Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Archbishop.

I got a car recently.

He's a boy.
His name is the Archbishop.

I didn't want to give him
a regular name,
like Floyd
or Byron.

I wanted it to be more of a title.
Something that started with the word the.

I considered many things.

The Colonel.
The Duke.
The Silver Bullet.

And then
the Archbishop
popped into my head.

It was so silly,
but I couldn't stop thinking about it.
And the more you think about something,
the more it seems natural.

So the Archbishop he is.

When I ride the bus to work,
I say that I left the Archbishop
at the the monastery.

Sometimes when he has a hard time
getting up hills,
I say,
"Come on, Archie!"

But that's rare,
and it's extremely informal
and I don't think he appreciates it.

The Archbishop has a rule:
everyone must take turns
sitting in the front seat.

His favorite cd is
The Lower Lights - A Hymn Revival.
He could listen to that
over and over
all day,
every day.
I went and saw Les Miserables
with a bunch of friends last weekend.

The part at the beginning
with Jean Valjean
and the bishop
is arguably the best scene.

And I thought to myself,
"I feel so good
that my car is an archbishop.
He's the kind of car
that gives away his best silver
to help somebody
become an honest man."

This isn't the Archbishop himself,
but it very well may be
his cousin, the Cardinal.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Sometimes you make chicken tikka masala,
but it doesn't taste like Bombay House.

Sometimes you blend up Sprite
and fresh fruit
and it tastes better than

Sometimes you come home from work
and it's 90 degrees
inside your house.

Sometimes you watch Project Runway
on a huge television
with a huge American flag hanging behind it.

Sometimes you end up
taking a cat nap
at seven p.m.
every night.

Sometimes your bedroom is so messy
that it's really just a closet
and you actually sleep on the floor
in the empty room in the basement.

Sometimes no one understands
why you think it's fun
to sleep on the floor.

Sometimes you get a FaceTime call,
and when you answer it,
you're on the phone
with a six-week-old baby.

Sometimes you do your hair
like your roommate did
when she was 12.

Sometimes someone knocks on your door
and tries to sell you tamales,
but you don't buy any.

Sometimes you plan a facebook status
in your head
for days,
even weeks,
and when you post it,
it's just as good
as you thought it would be.

Sometimes you look at your syllabus
for your first class
in grad school,
and you literally can't even.

Sometimes you almost buy boots
because fall will come someday
and you're going to need them,
but then you can't make yourself do it.

Sometimes you swim all the way
across the reservoir
and back.

Sometimes you buy a 44 oz drink
even though you know
that's more than a liter
and you are going to get diabetes.

Sometimes you realize
you'd be unhappy
if you didn't get to be you.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sun Shower.

It started raining this afternoon
while the sun was shining.

I ran outside
in the hopes of seeing a rainbow.

The pavement under my bare feet
was damp,
but still hot
from the long day.

And of course,
all I could think about
as I vainly searched the grey clouds
for some sign of a rainbow
was all the names for sun showers
that you learn in dialect quizzes
the devil is beating his wife
pineapple rain
the monkey's wedding
the wolf is giving birth.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

In Love with Small Town America.

How am I supposed to answer
when people ask me
where I'd like to end up living?

I've only lived in Delaware and Utah.
And they're both great.

But what about all the other places
I've never lived?
What about all the places
I've never even visited?

I realized how easy it was for me
to fall in love with a place.

Last weekend,
I went to Idaho for the first time.

I'd always prided myself
on never having been to Idaho.
(Just the way I pride myself
on never having seen Tangled.
I know it's stupid.
It's fine.)

But Rexburg stole my heart
right away.

The little straight streets
with trim green lawns,
the names of the apartment complexes,
like Viking Village,
the huge number of crows
hopping and squawking.

I think the sunset we watched
from the Rexburg temple grounds
had every color in it.

We even went to the dunes
and went swimming in a lake.

I loved it
and I loved how quickly I loved it.
My heart is just itching to visit
every town in America.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


This is Wesley.

I remember the first time
I ever saw him
because he was wearing a yellow sweater
and it was a good moment
in my life.

Once he told us
about the small private school he went to
from kindergarten to twelfth grade.
When he started describing
the plaid ties,
I wanted to kiss his face.

Don't ask me why; I don't know.
But it happened.

But the reason I'm writing this
is not to reveal
that I've thought about
kissing him before.

So, ahem.

The reason is that
being friends with Wes
includes all the same emotions
as riding on a carousel.

A little part of you
becomes more alive
every time he talks to you.
I feel like I can imagine
how much care and love
our Heavenly Parents took
to create him.

It pleased Them
to make him so kind
and to give him the capacity
to think beautiful thoughts
and write beautiful words.
I'm convinced
that if you cracked open his soul,
there would be a butterfly there
or some other small, pleasant object,
like a little porcelain statue
of a cat
or a small array of dried wildflowers
preserved between the pages
of your favorite book.

Monday, July 7, 2014


On July 4,
Provo put on
"Summertime Blues: The Songs of Woodstock"
as part of its Rooftop Concert Series.

It was the perfect concert
from beginning to end.

Starting with Jimi Hendrix's
iconic rendition of
The Star-Spangled Banner

and ending with
a hootenanny version of The Weight,
performed by a dizzying lineup
of Provo's movers and shakers.

I know I had a dumb smile on my face
the entire time.

How could I not?
They had everybody there.

The Who.
Jefferson Airplane.
Sly & the Family Stone.
Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
Joan Baez.
Creedence Clearwater Revival.

I felt like I was right there
in 1969,
and the hip grandma standing next to me
grooving to all the jams
only helped.

And as they were singing
the final put the load right on me,
the first fireworks burst in the air.

It was an overwhelmingly
so many beautiful humans
making such sweet tunes
for a crowd decked in
red, white, and blue
on America's Independence Day,
under fireworks,
mankind's greatest invention,
singing the same songs
our grandparents sang
to get out all their feels.

I really and truly and honestly
can't understand
why anyone who rather have been
at a Carrie Underwood concert.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

When Best Friends Marry Best Friends.

Jon and Jessica came into my life
at the same time, actually.

I remember meeting Jon
and running into him a few days later
at the Cougareat.
He was surprisingly friendly.

We went to the Islamic art exhibit together.
He because the guy friend
that every girl wants to have.

Jon and I have no pictures together,
so here's a picture of Joseph Stalin
standing in for me.

At first,
I didn't know Jessica well.
But I knew that she was friendly and strong.

When we got to be roommates,
we found out that
we were just what the other needed
for that summer.

We did everything together.
She wasn't even mad
when I broke her blender.

Jess and me when we went to the rodeo.

Then Jess went on a mission.
Jon and I didn't see each other much
and I didn't write Jess much
but we were all still friends.
No question about that.

When Jessica came home,
she and Jon started dating,
and I knew they would get married.

They're both goofy
and they're both serious.
They both love to have good chats
and they both have
an insane amount of love in their hearts
to give.

There's something about
when best friends
marry best friends.

I love him.
And I love her.
And I love them together.
And I love their love.
And they both love me separately.
And they both love me together.

It's a blessed thing.

Friday, July 4, 2014

When Laura Bush Came to Town.

Last Sunday,
I went to a patriotic program
here in Provo.

Laura Bush was the keynote speaker.

Before she came out,
there were songs by a military band,
a speech delivered by a high school boy
full of Ronald Reagan quotes,
and stories of servicemen
and immigrants
who took American ideals
and lived them
with all their hearts and sweat.

Just a few minutes into Mrs. Bush's remarks,
while she was giving us
an intimate review
of her family's recent life events,
someone about twenty rows in front of me
started yelling.

He was yelling angry things
loud enough to disrupt the whole stadium.

I watched as first his wife,
then the security guards,
dragged him up the stairs
and out of the Marriott Center.

And I thought,
"Why would anyone do that?
That's so unkind."

And it was.

But it was also probably
the most American thing
that happened that evening.

Because that man
didn't have to fear being thrown in jail
and wasting away as a political prisoner
for the rest of his life.

Or worse,
being quickly executed
behind some building
and never heard of again.

That man had just as much right
to say how he feels
as anyone else.

He doesn't have the right to disrupt others
and no one has a moral right
to be so unkind.

But what happened there
was the messy side of democracy,
and I love that that side exists.

We'd be nowhere without it.