hah. lay. loo. yuh.

Hallelujah is a word that takes too long to say.
Double the syllables of “amen”, “bless you,” and “Jesus.”
Doesn’t slip out on accident, like “like” or “well” or “so.” 

Nah — Hallelujah demands a determined tongue, even if you’re screaming it, bleating out hot-as-fuck-seized-by-the-spirit-summer-swelter style — Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! 

Like possession. Like rapture.

Say it like that, and it sounds like you’re trying to climb out of a well, beat Jacob up his own ladder or put out the fire on the burning bush.

Or maybe you’re trying to start a fire yourself.

+ TWO +

Hallelujah won't ever have a case of mistaken identity.

No one’s going to approach Hallelujah from behind and say “‘Scuse me, I was wondering if — Oh, sorry, my bad. I thought you were someone else.”  Hallelujah can’t slip into a Silver Lake coffee shop all incognito, sunglasses and baseball hat. 

Shoulders too distinctive. Voice too familiar. 

It river-winds and drags its heels ‘cross your lips. Say it enough times and it’ll scrape all the enamel off your teeth. Hallelujah is precision heart-pump, methodical lung-breath, o’er and o’er.

Ready, aim, Hallelujah.
Ready, aim, Hallelujah.
Ready, aim, Hallelujah.


Hallelujah sounds like an out-of-tune piano. 
Sounds like the karaoke version of a popular song on the radio. 

Hallelujah is chasing the time-keeper down the rabbit hole, tumbling ass over teakettle into Ache-N-Wonder-Land.

Hallelujah, when sung, sounds clunky, clumsy. 
Sounds like you’re trying to say a word one size too big or too small for your mouth.

For your Heart. For your Spirit. For your Past. For your Present. 

Hallelujah, when sung, sounds rebellious, like you’re spitting in someone’s face or shoplifting.   

Sounds like it’s the only word you’ve ever known.
Sounds like you’re speaking a foreign tongue. 
Sounds like first words, like “mama” or “dada.”

Sounds like brass knuckles. 
Sounds like a white flag.
Sounds like a frantic shriek. Sounds like a fractured whisper.

+ FOUR +

Hallelujah feels like sub-sonic pulse, like a dog whistle.
Hallelujah feels like trying to pull a symphony from a stone.
Hallelujah feels like a batch of dynamite with a never-ending gunpowder fuse.

Hallelujah feels like seven bulls in seven china shops.

Hallelujah feels like singing an aria in the middle of a tornado.
Hallelujah feels like you’ve loosened a rabid dog, all drools and snarls and arrhythmic growls.
Hallelujah feels like you’re standing in the longest line in the grocery store on purpose.

Hallelujah feels like the person in front of you is paying for their bus fare with twenty-five dimes, one by one, and right around a buck-forty, they start checking all their pockets, muttering o’er and o’er, “I know I have the change somewhere. I know I have it somewhere.”

Hallelujah feels like you’re trying to smuggle in 100,000 other words across the border without anyone noticing — All the affection stuffed underneath your fishing gear — All the anxiety stuffed in the kid’s backpack — All the confusion jammed in the camping bags — All the mercy locked away in the cooler — All the wrath shoved in with your dirty socks.

Hallelujah feels like a Chinese New Year’s Dragon, with all the different words swirling and steering and giving life to its glorious body.

Hallelujah is a feather, suspended. 
Hallelujah is a jackhammer.

Hallelujah feels like a cosmos.

Hallelujah resembles the moment when you’re holding the door open for a couple, and then an old man, and then a family of four, and then some guy doing a delivery, and then someone late for a meeting, and no one’s saying “Thank You” because they’re all so busy on their smart-phones and they’re way into their own words and their own thoughts and their own fucking magnificence — but then a seven-year-old girl with a veil of animated angel hair bounds across the threshold, locks eyes with you and Glee-full, Joy-Full, shouts, “Thank You!”

+ FIVE +

Teach us words that sear our tongues like Isaiah’s coal.
Teach us words more ferocious than cat o’nine tails. 
Teach us words more mysterious and electric. 

Teach us labyrinth words — radiant and luminous words — pitch black, abyss words.
Teach us cavernous words.
Teach us multitude, choral words.

Teach us words with roots, words that spread wide and rise high, words that seize a building like organ pipes that, with each lunge and throb grow as wild ivy. 

Teach us lightning strike and thunder sonic-split words. 
Teach us words that burn but don’t consume. 
Teach us the words woven into us, fearfully and wonderfully. 
Teach us words that rent fabric and cleave rock, that part water and cause the blind to see.

+ SIX +

Teach us Hallelujah o’er and o’er.
Teach us Lost and Teach us Found.
Teach us Hallelujah o’er and o’er.
Teach us Smoke and Teach us Flame.
Teach us Hallelujah o’er and o’er.