Saturday, August 06, 2011

Household Austerity Plan

In C.S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader, there is a vignette that, I think, is an entirely appropriate metaphor for the dire economic situation the U.S. finds ourselves in now. Those who know the story will remember that Edmund and Lucy have entered Narnia with their altogether horrid cousin Eustace and met up with King Caspian X and the crew of the Dawn Treader whilst the ship was on a voyage to find the missing Lords of Narnia.

After a storm beat the Dawn Treader and broke it's main mast, the ship anchors at an island to make repairs. Eustace steals away to avoid any of the labor involved in the repairs and stumbles upon a dragon taking his last breath. Eustace steals the dragon's bracelet and falls asleep on his pile of gold, only to wake and find that he has turned into a dragon. Eventually, Aslan appears and helps Eustace become human again...both literally and figuratively.

In this process, Aslan tells Eustace to scratch off the dragon skin, which Eustace does willingly. However, Eustace's efforts do not amount to much as he is shedding a single layer at a time. Only when Aslan pierces all of the dragon skin with his claw, draws blood, and rips it open, is Eustace able to get free of the curse.

What, you might ask, does this have to do with economics?

Our household has recently undertaken the relatively novel (for us) task of actually engaging a budgeting process and determining the difference between need and want. Our austerity plan was initiated when our household income shrank by 40% this month.

I will be the first to admit that we have been very fortunate and have had the benefit of secure jobs, decent pay, good benefits, and the kindness of friends and family when we needed it. We have also been fairly careless with our use of credit...for the life of me, I can't imagine how we built the debt we have. My inability to comprehend the thing does not make it not so, though, and while we have been good credit customers--that is, paying every month--we seem to continue to build our debt even when we have made cursory attempts to cut spending.

Before tightening our belts, we were putting about 50% of our monthly income to credit debt service (mind you, that does not include educational debt). Our budgeting processes helped us understand how much we were really living outside of our means, and though painful, has helped us discover a clear path to freedom from that debt. Our strategies have included cutting our satellite tv service, setting the thermostat higher, and not watering the grass.

Perhaps the most noticeable change has been in how we spend money on food. Before we often ate out several meals a week even with a pantry full of food. Now we have a meal planning meeting each weekend before we go grocery shopping and we have a very finite amount of money to spend at the store. The amazing thing is that we are enjoying the shopping trips...they are like a strategy game and our evenings are so much richer because we share a family meal at our table...and we all eat for the same amount that we used to pay for each person to eat out.

We are still putting about 40% of our reduced monthly income to debt service, but we have a plan to get it paid off in two years. While we still have not had to make tough choices like some others--like which bill do we not pay this month, or choosing between putting food on the table or gas in the car--the experience reminded me of Eustace's story because what seemed like massive efforts at curbing spending before pale in comparison to figuring out exactly how valuable $5 is at the grocery. It makes me a little nauseous to think about how much better off we would be and the sort of professional freedom we would enjoy had we been better stewards of our money before, but at least we've figured it out in enough time to model it for our boys. Thank God for his mercy and for such a blessing as learning to trust Him in all things!
Once abba Arsenius fell ill in Scetis and in this state he needed just one coin. He could not find one so he accepted one as a gift from someone else, and he said, "I thank you, God, that for your name's sake you have made me worthy to come to this pass, that I should have to beg.

Wisdom of the Desert Fathers

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Emperor's New Face

Yet more poetry migration. Later stuff. This collection shows maturation (!) in the course of itself. My favorites start around the middle of this collection; they are marked by a freer verse and more use of figurative imagery.

These poems date from Fall 1995 - Spring 1997


The Emperor’s New Face

The Happiest Sadist 

And what of this man 

who by proficiency of language 

elicits the pain and revels 

in the torment of his fellows.

A genius by nature 

whose nature has turned. 

What was destined for good 

now bears a halo of evil.

A new prophet gifted 

with great reasoning
twists the understanding of men,
leaving them foundering.

Smiling at his eloquence
the man goaded by spirits 

turns on the world a benevolent face,
shining with the ambiance of the Dark Messiah

Happy Thoughts

Vaguely I recall a merry life once led,
where a smile and a laugh 

were always within reach. 

Always ready for use.

I remember when feelings came easily, 

sometimes expressed before felt. 

Always pure and never faked. 

But that was before self-consciousness.

I think about the standard, doing my best always to conform to theirs. 

Then I realize my mistake and chastise myself for not being true to mine.

I recall those times only in flashes 

while lying alone in the long melancholy hours between twilight.
Staring intensely at a blank ceiling
trying to regain my happy thoughts.

Just For Grins

I’m smiling the smile of a Cheshire Cat. 

My mind is gone, I’ve lost it. 

I can only wonder where it’s at.

I can hear all of what you say, 

and though I don’t respond aloud, 

I smile in this peculiar way.

When I grow bored or just feel like having fun, 

I’ll fade to stripes, or just teeth agrin. 

But just because I’m no there doesn’t mean I’m done.

I’ve faded into my consciousness, where I reign. 

Paying no attention to others views, insights, 

refusing to share and feel their pain.

I can’t be seen I feel, 

and maybe you can’t see me. 

Or maybe I’ve imagined myself, and to you I’m just not real.

Come As You Were

Breaking through into their minds
the immortals came and tarried
but just a short while.

The anemic royalty drinking 

in a Roman wilderness while 

mad children screamed in anguish.

Introducing to fame their 

unique brand of eccentricity
and each despising it in the end.

So they walked through the 

doors of perception to 

sit in the waiting room of eternity.

And when the sun comes again to the land of the smashed 

the immortals will return to reclaim the minds 

of their friends where they are enthroned.

(a tribute to Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison)

To Be Bigger Than An Hourglass 

I like it when my mind is out 

and I can see what it is all about. 

And I can see time rushing by 

and the stars flying high and I know 

that I am more eternal than even these.

And I feel farther out and hear silence burst by consciousness like a shout. 

And with muscles quivering, my mind 

races against the sand falling in. 

A quick eternity seems almost necessary.

So with rich rags and humble pride, 

I will seat myself at my master’s side,
and I will listen to His wisdom and feel 

His touch drain me of all unclean 

and with it the glow of my robes dulls.

I am sitting now mortally plain,
my heart bare showing stain. 

And he reaches over and shows me his will
and he washed the smudge with a tear-wet cloth and smiles 

proudly at what he will help me to do.

To My TV 

I see fields once lit with holy light now rendered desolate
and barren by thoughtless and uncaring humanity; 

the unwanted by-products of greed and war.

Friendships torn asunder by rumours 

trivial moments blown out of proportion
by some soulless entity.

Individuals striving for conformity 

preached by leaders meaning well 

(for themselves, wanting followers, ego trip)
Where is the justice?

To My Muse 


Before introduction I noticed your face 

wreathed in mist as though dreamed
I tried to remember where I’d seen 

it before; but failed.
I couldn’t ignore the anxious tic 

of possibility in my soul each time
you arched your eyebrow with your whole face.


I waited until the right moment
(or so I hoped) to move, 

waiting patiently for my muse, Erato,
to show me the words; (enamorado) 

stricken, my native tongue fled my pen
in a cowards last effort to hide inside. 

I quivered like an aspen leaf as 

it was translated, I thought I’d killed it.


Oh, but the joy that flooded 

my heart when you finally smiled. 

That picture is tucked away forever
I could always be that happy 

and go to the end content
If you would just choose me


A Mantra In Answer 

A rose is a rose, is a rose, is a rose, 

and beauty it doth send to eye and nose.
And it, if not tended, will wither soon. 

Others, though seeded, didn’t grow. 

But yours in my heart still freshly blooms.

You say it’s not safe to flirt with me, 

but remember safe will do as safe will be. 

And what is dropped as hint will be found as clue. 

Though safe may change from day to day, 

there’s still no one as zen as you.


Doors In The Mind

I have seen the edge, 

where the mountains meet the sky. 

The place where the unconscious takes over,
where lunacy lives and logic dies.

A place where the only difference 

between a man and his enemy 

is that they don’ t share the same soul 

with which they scheme their dark alchemy.

A friend is nothing but a sounding board
to further your own goals. 

A tool to aid in your survival, 

the answer to saving your soul.

Shadows hid the keys
that unlock doors back to reality,
which is just a degree tamer,
but a much nicer place to be.

The Last Voyage 

Ships wandering at sea 

ghostly apparitions of pinpoint stars
behind fleeting cloud-like veils

Lonely helmsman peers earnestly 

wind borne razor-froth
shaving away the final vestige of innocence

Tonight guided by a new lost star 

sailing toward which strange
on the heels of Aries

Screaming banshee winds 

attempt to sever the mast
and leave no sails to propel

Now, safely past, sailing quiet seas of reverie
then solid coral reef of shore 

splinters the craft to sail no more

Standard Deviation

I have forgotten the meanings 

of almost every tear I’ve shed. 

I can’t recall each instance, 

but still I know my heart has bled.

I long to live free of harness,
the ropes that tie me down, 

the distorted, disowned values 

that twist my thoughts around.

I want to see myself in a clear light, 

not refracted by disapproving eyes.
I will not conform to your standards, 

constantly acting and breathing lies.

I can not understand why you expect me 

to affect such an apathetic attitude,
or to act as if I’m at peace with myself 

when really I am in a foul mood.

My love for myself and others, 

expressed in the joy I radiate, 

Must be the only thing I give off
and let this devouring anger abate.

The Apprenticeship Of William Brown 

He has stared at the bright eyes
of the car behind him for hours 

through the still dusty night
the boy in the back of the truck 

is traveling far from home

Stop after stop the child 

clambers out of his iron carriage
to glean what knowledge and 

local color he can from 

behind masks of prejudice

With practice he begins 

to notice each outcast 

from their description and
wonders what makes them so: 

not accepted

Through oppressive years 

spent in sleep sheltered from the sun 

and through nights full of experience 

he has now learned his land- 

the lessons it has taught him

Of those to be avoided 

because of obvious differences- 

(they have become his friends)-
those to be held in contempt,
and for what ?

When to speak and then 

what to say and to whom- 

(what does he care,
he has no one to talk to, yet)- 

but he remembers the power of words

He has learned the secrets of speech 

from old men clustered eagerly
in general stores around the pot-bellied stove 

the flickering orange light pooling in their eyes
each imparting his own wisdom

What posture to take for 

each audience, big or small 

and to each he gives a 
portion of what they came
to hear: that someone knows the truth

And hope - for with each 

intake of iniquity there came 

a solution given by the objective mind 

of one person willing to change 

what is needed for next time

The youth has become a man 

with understanding of the workings,
and why those gears are rusting out 

Revered by his teachers 

held in disdain by those who still must learn
he has become a master craftsman 

hammering out words and phrases with 

skill and ease, his training hardly 

in vain, his almost ethereal knowledge 

relevant to his world

Buying A Lemon 

You’re right, it’s good that we talked it out, but it’s also bad for me…

That’s why I love ambiguity,
it applies to everything.

I told you that you wanted to shop
but didn’t want to pay.
I’m sorry if it was rude 

but I was honest with my feelings.

I’d say I don’t want to buy because
I’ve found you’re not what I want, 

and you’d say I’m a hypocrite. 

But why should I have to pay for something I’ll have to return?

Shopping around isn’t the thing for me
I knew what I wanted when I went out. 

I opened my heart’s wallet too wide. 

You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole, and customer service doesn’t care.

I know now why you laughed when I dreamed you drove by,
You couldn’t understand why I stood alone on a cliff
in the middle of nowhere, unwilling to leave. 

But the reason will arrive shortly, and I’ll wait patiently for her. 

Learning To Fly 

Painful crimson taints pure blue sky, 

it’s too sharp to be real. 

Muscles tense, feet falter.
On the edge of cliff, on the edge of night.

Rose light washes into grains 

of sandstone underfoot. 

Do they serve to propel,
or grind motion to a halt?

Ghost of wind, makes sound indistinguishable. 

There are others, are they calling 

me out to join in fantastic flight, 

or warning me of sheer winds, with no ground for protection?

I can only guess, 

there’s no help after here.
Now a silver sliver of moon 

peeks discreetly over the horizon. 

Watching as I inch cautiously forward,
on the edge of cliff, on the edge of night.


Driving toward the thick massing 

cloud on the horizon
Black, blue, purple, grey mesh in 

twisting columns 

suggesting some preternatural force 

molding sky pottery 

Driving winds subconsciously set the pace, who am I to race the wind? 

The air is electrically supercharged
I know, I have and affinity with the rain
Some deep voice issues from the clouds 

and my heart responds to the rumbling,
cries out with warm impatience, 

affirms that I am waiting here 

Arms outstretched
to embrace the cold, pelting 

It can not deny my magnetism
I am instantly aroused, trance of calling
leaves with first drop of water
washed away, runneling down my body 

to pool at my feet
It seems that I am floating, no, flying 

in the air-space between the two 

gulfs of water
I don’t know if I am embodied
that dying corpse is of no use here 

I streak onward, nearing terminal velocity.
The rain dies, and my power with it
I wait for the next cloudburst 


As I sit
staring at paper, 

words, letters-jumble, 

writhe in agony 

at my effort to comprehend.
Eluding discovery, 

symbolize in microcosm
the way I relate 

I want, I need 

but can’t grasp,
put into so many words 

my desire. 

Expectations of forever that Now could destroy. 

Controlled impatience at your touch.
Wanting to spill out 

all of emotion
just to see if you drown, 

or if you cling to me to survive.
I listen to your song, 

break apart inside. 

See clouds that yesterday 

were with me now miles away.
Tunnel vision ensues.. 

Lying on my back in the ground, 

the Earth wants to stop me. 

Rigor Mortis keeps me from acting. 

Parched throat and skin from 

falling prey to this merciless sun.
Where is the rain when needed, 

to spill down my face,
wash away fear? 

Let you know, 

I love you.



Crisp starry night,
begging for just a moment alone,
(with you) 

Then it comes, and I allow myself 

to be carried away by your caress, 

(warm, so warm in contrast to the air).
Inside, yin and yang quit pulling 

long enough to bask in adoration at 

(the object of their quarrel) 

you and I am drunk, 

as though I had touched my 

lips to the mouth of some jar 

of forbidden 

(nectar and ambrosia) 

wine instead of your 

(soft, inviting, enticing) 


Then the fire begins.
The very thoughts in my head flame.
Images flicker just long enough to 

show I can’t interpret them, I’m not 


capable of putting out this fire.
It can only be quenched by another
(rapture, oh joy) 

draught of the same. 

I can’t wait.



As I look into your eyes, they sparkle with the quality of a tropic lagoon.
Cold enough to be enticing, then
warm, to lull into deep sleep.
And I struggle past that trap. 

I know everyone can see your beauty.
Diving deeper, I want to find 

the fabled oyster, rough, barnacled. 

That treasure, worn with time and use,
that until now, has held only meaning for you. 

There, inside lies your soul.

The true you, 

gleaming darkly through the shadowed folds of your being. 

A bounty worthy of a king’s ransom
I would willingly give to know:
What you think, 

how you feel, 

When did you know?

The pearl an oracle 

where these questions can be asked. 

While I pause, looking back to the surface for the last time, 

then turn again. 

Let me inside your head 

and imprison me there to be free 




Every night I lie down, my life 

is recycled through my head
in staring at the dark
I see the blackness that 

used to, thoughts of future 
wrought. Void.


Now my dreams are you, 

will be. Before
the vacuum future showed 

no hope of you , of life.
Of living on borrowed time


Drowsing comfortably 

in my own Neverland.
Never dreamed this possibility.
Sometimes it scares me that 

this dream has lasted. 

What if I’m just someone else’s fiction?

is almost too much 

when the dreaming at night 

meshes with the waking life of the same. 

Do castles built of silver sand
the golden sun crumble at a touch?

From underwater it seems 

the shimmers are solid, 

and the fantasy is kept as reality 

for now, until it can be 

And I can think of new 

black nothings to discover,
and conquer 



Drowning Mercy

Surging surf ‘round my ears breaks 

choking brine fills my throat 

as in silent desperation my eyes 

seek to replenish the salty water
that I have swallowed. 

These bitter tears, their taste 

unbearable. I know that once they were sweet. 

Reminders of actions, under the pretense
of an eternal commitment performed. 

Now, without that hope, 

degraded, demeaned. 

Disillusioned. So I turn back
to the point we met, and 

the One who brought it together. 

Showed an affinity of dreams. 

There I’ll leave my heart -
to learn the essence of His will,
to recognize it, accept it. 

in order to share it when needed,
to be the strength, the buoy
for others to cling to when
in the same position 

I am phoenixed, once again
opened up to a new vision
to emulate the life preserver
that was thrown to me.



I steal a glance to your upturned face 

where shadowed lights play 

an abstracted version of your passion.
Turn back,
and touch your silken skin on mine. 

Lose concentration; reprimanded: 

Watch, understand,
but I don’t need to, 

I hear it in your voice 

when you speak of that far off place. 

I’m looking at you again,
this time you don’t care, 

slip down into a sweet kiss 

then stop to show something important. 

Recognize my passion 

but it gives way to deeper one 

Pure emotion reveals itself naked, 

there is more to gain than lose.
In desperation I cling to you. 

Then kiss you.
And you in return, 

alternately submissive then strong. 

How do I deserve this, 


Whom the angels pay homage to. 

The ghost touch of your fingers 

speeds cold electricity in all directions. 

In search 
of that door that opens into your soul, 

I’m groping blindly. 

Then you speak the magic mantra 

that has been cycling itself in my head.
Touch your whole perfect form again with my lips, and you sigh. 

I can see that fulfillment is attainable. 

I silently word a prayer that fate will 

continue to befriend me, 

as I open my eyes an instant later,

Replay the night again.


A Prayer, A Promise

O blessed faith 

with which my present darkness 

is illuminated 

So brightly doth shine 

that with eyes closed 

in dream
to see that which is in darkness 

Blessing outpoured, through 

heavenly portals loosed 

to fall into this mended vessel,
grown back together, callused. 

Break it once again that a 
perpetual cycle is initiated. 

Love to be given freely, as 

instinct, on impulse 

without reservation. 

To commit, and feel the 

rush of forever fill my heart 

and then, continue 

after the brief glimpse of eternity 

is received. 

Gratitude for release 

from solitary confinement, 

and with grace to offer the
right key to the Inner Limits 

the love shared will be yours
in mirror of what has been 


Your promise to wait patiently 

until I can recognize 

and that trait restated in my mortal manner
and with strength 

to withstand the 

belittling, finite Time 

I’ll stand firm in your

hold me steady in your arms.

To A Friend 

When Fate in its selective faculties 

directs wandering, subjected souls
against their will to their purpose,
and they, enervated, fall to their knees 

in desperation, 

hoping their journey was not in vain, 

true prerogative is dead, 

and choices beyond contemplation are laid to rest. 

Then they are humbled 

Destiny is revealed, 

so simple, yet beyond knowing.
Hidden behind a door not even conceived. 

The weary traveler, eager to accept, 

tempers desire with experience 

and awaits full instruction, 

and silently words a prayer that 

if in nothing else but this destiny,
sincere commitment can be reciprocated.


Carpe Mediocrity 

We’ve come along to seize the day 

We don’t care what we have to say 

To take our fill and then to die
Just enough to get us by

Carpe Mediocrity
It’s enough just to be 

We might want to survive 

but we won’t show it in our lives
Carpe Diem if you dare 

Just don’t let them know if you care.

Friends, indeed, if friends you be 

Keep your distance stay away from me 

Your greedy, grasping, sweaty clutch 

Too much love is transmitted in a touch

Carpe Mediocrity
It’s enough just to be 

We might want to survive 

but we won’t show it in our lives
Carpe Diem if you dare 

Just don’t let them know if you care.

We’ve come along and missed the way 

We don’t care what we’ve had to pay 

It was worth the price to avoid the hurt…

Carpe Mediocrity
It’s enough just to be 

We might want to survive 

but we won’t show it in our lives
Carpe Diem if you dare 

Just don’t let them know if you care.

In A Circle

This is a ring. 

My ring. 

To someone else that may be all that it is. 

To me it symbolizes 

one of the hardest, and most fulfilling
years of my life: 

the struggle, the triumph, the pain.
It is something I value. 

You, too, hold so much value. 

As a friend you have been an example,
an encouragement, and a smile. 

As more, you have given me challenges
that I alone can not keep.
So I’ve put them in the hands of a higher power.
I hope that when you wear this 

you can feel secure in a friendship
grounded in our Best Friend 

that will grow into something else, 

and free to be the same 

carefree, fun-loving individual 

that I have grown to know and love.


My Answer 

The gap widens, patience grows thin 

The struggle of my will against the eternal weakens, 

the fight leaves me, time wins.

Air is heir to all that love couldn’t make fly, 

wings sprout from a heart’s soil,
too long thought to be dry.

Equip to take up and away 

on a journey too special to tell, God answers me: wait. 

Not now, maybe never, maybe someday.

“ All of that heart’s strength belongs to me.
I am the only one that can deserve it, 

all it needs right now is me.”

I nod my regret and hopefully pray, 

For guidance, strength, and safety, 

and that I’ll get another chance another day.
To rejoin with what she takes as she departs.
The smallest, least obtrusive, and heaviest piece of her luggage, my heart.



Now enter the dragon and steal his heart 

Take his treasure and perfect his art
Become the worm you hate the most 

Kill yourself, kill your host 

Dine on thought stolen from another’s head
You know the future face it with dread 

Kill the passion 

Drown it in pride 

Gasping for air I turn inside 

No longer I am, nor is he in me 

taken leave I pretend to see
Eaten alive by the worm in me 

I see friend as foe 

saviour is enemy 

My last and dying breath
a tiny prayer escapes my lips 

I pray you 

won’t like me
wander back and forth for eternity


I visited death in the morning,
and my father took his hand 

the sun was bright, the wind was still 

Time felt like an hourglass with wet cement sand

From across the room I met 

The man who had no face 

I told him he looked better than while he had lived 

and he looked happy in this place

As we stepped from the house 

where the walking dude lived 

the day was smooth as glass, the air as heavy: 

reality washed through a sieve

Death visited me in the evening
and asked me for my hand 

I shook my head and withdrew my gaze
but was anxious to see her hand

She told me she could wait for me 

and I answered I could do the same 

but when the dust had settled 

she had won our little game

I tried to cheat Death
and her twin sister Fate
I had the dream, I had the heart 

I realized I was human only too late


Solitary source, light permeates
and attracts. 

They light on the glass face 

Neon-bright tube inside: the siren. 

Enticed, I watch as they search in vain
to find an opening, a tiny crack 

to admit them into the warm presence- 

the irresistible aura. 

I realize I’m the same. 

The spark, the light shines from you
it seems, generated by some mystery 

in your heart’s depth. 

Some pertinent fact I should have acknowledged 

goes unnoticed until now: 

Eureka! Like the lamp you shine, 

piercing the darkness around you 

but in reflection, lunar fashion. 

You’ve kept your heart open and polished
and it reflects the Son’s light. 

The depth is seen in you, but found in him.



Air-rush, glides over fingertips 

Green lunacy slides backwards in the mirror 

Growing down the track 

The sunshine lazed lucidity 

is the only emotion (or lack of all)
to the sun glint in the cracked glass. 

The wind is blowing backwards 

the things follow in regal procession
Am I really going forward? 

Or caught up in illusion of regression 

I know truth 

Truth is in me 

But human is too and I fall
Victim to secret mugging 

Bashed skull to wood 

I swore never again to stand where I stood 

crushed seat of judgment 

the expression is costly 

Uncaring I speak 

“So Baby, what’s your spiritual gift?”
fate is sealed with a kiss 

Eternity a dream I will miss.


Strange Brew 

I do what I say, 

say what I do 

unless I happen to be with you.

Live my passion 

to the limit 

the problem is you can’t be in it.

Why can’t I be me with you? 

Love and reserve make a strange brew
If I’d never known I wouldn’t mind 

because then You wouldn’t affect what I do.

I’d give all I could
But it’s already been given
Drink my poison to be shriven

It’s not bad except when 

I can’t stand it 

If I don’t cry it doesn’t hurt a bit.

Either way you tear me apart 

Each moment with you I lose more of my soul 

And with out your care I don’t feel home.


Hope Trap 

Beat a freak

the bunk you speak 

confused your mind- 

you can not link 

Convince the mass 

with sleeping gas 

destroy the truth 

revert the facts

You ate the devil’s pomegranate 

You’re trapped in hell and can not stop it 

You caught the power, or the power caught you 

Repeat the cycle, it’s all you can do

Lines of grey 

in the fray 

Right & Wrong 

you lead astray 

blast the power 

mushroom flower
end the innocence
in a fallout shower

You stole away Pandora’s box 

scratched the wood and broke the locks 

let illusion get away 

it taints your thoughts everyday 

All’s Cool In Wellville And Other Unattainables


A lone figure strode out of the trees
to day, where he still walked in shadow, 

as though something passed between 

him and the Son.
In agony his journey made-
a desperate, blind search for
a future, a dream. 

Somewhere inside, the path had been laid, 

the direction given.
Insecurity, though, hindered and constant 

second-guessing lent strength to his nightmares, 

dreamt in oblivion. 

Incapable of keeping his sanity in static existence,
he began his journey to capture a spark of life, 

if it still endured. 

He scoffed at knowledge,
his teachers had been blown apart in their
two-dimensional vitality. 

His enemies, those whose words he had been warned against, 

now seemed to brim with the possibility of

He led a life of detachment, 

where the paradox of being separated disconnected him even more.
In dreams, his expectations past childhood were void,
and now, half-believing in this melancholy reality, 

he wandered in obscurity. 

Secretly building up perfection,
but never daring to hope that it might come true.
So through the turmoil of life he trudged, 

insatiable in his search for contentment. 

His worn leather backpack hanging askew, 

(though it fit like some strange tumor)
its sun washed hue matching that of 

the tattered buckskin of the man’s clothing 

and his weather beaten skin. 

He stopped as he noticed a sign by the side of the path, 

“Welcome to Wellville,” 

the message simple, but not applicable,
for there was nothing but grass and
a few towering trees whose posture
told of old age and wisdom. 

As he moved forward again, 

dust fell from his feet, 

too tired to continue this journey.
Somehow, his fatigue had by-passed his mind,
leaving his perception ringingly clear and 

his thoughts entirely lucid. 

Suddenly, to his left, he saw a 

shining unicorn stately step
from its shade beneath a tree. 

Only it wasn’t a mythical beast,
a woman dressed in silver 

whispered a greeting from, seemingly, 

the eyes that held him in check. 

They spoke of restrained longing
that fearful curiosity kept prisoner.
She invited the stranger into the 

shade of a tree and bid him rest. 

As he sat, drank sparkling dew 

from a cup-shaped leaf, 

she knelt, oblivious of her shining raiment,
in the dust to tend to his 

travel-beaten feet, 

the constant companions that had propelled 

him on that well-traveled but unkempt path, 

Life, that had led him here. 

He wondered how many travelers, 

plodding this way, went on not knowing of the
joy that he felt lived behind each shadow. 

He marveled at this creature, she,
seemingly unknowing of her obvious rank, 

began the most menial task of washing his feet 

and balming the wounds thereon.
As he closed his eyes, the traveler 

looked once more into the two unfathomable 

pools that sat in place of her eyes, 

they burning with the promise 

of forgotten (or yet undiscovered) treasure
beneath those depths, 

let his gaze travel down the proud nose,
to the lips that spoke soothing words. 

Instructed him to lose himself in dream.


The sun ghost coin set in heavy haze. 

The green below so alive it seemed to
writhe in its primal effort to grow. 

Alien sounds of screeching, calling suggest 

that the activity here is ancient, and secret. 

The origins of these sounds lost in shadow 

they try to deceive the ears. 

The air is thick, tangible, 

sentient, it knows that it is a servant,
but is proud of its station, 

its ability to assist in the life of some
and the living of others. 

Then the sun breaks the watery veil,
at the same time a huge black 

eagle in flight, its proud majestic plumage 

catching the silver glint of the sun 

as it is framed against the eternal blue 

of the sky, dives. 

As he hangs suspended between the two
massive walls of stone on either side, 

this Great Rift holding a boiling cauldron of life, 

he floats above where cooling winds 

allow for thought. 

Then, folding wings underneath, 

plummets earthward toward a lively sea of green. 

His sharp eyes peering into the deep shadows
where sustaining life hides, partly in fear, 

and in envy of his ability to roam free. 

His home perched precariously between 

the teeming mass of life below that has always 

been his dominion, and the all-knowing, 

seldom forgiving mystery of nothing above. 

Wings shift slightly, 

initiate a smooth dip. 

The curving arc of his flight leaving
afterimages where the rushing air is displaced. 

Soaring again heavenward, toward the 

nest in the cliff, then up past, and up 

where skies so clear could induce insanity. 

Dream fades to a landscape postcard 

as the avatar of his soul circles eternally 

against the rainbow-washed sky
flaming orb on the edge of the world.


The grey clouded sky that rests on the
far-off horizon seems a distant cousin only 

of the early twilight blue of the overhead skies. 

The green rolling hills of a fairy tale 

backdrop for the stone cottage 

its open inviting windows and hint of smoke 

wiping from the chimney gives a cheery ambiance
to the home. 

He walks arm in arm, over the ancestral sod 

of Eire, with a strangely familiar woman. 

Her scent clean and beautiful as her face,
pure as a vanilla blossom. 

The springy turf underfoot eagerly speeds 

them on their way, reminding them that
the spirit of millenias of their clans
lie buried here, whose coincidences of combination 

lend strength to their own. 

Eventually, their conversation,
reverently quiet before, 

is entirely drowned out as the sound
of a babbling brook pushes itself into acknowledgment. 

The path, noticeably well-used
stops at the foot of a silver waterfall 

that spills down black rocks, their purpose
apparently to show off the cascade. 

The green fades darker into this scene
where a smooth bench of stone holds 

the two happy souls in adoration
it seems the two have become
a jewel and outshine their green and black setting. 

Then all other movement ceases as they 

lean closer together, the man and this 

strangely familiar woman, 

and lose themselves in the passion of a kiss. 

Unbeknownst to them, the couple has erased 
as in their minds they have run 

through all of dreams and approached
the thought of eternity, blacked out into 

nothing but sensual creatures. 

The waterfall begins again, and the grass once again 

glows vibrantly as, hand in hand, they 

start homeward, silhouetted against the warm 

orange-reds of a sinking Northern sun.

Towering sandstone cliffs
ensconce the thundering waters that 

He soon will enter. 

They, the only ones alive here
ignore their misgivings
and in their raft plunge headlong into
the raging torrent of movement that
is the river. 

Through this, the home of the ancient ones,
they ride the animal that at once 

wants to destroy them beneath the silver-speckled froth,
and then speed them downstream
in a schizophrenic frenzy 

to leave them at rest in a quiet pool
below the cliffs. 

They clamber out, 

taking backpacks and rope
to conquer the vast walls that stretch onward up.
With tireless efforts of ants gathering food, 

they find handholds to pull themselves 

up, the timeless rock
indifferent to this human insect scaling its height. 

The man, as unknowing of the canyon’s
sentience as it’s uncaring of his, drives
steel spikes into the ribs of this sleeping behemoth,
leaving a trail of his hurried search 

fast fleeting dreams.
Breathlessly, he reaches the top. 

The decaying houses of Indians long dead 

only half as awe-inspiring as the panorama
at his feet. 

The setting sun a reminder of the Anasazi
who once stood there and talked to God.


Small engines flutter to life as 

a small group of brave individuals
step aboard, take the first step in affirming
that they can conquer the Final Fear. 

The plane mounts the elevated roadway,
climbs toward the thin wisps of cloud 

whose reaching tendrils mark the boundary
between the terrestrial body of air
and the infinite nothing past. 

The craft levels off, 

passengers make final preparations 

to leap; look and laugh death in the face. 

One by one they step into the opening 

and disappear into the blue void. 

He was last, gave credence to 

his theory that misery wasn’t the
only one who loves company. 

And he flew. 

Not as a bird, but as himself.
A human stepping past the boundary 

of his mortality, the winds once again 

whip past his being,
lifting, carrying, but he controls it.
The earth now a patchwork model,
rushing in timeless slow-motion.
He realizes that he has no pack, no chute. 

The feeling of his internals disintegrating,
and he became immortal in that instant.

Suddenly, flash to black, 

opening of eyelids to the strangely familiar woman,
her lips leaving his in reverent caution. 

Back beneath the tree, and only moments later!


The sheer weight of realizing his dreams
(and that he was capable of aspiration),
still flagging his thought, 

he tries to orient himself. 

Memories dance in the 

conflagration of the kiss. 

She gently wipes a tear from his cheek,
smiles inside that it could touch him so. 

From nowhere, she produces a well-worn hat
made of tanned leather, 

places it on his head, it blends. 

He feels its magic wash away confusion. 

“Es iste ein zauber hatte.”
(it is a magic hat.) 

He knows the words but not the language,
it soothes his soul. 

A stray beam of sunlight lands
on his face and spills a warm shower
down his body. 

He is glad that the fear to stop 

was overcome, wonders what 

would have been his life 

had he not stopped. 

Recognizes his need to move, 

to stay here forever. 

The totality of his dreams together, 

the culmination to this moment 

has all led to her. 

The unconditional caring, though masked. 

The ageless beauty of silver in her soul. 

The cliff at which he now stands, 

looks over the edge. 

To walk away would mean safety,
but not knowing. 

To jump, walk the air between here
and that dream world below. 

He has never approached something with so much dread, 

wondering what keeps him going against his better judgment:
is it fate, 

or some perverse sense of humour on the part
of the eternal? 

Nevertheless, he moves forward, 

dreams slowly swallow his senses
in blackness and he remembers
the forgotten.

Alone, no magic this time. 

He lets the tears fall again. 

The black void in this place emanates from him. 

A vacuum sucking hope from nothing, his heart 

realizes his loneliness is a state of not-being. 

He’s not moving, so all this nothing 

must be coming to him. 

Then, she is in front of him again.
Her beauty is still unmistakable underneath
a mask of sorrow, 

the visible representation of her imprisonment. 

The gravity of her feelings pulls her countenance down. 

With a drugged voice, she tells him only two things, 

but they speak volumes. 

He supposes the words are meant 
for him,
and listens, intent on understanding. 

“Dreams can’t be realized until 

you do something about them,” 

but discouragement stems from always 

reaching, falling short of those unattainable
products of the imagination. 

“The incredible thing about pain is: when you 

stop thinking about it, it goes away.” 

He makes the connection!
Being discouraged only comes when you
think about the failure, and that 

keeps you from striving ahead.
In total abandon, he throws emotions at her,
and she cringes, cries out that she 

can’t give back, not now. 

But he understands now, 

he has more than enough to give. 

His whole journey down the Path
striving for individuality, 

he had fallen behind his guide, 

given over to self and trying to avoid
hurt, only to cut his feet as he 

stepped over the stones, 

where the Son could have carried him. 

Realizing, in almost religious rapture,
light streaming into eyes that 

before were scaled over.
Once again he experiences that warm
shower of emotion. 

You can’t fly free until you’ve been tied down. 

The eagles nest. 

His home and family.
Ancestral roots. 

Being tethered to the ground by lack of wing.
Letting someone take over your soul…
In it all he had come to fathom
he wasn’t incapable of visualization, 

just that he had refined perfection 

to the point that nothing else would satisfy.
And it is all in her! 

If he had to wait another thousand lifetimes,
learn her ways, discern her thoughts,
it would be reward enough in the end. 

Wanting to wake and tell her, he scrambles wildly back toward
the source of light. 

But, turning, she is already there.
All that he needs is assurance - more than words, 

than actions. Enough that in itself
it articulates and is, indeed.
She smiles, understanding. 

The message is once again conveyed 

through her eyes, 

let’s dream.


Stick To It 

Velcro Man.
I lovingly sort my lint 

my hold is secure but flexible,
I feel it when you leave- 

hold on to what’s left. 

These details are what I live for. 

The odd little jobs. Obtain, 

Maintain, Regain. 

High-Maintenance woman. 

Maintenance Man. 

The job is a perfect match. 

I enjoy it. 

The yard doesn’t need to give any more appreciation 

for the attention it gets than 

its being. Its beauty. 

Just the same for you.
Don’t try to hard. 

“Hakuna Matata.”
I’m not worried. 

I may not know what the future holds,
but I know who holds the future.
I know who made me the velcro man. 

I know who will help me stick to it.



Like an automaton, she moves mechanically, 

carefully wiping the dust from the collected treasures
some she lovingly caresses,
others merely performs the perfunctory functions.
One strangely bulbous object
in a jar on the table: the label on the jar identifies
the pulsating object inside.
On one side a list of ingredients, 

on the other a series of names- 

written, scratched out, and re-written. 

For the last time she picks 

up the jar and tries to understand it.
the glass is impenetrable, and 

discouraged, she walks to the windowsill, 

empties the jar’s contents. 

She is crying- 

two glistening drops fall on the heart.
Silver wings emerge, germinated by 

the sorrowful precipitation. 

She turns her back. 

It flies, but not through the open window. 

Rather to a top shelf, there in the dark recesses,
far from the flickering light of the
fire the wings metamorphasize into the 

bloody rags of what could have been a glove 

wraps itself, shivering. 

Its essence misting in fear and frustration 

no eyes: no tears. 

No mouth: no angry words. 

Just the decision to be made…
It continues beating, venting emotion,
like some organic potpourri. 

In its cocoon, hopes to become 

pilfer-proof, from the growing pain. 

To be preserved, until found again. 

The empty jar, fragmented in the yard
sun glints from the shards. 

Two labels remain: 

“Friends, maybe something more.” 

“Shelf-life: unknown.”


Hesitant Mustangs

A study in form 

the aesthetics of movement 

captured in a still frame 

silver moonlight strikes the mustang’s 

bronze back with a metallic clang, 

catches the spray as the leader 
plunges through the water. 

I turn, and gaze at my companion, 

she is smiling, her beauty radiates 

a light of its own.
She comments wonderingly at 

the detail captured here. 

The flaring nostrils, wide eyes, 

veins bulging, full of pumping life. 

She notices a colt, hesitating 

on the bank. 

It is the first time she’s seen it. 

I wonder why it has struck a chord?
Why is it scared? 

What could be holding it back? 

Does she relate? 

Almost home, she takes me
by surprise, articulates
a feeling that has been repressed.
What is the purpose? 

Does she merely want to say it,
get it off her chest?
Or is she looking for a reaction? 

All at once, desires that 

had been controlled are clamoring,
questioning, wanting to know if 

there is a kindred spirit. 

Then I’m reminded why the questions 

have never been asked, re-resolve 

to allow the plan to work 

out in His time 

Draw a line separating
and she crosses it to 

take me in her arms.


Pieces Of You

I’ve seen part of it 

in the mist that ensconces 

the pines like Christmas candles
the mystery, the adventure, 

the legend. 

I’ve heard it in the river 

as it smooths over the sand 

and rocks, cutting through time:
the fun, the timelessness. 

The strength
I saw a bird looking
for the same, walking by 

the side of the road. 

Eyes darting back and forth 

restlessly, searching 

the needle carpet. 

The piece of himself 

that soaring was not the same without, 

patiently he seeks it so that 

he may return to the wild blue heaven. 

His heart.
I’ve seen fragments pieced together
in a life where He has put everything 

else in place, try as I might, flight 

isn’t the same without that whole that 

fills the hole. 



Cultivating Eternity

When in friendship
a sweeter bloom is found 

and hearts conspire
to endure, 

then love is begun.
Commitment past feeling, 

past gain, and unselfish. 

Patience is the touchstone.
A ringing laugh, a 

comforting shoulder. 

Completing presence. 

No explosions or neon signs,
just a still small voice, guiding in His will.
Slowly build tolerance
to avoid allergic reaction. 

No additives or preservatives.
Unlimited shelf-life.



Fall asleep
lonely helmsman.
Dream of crystal waters where
you can reach down at will 

and scoop up the gold dust at the bottom,
sift through your fingers, diamond chips specked with gold. 

Stormy skies, raging waves:
stormy eyes. 

Lightning and fire passionately 

play the light reflected there. 

Imaginative mind games, 

self-stimulation. Keeps me busy 

when I’m far from home. 

(Home is where the heart is) 

I eat the salt tears, 

where the prow has cut the wave, 

mine own when solitude (self-pity)
sails my sea of thought 

Down below I cry 

“Master, save us!” 

He wakes, majesty shines from him 

as when a tawny lion stretches itself after nap,
Calms the storm with a word.
At once I am grateful and humbled, 

the wind was His all along and all I needed
was to lay my troubles on Him.

Natural Selection

Thunder rolls, 

the ground rumbles
in bass vibrato, or
is it me: pent up, 

restless energy? 

The rhythm of the rain lulls me to sleep- 

lacksadasical dream. 

Waking: hello enigma, angel queen. 

Tell me your intentions, 
be they base or sublime.
And what of this sweet gift,
can you mean it to mine? 

A silver-inlaid dream, 

reflections of moonlight
on inverted blooms,
hung faithfully 
to dry with other memories.
The beauty changes but is not lost. 

Evolves from what it was: 

fresh, new, vibrant - into 

trust, contentment, and comfort, and in these 

a cycle of new growth and enjoyment. 

They stay fresh if kept up,
their perfume remains. 

Thunder rolls again.
I smile. 

This is when I feel most alive. 

Somewhere, miles away you think of me,
And the warm thought covers me
as I slip back to rest.



I asked my friend to protect me. 

He gave me the chalice of danger.
I asked him to keep me strong. 

He gave me forgetfulness to drink. 

I asked him to control what he had no business in, 

and he geared it to his desire. 

I asked the wrong friend. 

Now drunk on my betrayal,
I sit, dunce-cap marks my spot. 

No corner for protection, 
my conscience won’t let me sleep,
where dreams plague, destroy any rest. 

I fretfully scan the edge of the fading light. 

Misused emotion and wasted time pummel 

from all directions. 

Useless thoughts 

wasted trys 

I struggle to open my eyes. 

European dreams, 

European things,
Long European hair 

buzz-cut short.
I rock, 

sob silently
trying to understand
that I’m screwed. 

I never lied, except to myself.
I can’t trust me. 

Never believe a dreamer,
Time will make a liar of him every chance.

c.h. & e.p.

Storm Horses 

Ocean-echo, millions of drops of spray on
the roof, prolong the underwater feeling
of slow motion.
If wishes were horses I’d have ridden 

to you at the first clap of thunder, 

eager to be rocked to sleep in your arms 

with the lullaby of each drop. 

I’m torn between responsibility and desire,
and which in the long run will hold out. 

The first, I think, has a stronger base.


Garden Asylum 


bunch-curled in the midst 

of overgrown, wild tangle- 

this garden, once a haven 

is now asylum for catatonic 

eyes that can only see what is in here, 

severed from the ordinary world. 

Raw beauty of nature in painful shades
of red and tranquilizing greens 

bordered at the claustrophobic horizons by 

cool grey stones. 

We built them and I stand guard. 

Out here, in the perimeter, we 

go crazy silently, and eagerly toy 

with the cold dark infinity. 

Every day at dawn, a pow-wow
with the past residents 

and dirges sung for dreams sought
and lost. They don’t die here, 

just quietly waste away, everyday 

withdrawing into their walls. 

Turned inside out.
No fear, no anger, no hope -
they take too much energy 

better spent in thoughtful recollections 

of nothing - in stark blankness 

anesthetic white eases apprehension.
Inhibition and obedience become
traditions lost in dew, evaporate 

with glaring starlight. 

Fragile mists eat at the edges,
haze the boundaries. 

Clear, piercing gaze belies vegetable state,
and camouflage is nearly perfect. 

Pretends he is the rose and retracts petals -
back past bud and stem, to the birth 

of flower in dream. Men with hearts,
and their women who lie and betray them 

might someday hope him back into existence 

on a momentary whim, and he’ll prepare
to fade into nothingness so that man 

will have a place to reflect 

when he has to walk away from 

the silver shards of shattered mirrors 

that distorted his life,
and new tears will hit the ground, 

mist into the poisonous vapour
that will carry him on the way 

to becoming mad. 

The garden door is opening,
a hand slips through, holding
the key that is supposed to stay hidden in crawling vines. 

This stranger comes unannounced but since 

he comes, he is brother. 

I’d cry with him, but I’ve forgotten how.
Instead smile grimly and close my eyes
on this feast of pity and let
my brain melt and run out my 

ears, drip on dirt and metamorphasize into
worms and feast on friends: 

kings, old men, poets 

who lied here to form a lonely outpost
nowhere in the vicinity of the soul.


Making A Door 

I stand inside my garden walls
and the sweet smell of roses can
no longer mask the odour of 

rotting dreams, decomposing shades of myself. 

I don’t want to be here alone, 

but the walls are protecting me, 

all too well, keeping me in.
I hear you outside. I want to let you in,
but this old plot
is not suitable, it can no longer 

cultivate life.
Slowly, with measured steps, 

I approach the wall. 

I notice one stone I loose 

and remove it, carry it 

to the center, then return, and repeat. 

These walls are difficult to tear down. 

Built of naïve hopes, what
once seemed solid is 

now styrofoam illusion.
Cold mortar, old and crumbled,
falls to the ground. 

It, the substance that 

held all these things together
now lacks strength 

(if it ever held any). 

As I carry these memories
to where I have piled
the carcasses of those dreams, 

to build a cairn - 

a bittersweet reminder
and caution - but not altar.
Finally, I have broken the wall, 

and you stand there smiling 

ever patiently, arms outstretched
open to greet and accept. 

I want to invite you in, 

to assist in my constructive deconstruction. 

The climbing limbs of rosebushes
press against the remaining wall,
yearning to break the barrier, 

like me, spill free into that 

wide everything, to bask in it’s light,
grow in it’s untarnished soil. 

With reserved boldness, I too stretch
forth my hand in invitation - 

articulate my desire to give you entrance 

into my heart of being, my soul, 

can I trust you with the invitation? 

I think I can.


There Comes Another

It’s midnight in the garden 

my walls are all torn down 

there comes another through the gate 

he instinctively finds his way through the
dark portal and trailing vines
the only remnant 

he takes up residence easily
each has waited for the other 

lusty spirits sound as the tenant
has begun to build, piece by piece,
from the cairn, releasing those demons 

His silver-moon reflected orbs
stare wildly through tears 

A void where his crusade has 

turned inward and found the door blocked
The roses too have turned dark and thorny 

and feed on the pain he bleeds 

reach inward to comfort him
their sharp beauty
and caress him with dark velvet forgetfulness
An automaton, he moves back and forth, 

noiselessly, mindlessly building 

a protection and haven 

His wall is smaller than mine 

and there is enough stone left for a throne 

I gladly let him rule the ruin 

this Arthur whose chain is his skin 

his lady stolen by those thoughts within 

a toad his usurper, 

a dark troll of fantasy making is the beast 

It’s mid-day in the garden where good 

and evil are twins, but to the new king
the world is still dim. 

The sun, in reverence, shines behind a veil of mist
Motionless, the granite within molds 

him to his earthy seat, stone of heart
and of will blend to build his part. 

Transfixed as he is, he can not notice
Those spirits harpies whose claws are
the memories reshaped in his head 

The roses frame his regal smile and
throw shadows into those moonstruck eyes 
now dead. 

Thoughts and Remembrances

More poetry migration from the old website. I thought I'd spare us all the pain of seeing each of this posted separately. This is the earliest poetry I have. Much of it is childish (though I'm impressed some of these insights).

Did I say sophomoric? I was being kind...

These poems date from Spring 1994-Spring 1995

Thoughts and Remembrances

Dead Man’s Float

A pool, deep and dark 
sprung from long shed tears; 

shed for loss of hope 
not pain nor any fear.
And I sit at the bottom 
of same said pool. 

Drowning in my own misery, 
a sad lonely fool.

How many times, now and again, 

have I tried ascending to the light? 

But, chained in the murk and the dark

never to escape the horrible night.

At my folly cry miserably. 

“Is escape impossible,” 

I ask myself again and again, 

“from this wicked pool?”


Today I’m standing on the edge of 

a rift opened just yesterday 

by falling tears and fears 

hurled by some thoughtless demon.

A huge fault which issued 

the substance that has now stained 

my world with its somber hue.

An outpouring from the inner insanity.

So I write: an effort to keep it from consuming, a barrier to keep me from falling in. 

The words help to fill the void, the peace from me which has been ripped.

A proclamation of defiance,

I cry because I feel wronged. 

I wonder whose world my tears 

and fears are tearing apart.

So I wait, knowing that only

time can and will heap experience 

and learning into this crack

that by tears was made and by tears must be filled.

Countdown To Insanity 

The incessant ticking drones on. 

A clock though audible is yet unseen.

Keeping the time, counting down 

hours and days, but to what end?

Some need, as of yet undefined,

lies just out of reach, and I fear 

my time to accomplish is almost up 

not knowing what to look for and still trying hard to find it.

Like beating your head against a pillow,

no progress, just loss of energy. 

Give me a brick wall to hit, 

then something will crack.

Maybe a wish from a star, and by the time it comes true I’ve changed my mind. 

Futile. Like hanging the wash out in the rain.

The clock is now visible and it reads half past insane.

Dream Tower
His worn boots scuff against the street. 

The holes in his soles leave nothing

but his socks between the pavement and his feet. 

And the dude just keeps on walking.

In the desert somewhere he notices the black velvet framing the stars.
There is cold electricity in the air, 
something will happen soon.

Trying not to pay attention to the voices in his head,

he stands still, arms upraised 

He hears a silent shrieking 
like the voices of the dead.
And he begins to rise.

Now suspended over the sand, 

the voice becomes coherent. 

There is a realization of purpose 

like the rebirth of a thought that once seemed bland.
His calling is known.

The poet wakes, refreshed, 

knowing he was meant to do this.

A thought as big as eternity is captured,

and he writes it down.
(A Dark Tower tribute)

The Man In The Moon
The moon peers down, 

warily eyeing this strange 

and unnatural world. 

He does wonder what will happen tonight, and he will see it all.

How many nights did I 

lie awake and stare at the moon? 

Thinking about you and us 

not another thing entered my mind. 

And the man in the moon watched it all.

I gave all that was in me to give, 

but you sliced my heart with a two-edged blade:

You said it was over and that there was really nothing there to begin with. 

But the man in the moon saw it all.

I took it all in stride, kept it all inside.

Now I sit alone by choice, rather lack of choice. 

I have my choice of many, but am still confused by you.

It is certain that I will rise and become better; wanted.

And you and the man in the moon will watch it all.

A Loss From Words 

His smile is fixed and dreamy- 

he doesn’t know what to say; 

his language is mostly written.

So he just stares at the face so beautiful, 

he is lost in her eyes.

His glance, hardly casual, 

is caught, and just for a moment, 

one fleeting second, there is no need for words. 

Then it passes, almost unnoticed.

She says it’s just as well.

Just one word would have done the trick. 

But at a loss for words,

those precious commodities, 

he can only smile- 

the smile of a would be romantic.

In A Mirror 

The person in the mirror

stares back in matched silence. 

Reflecting the emptiness 

of an unfulfilled dream.

Only a picture on a stagnant pool- 

the surface image merely a front.

Hiding the turbulence beneath; 

the turbulence inside of me.

Drawing Sunglasses 

You looked at me, I looked away and 

silently prayed, ”Don’t see me this way!” 

Tears hang precariously in the corner of my eye.

I’m on the verge of a fall.

Pictures spring to life, fury animates them. 

A movie devoid of sound plays in my head. 

The meanings invoked just infuriate. 

I can’t deal with this, you, me.

The picture finds it way out, 

leaves an imprint on a piece of paper. 

I see your tears, but I can’t let you see mine. 

I hide my eyes.


I used to put up with it, 

just let it slide. 

Problem after problem, 

I guess I’ve built a pretty thick hide-

To stand unfeeling, unflinching,

while these fiery darts fly. 

But to stand it anymore, 

I’d just be letting my sanity die.

I must speak my mind, 

and make it clear. 

Put in my two-cents worth 

for everyone to hear.

Stand up for me,

and what I think is right.

Never let anything go,

at least not without a fight.

I was letting my soul die

like a slowly fading light. 

But not anymore. 

It’s time to take control.

There’s a bomb called crazy in me ticking, 

and it’s ready to explode.

Love Is…
It is the color around us, 

It shows itself in nature.

It is what attracts us. 

Love is beauty.

It tells us to be original.

It allows us to be ourselves,

because that is what we love. 

Love is freedom.

It has a beat. 

It plays an inaudible melody. 

We are constantly singing it. 

Love is music.

It makes us want to be wanted- 

inside that encircling warmth.

Love is hate: 

hating to be alone.

Didn’t Learn
Standing alone and crying, in an open corner of a burned out universe. 

The butt of many a cruel joke

played at whim by my own diabolical heart- 

I withdraw.

Sitting alone and wondering,

now too empty to feel the pain. 

Where did I so terribly err,

and pull myself into this black hole? 

I forget.

Lying alone and forgotten,

the heart I so desperately used

falls apart from constant abuse.

Glad to be out of my misery,
too torn up to care- 

I try again.

Knock Me Senseless
Her beauty is beyond speaking

I can not tell her.

It stops me dead in my tracks,

but the words to tell her I do lack.

To see what I can not have, 
it is torture. 

Oh, that I were blind.

She speaks and all else is quiet; 

waiting anxiously.

I hang on her every word. 

If they were just for me…

but that will never be. 

So I am in torment. 

Oh, to be deaf.

Those hands, so soft and gentle, 

If I could just touch them… 

To hold those blessed hands. 

But they will never be gentle with me.
So I must try to live without it. 

Oh, to be senseless, 

and enjoy not knowing.

Safe from that lovely evil.

Realized Potential 

I know that distant look. 

I’ve seen it many times in a mirror.

The dream, just realized,

is playing itself out like a book.

The possibilities unfolding 

never before noticed.

Startled awake like a cymbal crash-

the sound will in your ears always ring.

Persistent, until completed and put away

to remind of past victory and agony. 

A constant personal applause. 

Carpe Diem! Seize the Day!

Fairy Ring 

We found it early one morning

before the dusk turned to light

a wondrous discovery. 

A perfect ring of forced stillness.

Did you watch

as the silken mist

drew slowly back into the shadows,

revealing the night’s secrets?

The scattered remains 

of last night’s festivity

strewn about in tiny fragments

of leaves, flowers, and vines.

Hidden deep in the forest. 

A tiny opening to the sky.

The magic circle of enchantment

where the fairies will dance again tonight.

Last Night 

Last night I dreamed I’d died and gone to heaven. 

But it was only a dream and I awoke at seven. 

It bothered me and made me think. 

And the answer pushed me close to insanity’s brink. 

I didn’t know if I’d see you there.

It’s not decided by your life, if you drink or smoke. 

But by rather trusting in a single person. 

Believing that by his awesome power, 

He can save you from Hell’s fire and brimstone shower.
And the reason it bothered me so much,

is because I didn’t know if I’d lose touch 

with you when you died, 
or if I’d see you on the other side.

The Love Cycle 

Love is the creator of all. 

All life comes from love. 

Without love, there would be no life. 

Without life, there would be no you. 

Without you, I would have no love. 

Too Late? 

Why must I choose the chosen? 

Not once, but once again.

I can see where it’s going, I’ve been there before.

It’s unstoppable, and soon I’ll be sore.

Not physically, but mentally, and spiritually.

In truth I’m not wounded by them,
but rather by me, sad but true.

I suppose it’s good that into my deeds I’m so insightful.

But it’s hard to stop, it’s so delightful.

I see the mistake I’m making, 

but it’s true, all the good ones are taken.

Opposites Detract 

Cold, so cold and yet I’m on fire.

I feel so low, but I couldn’t possibly go any higher. 

Perfect order in a world where confusion reigns, 

Chaos builds, the mind strains.

I could stand it, it wouldn’t be so bad, 
If it weren’t my happiness that made me sad.

Love is like an open cut,

If it is touched it will hurt. 

Eventually, the cut will heal and form a scar, 

But that scar is in a very important place. 

Every time you move, the scar is tight. 

And if you move too much, the cut will break open again.


Today we met, 

time stood still.

I hope I will always feel this way.

I won’t forget.

Today I sat 

watching the phone. 

Waiting; if I’d only known you wouldn’t call…

I won’t forget.

The days flew past, 

not much lasts, 

especially if you pretend

nothing ever happened.

Today, one year later,

I’m still thinking of you; 

the only person who ever made me feel this way. 

No, I didn’t forget.

I’m watching the rain 

fall like it did one year ago.

I still haven’t forgotten. 

And, try as I might, I can’t forget.

Exit Center Stage 

Hello, I’d like to welcome you

to a scene; eerie,

cold, and blue.

Try to think of it as the passing of an old friend, 

who try as he might, can not his own problems mend.

The body, battered and frail, 

lies on his deathbed dying.

In the distance, someone crying.

In an instant, a dream shattered by a word. 

Intangible versus the all too real. 

Although it is enough from me to steal.

Now the killer over the body is leaning, 

whispering words loudly, 

but they have all lost their meaning.
Her open mouth a gaping black hole. 

Eyes lock, he sits up and screams- 

“It’s too late, see the eternity of a soul!”


I am flying, I am flying. 

Is this what it feels like to be dying? 

Feels so gentle, yet so harsh. 

Seeing light in the dark.

Understanding, yet not knowing. 

My ignorance is now showing. 

Overshadowed always by fear. 

Now I feel I must shed this tear.

Treasures unimaginable, riches beyond measure. 

Days filled with endless boundless pleasure. 

For me it’s too late, try if you can to run. 

We’ve only scratched the surface, we’ve just begun.
Reaching, reaching, almost there.

Now I’ve missed it by a hair. 

Should I continue this futile chase, 

or return to life’s usual mellow pace?

Without the risk life’s not worth living. 

Never truly happy unless always giving 

a piece of yourself to each and every one.

But what happens when you’re all gone?

What Is A Like? 

What would it mean if I were to say I like you? 

There are no other feelings besides love and hate. 

Only greater and lesser degrees of one or the other.

The Beginning…To The End 


seeing through to a new world. 


Flooding in, overwhelming. 

Shapes fleet across the mind. 

Searing into memory. 

The first sight.


finding, holding on. 

Weak finds strong, 

safe and secure. 

A small child clings to his mother.

Small, short,

infrequent staggering. 

Then falling, once again standing straight. 

The first steps.


yet, the most important person, 


somehow intrigued. 

Teachers, classmates. 

The first day of school.

Free at last, 

walking on air. 


Choices to make: 

jobs, college. 

Graduation Day.


bills, payments, 


Children, love,



Breaking the last ties. 

Leaving behind: 

loved ones possessions.

Once again seeing a new world. 

Bigger, better,



Along the line of beasts, 

there’s one of mine I like the least. 

He is a selfish, mindless, slobbering pig. 

The noise he makes is mighty big. 

If one day you should catch a glimpse of him, pay no attention.

Let him cry soundlessly, 
“Feed me pity!”

Falling Apart
Tears increasing, never ceasing. 

The loss of hope is the loss of life.

Feelings building, trying to break loose, 

tightening around my neck like a noose.

Trying to strangle, set free. 

But no, something, someone calls me.

No longer do I want to leave. 

My heart, but deeper my love calls me.

Love so much it breaks my heart. 

Now I’m falling apart.

Song Of Deceit 

Could it be I ever believed 

love so true,

and was badly deceived? 

Singing as song of true bliss.
In my mind knowing it’s false, wrong,

something is amiss. 

Although I try, could it be 

It’s my fault, I did not see?

But I tried my best, 

and yet I failed.

Now like a lonely wolf, wail
my grievances at the moon.

I must let it out now,

I’ll be dying soon.

If not the whole, 

at least the part that wanted you for me as a goal.

Change Of Perspective
We find ourselves backed against a wall. 

Once the initial shock is gone, 

we see it’s no predicament at all.

Now we can see the wall more clearly.

Tripping over a stone. 

Falling to the ground. 

We found we broke no bone, 

and from the fall a refreshing new view is found.

So the next time you yourself in a tight spot find, 

for which there seems no rhyme or reason; 

what you found may not be what you were looking for,

but you found it in due season.

Autumn On Memory Lane
Gone is the summer heat.

Crisp leaves crunch beneath soft feet. 

Looking for lost memories.

Month of Sundays

Month of Sundays

A Collection of Short Poetry
Jonathan Kotinek
An Introduction to the Title and Text

Sunday, in our culture, is a day of rest. It is the Protestant appropriation of the Sabbath, and as such has often come into conflict with the ever-growing Humanism that is the natural child of Protestantism. The Sabbath was instituted by God to inform Man of his need for physical rest and inward reflection. For me, Sunday is the beginning of the workweek, the day when I have to stick my nose back in the books; it is the end of my week-end.

What I have tried to synthesize here is the dichotomy that exists between those two ideas. The self-improvement side of this project is informed by my return to labour, while the self-expression side is coloured by my need to explore the means and ends of language: what it is, what it does, and how I use it. My use of the title phrase is deliberate because it has a socially marked meaning. It comments on how long work is, but also on how lasting spiritual gratification can be.


I never completely understand what I’ve written until the ink is dry. I enjoy writing when inspired. Usually inspiration takes the form of a particularly salient concept condensed into a pithy group of words---my grain of sand. In the process of writing, I feel a lot like Wordsworth’s Eolian Harp; I am played by my emotions and subconscious, merely and instrument to effect their translation.

Unfortunately, this style dominates in every type of writing I undertake, resulting sometimes in inflated pieces of chicanery instead of academic prose. When I learned about’s daily poetry contest I undertook to use it as a tool to discipline my writing skills somewhat. I have tried to maintain what I believe to be the most aesthetic feature of my other poetry, imagery, but to distill the essence of the poem into as few words as possible. (The contest requires poems submitted to be twenty “words” or less in length.) In addition, the subject material for each poem is largely dictated by the selection made available each day, although some words appear more often than others . Usually there are about 200 “words” to choose from. In reproducing the poems here I have tried to be faithful to the way in which the poems were submitted.


01 February 2000

friday We heavenists crossed elsewhere
the tingling interference beyond touch

02 February 2000

a cairn birthing silky moss
I laugh
it remotely
threatening to bury Ed

04 February 2000

my head is
we are

05 February 2000

to think
a laugh so delicious
I will be
alive again for years

06 February 2000

day's dreams
far into the night
Till the cliffs
laugh at my

07 February 2000

we are
between childhoods

to cut punctures
in the oceans of ourselves

08 February 2000

painted love

I meant to
declare my contempt
For the legions
of spirits so adorned
I am

09 February 2000

whispered memories of Wanting
I may be
someone yet


sitting cross-legged
on the carpet
Thinking soft thoughts
softly feeling
how hard it is
without you here

10 February 2000

surely I am
better than
that *Lie* is old



coffee like Wine
your smile
*Light* more like smoke

11 February 2000

certain streams flow biting
through the mind
then desire rosined by will
comes gelid

12 February 2000

if But cathedral
a bed
and altar
of skin
soul consumed
tongue of fire

13 February 2000

sea meadow lingers on in Afternoon
rocking creaking
While summer dust sighs
Yawning stretching
to end rippling play

14 February 2000

donquixote Bees
play at challenging
my bouquet windmill

15 February 2000

these fingers hold Aspirations
plaited into sinew
melody woven into muscle

but hesitations found desire

16 February 2000

week-ends with Ash
were nice laughing in love
or picked apart

17 February 2000

Nous Les dans las mains sans trembler
Pour vous parfum vitale De las mains

18 February 2000

summer's warmth dressed trees
are frozen
sunshine's bright Stripping rays

delicious breezes warm in leaving

19 February 2000

To wait
staying awake
patiently sane seems best
I thought to no One In particular

21 February 2000

Her rare symbols of poetry
iridescent and Fragile
as yellow and magenta
sky sculpture

22 February 2000

disturbing gift of
nature embroidered desire
spent on magenta
exquisitely spreading
On the grass

23 February 2000

because next to you
angels dreams are fallen
what missignificance
strength is contagious

24 February 2000

woke to sudden chill
grasped by certain knowledge
of ending

25 February 2000

sitting this near
and not dancing
makes God laugh

embrace wisdom

26 February 2000

heaven waits
patiently Still
lest It interfere
with Your changes of
planets And stars InTo rain

27 February 2000

night shrinks
leaves my soul
Prometheus Like
fire Consumed
ravens Food

28 February 2000

years pass
and still
your laugh
draws This
To love

29 February 2000

New pages
lie open to my grandchildren
their notes will
pontificate on
mended roses