Wednesday, July 6, 2011

wayside pulpit

Mind astray reading the
words on a wayside pulpit-
so awkward a prophet-
bumbling knowledge-
the acidity of a stunted worldview.

Are you simple as this?
So explainable by twists of phrase 
and pithy wagging tongues
of a bored and boring populace?

Or do you exist in more than an
ever-changing, plastic-lettered,
scared domicile of homicidal 
banalities; meant to be smart?

Might you reside in the
memory of a deceased relative
who died in pain but lived in promise?

Do you dwell a lady’s kiss
at Summer’s first light, balefires lit,
anticipating your rise?

Have you been heard in silent want
upon cold gray steps, with brothers' 
saffron robes dragging the freezing floor?

Or can you be found in
a painted representation of a savior 
dangling, bleeding, rescinding all sin?

Do you feel anger when forced
in containers or bound in
dead leather as the pages of a book?

Can you smell the petals of
an opening rose; waft along the breeze;
yourself the perfume of floral fascination?

How does it feel to be an enigma-
an unknown quantity
straddling an absolute world?

Have I seen you in my daughter’s smile;
my son’s face in the morning
when I am home and it’s Saturday
and what's past is left in proper place?

I care not how you were conceived;
how to ratify your existence; define your mystery.
I seek only your presence, not to fall by the wayside-
no pulpits, nor altars, nor prayers, nor kneeling.

* * *

Since I took such a long break between posts, I thought I'd try to write something new. That didn't work out, so I went back to a past piece & edited the hell out of it (or maybe into it, depends on your worldview.) One of my pet peeves are those little blurbs that appear alongside the road on church marquees- wayside pulpits- that are supposed to be witty. To me they epitomize the general dumbing-down of religion in this country.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Looking like
you’re skinny-sweet.
Twig-thin breakable
won’t bear the heat.
frail-boned glass-jaw
head to feet;
Must prove you’re

Grinding gears
you’re double time.
Thick skin big engine
never knew benign.
Elegant delinquent
bring spark to mind;
I think you’re

Pleasing pain
you’re satisfaction.
First-glance flirtation,
one-day distraction.
Don’t dare to miss us
so no retraction;
you say you’re

Berating bleats
a headstrong sheep.
Pent-up acrimony
sarcasm seeps.
Mutation matrimony,
more’s to weep;
forced to be

Treacly tune
contempt in form.
Sad-sack familiar
caused me scorn.
enshrined boredom;
forced to be

Fantastic flights
come to an end.
Tin-man melting heart
on whom all depends.
Wrestling frivolous
to comprehend
just what is
* * *

Almost everyone who reads this comes away with their own version of its message. Just a hint- throw away anything obvious- think metaphor, people! One of my more personal selections, written during a time of great transition.

Friday, April 29, 2011


The Source of all being, continuum timeless.
The ground of existence, rhyming and rhymeless.

Today we honor your limitless love,
Your limitless freedom and limitless trust,
O unity of sky’s spirit and earth’s dust.

* * *

O aspect of feminine,
Goddess, wisdom, delight.
Womb of our birth,
Nourishment of eternal life.

Maiden, Mother, Crone
Earth, Water, Moon.
From you came our birth, and all birthed who have lived.
We honor your part in creation,
Your partnership internal in our beings
O Mother in the Earth...

The Goddess on the hillside on a sunlit morn,
bathing Her body in the mists;
She trills out a tune to the infinite;
She sings of yearning and bliss.
Her voice calls the fervor of Her love
His presence She insists
She beckons him sweetly to rendezvous
to fulfill all that exists...

* * *

Bachelor, Father, Sage
Sky, Fire, Sun.
From you came the seed so needed for life which grew in the mother.
We honor your part in creation,
Your partnership internal in our beings
O Father in the Sky...

Dance to the song of the hillside Goddess
and she will lie with thee;
the dew and the flowers and the daylight’s gleam
welcome summer’s jubilee;
spring is complete and summer nearby,
dance with your passion, dance down from the sky
join with your lover by the hillside stream

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

child's play

For my son and daughters, back in the day...

I think children are the real masters of all things magical. Weaving the forces of nature to make new realities is something that comes natural and instinctive to a child, especially one very young. The more time I spend with my children, the more of that I see.

* * *

Children play with rhythm
write your musings for
all the world to see
every verse, all prose, all poetry
'til the drums of war
begin to schism.
'Til the sand grains in the hourglass
forget what they're falling for,
incited to rise
No more children shall you play with lies
but wrap your hands 
'round what's at your core
hear sounds in your heart
that are proud and pure
and ghost-dance freedom
knock-knocking on that door.
Sit laughing naked in wet earth
wearing air as your robe.
Children play with God
make Him yours and
just hit reload if He should smite,
there's no throne for a God of spite
in the clay you're baking to be your globe.
Craft new parents from the ground
let inclination coagulate;
No resting easy- children create!
Fashion cities and farms and compounds
skyscrapers of solid crystal
that can never be marauded down!
Or let there be no buildings
only enduring plains
whoop a paean to the patrons
of the open range
and quicken your mount
by releasing it's reins.
Children play with time
repair the errata we've printed afore
engrave your legends and myths and lore
fate is your minion,
the future your reason
Children play with wisdom,
respect every season.

Friday, April 15, 2011

on loop 288 & I-35, Denton

It is shocking how quickly life situations can change- in reality we are all just one or two unlucky events away from being one of the people we ignore standing on the street with a sign. A frightening prospect indeed.

* * *
The lady at the counter
tells me no more is left
so I move along past
shuffling my feet.
Does it matter to her
that my tongue is cleft-
deformed, so I stay in my seat?

I look in a mirror
and see what others view-
tattered clothes
wrinkled skin and scabs
face unshaved.
Fly-like eyes darting 'round
search for non-existent food-
beasts in my belly gnawing
like eviscerated slaves.

You chuckle at my sign
as I hold it to my breast
or stop and gape
with wonderment
at a man whom has no shame.
You rush past and forget
how God has made you blessed;
it seems that "good Samaritans"
no longer have a claim.

A man in a loud tie
talks about me on TV;
I see it at a store
and on the newspaper page.
You wonder if I'm aware
of the time spent just on me;
I want to scream I do not care
but can't bring forth the proper rage.

Not a one impatient
stranger in their Cadillacs
their empty words produced
for re-election
can understand why I
stand with sign and "slack"
they stare dumb
from windows gilded to perfection.

I fought their war
kept their precious
children rich and free-
grimy hands once held
their flag with swollen pride.
The same hands would have
gripped tight my college degree
but foreign lands and bullet holes
cast dreams aside.

So I stand in the median
with my sign clutched
to my breast
while empty suits spout
"robust times" and
"deserving" what I've seen.
I rage inside my brain
until I reach a lofty crest;
then sag down in disarray and
the smell of spent gasoline.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

amber waves

I think all people who write poetry have their own 9/11 poem. That event may have inspired the most poetry not based on personal relationships since JFK's assassination.

Or perhaps a 9/11 poem is about personal relationships... who was unaffected by what happened and the aftermath we still face?

* * *

American field with amber waves like
slaves laboring into the wind.
Send pollen in air to clog trachea
breaking apart, strangle the divine.
A fine excuse for missing the days,
haze slithering ground up to nose
rose and to earth violently fell!
Hail in unscrupulous melody sings,
rings out a note of pure melancholy like
folly of the leaders taken deaf and blind,
signed away right to in agony hiss the
protagonists with serpent's tongues in their bliss.
Fists moving low caught American waves-
crave any old reason to look aside.
A snide and relentless fascination,
prostration on ground, her two proud generals like
minerals left in the firewall's wake,
faking they see what is to befall.
Keep all of their promises, all of their flaws!
Gnaws at the heart with amber fangs,
pangs in the night, wake with startled gasp-
rasp in breath from the pollen grains,
hear strains of a dirge now almost blithe.
Knife couldn't cut like the videotape-
gape at the carnage. Repeat! Repeat!
Replete with still frames of a heartsick plunge a
lunge from an edifice seeking the son.
Come feel the lady, all silk and perfume your
doom her caress, not fair to a man.
American waves in the wind, like the paper,
raped her and tossed the carcass aside.
Abided through pain as it rammed her
and rammed her like
amber waves blowing in September wind.
A blend so curious of smoke and frustration-
a nation, a people, frozen time and fear
leer at an enemy with phantom's guise
cry millions of throats,"vengeance our right!"
Fright masking pathways of reckless intent-
"Repent! Repent! For the wrath is upon us!"
All trust died the morning our lady's eyes closed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Reflective of issues I deal with on a daily basis, some enumerated below, many not.... I am a professional who hates corporate identity. I am a consumer who rails against Wal-Mart-ization. I am a spiritual person who resents organized & intrusive  religion. Can I be these things at one time? Can I be authentic? Am I digging my own burial vault through trying?

* * *

Smelled upon breath is
sweet bottled optimism
swallowed, pasteurized
chemically-born mask
translucence over eyes grants
sight as though a veil
a shelter velveteen-tender
demeanor muted, certitude paled
a stimulating simulacrum
this aftertaste of life
about my spirit a phantasm
flavored of doubt and paranoia
from assorted petty annoyances
it cradles like a shroud of
sumptuous cashmere
proud rococo styling and
foolish notions held dear-
ideas, ideals and influence.
The motion of a hand
a finger’s minute twitch
yet no movement felt
the air remains unmixed
mind ponders signals
dealt and ignored, transfixed
then legs turn about-face
brain racing over unissued command
in its stead the field animates
jaw muscles skulking to
upturn, cannot withstand
craggy smile pasted over cracked lips
presenting to existence
a vision neither wanted nor real
structure with soft plastic outside
and innards of limpid steel expands
and ripens into a plenary prison keep
buttressed by cruel homilies
spirit inside sits petrified
waiting in vain for resolution
in a self-styled sepulcher.

Monday, March 21, 2011

alkali soil & raw flesh

Encased 'neath skeleton chalk rock,
crooked with crags pressing into my sides
gnawing jagged scars deep in naked skin
but I’m comforted by the pain and then
molasses warmth creeps into my muscles
legs at first, then trunk and arms
the numbness seeps, seducing with charms
and I lose the memory of living in a body,
I’m a packed up heap in a dried-out hole
no moisture here to tickle my lips
nor to guzzle, chug, even halfheartedly sip
parched dusty desert terrain squeezing
out memory, sense and mission to maintain.

Alkali soil and raw flesh in chemical collision-
I reach out to stretch with arms restrained
but I only eke a fraction of an inch
before my body starts to jar, spasm and wrench
then sags, slumps and gives way to nature,
a sacrifice to the noonday sun
and the hungry whimsy of nighttime creatures.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

express service

Amazingly enough I wrote this while driving from Waco down to San Antonio. That route is one of the ugliest in the state- nothing but empty rangeland, truckstops and porn shops in between towns. I felt like it was a healing experience to concentrate on anything besides the "scenery!"

The title comes from the first sign I looked up to see at the exceedingly unsightly gas station where I had stopped after I wrote the thing.

* * *

The country song
drones on and on
I-35 from Waco
down to San Antone
and I think as I steer
thoughts that soon interfere
with the faith that I left
in a warm mug of beer
'neath the neon of the sign
winking crisp, winking fine
on and off, a short circuit
like these thoughts in my mind-
circling 'round- little rats
gnawing tunnels through the slats
of the bed that's my head
rotting wood knocks it flat!

If I can't stop the vermin's' tear
with some poison  or some dare
I'll succumb and
out my head they'll race
without so much a care!

Wink the patterns of the neon-
frequencies I'll never be on-
hypnotize me like a magus
so I'm happy as a peon.
In this life, to find purpose
we're the rats and they're no worse
off than we- driving distances,
we're driving our own hearse.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

most precious thing


Her body sags in my arms
trickling sick with blood.
One hand in an ersatz wave
as if saying goodbye
to a most precious thing.

My joy, my desert flower,
My breeze at midday
now crumpled, coated red;
wilting to the world.

Did you listen to this on NPR?
What matters so far?
What matters in a world turned ragged and hard?

Did Fox News show you this?
Drudge or CNN?
You will not see the picture,
never ponder who’s sinned.

Never held in your arms
your most precious thing
stained brown, clotted and drying.

So far there’s been nothing
but heartbreak and regret,
fired Peter Arnett for reporting in
with the real dividends of a war
that’s seen little liberation yet.

Your collateral damage
Was my most precious thing
now six feet in sand
but entombed in my memory.

You did say you came
to set her free.
Does any future or freedom for me
matter more than her today?

* * *

I saw the above photo on a BBC website one morning after the initial attacks in Baghdad in 2003. As a father it sickened me to think about being in the same situation.

Our media does us wrong- this photo was from an American wire service, yet I saw it in no U.S. paper I read. Found it again on an Al Jazeerah website. I think in the video game, news-at-10, rah-rah way we are presented with war it is all too easy to forget that the Iraqi people are not monsters. Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11. Saddam Hussein was a horrible dictator whom deserves whatever fate shall befall him. He victimized and exploited the Iraqi people. Now his fate is sealed. Buts is ours with him?

machine gun

Martyr has a machine gun
a magic wand trained on the man,
aimed at the head, arc of destruction planned
for the mark with the wicked hands,

who winces through blood-blind visions
staring and stammering,
quixotic pupils straining to scan for
nonexistent paths of escape.

Garrulous explications paint the anecdotes
he expectorates like the gore that drips
precariously from swollen lips- they undulate-
saccharine incantations, meant to negate his fate.

Barrel lording, unrelenting,
gazing on fresh lacerations,
mark genuflects, articulates
praises to an astral savior-

split lips spit his requisition-
pleas for forgiveness, for restitution
mindful all the while he’ll receive no reply.

Barrel lording, unrelenting,
mind decoding the difference,
the distance from adoration to hate.

His daughter frolics to mind,
all summer afternoons and pomegranate rinds.
Her reaction, seeing him die...

Wicked hands drop the machine gun.
The wand holds magic no longer

for the martyr who marked himself.

perpetual care 'til the end of time

Written partially from a fascination with the slogan of an old cemetery in McLennan Co., Texas... there's just no way, in this humble writers' opinion, such great care & attention could ever be given the amount of time advertised. What is "perpetual" anyway, if not an untenable promise? So I decided to find out what kind of care might fill in for that promised by the  overzealous marketeers.

* * *

"Perpetual Care 'Til the End of Time,"
says the faded-out printing
on the ramshackle sign
tombstones guarding the
grown-over paths- names chipping
slipping silently to ground
yielding to twin wraths
of time and circumstance.

Empty beer bottles
strewn about blazes of stickerweed and thistle
prickly points of cacti replace
the sign's exaggerated epistle
water pooling stale, teeming sick with larvae and disease
affairs foreboding wafting despair
to the very canopy of the trees.

Intaglio of Jesus invaded
by blue-green moss
life blooming on dead stone savior
hanging limply from crafted cross
all anonymous residents now
corpses and fertilizer for
the forests and wilds
feeding from the spent decades
a landscape and era free of charades.

From the heavens rain down
distant recollections of a chime:
nature keeping covenant
'tween ghosts and sounds sublime,

"Perpetual Care 'Til the End of Time."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


My grandfather lived to be 97. Throughout this time he was my father-figure, role-model & constant friend. This poem is about him but can be expanded to mean THE Grandfather, God, or the sacred masculine if you prefer. Pa displayed many of the virtues I think of when I think about what a man should be. I like to think the god is something like him.

The choir, by the way, was made up of rabbits.

* * *

I went to church
last Sunday morn though
not a pastor spoke.

The only choir
gnoshed oats with teeth
and did not sing a note.

With my grandfather,
I worked on the sabbath
but did not suffer sin.

His sermon rich,
entwining hope
with stories of where he's been.

The pews were plastic
no need to kneel
and neither of us tithed.

We talked as men
on equal ground;
a sense of respect and pride.

Nobody swooned
and no one prayed,
nobody bayed in dread.

There was no shouting
nor threats of hell,
the hour was never more sacred.

I went to church
last Sunday morn,
I did not find it odd-

between Pa's voice
and the joyous work
I felt the hand of God.