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Friday, May 30, 2014

Sabbath in Paradise


“Adam, what are you doing?”

“I’m weaving these flowers together into a wreath, it will look pretty in your hair, and I…”

“But today is the seventh day, the Sabbath.” Eve sat next to Adam on the soft grass. “You are not supposed to be working.”

“We never work, Eve, this is paradise. We play and frolic and nap, and eat. Frolicking with you is my favorite though. Want to frolic now?” He reached for her in his playful way, but she pushed his hands aside.

“I know, Adam. The hardest part about doing nothing is knowing when you are done, but really, this is the Sabbath, and we are supposed to keep it holy.”

“What could be holier than frolicking right here on the riverbank? We could copy the lions again, I liked that game.”

Eve smiled, for she liked that game as well, but she wanted to make her point. “No dear heart, we must keep the Sabbath holy as we were instructed by the Great Creator, don’t you remember?” His gaze rested on her softly swelled chest instead of on her face, so she continued. “Firstly, we must stop all work.”

Gently she nudged his hands away. “Then we must stop all play as well, including the frolicking you cannot seem to get enough of. We must stop all things that are not in keeping with the Sabbath. So no more weaving.” She took the flowers he had woven together and gently laid them into the river, where they floated downstream. “We must cease all activity that is not something that we do only to give praise and honor to the Great Creator. We are supposed to celebrate the fact that all life comes from the Great Creator.”

“But I told you, we don’t work here. I mean, we play around at gardening, I really like making the plants grow and matching things up by color, and height, but that is not really work, even if I do get sweaty. In fact, I can’t recall anything that we do that we have to do, most of things we do we just want to do.” He reached for her again. “Like frolicking.”

“Like the flowers, and the fruits on the trees, and the little scurry things that crawl through the bushes, and the horse things and the lions that eat them and the little ones that have come from your womb after we frolic and the…”

“Yes, my love, all those things.” Eve put her finger on Adam’s lips to hush his prattle. “The Great Creator has given us all these things, and even the sun, which grows the grass and plants which the animals eat and gives us life when we eat the animals.” She reached up to where a vine crawled up a tree trunk and pluck a fat bunch of purple grapes, pulling a few off and sharing them with Adam. “Every thing that lives in this place lives because He wished it so.”

“So if we frolic and you bear another little one, isn’t that more life given us by the Great Creator?”

“You enjoy that so much, my man, you cannot seem to think of other things.” Eve smiled, for her man was after all, only a man. “But there is more to keeping the Sabbath holy.”

“Like what?”

“Well, we must give grateful thanks that the Creator is who He is, that he is generous in all things, that he is merciful and kind…”

“How do you know?”

“How do I know what?”

Adam looked serious for the first time. “How do you know that He is generous and kind and merciful and stuff?"

"Sure, He gave us all that we need to eat and drink, and He gave me you so I would not be lonely, and I would have someone to frolic with, which I really do appreciate, but if there is something else that He has not given me, how would I know it? I don’t know of anything else besides what I have, so how do I know there is not more?” Adam shook his head. “And how does giving us food and fun make Him merciful?”

“Just look around you at all this bounty.” Eve did not understand how he could question what was obvious.

“If you had to work for everything, only finding food from the earth after you had toiled for it, if you had to chase after the beasts in order to slay them by force to feed yourself, and our young ones, if you had to hide from beasts that wanted to eat you, or from the rain that falls from the clouds, would you not wish for life to be as it is now? Well, in His mercy, He has given us that life already.” Adam looked doubtful, so she added, “Things could be a lot worse.”

“I suppose. OK, so we give Him thanks for being wise and kind and stuff, can we frolic now?”

“Almost, Adam. First we must appreciate what he has done for us.”

“Isn’t that the same as giving Him thanks?”

“No, it is appreciating. Taking the time to savor, all things such as the little ones we have, and the food, and our health, and each other.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to do, appreciate you.” He reached for her again.

But I want to spend some time to…” Her words were lost as he covered her lips with his own. Each time he did that the warmth in her belly grew like wildfire after a lightning strike. Her thoughts turned to appreciating him in his turn, and they kept the Sabbath holy in the way Adam had suggested.

But her mind turned over something he had said, something about not knowing what else they might have been given since they had not been given it. She made a mental note to ask the wise serpent about that tomorrow, then gave herself over completely to frolicking with Adam.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lost Kid At The Zoo


Thirteen kids all went to the zoo.
Only twelve came back, what shall I do?

I looked near the lions, checked the giraffes,
Stopped where we had lunch, and did arts and crafts,

I went back to the bears, and then back to the lion,
But I could not find the kid, as hard as I was tryin’,

The ostrich had not seen him, nor had the rhino,
I asked all of the camels, even the albino,

the peacock knew nothing, neither did the gorillas,
I asked the beavers, the monkeys, even the chinchillas,

I ran back to the farm, asked the cows, sheep and goats,
Questioned the horses, the ferrets, and even the stoats.

I counted once more, and only then did I see
That the thirteenth kid I was looking for happened to be ME!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Footprint in Time


Only age could have reduced this,
The etching of a memory
To a dusty trace, faint with a sheath of rust,
Distinguished from all the rest
Only by its importance to me.

There is no real way of knowing
Which marks along the battered lines
Were bites of another’s armor
Or bone, or the blades of time,
The source of pain impossible to tell
With the passage of ages.

How many lives has it touched?
How many children has it fed to monsters,
Or how many hearts still cold to Christ
Has it pierced with the fine point of Truth.
How long has it endured?


MAY 28, 2014

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My Demand to Know


Forgive me my demand to know,
my desire to reach the infinite.
I have asked and implored,
begged and beseeched
in my own way,
thrust my sentience into the ice-blue
past the spangles of the stars
and the eternal of the darkness,
straining to hear the anthems
to find something… more.

How grandiose I must seem,
as if I might know more
than the rose’s sweet fragrance,
the bloom of a cherry blossom,
or the glissando of the brook.
Yet I still hoist my petition,
seeking the answer to both reason and truth.

I ask simply for a balm
for I am a captive of my soul’s descent.
I confess I do not pray for succor
only consecration,
nothing the singing wind
could not achieve on its own.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day


The westering sun spills caramel warmth
across the marble graves laid out in lines.
I see the fountain pool drank deeply
of the rain storm last night.
Nothing but solitude in the garden,
save for myself and my memories.

I’m used to treasures and ghosts,
in my head they are the norm.
Looking for consolation, interlocked destinies,
and the promise that it was all worthwhile.
Those that gave all they had
float above my head, battling for the right
to stand with me,
speak for me.

In places with names both exotic and mundane
they faced their fears and did what they must,
both taking and giving all that any person is able,
so that we might enjoy a bit of holiday with the kids,
firing up the grill, instead of an armored position.

Some have left behind cluttered lives,
unfolded hearts, and scattered dreams.
Some had nothing whatever to leave, save pain,
yet others left everything, and were missed
by those who would know no further kisses,
no fervent clutches of the heart,
no further generations to bear the same honors.

The time will come when they will rest,
hovering in anticipation of our right decisions.
When the tickertape has past
and the smoky grills have cooled,
the beaches that drank their blood will dry,
the mountains that took their scars will heal smooth
and a new generation that holds duty before safety
will emerge to serve someone else’s cause.

All that we can do, we many who lost you few,
is hold your gift lovingly in our hearts.
Mere thanks is scant payment indeed, yet,
what else can we offer?
In my own heart, I can offer the truth,
that you have done what I have not.
That your sacrifices will not have been in vain,
I will whisper your deeds into children’s ears
and carve my gratitude onto my soul.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Impartial Sand


How democratic is a stretch of beach?

Yesterday, a respectable married couple
slept on the same spot
where a murderer had lain. Before that
a couple living in sin caught sun there.

Tomorrow, it may be a priest
or a poet, each enjoying the illusion
that this bit of ground
is theirs alone.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Games Go On


We play games, we two,
Games with winners and losers changing sides
Every time the music stops.

We dance, only to stumble,
Right ourselves with apologies,
And dance on.

To hold your soul, your smile
This close, close enough to taste
Is worth any price.

The music, tunes only we hear,
A hot beat that grips our loins and twists
Teaching new words for joy.

Out of practice, out of breath,
I drink you in with every kiss, or lick.
Sauced with spice and liquid fire.

I answer, in my own kind,
With push and hard and male and more
Finding myself while hiding.

You give, as only you are able.
Sweetness and greedy lust in taught balance
And you capture me again.

We know, in the glow that follows,
That the sum is greater than the total, at least for us
And the games go on.

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I Think the Lions Ate My Dad


I think the lions ate my dad
‘Cause he is nowhere to be found.
He was right here just a minute ago,
But I think that is his hat on the ground.

Now I’ll never get the chance to tell him
All those things I never got to say:
Like how much I’ll miss his corny old jokes
Or wish him a happy Father’s Day.

We came to the zoo to have a few laughs
And now my dad became a lion’s snack.
What am I ever gonna tell my mom?
How can I ever get my Dad back?

I was just about to climb over the fence,
And show those lions a thing or two about mean,
When I heard my Dad’s voice, calling my name –
He had only gone to buy us ice cream!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Hemingway


“Man is not made for defeat.
A man can be destroyed but not defeated”

These words from Papa Hank are true as can be
And so to myself must often be repeated.

No man ever spoke truer words, to my heart
My life lived by what his yet represents
Should I wish to meddle in the affairs of others;
“All things truly wicked start from an innocence.”

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
Reminds me that caring and loving mean taking the step first.
There is no crime in being proved wrong
But judging rightly is the heart’s boon reimbursed.

Of his prose – books have been written, enough has been said,
While most of the world forgets his gift of verse sublime
His maxim I’ve taken as my own – “All my life I’ve looked at words
As though I were seeing them for the first time.”

The parley between author and reader akin
To carefully negotiated transaction
But engagement is primary, exposition a crime,
“Never mistake motion for action.”

“I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.
Most people never listen.”
Oh, but I do,
I stilled my wild soul, held my breathe until cold
As my writer’s heart listens to you.

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward,
Some are strong at the broken places.”
So I
Feel his strength in the frame of my life
As his philosophy my poet’s pen embraces

And there is my affinity, my ties to the quick
To the heart, soul and wit of the man
For “A writer’s job is not to judge,
But to seek to understand.”

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Sylvia Seal


Sylvia Seal went out for a walk
Around the zoo one fine afternoon.
She said good day to Mrs. Zebra
And then hello to Mr. Baboon.

She threw some treats to her monkey friends,
Fed some hay to old Gertrude the camel.
She had herself one fine old time
For a bipedal aquatic sea mammal.

Then she wandered down past the hippos
Coming next to her most favorite spot.
In the shade of a very old banyan tree
She sat to watch the new baby ocelot.

It scampered and climbed, frisky and fresh
Curious about both a basket and an old banana peel
And of course the one thing it had NEVER seen before
Was Sylvia, the sleek and furry brown seal.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Not The Best Man


As we stole away
from your brother’s
baroque and ornate
you snagged the last
bottle of Dom
from a silvered tray.

Smiling with conspiracy
you stashed it
up under your dress
God only knows how,
then you put one finger
on your impossibly pink lips
as if this were as much a secret
as the breathless stolen kisses
behind the floral filigreed
garden trellis.

How sweet you tasted,
foamy and sparkling
all at once,
your appetites a match
for my own.

And in the drowsy
after time
when you went soft
and revealed
your soul…

I was afraid.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Four Horsemen


I saw the Four Horsemen -
the famous apocalypse guys.
They rode silently past neatly folded laundry,

They approached me in silence,
their breathe a rye and meadow wind.
Each of them in turn,

gliding ghostlike past where I sat,
watching steam on the mirror
grow cold.

War had no use for me,
past my prime, bum knee.
Not even as cannon fodder.

Famine had little to work with,
I had known hunger, want, poverty,
nothing he had could scare me.

Pestilence likewise dismissed me out of turn,
for which I’ll be forever grateful,
probably too sedentary to spread the touch.

And Death, well, we all must dance,
but today is not the day, now not the hour,
Death merely bid me good day.

And then they were gone, their vacancy tangible,
while I decided to look up embolisms or strokes,
trying to close this doorway into myself.

Until I saw the tracks in the talcum powder,
heard the soft whicker of horse,
and tasted their life on my tongue.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

The Day The TV Channels Crossed


Most televisions are great,
I think it is a truly cool invention
But yesterday mine had a problem
I feel I really ought to mention.

Something strange was occurring
And for a while I was truly Lost
Let me tell you about the awful day
The TV Channels crossed.

I was settled in, my popcorn bowl
And soft drink by my side.
Watching Pam & Jim in re-runs
Flirting while trying to decide.

When suddenly and quietly
And right out of the blue
Earl, Joy and Randy walked on-set,
Then even Darnell too.

They asked if this was Smallville,
Where Lex Luthor could be found.
But before Jim or Pam could answer,
Dwight Shrute spun his body around

And shouted “No Deal Howie!”
With a dance move that earned him solid scores
From the three judges that were found
To be sitting behind Michael’s office doors.

I knew that this was something odd,
for there was no more laugh track.
And parts of it were in color,
and others were white and black.

The cable box said 666
and I knew that couldn’t be good.
I couldn’t tear my eyes away,
although I knew I should.

The scene dissolved with a hollow knock
and then we were in court.
Trailer park rejects confessed and brawled
before the judge’s bench as sport.

Sam Watterson and James Spader
argued a case which only confused
While the camera noticed four New York women
drinking Cosmos in trendy shoes.

Evidence was presented
as funny videos with narration.
While the courtroom awaited
who would be fired with great anticipation.

Forensics never lie, we were all told,
and then we were shown the proof
Of a dimwitted husband lying,
then his wife finding out and hitting the roof.

The judge – with Leno’s jaw and Dave’s toothy gap,
Conan’s hair over Kimmel’s nose –
Had the models opening briefcases
until he gave the last girl a single rose.

The scene dissolved once more
to show soldiers overtaking a hill.
Where Jack and Karen watched and laughed
as Grace chased a flaming Will.

I was getting dizzy and sick
from the pop culture attack on my senses.
I have watched TV daily, since I was nine,
so I had no natural defenses.

Every show I had watched was on all at once,
from F-Troop to Kojak and more.
I saw Muppets and monsters, Fonzie
and even Arnold the pig with Eva Gabor.

My mind was reeling from the onslaught
I stabbed wildly at the remote.
I had to escape the TV shows
Baretta said that was all she wrote.

Until I fell off of the couch
My popcorn bowl got tossed,
And that is what what happened
The Night the TV channels got crossed.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Boat For Mother On Her Day


Go deep into the woods, dear Mother; near the water,
Find the birch, bending with thick green and birdsong.
See the beauty that is there, before your heart can adorn
With soft memory, a child, a babe in arms,
Toddling faster than time allows,
Running naked into traffic, talking late, blooming early.

For you I have carved this thought, polished it rare,
Breathed in the yellow dust that fell like rain on skin.
I have built you a boat, to carry you back to me,
Back when I had yet to cause you tears,
Or cost you sleepless nights.
Before policemen called you to collect me,
Before I could be caught doing things that embarrass,
A boat long enough for you to lay inside, and be happy.

For you, mother, I would live another life
One that hurt you less, and though I would not be
Whom time has whittled me away to be,
I would be yours, I would find a way to breathe.
My respect for you is a wide foamy sea, dark blue and gray
And what I know of colors, any colors at all, I learned from you.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Nursery of Winds


In the glistening of Spring
young winds are born,
hatchling mouths gaping
for frozen bits of thermal carrion,
gleaning what nourishment they can
from the keening of last winter’s gales.

Summertime zephyrs are on their own,
casting themselves in currents of warmth,
deciding from moment to moment
whether they will caress or sting.
They move as they must
for only those most fit
may sail forward into Fall.

Late autumn gales dance in glee,
plucking the trees for adornments
to dress themselves, pushing
the dead scales of summer
through wild ranges
to line west facing cliffs
in hopes of spawning anew.

And in the depths of winter’s bite
they prance in waxing and waning strength,
mating with abandon,
showcasing the power of vernal rage,
cradling each other’s breezes
in the glacial nooks of high rocks,
Scattering truth in their wake,
waiting for Spring.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

The Girl At The Red Light


Born to inhabit men’s minds,
walk saucily through their dreams,
and overflow with love
for the right one,
she was hotter than any woman
had a right to be.

Dark limbed and smooth-skinned
she was hysterical perfection,
a drop of bright blood
in crystalline white,
she had all of champagne’s sparkle
with none of the headache.

Her walk was emerald green
and theatrical,
so nuanced
and subtle
you got a bit snake-charmed
at her gait.

Watching her muscles wrestle
beneath that summer silk dress
was like snorting China White
on the corner
of 18th and nowhere,
a drop of battery acid
in each eye.

She was sensory overload.

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Friday, May 2, 2014

How Do You Know She Loves You?


If she says “I love you”, on the roller coaster
Moments after she saw you
Soil your shirt
She loves you.

If you find yourself at a karaoke bar
And she insists on singing a duet,
Then she picks ‘Just You and I’
But insists on singing the Eddie Rabbitt part
And when it is over, says,
“Let’s have a big hand for Crystal Gayle”
While pointing to you, and
She gives you a high-five,
She loves you.

If she dances with your friends
Without looking at you,
She loves you.

If she hides your shoes
Because you are late for work,
Then makes you hunt for them,
And watches you grow angrier,
Before she goes to the stove
Flips it open to reveal the shoes,
Laughing as you lace them with a scowl,
She loves you.

If she calls you later in the afternoon
Just to ask
“How are those shoes working out for you?”
She loves you.

If she wants you to see her
Playing with babies,
Showing you expressions
That ask your opinion,
She loves you.

After she has seen your worst,
Whether it be drunk or foolish
Or both,
If she waits a month or so
Before telling your friends,
She loves you.

If she never tells her friends,
She loves you a lot.

If she ever screams the words,
“I hate you!” at you,
She loves you.
Or, she once did.

If you try to get even for the shoes
And hide something of hers,
And of course she finds it,
When she looks at you
With eyes that hold no pity,
And says, “I love you.”
She loves you.

If she really loves you,
There is no way you could not know.
You will wake up to find her staring at you,
Enter a room to find her smelling your shirt.
She will call at any hour, “just to talk,”
She will laugh with you when your jokes are funny,
Or at you when they are not.
If she look past all of your faults
And keeps looking,
She loves you.

If she tells you, how she misses her mom,
Or how much she regrets fights with her brother,
She loves you.

If she tells you what you need to hear
Instead of what you want to hear,
She not only loves you,
She respects you.

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