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Inside Out Not Outside In

How can I gain the mind of Christ
When I still long for my old life?
So I remain in infancy.
No solid food can sustain me.

Why do I cater to my flesh
That yearns for more but receives less?
So I quiet His voice within.
And I live from the outside in.

Lord, please shatter my heart of stone
And Holy Spirit make your home
In my body and with my soul
So finally, my faith may grow
From milk to meat to be like you
And live the life you call me to.

Since you’ve revealed the mystery–
That your Spirit resides in me!
Help me then, when I may doubt,
To seek a life that’s inside out.

Inside out,  not outside in,
Oh cleanse me, Lord, from all my sin.

Brendan Quigley
See 1 Corinthians 2:10 – 3:3

Inspired by John Wood’s sermon from 9-18-16

But We have the Mind of Christ



Atop the Square (Oxford, MS)

It’s Sunday, mid-October.
   Fall has now begun–
      In spurts at least.
It’s hard to tell really
   What weather here
      In Mississippi
Will be like tomorrow.
   One thing is certain.
       As I sit atop the Square
With cars driving below me
    In the traffic loop
       Carved inside it,
It’s not ninety and hasn’t been
    This whole week
       For the first time since March.

A Midwestern sky has grayed
   This college town
And Autumn’s breeze has cooled
    Its southern ground.

I sit and write
Atop the Square
With coffee beside me
And bookstore below me.
It’s the only store open this Sabbath
Because students never rest.
They come here to study,
But don’t.

I’ll get to it eventually.
   Did you see that new book on Morris–
      The unread collection?

I’ll just read a little
And then get down to work.
His story’s like my own
About a boy and his dog.

I grew up like that
  And learned to count
     In fav’s, nan’s, and tin’s.
Then we moved away–up North
   To Dela-where? It didn’t matter where–
      Just north of here.

I lost my voice
But gained a heart
And learned to see beauty
Wherever God moved me.

Willie took me back
   And now I travel forward.
      I’ll graduate soon.

It’s Sunday, mid-October.
   Fall has now begun.
      My coffee is gone.
This break is done.
    Things must get finished.
        I’ll start right now.

Candy from a Bookstore

I strolled into Barnes and Noble last night,
Entering through the left-side of the double-doors.
Temptation urged me to push open both doors
Like Ben Wade in a Wild-West saloon.
The Marshall Law in me resisted.

As the single door swung shut behind me, I stopped.
Nobody stared.
It was nearly within reach—
The prized table of new releases
That even Wyatt Earp’s eye would envy.
It’s where I hope to reside one day as well,
If I can learn to replicate myself a few million times
In hardback form.

A Queen of Hearts caught my eye as I scanned the covers.
It had nothing to do with Texas Hold Em,
But perhaps Billy Collins bet all his chips
That I might defy wisdom and judge a book by its cover.
Before I knew it, I had a brief conversation with Collins.
Through his poems, he asked me where I was as I read him.
He was in Paris writing.  I was in a bookstore
Eavesdropping on his questions intended for buyers.
I hope he couldn’t hear my response.

Another cover called as I hung up on Collins.
The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss.
As the first page transported me to a Pennsylvania tavern
In the late 1700’s, a recurring thought haunted my reading.
If I was in a grocery store, would this be like stealing candy from a bin?
Maybe the outlaw in me doesn’t care, but I returned the book
To its foster home on the display table.
I promised to return for Collins and Liss’ creations, when they
reincarnate as paperbacks
With cheaper bounties.

BQ 2008


When I look at nature, I can see
How well you’ve dressed the lily.
Then in utter certainty,
I know how much you care for me.

But times do come when I lose focus
And I get caught within life’s circus.
When that occurs please remind me:
You bless those who wait for thee.

Heal my heart and my eyes.
Reveal your presence at my side,
Where you have been throughout my life—
Summer, winter, day, and night.

O God, to you I pray that I
Will give you all that I call mine
And as you lead me down life’s road,
I won’t think twice as I follow.

Though fear and danger will arrive,
Though death may come, I will abide,
As we travel side by side,
Hand in hand, and stride by stride.

Written 99-00, Freshman Yr @ Millsaps – BQ

Coffee-Shop Kind of Girl

Sitting in the corner of the café down the street, 
He settled at a table and tried to be discreet. 
He saw her from the window as he passed by the shop 
And thought he needed something with a double shot. 
She was busy reading a book by Kerouac  —
Searching for an idea for a tattoo on her back. 
He went to the counter and asked for pen and paper 
And started on a poem that he would publish later.
The words weren’t coming to him for a little while,
‘Til she caught him looking and they traded smiles. 
Feelings rose inside them like a cappuccino’s foam 
And he started brewing – ideas for this new poem. 
She’s a coffee shop kind of girl 
Sipping on her Mocha Swirl. 
Cream and sugar just fit her bill 
And caffeine makes the time stand still. 
She stirs him up when their eyes meet. 
Making life a little light and sweet. 
She’s a coffee shop kind of girl. 
He wouldn’t trade her for the world. 

Then the waitress passing by whispered in a breath 
“You won’t get her name, son, if you don’t take a step.” 
Courage built inside him and he rose up from his chair 
Slowly walking up to her, followed through the dare. 
She had finished reading when he said, “Hello, 
I’m sorry to disturb you but I couldn’t let you go. 
The moment that I saw you, I had to write this song 
Cupid’s voice was singing before his words were gone. 
My pen becomes his arrow pointed at your heart 
And shoots with hopes to kindle – a simple kind of spark.” 
She smiled at him warmly and offered him a seat 
Sitting in the corner of the café down the street. 
She’s a coffee shop kind of girl 
Sipping on her Mocha Swirl. 
Cream and sugar just fit her bill 
And caffeine makes the time stand still. 
She stirs him up when their eyes meet. 
Making life a little light and sweet. 
She’s a coffee shop kind of girl. 
He wouldn’t trade her for the world.

The Elephant Inside

We lived. We laughed. We lied. 
We longed for love that died 
The day we hid behind 
The elephant inside. 

Insatiably it dined, 
As the peanuts of our pride 
Relentlessly supplied 
The elephant inside. 
“Feed him more!” We cried. 
“His size will help us hide.” 
His presence plagues our lives– 
The elephant inside. 

Written in 10th grade, ’96-’97


Cliché scene
College town
Andy Warhol
Would be proud

Turn what is
Into what isn’t
Art is in
The perception
Bridge at night,
Can of soup
Miss Monroe

Snaps the scene
Edits pixels
Like a dream
Lighten here
Sharpen there
Ansel Adam’s

Post and share
Like it or not
Do you care?

Art is in
The perception
As you scroll
Take a second


Song and
Sometimes need
A second’s chance

To speak