Sunday, December 6, 2009
at the fortress of refuge
how strangely, these days
i savor the deluge
a dream far too real
in this tempest i'm couched
raging rose-petal pinwheel
that is felt, but not touched
it spins as it pleases
cream confection'ry bliss
such warm fragrant breezes
best of times, reminisce
at the eye and center
stares your face in some trance
tells so precious little
save, gracious acceptance
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
from that sweet little mouth
s-o-b's and g-d's
will he ever regret?
breaking m-maw's heart
how could he know
as she spends a moment alone
equine tears from bovine eyes
at once precious and profane
as a blow to the ear
this salty world
fresh as ever
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
whenever you see that person's face
you look away
am I offended?
or did I not want to offend?
the image burns in your mind in life
haunts like a ghost in your quiet moments
presence that's not only unwelcome but unsettling
what did I do wrong?
do you want me to change?
Words can't express the frustration
What the f do you want man?
after what seems like eternity
even just an ordinary person among everyone else...
Who is that face??
Saturday, August 29, 2009
yet find themselves
devoid of inquiry
quick to mock
that which we do not
rehearsing former glory
some cold cavernous
that only you
have the power
do you fear?
perish the thought
in their caskets
to guard unceasingly
that sole remnant shard
lest we smash to bits
who gave us wisdom
in the beginning
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
in the wild wild west escape club prepares us for the 90s
girls look and taste like a corner store in the mall called pasta
still the 80s are in full blossom
guys sport haircuts we now wish pictures could lie about
and true freedom of thought bears a price tag in any age
we met last year and if only i could admit that it went to seed months ago
countless college mailings become buried in dust beyond the foot of my bed
didn't have her own sense of security so why not steal mine?
people my age were getting married in the newspaper already
started my first part time job which she probably found threatening
some dude staying down the street from her could bust moves like the new kids
any anecdote i tell that involves another female is hijacked by interrogation
she bleached her hair out of concern that people would think we're siblings
if i couldn't keep a date there was hell to pay
the slender blonds she works with may just as well soar among the stars
on the phone i learn first hand that she's a year younger than i had thought
you get what you get when you dive blind
we actually had a good time watching batman with my visiting cousin
yet on many a sultry afternoon i find her cool as an unearthed potato
my fledgling mustache would have been pathetic if it weren't so pitiful
some of us don't really experience life
evidently my family was too perfect for her to be comfortable around
so dancing boy whimsically fell short down there which makes it ok?
she went to a party where they all got quiet during stairway to heaven
instead we just observe others when we manage to crawl out of our grub hole
then one determined act of defiance was all i needed
well maybe two
if you count the time i called on a neighbor
seems the brother of one of my classmates snagged a piece of the berlin wall
and a flippant middle finger got me chased across the parking lot after work
on my 18th birthday
but permeating all this was a rare distant mood
beckoning eventide luminescence
hopeful and savory
anything is possible
at night the radio picks up worldwide rock from new orleans
seniors cut in the lunch line
because we can
a transfer student and pastor's son joins me in crooning some elvis
aqua-netted underclass hotties hit me up for change
love shack bayyyyy beeeee
time to live a little
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
and distracted thugs
taking cover in some forgotten brush
at the edge of a cane field
i am not even startled
by desperate gasping
from deep within
tangled sinewy foliage
just a few steps away
supporting yourself with a bamboo tree
as though you had also
Sunday, July 12, 2009
After I picked her up at the barn we grabbed sandwiches then took our time finding a spot even though the lot was far from crowded. As the evening progressed the words were increasingly sparse, and somehow, I sensed, just as irrelevant.
I take a deep breath. Right on cue she answers with one that couldn't have been more mocking from a seasoned comedienne. As I look her way with raised eyebrows I'm met with that smile that has a way of answering the present question while raising a thousand more all at once.
"Shall I yawn now?"
"Are you tired?" she replies, eyes ablaze.
I look away and take another deep breath, straining with every fiber to keep it together. Something is different tonight. Whatever it may be, it's throwing me off, but I keep telling myself it's worth the risk of staying on course. I smile.
She turns her head away with nothing to look at but a starry patch of black. Her breath this time is filled with consternation, a gale-force sigh.
"Look, just so you don't have to worry, there is no way we're falling for each other," she asserts with arms folded.
"Ohhhhh kayyy" I reluctantly offer, refusing to leave her stranded.
"I mean, I just wanted to make sure we're on the same page and all."
"Right." My grin starts to encore, adding, "I mean...I've been doing everything I possibly can to keep that from happening."
The forced silence that followed simply could not survive. Impossible to say who started laughing first. Eventually the mutual peripheral surveillance gives way to an exchange of relieved, wistful smiles.
I glance away with, "Aren't we a couple of dipshits."
We cover our mouths as kids giggling in church. At some point she reaches out to the sky for a handshake, "Nice to meet you, we're the Dipshits!" It's a wonder we didn't roll onto the ground, but that would have been all right, so deliciously lost, you might say, in on the joke.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
she's visually striking, but her beauty is revealed over time, as the elements sculpt the side of a marble cliff
she has mostly male friends, even when she's married, none of which can ever tell where things stand
she'll share a double room with you during an overnight trip, then after she takes a really long bath you awake to find her curled up at your side
she'll ride with you into the sunset till the road ends and then hop the next plane
she re-creates her family in whatever circle she finds herself
she is her own time and space and a world your dreams can only wish they were set in
she's the cashews in your chex mix - edible without them, but what's the point?
she is distant all evening and then sings haunting, wordless medieval chants as you make love
she's a guilty pleasure in that you hopelessly adore her in spite of yourself
she is almost as good of a friend as she is inspiring, yet at times, even more so
she's the risk you can't afford not to take
she forms relationships from her own mold, which if you manage to break, she'll quietly, albeit somewhat reluctantly, savor it in hear heart forever
she's a figment of your imagination even as she stands right in front of you
she perpetually keeps you within inches of the most horrendous mess you could ever find yourself in
she is wonderfully, wonderfully imperfect and may just admit it if you stick around long enough
she's a girl on the inside, obviously, but one who's unabashed sweetness sneaks up on you, making you wonder why you ever doubted her
she is someone you experience
Monday, June 15, 2009
To call her a fool would prove me a hypocrite. God knows I've wagered hope and trust in even frivolous pursuits.
That gleam of approval in her eyes may as well be the headlights of an oncoming train. Their exchange of knowing smiles rings a death knell in his ears.
So are you, um, doing anything tomorrow night?
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Just one broadside strike of a desk never failed to save souls. What we associated with that particular word was, for some, way more horrifying than a grizzly mafia hit could ever be.
Mrs. G, next to our homeroom, had the shop instructor fashion hers in the shape of a human hand and painted with school colors, if memory serves. On its fateful inauguration day our own teacher, the dry WWII vet, would-be lovechild of John Wayne and Principal Skinner, ordered us seated and silent after he was discretely asked to witness, as if anyone wanted to miss overhearing the proceedings. Breathing minimally we strain, some grinning, others solemnly, to discern the mumblings from outside the open door. If the inquisition ever became intricate he might reappear, to quell us, unless the gunpowder crack of sovereignty meeting Jordache denim invoked saucer-eyed pause. This time the report is followed by a tink-tink-tink as if someone dropped an empty soda can. Later that day most of us saw her toting the faux paw, minus a thumb, evidently shearing along the join at impact.
In eighth grade one of the guys tells me that Bonnie Bowles was able to avoid corporal punishment by citing the way of women as a nod to Jacob's Rachel. Once, while passing the assistant principal's office I could almost feel the whiff, line drive to center field.
As we moved on to high school, the bigger building with fresh challenges, posturing amidst peers with increasingly adult features and improved personal hygiene, the threat and awe quietly gave way. Discipline was now a clerical matter. Usually it was demerits and/or partial isolation in what we termed the hole, a one-time bomb shelter. Actually, the reprimand code had been in force since fifth grade but at first we rarely knew of anyone actually going that far. After a while it sounded almost fun to spend a month in suspension making holiday crafts, to hear one fellow relate it on the bus every morning between bodily epithets.
The girl next door once tried to describe Mrs. Wreede dishing one out from her electric wheelchair. To this day I'm not sure how she got to see that happen.
It wasn't long before a new or refurbished hand-paddle was commissioned, except this time we all know what the tink-tink noise signifies. Same kid even.
Most of those who got it possessed a certain inner strength, not so much irreverence as, well, relentless individuality. The point was not to punish delinquent behavior among a few. Our elementary principal seemed to only wield the board playfully, maybe joking about it when someone has a birthday. It was a concerted effort to counter the threat of global puberty.
Monday, April 13, 2009
smith & binney
what came in that box?
think it's glue
winfield, kansas 67156
not that we use them much anymore
so what made those two guys
whoever they are
want to make stuff for school?
right next to me
there have got to be kids
there in winfield, kansas
sitting in class right now
are they doing
the same lessons we are?
cursive was fun to learn
but i get tired of writing all the time
it is sooooo nice
i'll bet you your brother's hot girlfriend
they're doing something cooler
we add and subtract
like amounts of money
we never get to have
buses mosey into place
lining up for us
my fingernails know
every scratch in this desk
need to have dad get my bike ready
too bad it's not one of those days
with something special at the end
people's moms bring in cupcakes
saint patricks day
bus drivers get to stand around
here we are like those mice
in the cage
wish we had a science thing
experiments are kinda fun
i can smell the pavement
sun on the parking lot
rubber and dirt
someone needs to fix
the clock on the wall
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
snuggled amidst bustling foliage
'68 galaxy in the short driveway
the rest parked along the curb
misty drops on the awning
that shields the kitchen window
light's on over the sink
next to a kenmore blender
juiced on seagrams and lemons
baking sheets on the range
once held handmade pizzas
to go with tossed salad
little cubes of marble jack
and three kinds of dressing
some coffee in the melitta
hints of vanilla pipe smoke
miles davis on the hi-fi
laughter in the living room
around countless nests of rook
Sunday, March 15, 2009
In the shadow of downtown skyscrapers strolling amidst houses of working families, how unavoidably the mid-morning chill brings out the city's soul at its nastiest. The young man had been shot fleeing from police.
Soon I'm greeted by a cacophony of voices and warmth of many bodies inside. Taking a folding chair toward the rear, the pews already stuffed to capacity, I quickly surmise from the program that I've stepped into a different world where the church ushers are actually union labor. At one point a petite, pretty gal sits next to me with her young son. Without a word or making eye contact she keeps him close and vigilantly guards his antsy little feet from swinging into my legs. Also seated nearby is a fellow who appears to contain World War Three until he hastily gets up and seeks refuge outside. All around the dark sea of faces are looking at nothing or no one in particular.
Anyone speaking into a mic up front prefaces with "Praise the Lorrrrd" and waits for a likewise response which always seems anemic from such a bustling crowd. After the ministers and song leaders are gathered the formal bereavement begins with some words and condolences from sister congregations throughout the country. As a musician I tend to notice arrangements but I could not have been less prepared for the divine squeeze brought on by the brooding jazzy turns in Shield About Me. It was church. They only do three songs, no more were needed. Most sing, a few are on their feet in surrendered worship, many seem catatonic and I simply cannot move a muscle. Be Still My Soul.
The senior pastor had invited me. He nears the pulpit during a rousing chorus and then preaches flaming arrows of grace, he told me, on a mission to reach the kid's family. During the response I nearly break as the ministers reach out their hand to invite those who will to the altar.
A few weeks later I ran into the shepherd again. Those wondering sheep had since come into the flock.
On the drive home, now free from trying to find a place I've never been, I can now mentally ponder the mess on my car from a birds' nest that had blown out of a tree overnight. At first it's the inconvenience of having to clean some strange egg yolk off the paint and glass in unfavorable weather. At last, a budding life robbed of its potential.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
fist to sternum
subtle feline grace
her silky sweet musk
none match the aura
the room as we mingle
never a glance
don't you even
dare give us away
souls so much alike
dying to connect
living safely apart
wasted chances or
we lose track
who's the fool
and who's fooling
two wills cannot
both be boss
when the shoe falls
that first stinging sip
once ingredients mix
a strange elixir
Sunday, March 1, 2009
There was a single mom just overwhelmed because this group had provided some kind of health supplies that she couldn't afford for her kid, who could now live a much more normal life.
Oh, and this was in the "secular" media, mind you.
One question. Why in blazes is this going on *in some other town* and not everywhere?
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
of a melt-off soaked field
amidst last year's stalks and pickings
wear some old clothes
is it about appearances?
grab some terrain
plunge those hands
deep as they'll go
wiggle around a while
in my youth and maybe yours
often scolded for sarcasm
an age when purposeful irony
yields blank stares at best
for acres and square lengths untold
dark gold free for taking
yet without it
eyes front and center
hands two and ten
stay in your lane
healthy wealthy and wise
unto the least of these
flesh and bone
king and pauper
yield their substance
unto our time
respect your elders
it's your salvation
granules that nourish
our crops and bodies
in one form or another
witnessed what we yet cannot
hearken the ages
converse amongst ourselves
across the thawing tundra
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
a quiet place to read
twice the legal limit
cockatoos and cockathrees
puddle of mud
aunt so and so's record-contending troll doll collection
a wry wayward crust of orange peel seeking refuge beneath your keyboard
the word "butt"
then and now
those times when the radio plays just the right song
Saturday, January 10, 2009
there she stood
arrayed in royal vestments
against the dungeon wall
as the dragon made play
upon this i stumble
arrayed in hoodie and jeans
she cries save me save me
i mutter mmmmmmmmmm kay
it occurs to me
as the beast turns and lunges
that dragons don't exist
then it faded away