1.  Illuminating The Obvious

 

 Henry and Leopold

(Winner, ‘International Library of Poetry’ contest.  Featured in the compilation of poems, “Forever Spoken”, 2007)


 
The old bulldog

did a practiced imitation

of his ageing keeper,

but he still had a jump or two left

in his hind legs,

and a few frolics percolating

in his otherwise tired disposition,

whereas the old man had all but

exhausted his own.

 

What they still shared, however,

was that common, but uncanny

physical resemblance

honed quietly, but carefully

through years spent living alone

together.

 

Barking at the TV.

 

 

 
A Warm Heart

 
A warm heart cannot be broken.

A heart only breaks if it’s brittle.

 

 

 

 

Bird Bath

 

Quite active today.

 

Sparrows splashing around

like children

in a summer puddle.

 

Like adolescent boys

in a backyard swimming pool

trying to impress the girls.

 

Like men bragging about

conquests they never really

made.

 

Like those women

flapping their lips every morning

on The View.

 

 

 

 

It Made Me Wonder

 

She sat on the grass

filing her nails

with a big emery board

closer to the size of

an ironing board

than a nail file.

 

And she had a bag

full of other stuff

in a support role.

 

It made me wonder

how men manage to get through life

with just a Swiss Army knife.

 

And a remote control

to change the channel.

 

 

 

 

Moving Earth Around

 

An old red tractor
tearing up the field,

digging up the rocks,

filling holes,

moving earth around,

turning it over.

 

Like your therapist does

for 50 minutes

twice a week.

 

 

 

 

An Autumn Day

 

An old red barn

standing in a field.

 

An old chestnut mare

leaning on the fence.

 

An old oak tree

providing her shade.

 

An old creek bed

winding it’s way by the barn,

 

by the horse,

by the tree.

 

An old farmer

sitting on the porch,

 

half asleep.

 

 

 

 

Left Unspoken

 

There’s something

to be said

for not saying

anything at all.

 

 

 

 

Selective Hearing

 

The people lost their way

when they followed the sound

of their own echo.

 

 

 

 

4th of July

 

Everybody loves a parade.

 

Nice to see people all moving

in the same direction

 

for a change.

 

 

 

 

What I Just Said

 

I don’t mean anything I say.

Including what I just said.

 

 

 

 

Moss On A Rock

 

A soft exterior.

Like a down coat

on a hard man.

 

 

 

 

Halves

 

Half moon

in a midnight sky.

It’s half dark

but half light.

 

If you’re half dim

You’re half bright.

Hey, half wet

is half dry.

 

If you’re half wrong

you’re half right.

But a half truth

is still a half lie.

 

 

 

 

Silly Reasons to Smile

 

1. Your teeth might like some fresh air.

2. The frown police are in the neighborhood.

3. Your life could actually be an audition

for a network anchor job.

 

 

 

 

Newspapers

 

We can’t believe

everything we read

in the papers.

 

What we really need

is a newspaper

that tells us

what we can believe,

and what we can’t

 

in the other papers.

 

 

 

 

Obituary


He died

at the end of his life.

 

 

 

 

The Lobby *

 

Life is where

they keep you

while they’re making up

your room.

 

 

 

 

Regards to Carl Sandburg

 

You must have been

an interesting man

what with such profound

experience and all.

 

Your candid observations

have most frequently escaped

the thoughts of

others who have looked upon

similar situations

but without the vision

you had.

 

That sight lacking,

those who looked saw

only ordinary glass

when you saw

 

diamonds.

 

 

 

 

Ties

 

Men.

They wear those

fancy ties,

proud

of their distinguished color,

shape and size.

 

The Great American

Phallic Symbol.

 

Hanging

like the naked truth.

Exposed

to the admiring eye

of strangers.

 

They’re carefully

straightened,

gently stroked,

and readily available

for friendly gals

 

to pull on.

 

 

 

 

Struggle For the Preservation

of Our Uniqueness

 

 

Don’t expect me to be like you

cause I don’t like you expecting me to.

 

And I’ll not expect you to be like me

cause that would be one too many of me

 

and one too few of you.

 

 

 

 

A little Rain

 

I’ve heard it said,

On every life

a little rain must fall.

 

But why do some

get drenched

while others

barely get their feet

 

wet?

 

 

 

 

No Earth

 

Carpet to

concrete to

car to

concrete to

carpet.

 

No earth be-

tween my toes.

 

 

 

 

In the Same Shoes

 

Even dreamers die

like everybody else.

 

Death holds no regard

for who we are

or what we’ve done,

or want to do.

 

And it will not delay

it’s coming for a pauper,

 

as it hasn’t for the king.

 

 

 

The Correct Time

 

The clocks are set

for the correct time now.

 

They are not five minutes fast

(as they have been)

for the sake of being

on time.

 

And I am not pretending

I can fool myself

anymore.

 

 

 

 

Lazy Minds

 

It seems we’re given

equal measure,

comparable skill

to view things clearly,

to see inside.

 

But some don’t see

beneath the surface,

some don’t look,

and some don’t even

try.

 

Lazy eyes

make lazy minds.

 

 

 

 

News

 

They always say,

The news is not that bad,

when

the news is not that good.

 

 

 

 

Mirrors

 

I can’t really see

them.

 

Only myself

in them.

 

And the room

I’m in.

 

 

 

 

Comfort Zone

 

We love the dawn and the dusk,

the suspicion and the trust,

the east and the west,

the right and the left,

the north and the south,

the up and the down,

the quiet and the loud,

the sky and the ground,

the short and the long,

the right and the wrong,

the soft and the hard,

the house and the yard,

the truth and the lie,

the black and the white,

the good and the bad,

the happy and the sad,

the short and the tall,

the big and the small,

the broad and the narrow,

the bone and the marrow,

the high and the low,

the hot and the cold,

the yes and the no

the adversary and the foe.

 

But if the truth be told, I know,

we all prefer the status quo.

That is our one safe place,

our sacred comfort zone.

 

 

 

 

Sleeping Cat

 

Over in the corner

by the fan.

 

It’s hot today.

 

The cat lays around

because he

can.

 

 

 

 

Computer Virus

 

Scares us.

 

Makes us buy

all kinds of

anti-virus

stuff.

 

Maybe that’s

the real

 

virus.

 

 

 

 

Socks

 

They keep my ankles warm

in winter.

 

But as socks are want to do,

sometimes one gets lost.

 

Occasionally,

when I feel something significant

is missing in my life

I’ll eventually come to realize that

it’s probably just the other sock.

And I feel better.

 

 

 

 

Cell Phones

 

You can hang up.

 

But you can never

disconnect.

 

 

 

 

No Cell Phones

 

What’s so bad

 

about being

out of touch?

 

 

 

 

Don’t Expect the Unexpected

 

If you expect the unexpected

doesn’t that invalidate it altogether?

 

 

 

 

The Wind

 

Like love,

we cannot see it.

 

We can only feel it,

and observe

the manifestation

of it’s presence.

 

 

 

 

Fear

 

We can only see

what we are willing

to look at.

 

Everything else

remains in

darkness.

 

It does not exist

for us.

 

 

Our world is

constricted

 

 

by our fear.

 

 

 

 

Due Dates




They give us

an opportunity

to be late




when we’d otherwise

never even know that

we were.

 

 

 

 

Loss,

 

like a coin,

has an opposite side.




All coins turn

in time.

 

 

 

 

Virtues

 

Faith.

You become

what you believe.

 

Hope.

A desire to reach

your dream.

 

Charity.

You give

what you don’t need.

 

Love.

Unfortunately,

a conditional state of being.

 

 

 

 

The Garden

 

Reflective of

the love invested.




The time,

and the knowledge.

 

It lives or dies

by that investment.

 

Like we do.

 

 

 

 

My Eyes Glaze Over

 

There are no problems

here.

 

There are only insurmountable

odds.

 

 

 

 

Death of Philosophy

 

There’s nothing left

to say.

It’s all been said

before

 

except

the silence.

 

 

 

 

The Chaos Theory

 

Put a hundred restless people

in a room somewhere.

 

Bore them into lethargy

with speeches.

 

No more chaos there.

 

 

 

 

Potholes

 

Carved in the rock

by rivers of time.

 

Like parents molded

our demeanor.

 

Without thinking.

 

 

 

 

Psychic Squalor

 

The ghetto where we end up living

when we fail to make our spiritual

mortgage.

 

 

 

 

Time *

 

They say,

Time heals all wounds.

 

It does not. But,

time does eventually

wound all heels.

 

I said that.

 

 

 

 

Nothing More

 

Some see what they’re looking at,

some see what they’re looking for,

and others only see what’s missing.

 

Nothing more.

 

 

 

 

The Public Domain

 

You parked your boat

in front of me,

just offshore from my

blanket.

 

An intrusion of

my privacy.

An obstruction of

my view.

 

As if this were not

my lake.

 

 

 

 

Nature Interrupted

 

Soft clouds formed slowly

on a perfect sky,

giving it depth

and dimension.

 

Like wrinkles used to do

on your face.

 

Before you had it

stretched.

 

 

 

 

Off In the Distance

 

Everything is off

In the distance.

 

Except the smudge

on the lens

of the glasses

on my face.

 

 

 

 

Finding My Way Home

 

Turn left.

Go straight.

Then left again.

Straight some more before

turning left.

Then straight,

and one more left.

 

Stop where you

began.

 

 

 

 

The Truth About Lying

 

The lie becomes truth

to the liar.

 

Robbing him

of his own equilibrium.

 

 

 

 

No Need For the Great

Death Penalty Debate

 

Justice comes

on the wings of

a buzzard.

 

Mercy on the wings

of a dove.

 

 

 

 

Domestic Terror

 

An F-16 roared overhead,

outracing the sound of it’s own

dominance.

Leaving behind a sky torn asunder

by it’s passing.

 

Like a developer

moving swiftly through the heart

of another small town.

 

 

 

 

Corner Post

 

An old corner fence post

stood alone in the field,

weathered, worn down,

but standing.

Unlike the other stakes

long fallen,

it had been planted deep,

and fortified

in order to support the wire stretched

far and wide

from it’s now slumping

 

shoulders.

 

 

 

 

My Aching Back

 

Oh, aching back,

you’re back.

You torment me

periodically.

 

Like an obnoxious

neighbor.

 

You’re a regular pain

in the ass.

 

 

 

 

At The End Of The Evening

 

Someone gave us a ticket

to this dance,

and eventually somebody will

show us the door.

 

But at the end of the evening

it will have all been about

what we left out there on the floor.

 

 

 

 

The Rocks Were Naked

 

The rocks were naked

long before we noticed.

 

Clothed only with a soft moss

to keep them warm for the winter.

 

 

 

 

I Like All the Oranges

 

I like all the oranges

hanging in bunches

on the tree.

Branches heavy laden

beneath the weight.

Fruit begging to be taken,

beseeching every passerby

to take a few,

to pick at least one or two,

to lighten the load

on it’s limbs.

 

To ease the pain

of it’s aching back.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Forget

To Remember It

 

No time like

the last time.

The next time

might not come.

 

 

 

 

February 29th

 

There’s an extra day

in February this year.

29 days, rather than

the usual 28.

 

I wonder if it’s an

optional day,

or if it’s mandatory that

we use it.

 

If it were optional

I could choose to skip it

for now,

move right into March,

then add it on to the end

of my life,

 

when I’d be more inclined

to want an additional day

or two.

 

 

 

 

Thursday

 

I’ve always liked Thursday.

It’s the sound of the word.

Like a slow curve on a mountain road.

It just feels good.

 

It’s that it’s not the beginning,

middle, or even the end of the week,

but somewhere in between,

on the downhill side.

 

It’s the day before the day

before the weekend.

You say Thursday the same way

you might say groovy, or forgiveness.

 

Yeah, I like Saturday,

but Thursday’s the best.

 

 

 

 

If I Only Had Half The Time

 

I have just a quick minute

to write what I’ve been wanting

to say.

 

But if I only had about half that time

I would say it more succinctly, and

I’d still have the other half left

to write something else I’ve been

meaning to say.

 

And if I could say that

in half the time. . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

Well, never mind.

 

 

 

 

While I Ride Herd

 

Clouds laying up gracefully

in an amber sky,

mountains tracing the

unambiguous horizon,

cows moving quietly

about the meadow

 

while I ride herd

from my hammock.

 

 

 

 

Intelligent Design

Vs. Random Happenstance

 

The Pyramids

Vs. The Lottery

 

 

 

 

Waiting

 

Cows.

 

Waiting.

 

For Nothing.

 

Just waiting.

 

Just lazing.

 

Some might say,

Lazy good for nothings.

 

I say, Waiting

is enough,

in, and of, itself.

 

 

 

 

Rock on the Path

 

I can’t walk

on the path.

Cause there’s a rock

in the way.

 

Relationships

have been abandoned

for less.

 

 

 

 

Another Swig of Coffee

 

From the pot to the cup

to the lips to the gut

to help the body get in gear,

and the head to get

the work done.

 

 

 

 

Pleasure of the Ride

 

Our horses followed the trail

for hours,

steady, confident,

unflinching.

Like mules carrying gear

up the mountain.

Canteen slung low

across my back,

cowboy hat casually shading

my weathered face,

spurs jingle jangling

in rhythm with our own gait,

pistol strapped high on my hip

in case of an encounter

with a hell-bent bandit,

a nasty rattlesnake,

an angry bear,

or a mountain lion

with nefarious intentions.

 

I came prepared

for both the danger,

and for the pleasure

of the ride.

 

 

 

 

Another Little Barn

 

We buy these little barns

to store all the stuff that we

collect.

 

When a barn gets filled up,

rather than give some stuff

to someone who has less than us,

we just buy another little

barn.

 

And fill it up.

 

 

 

 

Parking Confusion

 

The curbs are painted

blue and green,

some kind of environmental thing.

I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean.

They never mentioned it

in traffic school.

 

But I like it better this way

rather than the concrete gray curbs

that commonly line

most of the other streets,

 

displaying the usual limited imagination

of our elected officials.

 

 

 

 

There Was A Time

 

Blue skies

beneath a myriad of satellites

flying by overhead,

keeping an eye on

the weather

 

so they can tell us

if we need to wear

a coat.

 

I remember a time

when we could figure

that out for

ourselves.

 

 

 

 

Trust

 

It will rust

if you neglect it,

if you just let it lay

out in the rain.

 

Needs to be rubbed up

on occasion,

with love, some tenderness,

 

and a good chamois.

 

 

 

 

Inordinate Privilege

 

Everything is lined up

in order.

 

Either in order of privilege,

in order of appearance,

or in order of importance.

 

Same thing I suppose.

 

 

 

 

Clothes Enough

 

Those of us with clothes enough

for every occasion

 

have reason to clothe those who don’t

with at least a warm winter coat.

 

A pair of gloves, and some wool socks

from the top drawer wouldn’t hurt anybody

either.

 

 

 

 

Awakening

 

Creaky old train

bouncing through the fields

on a clear winter morning,

shaking the sleep from my bones,

the fog from my dreams.

 

Awakening the light that is

within me,

the life that is

without me.

 

Like a cup of old

coffee.

 

 

 

 

A Big N. O.

 

He called with

a big N.O.

That’s No, he said.

 

Rigid.

Can’t tolerate any change

in the status quo.

 

Even though it would mean

participation in the stream

of blessing.

 

I feel bad for him.

 

 

 

 

The Waiting Room

 

Waiting

in the waiting room,

where there is no room, really,

to do anything

but wait.

 

 

 

 

Sterile Environment

 

I’m reluctant to touch

anything here,

for fear its austere disposition

might contaminate me.

 

 

 

 

Inevitable Reduction

 

She wanted to know

how tall I was.

I told her I was 6’ 3”,

but that was before shrinkage.

 

I’m 6’2” now,

and well aware that 6’ 3”

was as tall as I was

ever going to be.

 

Age not only reduces the days

we have left on earth,

but it cuts us down to size

as well.

 

 

 

 

Around In Circles

 

Around in circles she ran.

Like a hamster on a wheel.

Like a junkie getting high.

Like a dog chasing his tail.

Like a man seeking love

in a strip club.

 

 

 

 

Rest-Less

 

I’m restless from

too much rest.

 

I guess I just need to

rest less.

 

 

 

 

Fishermen

 

They sit on rock

by the water

holding a familiar

rod.

 

 

 

 

Your Love Is Like Lightening

 

Lightening strikes

where it will.

 

And when it wants.

 

After all, it’s not on a timer,

and it’s not in our control.

 

It’s lightning, for

Christ’s sake.

 

It’ll do whatever it likes.

 

 

 

 

Waiting In Line

 

Like killing time

that lingers too long,

refusing to die.

 

 

 

 

Dog People

 

Dogs and Geiger counters

scouring the beach

for anything of interest, really.

 

Intent on making that elusive find,

that treasure buried just out of sight.

Minds on overdrive, on high alert,

eyes stretched wide.

 

Noses in the dirt,

working overtime.

 

 

 

 

Dog Vs. Slick Hardwood Floors

 

Trying to walk on slick hardwood floors

in the very early morning,

your claws scraping like nails across

an old chalkboard.

 

Your grip all but gone

as you skid and slide along the

surface

begging for your feet to cling

to something that will not allow

the temporal imbalance,

or the frightening insecurity.

 

Both your ferocity

and your dignity

severely compromised this morning

by a casual dose of the

mundane.

 

 

 

 

Paper Airplanes

 

Paper airplanes

folded to spec,

built to perfection

in the eyes of a child.

 

Flown with the best

of intentions, passing the test

of fine adolescent engineering,

embracing that eternal quest

to remain above ground

the longest,

to fly the farthest

without touching

down.

 

Like we do in our

own lives.

 

 

 

 

That Being Said

 

As you’ve no doubt read,

or at least heard a time or two,

What does it profit a man

to gain the whole world

but lose his own soul?

 

Well, I know some who’ve lost their soul

and haven’t got a thing to show for it

in return.

So, that being said, it doesn’t even make sense

from a business point of view.

 

 

 

 

Segments

 

Time passes all at once.

But we divide it into segments

to try and slow it down.

 

It is in our nature

to delay the inevitable.

 

 

 

 

Killing Time

 

Contrary to what we think

we’re doing, we cannot

kill time.

 

But time, most assuredly

will one day end up

killing each of us.

 

 

 

 

To Get To God

 

You’ve got to get past Jesus

if you want to get to God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Love and Other Illusions

 

 

 

 

Silently

 

Laying near you

late night shadows fall

drifting in from

street lamps

covering your sleep

in soft light

stirring me to

touch you

 

but I don’t

lest I disturb your

beauty.

 

 

 

 

Silk Pajamas

 

And I snuggle up

beside you,

smooth as ivory,

softer than

a whisper.

 

Close enough

that I can feel

as if I’m wearing them

 

myself.

 

 

 

 

Long Distance

 

Yesterday

I felt detached from

your devotion.

Had I spoken of my

pain

you may have raced across

the world

to hold me.

 

But I kept silent. . .

and you remained in Paris.

 

The plane fare saved

should buy a thousand

post cards.

 

 

 

 

Tulips *

 

The first time I kissed you I knew,

tulips are better than one lip.

 

 

 

 

For The Rest Of My Life

 

Your voice on the phone,

like velvet

in my sandpaper

world.

 

I could stay on the phone

with you

for the rest of my

life.

 

 

 

 

At Your Window

 

You buzz me,

like the best espresso,

 

or an overly ambitious

libido.

 

Like the shock of a young nun

dancing naked in a midnight mass.

 

Like lightning striking water

where I’m standing,

 

peering thru the frosted glass

at your window.

 

 

 

 

Writing Her A Poem

 

I didn’t know it

at the time,

but she was drawing

my portrait

while I was writing her

a poem.

 

 

 

 

The Last Time You Walked By

 

If I had

just a couple of minutes

left to live

I’d close my eyes

and breathe in the fragrance of

the last time you walked by.

 

 

 

 

Cockadoodledoo

 

I love you like

a rooster loves the

morning.

 

You make me want

to crow.

 

 

 

 

You

 

Eyes to see

the need.

 

Ears to hear

the weeping.

 

A heart to understand

the pain.

 

A hand to wipe

the tears.

 

You. . . .

shouldering the world.

 

 

 

 

Self Love

 

Loving you

is helping me

to love myself.

 

I hope I can

refrain

from loving you

 

for me.

 

 

 

 

For You

 

I would let myself become

reachable again, touchable,

vulnerable as a child.

 

I’d allow myself

the privilege

of a close friend.

 

I would let my fantasy

unfold, and vanish

with the passing wind.

 

I would give space

graciously,

and learn to bend

as you have.

 

I would willingly surrender

my most subtle

expectations.

 

For you.

 

 

 

 

Secrets

 

I told you all my secrets

yesterday.

Every one of them.

I entrusted them

to your keeping.




And you still

love me

today.

 

 

 

 

Wishful Thinking

 

I wish you magic.

 

I wish for you

a thousand nice surprises

and a million smiles.

 

I wish for you

an autumn afternoon

in the dead of winter

 

and a lovely summer rain

to walk in with a friend.

 

I wish for you

a teardrop

when you find it hard to cry,

 

or a symphony of laughter

on a dark and lonely night.

 

I wish for you

the long end of the wishbone

next time (so that you can make

your own wish),

 

and for long-ago-made promises

to quickly come to pass.

 

I wish for you

a rainbow in your window

and a daisy in your hand.

 

I wish for you

a marching band

 

on every other Sunday.

 

 

 

 

She Was Sitting on the Couch

 

It used to be empty

when I was not on it.

It used to hold the indentation

of my body.

 

It used to be my bed

sometimes

in the dead of night,

when I would feel lost

in my queen size.

 

It used to be

a subtle reminder

that I was still

alone.

 

But when I walked by

this morning

she was sitting on the couch.

 

And when it’s empty now

it holds the indentation

of her body

 

next to mine.

 

 

 

 

Morning

 

It was early.

It was quiet.

 

You were drawing apples

in a basket by the window.

 

And I felt a deep connection

to your pen.

 

 

 

 

I Think of You




because I love you.

 

Not just because

I love to think of you.

 

 

 

 

Because of You

 

Waking up beside you

has enabled me to feel

connected,

 

to the thread of life,

to the breath of passion,

to the depth of union,

to the gift of love.

 

I am made more complete

because of you.

 

And more satisfied.

 

 

 

 

I Love You


Even when it's dark

inside.

 

Even when it's

empty.

 

Even when it's

cold.

 

Your love enables

mine

 

 

 

In Welcoming Arms

First published in the International Library Of Poetry’s

‘Best Poems and Poets of 2008’ 

 

In the stillness of the morning,

before coffee,

may you find each other,

in welcoming arms.

May you rest a moment there

before the day begins.

 

May you be friends

before lovers,

husband and wife

before friend to any other.

 

May you be gracious in your love,

and grateful in your lives.

May you see one another

in the face of every stranger.

 

May you feel your partners beating heart

in your own breast.

May you live as if it were

your own.

 

May the breath of your lives,

mingled,

be your communion.

 

 

In the stillness of the night,

before sleep,

may you find each other,

in welcoming arms.

 

May you rest a moment there

before the day is done.

 

 

 

 

Just Another Moment

 

You disappeared

before my eyes,

before I had a chance

to say goodbye.

 

I stood in your footprints,

thinking they might give me

just another moment

 

in your company.

 

 

 

 

Green Pants

 

Green pants

on your lovely legs.

You let them fall gracefully

to the floor.

They settled there

in a light pile

while my eyes landed

on the legs they had embraced.

 

I like those pants,

but prefer them crumpled

in a light pile

on the floor

 

around your feet.

 

 

 

 

An Unequivocal Moment

 

She removed her bra,

to my delight.

 

And her tits smiled

at my surprise.

 

 

 

 

Birthday Wish

 

I wish I could be for you

an easy walk in the vineyard,

a comfortable chair by the fire,

a romantic savior with a bottle of wine

and amorous intentions while we dine,

a good friend with which to share secrets,

clean sheets,

and unimaginable dreams.

 

To celebrate the joy

of your birthday.

 

 

 

 

Where You Have Always Lived

 

Your voice on the telephone,

softly in my ear.

I can hear the quiet desperation

from deep within that tiny space

where you have always lived.

 

I’d like to reach in there, somehow,

and pull you through the phone.

 

Or at least give you permission

to crawl out on your own.

 

 

 

 

Even Closer

 

I moved away from her

for the shade.

 

She moved herself back

beside me,

 

but even closer

this time.

 

 

 

 

We Find Our Way

 

I’m fifty-nine,

and he’s not quite three.

Fifty-six years between us.

 

It took some time

for me to live long enough

to become his grandpa.

 

Didn’t take him any time at all

to become my grandson.

Born right into that relationship.

 

But we find our way

together.

 

 

 

 

For Both of Us

 

Little man

asleep in his car seat.

Long morning out in the wind

watching those Ferraris

burning up tires, and track

at the Infineon.

 

A little boys delight.

A grandpas delayed

adolescence.

 

Something there

for both of us.

 

 

 

 

The Remainder of the Day

 

I sat in the dugout

with my grandson.

He’s just a little kid.

 

He liked the idea of a team,

taking turns pretending to bat,

and running the bases.

The whole ritual thing,

the rules, the game chatter,

the uniforms, the coaches

and all that.

 

In a precious,

and unscripted moment, he said to me

You sit here in the dugout grandpa,

I’m going to pick the baseball player

a flower.  

 

And he did.

 

I carried it with me in my shirt pocket

for the remainder of the day.

 

 

 

 

I Pay Attention

 

I know some things

that you don’t know I know

about you.

 

Because I pay attention

while you’re sleeping.

 

 

 

 

Your Remarkable Silhouette

 

I traced the skyline

with my finger,

accounting for every treetop

and mountain.

 

It will now be fixed

in my mind

alongside your remarkable

silhouette.

 

 

 

 

I Am Warm As Well

 

You lay asleep

at my feet,

curled quietly beneath the blanket

that has kept you warm.

 

I am warm as well

just knowing that

you are.

 

 

 

 

We Are Remembered

 

Christmas cards

arranged comfortably

together,

about three feet high

and just as wide,

clinging to the wall

by the door,

reminding us that we

are remembered.

 

 

 

 

Cold Feet

 

The sun’s getting closer

to the shade

where we’ve been sitting.

 

It can’t come soon enough

to warm my cold feet.

 

The same size 13’s

as in the winter of 2001

when I was trying to summon

the courage

just to say hello.

 

 

 

 

Afternoon Nap in the Grass

 

Babe,

you just relax.

Sleep peacefully.

Don’t worry about a thing.

 

And I’ll keep my eyes peeled

for snakes.

 

 

 

 

The End of the Day

 

In the hour just before sunset

I sat in the diminishing sun,

the late afternoon shadows,

and set myself to remembering

how you used to set the table

every evening in the same soft light,

like an architect at the end of the day.

 

Like an artist at her very best,

finishing the canvass

that someone else began.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Natural Mystery

 

 

 

 

Life

 

I’m alive.

The wind stirs my soul

at times.

 

The beauty of life

extracts

an occasional

 

tear.

 

 

 

 

Kisses

 

The creek rises up

to tickle my feet

 

Like a lap dog

licking my face.

 

 

 

 

On Dying


Death is like love.

It takes you unawares.

 

 

 

 

On Living *

 

Life is like fruit.




Got to enjoy it

before it goes

bad.

 

 

 

 

Eleven Stars *

 

There were eleven stars

in the sky last night.

 

Some might say there were

several billion more

that I could not see.

 

But to me there were eleven stars.

And I could see every one of them.

 

 

 

 

I Asked For Shade

 

The tree has grown up over my head

while I’ve been sitting on this rock.

I asked for shade, and

that’s exactly what I got.

 

 

 

 

Solitude

 

Silence brings an inner voice

to the troubled heart of the broken.

 

Humility allows their tired ears

to hear what has been spoken.

 

 

 

 

Shadows

 

casting themselves long

behind trees,

leaning away from the morning sun,

making shapes of their own,

expressions of themselves

on sparkling grass

still wet with dew

from the rain.

 

Like we shape ourselves

each day we are alive.

 

 

 

 

That Sound

 

I sat there

quiet as the clouds

and thought about

the silence.

 

How wonderful it was.

 

And how I’d never heard

that sound

before today.

 

 

 

 

Autumn Moment

 

Half Moon

in a midnight

sky.

 

Capturing my attention,

inviting my indulgence

 

in the mystery.

 

 

 

 

LifeBlood **

 

Dreamers, and even visionaries, fade away like everybody else, no longer able to oblige the journey, or the insincerity of life. 

Yes, they die like everybody else; they just leave more quietly, I suppose.

 

Lifeblood. It’s not in the emeralds and rubies in our bedroom vaults, but in the deep rich mud of the ancient soil: In the salt of the earth, in the song of the wild, and in the quiet longing of a restless soul.

 

Lifeblood. Chiseled in the hands of simple folk, plowing in the field,

gathering the food, and gathering the fire. Drinking from the stream to quench a quiet thirst; and in the virgin birth of sacrifice. Laying down a life, lifting up a voice to a timeless sky. Bringing up our children with a nod to what’s right, with a watchful eye, and a boundless grace.

 

Lifeblood. It’s not in the gold and silver we wear on our hands, but in the recognition of strangers, and the smiles of friends; in the miles of road we’ve traveled, and the rivers we’ve had to cross, in the trials we’ve faced, and, of course, in the love we’ve lost.

 

 

 

 

Last day of March

 

No time left

to walk in the wind.

 

It’s passing like

a friend

gone down the road.

 

Like a circus

leaving town.

 

like a kite blown

well beyond

it’s length of string.

 

like an old man’s

fading memory.

 

Like a failing marriage

or a waning affair

or someone’s sanity.

 

Sad to think

what the wind takes with it

 

when it goes.

 

 

 

 

The Essential Elements

 

Water for thirst.

Food for hunger.

Air to breathe.

Love for life.

 

Sex to satisfy the need.

 

 

 

 

Early a.m.

 

In the early a.m.

I am not yet alive to you.

Not yet awake to your presence,

not yet in time with your breath.

 

In the early a.m.

I am not yet fully conscious,

not yet home from the river,

not yet back from the dead.

 

But in the early afternoon,

in the early afternoon,

I am alive again

to you.

 

I am.

 

 

 

 

Brilliant Shadows

 

Brilliant shadows

leaving your impression

as they fade,

 

in the latest afternoon,

in the disappearing shade.

 

Brilliant shadows

casting your reflection

on the gate,

 

waiting still beneath the moon

at the closing of the day.

 

Brilliant shadows

lingering about me in the yard,

with a vague familiar presence 

like roses in the garden.

 

 

 

 

To Life

 

Early morning sun

dancing on the roof

like sparklers

on the Fourth of July

throwing radiant light

across a brilliant sky

through trees darkened

by a long night,

 

through me as I come quietly

to life.

 

 

 

 

Switzerland

 

Clean land.

Cream land.

Chocolate land.

 

Cheese land.

 

 

Cows on every hill.

And in every field.

 

Ducks on every lake.

 

 

 

 

Rock

 

I am eternal.

 

I’ll be here

when you come back.

 

 

 

 

All The Wild Horses

 

We are born to roam

this wilderness,

to find our way,

to make our lives,

to select a mate

from among the herd.

 

We remain alert

to preserve our lives,

and those of our companions.

We have learned to run

from impending danger,

from the scent of any threat,

or the sound of it’s aggression.

 

And then as we grow older

we are left alone

to stand our ground

until we die.

 

 

 

 

The Morning *

 

comes early.

It is where life

meets expectation.

 

It is where I fill

my lungs,

and reach my voice

to the sky.

 

If it is possible

it is probable.

 

If it is momentarily

beyond my grasp

my arms will grow

 

to reach it.

 

 

 

 

Optimism *

 

I can shake the peaches

from an apple tree.

 

I can drink champagne

from a mountain stream.

 

I can paint a picture

of Picassos favorite dream.

 

 

And walk on fields

of glass.

 

 

 

 

Seagulls

 

Seagulls in the rain.

I hear their shrill exchange.

It is communion among them.

But it is solitary too.

 

It is who they are.

It is what they are.

It is their way of saying,

We are still here.

 

 

 

 

This Private World

 

Fog laying softly

on the surface of the lake,

like a down comforter on a water bed.

 

A quiet fog, without sound

except the light splash of paddle

as my canoe moves secretly

through this private place.

 

 

 

 

Jack Rap

 

Now you’re One.

Being One is fun

for learning everything you can.

For standing on your own new feet

like a penguin.

 

For playing in the sand,

with a friend,

or on the swing, or on

the slide,

or in the pool with dad.

 

For doing things you’ve never done

from sun-up to sun gone.

For walking to your grandpa

on the grass, arms outstretched.

Or watching birds

while they watch you back.

 

Being one is about singing with your dad,

discovering a voice you never knew

you had.

Or drumming with your uncle,

or reading with your mom,

or eating books, or new food,

or laughing with your grammie,

or having grandma come to visit.

Or your Aunt show you how to draw.

 

Being One is for everything you can think of

that you haven’t thought of yet.

And that’s a lot, don’t ya think?

You bet.

 

 

 

 

The Ducks
 
They make me laugh,
with their tails
in the air,
and their faces stuck
in the mud
just off shore,
searching for those
tender morsels
on the lake bottom.

Like we look
for love.

 

 

 

 

Like the Lake


The surface of
the water,
level at all times,
no matter the weather,
or the season,
the varying depth,
the rise and fall
of the bottom,
the shelves, the holes,
the rocks, the mounds.

The surface of
the water.
Constant.
Level at all times.

Like we wish our lives
to be.

 

 

 

 

Nurture vs. Nature

 

Trees,

stunted, growing weak,

but in good earth.

 

And others

growing strong,

and tall

through rock, in

shallow soil.

 

Strength found,

ultimately,

within ones self.

 

No matter the condition,

or the circumstance.

 

 

 

 

A False Sense of Security

 

The wind came

from every direction,

with every intention

of finding me here.

 

And it did.

 

There is no evading

the wind.

The wind of life,

or the winds of change.

 

Ultimately

they are one in the same.

 

 

 

 

A Care In the World

 

Edge of the lake.

In the shade.

A resting place.

 

It’s quiet here,

except for the sound

of birds

laughing, vocal dancing,

flights of fancy.

 

Water lapping against a weathered log.

Ripples kiss the new grass.

A mountain green canoe

drifts by. In silence.

A thoughtful apparition.

 

Two otters cruise

the shore line

in search of snacks, relaxing

in the late morning sun.

No hint of a concern

for what goes on

beyond this tranquil setting.

 

And I’ve forgotten I ever had

a care in the world.

 

 

 

 

The Last Surviving Honey Bee

 

I found him this morning

buzzing about in a field

of flowers.

 

Drunk with nectar.

Looking for the queen.

 

 

 

 

Solar Consideration

 

The sun moved slowly across

the early morning sky.

Cautious, it seemed,

 

as if it were not sure the landscape

wished to be warmed

and lighted.

 

As if the darkness would not welcome

it’s arrival.

 

 

 

 

The Last Sound Left on the Planet

 

Ssshhh.

 

Listen.

Just listen.

It’s quiet now.

Can you hear?

 

This silence could be

the last sound left

on the planet.

 

 

 

 

Wind

 

It tussles the hair

It dries the skin

A fireman’s foe

A sailors friend.

 

 

 

 

Granite Lake

 

It took a lifetime

to find you,

 

a minute to love you,

 

a moment to miss you

when I was gone.

 

 

 

 

I Came To Touch the Sky

 

I hiked up the mountain

as dawn was breaking

this morning

to the highest elevation

to touch the sky.

To be unencumbered by the conflicts

of everyday life.

 

I found the sound of

my own thoughts,

stuttering, struggling,

like a weary heart wearing down

in measurable degrees,

pleading for release

in this pure, rare atmosphere

near heaven.

 

I came to touch

the sky,

and it has settled lightly

on my shoulders,

displacing every burden

I used to carry

there.

 

 

 

 

I Thought I Heard Yeti

 

I thought I heard Yeti

screaming in the forest,

but it was just a 7 year old kid

expressing his delight

at finding Bigfoot tracks

on a high, back country path.

 

Much the same as I did.

 

 

 

 

There Is No Sorrow Left Inside

 

I used to cry for no reason,

but not any more.

 

There are no tears.

 

There is no sorrow left inside.

There is no regret.

 

There is no fear.

 

 

 

 

Your Survival

 

A high mountain

rises beyond the hills,

which serve as it’s

reception area.

 

Make it through the lobby

and the mountain will be glad

to negotiate your

survival.

 

 

 

 

Stick Jungle

 

Old decaying branches

pierce the surface of

the lake

where deep water

used to lie.

 

An ancient graveyard.

Wood bodies

buried upright.

 

I float between

the barren trees

like a log.

 

Incognito.

 

Wearing my own

weathered skin

like bark.

 

Indistinguishable

from them.

 

I am

among friends.

 

 

 

 

Like Someone Hanging On

 

The broken branches

continued to hang down

from the overburdened tree

as it struggled to remain

upright

under the weight

of it’s ageing limbs.

 

Like someone hanging on

to a wearisome past.

 

 

 

 

Living

 

I will live as if

I had a hundred years.

 

But each year as if

it were my last.

 

Each month like I would

never see the next.

 

Each week like it were

racing past my window in the rain.

 

Each day like it were a new love

and I would never know another.

 

Each hour as if it really were

tiny grains of sand falling thru the glass.

 

Each minute like

a prelude to my death.

 

Each moment as if

it were my final breath.

 

But like I said,

 

 

I will live as if

I had a hundred years.

 

 

 

 

Known Only To Time

 

I express myself

in writing,

and in other ways

known only to time

 

as I move through it.

 

 

 

 

A Pimple On Its Chin

 

Watching,

in the woods.

The movement of life

around me.

Nature would be fine

without me.

It always has been.

 

I am just a pimple

on its chin.

 

 

 

 

Parts Of The Whole

 

The leaves were scattered

across the ground

like pieces of a complex jigsaw puzzle

laid out on a large kitchen table.

Parts of the whole,

waiting to be raked,

or placed together

with thoughtful deliberation,

by careful hands,

in a manner meant to complete,

and compliment, the

picture.

 

 

 

 

Fall

 

The leaves don’t actually

fall.

They slowly work their way

free of the branch, the tree.

 

Then calmly float

to the ground

as if they each had wings

of their own.

 

 

 

 

The Best of My Remembrance

 

This meadow.

The green, and gold.

The red, stretching

ahead, out before me,

deep inside me,

far and wide,

long, and seemingly

unending,

like the promise

of life.

 

like the best

of my remembrance.

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Health

 

Live in peace with yourself,

rather than in pieces with somebody else.

 

 

 

 

Shadows

 

casting themselves long

behind trees,

leaning away from the morning sun,

making shapes of their own,

expressions of themselves

on sparkling grass

still wet with dew

from the rain.

 

Like we shape ourselves

each day we are alive.

 

 

 

 

My Own Confession

 

The air is brisk.

A hint of rain in the wind.

The scent of fresh scat on my

broken heel.

The carcass of a dead deer

crumpled at my feet,

decomposing before my eyes.

My time-lapse vision capturing its

beautiful decay.

I hear my own confession

in the prayer that I breathe

for it, for having been here.

 

As part of my extended family.

 

 

 

 

Living Well

 

Morning sunlight

lifting fog

from a heavy heart.

 

All things become

new again

as life flows freely,

 

when blood pumps freshly

from the living well.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts

 

Every thought we entertain

is given us like data entered

from the fingertips of God.

 

We choose what to do

with the information.

 

 

 

 

The Welcome Mat

 

Bear scat

where we landed

our canoe.

 

Left there, I presume,

to welcome our

arrival.

 

 

 

 

The Gesture

 

A bald eagle

flew by this morning

just overhead

and dipped his wing

to my canoe.

 

I tipped my hat

back at him

to acknowledge

the gesture.

 

 

 

 

Mountain Pup

 

Chica, flopping, plopping,

contorting, cavorting around

the lake shore this morning.

 

Dopey, loping, Dobie pup,

just eighteen weeks old,

jumping, prancing, dancing

like a lion cub,

wrestling with herself,

and with the wind.

 

Beginning to explore

dimensions yet unknown

to her,

undiscovered by the energy

that is her rapidly emerging

nature.

 

A pup in paradise,

enhancing my pleasure,

and my own sense

of wonder.

 

 

 

 

Carefree Summer Day

 

You shook the water

from your back,

and wet the world

around you.

 

Then rolled in that

refreshing patch of

heaven.

 

 

 

 

The Drive

 

As I was driving

down the mountain

in the rain

I spoke quietly again to

that old master gardener

even though he was busy

watering the fields.

 

And on the ride back home

up the mountain

I just listened

to what he had

to say.

 

 

 

 

Healing

 

Time is the salve

that eventually softens

every wound.

 

 

 

 

Without Dimension

 

Clouds

floating

unencumbered,

drifting

in slow motion

in no particular hurry,

without boundary

without a fixed dimension,

appearing, somehow,

 

as if they couldn’t possibly

even be there.

 

 

 

 

Harmonic Convergence

 

Natural magic

Cerulean blue

Sky meets water

Like I met you.

 

 

 

 

Survival of the Biggest

 

Pacman clouds

gobbling each other up

for lunch.

 

 

 

 

Talking To Herself

 

My dog stood barking

at ducks on the water,

her voice on a half-second delay.

 

As it echoed from a distant granite canyon

she forgot about the ducks

and began an animated conversation

with herself.

 

 

 

 

Behind Your Eyes

 

I could see the bottom

of the lake

as if it were the soul

behind your eyes.

 

 

 

 

Just Think About It

 

Water crashing on rocks.

 

Now let me know

when the thought is gone.

 

 

 

 

With Myself

 

Wind whipping waves

on a spring mountain lake.

 

Birds gliding by

without effort.

 

I snuggle with myself

against the cold.

 

 

 

 

Little Do They Know

 

The geese were flying north

for the winter, rather than south

as they normally do.

 

I saw them this morning.

 

Either my vertigo is even worse

than I thought,

or the geese are misdirected,

GPS on the blink.

 

Little do they know

they’re on the brink of a

pretty rude awakening.

 

And a pretty cold vacation.

 

 

 

 

Wide Open Space

 

Miles and miles

of wide open space.

Places some have forsaken,

 

afraid of their own freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Relationshifts

 

 

 

 

Fresh Tread

 

Rolling down the blacktop

on new tires, fresh tread,

headed in the next direction.

 

They grip that wandering road

again.

 

Like you once held my destiny

in your bemused, and beleaguered,

but, yes, benevolent arms,

 

 

 

 

The Same Of Me

 

When I’m gone

I will not have passed

without you having had the chance

to know me.

 

And if you don’t

it will have been by your own choice,

with unambiguous intent

and reasoned self-persuasion.

 

It would make me sad.

But I can live with that.

 

 

 

 

Walking On Hot Blacktop

 

Burns my feet, and curls my toes

through my shoes.

While you burn my ears

and melt my bones

with your pedestrian

complaints.

 

 

 

 

LoveHate

 

He said,

I never had the chance

to hurt you

because you beat me

to the punch.

 

She said,

I never had the chance

to love you

because every time I tried

you ducked.

 

 

 

 

Ownership

 

Don’t point at me

as the source of your

displeasure.

 

I’m only the source of

my own.

 

 

 

 

Do the Math

 

Don’t resent me.

Augment me.

 

 

 

 

Outside Your Love


I’ve slept in a ditch
by the side of the road,

and in the valley of my despair.

 

Been fed bad meat

in a dungeon

by a devil living there.

 

Been lost in the forest,

been found in the alley,

been ignored in a crowd.

 

Been outta my head,

been left for dead,

beat up and beaten down.

 

I’ve been abandoned

by my best friend

for a better friend up there.

 

Been betrayed by my own

point of view

and lost my way somewhere.

 

I’ve drowned

in my own sorrow,

and in your murky eyes.

 

But I’ve learned to live

outside your love,

and without your feeble lies.

 

 

 

 

James Taylor Said

 

Shower the people you love

with love.

 

Yeah, I know.

 

But the faucet runs hot

and cold.

 

 

 

 

Never Take More

 

The forest was logged,

not clear-cut, but logged,

then planted to replace what

was taken.

 

I thought,

Never take more from a relationship

than you’re willing to leave

behind.

 

Otherwise that relationship will be left

bereft of its original beauty.

 

 

 

 

Because of Love

 

Bear in mind,

things get difficult at times

because of love.

 

Indifference comes easy.

 

 

 

 

Dismissal

 

He said, You’re getting better.

She said, Whatever!

He said, Don’t say ‘Whatever’.

She said, Don’t say ‘You’re getting better’.

 

 

 

 

You walked

 

quietly

through the door

with a furtive glance

 

and were gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Faces in the Fog

 (Some whom I have known. Perhaps you know them too.)

 

 

 

 

A Human In Our Midst

 

Generous

like the sea.

Warm like

the earth.

Kind like shade

in the desert.

Soul and Spirit

that enhance the heart

of men like me.

A human in our midst.

The one who gives life,

and asks only that we live.

 

 

 

 

Heart of My Life

 

Like a willow, willing to bend,

even when the wind does not provoke it.

Like the sun, comfort for my soul,

even when the morning seems so distant.

Companion in my aloneness, and in my joy.

Lover in my need, and in my freedom.

You are my wife, my woof,

my chosen road.

You are my light, my laughter,

the moon in my sky,

the source of my hope,

the heart of my life.

 

 

 

 

At Times Untamed

 

Little girl in a big world,

moves in a dervish dance.

Stretched beyond measure,

but her soul remains intact.

Beauty uncompromised,

passion at times untamed.

Body bending with the wind,

her laughter unrestrained.

Embracing truth in mystery

as the cards unfold.

Finding pleasure in the unforeseen.

And in the hard, yet tender intrusion

of her deliberate lover.

 

 

 

 

Eyes That See

 

Firmly planted in place.

An ancient, weathered tree,

with roots reaching deep

and arms stretched wide.

Stability.

Larger than circumstance.

Reducing life to purpose,

love to embers,

dreams to earth,

soul to flesh.

With eyes that see the far side

of every fixed horizon.

 

 

 

 

Deep Into the Unforeseen

 

Reaching tall

towards a welcoming sky.

Beyond vision,

beyond boundary,

beyond rhythm.

Dancing deep into the unforeseen.

Looking back for assurance,

but ahead for life.

Standing on the brink of reason

near a warm spring,

in the heart of the matter.

On the verge of self discovery.

 

 

 

 

Balance

 

Movement,

like the breeze

on an autumn afternoon.

Stirring up possibility

amid debris,

breathing promise into sadness,

hope into despair,

finding balance

of measure,

fair, but tough.

The breath of sons

who reflect her heart.

 

 

 

 

A Quiet Strength

 

Like a doe

in a redwood grove.

Wide eyed, awestruck,

embracing her surroundings.

Carefree but cautious.

Wise, but indulgent of life.

Deeply conscious of

ebb and flow.

A quiet strength,

with grace.

She makes her way

with eloquent determination.

 

 

 

 

Water In A Basket

 

Architect

of family.

Matriarch, mother,

with faith to hold

water in a basket.

Friend to many,

strength for the weary,

salve for the wounded.

Beauty unqualified.

A quiet love,

with the guts to be

unique.

 

 

 

 

To Welcome Thirsty Lips

 

A visible mystery

to all but those

who know her well.

Mother of life.

A smile to light

the sky,

eyes to light

the darkness,

a laugh to make one’s heart dance.

A deep well,

where clear water waits

to welcome thirsty lips.

 

 

 

 

A Soul That Knows

 

Breathing life

into the barren.

Weaving words

like yarn.

Expressions of the heart,

which paint the sky soft

for the hardened,

the earth warm

for the frozen hearted.

A soul that knows

we are alive today,

and not just dreaming.

 

 

 

 

Physical Poet

 

Physical poet

who writes love scenes

with her body first,

with pen to follow.

Playful, but deliberate.

Peculiar, odd

by some measure.

Wonderful by mine.

Sinking comfortably into

her seduction

like collapsing

into an old familiar chair.

 

 

 

 

Depth of Water

 

Animated

like a child,

but with the depth

of water.

Sky to my earth,

Moon to my sky.

Rich,

like chocolate,

or Khalil Gibran.

Searching far

for an anchor,

wide for a port.

 

 

 

 

Heart Worn Bleeding

 

Sensitivity

like that of a child.

Feeling pain in places

only children seem to be

allowed to hurt.

Heart worn bleeding

on your tattered sleeve,

stain set deeply in your weary soul.

Strong enough to stand,

but not alone.

Drifting off to sleep

forever.

 

 

 

 

Like Cut Glass

 

Reaching wide across the world

to find what lies

within himself.

Without a traveling companion,

only faith, only hope

to lean on.

Armed only with a strong sword

and a silver tongue,

sharpened like cut glass.

Like his own wit.

Like the Holy Ghost

in a midnight mass.

 

 

 

 

Eyes That Dance

 

Sister

for life, by birth.

But it would’ve been

by choice.

The conscience of my soul.

The voice of reason.

A warm heart

in a frozen land.

Eyes that dance

in rhythm to my own.

Like the wind in autumn

or the moon at midnight.

 

 

 

 

A Man Such As He

 

Pouring life

into the lonely.

A man such as he.

Seeds of kindness

sown only by one who’s known

his own share of sadness.

A man much more than muscle,

weaker than a child,

yet stronger

than the songs we hear

that break our hearts

each time we get too near them.

 

 

 

 

Of Her Own Time

 

Smiles to tears

in the beginning.

Then slowly,

an emerging trust.

Small steps

carry large intentions,

to be known more fully,

more freely,

more truly.

A woman of her own time,

of her own mind,

prone to fits of kindness.

 

 

 

 

Like A Cat

 

Sees the upside

and the down

in order to arrive at

an elusive middle ground.

Cautious like a cat,

with eyes wide.

Curious like a child

without boundary.

Goes both ways in love

and play,

in joy and pain,

to embrace life soundly.

 

 

 

 

An Ancient Soul

 

Chocolate Buddha

to my vanilla Jesus.

A man who loves

much deeper than life,

more profoundly than words,

much better than me.

A laugh

to crack the sky,

a voice

to calm the restless.

An ancient soul

biding time between two worlds.

 

 

 

 

Suffers Hurt Harder

 

Forgets to breathe,

in her excitement.

But never forgets to laugh.

Likes hugs, and needs them

like roses need the morning sun,

like lungs need oxygen,

like love needs expression.

Suffers hurt harder than some.

A soft heart that absorbs pain,

her own, and others.

Gives warmth to the earth,

gives wet to the rain.

 

 

 

 

A Friend to Friends

 

Not the largest man in stature,

but a giant man in heart.

A quiet voice,

living in a place of calm.

Of subtle, but deliberate assessment,

even as a storm may rage about him.

A friend to friends who are his family.

He blows the lowest notes,

the sound of the earth,

with the sweetest of intentions.

A free lance artist

who changed his name for love.

 

 

 

 

Card Carrying Queen

 

Kind,

like warm flannels

on a cold winter night.

Deep

like the darkness.

A friend for life.

Trusted

like family.

Generous like light.

Card carrying queen

of the bewilderment

community.

 

 

 

 

A Safe Harbor

 

Like a safe harbor

in a strong storm,

a mother who has thrown

her arms wide

to welcome and protect her own.

To shelter them from harm,

to hold them close through time.

 

And as the hours of her own life pass,

as arms shorten with each breath,

her children have become for her,

with arms thrown wide

and hearts made warm,

a safe harbor

in a strong storm.

 

 

 

 

Draws the Sky

 

Child of reason.

One foot in the future,

but rooted in the values

of time.

Draws the sky with one hand,

the earth with her other.

A gift of warm

in a cold place.

She paints the dark with light,

colors death with life,

and, like a quiet violin

she lifts the sad from within us.

 

 

 

 

Archangel With Attitude

 

Solitary man,

with strong hands

and convictions.

Heart on fire, head on straight.

Standing watch at the gate,

like a lion in the desert,

like an ancient sentinel,

or an Archangel with attitude.

Family man,

with a burning pistol in his belt.

Soft as velvet.

Hard as nails.

 

 

 

 

Quiet Man

 

Quiet man,

with more to hear than say.

More to give than take.

Weighs the good

against the bad.

Lives in a place of honesty,

of conscience, and integrity.

Reduces life to its simplicity.

Plants seeds in barren fields.

Plants hope among despair.

Love where there had only been

indifference.

 

 

 

 

Like Daniel

 

A man among men.

Big men, dangerous men.

But a child in their world really.

Not in stature, courage or maturity,

but in how I still remember him.

Gives his best

in competition, and in life.

Twists the hand of fate

like an ankle.

Faces fear and beats it back,

like Daniel in the lions den,

like light beats down the darkness.

 

 

 

 

The Color of Daffodils

 

Like soft light

crawling through the front door

at dawn.

Like the color of daffodils

in the mid day sun.

Like the sound of laughter

in the yard, or a Martin guitar

on the back porch.

Mother of children born for love,

and for each other.

Like bread and wine.

Like earth and sky.

 

 

 

 

Kind Heart

 

Little girl

who wields a big ambition,

in a big profession.

A family expectation

that she measures up to

well.

Without resentment,

without question.

A quiet disposition,

and a kind heart

that overshadows

even her own accomplishment.

 

 

 

 

My Friend




You left too early

my friend.

The bell never sounded

at the end of the day.

It was just a lunch break

we were on.

How could you have mistaken it 

for quitting time?

Now you can’t return to work,

or collect retirement.

And we’ll never get to fish

that mountain stream.

 

 

 

 

Through A Solemn Door




Eyes that bleed

with sadness,

and with regret.

Needs the company

of darkness.

Not the darkness really,

but the anonymity

of it’s nature.

Seeks relief in its embrace,

following its siren call

through a solemn door

which proves to be an exit. 




 

 

 

Angel of Confusion




Angel of confusion.

Always wanting

to fly,

but never having 

had the time

for lessons.

You flew by the seat

of your pants,

in an old MG,

out into the beckoning sky

where you felt

most at home.

 

 

 

 

Alpha Male




A big name.

And he left a big

impression.

Some have feared 

his menacing presence.

Those who knew him

never did.

Protective of his family

like the Alpha male that he was.

A gentle giant really,

with a generous nature. 

Like his best friend.




 

 

 

Like The Evening Sky

 

A simple faith.

A quiet grace.

A safe place to find oneself.

Like in the shade of a willow,

or the shadow of an Angel.

Soft spoken, thoughtful

like the evening sky.

Hopeful, like the sunrise.

Extracts the wheat from the chaff,

the joy from the sad.

Expects the best from herself,

and those she loves.

 

 

 

 

Saint of Perennial Circumstance

 

Eyes that dance

like laughter.

A voice like wind

through a stained glass window

in an old cathedral 

in a winter rain.

Sense of humor

like a teenage bride

who wants to hide a naughty secret

from her groom.

Saint of perennial circumstance.

By faith, not by design.




 

 

 

An Honest Man

 

A kind man.

He lived respectfully,

and with dignity.

A bright man.

A mind to the future,

with feet planted firmly

in the values of the past. 

Accepting of others,

even before he came to know them.

An honest man.

Husband, father, grandpa.

Loving. Much loved. In this life

and beyond.

 

 

 

 

A New Light

 

John Dennis.

We’ll call you Jack.

It was a perfect Autumn evening

when we first met.

Last day of October, 2005.

You looked into my eyes and saw

an aging soul, an old survivor.

I saw in yours a new light,

an unblemished beginning, a fresh perspective.

The reflection of God in a brief moment.

I know we have a lot to teach

each other.

 

 

 

 

We Thought You Were A Cat

 

Since you’ve gone Sake, we struggle with the grief,

the sadness, the emptiness.

You left too soon, for sure.

We didn’t get to say goodbye.

We miss your personality, your presence, 

the love you gave, the warmth.

A gift of life

And now we feel your absence, terribly,

day and night.

In the yard, in the house, and on the porch.

We understand now, with certainty,

how God filled our lives, through you, with you. 

How He cared for us, and kept us.

For all these years.

 

And we thought you were a cat.

 

 

 

 

Her Affectionate Hands

 

Standing alone amid the winds

of time and circumstance.

Weak at times, but strong inside

with strength found in

the gracious, and pervasive love of family,

in the lifelong connection to a husband gone,

but not forgotten,

in the embrace of beautiful daughters

raised by her affectionate hands,

and in the clear eyes of each grandchild

as they grow to know her

by her love.

 

 

 

 

Quietly Behind Her

 

Floating near land,

head up, in a big ocean,

with a changing tide

and a strong current.

Looking towards shore

in search of familiar ground,

but with a pull towards

the horizon rising quietly

behind her.

Knowing there is endless sea

between safety and

the allure of its beauty.

Faced with choices that will cling to her

always.

 

Like some impassioned lover.

 

 

 

 

Honed Like Rock

 

Balance between the safe

and the extreme.

Bringing calm waters

to a restless sea.

A solid sensibility,

honed like rock

by the wind

on a weathered beach.

Soft, like the thought of

friendship,

or the remembrance of family

gone on ahead.

 

 

 

 

A Coat Worn Well

 

MicGuyver.

Mr. Fix-it.

The coat you wear to earn love

too long withheld,

to protect a heart

made cautious by time

and the callousness of life.

But a coat worn well,

I have to say.

Your way of bringing kindness

to the table,

warmth to the winter of

our lives.

 

 

 

 

Four-Legged Friend

 

Family companion.

Guardian of the baby boy.

Jacks first introduction to fur,

and licks on the face.

His first experience of loss as well.

Mom and dads only four-legged friend,

gone to hook up once again

with Gideon,

to report to him about all the goings on

since he’s been gone.

And most assuredly now,

Bones will never be without a ball.

 

 

 

 

Kindness Before Anger

 

Having known me

longer than any other.

Having loved me

since before my birth.

Having given me the breath

from which to breathe.

Having held me as a child in my sadness.

Having guided me as a young man in my confusion.

Having prayed for me as a grown man in my grief.

Having taught me what truly matters,

and what does not.

Having shown me honesty

instead of lies,

integrity rather than deceit,

kindness before anger,

generosity above greed.

 

 

 

 

Having Shown Me Strength

 

Having known me as a boy,

challenging me to be strong,

to press on, to not quit.

You instilled in me

the courage to fight through adversity,

to play the game to win.

You taught me physical agility

and mental determination.

You gave me the ability

to succeed at what I choose.

You stuck with me as a young man

through our many differences,

not because you had to as a parent,

but because you loved me.

Even when it felt like we might not really make it.

Having shown me the strength of love

I have been able to give the same to my sons.

That’s the greatest thing you’ve been for me,

the most important thing you’ve done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Shapes and Shadows

 

 

 

 

Still Working Shifts

 

I walked around outside of

an old factory, abandoned,

falling down from years

of neglect.

 

I sat beneath a shredded awning

on a weathered deck

to observe, and absorb

the ghosts still working shifts

on ancient lathes, innocuous machines,

and other equipment

long-ago rusted,

but left to do what they had

always done.

 

Like a heated disagreement

between neighbors,

I can hear the metal on metal

in need of grease.

 

 

 

 

Creation

 

Someone said,

Let us create God

in our own image.

 

And so we did.

 

 

 

 

Above the Fray *




When the ground feels shaky. . .

levitate.




It’s peaceful

up here.

 

 

 

 

Vines

 

lined up like soldiers

on parade, a full company

waiting for inspection.

 

Vineyard stretching wide,

like an army spread miles

across the otherwise barren valley

of Armageddon.

 

Grapes to be plucked by hand,

then crushed by feet stained red.

 

The vines will then be plowed,

buried like soldiers, once proud,

beneath the very earth where they

once stood, but now

have fallen.

 

The soldier for the liberation

of our nation.

And the grape for the liberation

of our soul.

 

 

 

 

Instinct *

 

Everything is as it seems.

But nothing is how it appears.

 

 

 

 

The Boys

 

in the neighborhood

smile at me

 

like a mistaken

acquaintance,

 

or a potential recipient

of their scattered

affection.

 

I deflect their attention

with a Smith & Wesson.

 

 

 

 

Second Hand Smoke

 

Smoke

rising like a cock would

in the freedom

of a seedy situation

 

or the glamour

of a rich seductive suite

somewhere above the city

 

sending unrehearsed sensations

through the vulnerable bodies

of those who would

breathe that smoke

 

or suck that cock

even though it’s been

in someone else’s mouth

 

before.

 

 

 

 

Mill Valley

 

Rolling into the Valley

of the ancient Mill

Across the Golden Gate

early Monday evening.

 

Sun dripping color

beneath the sky blue light

disappearing slowly

from our sight.

 

Dipping into the ocean

deep cerulean

like an egg into dye

the night before

Easter.

 

 

 

 

Examination

 

You were a presence

in the room that night.

 

I shivered, shed a tear,

became frightened

like a child.

I could not see you

with my eyes, but

saw you clearly

somehow.

 

And you just stood there

in that cold solitary

corner,

examining my soul

in silence.

I didn’t like you then

for your intrusion,

nor do I now

for your reluctance

 

to explain.

 

 

 

 

Personal Vigilance

 

Nothing gets in

without my permission.

 

Unless it sneaks quietly

through the back door

while I’m not watching.

 

 

 

 

Night People

 

Subways smelling

like the mines must

where young men lose their lives.

 

Strangers quietly ride

those trains

deep into the frigid New York nights,

to emerge a little stranger 

and somewhat more estranged 

than when they entered.

 

Whores crowd the corners

of the downtown avenues

knowing there are men like me

who wish to be less alone

and more prosaic.

 

Honey, would you like a date?

I got a place right down the street.

Ten dollars for the room

and twenty five for me.

 

I offer up a cup of coffee

and a counter in a small cafe’

to lean on.

 

Company ain’t cheap

I’m told.

Move on John, I gotta make

 

a living.

 

 

 

 

Grandma’s Left To Dance

Alone

 

Seduce me

with your kind eyes.

 

Make believe I’m

Rock Hudson,

and you’re Doris Day.

 

I’ll call grandma

on the telephone.

She’ll remember

Doris Day.

 

She used to like

her movies.

She pretended

to be in them.

 

 

I wished back then

I could have been

Rock Hudson

 

But he’s dead now.

And grandma’s left to dance

 

alone.

 

 

 

 

A Watery Grave

 

Dark water

Deep water

Cold water

Surrounding me.

 

A watery grave.

 

Like life

on a Corporate Reservation.

 

 

 

 

The Wagons

 

circle,

unaware of what

they really are

surrounding.

 

The camp is quiet

tonight.

No laughter.

No singing.

No fabricated stories

of trashy whores

or vulnerable maidens.

 

Just the stillness.

 

As if we all had been rejected

for our point of view,

our flannel dispositions.

our social pathologies.

our lies.

 

Solitude breeds solitude.

All the individual little camp fires

are burning low and dying out

 

alone.

 

 

 

 

The Sanctuary

 

Cathedral ceilings

arched like the back

of a cat.

But feigning no

threat,

no anger,

or alarm.

 

Inspiring only

piety, and quiet

contemplation.

 

 

 

 

Perspective

 

I looked out my window.

There was something moving

across the sky.

 

A prehistoric looking creature

with eyes the size of

oranges.

 

Like in an old science fiction film,

or a bad dream

from the recent past.

 

But then to my surprise

I realized

It’s just a fly

on the glass.

 

Perspective.

It’s what separates truth

from illusion.

 

 

 

 

The House and Senate

 

Desperate lovers

cling together

in the dim, foreboding

light.

 

Loathe to let their conscience

come between them.

 

 

 

 

Death of the Misbegotten

 

The disingenuous rise

like demons from

the fire,

like evil from

the ashes,

seeking to devour

the last surviving

remnants

of a world gone

mad.

 

 

 

 

Walking Out Before Us

 

Dark shadows

dancing on the ground,

walking out before us

as if they were alive.

 

Reminding us that we are

more than our appearance.

 

And more than our insides.

 

 

 

 

Dirty Harry Fantasy

 

Whatever you say, he said

before ignoring my request.

 

I said, I don’t play that game, my friend.

And then I shot the motherfucker dead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Lives and Innuendo

 

 

 

 

The Demise of Vanity

 

She left herself

too long under the

tanner

 

And died an ignominious

death.

 

 

 

 

Illusion

 

She did a Google search

on herself

 

and discovered she didn’t

exist.

 

 

 

 

In Your Shoes


It would be difficult

to walk a mile in your shoes




since your feet are stuck

in the mud.

 

 

 

 

John Got It Wrong *

 

John said,

God is a concept

by which we measure

our pain.

 

I say

Pain is a concept

by which we measure

our God.

 

 

 

 

Pride of the Irish

(First published in Herb Caens column

in the San Francisco Chronicle).

 

They call it Saint Patrick’s day

but I can’t see where the man did me no good.

Who made him a saint

anyway?

 

Is that something like

an uncle?

 

Just because he wore a big hat,

carried a long staff,

was white, had a beard

and drove some weird snakes

outa town

don’t mean nothin’ where I live.

Sounds to me like

he must have been a maniac

or somethin’.

 

Besides,

he’d prob’ly get arrested

if they caught him doin’ that

today.

 

 

 

 

Status Quo

 

My status quo

is not your status

quo is not their

status quo is not

his status quo is

not her status

quo.

 

We each have

our own.

 

 

 

 

There’s a Mattress

on my Head

 

I’m a lucky man.

Don’t want nobody

to think otherwise.

 

I’ve got a good wife

and a nice home.

 

I’ve got a red boat

and a big car.

 

Got a fine guitar

and a good friend.

 

But sometimes it just feels like

there’s a mattress on my head.

 

 

 

 

Babbling Brooke

 

She was cool.

But she had nothing much

to say.

 

 

 

 

Through Your Eyes


It would be scary

to see the world

through your eyes

 

since you’ve gone

blind.

 

 

 

 

Two Faced

 

charade.

 

Talking out of both sides

of your mouth.

 

Each ear hearing

only what it's own side

says.

 

Splitting your brain

like a piece of fruit.

 

A double minded man

is unstable in all his ways.

 

 

 

 

Babbling Brook Too

 

They call it a babbling brook.

But it makes perfect sense to me.

 

I lived with a babbling Brooke

once,

and believe me,

 

this ain’t that.

 

 

 

 

Reverend Moe

 

You wouldn’t recognize Jesus

if He walked in the door

and turned over the tables

of your religious pop idolatry.

 

He was crucified

for telling the truth, y’know.

What truth would you ever be crucified

for telling

 

in your Christian cabaret show?

 

 

 

 

On Being Conscious

 

I can’t see,

cried the blind man.

Then you’re not listening

I said softly.

 

I can’t hear,

shouted the deaf man.

Then you’re not looking

I signed loudly.

 

 

 

 

Politically Incorrect

 

Native Americans.

The original red necks.

 

Turns out they’re no different

than all the rest.

 

When given the option

to exercise their greed

they jump at the chance

like the white man did.

 

Trading their souls

for a casino on every

mountain. in every valley,

and every mesa.

And a seat on the New York

Stock Exchange.

 

Not exactly Manhattan Island

for a handful of colored beads.

 

 

 

 

An Occasional Visitor

 

I was buying a bag of ice.

The cashier seemed confused.

I’m sorry, she said,

I’m off somewhere in lala land.

 

I said, On vacation?

Or do you live there?

 

Just visiting for a few days,

she confessed, with self recognition,

and amused resignation.

 

I smiled at having been

an occasional visitor there

myself.

 

 

 

 

The New Health Care

 

Waiting in line, all of us

At the pharmacy, for our drugs

Drugs to make us happy

Drugs to make us sleep

Drugs to make us stronger

Brand Name or the Cheap

 

Drugs to make us better

Drugs that make us sick

Drugs to calm us down

Drugs to give a lift

 

Drugs to stop the shaking

Drugs to help digestion

Drugs to stop the aching

Drugs to fight infection

 

Drugs to stop the swelling

Drugs to clear the fog

Drugs to thin our blood

when the arteries are clogged

 

Drugs to cure depression

Drugs to quit smoking

Drugs to build our muscles

Drugs to prevent choking

 

Drugs for anxiety

Drugs for our complexion

Drugs for sensitivity

Drugs for an erection

 

Drugs to prevent pregnancy

Drugs for losing weight

Drugs to make the wrinkles

disappear from our face

 

Drugs to help us remember

Drugs to help forget

Drugs to make us younger

Drugs to help delay our death.

Waiting in line, all of us,

at the pharmacy for our drugs.

 

 

 

 

A Day In the Life

 

Papers rustling in the wind,

blowing around like styrofoam peanuts

or confetti at a parade.

People bustling about like frenetic squirrels

hustling one another for acorns,

trading favors for supplies.

 

Winter coming quick,

like the rise of someone’s temper,

or a fundamentalist preachers

sudden fall from grace.

 

But it’s just another day in the life.

And our lives are made up of

a million common occurrences,

a healthy dose of the mundane.

It’s just water, they say,

under another broken bridge.

 

 

 

 

The Biggest Stick on the Mountain

 

Hiking

on the mountain

with my wife by my side

and my stick in my hand.

Pack on my back

with a chicken sandwich

and a beer.

 

Then a guy comes by

with his own stick

and makes it clear

that his stick is bigger

than mine.

 

I smiled, knowing

there was a good reason

he needed to be holding

the biggest stick on the mountain.

 

 

 

 

Bigger Purses

(Misogynist thinking)

 

There’re all these

big trucks everywhere

with all these ladies

driving them.

 

Why do they need

such big trucks, anyway?

 

 

Must’ve run out of room

in their purses.

 

 

 

 

LifeCycle

 

You wake up

You get dressed

You go to work

You do your best.

You come home

You get some rest

You wake up

You get dressed

You go to work

You do your best

You come home

to get some rest

You wake up . . . . . . . . well, never mind.

 

 

 

 

The Marriage Agreement

 

He pretends that he’s a grown man.

And she pretends he’s not.

 

 

 

 

The Classroom

 

I remember in school

how those in the front row

always got A’s,

while those of us in the back row

barely got C’s.

 

But we learned to see

the bigger picture,

and not just how to

parrot information back

to please the teacher.

 

The back row of life

continues to sharpen

those same powers

of perception,

 

whether by intention,

or by natural design.

 

 

 

 

Together

 

Are you two together? she asked.

Sometimes, I said,

depending on the strength

of the glue.

 

What glue are you using? she asked.

I said, Whatever seems to be working

at the time. Whatever holds

the bond.

 

 

 

 

Congress

 

Dancing Pelosi.

Perennial narcissist.

Flapper of the House.

The face of us

is the farce of us.

 

 

 

 

Inevitability

 

Logs float

until saturated,

and then they drown.

 

Like the privileged get

water logged,

and sink in self-

indulgence.

 

 

 

 

The Theft Of Our Equilibrium

 

CNN lecturing us in the bank.

Fox News preaching in the barber shop.

ESPN screaming in the local pizza joint.

PBS pontificating in the urban café.

 

Every moment of our day

some media bandit

trying to steal our peace.

 

 

 

 

Casual Deception

 

The rocks were scattered

inadvertently,

by design.

 

His hair was styled

carefully, to look

inadvertent.

 

 

 

 

Mental Incontinence

 

Mouth turned down

in a bitter frown

reflecting the tenor

of her insipid comments

in class.

 

Thoughts running like a faucet

out of both sides of her mouth

while the rest of us

frown back at her

oblivion.

 

Oh, and her insatiable need

for recognition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Ambiguous Apparitions

 

 

 

 

Silent Animosity

 

You lay in bed

like I wasn’t there.

 

I slumped quietly

in the chair.

 

You wanted to speak

but didn’t dare.

 

I wanted to leave

but couldn’t.

 

 

 

 

While I Was Watering the Roses

 

A spaceship landed

in my front yard

while I was watering

the roses.

 

I gave the windshield

a squirt with my hose,

a good wipe with a squeegee,

 

and they were on their way.

 

 

 

 

Two’s Company

 

I got out of both sides

of my car.

 

Imagining I had arrived

at the party

with a friend.

 

 

 

 

If You Follow In My Footsteps

 

I left footprints

on the beach,

and then walked backwards

in the same impressions,

leaving no trace

of where I went.

 

If you follow in my footsteps

you can only walk

to where they end,

then you’ll have to figure life out

on your own from there

 

my friend.

 

 

 

 

In Poor Taste

 

I was looking at

the back of your head

imagining it was attached instead

to someone else’s face.

 

 

 

 

Looking For My Brother

 

I’ve been wandering around this graveyard today

looking for my brother.

 

I knew I wouldn’t find him here.

They burned his body

down to ashes,

and scattered them to the wind.

 

But I thought I caught a whiff

of his cologne.

 

 

 

 

The Vultures

 

A single engine plane

chased all the vultures away.

 

I was just beginning to enjoy them.

 

Even though they were hoping

I would die.

 

 

 

 

The Other Side

 

Over the rainbow

there’s a land

where people spend

their idle time

dreaming

of the other side

of the rainbow.

 

 

 

 

Affordable Truck

 

Shopping cart

rusted from the weather.

Utilitarian companion of the

dispossessed.

 

An affordable truck

on it’s route across town

in the morning fog,

in the emerging dawn,

in the anonymous cloak

of solitude.

 

The early riser,

the 4-wheel driver

in search of sidewalk treasures

discarded like bad fruit

by those of us who own

too much.

 

 

 

 

Eyes

 

I did not recognize

the sadness in your eyes.

As I looked

I saw my own desires

thinking they were yours for me.

 

I’m sorry I mistook your eyes

for mirrors

and did not see them

for the poems that they

really were.

 

 

 

 

The Temple of Man

 

They were lined up along the wall

hanging wet and white

with chrome pipes and handles

mechanically attached

to the sweating porcelain.

 

I was standing at the center shrine

depositing my sacrifice

in silence

when a man burst in

angry and defiant,

disruptive of the sacred ritual

I was found to be performing.

 

His profanity and disrespect

echoed round the temple

in defilement of it’s awesome

holiness.

 

But as he took his place beside me

he too came in silence.

 

 

 

 

Scraps

 

Plastic bag ladies

line the sidewalks

along mid-town

Manhattan.

 

Eyes wide

while they gather

the scraps

we leave behind.

 

And collect the stares

of strangers

who don’t take time

today

 

to even see them.

 

 

 

 

Nashville Afternoon

 

How sweet she was

and slender.

Nashville born and bred.

Feet adorned with

boots

that brought distinction

to her step.

 

A lovely gait,

confident, but

casual.

Her smile affected me

most favorably,

like a breath

of spring.

 

Jeans worn tight

that cling to her

like some impassioned

lover.

 

We never really met,

just our eyes

in passing.

 

But

we both glanced back

to look again

and say good bye

 

with some regret.

 

 

 

 

The World Really Is Round

 

I’m so far left

of center

I appear to be

comfortably ensconced

on the right.

 

 

 

 

Eye For Diamonds

 

You’ve been looking like

a diamond,

shining as that precious stone

would surely shine.

 

And the admiring eyes of strangers

have stolen you, and

given you a place

upon their velvet cushioned bed

of jewels. The same bed

where those same men

caressed the finest emeralds,

 

and the rubies that they stole

before they came to have an eye

for diamonds.

 

 

 

 

The Cake Dog

 

Pass up a good steak

ya would,

or a leg of lam

or chicken hearts.

 

Refuse the kibble in your

day bowl. You no longer

hunger for those things.

 

I watch you scouring

the cupboards

frantically in search of

Betty Crocker. And I’ve

seen your face smeared

with frosting from the can.

 

Bark bark, bow wow.

You are the Cake Dog.

 

Yes, You are the Cake Dog.

 

 

 

 

Charlie Parker

 

plays for me

 

He don’t know it

but he does.

 

Brings his soul

so I can share it.

 

Fills my empty

cup.

 

 

 

Charlie Parker

 

Plays for me

 

He don’t know it

but he does.

 

Brings his heart

to every note.

 

Fills my empty

up.

 

 

 

 

The Chasm

 

Standing naked on one leg

atop a canyon,

 

searching quietly

beyond the chasm

for the silhouette of

your soul

 

standing naked on one leg

in search of mine.

 

 

 

 

In A Bar Last Night

 

The morning smiles

like a child being offered cake

for breakfast,

rather than his usual cream of wheat.

 

I smile back nervously,

like a mistrustful boyfriend

having found the phone number

of my lovers husband

in her pants pocket.

 

Yeah, I knew she had a husband.

She told me once, I’m sure.

But I thought she’d be faithful to me.

And I never even considered

that she might have been given

his phone number

in a bar last night.

 

 

 

 

The Fan

 

It rattles in the corner

moving stale air

around the room

 

Keeping me alive

in the sweltering

gloom.

 

It rattles in the corner

like a childhood

friend

 

A welcome sound

in a familiar

wind.

 

 

 

 

Jesus *

 

When people have

imaginary friends

we call them

delusional.

 

For some reason

we let them get away with

 

Jesus.

 

 

 

 

Prayers *

 

I blew out

all the candles

in the churches

around the city.

 

Cost a quarter

to light them.

Some cost a dollar.

 

A novel thought,

God will hear your prayer

for some spare change.

 

 

In the bars

the candles burn

freely

 

until closing time.

 

 

 

 

Go Away

 

I close my eyes

to the blinding

cliché

of spiritual

truth.

 

As I do

to the welcome

mat

of the moderately

deranged.

 

 

 

 

Distractions


Close the windows.
Bolt the doors.
Turn off the computer,

and the television.

Unplug the phone.




Leave the newspaper

on the front stoop.

See if you can make it

through a day

without the usual

commotion.

 

See if you can find your way

through the silence.

 

 

 

 

Smog

 

The residue of

30,000 cars

 

farting in unison.

 

 

 

 

3/24/07

 

My brother died

today.

 

I smoked a fine cigar

in his honor.

 

All the way down

to the end.

 

 

 

 

Ticket To Ride

 

He left

this morning.

 

At 6:30.

 

Without me.

 

 

 

 

In Death

 

I look for relevance,

significance,

but find none,

beyond what’s left

behind.

 

But that was here

already.

 

 

 

 

Canadian Geese

 

Floating on the lake,

honking like cars

in holiday traffic.

 

Stuck on the L.A. freeway.

 

 

 

 

Divine Guidance

 

Ghost rider

in an empty boat

helps the vessel

stay afloat

when the weather seeks to

sink it.

 

 

 

 

True Colors

 

A red, white and blue bandana

worn wet around her neck

kept her neck from getting red,

 

though some would beg to differ.

 

 

 

 

Ode To Mr. Rogers

 

In Mr. Rogers neighborhood

you can’t be bad,

 

you gotta be good.

 

 

 

 

I Am A Mirror

 

When you look at me

you will no longer see

my face, or even my

deeper self,

 

but your own.

 

Whereas I once absorbed

all of life,

and every friend

and stranger,

 

I now reflect it,

and them.

 

I am a mirror.

 

And if you like me

it will be because of something you like

inside yourself.

And if you don’t

it will be for the equivalent

reason.

 

If you are indifferent

it will be for lack of the capacity

for self reflection.

 

In which case I will consider you

someone of whom to be

wary.

 

 

 

 

Thanks For Your Support

 

An ageing wooden table

supports my ageing wooden head

while I sleep.

 

 

 

 

When I’m Driving

 

My brother’s in the back seat

sometimes.

I often want to turn around

and look.

I feel a hand of kind assurance

on my shoulder.

A distinct, but muted voice

offers direction

in matters not pertaining to

the road.

 

I’ll sneak a peek

sometimes

in the rear view mirror

expecting his familiar face,

his knowing smile,

his calm demeanor.

 

But I understand these days

that I can only see him

with my heart,

 

and my remembrance.

 

 

 

 

Temperature Rising

 

Sun beating down

breathing fire

like a dragon

scorching the earth

with it’s breath.

 

Or a demon

with nefarious intentions

having a very bad

day.

 

 

 

 

Broken Down Along the Way

 

A long way up

that gradually rising highway.

18 wheelers in low gear

grinding their way

towards the top.

 

I hear that faraway sound

from this stone resting place

I’ve found across the canyon.

 

And I can see from here

the rusting bones

of those once mighty trucks

which have broken down

along the way.

 

 

 

 

I Listen to the Voices

 

I listen to the voices.

They never go away.

Each with it’s own

peculiar sound,

melody even.

With a cadence

to communicate the casual,

or urgent nature

of what they wish to say.

 

I listen to the voices

while I still have ears

to hear.

 

 

 

 

Calm After the Storm

 

Eternal respite from the ravages

of time.

 

The Calvary

after the Little Big Horn.

 

 

 

 

Heart of the Matter

 

I walked under a tree

where I imagined a mountain lion

pouncing on me.

Eyes wild, claws filed sharp

and flashing,

taking me to the ground

like a scrawny rag doll falling,

or a new born calf collapsing

on weak legs.

I screamed my best obscenity,

as he locked his teeth around the back

of my head and neck.

 

Then with flesh bleeding,

torn and tattered,

I pulled a Buck knife from the sheath

on my hip

 

and slid it silently into

the heart of the matter.

 

 

 

 

Before You Disappeared

 

Mirror image of the forest

in the water.

Recollections of how you were.

Present in the flesh.

Elusive, however, as your own

reflection.

 

But that was long before

you disappeared.

 

 

 

 

Full Medical Coverage

 

The ambulance arrived

right on time,

just as I was about to collapse.

 

I like this insurance plan

where they anticipate your decline

and are dispatched to collect you

before you even hit the ground.

 

 

 

 

The Great Divide

 

Lines forming for food

across the great divide

along a road mistakenly paved

with every good intention,

beneath the encompassing shadow

of massive castle walls

built for those who wish to keep

the people hungry,

 

and in lines forming for food

across the Great Divide.

 

 

 

 

Messengers Of God

 

This tram ride

around the country side,

coach crammed tight

with eager, appreciative students.

Developmentally challenged,

every one of them.

 

Archangels of life.

Protectors of my own

humanity.

 

An opportunity to get them

off the medical unit where they live,

daily,

where they will die,

eventually,

without fanfare or celebrity,

 

like some have enjoyed

for lives which amounted to far less

than those lived by these innocent,

but profound, messengers

of God.

 

 

 

 

Waiting

 

For time to pass,

for time to end,

for time to consume itself

as it always has.

 

Just waiting.

 

 

 

 

Full Moon

 

Full moon

in a midnight sky.

Werewolf moon,

fog shrouded night,

clouds riding by

in the moonlight.

 

Somethin’ just ain’t right

tonight,

like creatures crawling

beneath my skin

giving me the heebie

jeebie’s.

 

I can taste death

in that ominous fog,

in the sweet, seductive moisture

sticking to my paralytic tongue,

clogging up the pores on my face,

lingering there like

poison.

 

Full moon

in a midnight sky.

Werewolf moon,

fog shrouded night,

clouds riding by

in the moonlight.

 

Somethin’ just ain’t right.

Somethin’ just ain’t right

tonight.

 

 

 

 

Sinister Intentions

 

Contrails

forming their positions

overhead,

flooding the sky

with vapor,

flooding my mind

with suspicion,

my lungs with

poison,

my eyes with

irritation.

 

A sinister intent

to change the weather.

 

And to keep us paying

our HMO’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Sexual Ideations

 

 

 

 

Relationship

 

It wasn’t so much sex

that I desired,

 

as a skin to skin

relationship.

 

 

 

 

With Myself

 

I’m currently having

a platonic relationship

with myself.

 

Whether that’s true

or not

doesn’t really matter.

I just wanted to say it.

 

I like the way

it sounds.

 

 

 

 

Smoking Fat Cigars

 

I’d like to be

smoking fat cigars

 

in your lap

every afternoon.

 

 

 

 

Phone Sex

 

Good morning

dear heart.

 

Some nice

conversation

on the phone

last night.

 

Woke up

with a smile

on my face.

 

And the sound

of your laughter

lingering.

 

 

 

 

Masturbation

 

Everyone a prophet

by the ordination

of their own misguided

hand.

 

 

 

 

Communion

 

Like the night

you devour my

resistance.

 

I become submissive

to the wetness of

your mouth

(an inner sanctum

ceremoniously extended

to my nakedness).

 

Your insides coming out

to me

bathing me in pleasure,

savoring me

as if I were the sweetness

of your expectation.

 

This closeness is as

close

as I shall ever

hope to be,

 

apart from the

meager possibility

of crawling

inside you.

 

 

 

 

Seduction

 

Is it wrong

that I seduce you

with my thoughts,

rather than my body?

 

Or is it just

the lack of your

participation

that makes it feel

that way?

 

 

 

 

Imagining You

 

Went to sleep

with your scent

on my pillow.

 

And had

a very pleasant

dream.

 

 

 

 

Beauty In A Purple Shirt

 

She walked by

and my knees

buckled.

 

Breath escaped

my lungs

like fire seeking

fuel,

like a man seeking

freedom,

like love seeking

relief

from its own

constraints.

 

 

 

 

Expression

 

I got them out.

 

My thoughts

of you.

 

Expressed them

all over my belly.

 

 

 

 

Long Night

 

You made me

hard.

 

The thought of

you.

 

In the dark

last night.

 

While you slept

quietly

 

 

beside me.

 

 

 

 

The Unmentionables

 

Best not to mention

those.

 

 

 

 

Foreign Persuasion

 

Asian mail order brides.

They come in small sizes.

They come with a smile

and a twinkle in the eye.

 

They come with instructions

on how to please an American guy.

They cum on command

with a moan and a sigh.

 

 

 

 

While You Weren’t Even Here

 

I watched you

stroking your hair

with one hand.

 

While the other was busy

beckoning my libido.

 

And I saw it all happening

while you weren’t even here.

 

 

 

 

Doctor Visit

 

I was not invited

for a visit. 

I had to ask

if I could come.

 

That having been said,

she must have known

I wasn’t feeling well,

which would explain

why I was never offered

the usual intimate

conversation,

a hot brandy,

and some warm cherry

pie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Social Proclivities

 

 

 

 

Daily Workout

 

Not a fun thing.

But a necessary

one.

 

If I want to look

like chiseled stone,

and make the girls

think I have a

 

naturally fabulous

body.

 

 

 

 

Cocktail Parties

 

Weekend Warriors.

Weakened warriors

 

collect weapons

to bash each others

brains,

 

to one up the opposition

like people do

with pedigree

 

at cocktail parties.

 

 

 

 

Calendar Dance

 

In the meantime

if I have time

I’ll be busy

in my spare time

trying to find time

to make time

for a good time

to get together.

 

 

 

 

Neighborly

 

Neighbor,

you came with your old

pick up

loaded high.

 

I came down to help

on that rainy

Sunday afternoon

 

and soon discovered

that we would not

 

 

be friends.

 

 

 

 

Cocktail Dance

 

Oh really?

Hmm.

That’s interesting.

 

We’ll have to get together

sometime.

 

 

Call me.

 

 

 

 

Back To Normal

 

The war is over.

We can all go home now.

 

Forget the ugly

aftermath,

the crippled lives

and silent voices,

the shattered dreams

and broken backs.

 

The war is over.

We can all go home now.

 

Get back to bitching

about the dog,

grill the chicken,

trim the hedges,

fix the fence

 

and rake the yard.

 

 

 

 

There Are No More Humans

on the Telephone

 

What’re all these telephone prompts

we have to go through

just to get to someone

for a little bit of

information? 




We should pre-record

our own prompts

to make them go through

to speak to us

after we finally

get to them.

 

 

 

 

They’re Making Women

 

out of our men.

The feminization of America.

The homogenization of

the sexes.

Mass sensitivity training for

the male.

The castration of the species.

 

We’re being conditioned

to think with our feelings,

and not with our brains,

or with logic,

or with reason.

 

Or even with our cocks.

 

We must shrink to fit

every given situation.

We must not upset the status quo.

 

And we must be careful

not to confront

or offend anyone, ever.

That’s reserved for them to do.

 

We might as well grow tits on our backs.

And suckle our lesbian lovers.

 

 

 

 

Meeting

 

I watched you

through my binoculars

on the other side

of the lake.

 

You were watching me

through yours.

 

People meet in the

strangest ways.

 

 

 

 

They’re Making Lesbians

 

out of our women.

The masculinization of

the species.

 

The women turn their men

into women,

become those men themselves,

and turn to one other

for lack of a man

to love.

 

Go figure.

 

 

 

 

Dignity

 

No matter how old

I get

 

I will piss

standing up.

 

 

 

 

Staff Meeting

 

A few annoying

voices

hold us like glue

to our chairs.

 

 

 

 

The Sins of Their Parents **

 

I watched some kids kill a chipmunk

in the campground this morning

just for fun.

They didn’t have a gun

like the kids on the street.

They didn’t need to kill that little thing.

 

Throwing rocks was easy.

It made them happy to watch

that little creature die.

And it gave them power,

something they never had.

 

Being mean was second nature.

They wore it well,

 

like a badge.

 

And these were privileged kids,

with pedigree.

 

Where did we go so wrong?

What have our sons become?

Have they buried their conscience,

their compassion, like bones?

 

Alongside the sins of their parents?

 

 

 

 

The Experts

 

Leave it up to the experts

to tell you what to do.

 

Or become an expert at something

yourself,

 

and they’ll leave it up

to you.

 

 

 

 

A Table For Two

 

Burn the wood

Feel the heat

Cook the food

for us to eat.

 

Pour the wine

Enjoy the view

We dine tonight

on campfire stew.

 

 

 

 

With All Due Respect **

 

You must wonder, in reading

these silly observations,

Doesn’t he have anything better

to do?

 

But I propose, with

all due respect,

the same could be said

of you.

 

 

 

 

It’s All the Same

 

I’m indifferent

to your adulation.

 

And to all the charges

leveled against me.

 

 

 

 

Shattered Expectations

 

Please enter your password

and then press pound.

 

I’m sorry, you have no new messages

at this time.

 

Shattered expectations for many.

A sigh of relief for some.

 

 

 

 

Haiku

 

Highku lowku lou

Iku youku weku knew

heku sheku too.

 

 

 

 

Clever Remarks

 

Wind kicking up

the leaves,

and debris,

tossing them around

inadvertently.

 

Like clever remarks

being bandied about

at a cocktail party.

 

At the bar,

 

or a presidential primary

debate.

 

 

 

 

I’ll Have A Coffee

 

A little girl behind the counter

in a small Italian café.

She asked me what I’d like today.

 

I’ll have a coffee, I said.

Coffee? she said,

pointing to a menu overhead,

suggesting an espresso, or

a cappuccino. Maybe I’d like

a latte instead?

 

I said, Thanks,

but I’ll just have a coffee.

She said, Coffee?

And I said, Yes.

She said, Café Americano, or

an American coffee?

 

And then my brain locked up on me,

like brakes on an old Chevy.

 

 

 

 

Delegation

 

Leave it to me

to leave it to you

to leave it to somebody else.

 

 

 

 

Eyes Wide Open

 

I’m a man who’s learned

from his Ms. Steaks.

 

 

 

 

A Tree In the Room

 

Christmas morning

with family, ornaments and

lights

adorning an otherwise

naked tree.

 

I like the lights and

decorations

so thoughtfully arranged.

 

And I like the tree unclothed

as well.

 

You can’t go wrong

with a tree in the

room.

 

 

 

 

She Talked To Me

 

She talked to me

about insignificant

matters.

Insignificant, not to her,

or even to me,

but in the overall context

of life.

She was friendly,

and she was kind.

 

Like someone a man

would like to find

at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. External Perception

 

 

 

 

Valentines Day

 

How did Mr. Valentine

get his own day

when I can’t even get

a window table

at the Broken Heart Café?

 

 

 

 

Ideology

 

The righteousness

the man had worn

about him

 

quite predictably

failed to spread

throughout him.

 

 

 

 

After Death

 

If there’s life after death

is there death after afterlife?

 

And if so

where do the dead go

then?

 

 

 

 

Man-Child

 

I met a little man

along my way.

 

He was 68

and getting younger

every day.

 

Looking forward

to the joy

 

of adolescence.

 

 

 

 

Family Persuasion

 

What is this pressure

to please

that lingers among us

like some insidious

disease.

The need to measure

up, or down,

as the case may be,

to the will of those

who seek conformity.

 

By subtle means.

By silence.

By guilt.

 

And family persuasion.

 

 

 

 

The View

 

From way up here

there’s nothing I can’t see.

 

As far as I can see.

 

 

 

 

Exodus *

 

So you’re bustin’ down the fence

and ridin’ in your wagon

down the sidewalk to the next neighborhood

where the boys will want you on their team

and the girls will want to

touch your naked face

and the dogs will try and chase you

back to from where you came

but you’ll bark louder than them

cause you know you can’t go back again

and you’ll bruise your knees

and ego sometimes

but eventually find some nice green grass

to run and jump on

as you realize

it don’t pay to play in the street

or after dark

or with bullies

and you’ll make out OK

because you’re tougher than them

on the inside

from all those years of emotional isometrics

that you did while they were throwin’ rocks

and sharpenin’ popsicle sticks on the concrete

to poke you with

and I hope you won’t never forget where I live

cause I’ll miss you

 

and they poke me sometimes

too.

 

 

 

 

Down the Road

 

The sky will be clear

again

 

The clouds will be

gone

 

The noise will be

muted

 

The fighting will

stop.

 

Further on.

Further on.

Further on down the road.

 

 

 

 

Passengers

 

There are too many

passengers

on this marauding

train.

 

And not enough

snacks.

 

The quiet has been

devoured

by the indulgent

sound

of everybody

commenting on their

Caribbean tans.

 

Or screaming about

the latest acquisition

to slip through their

perfectly

manicured

hands.

 

 

 

 

Family

 

Never had one

quite like this.

 

Grown exponentially

with time.

 

Small boys

have become men

 

With bigger bodies

and broader minds.

 

 

 

 

Adversity

 

When the rains

come

we all get wet

together.

 

But why do some get

drenched

while others

barely get their feet

wet?

 

 

 

 

Sanity

 

I am mentally

fit.

 

But you are fittingly

mental.

 

Just sayin’.

 

 

 

 

The Voice of Reason *

 

There’s a place I’ve never been before.

I don’t know where it is, or why.

But I see it sometimes when I look out over the edge

of my own limitation.

When I reach beyond my own capacity.

 

In this place I hear the sound of soft breathing,

and the laughter of children.

I hear the sighs of reconciliation.

I hear the joyous weeping

of those who have known forgiveness,

and of those who have forgiven.

 

I hear the sound of rain washing souls, and faces

with it’s quiet refrain, with it’s loving wetness,

with it’s compassionate intent.

 

I hear the voice of reason.

I hear the chiming of an ancient bell in the distance,

and the chirping of a new born robin.

I hear gardenia’s breathing, and the whisper of the wind

through long corridors of silence.

 

I hear dreams taking shape.

And I hear the sound of people talking backwards

to gather up the words spoken idly and carelessly.  >>>

 

In this place I hear kindness,

and I hear visitors at the gate.

I see a weathered hand reaching for the cinnamon.

I see green apples rolling slowly across the kitchen floor,

perpetually rolling, like a heart keeps beating.

 

I see a ballerina in the fog,

and a crystal decanter on a table in the meadow.

I see a tug boat hauling potpourri.

I see a candle burning faintly in a window,

hanging just askew in the midnight sky.

 

I hear the warm breath of passion in the cool morning air.

I see the reflection of many good intentions

in eyes clear and deep, like a high alpine lake in winter.

 

I see family returning.

I see friendship quietly emerging.

I see alizarin crimson.

I see grace.

 

And I see life.

 

 

 

 

Situation Comedies

 

Every evening

in homes across

America

we pay homage

to our own

way of life.

 

The familiar jokes

and situations

that enable us to feel

we’re not too

terribly different

from the others.

 

The predictable

script,

the canned

laughter

eliciting a common

response.

 

Like a maestro

deftly directing

the brass

with a wave

of his magic

wand.

 

 

 

 

Nothing


If it’s not one thing
it’s another.

It’s never just
about nothing.

That would be
too easy.

 

 

 

 

Closed and Shuttered

 

The cabin was all

boarded up,

ostensibly for the winter.

 

Upon closer inspection

it became apparent

there had been a death

in the relationship.

 

 

 

 

What Mama Never Said

 

Mama never told you

that love could be that hard.

That it could take a piece of your heart

and drop it on the barbecue

in Frankie’s back yard.

 

 

 

 

A Pretty Face

 

She sat on a rock

naked,

legs hanging languid

in the cool mountain

lake.

 

Private and secluded,

her ass smiled shyly,

like a pretty face.

 

Like a young girl might

on a first date.

 

 

 

 

The Strangers We Observe

 

Sitting on the rocks,

she was drawing

a transitory image,

hoping to preserve it’s

profound impression

before it was gone for good.

 

But it left before she finished,

leaving her with just a partial

impression.

 

Like the strangers

we have casually observed.

 

 

 

 

The Only Ones Willing

 

Leave the politics

to those who are not afraid

to lose.

 

They will be the only ones

willing to tell the truth.

 

 

 

 

They Will Stand Together Gladly

 

I watched you gathering weeds,

and cuttings, from the overgrown

stream bank,

choosing carefully the wild,

but dying, stalks and stems

knowing, by your movement,

by your style,

that you would somehow breathe life

into an arrangement to be made

of these otherwise forgotten

and decaying

shapes.

 

They will stand together gladly

in a glass vase, in the sun,

on the floor, in the corner

of your day room.

 

 

 

 

The Truth Is Always Lost

 

Listening to talk radio,

rather than be challenged

by a differing perspective

most will change the station

to find what suits

their point of view.

 

Like spineless politicians

changing their positions

to appeal to the naïve sheep

they’re talking to.

 

Truth is always lost

in one’s own need

for affirmation.

 

 

 

 

Closing In For The Kill

 

I read a story today

about mountain lions

in the area.

The paper said,

They attack from

the shadows,

overpowering unsuspecting

prey.

 

Reminds me of the way

politicians attack the will

of the people,

sneaking predatory attachments

into partisan bills

as they wind their way

through the shadows

of congress,

 

closing in for the kill.

 

 

 

 

Time To Think

 

Everyone has the same

amount of time.

We just divide it

differently.

 

Some use the greatest portion

on the necessities of work,

some on leisure.

 

But who among us are inclined

to reserve substantial time

to just be still,

to calm our restless minds,

to leave the noise behind,

unwind, and take some time

to think?

 

The state of the nation

would lead me to

believe

we are not a land

of quiet thinkers.

 

 

 

 

Differing Views of the Same Situation

 

There were children walking

along the path,

with mother calling for them

to be careful,

father challenging them

not to worry,

wife scolding, No, they’re only children,

and the husband responding curtly,

 

Relax, they’re on the fucking path.

 

 

 

 

The Politics Of Righteousness.

 

In the book of Isaiah,

referring to the coming of the Messiah,

it is written All our righteousness

is like filthy rags.

 

Politicians seek to convince us

of their goodness, even through

a myriad of lies.

 

A spiritual enema

would surely circumvent the need

for those fake public displays of piety.

 

The kind so easily pinned

to one’s own chest

to be worn for the cameras

like a badge of honor.

 

 

 

 

Decision by Committee

 

Left for a committee to decide

how to divide a pie

they are likely to devise,

by their own admission,

some seemingly insightful,

but subtly spiteful way

to appear to make the right division.

 

But, while some are likely to be

decisive,

others will be

indecisive,

and some will be certifiably

undecided,

undoubtedly culminating

by the end of the night

in some righteous kind of

food fight.

 

I eat alone.

 

 

 

 

Like Everybody Else

 

Dreamers, and even visionaries,

fade away like everybody else,

no longer able to oblige the journey,

or the insincerity of life.

 

Yes, they die like everybody else,

They just leave more quietly,

 

I suppose.

 

 

 

 

Two Old Men

 

across the lake,

parked offshore

in a new bass fishing boat

telling stories about

their wives.

 

In the privacy of this place

sound is amplified on water.

I can hear their words

clearly,

like the lapping of waves

on shore.

 

There’s kindness in their

conversation.

Smoke rises from the Webber

on board.

 

Two old men,

afloat,

grilling sausages

like in their own back yard.

 

But without the Grey Poupon.

 

 

 

 

He Was That Familiar

 

That man

with the back pack

and the black baseball cap

could have been walking

along the road

just about any place

I’ve ever been before.

 

He was that familiar.

 

But he was over there,

looking at me

like I might be

someone he’s seen

walking along the road

just about any place

he’s ever been before.

 

 

 

 

Gimme Your Space

 

An osprey scanning for fish

while I wait to see it dive.

A bald eagle holding court, lakeside,

atop a towering pine.

Another osprey intent on intimidation,

trying to chase the eagle from its perch,

not because he needed that particular tree

for himself,

but because he didn’t want the eagle

to have it.

 

Like a rich ‘environmentalist’

buying up all the earth

around his obscenely palatial

estate.

 

 

 

 

Softly For Herself

 

She was weeping

softly, for herself,

but also for her sister

whom she lost last night

to the callous embrace

of death.

 

So unexpected,

and so final.

 

She will miss her older sister

like a meadow would

the sparkling morning

dew.

 

 

 

 

Away From It All

 

He stood against the fence post

with his dog.

Old phone

on an even older pole.

Calling one last time

down the mountain.

A static connection,

like in life.

 

Tractor standing ready

to rumble him away

from it all.

 

 

 

 

Hollywood Executives, Career Politicians,

And Corporate Fat Cats

 

A song and a dance

for the Royal court.

The minstrel and the jester,

they both get by

massaging the balls of the king,

and his need to be superior.

 

Entertained by singing dogs

and dancing monkeys,

drunk on absinth and red wine,

he feels sated.

 

But before the end of the evening

he will choke to death

on his own importance,

in his own acerbic vomit.

 

 

 

 

Puddles

Getting Deeper

 

Rain

falling hard

 

like the reputations

of once honorable men

who have succumbed

to the influence

of ethical

mediocrity.

 

Puddles getting deeper

by the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Mental Indiscretions

 

 

 

 

The Memory

 

In a world

of limited relief

one tends to find it

where one can.

 

A late night rendezvous

with a past indiscretion,

or a modern day

Lana Turner

in a lace night gown

fingering

a neon dildo.

 

It doesn’t really matter.

It’s not about the liaison anyway,

or the moment.

It’s about the memory.

 

We remember things

the way we want to,

the way we would have

designed them

 

had we had the presence

of forethought.

 

 

 

 

Conception

 

I’d like to know

why I’ve so

suddenly arrived

upon this planet.

 

I never asked for life

that I recall.

My choice was not considered

for a moment.

My voice could not be heard

above the passion.

 

Life just seemed to come

by some entanglement of bodies

on a bed.

 

Love is what they called it,

but sex is what it was.

 

Is it any wonder I’m inclined

towards erogenous delights

when therein lies my

roots?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Internal Congestion

 

 

 

 

The Empty

 

Sun down

night sky

beckons

like a familiar

void

like a lost

horizon.

 

I jump into

the empty.

 

 

 

 

Conflict of Interest

 

There’s nothing I would like more

than to grow hair on my back

to keep me warm for the winter.

 

There’s nothing I would like less

than to have to shave it

for the summer.

 

 

 

 

Surgery

 

They dug my tooth out

yesterday

and left nothing

in it’s place.

Just an empty space.

 

With pain.

 

Like my therapist did

a few years back

extracting the death

from my past.

 

Leaving nothing

in it’s place.

Just an empty space.

 

With pain.

 

 

 

 

Hope *

 

Hope

doesn’t give much

notice,

or turn to offer

some pretentious resignation

upon it’s departure.

 

It just walks

quietly through the door

with a furtive glance

 

and is gone.

 

 

 

 

The Freeze

 

I’m broken hearted.

It hurts real bad.

My heart got cold

and cracked.

 

 

 

 

Solitude

 

This quiet

is as quiet

as it’s ever been.

 

Yet

the rain lingers

to mix with my tears,

reminding me

that I am mostly water.

 

As is the earth.

As is the wine.

 

And yet

I do not drown

 

in my solitude.

 

 

 

 

Ego Gratification

 

Is it odd that I should

not want you

 

while wanting you

to want me?

 

 

 

 

Lethargy *

 

I’ve been stuck

between a pillow

and a soft place.

 

Comfort quietly

killing me.

 

 

 

 

Jaw Man

 

Rappin’ on me

like I was some kinda

door,

tryin’ to knock me down

with your vocabulary.

 

Jaw man,

talkin’ on and on

and on,

 

all the while

oblivious

to my unwillingness

to digest

 

garbage.

 

 

 

 

Romeos and Juliet

 

Something as sacred

as love

mistaken for madness,

or

something as common

as passion

mistaken for

love?

 

 

 

 

Growing Pains

 

Bruised knees, and egos.

Broken bones, and dreams.

 

Runny nose, and teardrops

dripping slowly down a weathered cheek.

 

Growing pains, and heartache.

Crooked teeth, and bodies bent with age.

 

Puberty, and menopause.

Life begins, and life goes on.

 

 

 

 

Through The Eyes

 

The mist has not

clouded my vision

from without

 

by this damp

and dreary morning

merging quietly

with my face.

 

Rather, tears have

seeped subtly

through my eyes

 

from a deep well,

in an ancient place,

behind the long expression

of too much sadness.

 

 

 

 

In & Out

 

Inside.

Environmental control

with central heat

and air conditioning,

 

carpet for my feet,

and plastic wrapped sweets

from vending machines.

 

Coffee brewing fresh

and filtered

flowing like amphetamine

injected through the veins

and brains of we who live here

daily.

 

Fluorescent lights deliberately

designed to liven

and enlighten

suspended like spider webs.

Woven plastic

fastened to acoustic tile sky

above my head,

 

and I feel dead here

sometimes.

 

 

Outside.

Gentle wind

and rolling hills

soft earth

endless sky

warm sunshine

and I would be alive

 

were I beneath it.

 

 

 

 

Storm

 

Life outside my window

cold and windy

rainy gray and discontent

 

gloomy looming larger

than the monsters

in my child mind

 

trees leaning long

and alone

broken bashed and battered

by the wrath of demon wind

 

blowing hard sharp

merciless maniacal

boundless groundless energy

unleashed on me

and mine and you

and yours and them

and theirs and

they who were alone

but aloner now

 

feeling stormed

like the trees outside my window

and the man inside my-

 

self.

 

 

 

 

Uninspired

 

The words won’t line up right

today.

They arrange themselves

like a rag tag band of

soldiers

in process of surrender.

 

 

 

 

These Days

 

Soft haze

settles over the morning

as if it had a right to be here.

Were it clear I could see the unseen,

the distant mystery,

the out of reach,

the far side of the valley.

 

As it is I must rely on faith,

on faltering imagination

and vague recollection.

 

I’m not so sure I trust myself

for that.

 

 

 

 

Silent Voices

 

Silent screams

sometimes seem

like the only sound

I am free to make.

 

I drown in my

grief, and in my

inability to

speak.

 

I cannot leave the

anguish

where it was born,

where it must die.

 

Where it cannot

hurt me.

 

I cannot bleed

enough to drain

the pain from my

remembrance.

 

 

 

 

Strangers *

 

The ubiquitous stares

of strangers

hunt me down

and stab me

like an arrow

pierces deeply

the tender

and vulnerable

breast

 

of a disconsolate

deer.

 

 

 

 

Back Before the Sky

 

I lived a million years ago

in solitude.

 

It wasn’t bad.

 

My dreams were bridges

then.

My hopes were

high.

The mountain that I stood upon

was sturdy.

The land was long

and promising.

 

I felt better then.

 

But that was back

before the sky

 

fell in.

 

 

 

 

The Alligators *

 

rise from the swamp,

tearing at my flesh

like I belong to them.

 

They thrash frantically

and violent.

I scream quietly.

 

There is no cause

for my concern

beyond the abiding belief

that I surely must deserve it.

 

I am meat in the food chain.

I am strength for the strong.

I feed the dominant,

the more aggressive,

the un-empathetic.

 

I am dragged down

by their hunger.

I shrink at their teeth.

Their gums bleed.

It mixes with my own.

 

I am mangled

beyond reason,

beyond recognition.

I succumb to this violence

in the murky dawn,

not given time

to even drown.

 

That’s what it feels like

sometimes.

That’s how it is.

 

Depression lingers

long after the alligator

is gone.

Long after dark. . . . .

 

deep into the frigid grip of winter.

 

 

 

 

Leave Me Alone

 

Leave me alone,

I cried.

 

My soul

is not the bottom

of your steel toed

boot.

 

 

 

 

Daddy’s Drunk Again

 

Mommy helps him

lift the gin

to his quivering

lips,

 

and leaves the babies

crawling quietly

towards the bar

 

to do like

daddy did.

 

 

 

 

To See You

 

It’s not often

that the bleeding

stops,

but when it does

I walk

on one leg

toward the coast

on my best

crutch

in my finest

boot.

 

To see you.

 

 

 

 

I’d Like To Believe

 

I believe in love.

I just don’t believe

we can attain it.

 

I believe in peace.

I just don’t believe

we can achieve it.

 

I believe in brotherhood.

I just don’t believe

we can be brothers.

 

I’d like to believe in faith.

But it takes faith

 

to believe.

 

 

 

 

The Day After

 

It was the day after

yesterday.

 

And I was feeling

the effects of

the night before.

 

It was the day before

tomorrow.

 

And I was thinking

next time

I’d make a bee line

for the door.

 

 

 

 

Autumn Leaves

 

Let the hammer drop.

Let the clamoring stop.

I’ve been too long drinking

at the fountain of your fatal

disposition.

 

I’ve been tripped up

by the inquisition.

You sent them first

to trap me,

and then to let me die.

 

I was left

to chew through

my own leg

like a wolf

caught in the deadly

steel teeth

you left hidden

like a vicious

secret

 

beneath the autumn

leaves.

 

 

 

 

Protest *

 

I didn’t brush my teeth

before bed last night.

 

It was my small way

of saying fuck you


to the world.

 

 

 

 

In A Hurry

 

all the time.

 

A flurry of scurry,

a blurry explosion of

hurry.

 

I worry the hurry

will wear me down.

 

 

 

 

To Breathe


Take it in
and let it out.
It’s hard to breathe.

 

Lungs filled

with doubt.

I want to scream.




A bitter taste

in the mouth.

My gums bleed.




Pointing north

but heading south.

Like a bad dream.

 

 

 

 

Funeral Dilemma

 

If I go

I’ll wish I hadn’t.

If I don’t

I’ll wish I had.

 

Where’s my brother

when I need him?

 

 

 

 

Always In A Whisper

 

Listening.

Quietly.

I hear

the voice

that once

made me

afraid.

 

Always in a whisper.

Always in a whisper.

 

But I fear no self-examination

now.

 

 

 

 

Unremitting Sound

 

The relentless and incessant static

of frantic insects

buzzing around my head.

 

Or is that just my own mind again

crushing information like a Mac,

processing data

refusing to rest.

 

 

 

 

Clothed or Exposed

 

Clothes.

They cover us up

like illicit lovers hide

the affair.

 

Nakedness.

Unburdened

of the weight of

deceit.

 

 

 

 

Mental Futility

 

I can’t get used to

this idea

of getting used to

an idea

that I just can’t seem to

get used to.

 

Maybe I need

a better idea.

 

 

 

 

Fathers Day

 

Should there be such

anxiety

around the recognition

of my father?

 

Or of my son’s acknowledgement

of me?

 

The fatherless child

would consider it to be

wrestling with good fortune.

 

 

 

 

Auditory Assault

 

I’d like some kind of

governor

to filter what finds

it’s way into my ear.

 

Sometimes words assault me

like a predatory worm

burrowing a path

through bone, I fear,

 

to my brain.

 

 

 

 

Ancient Heartache

 

I lay awake

and listen to sounds

somehow more pronounced

by the darkness,

and an otherwise pervasive

quiet.

 

I no longer want to hear

the sounds that wish

to remain unheard

in the night

for fear they would awaken

once again

an even greater silence.

 

They are the sounds

of ancient heartache.

 

 

 

 

Chronic Degradation

 

He told me, Sticks and stones

could break my bones,

but names would never hurt me.

 

Truth?

Or cheap rationale

for the chronic degradation?

 

 

 

 

Life Changes

 

Storm clouds gathering

overhead

 

reminding me

of when I once said

 

Storm clouds gathering

overhead.

 

 

Funny how

they’ve been gone

since then.

 

Stranger still, how

they’ve come back

again.

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Care About That

 

All night last night

time seemed longer than it had

the night before.

 

I am stronger than

the darkness though,

capable of enduring

it’s extended visitation.

 

I might have been rude

in ushering its unwelcome scowl

out the door.

 

But I don’t care

about that.

 

 

 

 

Like A Diner Thanks A Waiter For A Meal

 

In the stillness

I can hear the sound of the unspoken.

I can see the shape of shifting shadows

filling once empty spaces in the room

where I sit.

 

Sometimes these random awakenings

are more restful than the sleep.

 

And sometimes they are not.

 

My friends have come tonight, and

my brother.

All have passed before me, before my time,

and before my turn.

I can feel the unambiguous presence

of their visitation,

as if it were the imprint

of my life.

 

There are those who have dismissed me

for the way I’ve been affected

by death.

As if they know me well enough

to know my grief.

As if I should shoulder the loss

like a diner thanks a waiter for a meal.

 

They don’t know my relationship

to death.­­­­­­­­­­­

They only know my relationship

to them.

 

Maybe love is something other than

accepting, without question,

the foregone conclusion

of one’s religion.

 

Religion is one thing.

And the death of my brother

is another.

 

 

 

 

Conspiratorial Intention

 

What’s that faint sound

between my ears

that I’m still hearing?

 

The one that keeps reminding me

to listen to my heart,

but to think with my head.

 

Is that the voice of reason,

conspiratorially intent on giving me

the best chance to get life right

this time?

 

I wonder.

Like a boy often wonders

if he’ll ever get laid.

 

 

 

 

The Garden

 

I sometimes feel the feelings Jesus must have felt

when he knelt before His Father in the garden.

Pleading for a way to change His destiny,

facing struggles in Himself He’d rather run from,

But praying for the strength to carry on.

 

Commitment.

He’d come to do the will of One He loved,

But love determined Him to die.

Gethsemane was born in me

as I began to kneel before my Father,

feeling weak at first, hurting,

but purposed in my heart to walk His way.

 

I’ve felt the strain of being faced with choices

I would have to make alone.

I’ve known the pain of needing to respond to God

but pleading for another way to go.

And I’ve not been called to hang upon a cross

while God deliberately turns His back.

 

I’ve just been asked to do the will of God concerning me,

and He decides what it’s to be.

 

So I kneel before my Father

in the Garden.

 

 

 Copyright Denes McIntosh, Adriel Publishing 2014 All Rights Reserved

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