’s developing them and what they think about things that are happening and what the crap is going on. And through all of this, the Spirit is stirring within me these desires to pursue righteousness over wealth, and to develop a lasting, patient maturity rather than stressing over something that needs to happen immediately. He’s reminding me that if I count on anything other than him as my source of happiness, I will be disappointed.

More than shows or merch or whatever else I have judged past tours as successful by, this run has been a huge blessing to the spiritual condition of my health, and I hope that the Lord has used me to bless others in the same way, because it’s truly been incredible, and incredibly encouraging, and that is the ultimate point that I am getting to – I would like the Lord to use me to encourage and love others the way that he has used others to encourage and love me. I hope that he continues to provide and open up opportunities to know him more, to know others more, and to hone in on relationship with him. I would surely love that.

Sometimes when I write these long updates about things, I wonder how they sound to others. I would like to think that these thoughts are me maturing, or at least trying to learn and be shaped into the likeness of Christ, but I sometimes wonder whether or not they just sound like aimless thoughts and wonderings – or wandering­s – like I’m spinning in and out of these “spiritual highs” or something.

Sometimes I get scared that the people that truly know me might think I’m being hypocritical. Sometimes I get scared that the people that I’ve misrepresented Christ to will think that I’m wearing this fa├žade to be the good Christian. Oh how I would love to be able to do away with the word “Christian” as an adjective, maybe even to forget the word altogether, and to just live for Christ without having to quantify things – to label actions – as holy or not, and to just live. And for that “just living” to be for Christ.

Regardless, these are the thoughts on my mind, for now, and it’s probably the best tour update I could have written. I’m still trying to understand what it all means, and I’m asking for direction and organization of all the crap in my head and heart, but aren’t we all? God forbid I should ever have it all figured out, because when and where would I need to rely on God if that happened?

Hopecore Magazine Reviews My Album!

Levi the Poet Werewolves


Passionate and unique, Levi the Poet exemplifies the deepest of these. At times he screams his poetry as if all alone in his bedroom late at night, lamenting and challenging. Other times he brings it down to a soft whisper to draw you in to his confessions. Levi’s honest words cover everything from nightmares spanning childhood to adulthood to pornography and relationships leaving no stone unturned. All of this is deeply rooted in his intense faith. You don’t see many spoken word artists anymore but this stuff is just too contagious not to marvel at. You might wonder what made a twenty year old New Mexico youth so tortured. Trust me, Levi the Poet gives you an 11 track explanation that will surely rock you.

Check out more at http://www.hopecore.com

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Faith and Healing and How God is Pretty Crazy, Really

I started out this blog with three or four paragraphs about some struggles and sins and questions and wonderings and things of that sort, and then deleted them all, and started this sentence. The reason I did that is because there's a time and place for that, and I feel as though I've exhausted it recently. What I decided I really wanted to say is something pretty simple, really, which is this:

Our God is a crazy, crazy, crazy God. He does crazy things that I don't understand. He loves in ways that I can't comprehend, and he is a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, wonderful God. I've been reading in Luke, and in Luke there is a story about how Jesus tells his disciples to go out and heal people. He says that they should go walk around and cast out demons and heal all diseases. He tells them that they shouldn't take anything with them; not food or clothes or money or anything.

And then the next part of the story says this: "So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick."

This is the way that I paraphrase this story:

One random day, Jesus told his friends to do a whole bunch of crazy things - like heal people and cast out demons and stuff that nobody really does or believes they can do. He told them that they can do it because he can do it, and they are his. And he told them not to bring things that keep people alive (money, food, clothes), because God would provide.
And then they said, "Okay," and shrugged their shoulders and walked around and did it.

This is such a crazy story to me because all I can think is: what a crazy kind of faith that is! What a crazy person to tell them to do it, and what crazy people to believe that they can, and what a crazy God to actually make it possible!

And then I think about another verse somewhere else that I know of (I can't remember which one - I want to say it's in Corinthians or something) that says that every spiritual gift has been given to us, and another one that says that even with the faith of a mustard seed, we could move mountains.

And then then I think that we could do stuff like that with the kind of faith that the disciples had. I've seen it happen! I've seen people healed, physically. When I was a kid, a friend of my dad's fell off of a roof, and he broke his leg, and I watched while my dad and his friends prayed for him, and I watched his broken leg be healed and saw him get up and jump around and rejoice because God can still heal people. I've seen kids healed at shows for sicknesses they've had for years. I've even gotten to witness healing in my dad for some of his back problems that he's had for years.

What kind of a crazy God does stuff like that? He's nuts! He's phenomenal. To think that Jesus has given us every spiritual gift, to think that he told us to keep his ministry going after he left, to think that he's not only wanting but expecting the type of faith that can move mountains... it's beyond my realm of thought, but it's exciting, too.

I'm excited to know that God is bigger than my skepticism. I'm not too prone to thinking that when a miracle happens, it actually happens. I'm pretty down to come up with another explanation for why that dude can walk even though he didn't used to be able to, or why that chick can see even though she's been blind her whole life, or why my dad's leg is even with his other leg even though it's been an inch shorter and screwing up his back his whole 55 years on this earth. It's probably a scam, you know? Take my money, I want your scam, too.

But I've seen those things, and I'm reading this book that God decided we should read that talks about stuff he did and is doing and he's still doing these kinds of things, and I believe that wholeheartedly.

And that is a miracle in and of itself.

So I don't really know if I am going to be closing this with any sort of punch line or something profound or if I'm even going to give it any sort of closure whatsoever, other than that I think the Lord is developing my faith in him more and more, and something that has come out of it is my desire to believe in and to see him do things that we don't generally believe he can do anymore, because I believe that he still can, and I believe that he still does, and I believe that he will continue to, because he wants to.

And I feel like there's a sort of revival about this kind of thing going on, at least in music - or, at least in the music that I listen to - and so maybe I just sound like "another one of those charismatic crazies." Maybe I am, but I'd like to believe that God really has the power that I tell everyone else that he has all the time, and I've finally started to be frickin stoked about the fact that I do, and that he does.

God is going to heal my dad's back. I believe it, and I'll keep on believing it regardless of whether it happens in this lifetime or not - because even if it doesn't, it'll be healed once he gets home, and God's promise will have not been broken.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Prayer Requests/Praise Reports

September is coming to an end, as is this month’s run with In The Midst Of Lions. We’ve been out on the road since the 4th, and it’s been great. The Lord has provided wholly and completely, and despite the brief moments that we all want to kill each other in the van, we’re all accounted for! Praise Jesus!

Tour is awesome, but it’s difficult. This isn’t really anything that surprise me, by any means, but definitely something that hit closer to home now that it’s happening. If those of you that keep tabs on what I’m doing out here would like to pray for myself and a couple rocky relationships back home, it would mean a lot. I believe that the Lord has been working to show me trust and complete reliance in a way I’ve never known before – and although it’s exciting to grow and mature, spiritually, it’s also scary, and takes letting go – and letting go is not easy for me at all.

So – specifically. I would love some prayer for me and my girlfriend’s relationship, that the Lord would make himself known in our decision-making about where to go from here. Also, I believe that the Lord has called me to this, but I’m still a baby in the world, and teething my way into this part of the industry, setting up dates, figuring out how to make them happen, seeking to maintain the ministry aspect above and beyond the rest, and trusting the Lord with all of it is a bit nerve-racking sometimes.

Praise reports? God has shown himself faithful to my prayers for stress and anxiety relief – at least in a few areas, which is amazing. Financially, times are hard (like they are for everyone), but I know that God still holds me in the palm of his hand, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he will be my provider.

Jesus has been working like crazy in the hearts of so many people throughout this last month – including (but definitely not limited to) my own. Kids and adults alike at shows have come up to me after my set and said that the Lord worked through it in ways that no pastor or preacher ever has, and that the Holy Spirit is present in what I’m doing. This is not said in any sort of haughtiness – but to boast in Christ. It has been my constant prayer that he will shine so much brighter than I ever will through what he’s doing in this project, and I praise him for glorifying himself and accepting my worship the way that he has.

So yeah… that’s what’s up for right now. I came to this coffee shop in Missouri to get work done, and I’ve pretty much been sitting here screwing around for the last three hours – so now I’m finally going to get to it.

Thank you so much for your prayers.

Love, 
Levi

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Full Length "Werewolves" Complete Lyrics


Big Big Bang


I was not a mistake

My death was not a mistake

You were not a mistake

Your memory was not a mistake

We are all not mistakes

Bang! Big, big bang!



Dancing With The Goblins


I’ve missed you since you’ve been gone.

I must confess, I am such a mess and these days just seem so long.

I’ve been smoking way too much again

now that you are gone,

and I struggle with porn a little bit more as the loneliness wears on…

I can lie to myself all day long

until I believe the corruption is tried and true,

but just because I can appease my conscience

doesn’t mean that my failures don’t affect you. And I know

if you didn’t want honesty you wouldn’t be with me,

but now that you know everything,

am I everything you always wanted me to be?

 

Cause this city is laid out like a massive machine

and up above the clouds I can see everything.

When I look at her, and she looks at me – that glow of city streetlights…

(I am crystal clean.)

 

I could have sat inside that coffee shop all day long

and watched Grandma Death walk back and forth

from the park to the Jack in the Box

to the park to the Jack in the Box

to the park to the Jack in the Box

to the part to the broken down, boarded up shop and laugh

(as long as I was laughing with you…)

 

Well you are bundled up so tight

and I can see that look (of wonderment) in your eyes

as I take your hand and we step outside into that beautiful, cloudy Seattle sky and

wonder where the sun went.

 

I want to sit on the step outside your green apartment

and try to explain what happens to my heart (when I see the city)

it’s like a clean start

AND I WANT TO DANCE WITH THE GOBLINS!

 

and I want to dance with you…

and I wanna remember what it was like on the nights

that we missed each other again, like our love was new!

(Like our love was real!)

Like there was emotion in your voice

when you told me you loved me and “I love you” was something that I could feel.

And you’d kiss me like you meant

that you’d miss me while you were gone,

and I’d sing our favorite song…

 

I’D BE THE VOICE IN YOUR DREAMS!

“Don’t stop calling, you’re the reason I love losing sleep.”

 

This city is laid out like a massive machine

and it’s synched up so perfectly with all of my circuitry.

I am not a complicated human being:

I just want to be loved, and I just want you to love me!

 

I JUST WANT TO FALL ASLEEP TO THE SOUND OF YOU BREATHING!

(That melody is sweeter than their “Colly Strings”)

But the static on the phone lines is getting worse and worse…

(and I can’t hear either,

no I can’t hear anything!)

 

This city is full of so many broken dreams

and so many beautiful memories - - -

 

1,465 miles from Albuquerque to Salt Lake

to Oregon

to Seattle

to Vivace’s Cofee (to the park by your place)

23 hours and 9 minutes on the interstate

and if I start driving now I can make it in a day…

 

This city’s laid out like a broken machine

(ALLY! ALLY!) Are you coming home for me?

I’m sorry I haven’t written – it’s been a while since I’ve dreamed…

 

It’s been a while since I’ve acted on my hopes for anything.

 

(But I miss your kiss) and

my favorite thing is when I can still taste the nicotine on your lips…

could you kiss me and pretend that

you mean it?

 

This city breaks me down like a massive machine

and if there is no hope for me, then forget it, I’ll just leave!

I’m hitting the road,

I miss you so much when talk on the phone

but my letters are so sparse, I just wanted you to know:

 

NO MATTER HOW FAR I CHASE MY DREAMS,

MY DREAM WILL ALWAYS BE YOU AND ME.

 

(and I swear we’ll make a memory out of this solemn scene)

Would you have never loved at all

or lost but loved completely?

 

WELL I LOVE YOU COMPLETELY!

(and you love me enough to let me go)



Oh Captain, My Captain!


Step out the front door, friends! 

Toss up my keys! From here on out we’re gonna do as we please!

Just outside this substantially thickening window is a world

Full of opportunities for me and you…

 

And you and me. 

(But I fell into that same flawed fantasy that detaching myself from

mommy’s bedtime stories and daddy singing me to sleep

would be the key to setting me free.)

 

Oh, you want out so bad now, baby girl,

But just you wait and see how much you miss mom and dad

Once you finally get the chance to leave!

I want to go home to my own bed tonight and sleep cuddle with my puppy

(I miss my puppy!)

I want to make believe that she is a girl sleeping next to me…

 

…like I used to when I was lonely…

 

like I was lucky enough to have somebody there to keep me company when

I woke up in the morning and hold me (but now I’m…)

Buried in the arms of someone else and missing mother’s.

I miss the weathered hands of my dad while holding tightly to my lovers.

 

And I call this:

Free.

EIGHTEEN BABY! YOU WANT TO SEE MY I.D.?

I’LL BUY MY OWN CIGARETTES!

 

In fact, two packs please.

Two packs for the two years I already ran myself broke,

(O!) And two more for the two more I’m gonna count on these to cope.

I’ll take two packs for the two days that I’m planning on being away,

Smoke ‘em both the first so on the second I can give my lungs a break

 

(or, at least that’s the plan anyway… oh my god! You’ve got a two-for-one on the 27’s?)

You know, I think I’ll take two more just in case on that second day,

When I wake,

I decide to smoke all eight…

 

OH! a captain and coke would go so nicely right now

Cause I’ve been drinkin a little to try to forget about the fact that

            I’ve been drinkin a little to try to forget about the fact that

                        I’ve been drinkin a little to try to forget about the fact that

 

I drank quite a bit, and actually forgot about the fact that I am down.

 

Funny how perspectives change so quickly

when you’re the one with your head

beneath the toilet seat, wearing that crown on your feet…

 

…and as I lift up my head from that bathroom sink I sink into the mirror and scream:

 

            “YOU DON’T KNOW ME!!!” 

 

and Paul said it perfectly, “I am the worst of these”

but every now and then I swear I think I got that guy beat.

I used to be such a fan of abstract poetry!

But that quiet, clouded, kind of confusing painting

went from diluted grayscale to vibrant honesty pretty quickly,

 

and in fact, I’m a little sickly,

 

and in fact I’m a little scared sometimes that this is all in vain,

with a million of me running all over eternity it’s no wonder my hope has such a bad name!

But I know, no matter how large a hypocrite, or how small my faith,

 

WHEN YOU STARTED TO TALK ABOUT PERFECTION

THE WAY YOU TALKED ABOUT MY PAIN

You became the seed inside that gave root to change!

 

And I pray every day that there is power in prayer,

And I hope with all my heart that my heart will find you there,

And if you’re really bigger than my skepticism

Then how dare I compare the high I prescribe with the beauty you prepare?

 

I AM A SKELETON IN A LITTLE FRAGILE SKIN!



Fatigue


My God is only as big as I let him be and 

I am not gonna limit my God with my disbelief

My God has always, always been there for me

and I am not gonna limit my God with uncertainty


I DON'T HAVE MUCH! (but it might amount to a mustard seed)

I beg for miracles and then I breathe

I scream for signs and wonders and then my heart keeps its beat


But you've got to go through the fire to be refined - yeah!

There's a huge sense of helplessness in a hopeless time...

Well, I am yours and you are mine, and we are one in a kind.


So sang the birds and the bees

when I was not strong enough to sing anything;

if you care and provide for the least of these, 

then how much more will you look over me? 


I don't have much, but it might amount to a mustard seed, 

and I've seen you move mountains and 

command the winds and waves of the seas

on a whim so much smaller than me, singing:


God is bigger than the air I breathe; the world will leave. 

And God will save the day, and all with sing

my glorious. 



Rainy Weather


I love this rainy weather;

it fills up my hollow bones just right. 

I love this rainy weather;

the dripping sings me to sleep when I can't sleep at night.

I love this rainy weather;

it fills up my hollow bones just right.

I love this rainy weather;

I wish I could cry the way I see God cry...


CHRIST! the last time I saw you cry

was Tuesday of last week, and I wasn't sure why, but

the skies just kind of opened up and I sat there beneath it

in a puddle of mud 

next to the memory of my favorite swingset, as a kid, 

and wondered if it was my fault that you were sad that day...

and I wondered what I did. 

Jesus, the last time I saw you cry was in a dream I had late last night,

and I held you tight against my bosom, 

and you wept until I was drenched and I said, 

"I'm so sorry, God! I'll never do that again!"


But the other day I met a girl who talked about love

like she actually believed it was real. 

This child and I, we shared brief conversation

about a few things that we thought we could feel. 

"Well, I don't mean to shatter your naivete, darling,

but you've so much to see, little girl..."

And she shook her head and smiled like I was the one that was the child - 

she said, "Mister! Open up your eyes and I will show you the world!"


I say, "People talk a whole lot about having a vice, 

well I've got three: insecurity, depression, and this growing anxiety..."

She said, "Look, I don't mean to cut you off at the seams

or one-up you or anything, but I drank way too much soda-pop 

as a child, and now I'm addicted to caffeine. Hehe.


I mean, no, no, mister! I mean, you know that's not what I mean!

I mean, at least you maintained your honesty!"


"Little girl! You don't even know what I mean!"

But the blind were born blind so that one day they could see, 

and unless you become as a child: unless you become like me, 

you're making excuses for yourself, Levi! 

You're holding onto reasons to stay angry!


So what did I used to write about in sixth grade

when I sat against that fence and watched the world slip away? 

... how me and my imaginary girl sat beneath that weeping willow tree

and watched God's teardrops drip from the branches reaching out to me

till we were anything but lonely...


I love this rainy weather, 

it reminds me of being younger, back when I didn't worry...


But I worry more than ever now, 

(and I can't stop pacing these hallways...)

and my biggest secret is that I don't have any secrets left, 

and I'd like at least one to hold onto

so that I can still seem sexy and mysterious to you...


I WANT TO BE EXCITED ABOUT CONCERTS AGAIN!

I want to beg and scrape for the nickels and dimes

and tell my parents that I'm gonna be fine; and no I'm not gonna jump in the pit...

when everyone knows I'M GONNA JUMP IN THE PIT!!!

(And no, mom, there is nothing violent about The Chariot)


But next to the memory of my favorite swingset as a kid

is a ghost of me, sitting next to me, wondering what he did. 

And as he lets the sand filter through his hands, 

it clumps in the puddle of tears he's sitting in, and we whisper in unison, 

"God I must've bummed you out again..."


I love this rainy weather, 

it reminds me of so many beautiful memories, 

and just like you said to me, "The times that I cry 

are the times that I feel the most. 

So if I find another secret to hide, you will never know.

I want to feel like I can't maintain control and 

if I  let it all out I'm gonna have to bear my soul...


All I want is a hand to hold onto..." (no, no)

"ALL I WANT IS FOR YOU TO HEAL MY DAD'S BACK! 

WHY IS THAT SO HARD FOR YOU TO DO!"


I HATE THIS RAINY WEATHER!

(it reminds me of being a kid when I would trust without question)

and aren't there so many questions?

Why are there so many questions?


GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!



Pretty in Pornography


When she finds the magazines underneath her husband's side of the bed,

she'll stand naked in front of the mirror for hours (... well what did you expect?)

"Bang dumb blondes, sexy singles and busty brunettes..." 

I must not be as beautiful as the advertising says...


Miss, I saw your poster recently...

I read your ad in one of Playboy's latest magazines, actually...
I've fed every need that I believed photography could feed me

If you can believe me... I hate it. 

You are worth so much more than my brief moment of orgasm
when I allow my mind to deceive me.
I'd like to be an open book and it's hard to admit 
how I take advantage of the desires God gave me...
But I don't want to sugarcoat this - I feel hopeless, trapped in brokenness - 

like I lost before I ever started racing... 
and I know as well as anybody, this is a difficult topic to be facing,
and a difficult confession for me to be making
but I'm stating that when God started the molding, shaping and creating - 
you were not designed to be the objects that men look at while masturbating.
Baby, never forget that you were made for relating and I'm sick of failing 

to realize exactly what it is that I'm saying...

I apologize.
It was never my intent to ruin lives, compromise, or feed these eyes
something other than what was designed.
I apologize.
It was never my desire to downsize or objectify the beauty God designed
to be wrapped tight until its proper time...

Sometimes, though... I feed my indecency....

Kind of slide that magazine across the counter and do it quietly:

shy my face away so that no one else can see...

"Will that be all for you today, sir?"
"Yes ma'am, I'd like to pay to become the opposite of what I want to be."
I wish I'd have waited, dedicated to see
the experience God had planned for me from the beginning. 

I am not patient enough to not give in

to every sin forbidden to the hearts of men... 

Since when am I patient enough to not give in?

I just apologized five minutes ago!
God! come on! what's going on? I'm sick of this!
SOMEBODY PUT SOME CLOTHES ON - YOU'RE BETTER THAN THIS!
God's most beautiful creation and 

I'm sitting here euphoric like I have the right to destroy it
just cause I don't have enough dedication to build a relationship 
with the one who can free me, so I resort to suffocation of my very foundations
while claiming that I'm striving to meet the expectations of purity?

Jesus keep reassuring me,
I'm yearning to be the entity that you desire me to be

Jesus keep reassuring her,
the one in the centerfold, the picture I'll remember until I grow old
She is human; she is human,
she is bought and sold to a million empty souls feeling so hopeless
that they'll try anything to fill the hole.

I apologize.
Please believe it's true. 

I never meant to hurt you. 



Life in General


BE THE CHANGE...

...said vipers! tigers!
reassemble, rearrange!
(i long to live as a lion so i violently tuff up my mane)
oh high king of heaven,
my victory won!!
(but i could still taste the soot in my lungs
when that chorus was finally sung)
i called you so often, but you never came
i reached out to you! but you paid no attention
and as wisdom shouts out into the noisy streets
i will cusp my ears tight in stubborn pretension
("how terrible for you who lie awake at night, thinking up evil plans")
BARREL LOADED!!! (to your brother...)
Abel! run for cover!
if you tilt, i tilt your world in my hands -
take up my life with fraud and violence, and serpent i will meet your demands!

bag lady, you know I heard you sing and
(or rumor has it) you believed in me
...and december's finally set me free... 
(but Mary! i've forgotten just what it means to breathe!)
and as she held baby jesus so very closely (to her bosom, to her soul)
i will cling tightly to my demons in the dark and imagine what it's like
to be
entirely
whole!!!!

singers, did you feel the ground shake beneath you
when your mustard seed fell deep in dark soil?
but i called out "TORTURE!" amongst the scoffers
(and though the ground is once more fertile)
i recoil...

...I RECOIL!!!...

and as his mother's blood begins to boil,
(and as we pollute god's lips with gin and oil)
i've ne're witnessed such turmoil

as when his heart reflected mine! (and, oh, on that note, my god died)

be the change!
said mother, father,
brother, sister, son, daughter,
i come to you (the porno pauper) with understanding in my open hands
and a tired knowledge in my eyes
(if this beauty is so sacred, how does it sell so fast?) 
i still remember the first time i died ... 
-and oh so unknowingly- gave it a second try

BUT LOVE IS PATIENT!!! LOVE IS KIND!!!
and somewhere amongst this mishap i was allowed to survive

be the change, said angels, demons,
reassemble, rearrange!
i long to live as a lion
so i study him studying me violently tuff up my mane...



The Bride


If misery loves company (and isn’t that why you clung to me?)

let’s all come together and we’ll a call it a church

put a few people on pedestals and they can tell us why we hurt

and I will hold these people with such high esteem

(o my god, if you fail, you fail the whole machine)

aren’t we all just wolves in sheep’s clothing?

shepherd, tend to your flock, but look out for the beast

cause she’s a mean one, you see

she’s beautiful, she’s ugly, her lips taste like honey

and she’s been eyeing you the way that she’s eyeing me

 

but my costume is so clean!

I finally tucked my claws inside these little feet

and I’m standing so righteous and haughty!

 

But I lost interest in your bride (that body)

when I stopped recognizing the groom in the congregation

 

Ephesus! Where is that love?

What it’s this uninviting, apprehensive sensation?

And when did our relationship become exclusive?

 

There is nothing new underneath that sun

but I will not succumb to be recruited

for the only army that shoots the wounded

(I would rather be the wounded)

I AM THE WOUNDED!

 

SANCTUARY!

 

O, the church is a whore, but she’s still my mother

(and I try to love her) God knows I love her!

I am her.

 

Better to lose an arm or a leg

(yeah!) cast out anything that’s gonna cause you to fail again

if I wasn’t such a sucker for pain,

I would’ve gouged out my eyes nine years ago, today

and no need to worry about me pointing out your flaws

I don’t have a speck in my eye, I’ve got a splintered log

and I am not strong enough to cut it off

(but I’m not trusting enough to hand someone else the saw)

 

So it’s the blind disagreeing with the blind, about sight

and it’s the mute screaming at the deaf (with all his might)

about wrong and right

“I’ve got a novel full of excuses

about why I left the bride,

and they’re all justified!”

 

In broken penmanship and crooked lines

“I AM ENTIRELY BITTER INSIDE”

and I need somebody wiser to differentiate between truths and lies

and pray my calloused heart beats steady,

I’m pretty good at forgiving, but I’d like to start forgetting

and I’m tired of the rats eating my harp string

I miss the sound of her voice when she’d sing:

 

“I’m coming back to the heart of worship,

and it’s all about You. It’s all about You, Jesus.

I’m sorry, Lord, for the things I’ve made it.

It’s all about You. It’s all about You, Jesus.”

 

The church may be a whore but she has a lot to teach me,

and if love keeps no record of wrongs then I want to love completely

we all are whores,

we are all lovers

and I am gonna love her

I am her.



Werewolves


Cause when I was 6,6, six years old 

I saw my first Goosebumps episode on Nickelodeon,

And that stupid T.V. show made me so scared of warewolves that

I was afraid to walk into the dark for months on end and

I suppose nothing much has changed sine then

Except for now these monsters are personified within

And I go to sleep with them

And cuddle with them and pretend that I’m

7,7, seven years old, once the fear had finally gone away,

until I saw my father’s ghost inside my childhood home’s window panes,

and some silent, shadowed matter followed me around the halls of my house when I was eight, 

so I’ve held onto the belief that there’s something dark

lurking around my family to this day.

 

I’ve used up all 999 lives so by the 10th time I die 

I’ll be right by your side,

And we’ll both agree that we tried to land on out feet!

 

(ha ha! Poor boy! I don’t even believe in demons!)

I KNOW! I KNOW! Me neither, 

nobody believes in demons until they’ve seen them!

 

And no I don’t smoke no ganga,

And I'm not gonna smoke that ganga 

because all of my friends already smoked enough ganga

For two of my lifetimes and I fell apart while I watched them fall apart

So I figure I’ve got enough falling apart in my system already…

 

And I’m scared for my family

(and I’m scared the warewolves will keep attacking my dad!)

they’ve already bitten him up pretty bad,

and the swelling’s spreading to my mom’s side of the bed…

 

AND I’M THINKING HARD LATELY ABOUT GETTING SOME MEDS

TO HELP CLEAR UP THIS DEPRESSION THAT’S COULDING MY HEAD!

But those tiny little red and white 

and black and green and yellow and orange and blue

Pills scare me half to death.

 

When I was little, my mom hung and elephant on my wall 

and I had to pray to God that it wouldn’t eat me in my sleep!

I’m a little older now and still learning what I think 

about my depressive tendencies

But I know with all my heart that the same God 

that kept me alive then is the same one

Holds my hand when I’m weak,

And gives me hugs when I weep.

 

And I don’t want smoke to be the reason for my rock and roll,

I don’t want substance to be the reason my body bleeds!

 

“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it…”

but if you’d hold onto me

I promise I’ll do my best to keep on trying to believe!

 

“PRONE TO WANDER, LORD I FEEL IT!

Prone to leave the God I love.

Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it,

Seal it for your courts above.”



Ms. Lashe


The other day I saw this teddy bear with a smile...

Do you still call me "Teddy Bear" from up there, 

cause I can still see you smiling...

god, I would love to see that smile, and


God, I am a little bit jealous of you, because I know you get to.

I try to pray, every day, for her family, but sometimes

(maybe even most of the time) I forget to.

My little sister still cries so much sometimes

when she thinks about how much she misses you. 


And I'm a little bit jealous of that too, you know?

Cause I try so hard to lose all control 

and become as emotionally unstable as possible

so that I can feel like I'm feeling release. 


I remember the day I deleted your name from my phone...

it was hard, and I tried so hard not to cry, 

but I kept on accidentally calling you too many times after you died

cause I missed you, and in some unbelieving corner of my mind, 

I thought that you might be home. 


And I cannot believe that this is happening. 

You know it's things like this that make me doubt God, 

but I know that you never did when I whispered him to you. 

My God, what am I supposed to do?


I don't think you doubted him for a moment...


And if only we all had that faith, 

but I know so many of your friends that went straight to the bottle

to take the pain away - AND AS I TAKE ANOTHER SWALLOW

we are all collectively the same - 

I've got to keep myself inside this drunken state 

to make sure I remember your name when all other feeling floats away. 


The one thing that's haunting...

the one thing that's haunting me are your daddy's eyes.


Do you remember standing outside of your sister's apartment?

It was cold and it was nighttime and it was raining pretty hard:

the perfect cliche for a first kiss in the dark! 

FLASH BACK to me standing outside of your hospital door!

Your daddy grabbed me by the shoulder - said, "Son, she loved you!

and she missed you so much more than you know...

and there's no going back now. 

Are you sure that you want this to be the last memory that you have of her?"


The one thing that's haunting...

the one thing that's haunting is your daddy's smile, 

and the way that I still saw the pain in his eyes 

when I cried on his shoulder the same way that you used to cry on mine.


Said, "I may not be strong enough to let you go,

but I'm sure not so weak as to let you go without saying goodbye."


Is this really goodbye?


The one thing that's encouraging...

the one thing that still gives me strength are your daddy's eyes,

and the way that he maintained composure while the rest of us

broke down and cried. 


How do you do that?

He said, "Always remember her life."


So I will write my cheesy songs

that you said you always liked, 

and I will live to radiate the life that poured out from your insides, 

and I will try to smile the way you smiled,

you beautiful, beautiful, beautiful... beautiful child.

And if ever I forget, I know that you loved me all the while...


I saw a teddy bear the other day and it reminded me of you - 

o the end is heaven, and I know you are safe, and I can't wait to get to see you.



When I Go To Meet God


When I go to meet God 
I'm gonna have to be honest...
I'm gonna have to tell the truth
not a day went by that I didn't doubt you.

You always said, "Don't grow up too fast,
you're just a boy", 
but it's better to be in the house of sorrow than the house of joy,
and if I could have a heart like David, that resembles yours,
then what are the odds Solomon's sadness 
might have creeped in somewhere to even the score?

Dear Dad, do you remember when I was always sad?
You and mom called it my "depressed year," and I know it was pretty bad...
What drives a child to want to give up everything he has?
What makes a person think that?
What makes a mother's son decide that death is better than tomorrow?
Inside of each and every breath that I "borrowed" 
I held onto the sorrow and thought:

"I'll never be able to repay Jesus with the way I live"
and now I'm thinking so much that I've screwed everything up
and I don't even know if you exist,

so I may as well not exist.


So when I come to meet you
I'm gonna have to be honest
I'm going to tell the truth
not one day has gone by that I haven't doubted you.

But I never told you both that I almost killed myself. I did.
I almost drove my car right off that highway bridge,
and as I picked up pace, prayed to God that he'd forgive me if I went through with it:
this is not a life worth living, I've already ruined it!

Mom, dad, sister, friends, family - 
if I never see you again I hope you live out your lives happily.
Give my dog a kiss of the lips and all of my writings go to Isaac -
man, the one's about me and you are not meant to be kept in private.
Make them your own and write your songs to inspire the world the way I wish that I did...

Sister, you're beautiful, don't ever let them take that away.
Don't let yourself become just another face with no name.
Get to know Isaac better, you two can collaborate
(your voice is more beautiful than his has ever been, anyway)

Mom, I'm sorry the last time we talked, we fought...
I'm just so sick of pretending to be somebody I'm not.
And years down the line when I am all but forgot, you were my last thought.

And to finish the note before I get up to go, dad, I'm sorry I kept all this pain inside -
this will hurt you more than anyone else.
When I breathe my last I will pray that you can forget your past in all of this 

and try not to blame yourself...

I tried to find a reason to stay alive!
I love you all so much...
goodbye.

God I'm coming to meet you now!
I suppose this decision doesn't display much trust, but
if you are real and really out there 
then make me feel like I'm talking to something more than the ceiling!

Dear mom, I'm getting better at writing happier things -
I know you'll never understand it but I'm attached to the sadness 
and it rings true when I sing, and
there's a little bit of healing inside all of our suffering
as I have a savior that took up my suffering for me.
And as I drove down I-40 to collide with 25 
I swear to God something forgotten came alive to me inside 
and this little memory sparked a reason to risk life one more night:

on christmas morning I don't want my sister to wake up without her brother by her side!

TEAR ME TO PIECES, MY SWEET SUICIDE!
For to die is gain, and to live is Christ so I will make you the apple of my eye...

when I come to meet You
I'm going to come complete, as You have completed me.
I'm going to come whole
and I am begging to come happy...