Sunday, September 29, 2013

Trail Of Tears

The American Bison, once spread across this land, as the sand on the beach. Those that say they know, estimate their number at over 60 million, once upon a time, that is.
They were wild and untameable, but they were food, shelter, and clothing to those who lived upon these lands.
By 1890, there were 750 left.
Today, there is a manageable number. They live on Ted Turner's ranch.
Manifest Destiny: we're here, it's here, so therefore, it must be ours.

When I was a boy, my Father never locked the doors. We were never robbed, but i suppose someone was.
When I was a boy, there were no seat belts. No law to buckle them. People either cut them off, or tucked them into the seats. I stood on the front seat, and if my father had to brake suddenly, he would use the arm bar. We were never killed, but I suppose someone was.
I would leave the house in early summer morning, to go find a ballgame, or ride my bike, or just find some soft grass to play in. I was five years old. I was never abducted or molested, but I'm sure someone was.
I remember my mother sending me to the store for cigarettes with just a note. The clerk never questioned it, but you can't do that anymore.
My father was the fire chief for forty years. When the bell rang, all the volunteers would bolt for the station and the first one there usually drove the fire truck. Most often, it was the least sober among them, as the local tavern was only a block away. The fires got put out, the truck never crashed, but I suppose, somewhere, one did.

The easiest way to destroy the humans who had been living on this land for ever and one day, was to take away their food, shelter, and clothing. When we couldn't kill the buffalo fast enough to appease our lust for gold and land, we tricked the natives themselves into killing them. It worked.

I used to like to fly. My dad would take me to the airport to watch the jets take off. Flying isn't fun anymore. Not with x-rays, strip search and the fear of some evil being slipping through and blowing you up.
And there were no armed guards in school, but of course, there were no drugs to give the kids back then for all the disorders we assign to them now. Funny, no one ever shot up schools back then.
Have you seen the cars pulled over on the freeway? Whole families just trying to get Little Rock, sitting in the ditch while a small platoon of policemen search their luggage.
It wasn't always like that.
I can remember when if you saw a car broke down, you just naturally pulled over to see if you could help. That's just the way it was.. If you tried that now, you'd get searched too. Best to just move along and not be noticed.
I've hitch hiked, and picked up hitch hikers. But not in a long time.
And be careful having that third drink with dinner at Applebees. The police are hiding in the bushes watching, timing you. To protect the others.

Hey! remember this? A person is presumed innocent, until proven guilty.
Now we have random drug testing (except for the Senators and Congressmen that made it a law. And after all, they only decide if we go to war or not, so what's the big deal if they have a few drinks at lunch) so, now it's-a person is presumed guilty unless they can prove they're innocent.
I guess that's sorta the same thing.
Isn't it?

Crazy Horse, Geronimo, Cochise, Sitting Bull-they were renegades. Non Conformists.
We tried real hard to convince the natives that they'd be much better off on reservations. Under our protection where they could depend on us for food, shelter, and clothing.
Most drank the kool aid, and why not? Really, what choice was there?
But some rebelled, fought back, even though they knew they would fail. In their hearts and in their spirits, they had no choice.

I didn't grow up with Wal Mart, but we have them now. Seems silly to plant a garden or even learn how to, when we can get it all so much cheaper and prettier at Wal Mart. And if you can't afford Wally's apples, our government will give you stamps so you can. And why learn to sew if poor children in Bangladesh will do it cheap.

Ben Franklin said, "Those that would trade their liberties for temporary security, deserve neither, and will lose both."

I guess we're all living longer now, and some would say better. But I can't help but wonder when the measure of life became a yard stick rather than weights. I still remember when life weighed less than a feather.

Chief Joseph tried to be a renegade, but one day, just short of winning, he said, "I will fight no more forever"
That makes me sad.
But now we have the New York Police to weed out the renegades. If you look like one, you'll be considered one.

We once told Gorbachev to tear down the wall. So he did. Now we have built a great wall of soldiers to keep out the lazy, drunken, stinkin no good Mexicans. Can't have them coming up here raping our women, selling their drugs, stealing our jobs. We didn't mind them washing our windows or picking our fruit for a quarter an hour, but they've just gone too far.

I tried to think of all we've warred with, Canada, Mexico, Britain, France, Spain, ourselves, Russia, Germany......Damn! It's just easier to list Nations we haven't warred with. Have we fought the Swedes?
Well, there's still time.

We told Saddam we won't tolerate WMD. Didn't we put him in power? Ha! turns out he didn't have any anyway. Jokes on him! Now it's Syria's turn. They may have gassed a thousand people.
Um, wasn't it us that dropped two atomic bombs on cities of civilians? Women, children, old people, dogs, whatever. How many did we kill? How many are still dying?
I don't remember our apology for that. Do You?
If that wasn't WMD, I guess I have the definition wrong.
No matter. We're all safe. Fully protected and taken care of.
We live longer and safer now. Soon we'll all have health insurance. And no, you wont have a choice.

And we have Face book, free porn, playstation, football, and reality TV to entertain us, control us, while our protective government takes care of the serious business.

I used to wonder what it was like, before we got here. When teepees were the cities of the Plains. When time as we have invented it, didn't exist. When every day there was a danger of dying, but no one feared. The grizzly, the panther, and the wolf roamed border to border. There were no laws other than those written upon the heart. Those that lived, lived unmeasured by length.
And I wondered what it was like to have it all taken. To be put on reservations.
But I don't wonder much anymore. I think I understand.
I am a renegade, in the manner of those before me. I too will lose. But my heart wont let me surrender
The lilacs still bloom
but the fragrance has grown dull
the stars have gone dim
the moon has lost it's mystique,
and need
while the sun has become our blister
that shall never heal

we no longer sprint
through the woods, tripping over
boulder and log
out of breath
bruised and bleeding
to watchful clouds
of silver glory
and the whispering of
a laughing brook
waiting for our fall

we now march
across a barren desert
only to reach the other side
but so far
from living

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

assorted random thoughts

I have always been lonely
it is your clinical condemnation
that has made it a crime

I was only truly me
when i was me
truly, with you

when the river rolls by
when the train disappears
the best part of me
always goes along
leaving me
with what little remains

a warm fire
is like a mother's apron
~there lies the danger

if it's cat,
why isn't it citten?

a shrug
is a poor excuse for ignorance

i have a boss who pays me,
a banker to count my money
and a salesman eager to clean my carpet
we vote for sunny smiles
and my wife cooks well
if i say "I love you"
just right
don't kid yourself
we're all prostitutes

words cannot be trusted
unless spoken in hate

no one truly desires to be free
who would we blame
for our misery?

Friday, August 9, 2013


you never should've loved me
i should've never let you

i'll always be
two places at once

a monument for pigeons
to adore
pollen on the wind

a malcontent, incurable
a conscience intruceable
a peace loving
war machine

i am a wanderer
flower to heart
smile to touch
looking beyond
hating what lives

i could never please you
nor me
and you could never hold
my ever restless heart

race on, i must
into oblivion
leaving ruin
in my wake

all this
i have known
since first
i began to know

i paused to love you,
let you
love me
the shifting winds
and changing tides
would pull me along

I'm sorry
i let you love me
but i'm not sorry
i loved you

it is my way
i wish
you had known

Friday, August 2, 2013

Castle of Sand

hypnotized by the ocean
swept up, in her dreaming arms
i believed i could

so there, on her lonely beach
i built a castle
from my shifting sand

the sun rose, set
moon upon moon
yet build, even in sleep
did i

when at last, it was finished
i sat back to admire
my accomplishment

oh, it was grand!
who knew, such ability
was hidden within me

with a longing to save it
to protect it, from
storm and tide
i sought to move it
having forgotten
i built it, from
my shifting sand

the tides did rise, the
storms did come, and i learned
the limits of my dreams, reside
on the edge of hope

i went to the sea
one day, to say i was sorry
but the sea didn't care
and the sand lay solemn
filled with contempt
for making it
believe i could

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Education

ever know a night that sleeps,
like the echo of starlight whispering?

it's just after midnight, the blizzarding winds
long gone, the flakes now tempered
to soft white daisies, signature
to a masterpiece

the moon, a shadow of itself,
drifts through the clouds left behind
singing a silent song,
an ancient remedy

I park my beat
off the road forgotten,
look to the forest still,
and step into whatever
mystery her painted splendor
might unravel in my
tangled heart

in school, i learned mathematics
to better know my failings
-and others success
and English, so i could be stupid
or brilliant, depending on my company

i learned history, so i could learn war,
Politics, to learn there is honour
in deceit
while Geography, taught me of dreams
I'll never capture, and mountains
I'll never climb, because of seas
I'll never sail

love taught me hurt, friends~betrayal
and time
taught me age
for the price of my youth

I've worn out my heart
with learning

but nothing more important
than what that night taught me
among the peace laden trees
so long ago beyond
the shores
of Lake Rebecca

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Crazy In The Mountains

she's the woman of the crazy mountains
aptly named for an adopted daughter

the snows blow fierce around her tiny cabin
buried deep in season, while inside
bark and roots tea boil in heavy scent.
just a frosted window away,
the only friends remaining
fly branch to feeder,

she paints
these, and whatever else
may happen by, be they clouds,
sunshine's shadow on the peaks
or the fox deep in hunt

but this, no one sees as no one dare
the darkness playing in the pines
where the sentry crows stand
careful watch over wonder or reason

when she makes it to town, a birth wide
is given by fear masked as respect
by those who will whisper later
to shaking heads at the coffee shop
just after she's gone

her paintings, her jewelry, her carvings,
molasses and honey, are all sold by the man
at the trading post who knows well to turn a nickle
from the lunacy he quietly admires
but never admits

she never speaks when in town
and only quietly when alone.
just a nod or a note sufficing.
if a trace of smile lingers
in her plowed field of face
it is well guarded by the eyes
which long ago stopped looking

she may have gone to Berkeley
-for a year, may have swooned to
Janis at Woodstock, and somewhere
far beyond the reach of telling
there may be a child long ago run free

she no doubt was a child herself
in a world since forgotten
and who knows, there may even
have been ideals and a God
who pretended to understand

but now another spring has come
the snows melt and run
while her tattered laundry
flies wild in the breeze
welcoming the bluebirds come to nest
in the peace of her silence

she'll die here
and no one will listen
to the song that was never sung
from this woman
adopted by mountains too crazy
to turn her away

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Orchard

to the orchard i flew
famine to the feast
from the gate flew the troll
saying, eat as you please
but mind the caveat

some hold a poison
worse than many deaths

red ripe and delicious
were most of the apples
while others couldn't hide
their blemish
the latter i trusted
more than the former

but no matter, just the same
as only pretend to eat, did i

in truth, i took bow and quiver
shooting them all from the trees
to poison the worms that
poison the birds

yes, starve i will
but of all the deaths
mine, will be
the most honest

Monday, March 11, 2013


i don't need a new colour
this world's full of colour aplenty
~it's all part of the game

but the feel of fall leaves underfoot
July grass, heavy with dew to bare feet
an ethereal petal from the softest lavender flower
fresh off the bloom, falling softly

i've known steel girders and rusty bolts
brick upon brick, the sturdy fortress
i've been the white line down angry highways
the barb along wire, catching innocent fur

stamp and step, clickety clack
the cold of locks, the hardening
of bitter remembrance constructs
and muscles this iron tower
of pinioned solitude within

i need a new texture
layers of peaceful
gentle delight

the cool of a spring brook
ensconcing my upturned palm
a single snowflake finding rest
upon my shoulder
a light breeze from eminence,
that barely stirs

engineers need steel and mortar
blueprints, their bible
but me, the dreamer,
having fallen upon their bridge
hanging by tired grip
wishes to let go

hoping the softness will catch me
making me it's own,
taking me along

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Truth Stripped Bare

you know, she said,
raising the knife
i really hate that song

barely taking notice
of the blood's first trickle,
she gave the look of one
having swallowed sour milk
when he asked,
how bout the movie?

finally, with time running out
and the game on the line,
he heaved one from half court

did you get a chance to read
that book I gave you?

this one wasn't even close
as the buzzer sounded
and the ball rolled to a stop
in the dark corner

this is why men fish secret holes
alone, along silent river banks
why women stare endlessly
out small kitchen windows
while drying dishes
already dry

it's why women kneel the dirt
in flower gardens
why men drink beer
in garages
why children
go outside to play

it isn't wrong
and it isn't right
just an inconvenient truth
the gentle lies
long ago spent
for the purchase
of another's soul

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Carrie's Confectionery

The Sheriff doesn't like trouble in his town
watched too much TV with his old man
~thinks he's Matt Dillon
but has a splash of Barney Fife

when Zelda's Hideout, at the edge of town
got too rowdy, he slapped spur to hide, so to say,
and busted their ass good!
some guy fixes computers there now

The Silver Dollar on East Main gets by ok,
cuz they have some kid leave an envelope in the Sheriff's mailbox
every Thursday at midnight

but Corky's Tavern on Maple didn't fair so well
Corky said, "Fuck that shit!"
and went to the city council
unaware how well traveled the envelopes were

That's just the way it is, love it or leave it

hide the tree in the forest

Carrie's Confectionery sits smack dab on Main Street
between the Fire Department and Post Office

across the alley, in the back, is Jack's Bait and Tackle.
and never mind that there ain't a fish to be caught for forty miles
and never mind that, how in the hell can anyone make a living
selling candy, fine linen, and used books.

what matters, is the hidden tunnel under the alley that leads
from Jack's to Carrie's. The one the bootlegger's dug way
back in the 20's. The one the Sheriff doesn't know
anything about.

oh, he strolls into Jack's now and then, jus cuz ya never know, and Jack
sells guns.
but he never goes into Carrie's. Barely gives the front window
a passing glance. Not that it matters.
all the action's in the deep basement that's been sound proofed.

the big stud poker game, the moonshine whiskey,
the bar you can smoke weed at,
the girls the Sheriff thinks are Jack's cousins who
live in the apartment above the bait shop,
the makeshift bedrooms where a person can sleep it off,
or get it on, before walking out Jack's front door in the morning,
tipping the hat to the Mayor.

it's all there to be had in Carrie's Confectionery,
where almost nothing ever sells
and the Sheriff never looks

A New Day

open yer eyes boy!
open them buggers wide

a new day's a dawnin
the sun is at the gate
foot on the block
waitin to blaze
~waiting for you

the storms of yesterday
but a remembrance
while the lazy wheat and
eager flowers in youth
mime happily to the wind

rise up! rise up!
let's be on our way
breaking the bonds of gravity
feet to the quick
high stepping eager hope

we can do it once again
if we can forget why we stopped

turn away from barkers and clowns
throw stardust pound to the penny

so many days have been stolen
too many a day surrendered, so
today, we'll turn this ship downwind
and just let er ride,
forgetting the chains
that stole our once
easy drift

Friday, February 22, 2013

Remembering You

in the stillness of the night
moon giving no quarter
i remember you through
the crystal pane

your skin smooth and warm
beneath my trembling touch
your warm breath whispering
love songs upon my neck

i see you now and then
along the highways i travel
and even feel you in the
fresh morning breeze

you've become the cool of the dew
the warmth of any fire's blaze
and a stranger's smile in the
afterglow of a glance returned

i sing to you
when the lyrics speak your name
always wondering
if you hear me

but it is in the stillness of the night
somewhere between frosted glass
and pregnant moons
where i remember you best

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lost In The Fog

i wear the night as London cloak
through fog heavy alleys upon
cobblestone brick, cold
and high collared

somewhere in this dark passage
is a door hiding the hearth
full of warmth, ethereal glow,
and rest, to the lonely of lonelies

this cloak i wear not by choice
but by reason of insanity
for what else could it be
to have already passed
so many doors of shelter

the morning will come
once again finding me
the desolate outcast
blinded by the dark
of the high collars
i insanely call comfort

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Strangers to Friends

There are places, where broken dreams and broken hearts come together to mend.
Malcontents and wishful thinkers find cliffs to cast their hopes from, ponds to skip their thoughts, one, two-threefourfive across.
The sweet Georgia spring night was conjuring in dust whirls along late night streets, the street lamps yawned. It was Monday.
I felt the tug, and the dust whirl led the way.
The irony of Crowded House playing "Don't Dream It's over" could not be overlooked in the near empty lounge.
There was she, behind the bar doing the nails that had already been done. There was he, a local for sure with rehearsed banter.
He tanked the boredom with economy fuel
"Slow night"
She didn't look up, or waste words either.
"I've made three dollars"
There was a ridiculous poker game going on and i glanced the players.
The pretty young girl that would be a fashion designer until the funds ran out halfway to her dream.
The hotel manager from India who didn't give a shit about this Georgia hotel
The old man, and the big wampum liar telling his stories ten floors above the flag.
The piles of chips looked impressive, but held as much value as the liar's fables of being shot twice in the head in Iraq. Oh, men have been shot twice in the head in Iraq, but those men don't brag~they struggle to forget.
"I used to eat monkey brains in India," The liar tossed out like a baby throws its pacifier.
The man from India couldn't let this one slide.
"They don't eat monkey brains in India."
You have to love a terrible liar, they never let truth be a burden.
"Yes they do. They did where I was."
The facial ping pong was priceless as the manager fingered his cards.
"And where is it you were?"
The liar's bullet wounds were causing amnesia.
"I can't remember."
"Well," the man from India put forth. "Was it North, East, West, or South?"
The liar was stumbling badly, obviously over matched.
"Um, I can't remember, now."
The dark skinned manager was satisfied, nodded, and looked back to his cards.
I turned to the bartender and we quietly laughed together.
An hour ago, none of us knew the others. Three hours from now, we would all be hugging each other, saying goodnight, as the manager on wobbly legs told us he really had to close down as it was an hour past last call. He hugged everyone too.
In between, we swapped stories. Some true, some not-it didn't matter. We argued over music. We danced. The young failed fashioner wore my coat as we all went outside in a group to smoke. She and I smiled at each other like lovers, because that's what we needed.
The liar's stories grew ferociously and we pretended to believe him, because that's what he needed.
The old man and local boy went home, but three men and two women came in to take their place and we welcomed them like cousins to a reunion. They brought a dog, which quickly became our dog, too.
The bartender made seventy dollars in tips, I gave the pretty girl a half a pack of smokes and my lighter.
The liar said he was going to Arizona to fix global warming. We wished him well.
This is how it was on a Monday night in Georgia. A group of strangers that needed something, and friends willing to give it.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Jester Has Retired

the king is dead
long live the king

young and old
rascals and noblemen
born royal, worthy
and wanting

i've played for them all

i've swallowed the sword
juggled the daggers
told jokes
until the only punchline
is me

why, i could make myself disappear
over here
and then
reappear over there

a clap of the hands and off i'd run
all yellow bloomers
with black stars
and a hat full of tossles
to conceal my wares

pull a rabbit from a hat?
phtt! child's play to a jester
able to pull a hat from a rabbit's ass
and convince it's a crown

the Queen is dead
long reign the queen

but where is the jester?
and who now will amuse?

the jester is gone
and all of his tricks
hats for hooks
and bloomers to rags

he'll dance no more
the limp fangled jig
for the game has gone old
and the jester, out of jolly
shall bow no more

Monday, February 4, 2013

Losing My Religion

i sat upon the rocks at the edge of the sea
just a boy head full of dreams
all heart full of want, upon a tide
chartless of course

i rode a train across Thailand
thundering to a destination
i hoped to never reach
but this, my secret locked tight

the mountains loomed in the distance
i hoped to never lessen, for their peaks
once conquered, would be too much feast
for the want i craved tight fisted

the seagulls spoke my religion,
the sky cathedral to my claims
chimed hallelujah to the virgin spirit
lost in the wildflowers of the ruling horizon

the ridiculousness of youth
oblivious to wisdom past
knows no friend among man
nor enemy among gods

but time teaches our faults
through a jealous rage stamping
failure upon wistful dreams
while horizons paint a faded canvas

the loss of this immortality
through the consummation of time to self
resides in the fable of destination
and peaks without fire, too near

it is divorce now i seek
from the cruel master i've become
so free i may be, to forget what i've learned
and find my first love abandoned somewhere
among restless seagulls and aimless tides

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

We Are Not Fooled

ribbons and bows
buttons and baubles
everything wrapped neatly
for the Christmas parade

rainbows painted cream
in perfect arch
says all is well
fair winds to all dwellers

hot air balloons
red white and blue
sails to the mast
bright clean and flying
across placid seas

beneath it all
lies corruption
motives of murder
plans of deceit
the dagger of betrayal

life is not a decoration
on frosted birthday cake
nor the frills
on that pretty white blouse

life is the day after Christmas
the storm that shreds our sail
while the weakness hidden
deflates our balloon

this is not bad, it just is
and the knowing
of storms lurking danger
should not stop us
from taking our flight
against all odds

it's what makes us human
and animal, and alive
defining hope on bent dreams
by illogical desire

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Non Poet

i have been accused
wrongly and unfairly

maybe one, maybe two
have labeled me a poet
out of kindness

i am no poet
have never aspired to be such
and will not serve if elected

i use not the words of a poet
because my heart is a bloody muscle
that i butcher every day
then leave for the flies

poetry is an art
where words are crafted
and woven to impress

i'll not play puppet master
to paint pretty the gore
bleeding from my soul
for such small gain

i write my thoughts, just as they fall
and if poetry they somehow
ridiculously and accidentally
appear to emulate
i hereby apologize
to all poets everywhere

so please, accuse no more
lest i believe the lies
and be cursed forever
only to be found
a sham, under scrutiny

i am not a poet
i am a butcher
and a poor one, at that


susan dey was in a movie, the title eludes me.
but she was on the steps talking with a boy about fucking.
the boy said, "don't you mean making love?"
she looked at him hard, then looked away before answering.
"you make love~i fuck"

and so it is my friends. You make love. I fuck

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Haunting Waters

the morning is clear, bright, and silent
as i walk the little road to the bridge
the deaf dog of no understanding walks
by my side, that being enough

from the bridge i look upstream
to the waters roiling down
then turn, to see them roll away
and never return

some days, after a heavy rain
the stream becomes a raging torrent
other times, after endless sunshine,
it barely trickles the timeless stone

today, it is what it should be, temperate
song to my soul

this land is ancient and unmoving
unwavering, stoic and strong
the morning is big in stillness
and it's boundaries speak
of passages beyond

high up on the ridge, light bleeds
through the bulwark of leafless trees
falling slowly down the hillside
spawn to an awakening

high above me, geese circle
searching for direction and
i watch them while the hawk
who so often has wondered of me
sits perched, and wonders some more

there is much this morning has to tell me
of life, and what is, and what surely
must be as it always has been
-but it's the waters i hear

soon the light will flood the valley
stirring the sleeping reality
into the convolution
i'll carry back up the road

but just now, it's the waters
which haunt me, like the winds
upon mountains
and the cry of the lone wolf
deep in the night

these are callings spiritual
which i've chased on earthen legs
only to be left behind
with the deaf dog
the wondering hawk
and the ghosting light
upon waters that haunt
my humanity