Hanging On

it slips away…life
between our fingers
over our laughs, cries
even our adventures

just when you think you have it
everything changes, and
there you are naked, wondering
left hanging by a thread

this is nothing new
despite some folks’ protestation
it’s always been the same
only the names change, which doesn’t matter

you will arise tomorrow
everything that was
still will be in your deepest place
hanging by a thread

Still a Part of Me

A part of my life
You will always be
Happy and sad
Both parts of me

Looking back on the years
So many struggles come into view
Roller coaster feelings
Ups and downs, the life we knew

Twenty-two years you’ve been gone
It seems just like yesterday
Where did the time go
I don’t know what to say

A boy can never just forget his mom
After all, I was a part of you
From the very start
Our lives together grew

Spring brings back memories
Of earlier times we both knew
Happy and sad times
Still it’s hard to let go of you

Pondering Poetry

Poetry is
one of those things
I like to do
and do often

Poetry is
one of those things
seizing my imagination
and never letting go
until it has had its say

Poetry is
something that starts
deep inside you
and doesn’t stop starting
until it has run its course

Poetry is
one of those things
helping you find your way
when you’re lost
and I would be lost without it

Poetry is
something that people tried
to live without
at points in history
only to discover
that poetry is who they were

Poetry is a blessing and a curse
and those possessed by it
have no choice but
to let it write itself
through them

Finally
poetry is not
the exclusive domain of poets
with special gifts.
Poetry is for anyone
who breathes air

With Springtime Comes Memories

every spring, uncharted water
an adventure in becoming
a day by day unfolding of secrets
some buried beneath leftover snow
others much deeper, in the heart

the crocuses slowly show themselves
they too test the water
not convinced their time has come
the birds sing songs of change
yet romance fails to fill their eyes

the older we grow, the more we have to remember
so many childhood memories sprout this spring
like shedding our coats walking home from school, and
seeing a robin hop across the neighbor’s yard, and
wondering why God has so many secrets

Easters When We Were Kids

Easters in the 1950s were special times
One I remember
I was just seven
Too old to believe in Easter Bunny
but not too young to believe in Jesus

Thankfully, my disbelief did not prevent me
from receiving an overstuffed Easter basket
filled with pastel-colored hardboiled eggs
bright pink and yellow marshmellow chicks
oodles of sickening sweet jelly beans
and best of all
a tall, debonair solid chocolate bunny
whose ears begged to be nibbled and chewed first

Why just this morning I read
that two-thirds of all chocolate bunny fans gnaw off the ears
before devouring the rest of their bunny
As a true chocolate bunny affectionado
this doesn’t surprise me in the least

No Easter was complete without a special church service
Mom always noticed what she called the holiday church-goers
or those folks showing up only on Easter
to get a free Easter Lily, or maybe a cream-filled egg

The Easter service was always a little longer
since the pastor felt compelled to rattle on and on
about how the stone from Christ’s tomb was miraculously rolled away
At just the right moment
the congregation spontaneously burst into a chorus
of Hymn #322, Up from the Grave He Arose

No altar call on Easter Sunday
Pastor knew folks wanted to get home
to their sumptuous dinner of ham, scalloped potatoes
carrots, fresh-baked rolls
and of course a virgin white, coconut frosted lamb cake
Nothing short of the Rapture itself
could keep folks from that meal

An Easter egg hunt often capped the day
Back then, they were REAL eggs
and not the plastic ones filled with little toys
And of course, there was the usual oohing and awaing
about the daffodils, crocuses and hyacinths
which dotted the fence along the side and back yards

Easter was a wonderful holiday back then
even without any days off from school
Somewhere deep inside, you felt reborn
and that another winter in your life was behind you
That in itself makes Easter worthwhile

Hard Times

hard times, here again
harder than we’ve seen in some time
people losin’ their jobs, their homes
no healthcare, no pension
no relaxin’ in their retirement

been a long time comin’
eventually all those lies add up
they catch up, pull us over
especially those whoppers we tell
’bout always bein’ number one

economy’s come unraveled
in ways we never imagined
some say the banks took our money
others blame the government…
lettin’ the war of greed take all we have

experts say it’s a recession
like when you’re really sick…
doesn’t matter what they call it, just so you get better
not as bad as 1929
but everybody’s worried, only liars say they’re not

don’t give up, even for a minute
no matter how much you got or lose
reach out, help your neighbor
reassure your elderly mother she’ll be ok

forget what you had or lost
give a little more than you think you can
pay attention to the birds and flowers
find growth and beauty in ’em
they’re special gifts, especially in hard times

Spiritual Journey

cold dark night
moonlit winter promises
hovering lust, always just beyond
night soon slips away, yet still inside me

morning, a long distance
a journey to awakening
one of remembering
seeing with eyes wide open

twilight bridges night and day
sunrise comes at last
a journey of color
bright oranges, reds, yellows

a new day begins
yet still I slumber
eyes wide open
sun shining bright

Lookin’ Back When I’m Sixty-Four

Movin’ ahead in time
To a place yet to come
A time when I’ll remember
The places I never been

This place I never been to
Still holds on inside of me
Fills me on warm spring mornings
With sunhine from another time

Baby, don’t look in my eyes
For tears are ’bout to fall
Tears for a place I never been to
Tears for a life I wish I could remember

So here I sit with all my memories
Lookin’ back when I’m sixty-four

So here I sit with all my memories
Lookin’ back when I’m sixty-four

What is this world all around me
Not just the place where I live
But the world of everybody
The world I see at sixty-four

So here I sit with all my memories
Tears of yesterday fill my eyes
Movin’ ahead in time
To a place I never been

Take me back to that place
From where I looked forward
That place I can have my memories
Lookin’ back when I’m sixty-four

Note: Written in 1970 during my college days at the University of Arizona.
This song is a unique twist on the Beatles’ 1967 song, When I’m 64.

Listen to the Beatles Sing “When I’m 64 here”.

Spring’s Slight Delay

snow fell without warning
inaugurating spring’s awaited launch
clinging in unexpected faithfulness
to barren tree limbs, rooftops, and
even the neighbor’s dog
prancing in the front yard

no question…
spring will eventually arrive
the forest will green brilliantly
fragrant flowers will fill the front gardens
blue robin eggs will reappear, and
days will grow longer than nights

but, until her time has come
winter will dance one more time, and
his artic breath will blow harsh and cold
across mounting spring green promises
welling up inside us
maiden springtime has again left us waiting

Unexpected Tumbles in Life

some things we never grow tired of
like sunsets, the smell of fresh baked bread
deep romantic kisses, aha ideas at just the right time
and rousing conversations with friends
we feel so alive at these times

and then, there are those moments
when life seems to stop…

like when you questioned
my right to happiness, and
you doubted my good intentions

even what we love the most
can’t save us from these unexpected tumbles

Note: Inspired by a story told to me by a friend

Loose Ends

loose ends, life mostly
what we tie up, comes undone
even beliefs, especially beliefs–
coming unraveled, just about the time
we think we’ve got it all figured out

never meant to be neat and tiddy
tell your mother, that’s life
chaos, not a cop out, real
life…dynamic, unstable, non-linear, co-creative
just like you and me

loose ends, all we have
even death, especially death–
the ultimate loose end
all of it, life and death
hopelessly untied…to anything

our beliefs can’t save us
they too, appearances–
illusions casting a spell on us
clouds of dust dreams leave behind
let them go, all loose ends

Ohio

Pronounced O-hi-o
Name from the Seneca Indian word ohi:yo’
Meaning beautiful river
Two hundred twenty miles wide and long

Born 1803, same year as Emerson
Colors, scarlet and gray
Bird, bright red cardinal
Some famous Ohioans, Marilyn Manson, Traci Lords

Eight Ohio presidents, the mother of presidents they say
Ohioans, proud prodding people
A mixed bag, not one thing but many
By a stretch, more profane than urbane

For many years, a place to make things
Now a place remaking itself
Like all states, good things, people to brag about
Known for buckeyes…an inedible nut of no commercial value

Eleven plus million people, seventh most populous state,
On Eastern Standard Time, but behind the times in some ways
A practical, grounded place, like Woody Hayes’ football
One wish for Ohio, believe in what you can’t see

Reality, Your Best Friend

your best friend reality reminds you
to rest, relax, heal, regain a sense of yourself
your friend reminds you
too much thinking, doing
or anything
could be the death of you

your best friend reality knows
the spaciousness beyond your limits, and
the limitlessness of the space filling you
your friend imposes no boundaries on you
with friendship, or in any other way
and requests you do the same

everyday, a journey to visit with your best friend
a new opportunity to experience
whatever shows up in your world
sometimes it’s easier to see things
and not worry what you call them
this makes for a better visit with reality

Snow-Bound Sunday Morning

two days, two nights, the snow fell
three feet of pristine white velvet left behind
drifts even deeper
blanketing everything in sight

glorious virgin whiteness
god’s purity covering all
muffling all sound
slowing down a speeding world

hunger brings them, even amidst the blizzard
white-tailed deer trudge their usual path
to the bird feeders, now within reach
aided by mother nature’s crystalline step ladder

the winter sun shines brightly
olive brown gold finches nimble coal-black thistle
brilliant red cardinals scour the big flat feeder
for much loved crunchy sunflower seeds

a remarkable sermon this sunday morning
lessons, deep as the snow, taught by the deer
the finches, cardinals, the sun
all one, in nature’s snowy arms

When We Come Together

when people come together
honestly show up in each other’s presence
something magical takes place
something we can’t predict
unfolds and grows in their midst

even in silence
they change the world
put down new roots
extend their tentacles
and make a difference

together as one
they paint the sky with stars
open secret doors to the universe
heal broken hearts and spirits
and make the world go round

is it any wonder
people seek company
along their journey?
is it any wonder
one plus one will always equal a million?

Wisdom

what wells up inside
at times, a tear becoming a waterfall
a feeling in our gut
spreading like the wind throughout us

often not the result of hard thought, rather
what casually slips into our heart
sometimes a no-nonsense notion
overtaking us like a tornado

taking form in words, but not always
could be a smile, hug, a questioning look
something old we remember
at times, simply walking away

inside us always, but
not always within reach
there, waiting like the next breath
wisdom, your true nature

Gleanings

all we have at times
our recollections, harvests
even our forfeitures–
what we give in penance

what we sought and forgot
longed for, abandoned
takeaways from life, both lived
and dreamed in withdrawal

small things, less than expected
tokens for real rewards
sometimes much larger, even profound
like the mystery of a sunset

loose change in our pockets
scraps left on a dinner plate
barely enough keeping us alive
not enough to die for

Mum’s the Word

words, somedays they elude me
strolling on by, leaving me
standing at the intersection of aphonic and speechless
that’s problematic for a poet
no words, no poem

on second thought, there are words
but not so lyrical or gesticular
not about anything stirring me
just words like a dull knife
unable to make a clean cut into reality

find the muse within
that’s what the poetry cookbook says
since when does betty crocker write poetry?
inner bard, poetaster, rhymester…
all on vacation this morning

even harder to finish a poem
with no apparent reason to be, but
when you’ve come this far
there’s no turning back
for today, mum’s the word

Journey of the Poem

each poem, a journey to find itself
all, starting somewhere inside us
most, beginning with unknown endings
each, finding its way through us, and
eventually beyond us

some, struggle little to get here
others, an unending battle to become
confession, surely good for the soul…
i’ve had my share of stillborn poems
those born only to be buried

selfless poetry is the best…
that is poetry without ego
poetry going beyond itself
these are those rare poems
not overly attached to their own words

like each colt or filly wobbling to its feet
every poem must stand on its own legs
the poet, but a midwife, must step aside
allowing the poem to journey forth into hearts
planting a seed in each it encounters

those hearts decide whether a poem endures
like frost’s the road not taken
or drift helplessly lost
in second-hand bookstores
alongside back issues of vanity fair