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Cardboard Man

Lord, my life feels like
Cardboard to the taste.

The minutes
Rocket past me
Like salmon in a stream.
And I can’t catch them.
They wriggle through my fingers.
I want to eat them all. Starving.

I am hemorrhaging time.
And I feel it, like bees in my chest.
Like the most beautiful dream
You can’t remember when you wake.
You just know it was
Extraordinary. Sunrise Erased.
Clawing after it with mind and heart.

I am a cardboard man.
Packaging. A denizen
Of dumpsters. Crumpled
And crooked in alleyways.

Stained with life and grease.

When packaging
Is just packaging
It is a forlorn thing.
A waiting thing. It’s meaning lies
In what it contains
Or does not contain.

I am meant to be the home
Of yawning passions. A throne
For God’s desire. A box bursting
With the gift for mankind.


Glimmering sword
And cherry blossoms
Falling, falling, and the mountains
Casting white beards towards heaven.
A flute moaning
Hoarse music of longing.
Tugging strands of heart
Like wind in hair.
Angelic clouds
Ferocious. Orange and black hues
Of sunset.

What was passion created for
If not to be directed towards
The untamed? The Hurricane Father,
The Still Small Voice, Thundermaker,
The Eternal One? What is passion for?

To be poured out on
Football games like stale beer,
Wasted on television shows,
Or renaissance art or finances, or
Justin Bieber? What is passion?

A storm inside of the heart,
The soul’s grappling hook,
A force of wind and feeling.
Nation shaker.
Society eruptor.

But passion without God in sight?
Mere bluster. Fanfare. A sad waste
Of power. A neon Vegas sign. A thing outside
It’s context – Amusement park ghost town.

I am a cardboard man.
But this poem
Unlocks me.
Reminds me.
Who am I?

No more than cardboard.
No less than anyone.
A container.
For Christ.
A placeholder
For Glory.

A blank and silent page
Inviting God’s ink
To tell His story,
In the silence and suicide
Of my own.

A vow of silence
Begging God to speak
Into every moment.

An absence
Making way for
The Presence.

God is the void filler. The gift
Packaging is created to contain.
Waiting is a sacred thing.
A necessary thing. Light descends
Where silence and waiting
Form a ready carcass.

A living sacrifice.
Crumpled in an alleyway.

The passion for God
Comes only from God.

And blessed are all those
Who wait for Him.

1 comment:

Bob Tan said...

"Cardboard Man" pours out such surreal imagery almost effortlessly, Johnny you have a way with words. But is passion not inspired by god always worthless? What about the trans-formative powers of love which is an extension of the shapeless face of god? As you espouse the virtue of patience I feel you've very words tugging at my very being. You really inspiring me. Bro. -Bob Tan