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Shawn MacKay
Lives in Spokane, Washington
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Shawn MacKay

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Many of you have only ever known me as a vegan. I made that decision almost exactly two years ago. I don’t regret it, but it’s time for a change. Here are 10 observations I’ve made on this journey.

1. Vegan food is AWESOME.

With the exception of some artificial cheeses (yuck!) and most Tofurkey products (cue gut detonation in five, four...), vegan foods taste pretty darn fantastic. In fact, I enjoy many vegan dishes better than their meaty counterparts. My vegan Pad Thai rivals that of any restaurant, for example. Kung Pao, lasagna, chili… vegan versions are often just as good, if not better, and easier on the stomach! Overall, I highly recommend adding at least a few recipes to your repertoire. 

2. Eating vegan FEELS GOOD.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence so many people I know at all stages of life have suddenly developed allergies to milk in the past couple years. Who knows what chemicals those cows are eating?

Within a couple weeks of going vegan, I felt amazing. I didn’t feel sluggish, I had less digestive issues, plenty of energy, and lost a lot of weight. I just plain FEEL BETTER eating vegan. That’s good enough reason to do it. 

3. I actually have self control!!

I don’t believe anyone loves cheese more than I do. The amount of cheese I used to consume is downright grotesque. And obviously, I don’t have trouble packing away the calories. So the prospect of going without dairy altogether was really scary. I wasn’t sure I could do it.

But I can! I can actually say no to things I like because I want to be healthy! This is a big deal. Regardless of which health regimen I choose, I now believe I can actually succeed. That feels awesome. 

4. Restaurants don’t have enough options.

For instance, Applebees does not have ONE meat-free item on the menu. I couldn’t even find a salad without meat. A freakin’ SALAD. Seriously, Applebees??

5. Meat is not important.

I got more protein as a vegan than I ever did as a carnivore. That’s because I pay attention to what I eat and make adjustments. This really shouldn’t be a surprise. Some of the world’s largest, muscular creatures are herbivores. 

6. Just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. 

Fritos are vegan. They’re also more than 800 calories per small bag. That’s over ⅓ the calories a man my size should eat in an entire day. 

7. The REAL enemies are oil and sugar.

We consume way too much oil and sugar. Vegan or not, that’s what will put on the pounds and kill your immune system. What works for EVERYONE is a whole foods diet that strongly minimizes processed junk. 

8. Health should be the focus, not rules. 

Too often my choice is junk or vegan junk. If I’m going to eat junk anyway, I might as well eat whatever sounds tastiest. 

But really, it’s okay to treat yourself once in a while. 

9. It isn’t fun any more. 

I love learning about food and trying new recipes. But when your lifestyle feels like a punishment, you’re going to resent it. And then you make stupid choices. 

For my body, going meat- and dairy-free is a good choice. Going without milkshakes forever is a bad deal. I believe in compromise. 

10. Ham and cheese.

Let’s face it, the ham and cheese sandwich is possibly man’s greatest invention. Also, I don’t mean to brag (okay, maybe I do), but I make some of the best grilled sandwiches this side of, well, Earth. I miss them. 

IN CONCLUSION, I am STILL going to prefer the meat-free option and cut down on dairy. Don’t try to feed me steak, I never liked the stuff. 

The point is, I like feeling good. I want to keep feeling good. 
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Shawn MacKay

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Like Honey Surprises

like honey surprises
my taste buds with its sweetness
you always surprise me
with such saccharine delights
the way you overwhelm my tongue
with the purest language
soothe my throat
raw from trying to be heard
the way you stick to all of me
I could not quickly get away
if I wanted to

you are my oil lamp in
dry, dark places
dread flees your company
and you show phantoms to be
but mere shadows
at your touch my shame
withers and blackens to nothing
the ashen remains
of every letter written goodbye
carried off by your
whispers of grace
in your arms
I forget every accusation I
ever made against myself

you are better than a hundred lovers
or a hundred years with one
you are better than a thousand “I love you”s
a moment of your kindness
changes my life forever

Holy Spirit, my eternal delight
manifest here, make all things bright
do whatever you want
your affection spare none
no corner not illuminated
no sweetness undone

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Shawn MacKay

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charlie first

i met charlie first
but time, pages, and tears said
kurt’s the better man

for Kurt Olson
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dealt a weak hand before
she kept me a stone’s throw away
and tried her arm

i was happy to lose face for her
but she painted me all wrong --
i’m no joker

my likeness was true, but she
would never know it
she broke her reflection
seven and a half years bad marriage

let’s get this straight
god doesn’t play dice, he plays cards
and love is always a gamble
if she could fold on him
she could fold on me
and so could you

bet on this
my line of sight is unbroken
and he fixes my portraits
my pile of chips gets bigger, but
i never learned to bluff

i’ve played enough rounds to know

always pay to see god’s hand
he splits the pot

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Shawn MacKay

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C.S. Lewis (a clerihew)

Clive Staples Lewis
was hardly clueless
Despite all his fiction
he was merely a Christian

H.P. Lovecraft (a clerihew)

H.P. Lovecraft knew less of affection
than vivisection
His heart, which couldn’t be poorer,
wrote the richest horror

Carl Jung (a clerihew)

Carl Jung, it would seem,
was a psychoanalyst’s dream
His imagination was ripe,
but Freud wasn’t his type

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Shawn MacKay

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Drink It In

drink it in
drink as much as you want
no more begging
no more sand-scraped knees
scratched throat
pushing through dry cisterns
for any drop of relief
here is living water
here is power
drink till your anxieties drown
till your sundial sinks
you’ve only started
feel that current
soothe your parched soul
rush away the pain
drink to your health
drink your peace
this Spirit is love
these hands bring rivers
in which fears dissolve
and people spring to life
drink hope restored
strength renewed
the fountain now
is yours, as well

today answered prayer looks like me
tomorrow it will look like you
so drink it in

Shawn MacKay's profile photoRebekah Lozano's profile photo
I don't need "verbal" comments, but I'll take them! Thank you. :) It always makes me feel like I've done something worthwhile when a poem I've written touches someone.
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Shawn MacKay

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Songs of Birds

She called herself a songbird
friend to the nuthatches, grosbeaks, and chickadee-dee-dees
she spent hours with them
building homes, making special dishes of food,
planting flowers for them

And they knew her
robins would walk across the grass
a mere five feet away, keeping pace
whenever she was out doing yard work
they weren't pulling up worms, they were
following her, keeping her company
I would watch her step out onto the patio
and call, "Come on, birdies!"
and they would come
the bluebirds for their meal worms
goldfinches for their sunflower seeds and
quail for the remains they scattered
house finches couldn't resist rock salt
nor chickadees chopped walnuts

I learned so much about birds

Did you know
with enough patience and understanding
you can have chickadees and goldfinches
eat from your hand?
The hard part isn't holding the seed
or the hours waiting for them to get used to you -
it's the realization that
no matter how well they know you
how many times you've called and they have come
when they get too close, instinct takes over
and for one, awful moment you are
no better than a hawk, a predator

You can't take it personally, you're
up against a lifetime of survival

Sometimes a lifetime is too much
for you to make a new life together

My hand outstretched with what she needed
over seven years, losing count of awful moments
I finally lost to a lifetime of survival

I can't take it personally, but
I do

Two years since she flew away
I have no patio, no garden
but a house full of love
my days swell with friendship, if not children
and every sunrise promises a new freedom
not free as a bird, trapped by instinct
free from bitterness, free from
a life defined by wounds

This morning I realized
I do enjoy the songs of birds


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Shawn MacKay

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I Remember You

you were the first poet i met in spokane
the slam at scout
you found me inching toward signups
“it’s refreshing to see a new face”, you said
i’ve seen several since
a hundred hungry souls
pouring out hymns of human frailty
a weekly congregation
made strong together
vulnerable together, beautiful
i count myself blessed, and
blessed again to remember
you were the first

you were my first prom date
i wore 50s casual
you wore undead andy warhol
we danced the sun down on the saranac rooftop
do you remember how i smiled?
do you remember kicking off summer at chairs?
over conversations about forgiveness
and healing?

you make those tally marks
“am i worth it?”
count this
count me
i remember you
and i pray it’s a litany of years
before lands and lives divide
and all i can do
is remember

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Back To Joy

you are one of the best people i know
you are like disneyland
without the weird gender stereotypes
with you, everything good is a given
honesty is your welcome mat
not afraid of a little dirt
kindness is complimentary
generosity is obvious like oatmeal cookies
because people who don’t like oatmeal cookies
obviously don’t understand friendship, or life,
or really much of anything
you are like mr. rogers
if mr. rogers was a woman
or at least if he was an instant party
who looked great in yellow
every child loves you
and every grown-up loves the child in you
i hope you have a hundred children
who grow up exactly like you
because the world needs that
most days, God looks like you
not in the way poets
never get tired of God the metaphor
but in the way you never get tired of God,
or love, or the supernatural, or
bringing your friends back to joy
and i never get tired of you
my friend, no matter where you go,
to seattle, or africa,
may everything good be a given
and may God always
bring you back to joy

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I don’t know how to explain
  it’s like light becomes liquid
 He floods my room
   I soak in His radiance
     and prism out, brilliant

here are my colors

Remember I said you would not have to be alone
   Or, if you can, recall a time I did not care
      You don’t have to earn this
         Give me your attention and I will give you lovingkindness
      Bring me your hurts, your illness, and I will bring healing
   Interpret your dreams, invite meaningful coincidences
Very little I won’t stretch across heaven to get you

I am a rainbow
I am this promise
   I will flood your world with goodness
   until you see light

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His And Always

tick tock tick
I don’t have the time tock to
believe living without tick regret
means tock I make good tick decisions
I don’t tock have the time tick to
pretend tock this is easy
tick I can do it tock on my own
tick and it doesn’t matter
tock who watches me sleep tick at night
if I don’t tock find the eye tick in the storm tock
these waves tick, this wind tock, they’re too tick much tock
if tick He tock doesn’t tick hold tock me, tick I tock fall apart
but if I listen... th-thump
pressed into His embrace
th-thump hear is strength th-thump
it resonates th-thump through me
until th-thump my body broadcasts th-thump the sound
th-thump His voice th-thump in my throat th-thump
shushes the th-thump huricane and th-thump
commands peace

He belongs to me, He is mine
I am safe in this eternal moment
I run out of time into His arms
His and always

Rebekah Lozano's profile photo
"I run out of time and into His arms." Such a beautiful picture. Loved this.
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Shawn MacKay

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(Part three of a three part poem)

The Wonder

When it comes to past relationships, 
"experience" means "damage"
Makes it easier to put me back on the shelf
ask for a discount
Divorce stuck me with a warning label
people see before they read my ingredients
I've healed, I'm fine, but 
nobody expects the best from used goods

I need new packaging

In one day, three friends at different times bragged
how grateful for their husbands 
and proud of them they are
I wasn't jealous
I imagined myself in each man’s place
and thought, “I wonder what that feels like.”

I wonder what it feels like
to belong to someone
happy with her purchase
who doesn't talk about other men
like she's still shopping
doesn't threaten to
return me for a refund
someone without buyer's remorse
someone who thinks I'm a good deal
can't believe her luck
can't believe there's one of me left
I wonder what it feels like
to be someone's treasure

I wonder how it feels
to have someone equally enthralled with Jesus
for whom divine ecstasy is a way of life
someone not scared of the supernatural
not comfortable with mindless routine
someone who prays with me 
and means it

I wonder what it's like to
partner with someone who makes it okay
to have feelings
who doesn't say I'm crazy
doesn't tell me to "man up"
doesn't think art is useless
someone who ordered an emotional journey for two
shares the spotlight 
for a life-long duet

I wonder what it feels like
to live for someone
who doesn’t expect me to play 
her father, her ex, or that guy from
her favorite book or movie
who isn’t trying to figure out
which porno I want her to re-enact
someone who doesn’t have us planned
someone who trusts 
we’ll figure it out as we go 
it’s going to be alright
we love each other

I wonder how it feels
to know someone who
doesn’t think sex is dirty
someone who never regrets intimacy
never withholds affection
Let's drink love neat, not cold, not diluted with shame
Let's hold each other high and toast the Maker of Eden
God made us naked
the devil made us embarrassed about it

I wonder what it feels like
to love someone so forever
getting pregnant wouldn’t be such a bad thing
someone who actually wants 
to create new life with me
I wonder what it's like
to have children who look like me

I guess what I'm trying to say is
nodody has ever given me what I've tried to give them
I wonder what that feels like

If I wrap myself with
enough hope and inexperience
would anyone buy it?
not that I want to make someone pay
I want to be valuable
Could my second-hand heart
be someone's first choice?

I hope someone knows
that for all I wonder
I still believe
in the wonder of love

Shawn MacKay's profile photoRebekah Lozano's profile photo
Thank you. :) <3
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Have him in circles
259 people
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Spokane, Washington
Richmond, British Columbia - East Vancouver, British Columbia - Camrose, Alberta - Grand Forks, British Columbia - Deer Park, Washington
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