Memory from an aging soul (Poem)



I can remember gossamer spider’s threads
dancing gently in the morning’s soft breeze
amid rose buds near my left hand
sunlight dripping off maple leaves and
the trees swaying in hushed whispers

upon my grandfather’s tilted front porch
the front door open and the smell of frying grease wafting out
the smell of a camel cigarette burning tossed into the lawn
I’m but a boy
in shorts and a t-shirt
complete with new soul smell

observing the light as it is fresh in the city sky

God, I can see it all
I can feel the heat of it on my face
feel the wood still cool from the night before
as my foot slides down to the next step
slick with the dew of the grass I trod upon

my grandfather, long in the tooth, and in the face, and in life
sitting in a lawn chair his voice too far away in my memory to be heard
and my grandmother standing behind me, hand on her thick hip
watching the street with an old dishrag in her hand

An America flag flies near my head
stars and stripes and blue of royalty
but us ramshackle folk
Irish in our tempers
poor Catholic descendants
all sit in the quiet morning sunlight
in a memory from some deep recess
of my aging soul

Grey November Prayer (Poem)


(Photo by : Todd Quackenbush)

November falling rain
with the leaves as slick as oil
the air crisp and clean burns my lungs
as the air is heavy with rain

a gray sheen lays wearily on the trees
and on the grasses, turning the lake to shale with white caps
wrapped up in loneliness a seagull cries out
it’s voice piercing the day like a dagger

I’ve come to the water’s edge
to breathe in the holiness of my surroundings
and feel the cold world seep through my shoes

there is no warmth but the warmth of my body
wrapped up and caved in on itself as I brace from the cold
my ears turned pink as if the wind has embarrassed me
as if the day knows my reasoning for being here

what is it I seek among the rocks and high grasses
another lonely soul
another figure with his hands shoved into his pockets?
his body emerging from the treeline?
or maybe a pair of brown eyes as warm as the inside of my Carhart with a jaw as firm as the concrete I stand upon?

And his hands, what of his hands? Warm and calloused? Will he smell of peppermint and something warmer? Will he be relieved to see me?

There on the lakeside, I pleaded
with the gray sky above me
for answers to unasked questions and for tenderness and mercy
I am answered only by the cry of the gull as the skies open up with a misty rain falling on the lone soul
as I stare out on a freshwater sea.

In this land of yesterdays (Poem)



(Photo by Johanneke Kroesbergen Kamps)

gentle we sleep
silver dreams above our heads
windows to the soul slide open
letting the gentle current in

thousand memories tumble
distant faces floating by
reminisce with us in exquisite sweet seconds
as they stop just to say hi

oh, we are not forgotten here
in this land where time urges us on
we are remembered by our memories
for our memories remember us

in our sleep
we are rejoined to the consciousness
of a river flowing homeward
sweet surrender, sweet surrender
a reunion of what is to what was

sweet repose so badly needed
by a body so worn from the day
but at night names bear repeating
for in their arms we safely stay

That, at least, is what I am hearing
just beyond the strain of my ear
in the stillness the rivers waiting
waiting for me to draw ever near

goodnight to all of you, my darlings
white water rapids beg for me to play
in the waters so warm and gentle
in this land of yesterdays

Lighthouse (poem)



In the midst of tempest raging
When the wind and waves crash constant
And the night is filled with flashing lights and rolls of thunder
When the rain lashes a thousand needles against the skin
A proud lighthouse stands in the midst of it all

Even when the world trembles
From the celestial cannon fire sounding
And the periods between electric light are as dark and deep as the ocean
And the sailor has lost his way
A proud lighthouse stands in the midst of it all

With yellow lights beaming, round and round its promise goes
Warning sailors of imminent danger while at the same time guiding them home

Though the waves may hide jagged rocks jutting upward
Ready to take apart ship and limb and life
The steady knowledge of someone watching, always vigilant , always ready
Encouraged the sailor to keep on fighting til the wind gives up the ghost

That’s how I felt the day I found you and i knew to come and speak to you
When life’s cruel waves did force me from a life I’d always known
And as that cannon fire through the night did rumble
Blinded by the lightning’s angry forked limitations
Though hot as the sun’s surface was too brief to guide me safely

But those days tempest-tossed are far behind me
And even though the wind and waves grow higher
The fear of going under or dashing against the unyielding rocky shore
Isn’t Much of a worry for me these days
For I’ve given up my ship, now Harbored just inside the bay
And now I bathe in the glow of the lighthouse which has now become my home

Why do we wait for peace (Poem)

Why do we wait for peace?

We’ve suffered through tragedy
and we’ve walked through hell
we’ve tasted bitter tears on our lips
and cast coins into wishing wells

We’ve cashed checks too light
and paid bills that are too heavy
we’ve built walls to protect the homestead
and were flooded out when rivers broke their levy

We’ve worn boots of a solider
badges of the cop
we’ve been in stripes, been in chains,
been in some awful tight spots

We’ve danced at weddings
and wept for the dead
we’ve wished a goodnight’s sleep
upon a child, a lover, or an aged parent’s head.

We’ve born the whip
and we’ve been set free
we’ve worshiped at houses of the Lord
and sang a version of, Nearer my God to thee.

We’ve been taxed to death
worked our fingers to the bone
made love at a moment’s notice
when with a lover, we found ourselves alone

And yet, AND YET, we cannot see
is that I belong to you and you belong to me
if not by family, those strong ties that bind
but in our own humanity shared by all of humankind

Black, white, yellow, these things are hues
and for neither hyphen nor station
should any man be made to sing the blues
Nor for religion, nor arbitrary thing
because baby, at the end of the day
you’re still a human being

We’ve all been made to wander
our forty days and forty nights
we’ve all been made to struggle
our souls reaching for the light

No imaginary boundary will save you from the end
no faith, nor creed, nor wealth of wisdom will stay the hand of death
from dust you arose and to dust you will return
and with you goes everything you’ve ever done, everything you’ve ever learned

For whom the bell tolls, it tolls for us
and if every man made machine turns red with rust
and if mankind’s life ends for the blind, the seeing, and deaf
why do we refuse peace in our life, our childrens lives, our neighbors lives, our fellow countrymen’s lives, we will all otherwise intimately get to know
in death?

Why do we wait for peace, this state of grace
Why do we deny it to others simply for their race?
Why do we deny it to ourselves, for we too are made to suffer
For when we hate for simply hates sake
We linger in perpetual fear and can give peace to no other.

It is a cyclical ride we humans ride
A rollercoaster that never stops, a merry go round of knives
Why do we wait for peace we wait because we’re afraid
Afraid someone will get over on us
So we take any hope of peace, directly to our grave.

It’s greed that makes up linger in spaces Angels fear to trod
its fear that keeps us separated from other children of God
its retribution, its rage that keeps the blood flowing
and it’s those things that keep us from the Divine, the Merciful, the All knowing

Peace comes when we begin to let go
Peace comes like a gentle fall of snow and in the quiet spaces
in our hearts humanity is restored
Its when we discover our worth, we pick ourselves up from off the floor.

Its easy these days to pray and to give thoughts
its harder these days to be where the change starts
its easy to lecture, to point, to criticize
its hard to listen, to step back and see the world through foreign eyes

Why do we wait for peace?
These things I may never know
This place hidden beneath pains unyielding sorrow
like a garden under veils of winter’s snow
It’s a state of glory we all wish we could be
So Our Father Who Art in Heaven, no more waiting
Let this peace, begin with me.


Who declared this war? (Poem)

Who declared this war
And not the ones in distant lands
But the one being waged right here?
Where the body counts rise
In a one sided struggle
Where the enemy hits soft targets?
And no one moves to stop it?

Where are the cowboys, with shining stars emblazoned on their proud chests
Or knights upon gallant steeds with swords drawn high?
Where are the kings and noble queens and the round table?

Who binds the hands of a people
And like lambs leads them to the slaughter
In a school house, a tavern, or a church?
Is this what ‘land of the free’, means?
Is it brave to get cut down in thundering chaos
Like the children once offered to Baal?
Is it brave to ignore the sound of weeping mothers and bereft fathers?

Who declared this war
This one sided massacre, this steady March to oblivion?
Where we worship a graven image in the shape of a gun?
Where our god is black cloaked figure that carries a scythe
That sweeps wide arcs like a farmer when the fields are white unto harvest

Where is the liberty ? Freedom from tyranny of the masses?
Where is the life? Freedom from a national blood lust?
Where is the pursuit of happiness?

Who declared this war?
There is no enemy but us – we’ve killed more of our own than have died in foreign lands.
What kind of country butchers her own children?
Who declared this damn war?
I think we did. And we have fallen on our own sword.

Self love (poem)

Turn your eyes inward
And see the glory of what you are
See the rise and fall of your chest
The pulse in your neck
Perhaps linger at the swell of your breast

See the roundness of your belly and know that you are fed
Place your palm over your left Peck
And know that you aren’t dead

Admire the peculiarity of your swollen sex, the curve of your right hip
See the toes poking out from under your duvet
Now trace your gaze upon the blue veins in your wrist

Feel the thunder when you speak
And taste the words as they spill from your lips
Smell the perfumes of the morning
When the sun crests the trees cedar tips

Living your life through the eyes of others
Will never slake your thirst
Know that you are living, breathing, thriving!
And have been since your birth

Shake your mane of hair
Stretch your fingers towards the sky
Taste the bread, the grapes, and sweet thinks
Drink the water, the wine, and the rye

Live,  even when in peril, live even when in doubt
Don’t waste another day
Own your own glory, beauty, and passion
Love yourself with clarity
And you’ll live another day!

Grocery store famous (Poem)

I danced in the grocery store line
Bobbin my head to a memory
Was it Whitney? Maybe Paula?
Hmmm, it doesnt matter it was familiar.
And I sang along.
When my mother took me as a child
To Framer Jacks or A and P
I used to hate the music piped over the intercom
Songs from an age in which I was unfamiliar
But as I hefted produce, and cheese, and wine to the conveyor belt
I slipped back in time for a moment
And dance and sang with my coupons and money in hand
Unafraid, unbothered, singing in harmony with Steve Perry
About a boy born and raised in South Detroit
Yes. I was happy for a moment
And the headliner in lane number 9

Autumn is her name. (Poem)

Autumn, the wisest of the sisters. With red unbraided hair.
Dances across cool night winds to casts spices in the air.
She’s the comforter of the four, you see
with eyes of palest green
She sings the earth to sleep each year, and bids the world to dream

Winter is coming before too long
The fourth sister draweth nigh
But for now the harvest fields are hers to play in
encouraged by the moon in the sky

See yonder woman there, as she steps through orchards full
Watch her dance between bales of hay stacked high
as the farmer’s wagon pull
Their bounties overflowing, for hungry bellies to feed
The toil of man’s hard work has paid in bushels
From tiny well placed seeds

From springs violent showers,
To summers clay warmed from the sun
To bear fruit for her when cool winds blow
When the growing seasons done

Soon, the fairest sister will come calling
Bringing white and icy snow
And farmers fields will lay fallow as northern winds begin to blow

Yet, For just a while longer fall is here
Setting tops of trees aflame
The wisest of the sisters shall dance through the night
And Autumn is here name.

Art Work by Kari Higa

Autumn is her name

His blue eyes (A Poem)

His eyes were like the sea after a storm
When the waves sweep swells southward as they stumble
Bluer than the gems of merchants guild’s baubles
Were those orbs
That fairies that haunt forgotten forest become bereft

Enchanted, bewitched, and bejangled
Are those who gaze upon them
Their cool color calms calloused characters
Into sweet lullabies

Yet under that cool stare
Burns a fire ferociously fixating on finding truth

Seeking simple secrets of the sojourner
With pen and paper and points to ponder
These cool coloured eyes careful and considerate
eyes that contrast this ebb and flow of fire and water

So don’t be bewitched by beautiful beguiling stare, the color which promises patience and ease
For underneath burns a fire most deadly my dear
In the depths of those dueling deep seas