Thursday, February 28, 2013

Reuniting in a Dream

I finally fell asleep
after 2:00 A.M. but then entered
a dream that brought me to a high school reunion.
I was young again and wore a red dress

with a long sash tied to the shoulder
my hair was up at the sides
but left to flow down my back
it was thick and wavy like I remember it.

I walked into a room to sit with women
I didn’t know so I kept looking around
for someone I recognized

I saw a principal who sat
on the panel that hired me
seems we were better friends then I recalled.

Conversation was cordial
we hurried to catch a monorail
that took us to the snow

we sped across the open terrain
admired cities along the mountain sides
talking about highlights after all these years.

Then we went our separate ways
a diamond bracelet covered my tattoo
I met you and we walked down the path

hand in hand, together again. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Papal Selection

He is St. Peter here on earth,
the rock upon which Christ
built his church,
designed to withstand

the challenges of time:
persecution, conversion, inquisition,
a lust for power and rampant with scandals.

Two stories now buzzing in the news:
The first one is the current pope is gay,

notice his penchant for exquisite clothing,
a vestment horse by any standard,
who wants to avoid the shame

of child abuse and sexual impropriety.
Rumor has it a group of male prostitutes

want to cash in on the gold
and will reveal the truth unless
duly compensated.

Somewhere in the mess lies the truth
the faithful gather round in prayer,
some seeing the gossip as the work
of the devil, designed to confuse
and break bonds to the church.

So... whoever is selected
must have strong shoulders
and be able to put things back into order 

his integrity must be above reproach
his holiness more than an act:
prayer must be an open communication

to heaven, be able to guide his followers
to live better lives filled with good works
to encourage kindness towards each other. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


What brings the faithful
to a church with stained glass windows
in a big box where they pray
with others like themselves?

Seems a better place would be in an open field
where they can see the clouds and sky
hear the birds and see the flowers
to celebrate the god above and be grateful
for the many blessings.

Perhaps in the box it is easier for the rules 

to control the people, herded into a confined room
to hear the word of god, read from ancient
scripture, interpreted by a man upon a pedestal

because in the freedom of an open space
plenty of sunlight and natural stimulation
each individual might get their own message
from the bounty of the lord they wish to celebrate.

Better to be controlled in an environment
with a crucified cross on the altar
to remind the congregation of the fierceness

of a god who would sacrifice his only son

and demand compensation from the sinful,
a blood offering for t
he willful disobedience
of their ancestors. 

If I am to call God my father
I look at my own Daddy
and know that he would never ask for my life
he would offer his own instead

protecting me from harm, doing whatever it took
and forgiving me for my trespasses

teaching me how love transcends sin
holding me in the safety of his loving arms. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Path to the Oscars

For some, the path is short,
acknowledged at an early age
put upon the public stage and admired.

Too soon they fade from view
forgotten except as a tribute
on some misplaced list brought up
to be remembered in memorandum.

For others the path is clear
frequently nominated but never chosen
watching others walk away with the coveted
golden statue every year.

There are those whose work is profitable,
bankable figures on the silver screen,
liked by many except 
the esteemed members
of the academy.

Then there is Meryl Streep 
and Daniel Day Lewis, 

three time sweeps
taking home an Oscar 

almost every time they’re nominated.

For the majority the Academy is a chance
to get dressed up, walk the red carpet
attend the parties and more than likely

walk home without an Oscar. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fashion Flaws

She stands in place along the row
of tables to sew pre-cut patterns
for school uniforms

those tweed patterns of blue and green
jumpers for the little ones and skirts,
for the teenage girls

the rat-a-tat-tat of the sewing machines
create an identical look for the Catholic lasses
a perfect standardized look
designed to neutralize status

like bricks in the wall
little soldiers in the army of the lord
committed to doctrine, prayer and good works
a cut above the rest 
better than those in public schools.

but when she is out on her own
away from the tutelage of women in robes
free to wander the town 

she hikes the skirt
above her thighs, unrolls her socks
up to her knees and walks down the street
so wild and free, 

hungry for the wild sideof life, 
where the lights are bright
and boulevard cruised by unsavory types, 

mysterious and tattooed.

Quickly slipping back to the safety of home
loved by her mother and father
trusted by her sisters and brothers
to do the right thing and walk the narrow path
towards heaven’s gate 

leaving the gutters and grime
for the impoverished ones
standing in a row 
with others 
who must sew to make ends meet. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

She Asked for a Miracle

She asked for a miracle after nights of prayer
to show that he was in a better place
in heaven with an almighty god who loved him
as much as she did, and then a gentle snow
started to fall onto the land.

The moon’s glow peeked out from behind
clouds, shedding light across the yard
now a peaceful white. 

She was afraid to go to sleep
in case everything she saw was a dream -
not wanting to let go of the peace and love
she stayed up on that miraculous night.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Fragile ideas are tested
when creative expression
is exposed publicly
easier to be confident 

when no one is watching
your greatness imagined 

before taking a step ...

sometimes in the quiet of the dark
all limitations are surmounted
no one to question your choices,
or reject your effort
when  bringing original thoughts,
those imperfect 
to the light. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Zippo Lighter

The familiar clang and zip
followed by the smell of lighter fluid and flint

then the warm glow of a flame
to light a cigarette, a pipe, or campfire

Zippo lighters were like the men in those days
strong, reliable, and true,

a calling card for advertising
identifying the brand with the man

took him through World War II
became a canvas for doodling in Vietnam

a handy mirror for jungle living
or to store salt from tropical sweating

a trustworthy signal on a dark night
or to light the page for a letter home

eventually it disappeared as smokers
quit, but for many born after the war

the Zippo is a trademark in our memory
of a product that worked every time. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Young kids are fascinated with zombies,
the living dead who wander the earth 
consuming the flesh of the living. 

Seems to me it is a way to cope 
with aging parents and grandparents
who refuse to die, sucking life from the young

insisting they give up their lives
to become caretakers and executors
keeping the oldsters wandering through life 

until the young ones realize they 

are the undead trying to scrape out a living

by eating the flesh of the old people around them.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Standing on the precipice of choice
you gaze out to the expanse of time
hurrying to finish the last details of your work life
packing into one box what you need to take home
burdened by the weight of so many years 
wanting only to rest but not so soundly you die
like the lead dog on a working team 
too many years running across the frozen tundra 
letting the hours be filled with activity
lifting you up from immobility 
taking you to routines and important things
retirement offers new explorations and adventuring 
to fill the hours ahead with meaningful pursuits
so as not to scurry back to what you knew
when you were a younger man. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013


There was the time I actually felt emotions
anger, happiness, sadness, horror
but then like a single note on a piano
indifference was the only emotion I played

like a needle stuck in a groove
repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat,
a phrase, a word, that single note
redundantly revisited again and again

until someone gave it a sharp slap
and shocked it back to the other
grooves on the pressed vinyl
the melody played until the end
a melancholy tune from way back when
about love, loss and feelings of pain.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Meteor Strike in Russia

An ordinary day at zero temperature
in the mountain regions of Russia
then without warning a meteor
streaks across the sky
people rush to the windows
to look out only to be struck
with exploding glass
after the sonic boom
gives a seismic shock  
and children scream,
old men cry out,
and the town scrambles
to make sense of the attack. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day

When the heart is pierced by another
there is no going back to the time before
love penetrated the soul
back to that time of innocence
before love filled the mind
landing on a new shore
where you and your loved one dwell,
when a new future is created
in harmony with the one
you’ve chosen to build a home
and share a lifetime

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Your reign of terror carried out
by posting a manifesto
listing the names of those who offended you
laying in wait and executing the innocent,
seeking revenge on all who hurt you
when they called you a liar
and held you to public shame
you created fear in their hearts
by acting out your threats
leaving cops scrambling to protect themselves
finally captured in a stranger’s house
left to burn with only charred remains
as evidence as to your where-a-bouts. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ballroom Dancer

Her partner is gone 
all the love for him like an empty
ballroom with music playing 

but no one to twirl around the floor
a stranger offered his hand 
he was not as skilled as the one before 

but she accepted the chance to dance
while blood still coursed through her heart
grief for the past is such a waste of time

must take happiness while she can
dance one more time, 
let life in, let laughter fill the room 

let in joy for what is here now 
death will come again, but today
there is happiness to be found.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Style Clash

Got on the bus the other day 
sat behind an 80's punk styled passenger 
with perfect Mohawk and chunky spiked jewelry. 

At the next stop an Asian man got on 
dressed like Hello Kitty with a little pink hat, 
fluffy ears and long pink fingernails. 

He walked up to the punk rocker and said, 
"How can I get attention for my cute hat 
when you're dressed like that?"

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


There was a time when a seasoned traveler
had a passport with several marks
from places around the world,
imprints from rubber stamps

created by local artists,
unique to their own country
but now they only scan it, the imprint
is electronic, no physical evidence
left as a historic visit to foreign lands.

Passports were once sacred journals highlighting
stops along the way, Turkey, Greece,
Egypt, Italy, and the good old USA.

My picture now is linked to a facial
recognition bank, my finger print
accesses jobs as well as petty crimes.

My life in no longer a story for me to tell
all is revealed with a laser scan,
my history tells if I am desirable
upon this distant land.

My identity is no longer shrouded in mystery
my history an open manuscript;
where I’m going, what I ate, and the title
of the books I bought to read along the way. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Battle on the Gridiron

People gather in homes and bars
across the nations to watch the battle
between the best; physical giants
in a televised arena, like the gladiators
from Rome, fighting for the prize.

Unlike the skirmish of old
there is no life and death, only fame
and fortune, trophies and bragging rights
“Let the match begin.” 

Intimidation and aggression
from many offspring of former slaves
team owners or plantation masters
are determined to win the game.

The thunder of applause
cameras, and cheerleaders,
with whoops and hurrahs,
support the skirmish of the year.

When the winners emerge
after close calls and spectacular plays,
trophies are awarded with congratulations
and high fives, the event is over for another

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bus Rider

You think a lot. Always have a point of view
irritated when someone says,
“What do you mean?”

So you listen more than you speak
observe more than most people see
and ponder what differences it makes.

When people talk you tune in
surprised at how much banality
receives air time, wondering why bother?

You’d rather repeat what inspires you,
little vignettes about people you meet,
insights you gather from your observations.

The story about the rider on a city bus,
who shared her meal, with one mentally ill
while coursing through the city streets

was more profound than how you had
to layer your clothing to fight the cold
walk for miles until it became dark
needed to sleep because your feet ached.

You have no idea what you’ll do tomorrow
floating has become a way of life
never knowing where you’ll land
you go on, and on, and on.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

BJ’s on a Friday Night

I hadn’t been to BJ’s since 2008
was too busy with other things to squeeze
into a packed space. Got there early
to avoid the crowd, barely found enough
empty chairs and tables at the back of the room.

Saw women I met as young optimistic teachers
now weary from a dozen years of teaching
beginning with the fall of the twin towers
when they started in 2001. There were the glory
years when we worked together, received awards
and recognition for all our accomplishments.

Then I moved on to another school,
was replaced by a person
who thought coercion and insult
was the recipe for continued success
she lasted a year and was gone.

Soon came the death of two staff members
in the same year. What joy was left in teaching
began to wane, felt oppressed and distressed
by more young, upwardly mobile leaders
concerned with their suits and coiffed hair
then the affect they were having on children
and future generations.

Last staff development they were shown
how to withstand an armed intruder.
They took it with a grain of salt, praying that scenario
was one that would never be played out at
their school in their lifetime.

We talked about families, and hopes for the future
Impressed by how tired they all seemed,
too weary to continue working but needed
to work and couldn’t stop. One was divorced
another her young husband had a heart attack

others had changed schools, changed  positions
wishing for the days when we were together
and the world was an optimistic place at BJ’s.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Doughnuts for Anniversaries

There were a few traditions in his work place
he never participated in; like singing the company
song in front of all the employees as a new-hire.

He came in late and missed the chance to bond
with the group in such a silly fashion.
He used to attend the monthly birthday lunches
but didn’t have much to talk about so opted
instead to plan his vacation so he’d be gone
and didn’t have to pretend he liked the conversation.

Skipped out on the boat trips, spending too many
hours with a group who became increasingly drunk
by the end of the day was not his idea of a good time.

Now doughnuts for anniversary dates were perfect for him
he liked getting there early and sending out word that
doughy lumps of sweetness were waiting for everyone

to enjoy with a cup of coffee or some hot tea
to celebrate his anniversary for every year
he worked for the company.