Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Is Life But a Dream?

At times life is a parade
in a tumultuous rain
that starts as a monsoon then
turns into a tsunami.

Wait, . . . no, 
that’s not life . . .
that was 
last night’s dream.

At times I confuse the two
and who can do poetry
in a confused state . . . like mine,
which is, like, Alabama.

What is, and what is not, are
so nearby, the difference 
can be difficult to tell,
like that door of Beckett’s play

“imperceptibly ajar.”

Now, dear reader, if a door
be in such state, can we say
whether it’s open or closed?

At times a mind is like that.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Room for One

Truly it is not what’s out 
there that presents my sure plight, 
keeping me from my delight.

Surely it is not some lout
next door awaiting to plot
my true and humble demise.

So it has to be the bout
convulsing here inside me
hiding from me such device

that with tick-tock precision
does the wrong I’d rather not,
shuns the right I know to do.

So be it, on the cushion
of contemplation there sits 
only me . . . myself . . . mere I.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


It appears to be taking
over the house I live in.

Some of it happens to be
skin cells I daily do shed.

Otherwise it’s ev’ry place
I go, and is predicted

(by scripture) to be lying
in wait for me, and for you.

Dust to dust, ashes to ash ―  
we all know our prognosis. 

Wherever we go, there we 
must be, but rusting at bay.

And yet, when I go to make
a poem, time and place slip 

away, leaving nowhere for
me to be found, or found out.

There, in my very absence,  
poems are found, dusting things.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Words Act

 Words . . .

without them, speech would dry up.  
A mouth would do nothing but 
breathe and eat, maybe whistle.  

Take away words and all books 
would vanish into thin air—
let alone the Internet.  

All those fine Hallmark greetings  
would pass away like postcards 
from travel spots, or letters from battles.

Sermons would melt in the dust
like so much hot air, as would
all political fare, say lawmaking.

Imagine counseling or
car-selling or carousing
without words—too tongue-tying.

No song would ever be sung
and no say of how we feel, 
think, dream, mourn or imagine—

save for paintings, photographs,
dance, instrumental music:
every meaningful gesturing

act . . . 

like kissing, hugging, holding
hands, or the attentiveness 
of another’s piercing gaze.

My Best Friend at 12

I never did get to say goodbye 
to my best friend in the coal mining camp 
who did live across the street from me.  

This friend,—

for whom I gave my life at the Alamo, and 
with whom I played in the ’53 World Series, and
beside whom I steered a dinghy down the Amazon,—

was killed in Vietnam.

He died not in battle, not even in a “skirmish,” but in 
traffic as a military pedestrian, or so I was told
long after the event, too late to mourn properly.  

After lo, so many years away from the scene,—

not being there, but rather
safely tucked in my theology school dread 
when I learned he was dead,—

that remains among the saddest days of my life. 

Learning of his death I was flooded 
with the fact that I never said I was sorry 
for the time I did almost blind him.

Playing Tarzan, I pulled down upon him a vine 

from which we were swinging and, 
with a thud, it left a mark on his face
for his parents to hold against me and

for which he can never forgive me.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Whatsoever Is, Spurs Us On

Abundant life is rife with 
glorious distractions that
beg attention away from 
the spur of a just moment.

Yet we need but be still for 
any diversion to serve
as a wake-up call . . . to be 
here now, to be found no where 

without some relaxed notice.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Father’s Prerogative

So I sit here viewing a photo
a good friend took of our elder son
giving a toast at the wedding of
our son younger, the elder so poised, 
with his wonderful wife looking on
smiling, as if her husband had just 
made a humorous remark so bright
as to put the whole party at ease, 
and so it was, as I remember.

I do remember, as though it were
yesterday, how proud I was of both
boys, by then grown men in need of no
influence I might have on either, . . .
evermore.  The heart is here still too 
full to recall the event with coarse
objectivity and that, too, proves
a mighty gift, for I feel I am
at the end of a tale worth telling:

Still sitting, looking at the picture
years after the event now in mind, 
the tears doth flow here like a river
of living waters, leaving behind
such solace no father doth deserve.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I Am That I Move

I rest here of one mind in 
a small plot of one planet,
itself a mere dot of blue
ink dribbled, as by default, 
onto a page so vast that 
it holds every story ever told, 
any that ever will be.

The masthead of this vast page
is immovable, without 
form or speech unmoved . . . and yet

Moveo, ergo sum.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


He is not what he has, nor 
is he what he lacks having,
a memory of teaching
her to throw and hit a ball.

He is not that expression
that now and then comes and goes 
across his face, making known,
to one and all, his feeling.

He is not even the strength
of body he retains from 
a life spent training to win
this or that cycling event.

No, he is not in the least 
what he may seem to those who
struggle to manage his non
compliant will to resist

being told what to do, when
his whole life has prepared him 
to fight for what’s left inside,
his own felt integrity.

Yes, day by day, even that
silently slips through the hour 
glass, . . . yet in that, he hardly 
differs from the rest of us.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Snow in Spring

Like snow in spring
things melt as they meet
being's empty mound