Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Surroundings formerly innocuous
suddenly sprout sharp edges-
engendering movement, multi-direction,
a slash through skin and muscle.
Legs self-mobilize and tread hallway,
automated to tasks foreordained-
blood-splatter garnishing
virgin surfaces of serrated trek,
en route to the goal.
Left arm hanging- greasy gristle,
right sliced through, still operative-
legs almost reach the end intact-
path-shuffling pain yet persevere-
the Achilles goes, and body falters,
tumbles with right hand on door handle
smudging it with a vulgar stain
that reads: never may thee enter.

Monday, December 18, 2017

on the solstice

On the solstice
my heart is opening,
walk with me and see
the foundation we're building-
this will be where the tower stands
and the walls will open to
a grand gate of wonder,
inviting inside all those we love.

On the solstice
my mind is churning,
blazing with the prospects
for a future together-
a great hall decorated with loving words,
a hearth with fires that summon
the summer in December,
shielding from cold all those we love.

On the solstice
my soul is dancing,
whirling with the fires
of the forge we're tending-
careening through demolition of ruins past, 
through the doorways hammered tight
an ediface of light unbridled,
embracing in wide arms all those we love.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

a look at the dead

On my mantle, 'side my bed
sit the portraits of the dead.
In soundless seconds from the past,
afore the smudged and fragile glass,
I am looking at the dead.

Watch the epoch of a life,
nuptials sweet, assurance rife;
celebrations, jubilees
inert smiles and faded glee,
catch me spying on the dead.

Ethereal moment, childhood spark
ever stagnant, halcyon hark
And in the sanguine, nebulous gleam
with unambiguous esteem
I see the dead peer into me.

On a mantle, 'side a bed
sit the portraits of the dead.
In frozen moments from the past,
behind the thin and dusty glass,
see me standing with the dead.

* * *
Written on Samhain 2017.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

on lost opportunity

Red ribbons around my belly.
olive branch suspended
by my brow, I walk.
Sullenly, measured, like an unwed man
to the alter to capture my bride.
Unencumbered, swishing her train elaborate
Hips wide, voluptuous with a belly like a Madonna with child.
I am allowed to suckle, to nourish from her wondrous milks.
I become full. Obese with will, pretensions
and breasts become shriveled, a corpses unheard scream.
So I weep, corpulent from her.
In desperation and rage, I tear at my ribbons.
In gluttony and yearning I gnaw at the olive branch.
Reeling and weeping, self-fulfilled failure;
I long to propose to another,
force her to fill my enlarged gut.
Hunger cowls my features, emaciated like like her breasts.
scratching for crumbs, once more humble.

And come the ribbons and come the laurels and come the brides

But am I ready?

* * *

Another Ur-Tankersley poetic effort. This one's traveled a great many years

 to get to appear on the front page. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Once I tasted vile strangulation, when 
'round my throat a silken serpent crept. 
Raptured blood in trapped encapsulation 
transfigured notions grand to those inept.

Asphyxiation's patron bade me sprawling 
upon petrifying vale, body swashed. 
A pestilence born of a false calling, 
a mission ineffectual and gauche.

Laid down my sword and shield to the invader, 
and in my suffering, found victory.
New purpose birthed from what should be a nadir:
To rouse my mind from paltry piety.

Then images, they shimmered into vision,
like shrinking violet vespers of a dream. 
Mind and conscience coursing for collision, 
gelled into one coherent stream.

Now I wear same garment as a badge, 
myself reclaiming purpose to proceed. 
A flight from villains after balm I snatch; 
new savior quenching old savior's needs.

* * *

Another piece from the bad old days, can't come up with a better title than this, which is depressing.

like thirty pieces

You pair your justice with untruth. 
Turn ethics sanctified into a spoof.
Tongue-cheeked beliefs manufacture your lies, 
proclamations so contrived;
a broken stake from which you're loosed.

You wear your malice like a shroud; 
burned-up memories and dust settling 'round.
Antique doctrine you'd explode if I said, 
better left rusted and dead
like junked-up heaps at some impound.

You tear the heart out from repose. 
Spurned your wild ideas like yesterday's clothes!
Hand-picked qualities fancied on a lark,
falsely held, surreal and stark;
the thirty pieces which you chose.

I use forgiveness like a broom. 
Attempting surgery to mend my wounds.
Self-licked lacerations make me feel sick, 
my saliva coated thick; 
hymns of agony I croon.

I try to keep compassion live, 
free from speculation, yearning to thrive.
Once-tricked inclination now sees what's real
as my wounds start to congeal; 
your hate's a plank from which you dive.

* * *

To the Boomers and the centrists- you know who you are.

morning glory

Awaken, my color!

Such contrasts to be born
from purple and white.
Wander into vision upon tiptoe, into thoughts
and proclaim this morning, "glory!"
Arouse expression- sleep ended, eyes open,
blossom my flower.
Radiance your mystery,
dewdrops the secrets you whisper
as if spring in frostbite.
Tangle-vines, tendrils speak
intelligence, ground up to sky.
Bring your glory, shine, ever shine!
Smile up to heaven and with a sigh,
reach and stretch perfume.
Stem waver, roots straighten
seeking last rays of the sun,
misty kiss, fore the last light
and close my color, 'till tomorrow.

* * *

Very old piece I found buried in my Facebook notes from years ago. Originally written on one of the yellow-orange colored lined notebooks I started attempting poetry in back in college. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

loose sand on highway

Red sand rises up,

hovering above the rough asphault,
a silken scarf at play about
the wanton fingers of the October breeze.

It is a fluid shimmer, a cobra of color
side-winding down the freeway avoiding cars
and monstrous eighteen-wheelers-
all predators out to do it harm.

An echo of life, shifting, surly and determined.
Not content to concede and confident in its purpose
as it slithers in foreign territory
on an overcast October day.

Now sliding to the right-of-way
for a smooth attack on the grass,
it disperses about the sloth of thick black clay
and is seen no longer.

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.