Tuesday, December 29, 2015


It's just a set of shelves.
Cobbled together of scraps
Left over from any number of projects.
Remains repurposed.
A little sweat and careful measuring.
Pulling pieces from the pile,
Examining them for suitability,
And joining them with purpose.

It's just a set of shelves.
Standing in a corner of the garage,
Now piled with boxes.
Desiderata deposited.
Stacked with intent on plywood ledges.
Rising straight above the floor.
Squared and plumbed with care.
Strong enough to hang a beef.

It's just a set of shelves.
They hold more than meets the eye.
A prophecy of order enacted.
A life repurposed,
With love and considered intent.
Security built from the scrap heap.
Stability freely offered.
A gift of permanence.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ghosts of Christmases Past

Silver birds and shiny bells,
Tiny hand blown figures
More fragile for each passing year.
Tenderly wrapped in paper,
Yellowed and crackling of age.
With each solstice, another is crumbled dust,
Fragments remaining as testimony
That before was an ornament,
Handed down four generations.

Canning jar lids painted clumsily.
Handprints on colored paper.
A clothespin cowboy with a pipe cleaner coil.
All crafted in wide-eyed love for Daddy.
Hung each season with pride.

Baby's first Christmas.
Two of them,
Purchased in the joy of initial sharing,
Kept to be shared in the passing down of generational remembrance.

Tattered angel,
Beneficent gazer,
Her once white robe yellowed and tattered,
Announcing the joy of the season from the highest height.

A star once brightly painted
Now scratched,
Dulled with age,
Treasured still for its beacon of light.

These are the ghosts of Christmases past.
Not lost.
Tossed aside as valueless.
Victims of a tumult of change and ending.
The M.I.A. of a war not of their choosing.

Innocents killed in the fury of vengeance?
Casualties of the last act of control?
Silent symbols with pointing fingers?
Life and of love flung away as though their matter meant naught.

And now it is Christmas again.

My bitterness could know no bounds.
My sorrow could be inconsolable.
You cannot destroy the love with which they were saved and crafted.
You cannot remove the blocks of heart they filled.
You cannot force me to never love again.

They live in the bright laughter of children.
They exist in the exultant lift of carols into the night.
They exist in the joy of a newly heralded celebration.
They continue unabated,

The Ghost of Christmas future has no terror for me.
The Ghosts of Christmas past only serve to remind me
That the Ghost of Christmas present lives and laughs and celebrates,
 Despite you.

Memories abide not in things,
But in the things those things represent.
The glass may be shattered.
The careful crafting may be thrown aside.
The very messengers of heaven may be flung to the far corners.

Faith abides in hope.

Hope flourishes in love.

Love overcomes all.

In the end, that is the meaning of Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


The only thing you've ever stolen from me
Is my heart.
The only lying you've ever done to me
Is in my arms.
The only thing you've ever broken in me
Are walls.
The only thing you've ever withheld from me
Is unreasonable anger.
The only prying you've ever tried with me
Is the loosening of chains
The only control you've ever attempted with me
Is of yourself.
The only dashing you've ever proffered me
Is to my side.

I trust you.
With my life, my mind, my hopes.

So why does the voice whisper "Wait for the other shoe to drop?"
So why do I linger in the thought "The Hellbitch will unloose herself?
So why do I anticipate imminent abandonment?

It is that somewhere,
Deep inside myself,
Resulting from my history and experience,
I do not trust myself.
To hope brightly.
To dream rightly.
To choose wisely.
These I fear to believe are within me.

The deepest deception I have ever known is my own.
The basest treatment I have ever realized is mine.
The greatest infidelity I have ever experienced is to myself.

Because of these,
I fear me.
So I diminish what you offer so apparently and freely.
God help me.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

I Chronicles 21:24

Why, a rock?
Mineralized carbon, no more valuable than a common pebble.
Except it is rare,
Sparkling with the light of a thousand suns.
Why, metal?
Refined  and shaped, silver in its gleam
Yet less dazzling than chrome.
Except that difficulty and effort define its acquiring.
To make a pledge,
A promise,
A decree,
A covenant,
Requires no more than an honest heart
Willing to begin but unwilling to end.
Requires no more than a committed spirit
Obedient to  voluntarily undertake
The warranting a lifelong journey.
This obligation could be met with a signed document,
A wax seal,
A simple avowal.
So, why a stone held firmly in alloy's grasp?
Because this rock reflects the lights of truth,
Of love,
Of the promise of God.
Because this metal,
Reflects the circle of life,
The perpetuity of love.
The continuity of performance to its conclusion.
Because this gem,
Stands hard like a warrior against the enemies of love.
Because this ore encircles with the promise of protection and constancy.
As David once said,
"I will not take away what is yours to give to God.
Nor will I make an offering that costs me nothing"
It must cost for to achieve this will cost me something.
This must be a sacrifice to assent to the sacrifices to come
Before God and these witnesses,
All I can give to you is exchanged for the privilege of traveling side by side.
For life.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Red and roiling
Bubbling, boiling
Seething and churning
Blinding and burning
I see those eyes staring and fierce
Death is poised my soul to pierce
Mouth a grimace
A yearning furnace
Grin like a jackal's
My breath locked in shackles
This is what I see
When anger appears I flee
Even in smallest degree
In fear I raise my plea
Don't kill me!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wrong Again

I am faced, once more, with the question
Of failure
Of accusation
Of the end.
From darling to dolt
From lover to liar
From cherished to chastised.
I know I have much to learn
About relationship
About about giving of myself
About comprehending and decrying my shortcomings
Why oh why
Do I fail to see my wrongdoing
I believed this beyond my control
This change
This inability to perform as promised
Yet I hear only
Broken trust
The promise never to quit
Or give up
Tossed aside as readily as unwanted junk mail
It seems no time
Is more to be desired than some time.
I have done my best to honor another life
Other desires
Other plans
To be sure I am not a taker
To leave intact the hard won accomplishments
To never inflict myself
And now I am a con
And liar of first degree
Giving short shrift
Choosing another first
Overwheming pain
Invalidate my own
I wonder
How do I respond
Bitter words
Lie ready at the tip of my tongue
And so I avoid
Remain silent
Silence is better than words I may regret
My only defense against haste
The biting of my tongue
Wounds further
I hurt and cannot say it
I am wronged and cannot show it
I do not have a side
A point
I can only apologize for who I am
A hurter
A liar
A failure
Once again

Saturday, November 7, 2015


The graceful skill of a well-turned phrase
Whether poetry or prose
Is a grace well loved by all mankind
But 'specially dear to those
Who labor with the pen
And who hope somehow to find
A tale hid within a rose
To entertain the ken

They labor long over word and rhyme
Endeavoring to tell,
How scent so sweet to thrill the soul
It's color on the swell
Of petal, soft within the bud
The softness of the whole
And there entreat to dwell
In red as deep as blood.

Within the soul lies fire that burns
An incendiary star
It's light to shine within the dark
Brilliant more by far
Than most any word before
On the page, it lights its spark
It leaps within the jar
Lightning caught once more

With careful strokes of pen to page
Glistening with hope
The sweat of brow, the shout of heart
Reaching out to grope
For words with which to tell
What loving does impart
Unseen 'til now the scope
Oh, how to tell it well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


This is not hunger.
That gnawing,
Emptiness that seeks
To be satiated, then forgotten.
Though hunger, I feel.
This is not thirsting.
That pleading,
Quality that calls
For quenching, and is relieved.
Though thirsting, I understand.
This is not lust.
That pulsing,
Longing that pleads
Release, and is replete.
Though lusting, I have realized.
This is not affection.
That beckoning,
Infatuation, that signals
Tenderness and may be withdrawn.
Though affection, I have realized.
This is deeper, truer, than any of those.
This embodies all I feel,
All I am.
This is a wanting that is never exhausted.
This is an unbroken inclination to seek your heart,
Your soul,
Your very being.
This is devotion to a new history.
This is an aspiration to a better, brighter, existence.
This is devotion to a nascent reality that can only be brought forth
By your hand
Holding mine,
And walking the path of life together.
This is desire.
This is love.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Inner Kids

Little children all in a row.
Bright eyed.
Some glare at me.
Some smile.
All are defensive.
I smile,
Introduce myself
And wait,
Still and silent.
One, a freckled redhead,
Shrugs her shoulders in doubt.
Another, hairs straying from her pigtails,
Lips aquiver in fear.
I do not push.
I am not forward.
I have time to wait
And will.
I see their fear.
I know it.
I am well acquainted
With desertion,
Distrusting any adult.
I crouch.
Making myself smaller,
I wait with open heart.
The littlest one,
Diaper askew,
Eyes big,
Dragging a one-eyed Teddy Bear,
Steps forward.
She looks up at me solemn as an owl.
She smiles
Tugs at my shirt and asks,
My heart leaps with joy.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Musing On Moving

Brats and burgers and various brews
Boxes surrounding the sink
Across the room you wink
Causing me to rejoice and think
Of the difference in my views.

Good friends gathered a friend to assist
Laughing and gay are we all
Eager to answer with help the call
Stacking everything straight and tall
Relentlessly we persist.

Holding a baby I watch you smile
My thoughts begin to stray
Wondering about the day
For which we hope and pray
And for which we wait awhile

Newfound hope has arisen in me
My life is begun anew
In the surprising discovery of you
Of the future a dream renewed
Of the Me becoming a We

Someday we'll find our lives renewed
A space in this world we'll own
Together our lives will be sown
Never again to be alone
Having burgers and brats and various brews.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

After The Fall

Bedclothes scattered,
In grotesque disarray,
Lie like the silent dead,
A testament to the violence of battle.
They rise in the witness box,
Tossed and rolled in struggle,
Against the demons of personal Apocalypse.
They whisper the tale.
How Doubt pointed her flint sword.
Shrilling incantations.
How Fear burnt across the field.
Dragon's fetid torch
Scorching the soul.
How Remorse closed his icy fingers.
Gripping fiercely,
Choking the heart.
How Shame, pale rider of death,
Mounted on his bony steed named Guilt,
Rode forth.
With sword of unrelenting,
Unmelting ice,
He trampled the wounded beneath hooves of iron.
This was an agony of the soul.
This was the knell of disappointment,
Of failure,
Of knowing pain inflicted on the heart of the One.
The One loved.
The One cherished.
The One to whom was sworn protection,
Unceasing care.
Apology, though given a dozen ways, was not enough
To satisfy,
To assuage the bitterness of her wounded heart.
Though offered definitively, was insufficient balm
To soothe,
To bind up the gash apparent in her soul.
Trust carefully built over months
Has been dismantled.
Not merely broken.
The words resound like a judge's voice in a silenced courtroom.
Set back.
The clock turned in the reversing of time,
Of history built,
And now razed.
As though to a time when others stood
Axes in hand.
Taking turns hacking
They chopped against
The trunk of her magnificence,
Determined to cut away at the pillar rising from her roots.
I have risen pain-wracked,
Doubt, Fear, Remorse, and Shame
Cackling their banshee accusations.
Has mine been the final cut?
Have I at last been the one
To sever
The fragile thread of love?
Has she tottered her last
And fallen to rest dying
In the humus of decayed promise?
Oh, that I could return
That final chip.
Oh, that with the rising of the sun
I could feel the rays of hope
Rather than the gall of her disappointment.
Oh, that rather than the gurgle of death
I could hear those three words,
Sweet as honey,
Rising as a song on golden bird's wing.
I forgive you.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Ride

Red head thrust forth
As if to sweep in the whole,
Ears back in the breeze,
Hair dancing like leaves in autumn's farewell,
She grins
In joy.
Teeth bared,
Lips flapping like wrinkled,
Elderly underarms.
Such joy!
Such unencumbered happiness!
Torso balanced by stiffened elbows
Holding tight to the window ledge,
A climber clinging to a narrow projection,
Pummeled at every toss of the gale,
She revels,
Poised in the moment.
Such anticipation!
Such savoring!
This is the revelation of what it means
To take a ride!
This is the glory of endless now.
This is the dance of the road.
This is my dog!

When A House Is A Home

Like a silvery, specter of dread,
The words rise as from some dark and nether place.
"Let's rearrange the furniture."
Chills of unease
Race up and down my spine
Like ghastly greyhounds,
Harbingers of the ill will that is come.
Skeletal fingers tear the words from my throat,
"Yes dear, I'd love to help."
It is all lies.
Her sweet words sung like a nightingale
Clash with my concerted politeness.
Both know
What is to come.
Ugly words.
Strained patience.
What is that?
She desires my opinion?
This is not according to the script.
It is some sly method of deception
Designed to lend frail and imaginary
Vested interest to my horizons.
What, my dear?
Here is an accession to my idea.
This is definitely not according to the script!
What mystery here?
I am but the man.
Silent Oompa Loompa.
It is not my place to birth an idea,
Let alone tender one.
Oh, you meant over here?
Here comes the verbal lash.
I knew it would not last.
What are you laughing at?
Hah! I knew it!
You actually like it better where I put it?
A breath...
A dim spark of hope gleams somewhere
In the depths of my repression.
Dare I ask?
Dare I suggest another idea?
Why yes, I dare!
Inwardly flinching,
I throw my crumbs amidst the feast of ideas.
Almost unconsciously,
A smile breaks triumphantly across the landscape of my visage.
This is fun!
She likes what I think!
She accepts,
Nay she encourages,
My input.
This is grand!
I am recognized as a partner,
A member of the band.
Not just a roadie.
Oh, joyous day!
I am not a drone,
A merely breeding male.
I am a person,
Wholly accepted in her eyes,
Her mind,
Her heart.
I have made my mark,
Set my seal,
Imprinted my hands upon the very concrete of our space.
Not rebelliously.
Not in the face of derision.
Not in the stern look of disapproval.
In welcome.
In the joy of sharing fully.
This is not a house.
This is not merely a home.
This is our home!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Celebrating The Unexceptional

Too much we dream
Of the exceptional,
The distinctive,
The remarkable.
We predicate the framework of relationships
On the unusual.
The unending flow of passion,
Only by the sweetness of constant accord
Is all too often our standard.
Romeo and Juliet surely never dealt
With bad breath,
With bad debt,
With bad moods.
Truly though,
Shouldn't the security of relationship
Be founded instead in the mundane?
Shouldn't the safety net of entanglement
Be built
On the conventional, the expected, the accustomed?
Dirty dishes,
Mowing the grass,
Reading side by side,
Shopping for groceries and socks,
Silent coffee in the morning,
May be prosaic, conventional,
But it is in the commonness of the commonplace
That lives are truly entwined.
I treasure the engraved foil cards of Valentines Day,
I live for the joy of the unexceptional with you.
I want the orthodoxy of the habitual with you.
Come fold clothes with me and be my love.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Wonder of Intimacy

Fear has been displayed.
Darkness has been revealed.
My person has laid
Splayed open for examination,
Presented on stage
For an audience of one.
The cool breeze of thoughtfulness
Has blown against the burn,
The reddened skin of my heart,
Where broken trust has torched
Like radiation.
Risking judgement,
I have bared my shame.
The carefully constructed mask
I show to all
Has been cast aside,
And my true face is visible.
My ugliness,
My deformity,
Have been called forth,
Blinking and squinting
At the brightness of the unaccustomed light.
You do not shrink away
Nose wrinkling in disgust.
I see neither horror nor shock visible
In your reaction.
With loving touch,
Gentle care,
Soothing murmur,
You cradle my rawness in love.
Shuddering with tremorous dismay,
I feel the balm of your acceptance.
Anticipating the cut,
The slap,
The turn on the heel to depart,
I find instead validity,
I have never experienced this intimacy.
Passion's shudderings,
Breathless panting,
The entwining of bodies,
Has been my boundary.
My doorway to the intimate
Has been nakedness of another kind.
You look at me where none has gazed before.
Your lips brush my raw and true self
With healing concern.
You fingers grasp,
Insistent on entry to a virgin place.
My soul.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Child I've Become

How do you deal with it?
How do you heal?
Everybody says, "Time".
A sixty-year-old man,
Once capable,
Once self-sufficient,
Reduced to the level of a three-year-old.
"Get the red set out of the shed", she says.
"What red set?",  I inquire.
"The winter one in the trunk." she says.
"Which trunk.?",  I reply.
"Please, help me find it.  I'm not sure what you mean.",
Though I don't want to have to ask.
She sighs.
"I will follow you out to the shed."
She says it in the voice of an exasperated parent.
"Is it this one?"
"No, it is the one in the plastic tote."
The tote is located and opened.
It reveals to me what looks like gold and maroon brocade,
Folded neatly with gold sheets and wine colored blankets.
A gold dust ruffle lies atop it all.
"Is this the red set?" I ask.
"Yes, of course, what else would it be?"
I sigh, unable to express my frustration.
I feel as though I need to be led by the hand.
Unable to perceive.
Unable to understand a simple request.
I carry it all back to the house.
Preparing to put the gold dust ruffle on the bed, I am stopped.
"No!  I have to iron it first!"
I sigh.
I walk away.
I tire of feeling in the way,
An obfuscation.
An obstacle.
Unable to focus and understand a simple task.
Once I led men.
Once I was responsible for millions of dollars in inventory,
I cannot retrieve linens unassisted.
I am so far removed from what I once was.
I feel frustrated and incoherent in comparison.
"Time", they say.
"Give it time."
"Be patient with yourself."
"What's wrong?", she asks.
"Nothing.", I reply, "Nothing at all."

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Montana Motorcycle Morning

The sky
A brilliant turquoise stone stretching to every horizon.
The air
Cool, humid, pulling back my cheeks with pleasure.
Clouds float
As pillowed white seats for Old Sol to sit upon.
Sandhill cranes,
Necks stretched out as chopper's front forks,
Fly lightly,
Riding triumphantly beside me a while.
Mountain peaks,
Craggy angles protruding like big twins' jugs,
Break the sleek form of the landscape.
Blackbirds flock,
Skittering, diving, like a pack of tiny crotch rockets.
They dance above
As I dance below on twisting asphalt.
The river roars
Heavy metal doo-wop music to cruise by.
In mountain snowmelt
Hitting hard against granite,
Trout leap
Scales like chrome flashes in the winding torrent.
Leaping into oncoming corner,
Shining spokes flashing every nuance of curve,
I feel the sun's blaze
Turn a flash of chill as I pass into shadow.
The warmth returns.
The welcome kiss of an absent lover.
The day and I are one!

We are a gift

We are a gift,

One to another.

Each gives freely of who they are,

without reserve,

without hesitation.

The melding of two persons

Into something new,

Something hoped for,

Something synergistic,


Whole and complete in it's new self,

Comes only in freely offering

The gift of the death of the individual self.

The voluntary sacrifice of singleness

On the altar of oneness

Is the gift of life, of breath, of health,

To a new existence.

I cease to exist as I now am

Without the gift of her.

She loses all her current identity

Without the gift of me.

Together we give each other presence.

We are a gift,

One to another.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Loving is a danger

Loving is a danger.
To trust someone
Who will take you to your edges,
Cross all your protective boundaries,
And touch you
And there,
Where no one else is allowed.
To love someone,
Enough to put it all on display,
Naked if you will, before other eyes,
To chance moments of pain.
To lay yourself down,
bound by the chains of love,
Exposed to the potential of harm,
At the hand of your lover,
Defies all your mind screams at you.
Like the snap of a whip
That can bruise,
leave welts,
lay your skin open at a stroke,
Exposes the question lying inside unspoken,
and therefore never answered.
You've been hurt before.
You've felt the slap.
You've felt the breaking of your heart
Like the tearing of your flesh.
There you lie,
Unafraid though terrified.
Loving is a danger,
A risk,
A dare to your heart and your mind.
Daring to trust.
Daring to yield.
Daring submission to a lover's control.
It is in the daring
That love is exposed as real.
Only in risking all
Can all be gained.

Friday, October 2, 2015


I cannot promise to fulfill all your dreams
I will dream them with you.
I cannot promise the moon and stars
I will reach for them with you.
I asked Him for the desires of my heart
And He answered
By giving me you.
He has promised to supply all my needs.
My need 
Is to find your dreams
With you.
He promised more than I could ever ask or imagine.
He provided it
In you.
All I ask is that He grants the same fulfillment
For you
In me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Her love is the moon

Her love is the moon to me.

Shining white with the light of the sun,

It lights my way in the night.

It beckons me 

To venture even into the shadows

Lit in the glow she reflects.

In her fullness, she lights my path

Brilliant to the casting of shadows.

Even waning it remains

A beacon,

A sentinel,

Guarding my way in the dark.

In the darkest of its phase

It reminds of its sweet presence

By the light of then thousand twinkling suns.

Then waxing full

Its flooding light fills my heart to overflowing.