Saturday, December 27, 2014

First Hand

27 December 2014

We go suddenly from is to was.
Time is frozen in a picture that holds
a smile we know, have always known,
have always remembered in motion,
but it’s done now. The smile is now
a thing to be painted or written about,
described for those who never knew it
first hand.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Our Dear Sam

Samuel de Lyra Butler
b. 8 January 1947
d. 25 December 2014

Uncle Sam had a name for his many nieces. We were always his Special Grils. I'd say it was an exclusive club, but I realized this week that it wasn't. It didn't have to be. Sam had love to go around, and he smothered us in it, to the exclusion of no one. He brought together people who wouldn't much care for each other, otherwise. And I'm certain he had just as many ways of making his few nephews, of which my brother was one, feel loved and a part of something rare and wonderful and absolute, from which they could not be ejected. Once you're Uncle Sam's Skipping Partner (a recent nickname my brother told me he was baptized into), you've got something special, and it can't be taken away. The memories of his devotion and sincerity (and goofiness) are very nearly as compelling as the man himself.

That is one of the realizations to come from his passing. Once you've known him, his story, and that vibrant, silly, funny, teddy bear love he gave, you’re changed. Despite all he'd seen and been through--and there was grief and tragedy and trauma to go around- he was a light and a refuge, always. When you reflect on his life, you might be just a little challenged to love better, and to cast the net of your love wider.

Goodbye, dear, sweet Sam. We are blessed to have had you all this time. So very blessed. May your memory be eternal.

With love, one of your Special Grils,
Carie Christine

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day

25 December 2014

He was already gone.
The thing breathing for him didn’t keep him
closer while we tried to say goodbye,
more for us than for him.

I’m so far away, it’s hard not to
wish he’d stayed a little longer
so I could tell him
how I wish I’d made the time
after his first near-death experience.

I never considered there’d be another,
so much closer he couldn’t make it back
to all of us here, wondering what we’ll do
without him.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

24 December 2014

Lights and carols
softly blow like flakes of snow,
lovely but cold.

We are waiting for more
than Christmas morning.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


19 November 2014

Bluebonnets. They're just a piece
of a larger image that became history
when I wasn't looking. I didn't know
I should treasure the memories.
They weren't Heaven, but they're gone--
I am a cliche. An ache like heartburn
nothing can relieve--the medicine
is out of reach--to have a moment of a home I knew.
I don't want to go back in time. I want
to go back in space, retrieve the piece, long gone,
I didn't know I lost.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Shin Raymun & Chopsticks

18 November 2014

I consume my Shin Raymun with a fork,
a Brat-variety world traveler to the core.
I pick and choose which
pieces of parts of the world I embrace.

I could use chopsticks (and have),
just as my father could have chosen to live
off base, in the heart of Seoul.

Few people did.

Don't misunderstand me--
I know how to use chopsticks.
I know how to choose a bowl of ramen.
It's the Brat in me who chooses one
and not the other
and sees no contradiction.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Moving On

16 August 2014
A memory

The quality of the doors has changed;
of the walls, the floors, the light.
This room was a different place before
we packed up our precious things.
We had possessed it, made it move,
and now it lies still, not dead, but waiting.
No longer ours, it longs, as do we,
for what comes next.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


8 April 2014

Don’t go making a fashion statement
something it’s not, or equating
outward signs with spiritual realities.
This scarf may be no more than
a pretty accessory; a long, unkempt beard
as much a sign of vanity as an updo.
I believe in holy, sacramental things
without making theological
a purely aesthetic choice, spiritualizing
the length of my hair, your beard
or lack thereof.

An Older Poem

Every Color
24 November 2007, 2:57 PM

Any color is more itself with you,
content to see and, in seeing, be
seen- these fields of glorious green
and every tender flower
unfolding, fresh and white
beneath a fiery coral sun
and azure sky.

Friday, February 28, 2014

I Need a Bowl

28 February 2014

Every time a thought begins to congeal,
she stirs the pot with a question
or a request for my attention.
So the words stay soupy and amorphous,
spill out on the page without form.

Sunday, February 02, 2014


31 January 2014

Occasionally the squalls come, sudden,
passionate and unpredictable.
I am a woman of caprice. You’ve learned
to batten the hatches and loose your sail,

to ride the winds, or be ridden.

Saturday, February 01, 2014


30 January 2014

There was a sense of sanctity to every hello,
every goodbye. Every moment was precious,
because time was marked out
from the beginning. Everything was deeply felt,
marked profoundly by me.

I have come to assume that I was alone,
though that was the last thought I’d have welcomed
at the time. I believed that we were in it for good and all,
that love was what we had in common.

Losing us was violent,
unpredictable, even knowing in advance,
from the beginning.
It still hurts. Do you know? I didn’t until now.
Finding Sane, Happy, and Whole doesn’t change
the look of you walking away. Even here, inside Crazy Love,
it’s an image I’ll never lose,
though I’ve tried. I was right back then--you were a part of me.
I could only hope at the time that I was also a part of you.
The way you lived, there can only be room for regret;
if there’s room for me (there doesn’t need to be)
that’s the role I could expect.

We shared an awkward, ugly time. It seemed so lovely
at the times...though not always. I nursed the fear
you'd never turn around, see me cry.
You always turned your back.
I’m fairly certain you have no memory of my tears.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Strange Animal

31 January 2014

Regret is a strange animal,
furry where fangs should be,
all blades on its belly.

From Paradise I cross-examine
the road between hell and heaven;
prod the creature with perspective
I couldn’t have back then.

George MacDonald

"Home is ever so far away in the palm of your hand, and how to get there it is of no use to tell you. But you will get there; you must get there; you have to get there. Everybody who is not at home, has to go home."

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