Seldom Simple

Is it true? That the only
happy men are wounded men?
This thought rose while multi-tasking
(scrambling eggs for my daughter
and listening to Roger Whittaker).
Yes. I believe that is true. But while
tempting to qualify the wounds –
as in only those received in love’s service –
such poetic filters can be thorny
for love is seldom simple.
There is more to breakfast than breakfast.
Likewise for our last farewells.
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At some point along the way

time begins to hemorrhage.
Efforts to slow its flow are vain.
Go ahead and try so you can say
I tried. But I’ll say I told you so.
Whatever you thought life close
to fifty would look like, it doesn’t.
You find yourself sifting among
the ruins searching for clues as to
what you’ve been doing all these years.
You come across a pill box full of
children’s teeth, a half-read copy
of Blood Meridian, fading obituaries
of classmates, and the black seeds of 
dreams planted that you still have
hope might one day soon bloom.
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Born This Way

I was born beneath a sentimental star
always looking over my shoulders
not forgetting what lies behind
(so sorry, St. Paul).
Strange speech often
erupts from my lips like
I gotta see a man about a horse     or
That’s a fine how do you do.
Generally people at parties
find this charming at first
but then it makes them nervous
so they step away to rub their phones.
If asked to explain this warmth
in my bones all I can say is 
I was born this way. I do my part
to melt the world’s cold cold heart.
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Love Poem No.24

I thought the moment I was most proud of yesterday 
was stopping to watch two early bird sparrows gather
twigs from beside the wooden gate and fly them
up to our sleeping neighbor’s gutter. And it was at first.
But then that moment was overthrown by another later
in my day, the time when you and I perched facing one
another on the sliding glass door’s threshold between
our tiny kitchen and the outside steps down to the yard.
He was standing in our shadow, restless for dinner. And
as you started to tell that liminal story, the one where
you and I first kissed so long ago now, our son interrupted 
and finished the memory like he had heard it a hundred times.
Many days I am not sure what we have given our children.
There is so much I had hoped to provide but simply could not.
But they have heard and seen our imperfect love story and
of this I am most proud. It was like that again yesterday.
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Come and Sit

He would sit on his porch on mild evenings and always
Sing the same song. His was a voice rasped by a lifetime of Marlboros
But there was something about hearing Red River Valley
After the madness of the day that eased me, like church used to when I was a boy.
So I would sit on my porch and he would sing next door and I
Would weep in the sweet dusk for the ones I should have loved better but did not.
His hymn drew my sorrows out and slowly, service by service,
I bid despair adieu and found fond hope to try at love again.
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Suddenly A Memory

     Don’t you miss the world?
This was the question that
Swirled inside the sepulcher
Rushing into his dead ears
Pumping against the ridges of his cold brain
Like a paramedic performing CPR
Insistent, asking, over and over again.
     Don’t you miss the world?
This was the question that
Swore not to yield until it was heard.
Then suddenly a memory ticked,
One faint with sepia tones of
The sea and the sound of
The laughter of men.
     Don’t you miss the world?
And slowly the mind of Christ
Resurrected his first old word – yes.
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He’s Up

One Easter Sunday several years ago
I saw a portly man wearing a t-shirt
with a black and white image of Jesus
on water skis above the words – HE’S UP!
Rather than take offense, as some christians
simply itch to daily do, I found the image
caused me to grin and recall the reason
he endured it all in the first place – the joy!
So my wish for you and me this Easter is that
when tomorrow breaks we would be merry,
like at Christmas, and not be grave but brave
to all put on this Sunday’s best – our smiles.
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