Everything I Wanted to Say to Him August 11th at the Local McDonald’s

I was ten minutes late to the best night of my life —
the night I sat across a booth from a boy in plaid
who, in a moment of pure poetic clarity,
told me God is a place.

((But more about that later))

Across the table, I studied you like a student
confronted with a new philosophy.
I wanted to take you apart and see how you worked,
hold your gears in my hands and watch them turn,
is there a beating heart at the base of this machine?
Hey, I see you –
past the anarchist, past the guitarist, past the angry wayward poet,
I peel off the skin and get to the core of your apple,
the cream, the vanilla, everything that is sweet and milky about you.

But hey, can you take me to God?
Do you have His address?
Can you drop me off on the doorstep
and ring the bell?

You see, the Christians – they’ve got it all wrong, you say.
I’ve stumbled across God in grocery stores
more often than in churches,
I’ve seen His face more clearly in tree bark than in stained glass windows.
God is a park bench every homeless man stops to rest his broken beaten body
God is a car with a stalled engine, abandoned on the side of the freeway
God is a dumpster on the corner of Despair and Anguish Avenue
where humanity throws away its hurt and its suffering –
to understand God, you have to crawl in and sit amongst the garbage –
I have been inside the mind of God,
have you ever been INSIDE God?

Your eyes are electric with the question
they pick me up and turn me over like an hourglass
and I watch in amazement as my sand starts flowing
who knew time was so alive
who knew it could be resurrected
who knew flipping everything upside down
could get you running properly again?

You’re too busy dismantling my world
to see how hopelessly, stupidly in love with you I am –

because you’re ME turned inside out,
and I want to understand you the way
a skeleton craves understanding of its body –
how do you hold it all IN?
You are an inversion,
an upside-down, inside-out,
tangled knot in a ball of yarn
and I want to see everything
from your perspective.

Where do you end?
How deep do you go?
You are a well I could drop a stone into
and never hear it hit bottom.

God is a noun –
person, place, or thing –
you remind me that God is a concept
we’ve never stopped trying
to slap a label on.

Oh, and thank you for pulling me outside
after we had already said goodbye
and pointing upwards and saying
LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL THE SKY IS RIGHT NOW
and it was a curtain half-eaten by moths
and Van Gogh’s Starry Night blue –

God, did you know how beautiful you were?
Your eyes glistening like a child seeing a firefly for the first time
your hand callous and sweaty over mine
because you couldn’t leave, you couldn’t drive away
without showing me the sky first.

Did you mean it when you said God is a place?
God is a place, you said,
God is a place –
well, I’ve been on the hunt –
find me in your local graveyard,
tripping over tombstones –
searching for a living voice
in the lost land of the dead –

In France I drove through a field of sunflowers,
their heads all raised in the same direction
as if looking to heaven for answers –
so when you think of sunflowers,
I hope you think of us

and that night we stood shoulder-to-shoulder
beholding that blessing of a night sky

I don’t think God’s a person,
I think He’s somewhere you are –
and there we were standing
in God’s beating heart

You told me God is a place –
I think God is a McDonald’s parking lot
and tonight I’m coming home to Him.

I must apologize for my extended absence. I’m starting my first year of college, and it has left little time for poetry.

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