Listening to the rain prance on a darkened skylight
keeping time with a banjo that's out of tune
I can hear a piano striking keys in another room
carrying music through the walls as I break a string.
The rat-ta-tap-tat of the rain beating above my head
drowns out the melody of the night.
I am afraid that I have no more poetry to write.
Sitt'n and sipp'n on a PBR
Right hand pick'n on a steel guitar
The boy's roll up, say it's time to go
Gonna drive all night to see one more show
-- - - - - - -
Gotta stop in town gonna grab my girl
Hit that dance floor with spinning twirl
Bebop bopp'n with a stand-up bass
Count'n my steps, baby, just in case
-- - - -- - - -
Take'n a break with a jack and coke
Saw another sweet honey, she was tugg'n my coat
She pulled me out and across that floor
Ten seconds later we out the door
- -- -- - - - - - -
Drink'n moonshine whiskey from a mason jar
Stolen from the trunk of her daddy's black car
Heads bobb'n with the drummers beat
Feel my toes tapp'n gotta move my feet
- - - -- -- - - -
Back inside I saw my girl
Look on her face, man she was really sore
I gave her a drink from the mason jar
She loved me all night in the back of that car.
- -- - - - - - - - -
I left something in Kentucky
just north of Jellico
lost, now in the Cumberland
Youth is never wasted --
Our youth is spent in waste
When she took my hand and led me
over the rocks and into the stream
I wasn't sure if it was the cold water
or the feel of her skin against mine
that caused my stomach
to clinch and rise to my throat
More likely it was fear
As her body moved over mine
I felt a fearful, spiritual sensation
The sermon that morning
was on the evils of the flesh
and the sin of earthly desire
That preacher had never been chest deep
in a mountain spring
staring up at a noon sun
through strands of auburn hair
and eyes illuminated by water
glistening in the mid-day light
I left her at the mailbox
standing at the intersection
of the gravel road and her dirt driveway
As her fingers slipped from mine
I asked if I could walk her to church
next Sunday, too
A young boy sat atop a hill
Wondering at all his Father had built
He thought about the clouds, the flowers, and the trees
He thought about his life, what it all means.
Then he saw death, dark and grim
Walking up the hill, directly towards him.
With fear and dread, the young boy cried
“I am not ready, this can’t be my time.”
Death listened to the Young boy’s cry.
And asked “why should I grant you more time?
Convince me?” He said. “Then we will see
If you are deserving. Perhaps I’ll let you be.”
The boy stared Death directly in the eye.
He searched his heart and then knew why
His life should be spared.
Why he deserved more time.
The boy stood straight and tall on his feet
And said, “I have never sung a song so sweet.”
Never written a poem that changed a life,
Or shared a kiss with my future wife.”
Death sat and listened with intent
To the boy's argument and was convinced
That this boy was indeed sincere and true,
He would not take him with his years so few.
Death said “Go live your precious life,
Write your poem and find your wife.
Sing your song with a verse so sweet
That man will bow beneath your feet.”
“I will come again when the time is right
And we will continue our journey into the night.”
“But, heed my warning to you.
Live your life right and always be true.”
The young boy grew into a tall, strong man.
He found success, money, friends and fame.
But in all his glory he was alone
And he walked again to his childhood home.
He climbed to the top of an old familiar hill
And as he stared across the land,
He marveled at the majesty of his Father's hand
And the man sat down to ponder his life.
As he sat Death's shadow came into view
The man stood and said, “I remember you.”
“You came for me here when I was young and afraid,
And showed mercy on a small boy and set him on his way.
But, I beg you please, don’t take me today,
for I have sinned and lost my way.
I am empty inside, I still need my life.
I haven’t my poem, my song or my wife.”
Death said, “Write your poem and find your wife.
Find your song and live your life.
When next we meet, I promise you,
Your life will end, it will be through.”
The man traveled the world and enjoyed its pleasures.
He made and lost an endless treasure.
But, time was not the man’s best friend.
And He grew old, his time was at an end.
His money spent and his friends all gone.
The old man set out to find his song.
He tried to write poetry, but couldn’t find a rhyme.
He searched for his love, but she too had faded with time.
And he came at last to a familiar space,
A tall hill overlooking a plentiful place.
The old man clambered up the steep hill
And sat in awe of his Father’s will.
And as he sat he saw a friendly face.
Death had come to their old meeting place.
Death stared into his ragged face and weathered eyes,
And said, “How are you, my friend? How have you passed the time?”
The old man stood and stared Death in the eye.
With a heavy breath, he let out a sigh.
“I never wrote my poem and I never sang my verse.
I never found my love and loneliness has been my curse.”
He paused for a moment before he said,
“I am ready my friend for my eternal bed
Take me now for I’ve nothing to show
Nothing at all for your years that I stole.”
Death took his friend who had known no harm.
Down that tired hill, they walked, arm in arm.
Through the green valley that his Father created
And into the shadows, his image faded.
Trying to find my way
by the light of a crescent moon.
I fumble in the darkness,
as slivers of light reflect on wet pavement,
leading me -- away --
Reflections form in rain-filled potholes;
screens for memories
played out in scenes of black and white;
where heavy feet shatter the pictures
into a thousand thoughts,
sending them cascading through
cracks in the broken pavement
where they disappear
as the moonlight wanes to new.
Thick with green, months old,
but wet as new spring birth,
from foggy mountain mornings.
Our feet slide on leaves
fooled by an early frost and
slick with petals from a maze of laurel;
The sunlight is deceiving
as it dances through a canopy
still full of summer growth,
but painted in dark pastels.
A cool spring below
as winter approaches above,
we get lost in a dense
rhododendron forest still lush
with last months blooms__
Is cruel, the world has given you;
no peace you find under its dome.
Bound to a land that values not,
your beauty and service to your home.
In a caste, you live but not your own;
in poverty and servitude, you were born.
Your spirit is free and your heart is pure
but for love, you can only mourn.
So where are you now, my love so far
I'll rush to you in haste
to feel your skin against my breast --
feel the softness of your face.
I see you now when I close my eyes,
in a crumbling tower of stone.
Your words carry soft upon the breeze
but your life can never be your own.
You can pace the floors of your castle home
and in the poppy fields, you can sing.
You can dream of a life that's far away
under the guard of your Fisher King.
I would take you far away from there,
to a place, that's lush and green.
Where the bonds of your birth matter not
and you will live your life as a queen.
But you gave a pledge to your family
to honor them till death.
So I will wait to see you, my love,
When I take my last breath.
Seeing the world move away from me,
I'm placing my faults at your door.
So take me, now, as a broken man
Or see me here no more.
I've come to this place of ash and tear
When once I was brave and sure.
Now, I am lost, scared and afraid
Carrying a sickness without a cure.
My right foot sets a course for you
My left is stuck in place.
While arm’s reach out in front of me
My hands search for a face.
From my desk, I can hear his song.
The song the Sparrow sings.
He sings his song with a voice so sweet
It's a tune that's meant for kings.
But I'm no king, yet he sings to me,
A poor man without a throne.
When tomorrow begins
He will come once again
To remind me that I'm not alone.
I rise from my bunk with the morning sun
my mind on the day to come.
I'm battered and bruised
and it’s tough to move
this old body is surely through.
I stretch out the kinks
And listen to the creaks.
But the day will not wait for me
So up I go to start my show
Oh, no, I gotta pee.
As I move across the room,
I reach down to scratch an itch
I pause for a moment, I can barely hold it
and scream 'What a Son-of-a-Bitch!' --
Feel as I might I can't figure it right
Something seems out of place.
Where once had hung my eternal pride
was now just an empty space
Search as I might it was nowhere in sight
that appendage that had brought so much joy.
With a panicked face, I began to pace
my mind on the women I had loved;
Jackie and Judy, Meredith and Trudy,
I cried like a mourning dove.
When all at once I had a thought
and down the hall, I ran
Oh, what I sight hanging there on the right
The thermostat showed it clear.
All of my surly angst and worry
there was never anything to fear.
As I stood in the hall and stared at the wall,
I felt a little silly
All my fears washed away in an instant --
It was only a wee bit chilly.
When I first saw him
Standing on a street corner
He was wearing a sign around his neck
It was simple, white heavy stock paper
Written on with black magic marker.
I never got close enough to read the sign.
I walked passed on the other side of the road
Careful to avoid an uncomfortable glance.
Yesterday I saw a student in the library
He wore a sign around his neck,
The writing facing his clean pressed shirt;
A social experiment
To see how long people would hold
His gaze before reading the sign on his chest.
I observed this for an hour
And wondered at the awkwardness
Before I took my turn and stared into his eyes
For a solid minute, I thought about the man
On the street corner who I see every day
But have never looked at.
I reached out and turned the sign on the student's chest
“I’m Human,” is all that it said.
I felt you in my bed last night
felt your weight and your breath
your hair and your breasts
as they lay on my chest.
I heard your voice call to me in the night
the words soothed me and I slept
in your embrace knowing that our dreams
were merged, connecting us in a universe
set aflame and never consumed.
I saw you in the morning glow
through sun-filtered curtains,
the light shining on the curve of your mouth,
your lips calling me to your embrace.
I'm scared to go in the kitchen,
afraid of what I might see
The dishes are scattered all over the place
never where they should be.
The drawers are opened up real wide
I want to reach into them and see,
but I know they hold something scary inside
so I think I will let them be.
Something just scurried across the floor
It wasn't my imagination at all,
I wish I wasn't so scared of it
because right now I'm stuck in this hall.
I really want to get to my fridge
I'm hungry and need a snack,
but the last time anyone opened the door at night
all the food went on the attack.
The cheese turned green and let off a stink
that would send you to your grave,
and my jello mold or so I was told
had melted and dripped through the grates.
All the eggs had popped and the ham was hot
all because of some wicked guest.
Maybe I need to find someplace else to eat
because my kitchen is surely possessed.
Strings of melodies dance in the air
With scents of honeydew and citrus
My tongue reaches out to catch the drops
As they pass over my head and my ears
Are enchanted with the sounds of viola
Plucked in a deep rhythmic harmony
And my thirst is quenched by the juices of
Sweet memories passing by.
They took my window away today
My little bird can’t find me here
Your messages are lost now,
They will go to someone else’s ear.
And here in this place my sparrow
Can’t come and sing his song so sweet
Now I’m alone, they’ve taken my throne
And hidden me from the street.
I’m buried in the shadows, behind a great impenetrable wall
I can hear the people moving about but can’t see them here at all
I search for a crack, a stream of light something to give me a sign
But the walls are too thick, I can’t see through. I’ve lost all sense of time.
Sleepless nights slaving over syllables
written in invisible ink
my eraser is at hand
in case a word shows through.
I shouldn't care
it's not like anyone will read it,
No one will see the tiny glimpse
of my soul, exposed to the world
or hear the scream coming from my lips
I keep them pursed together,
no sound can escape
Fingers spell-out the hearts desires
while the mind extinguishes any sign
It’s a patchwork world
Full of patchwork people
Made up from pieces of last year’s lives
And patchwork families
Share patchwork time
Eating quiet meals from take-out dives.
With patchwork feelings
And patchwork ties
Too many husbands and too many wives.