I’ve Grown Weary In My Idols


Horrified by the darkness,

I ignited myself on fire.

Consumed by the flames,

I was swept away

By the cold night air.

I’ve starved too many hours

Rotting inside my own

foul drunkenness,

I’ve slaughtered too many days

Denying, abysmally, my own

blood’s lust.

I’ve grown weary in my idols,

But reasoned closer, now,

to you.


Copyright 2017

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A Life


First breaths. First sounds.

One dazzling, temporal light.

Intrepid crawling through the day,

Relentless crying through the night.

Now walking, now running, now standing still.

Flowing time, slowing body, surrendering will.

Words failing, mind deceiving –

so begins the dance of death.

Final lights. Final sounds.

One last, forgiving breath.


Copyright 2017

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Unfriend. Block. Delete


Unfriend. Block. Delete.

These are the latest tools in what used to be the You’re a racist debate arsenal. They quickly shut down discourse, likely release endorphins, and doubtless confirm, with ever increasing satisfaction, our overwhelming superiority in all things political and religious – even as we conflate the two.

We easily dismiss the other because we are right. We know better. We have the angels, if not history, on our side.

Because we have the Constitution!

Because we have the majority!

Because we have feelings!

Because of Obama!

Because of Trump!

Because of Christ!

Because, well, because you’re an idiot! 

And each of us now is the internet’s final arbiter of all such becauses.

We have forgotten how to debate (did we ever really know how?)

Maybe we are all just so damn tired, frustrated, and scared.

In the meantime, the bleat goes on . . .


Copyright 2017

Image Credit: Pixabay




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Reprise: A Single Father’s Advice: Be Kind, Always


He sat alone,

At table.

In a room full of




Realizing my own

Discomfort –

Perhaps much greater

Than his own –

I sat down next to him.

Getting it out of the way,


John told me

That he was 95% deaf.

And that this had been

His life since

The age of 12.

But that visible,

Black contraption,

Over, and behind

(And implanted into)

Both ears, has

Helped him, now,

To hear.

Almost naturally –


And with that voice,

(You know, the kind

That’s been fertilized

By the life-long

Consequences of a

Mostly-silent world),

He told me that he

Had recently retired,

After many years as a

“Machine and die” man.

That he was living

Off of Social Security,

Mostly. That

“There just wasn’t much

Left from the company.”

A man, like my own dad,

Who had worked, not in

Some stifling, quiet office,

But in a hot and raucous

Machine shop –

With his hands.

And those hands,

The ones now

Noticeably strained,

The ones belonging to

This long-widowed father,

Had also raised two

Pre-teen daughters,

Beginning back in ’93.


Questioning himself,

He rhetorically(?) asked

Whether he could have,

Whether he should have,

Made better (or at least,

Different) decisions

Over these past 24 years.

Ones about seeking out

Some new love.

Ones that might

Have meant that

Some old flame

Was by his side,


Especially now,

Now that his two girls

(I have two, myself,

I had told him),

Have moved over

2,500 miles away,

To Las Vegas.

Yet, I couldn’t help but

Notice, right below

That wistful look,

That he had also


A very brief,

A very slight,


One which proffered

Some small evidence of

Some not-so-small pride.

A pride in them?

No doubt.

But maybe pride, too,

In his own words to them.

Advice, he said,

That his girls had

Surely taken to heart:

“Be kind, always.”

And, yes, he said.

They have always

Been kind.

They always

Are kind.

(And not only to him).

Well done, sir.

Well done.


Copyright 2017

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Just One More Lost Soul


Confusing days, abhorrent nights.

I stand at the foot of forbidden sights.

Gusts of light pounding nails of darkness.

You stand alone like some breathing carcass.

Rescue our lives, we beseech like crude children.

Neither friend nor foe, nor some hated ancient villain.

Just one more lost soul.

Time does go on —
I tell it gay to those who suffer now —
They shall survive —
There is a sun —
They don’t believe it now —

Emily Dickinson


Copyright 2017 (my verses)

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The Door Is Not The Gate



The door is locked.

I scramble for my brass key.

It doesn’t fit. It used to. Why not now?

Frantic, I pound. I scream. I deface. I demand.

“No one” hears me. “No one” sees anything. Sure, yeah.

I fall to the ground. Seething. Whimpering. Scared. Resigned.

Then it hits me: the door is not the gate. It never was (it’s a restraint)

I walk away.


Copyright 2017

Image Credit: Pixabay


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The Reflection


The other walked by me today.

On the street.

(Or was in my dreams?)

Unwashed. Unshaven. Unclean.

Looking for way out.

(Or was it for a way in?)

His gaze conjoined with mine.

Then he dropped it. The mirror.

(Or was it my pretense?)

Dispatched together.

The other and I.


Copyright 2017

Image Credit: Pixabay


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The Eternal Dance


Locked in a mortal embrace, our eternal dance began so long ago.

Now, as our once untested vows dissolve into final precious reckonings, I struggle to remain here, with you,

Even as I devour, yet again, your body’s reassuring warmth.

But the icy chasm widens between us, and steals away our last few moments together,

Like some duplicitous embezzler plying his trade.

Yes it’s true, the many years have passed as if but a single one.

Yet looking back, each one remains distinctive, each a necessary passage pointing on towards the next.

And so it seems now, too (I think).

As this eternal dance must continue on elsewhere.

But, perhaps, it’s really only begun.

In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory – J.R.R. Tolkien


Copyright 2017

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Charlottesville and Me


Yesterday’s horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia remind us that our internal desires for peace, civility, and humanness often fall far short because of our overwhelming propensity towards dismissal and inaction.

For some, such as the protesting, domestic, neo-nazi and other terrorists – for that’s exactly what they are – their open and pointed display of hatred is as obvious as it is evil. Their vicious rejection of the things of God, of country, of themselves, is easily condemned, and easily viewed as distinguishable from the rest of us. Can there be any doubt that their hearts, unlike ours, are dead, their minds warped, their souls lost?

What happened in Charlottesville is abject evil in one of its purest forms.

But what about the rest of us?

Do I, for example, truly desire peace and civility and humanness as much as I may claim that I do? And, if so, on whose terms? My own? On God’s?

What have I undertken in my life to work towards genuine peace, true understanding, complete forgiveness?

Thomas Merton, gone now nearly 50 years, still speaks to me today with much relevance:

If men really wanted peace they would sincerely ask God for it and He would give it to them. But why should He give the world a peace which it does not really desire? The peace the world pretends to desire is really no peace at all.

To some men peace merely means the liberty to exploit other people without fear of retaliation or interference. To others peace means the freedom to rob others without interruption. To still others it means the leisure to devour the goods of the earth without being compelled to interrupt their pleasures to feed those whom their greed is starving.

And to practically everybody peace simply means the absence of any physical violence that might cast a shadow over lives devoted to the satisfaction of their animal appetites for comfort and pleasure.

While I hope and pray that my heart, mind, and soul are not grounded in evil, my conscious and unconscious actions, both, can ultimately lead me down the same warped path if I don’t pay constant attention.

I must remain vigilant, sensitive, and aware of evil in all its many duplicitous forms.

And then act.

Pray for Charlottesville, pray for healing, pray for me.


Copyright 2017

Image Credit: Pixabay (Not From Charlottesville)

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