Monday, January 31, 2011

inside sun

2/1/2011- Garron, you're turning nine. So glad to have somebody as enthusiastic about Star Wars & Blue Devil comics as I am to talk to. I wrote this for your Celebration of Life at WMS a few years ago. When you were a baby we called you our inside sun- you would rouse us to wake the moment there was light outside. It still pertains to you, for you are fiery & prone to flares of exhalation at any moment about any number of subjects. Happy birthday to a wonderfully challenging son! Daddy wouldn't trade a second of you!

* * *

He tells me so much more than expected-
utterances so unfettered they soar-
super-powered, mud-splattered action-rocket-stegosaurs!

Bam- Pyoo- Crash! Than stop. Daddy guess what?
Today- today we learned the sun is burning hot with gasses
and it has spots!

Miss Rogers says someday- actually- it will be a super-nova!
Miss Rogers says it- it is so amazing!

Suddenly, his story ends,
his arms embrace me,
tension strays from its orbit
ordained to dissolve, a runaway planet
reflective of the sun's keen rays- 
snuggled- snoozing- super-nova son

Miss Rogers is right. He is so amazing.

Friday, January 28, 2011


By word of Our testimony
up will We rise
surge through canopies boundless,
wild chasing the dawn-born sun

We can't be stopped
We can't be slowed, captured or shunned

With trumpeting calls 
Our flock breaks forth 
through sickly-hued sky-
putrid puffs of brown vapor

Our victory cannot deny

Through singed tears of angels 
feathers hurtle and slice,
Our vision of power is the visage of 
sacrifice via the sword of our mouths.

We, a v-shaped cone of triumph

Rush, coursing through air 
becoming energy itself-
Our chorus of voices serenades- 
the daybreak sounds of principle-wealth-

Reason, Compassion, Truth-
winged horses of Our very own 

and following is life;
freedom; evidenced in every tone
Resounding from all directions,
bold word of Our testimony.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Imbolc 2011

Eyes open to snow-slathered earth
the time is come, the nourishment sent,
swollen in form for the raw preparations;
present's perspirations soaking my brow and 
the blooms of the blackthorn blessing my womb,
filled future engagements with truths they endow
the season's soon end, a return of the hero-
past's promise now bellows to worthiness tide.
Retreat of the twilight glimpsed in isolation,
the gloaming, she gallops, for light's prophesied.
Now time for the tilling, so turn the soil truly
now hurry your last load of firewood gained-
so fickle the seasons, so prone late or early
new life's affirmation from old vows sustained.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

dance with decay

From a CUUPS rite I wrote, "Walking with Eris & Coyote" & published in a pagan literary journal in 2003- that's why the fool is king & not the basketball player... This is meant to be a chant- has a cool rhythm if you hear it performed. Intro from the ritual:

"American archetype Mark Twain said “Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.“ When facing certain destruction, one may find it necessary to skip into the fray with a stupid grin pasted upon one’s lips, tooting a melody on the kazoo.

We live together in a world that scarcely makes the sense Twain desired, that is poised on the edge of oblivion from so many different angles . A world of smokestacks, starvation and soldiers being killed; a world of AIDS and cancer and SARS; a world where the ultra-rich increase their wealth and the poor are left to fend for themselves.

We live in a world where the fool has been crowned king; where chaos has taken the battle and reigns supreme. Like the kitten on the bedroom poster, its claws clamping desperately around the branch of a tree, we must remember to “hang in there, baby!”

To quote that great American sage once again, “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries of life disappear and life stands explained.” From all chaos comes order and back and forth and again. The cycle will continue and something new shall rise from that which has fallen."

* * *

For every ending, there must be a beginning
For every beginning there must come an end
A completion of the cycle Than dance ‘round again!

We’ve got to dance with decay
Cut the tow ropes away
From desecration comes creation
Every dawn disarray.

Dance with decay
Says the crone, says the sage
Fallen walls can be foundation
Blow the wind! Fall the rain!

To see the light of the stars
The earth must bathe in midnight
Must have a shrouded earth
To see starlight in the sky,
Strike a balance in between
Of a cheer and a sigh.

We’ve got to dance with decay
We come to celebrate
An induction from destruction
Every birth comes with pain.

Dance with decay
From the womb till we’re gray
From commencement to completion
Our selves to ascertain.

For all feeling sorrow we’ll make mirth and laughter
In every burst of laughter we’ll mourn for a friend.
A completion of the cycle Than dance ‘round again!

A completion of the cycle
Than dance ‘round again! (We come to celebrate!)

A completion of the cycle
Than dance ‘round again! (We come to celebrate!)

A completion of the cycle
Than dance ‘round again! (We come to celebrate!)

hug her up goodbye

Hard to write, harder to edit, hardest to watch. Circa 2006. To Edna & Martha, who I watched into decline.

* * *

Self-baked lipstick- cake-dried flesh
marred and brown, polluted,
thin-skinned and bound in mystery-

a witness strong, to steel you firm-
raw hands that reach, desperate,
convinced of some nobility-

I view you lying, covers tossed-
waning moon, sin-scarred voice
in whispered rasp, a victory-

a mark of stark lucidity -
a purpose found- each exhaust
contrasts your lithe fragility-

each smile the last that I might see-
thoughts confound, stealing grace,
profound depths of docility-

sliver of light from closing door
dances past cross pebbled drive-
catch breath at night's agility-

a salty taste- flow starts slowly,
glancing back, a mother's face-
the theft of rude debility.

Monday, January 24, 2011

played the bull-roarer

The instrument swung,
the storm-spell starts:
stormfront juggernaut
impending from the West
potential promise is spent
I’m staring at a stillborn miracle
trying to shift from emotional
to a perspective more empirical
while gales of sorrow
whisk away that will
the thunderstorm, a cruel turmoil
pelting bullets upon an open lake
pygmy crowns of liquid they shape
ascend and reprimand my head
the complexities of these
vertices of wind extend
with cold claws coring
out my center, the thunderhead
hollers with lightning applause
churning cloud of torment,
contains screen doors, fence lines
and a barrage of odd objects
torn from their usual climes
irrevocable eradication from
the spumous mass advancing
without fail to my location

I am in its thrall, can only stand
with head held in defiance
awaiting certain devastation
with a fractious scowl,
doomed yet dogged

for I played the bull-roarer.

Monday, January 17, 2011

inauguration day

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, this poem was conceived & written on Blackberry while stuck in the Philadelphia airport, on Inauguration Day for W. Bush, which coincided with MLK, Jr. Day that year. I pondered the contrasts between the incoming President & Dr. King.

* * *

Stuck in Philadelphia airport-
flight delayed, card declined
another sickened citizen stands in line
waiting for a day equal to the
promise hidden and slid beneath
constructed, erected then bequeathed-

From those who drew freedom’s deep sustenance
to prodigal spoilers, the progeny of
those good ol' American giants and saints-
preying on us- passenger pigeons and doves
swallowed into stupor by our own excesses-

Now we bide time for all humanity,
A generation happy to harvest only for our ripe bellies,
the fruits of our fathers' ambitions-
free from expanse, loosened from the breakneck gait
of half-century tradition, believe we’re
set apart from the broke-down Camelot
decaying under desert sands-

We squander of the toll of bells
among skyscrapers and stone palaces
buttressing the birthplace of high ideals-
their ringing an echo of irony
thick in the sharp solid wind,
the snow only witness to their peals
in the still cold of a surreal January-

In the span of a week we celebrate
one man who dared to dream
and one who shares nary a trait
excepting a will of tempered steel
though bent backward in a cock-eyed cross-

This Inauguration Day-

Monumental steel scrapes raw
packed banks of white, shaves the dream bare
through streets where legends walked
churns haughtily through, the trail it leaves
outsources the coat of glittering hope
superseding pocked asphalt and lessons taught by rote-

Can any man’s mere dream compete
with the nightmare fortunes madmen seek?
The question hangs like the snowflakes
parachuting through cold Philly air
as we travelers sit festering in the terminal.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

dos rosas

She let the rosebud casually drop onto the concrete below her stiletto heels. That was his last mistake- his final sashay through the contours of her soul- the cessation of his story. The splish-splash of shoes in stale puddles signaled her exit. She could not stay. She could not submit to suicide dressed-up in a coat-and-tie. She silenced her cell, hot tears singing the corners of her brown eyes.

* * *

He bought the last rose before Valentine's Day, in the city square. Grasping a concealed pocketknife, he sliced through its stem, severing the head of his hard-won flower. He graced his lapel with the bud, moisture beading from its seeping wound on the wool of his expensive suit. He failed to notice that he lost the corsage as he strolled from the lobby- it lay deceased on cold asphalt. His fingers pressed the digits of her line, she wasn't there. He left no message.

* * *

Parking-lot pebbles collected in the cracks rasped by the chill February wind. Trash and old wrapping paper, wadded cigarette butts, whispped toward the automatic doors, attempting invasion. As the squall began to subside, two rosebuds wilted beneath the thrum of countless soles, drowning in water-mixed-gasoline. Together they sat, spent.

Friday, January 14, 2011


For today, I am posting a poem I wrote when on the road for a job I used to have. I was lonely for my kids & wrote this poem in honor of my daughter, Amara. It became the most popular entry on my old site, with double the hits of any other poem each month. I read this at Amara's celebration of life at WMS. 

Update 2017- she has now graduated high school, and is headed to UNM. She still prefers to do things her way.

* * *

My girl says,“I want to do it my way.”
Cyphers how its done without being taught
lessons would simply muddy her thoughts,
her trials spinning silk from everyday ether.

My girl says,“I think God is us.”

A bold declarative
her narration on life,
on her drifty soul
after a day at the waterpark
with Daddy on the trip back home-
a sudden insight on deity.

My girl says,“Oh my GOSH...”
A blurt before giggles
grandly juggled in throat
unleashed upon world
with accompanying snort
she laughs so hard-she's wild and brazen with life.

My girl says,“Amenandsomoteitbe.”

Speedily, sprightly
ending her prayers, only
pretending to be prepared
for bed- in reality ready to pounce
on ponderings pulsing thick through her always-busy head.

My girl says,“Was that a good question?”

And I pause, marveling at her confidence, her wit
to have these queries at six, her mind ablaze, and I respond,

“They're all good.”

I'm hopeful she'll never run out of questions to ask,
nor I answers to the symphonies and strands
my girl says.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

suspension bridge

I sit back
just watch it happen-

a sense of a storm-front
embittered and fattened
plump droplets of pure inertia
sprinkle-spread as they land
demand an epiphany
with their empty hands raised
over unkempt rivers
qualls nudged diligently
south on windshield
as moisture they deliver.

I sit back
just watch it happen-

Erect a suspension bridge
roadblock down its double stripes
causes traffic to stall
a wreck of twisted bones
blood and engine parts
gears, axles, fluids all
decorate the two-lane
delineate the route that is
doom for drivers mentally lame

I watch-

then mosey to the shoulder
seek a path through the morass
wipers cringe and creep
across half-dry glass
wake my mind with eeking groans
I realize signify
more than busted cars
and thunder's inescapable drone

I watch-

and with that the structure
pitches and shudders
concrete precipitate-combined rain
for long moment hovers then
swoons to the rapids below
my foot hesitates
in that eon of a blink
an overdue flurry of thought
slam pedal to floor for brakes.

I close my eyes no longer to watch

eighty-five degrees in january

A little intro for today's entry... this is the #1 requested poem I do at readings. Most of the time I have to adjust the language, as there are some not-safe-for-everywhere words. This may be the only work in which I've used a mid-fix. Enjoy!

* * *

It’s eighty-five degrees in January!

Sweat drips down my forehead
hanging gently like a princess
in some fairy tale story
climbing down from a tower
yet afraid to drop-pulled out of the pocked-up
parking lot-cursing my putrid luck-

can’t make the sell-

can’t spend the cash-

can’t seem content with
the tent under which I’ve crawled
on this Canterbury-esque trip to camp
in an unconquerable crevasse so cramped-
a canyon for my crying mind.

Bought Diamond Shamrock at
a dollar-one and it failed to quench
even the slightest inch
of my car’s ravenous yearnings-
fifteen dollars down to once more be empty-
depleting my meager earnings.

Tank vacated and wasted in a vast expanse in
a state where nobody strives to advance-
like Utah maybe or Idaho-
who the hell goes there anyhow? God knows!
Vapid excuses for vacation rendezvous!

My spent vehicle’s prostrations vehement-
please pardon me again as I vent-

it’s eighty-five degrees in fucking January!

What is it with the weather in this place?

Who the hell loosed the devil so early?

That loser- that Lucifer-and clued him into my location?
Could swallow forty pills a night-
twice that at morning’s light-
and still there’s no tow in sight to airlift my listless body-
cackling like a lush as I’m taken aloft-
eyes alight for a destination-or a sacred duty.

I’m searching for something
around which to bend my soul-
sequential to a vehicle contrived
to eschew this void’s control-liberated from probation
in this polyester tent any longer than I have to be pent

and it’s eighty-fucking-five degrees in January!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

arrangements for the gathering

Your doorbell rings
I wring hands I’ve
been sitting on
God knows how long
more feet tread the carpet
more eyes study my face
looking for a trace of you
or maybe an inkling of
some long-lost solace
deep-set in brown-black eyes
we improvise conversation
all the while gazing down
the darkened hallway my
thoughts lost on spent medicines
and floral bouquets
and making arrangements
for the gathering and
how to make it one you’d praise.
I stand around people shaped
the same as you and I
they reminisce, shifting sorrows
into long, writhing sighs
while I cannot do a thing but smile-
think about throwing balls
and fishing songs
and swimming pools long ago-
your hand guiding my shoulder
steering me surely down the sidewalk
the jubilation in your voice
when I’d call- your “Hey, Bo!”-
that may be the thing I’ll miss most
I’ll take your spot, though
in the recliner chair, remember
I’m only there to keep it warm,
for you.

* * *

This poem was written for Pa- Dudley Lee Tankersley. My grandfather, my role model of fatherhood. We got to be with him during the last few years of his life, and they were great years. I'm so thankful for that time. PUBLISHED in the August 2013 Edition of The Rag, Albuquerque, NM.

main street, looking west

This was main street in Moshiem-town
many moons ago splashing in the swimming hole,
shivering to ask neighbor-girl to barn dance
Saturday night tucking in shirt and up pants
and holding our breath.

This was main street in Moshiem-town
and we ignored the shades looming like reapers
from the cotton fields where all us kids worked
hands grimy with blackest earth
eyes gazing into bluest skies for the hope of a rain cloud-
afternoon surprise.

This was main street in Moshiem-town
where the gin was shut down, moved to Valley Mills
and the filling stations died alongside their old men
who played chickenfoot under the wooden eaves
'til the shadows came for them.

This was main street in Moshiem-town
today our shadows are the only ones 'round
and the ol' school sits overgrown,
ruthless Texas summer sun bleaching walls and desks
Time, a reaper taking all us kids,
tucking us down and stealing our breath.

This is main street in Moshiem-town-
we're the only witnesses to mourn its death.

a scar is a memory

I want to feel the hot
Flow of blood
As it flies from
wounds newly formed
By shards of what was a portal
To an outside world or
Was it inside-
The calamity of slicing
My skin shredding like memories
Taken too early from the vine
Bitter; better to toss over the fence
The hot and thick fluid
The numbness that you feel
Only after you bleed
And the throb, throb, throb
Then coagulation,
Hardening into a scar
Or a memory- better-
A scar is a memory.
I want that scar.

5 seconds to detonation

Time stands,

still, staccato

a diseased heart beating its last
all volume evacuates all sound dies-
we stare numbly into the blast
no plans no options left (real or stock)
last commute we’ll see
the radio’s gone dead

last curse and finger at the jerk who cut us off
last cell phone call to a lover who shouldn’t be
last blown kiss to the woman driving the Benz
what’s coming is the shockwave, 
the inevitable cleanse
of urban decay and human wastes

so time stands,

still, staccato

etched forever in that one moment-
in those long shadows-
gods never pondered, stories never told
the twilight of the human soul,
its terrible entwining with destiny unleashed.

same as it ever was

Why does the world need another blog? Answer- it doesn’t. OK, I can do better than that. I used to be the owner of my own domain, the first Fly-By-Night Lighthouse. On it I would post poetry I had written, mostly for myself so I could have the text available if I happened across an open-mic & decided to inflict the poor audience with my rambling verse. Then a lot of things happened in my life, including the loss of two jobs in one year, economic issues for my family & a major move. I lost my domain, which sucked but it seems that domains are rather passe these days anyway.

I plan to utilize this blog the same way, posting poetry every once in a blue moon, perhaps taking a reader through my writing process by posting drafts & asking for feedback. I may even write a real blog entry (like this one) about any variety of subjects. Who knows, the sky’s the limit.

* * *

By the way, I started a group called Poetry Array on Facebook ( This was in honor of the old & very missed Poetry Array site where a group of us used to post, review & workshop. It is a open group, so feel free to join if you would like to participate.