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.