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What We’re Doing Here by Julie VanDerVeen Van Til

Hello.

Just now

you turned your attention

from the blustery

fog flipping newspaper pages

strewn on the sidewalk’s edge to this

 

screen

typed

black on white

avoiding questions already posed by

the ocean chill in the air out there

 

by yellow flowered

weeds poking up through cement cracks

 

by a mild throb pulsing between your hairline and eyebrows

bent on reminding you the conversation you just ended isn’t over

 

Oh

I see what we’re doing here

 

the habitual

scroll

click

slide

fixes your eyes

assures you an answer to the anxious what’s next

 

no worry just

scroll

click

slide

 

now a page has slipped free from the stack

tripping

skipping over itself

brushing softly the side door of a black sedan

a lumbering woman detours toward the pages that remain

peers for a minute at flapping images like a moving picture show

then pivots to walk on

 

your phalanges and metacarpals continue the

scroll click slide

tensed in relentless circular motion

bits of pent up mental emotional spiritual

stress

released and retracted

 

yo-yoed out and

back again

 

out and

back again

 

afraid really

afraid to be freed

from the gravity of distraction

an orbit of your own choosing

 

Let’s try something

 

Take the first finger and thumb of one hand

slide its skin

over the skin of the swiping hand

 

lightly

teasing cells

tingling nerves

awake

 

I’m serious –

inch your way to the edge of this orbit

counteract your own force

swing your legs off the side of the spinning merry go round

and slide

slide

slide right off this screen to

trip and skip over yourself down the sidewalk

 

Sure the gritty surface will

skin knees and bang up bones

but I bet

better questions

await you there than

what we’re doing here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rev. Julie VanDerVeen Van Til is a native Mid-westerner living in San Francisco as a pastor, coach, and mom of middle schoolers. She doesn’t claim to be a poet but embraces practices like this to keep her connected to her own soul as she helps others connect to theirs.

 

 

Julie Vander Veen Van Til

Julie Vander Veen Van Til is pastor of community life at City Church San Francisco. She and her husband, Andrew, have two children.

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