Tuesday, October 10, 2017

guest poet: Garron Tankersley

My son Garron, 15, wrote this excellent little poem for a Sophomore English assignment. It's his first-ever attempt at poetry. He had to choose a work of art and respond to it as a poem. He chose "Work II" by Kazuo Shiraga, pictured.

* * *

The demon laughs maliciously
but the picture changes capriciously
Now it's beautifully budding roses
as the image finally composes
a sign of love.

Am I to believe myself mad?
Is it my true intention to see evil
Or should I be glad
because of the upheaval?

The constant fight continues
As it has in many venues
Because the battle above
is one of the hawk and dove

Monday, August 7, 2017

guest poet : Amara Tankersley

Part of the fun of having FBNL be in blog format rather than its own website is the opportunity to feature other items than just my own poems. In honor of sister Eilena's birthday, my daughter, then-12-year-old Amara Tankersley wanted to show off her verse. 

Amara is now leaving for college, Eilena is 9.

As far as I know, this one is untitled.

* * *

Eilena enjoyed having fun
in the warm summer's sun.
She took rides
in her red wagon
and pretended she was
a fierce dragon.
While she sat on a small chair
there was a strange silence in the air-
Eilena went up the many stairs,
"Surprise!" yelled her family with
birthday gifts in the chairs.

Happy Birthday Ena-beena!
From Amara.

Friday, August 4, 2017

god on its head

Tipped torved
concrete rock-hewn
head in sand
island-man erected
god in graven image in
hand-selected granite

encased perpendicular
eyeballs ogling horizon in
indifferent malediction
moulded of stone
with taunting stare-
the swaggering sneer
and stoicism dare-

We can turn the god on its head!

In a turmoil of one-thousand hands
a cacophony of
hard-charging fingernails
cracked to the quick
boot-bottoms, sinew
and walking sticks
fixed at the base
and the idol will tumble;

teeter reluctantly-
molasses on the soggy grass-
but undulate under
our weight en masse
together we make the tyrant humble-

We can turn the god on its head!

Cheer the convulsion
and the peal of pebbles
chipping in all directions
howl at the detonation-
an unruly hedonistic orgasm
of ascendancy-
a clamor of heights unheard
join with me-

bloody your fingertips
embark to heave-ho
cold stone will puncture,
bruise our skin below
but we will hoist
in heroic travail
new era of extrication
without fail-

We can turn the god on its head!

* * *

Dedicated to all revolutionaries, everywhere protesting his autocratic policies. This all started when I watched a documentary on the statues on Easter Island. One of the giant heads had been toppled at one time. It lay on the ground and didn't seem so miraculous in that position. The archaeologist on the program surmised that originally the great  heads were built as spiritual figures but eventually came to symbolize the power that the higher-status islanders held over the lower-ranked islanders. The wealthy built taller heads that grew more and more elongated-  very phallic in statement. The more I look at the situation in which our society has placed itself, the more I see gigantic heads erected with a "mine is-bigger" mentality. 


I should play among 
the sun’s reflection
in the cool trickles of
liquidy perfection
‘neath the quiescent
observation of oak roots
exposed by erosion.

I should chant a
mantra of pure joy
smelling the soft soil
newly rain-soaked
under my feet,
at the rustle of toil
of an unknown
companion in
the thicket or
an answered avian call
over the canopy.

I should sit for
longer hours amidst
the leaves, the
verdant foliage calls,
vibrant and seductive
as it pleads,
bark encompassing
a lineage hidden.
I feel as father and as son
on this hill in the wood
there is nothing profane
here, nor forbidden.

 I should live by my heart
forever in this land
encased in the bark and
rooted in the soil
created by deity’s hand.

I should.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

conundrum throughout creation

In the beginning, there was the goddess, and she created all, everything, above and below and in-between. Except for the things the god created. He rained his fiery sperm down from the heavens into her dark, fertile valleys, and there was life.

Except for the life that was created when he was wounded and his blood spilt on the earth or that stuff created when she split asunder her atomic structure and divided into two beings, the earth and the sky, and they into four: earth, water, fire and air.

And all of these being the exception to that which was created when everything went haywire and nothingness exploded with a big bang, causing the formation of the universe, which is still feeling the effects and expanding, or is it shrinking?

Then there was the time he masturbated into his hand, ingested the output and expectorated children. And the time when her love for the universe was the cause of great consternation in her underground womb and erupted life-giving fires onto the surface from her vagina.

But I digress, my mind was in the gutter...

These two came together, bonded as one and from that union everything emerged. Except, of course, those things that naturally evolved from proteins and acids bonding together in small pools of warm water, over millions and millions of years, step-by-step.

One must mention a worldwide flood at some point, as either man became too wicked to survive, there was a war among the gods, or the crust of the earth shifted over the mantle due to gravitational issues, causing a massive cataclysm.

Of course, one man and his family survived, having been told by god to build an ark and take into it one of every animal and not to worry about the predator/prey combinations or the problem of feces removal.

Whoops, gutter problem again.

His was the only family, except for the pair that survived by strapping themselves to a tree on a high hill. And the one down in what we now call South America who was told to enter the caves. And all the others in their boats. And the ones who were turned to dolphins, etc. Oh, and Atlantis, or Lemuria, which sank beneath the depths.

Then there was the tower we tried to build to reach heaven, where all languages were created to confuse people and to separate us so we'd never become as great as god, although inside us all there is a god, or at least a loa, perhaps a brother-in-loa.

Luckily, today we all believe alike, at least according to the leaders of the United States, that one nation under... something. Something green, I think, and made of paper, or perhaps golden, like a calf...

We all know that church is on Sunday morning and as long as you're there and you've dunked in the name of a Jewish carpenter/stoneworker/last scion of the Davidic line/rabbit/savior, anything you do during the week is up for negotiation. Man, I'm glad the world isn't as complicated today as it once was. Just begs the question...

What would Guan Lin do?

you were made like wildflowers

You were made like wildflowers, 
yours was an autumn blossom-
an essence of joy on display, 
your sustenance was
every day, life itself
scenting the world with
your simplicity of presence.

You were made like wildflowers, 
yours was a winter to endure-
a trying of the soul, so cold
stood firm in the soil
so bold, never wilting
a portrait of strength
suspending the season of growth.

You were made like wildflowers, 
yours was a summer bouquet-
sprouting up wild in wide pastures
in purple and gold
hue that secures, inspired
a sense of closeness
with the land, the one you loved.

Yours are made like wildflowers, 
You made spring eternal-
burgeoning in mind and heart
unfenced and unbound
as you depart, you lay down
a batch of seedlings, 
to replenish the garden with light.

* * *

Author's Notes: For Aunt Gaddle, aged 102 when she left.


Whip-crack! You attack-
your reflexive domination
can't approximate this claim, 
my carnal refutation of
the war-march you drum-
a dire abomination
lacking regret or shame.

This is my sedition
a dish best served in disillusion-
better- a dissolution-
a climactic cataclysm-
yet I’m only one empty cleft, 
the rift is made of millions
cleaving to the rectitude
of national aspirations
you bereft of reality.

I am a pure destroyer
bound to disinfect
your marketplace, 
I’ll employ the
vim of my words, 
my language equals
syllables in riot gear-
That’s all it takes to make
depressions and fearful earthquakes
in the "lands of the free"-
to be read states-
hunkering in bunkers of blue.

Now your fleets are manned
by bitter turncoat mutineers
steering through tsunamis
on the high seas, 
ill-wracked by your foibles
and policies from asinine to austere
perhaps I’m saturnine but I
see horror ‘round the sphere
rains of meteoric nightmare
on a scorching tangent spree
purging ashes forged in disarray
the identity I flee.

You are the pure destroyer
rumbling hellbent and unchecked-
the genesis of climactic cataclysm-
your revelation I reject
and stand stalwart on
solid earth to bear
the beastly wreck this hour-
the collision fate did spawn.

Our retribution is the penalty for
perversion of unhinged power.

Now, attack!

* * *

Author's Notes: Yes, this does relate to my spiritual path as well as my disdain for several political dynasties, as well as current officeholders. Following a warrior path means much more than physically fighting for those who can't, but also using words in protest to join the cause.

Monday, July 17, 2017

retrocausality waltz

That first time we met
I caught myself recalling
The times before, where we kissed
in the sunshine,
And twirled ‘neath the moonlight
in a giddy daze in the sand.
That first time we met
I knew you well, your secrets and
funny little anecdotes
you shared, in the nighttime,
pressed to me, your lips forming
our first hello, at a festival
simultaneous to 
kissing me then, kissing me now.
That first time we met
I knew the nervousness
Trying to invent reasons
that you might stay the
next time we met, 
standing in an entryway,
stammering at beauty.
That first time we met,
a flash of your naked body,
Hair falling about your smile,
your eyes meet mine, our bodies
intertwined in a perfection
like I’ve never known
All in that first time we met-
but I had to hurry,
get to the next destination, that I
didn’t realize you would end up being-
and I miss your smile, your laugh,
your funny little anecdotes, your kisses- 
all the strange magic of them-
they affected me, 
that first time we met,

Friday, June 16, 2017


How I've missed
the simple talks we'd have
About the meaning of words
And the glistening of fire
you told me once, but
I forgot, forgive me.

How I've missed
watching your strong arms,
Hands grasping about tools,
and the making of the fire
you taught me once,
but I forgot, forgive me.

I shared a kiss,
of fire, not of passion.
Fire meant for the head,
and spread it did, around and throughout,
across a summer, bright and fertile,
But I forgot, forgive me.

I hold myself responsible
for words my grandmother entrusted me,
for deeds my grandfather tutored me,
for promises devised from a kiss
on lips which since have flown.
They were forsaken.

They were forsaken.
And my suffering has multiplied,
But in it I have REMEMBERED
The Protector of the Truth. I remember,

I remember and rededicate myself
to that lofty cause.
My heart, my light, my mind.
I have returned grandmother, grandfather,
as your champion.

Friday, February 20, 2015


He's feeling the last throb
Drop drop drop
Blood in his heart
Fingers on fingers
Rasp sighs a whisper
reflection of voice
Heart opens like eyes
He sees what is true
Nothing but love
Tell them I love you
I love you all
Love all of you
Drop drop drop
Fingers lose touch
This is his final

dan majka is famous!

Dan Majka is famous! reads the e-mail subject line-
nearly strain my index finger with a fidget to decline it
and delete it- drowning in his well-wishes-
could spend hours on the phone
finding ways I might compete with-
but I’m rusting in a coffee shop which may as well be home-
just biding time ‘til better ways appear for investment in my life-
generational angst transfigured ‘til it becomes my own.
Dan Majka is famous!; I’m just fulfilling my role-
simply falling apart here, fingers wet from pickle bowl
ears burning from so much baby-talky, Bible-talk treacle-
served up with sociological, heebie-jeebie rock-n-roll.
Dan Majka is famous! and I’m losing control-
cheap coffee shop napkin tears like my resolve.
dedication spent- greasy fingers make holes
tears in descent, I fondle untouched sandwich crusts-
overload for the stomach and for the soul.
Dan Majka is famous; my life is a sitting duck sinecure
I just don’t see the point of debate-
if Dan is famous- what does that make me?
An eavesdropper on strangers’ tales of aftershocks and despair-
proving themselves they’re ok with “a quick prayer, then outta there.”
Could I be ok too- if I dared to believe
in fairy tales and pop-psychology and comfort food?

Dan Majka is famous! Oh, like I really care…

* * *

Written stream-of-conscious listening to several different conversations around me and reading an email. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

yule, 2002

Honored mother, honored father.
We feel your presence in this season,
In a story told of a birth in a stable on a silent night,
in stories of antiquity,
of Isis and Horus, Ishtar and Tammuz,
Dionysus and Persephone, Maya and the Buddha.
In these we see the continuation
of the timeless cycle of creation,
of life from death and warmth from cold.

(Written for a Yule Service in 2002.)

* * *

From the twilight
comes the snow;
from the snow
comes the lady
from her womb
to bring light to the world.

From the gloaming
comes the mother;
from the mother
comes rebirth
starts the cycle
to bring light to the world.

From the lady
comes a sigh;
from the sigh
comes release
born a child
to bring light to the world.

From the mother
comes a son;
from her son
comes renewal
joins the cycle
to bring light to the world.

From the frigid
comes a spark;
from the spark,
rise the sun
igniting fire
to bring light to the world.

From the darkness
comes the mother;
from the mother
come we all-
all are children
who bring light to the world!

waking immortal

Dozens of years
dust gathered
on the bridge of my nose
hard skin faded
to pallid from rose
lost atop the sphere.

Ad-hoc creeping
dreaming ceased
long ago lost the heart of life
not to snap the drum
nor toot the fife,
heart lost the will to sing.

Slumber I wept
inside the monster
the heart now pounds
in misery once again resounds
for something that was kept.

Belief in light
scarlet eyes blithely
seek resonance,
to once again shudder
rise and dance
joy unfurls in sight!

Focus returns-
shadow creature stands
bare-chested and wet
impulses fire
without regret
blood to body churns.


Disaffected starry-eyed angel
wears jewels 'neath eyes
to symbolize
her tears.
Walks on toes
to parse the shuffling crowd
of tomorrow's lost
wine glass above
trickles through her hair
turns jaded thoughts
to frost.
Long-neglected steely-eyed strangers
squeeze 'round her frame
mean to defame
her skin.
Mindless drones
set to rhythm
of a sycophantic beat
syncopation strains
their buzzing heads
and lulls their sense to sleep.
Redirected teary-eyed misfit
no fight within
only fear and strain.
Caught in stream
of spangled minds unkempt
slaving for the drums
pulsations throb
indenture mixes
her battle a nil sum.

* * *

I was in Las Vegas at a vodka bar/dance club when I wrote this in my head. An interesting little world, the club scene... perhaps a microcosm of life. While everybody should be having fun, some are there to look good, others to wander aimlessly and others just to screw people. Then there are the people who are there to work, who nobody really
notices. I sound like fun at parties, eh?

to butterfly wing, tether my soul

To butterfly wing,
tether my soul-
face-to-face with multieyed foes
travel is maelstrom
past orb-weavers' weblines-
I'm a tattletale taught a new-fashioned role.
Heart-to-heart with the vaporous din
enter the passage and view my kin
beckon forth and free,
past martyrs expired-
reconcile my yore to absolve any sin.
Land in a flesh-filled lounge plenteous-
eye-to-eye with the umbra inside us
descending is bliss, to cognizance hie
call the crooners of paeans
to continuance callous
On butterfly wing
I lose inhibition-
mystically coupled in cryptic union
traveling paths to dwellings sonorous
soul-to-soul with my confederate won.