I don’t understand the way
That hatred seems to rule
Every minute of every day
It seems to gain more fuel
Dave told us years ago
That “We Just Disagree
But now we choose to hate and so
No answers will there be
Cooperation is a lost art
Collaboration can’t be found
Real solutions will never start
When hatred still abounds.
There was a time not long ago
When opposite sides could talk
Design and ideas would flow
Our leaders walked the walk
That time is gone, it seems for good
And hatred rules the day
Discussions turn to attacks so rude
There’s nothing left to say
It seems that now we never find
When two on opposite sides
Disagree, but still are kind
To others far and wide.
“Agree to disagree” I’ve heard the phrase
And try to comprehend
That differences, like a smoky haze
Don’t make you hate your friend.
So take a chance, just try and see
You’ll help this world go round
Don’t hate because you disagree
And answers will be found.
Rusty cans and unknown skeletons
Once useful in structure and convenience
Now sculpture the red clay and pine knots
Of the hidden gateway to the backwoods.
My memory loses the battle
With a toy cash register whose numbers
Still shine black on white and flash higher
As they display, and the bells jingle.
Tires and more tires carry worn treads
With water greasy from time and nature’s
Slow and steady return to her own way
Sloshing willingly into my shoes.
Mats of old shingles once weathering
Storms and sunshine now lie quietly
Clinging to one another like lost children
Cowering in their barren vacuum of loneliness.
Old men with tales of battles
And stories of crops, and cattle, and kings
Probably sat in that old chair
With whittled arms and broken legs.
Sporadic visits teach a wondering history
More mystical and convincing
Than the fact-riddled pages of tomorrow’s assignment
Or the tainted explanations of our teachers.
Did you ever look at empty space and imagine
The brilliance that structured its existence.
Did you ever call your best friend by the same
Rotten name he just called you.
Did you ever fear for your being, knowing your
Ultimate end could be in a minute, in a snap.
Did you ever watch a kid circle under a lazy
Fly ball and glove-block its earthbound path.
Did you ever love a puppy so much you couldn’t
Sleep without checking him eleventy-four times at night.
Did you ever plow the earth and smell God’s gift to man,
And talk the next crop up and growing.
Did you ever race your friends and run until your lungs screamed,
Falling down laughing at victory or defeat.
Did you ever watch a spider slowly spin a perfect web
With his patience uninterrupted by your insistence of contrariety.
Did you ever call the night-wind to hush
To stillness and lay sandy-eyed waiting.
Did you ever accept or reject the norms
Crammed at you or ignore their existence.
Did you ever battle yourself with ideas and judgments
That no man can answer and still seek your solutions.
Did you ever simply say hello to a perfect stranger
And realize that you are the strange one.
Did you ever sit in the grass yard of the post office
And watch the smothered stares of strangers.
Did you ever stop to realize that success to one is failure
To another and your words rattle empty to set minds.
Did you ever wish for a chance you’ll never have,
Realizing you would have succeeded fully.
Did you ever feel the grip loosen in spite of all your
Efforts and wonder about tomorrow.
Did you ever thank God for your ability to question,
To learn, to be human.
Did you ever watch an infant think, the wheels turn
And the language of thought distorted.
Did you ever try to express your opinion
To one who will not listen.
Did you ever listen when wise men talked
Yet incorporated their wisdom only in painful acceptance.
Did you ever wonder what your Mom and Dad were like
At age twelve.
Did you ever wonder what you were like at age twelve.
Did you ever wish for others to be happy, really happy,
But they never are no matter what you do.
Did you ever wish for peace but realize
That tranquility is fleeting and temporary.
Let’s get a burger
For a time I’ve wondered how
A boy as young as I
Could understand and even now
The question still is why
The rope hung from the beam so high
Impossible to master
But every kid would give a try
Just waiting for disaster.
So my time came and struggling hard
I tugged and strained and failed
Then quickly I set up my guard
For the teacher’s shaming tale.
He was fat and smelled a bit
And loved to let us know
About our failure as we’d sit
And listen to him blow
Soon it was my time to hear
About my effort bad
His rant and rave increased my fear
It seemed like he was mad
Climbing higher, I worked each day
And extra time was spent
I told him I was on my way
My message to him sent
And then he spoke that crazy phrase
“You can put lipstick on a pig”
And with a deadly, hateful gaze
He said “But it’s still a pig”
I was stunned, and lacking words
I turned and walked away
The words he spoke, that I had heard
Meant nothing on that day.
When I got home I asked my Dad
What the pig phrase means
“Appearance will not change” he said
“The way true nature’s seen.”
In other words, the looks may change
But rarely do you see
Nature move to change it’s range
Converting what will be.
The gym man was telling me
My efforts had no worth
I could not change nor better be
No way in Heaven or Earth
As time went by I gained in strength
And soon I was on top
It mattered not the rope’s full length
‘Cause up the rope I’d hop
Of course I was much older then
And never got to tell
The gym boss what I thought of him
That day when he would yell
But life goes on and soon forgotten
My adventures in the gym
And healed was my memory rotten
Of my rope climb and of him.
Many years later on semester break
My college senior year
At a bar I stopped to take
Time-out and drink a beer
The pub was empty except for one
Sitting alone in the dark
Into the gym boss I had run
So on the barstool I’d park.
I spoke and said “How are you friend?"
He did not recognize me
I said, “Tell me how you’ve been"
He squinted hard to see
Soon we were in a full-on chat
He talked of how his life
Had turned and pinned him to the mat
He’s lost his job and wife.
But he was going to turn around
His life and all his loss
Cleaning up his act he’d found
The problems and the costs.
I told him that I wished him well
Those changes would be tough
I said that I once heard a tale
How change was really rough
But trying and effort is a must
Your change will be so big
I said be sure you’re not just
Putting lipstick on a pig.
The one tree in our yard
That took my time when playing so hard
Grew large and sprawling everywhere
I lived up there without a care.
The fort we built could not be lost
Defend it strong at any cost
And when the sun in late day failed
We’d set out ready to blaze the trail.
The enemy lost the eighty-fourth battle
As cowboys then, we’d herd the cattle.
Back in corrals of empty space
Then head out for that special place.
High on limbs much larger than mine
For miles we’d watch and spend our time
Cutting our names in the limbs so hard
Up in the one tree in our yard.
Keeping memories alive thru the years
Abashed at why I was lost
Taking for granted, compounded by fears
Emptiness adds to the cost
All of that time, was centered on me
Selfish and headstrong, I could not be told
Though poverty stricken I struggled to be
Entwined, but challenged to be so bold.
Peaceful and Easy the Feelings of day
Each memory was a dear one
Righteous but foolish in every way
Assured by that Sweet City Woman.
Shall I never travel that way
Or navigate that distance
Really, it’s easy for me to say
Remembering in this instance
You were my Sweet City Woman
Go to sleep now. . . .
And when you awake you will find
A new world, with new desires
New feelings, new beliefs and new joys.
You will experience a sense of total satisfaction,
Acceptance, and sureness of yourself.
No more pain and need and disappointment,
Only gentle bliss.
But that makes me less.
That steals away my humanity, my comparisons,
My decisions; even my mistakes.
You don’t have the right to deny me my suffering.
Who makes these decisions anyway?
Let me up -- I must go,
**** these straps and your stone-faced grin!
Let me up -- My tears spew with hatred,
Rage seething as my blood and snot and weeping mix.
Go to sleep now. . . .
I never thought the pain could make me feel this way
Getting over you will take some time I hear them say
I thought that I’d forget you, control my life and make
The memory of your sweet love, a harmless heartache
I was not brand new to love, I’d had a round or two
But no one ever made me feel the way you always do
It’s not a harmless heartache when it burns you deep inside
This heart feels every memory and knows the tears I’ve cried
If I could bring her back again I’d never let her go
I’d treat her like a queen now that I know the things I know
You’re playing with the hottest fire, you think your heart won’t break
Then you’ll see you can’t escape the harmless heartache
Just a harmless heartache, I’m feeling here tonight
You’d still be here with me, and we’d hold each other tight
But you say I’ll be better off, and so just for my sake
You left me here alone to bear my harmless heartache
Pictures of you and me
Smiling falsely into silicon and sand
Two empty containers can be
Hopelessly contented and blaringly bland.
The big eye caught us straight
And lied to those who see.
Time for us may labor and wait
But autumn may never be.
The link between us is growing
The fissure enlarges too.
Words and feelings glowing,
I worry for me and you.
Future may cease my heart-sweat,
Graves may close my pains,
For now it’s truly a sure-bet,
Drama in lovers’ lanes.
My Dad would never cause any problem
For forty years he worked hard every day
But when he took the time to talk to me
I remember the words that he would say
“Point your toes the way that you’re walkin’
Be happy with the things that you do
Listen well and do a lot less talkin’
And close the gate when you go through”
Summertime in Tennessee was steaming hot
And we’d go down to Lovell’s country store
He’d say, “if your not happy with what you’ve got,
Then you won’t be happy with more.”
He never had a lot of education
But each year I know he read a hundred books
The man who laid for me my foundation
Said life is not as hard as it looks
“Just point your toes the way that you’re walkin’
Be happy with the things that you do
Listen well and do a lot less talkin’
And close the gate when you go through.”
Bang! My lips turn down to frown
Windage and elevation, it didn’t feel right.
Turning the turrents, two left and two down
Minute of angle accommodating my sights.
Both eyes open and steady hands
Acquire the target and slow the heart
Breathe, and lets the bags of sand
Steady the path as the bullet departs.
Still high and right, the target would say
Turn left and down adjustments are made
Bang, and another shot on the way
Near center circle, the lead had been laid
Now the world was leaving my vision
The target grew bright, in focus and clear
The shot required not a single decision
No hesitation or thinking, no doubt and no fear
And just for a moment, I was alone
No thoughts or distractions, no notice of the world
No intrusion for me, immersed in the zone
Laser precision about to be hurled.
Bang, the shot rang clarity clear
Point of aim and impact are justified now
Slowly I come back to those who are near
They never knew I was gone anyhow
Maybe engrossment, or perhaps a trance
It’s hard to discern what is what
Just like the dancer is really the dance
I am the shooter - I am the shot
in the zone
Summer sun scorches
The breath still.
Buries its hate
In scratching grass-sounds.
Line of sight bends
In brain-sensed tease.
Empty canyons fall
Caution winds silent spirals,
Soaring distance -- unswerving sight.
About the time you voiced to me
Above the river, by the tree
Across the bridge we saw the lights
Against the setting moon of night.
Behind my fears and fitful mood
Beside the others chatting rude
Between my silence and vacant talk
By evening on a summer walk.
Except for fumbled fervent words
For you I wish my feelings heard
From a challenged passive way
In wait my lonely times would lay
Into the words, what could I do
Of nouns and verbs and pronouns too
On days I scout without success
Over terms I should address
Through magic words a pact is made
To phrasing language dues are paid
Toward prepositions, there points a sign
Upon the start of every line
Toward the goal I say.
Startled sprinkles twinkle and toll
The time ignores my grunts and groans
Everyday empties its force of roll
Cannons sound -- and mothers moan
Between the place where time is not
And heaven’s hell slams its door
Little men with giant heads hot
Are lost beneath the fluid floor
New nothings interrupt the waste
Of petty playthings -- argue -- lose
Experience coats with sugar taste
The salty melancholy muse
Perhaps -- possible -- should -- could -- can
“I saw it rise and fall alone”
Reaction time relative to man
Depends on tendered tailored tones
Wishes want thickness, color and cover
Design for moth and spider to loan
Answers are easy like lionized lovers
And time ignores my grunts and groans
Growing old is the pits. Not growing old is worse.
Many moments recalled in pain
Even as everyone wonders in vain
Martin lay motionless at the Lorraine
Photos pour popular chords of disdain
His was a hallowed history to gain
Innocence into infinity’s drain
Seasons secure will never be slain
Overgrowths of arm-post life
Lift upward as my steam-breath
Vanishes thinly into the sky.
Cool sweat drips deliberately
As the stacks grow larger
And the sawdust smells and sticks.
The wagon-load will wallow obediently
As the frost bites cleanly
Through the still winter dusk.
Ash white smoke curls softly
From the cut-stone chimney
Where a portrait of simplicity
Sleeps eternally in my mind.
It was the first, and never before
Had flavor exploded, and I wanted more
My partner was dizzy from taste overload
Downing a pint of sweet Rocky Road.
Many a night, while sleeping alone
I’d drift off to sleep, and dream of a cone
And wonder what it would really be like
The time when you take that very first bite.
Tasting together the scent of each flavor
Ecstasy for each partner to savor.
And then a time of recovery and rest
Knowing that now you have mastered the test.
So go for it, and search the right type
Devour it all, with major delight
Just take the chance, and right it will seem
When you finally taste your first ice cream.
Lonely words cling to weak fabrics
Of shallow and wasted minds
Like the free flowing of life
From a blood stained fountain.
Temples of direction and aim
Empty their contents into the fury arms
Of helpless longing, needs, desires,
That lure the man to mankind.
“Can I help you -- Let me help you.”
He looked through me kindly, lonely
With but a fleeting fire,
Shook his head, and walked away.
Innocence to one who knows
Distracted, poised, and then composed
The proper place shall never be
Light, laugh, child-visions see.
The blossom young can never hear
The beauty, grace, or trembling fear
That beckons weak to taste the scent
Among the flowers, time is spent.
Spring is growth and time and trust
Mine is over, short, and must
Fall away as summer reigns
Flowers bloom in lovers’ lanes.
To tug the gentle petal young
Whose golden voice above all sung
Within the growth there is one rose,
Innocence to one who knows.
— The End —