Tuesday, November 30, 2010

All Set ...for One Shot Wednesday

the backlit hills revealed
a woman lying on her side
where gentle rises and descents
were laid beneath the sun
a sphere rests midriff
rolls in the lowland
burnt orange expanse
cupped cradled
before it collapsed
into her side
sun and soul

The Wellspring: It's a Dance

The Wellspring: It's a Dance

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lunch.............for One Shoot Sunday

They already looked in the basket
to see if there might be five
loaves and two fish

He Sang

I heard my brother sing.
He almost tiptoed to the mic.
He barely was seen
with a rose riding his lapel.
I could hear behind me
shoulders rubbing
and breathing whispers
and inhales that stopped short.
Then fingers stepping
and sliding on a guitars neck.
Then fingers pulling on
six strings like upon a heart.
He held the microphone
like he was holding her hand.
Then the back of her head,
a snow covered veil,
slightly tilted toward him
with a full body smile.
Her wonder was evident
from any angle.
And he sang from deep
understanding which at
that moment only they
He brought love,
tested love to her
with humble inflections.
She brought love,
tested love to him
with a heart which
knew this song intimately.
And for a moment
I heard four part

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sinews and Synapses

I tend to stand outside of them
and think outside.
Those moments open
like a picture book.
I see and wonder
where the words went.
I wonder and see
what the words could be.
Awww, hang it all
I missed one again.
Time to stretch and think
about you.
Here and now.
Hold your hand
and let slip my fingers
between yours.
Here and now.
Pray that our thoughts
can be one highway

For Barbara on a wedding day

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mother Earth........for one shot.

Mother Earth

What is wrong with the world?
We all sit on her axis and
wonder how we can shift it.
“Oh she shifted herself the other day.”
But did we have any influence on her decision?
Did we shave one too many rain forests
as the stubble trips us up?
Did the smoke stacks, like big Cuban
cigars, cause her to violently cough?
Did our little street side pods of waste
become pills forced down her throat?
Did the oil spills drench the greens
like too much salad dressing?
Have we messed with her “zone”?
Are the bald patches in her ozone
hair evidence of our chemo-therapy?
Have we forsaken our God given
Have we not read enough Wendell Berry?
Will Lucy Shaw collect poems
about the brown earth?
Will one of God’s greatest poems be
 reduced to utilitarian prose?
Are we now disregarding
the mother nurture she
so naturally gave us?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Poultry Encounter....a thanksgiving story.

Just a Poultry Encounter
It happened while on the way back from Meijers. An immediate onset of “highway hypnosis” came as I finished the onramp to I-94 west. Destination was home. The back end of the van sagged with holiday food which included not one, but two frozen turkeys. I wondered why the turkey ranchers didn’t grow turkeys larger than 15 pounds. I swear that when I was young thanksgiving turkeys were of greater mass before all the mysterious injections came into play. Anyway I set the cruise at 73, pulled the arm rest down, and turned off the Christmas music.
It happened just beyond the Oakland Dr. Exit in front of what used to be the Episcopal Cathedral. I saw something short, white, and moving along the rumble strip on the right. I cancelled the cruise and coasted toward it. It was a bird…A rotund bird…trotting with the traffic with its left wing in the air. I tapped the brake and as I got closer its tail feathers reached for the sky and spread like a Geisha’s fan. “It’s a turkey!” I said, “A suicidal turkey!” (Come to think of it, a nice fat turkey like that, suicide would be an option rather than wait for the chopping block or a pardon from the President.) I put on my flashers as I slowly passed him and pulled over the white line. In my mirror I saw him put his wing down and start running for my van. I got out and went around the back of my vehicle and this out of breath bird approached.
“Thank goodness!…I know there is a trust issue in this country for picking up hitch hikers, but, come on, how much harm can I do in my condition?”
I stopped short with my hand to my chin and thought…”I’ve heard a lot of people talk turkey, but a talking turkey!?” I shook it off and passively said “Where you headed?”
“I can take you as far as Mattawan,” I said slowly.
“Thanks, I was sure I was going be the next entrée on the Road Kill Café menu. I mean really, if people don’t want to give me a ride, just drive on by…They were honking and swerving and yelling out their windows! Geez, it’s like they’ve never seen a hitch hiking turkey before.”
“Well I…”
“I’m just trying to get from “A” to “B” you know!” He said as his snood flapped from one side of his beak to the other.
“Hey, let’s get in out of this holiday traffic,” I said. I moved up one of the kids car seats and positioned it in the middle of the bench behind me and buckle him in…under 40 pounds, got to be in a car seat. I got back in and adjusted my mirror so I could see him. He had a long scrawny neck and a not so handsome head attached. Stubble bald, 3 inch orange/red snood draped over his beak, and caruncles waving back and forth like a dancing double chin every time he turned his head. “Do you have a name?”
“Tom Tom with an h…T-H-O-M. I was named after my uncle Thommy.”
Wow, I had an Uncle Tommy once. Come to think of it he would have made a nice turkey on many different levels.
“I’m Jerry with a J. Are you running away?”
“I was, but now I’m heading back to Berrien Springs,” he said as his head bobbed and weaved.
“What’s in Berrien Springs?”
“The free-range turkey ranch I lived at since I was just a wee poult.”
“Why the turn around?”
“Bad dream…Well, it wasn’t a completely bad dream…It was a wake up call kind of bad dream…I mean it had an epiphany inserted in it…I mean I had an epiphany while I was dreaming…No, no, when I woke up and assessed it’s meaning. I was taking a snooze behind a rest stop building near Detroit and had a half-sleep; you know a non-R.E.M., dream.” He stopped short and took cleansing breath.
“Hey, its o.k., you want to tell me about it?” I said as a saw his head down with his snood hanging dead center off his pale yellow beak.
“Yeah, maybe talking about it will help me process it better.”
“Why don’t you start by telling me why you ran away in the first place…I kind of have an idea seeing what time of year it is in America? I don’t want my assumptions to precede accurate information.
“Well, being from a free range ranch I had a great childhood. Lots of freedom, lots of friends, lots of room to run. I even enjoyed short flights from time to time. I hardly ever got pecked on and when I did it was my buddies having some good, clean fun. Yeah, we used to stay up late and talk about our adventures. Like when we would wheel dodge. We would see how close we could strut in front of cars or tractors without getting run over. We’d have chicken fights in the watering trough. We would have snood flapping contests until our gizzards hurt. My uncle Thommy would tell us of his days in the concentration camp and his daring escape aided by some animal rights group. He was like a father to me. He would always find a way to help me not take for granted the life I had.
Then about a year ago he went missing. Just like that…here one moment, gone the next. I was deeply saddened and looked for him for days. I wanted to pull my feathers out as I went back and forth. I even walked the entire perimeter of the chicken wire fence for compromises in our security(There were known to be coyotes in the area.). It was the beginning of experiences that would draw out adolescent tendencies in me. I wasn’t some little punk of a poult any more. It was me and my buddies now…at least until about a month ago…”
It was then I notice his face starting to pale(I don’t understand how a turkey could get any paler but he did.)
He continued slowly with a Captain Kirk drawn out sentence. “They…just…all…started…to…vanish!”
“Who did?”
“All my friends…Wing Man, Tommy Boy, Hook Beak, Pencil Neck, Bird Turd. My whole crew!”
“You say it was about a month ago? Well I think…”
“I know, I know, at least I know now.“ Resignation followed in his voice…“I was so naïve. I thought that our ranch was different from all those other communities, communes, concentration camps. I had to get out of there so I made a way of escape. Last year, when I walked the perimeter of the fence, I noticed a sagging area of the fence. Now, I knew my uncle was too old to clear it, but if I could get a running start it might be a possibility. After all, I was the champion wheel dodger. So from 25 yards back I dug my talons in and pushed the throttle to full on….and here I am!”
“Wow. That’s quite a story, even from a turkey…ehem, no offence,” I said.
“Quite all right,” he replied.
There was a pause and I realized I was getting close to the Mattawan exit. “Hey, how ‘bout a ride to Berrien Springs?”
“You don’t have to…”
“It’s a holiday!” As I said it I felt bad knowing which holiday it was and my present company. How could I be so insensitive! “I’m so sorry!”
“No worries, I’ve come to embrace this time of year as a point of destiny, not regret.”
Hmmm, this Thom Thom grew up in a hurry! Or he has gotten his feathers all fluffed up with poultry traumatic stress syndrome. “I think hearing about the dream would help me straighten out the disconnect as to why you are going back to the ranch,” I suggested.
“Of course, I think what influenced the dream was the feeling of hopelessness, or rather, I could almost feel meaning and purpose drain out of me as I hitched rides away from home. So as I dozed off or dozed on or rode the horizon of R.E.M. I had this dream. My Uncle was in it. He was plucked, stuffed, and golden brown on a platter right next to the cranberry sauce! I gasped in horror! Actually in my native tongue it would have been an annunciated “blullullla”. The table was long and the people were plenty with their heads bowed and hands folded in their lap…except for some of the children staring at my uncle like he was Turkish Delight. Then I realized even though uncle Thommy was missing feet…talons and all!…his spindle neck and bald head were attached AND ALIVE! He cricked his neck and look me right in my eye, my right eye, and began to speak.
“Thom Thom, how I’ve missed you! How you’ve grown. You have a nice beard there. I’ve been worried about you. I know there is reason to run, at least it seems the reasonable response to the recent events in your life. But I am here to offer another possibility, so don’t start molting like you’ve seen the ghost of Thankgivings past. This is only a dream, but the scene is a reality that many of us have the privilege to enter. For many of us it is our manifest destiny.”
“Destiny! Destiny? Butter basted, extra crispy, stuffed with who knows what, and taken from the free range to the range oven…just what kind of destiny is that?”
“I know how you feel.”
“Do you now!?”
“Yes I do, because you are looking at last Thanksgiving at the Hubble’s house. For a brief moment I laid in the middle of a family taking time to reconnect at an annual meal. Meal time for American’s used to be the time of day, every day, for communication and communion. Eye to eye contact, body language, common courtesy, and a physical reminder of belonging. Now those special times are reduced to a few times a year.
When I was your age, an older, wiser, Tom took me aside and gave me ‘the talk.’ The talk I never made the opportunity to give to you. I procrastinated, and I kept seeing the chicken scratch writing an the wall but….” His voice trailed off. “I’m so sorry I didn’t prepare you for this. I hope you will find a way beyond this and forgive me.” He then shook his snood and said, “This now is my chance, and as weird as it might be to listen to a succulent, organically raised bird speak to you from the dead, I will not pass this up.”
His head and neck then disappeared and a translucent uncle Thommy floated above the Hubble family table. He looked over the bald combovers, parted pigtails, cornrows, and grandma’s poofy grey arrangement. He saw the horn of plenty. He also saw the expanded double leaf table full of food, and there in the middle his body. What he left behind was, for a moment, the center piece. It wasn’t the candied yams. It wasn’t the mashed potatoes. It wasn’t the salad. It wasn’t the cranberry sauce or the green bean casserole. It wasn’t the cherry pie or mintz or pumpkin. It was the body of a bird raised free.
“Oh Thomm Thomm“, he began, “Take a good look. This family is bowing and thanking God for the gifts they are about to receive and I was one of them. I was the one in the middle to be carved and given to each. This is what I was raised for…To bring families home again. More accurately, a family. The Hubble family. Look at them. Before they sat for prayer I was able to float around the house and listen in on conversations. They have their dysfunctions and differences. They have their favorites. They have their spoiled last borne. See that little one over there. Her name is Emmy and she took special care of me when I was just fluff. Thank goodness she lost track of who I was! It would be arrogant to tell you that they gather just because of me. No, it’s their God given desire for connection and the God-image in them. This holiday is just one reason they make efforts to come together. It’s a human thing, we wouldn’t understand. They pray to One bigger than their collective experiences. We fulfill God’s design for us…we feed, but more than that, our species in America feed thankful bodies, thankful hearts. Your destiny is at hand…You could be in the middle of all sorts of possibilities. Redeeming moments, forgiving moments, loving moments, joyful moments, meaningful moments, all basted in the juices of thankfulness.”
“It was then I woke up and looked east and rousted my roosting. Time to head home I said to myself. Time to make it to the door of destiny. No more running. I figured if I got back soon enough I could be a part of someone’s thankful day this year.”
I was without a word. Did a turkey really go there? Nobody’s going to believe this…I don’t believe this. I’m on my way to Berrien Springs. I’m a turkey taxi. There’s a turkey in my babies car seat that just gave me a lesson in religion, philosophy, manifest destiny and the difference between free range and manufactured turkey farming. All that came to mind and passed through by lips was “thanks for sharing.”
“Thanks for caring and carrying for that matter!,” he responded.
“Hey, I know this is sudden, but why don’t you come to my house for dinner! I mean, I have a couple of punk mass produced turkeys in the back I can give away to two families in Mattawan. You’ve got to be thirty pounds dressed. You are what I was looking for earlier…a nice, fat, Thomm Thomm! We both laughed. If you’ve never heard a turkey laugh you’ve never split a gizzard.
“I would be honored to be front and center at Jerry with a J’s house. Blullulla!”
Happy Thankful Day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gray Daze.....Somethin' Sunday

Gray Daze

No sun on a Sunday.
Gray background rolled in
my back yard.
He will come back in the clouds,
but not these kind.
The stratus must be stacked
high and sculpted like
a Michelangelo.
Smooth but strong angles
with nothings dispersed
within them.
Those gaps and slits
for light to squeeze through
and strike the ground
like lightning.
Great Roman columns
of gold with pewter
frames left behind,
hanging like a mobile.
Or will this gray sheet
simply be rolled back
and catch us unaware
hanging laundry.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

They Were.............For my mother.

Come now
lay your heart
on the chest of the
father you once loved

Come now
let your hand
reach up to take the
large grip of a big brother

Come now
lift your feet
up the steps of memory
of those you knew freely

Come now
light your mind
for a tinder incense
of how things used to be

Come now
lease some time
in moorings of love
for gratitude of who they were
to you

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oh, I See?........Friday Flash 55

I’m moving like molasses
while groping for my glasses
but I don’t care
I have more pairs
does that mean I have glass asses glasseses? 

blurred by the pluralism
see all the mural schism
dyslexic writ
I might just quit
framed spectacle of criticism

Sometimes a squint
a little glint
and depth perception
with pep deception

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Horizons....One Shot is all it takes...Join the One Shot Poetry mosh pit.

Teach me how to put my linear reductions
back into the curvature of the whole.
I want to think out and up to the horizon.
I think I see the water tension of the world’s
tear ducts before a blink.
I think I’ll sit with the sunrises and
sunsets as they share coffee and night caps.
Come with me while the light dissipates and
the darkness rolls over the edge.
Sit with me when God calls us to look
unto the hills, the hills which huddle
their crescendos against the exhalation of the day
and the inspirations of the night.
The days and nights turn and roll
as we take them for granted.
That golden light which stirs the
pigmentation of our souls and
the dark that unleashes mystery
and quiet questions.
Will you come with me as
the sun lays in the ocean,
and the moon’s lunacy
paints us like a Geisha?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wait Weight

As despair goes
so goes the heart.

Kicking walnuts into
the street
wondering how
gutters catch
the dismal clarity.
Pro teen covered
in hard shell
covered in bitter
green insulation.
The rains come,
the cold autumn
death deifying
currents carry
what falls from the tree.

As hope goes
so goes the heart.

Rolling lime green
embossed nuts
over sacrificial colored
leaves of grass.
The fall reigns
washing bitter sheen
and softening pulp
to peal on the cement.
It wastes not.
The shell exposed
hops on down the line
of rivulets.
The dip in the deign
crevasse an
adolescent seed to
burrow under
its unseen destiny.  

As despair and hope go
so goes the heart.
The twins of wait
and weight
and wait.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

L'Air du Temps For One Shoot Sunday

Cover me with your sweet perfumes.
Out last this, another day of under.
I didn't mean to go under cover,
but the light isn't for me today.
The shine is for where I was,
down the street sipping wine
with you at the three legged
table in the open air
wishing for a favorable breeze.

Neo Narcissist....Somethin Sunday

I bowed down to my own reflection.
It was a fleck a spot a dot
in the disturbed waters.
I’ve lost sight of the One
who said “Peace, be still.”
There are ripples in
my wavering consciousness.
Then He took his hands
and spread out the waters
like fine clear linen.
Like a glassy sea my
image smoothed out.
“You are beautiful,” He said, “see?”
I saw myself more clearly
next to Him.
We sat beside the still waters.
The fear of allowing others in
or coming out of myself
became a gentle lapping of soul waters.
Soul waters on the shore of us.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Surf's Up...For Friday Flash 55

Sea, what you say,
come with me,
let’s go play              again.

I’m under your tow,
come on please
let me go                  again.

Oh, tip up your tide
let’s take a quick ride          again.

Break on my turf,
take me out,
let me surf               again.

Sea what you wave,
curl ‘round me
tube like a cave       again.

Come On Now

Come on now
See what you see
Don’t blink
Long and loud
Are you afraid
of the damage?
Did you spill
coffee on the manual?
Did a locust
Digest the hope
You had for him?
Is the angst
A temper
against another look?
Come now
Nothing to say
Something to pray
Come now

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Seasons of Fall


I moved a dirt clod
with my big toe
down a line of
cratered cement
the pieces
and fell into place
and place came around

I picked an acorn
with no hat
bald and no
facial expression
a blank stare
put in my pocket

a saw a two bird
geese gossiping
mad enough
to leaVe form
and colon ize

I caught one
leaf sliding down
a draft
a crispy curled
loner free fall
onto my life line

the big dipper
emptied a
ladle of frost
all over everything
crystal cool silver
plated night

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just Enough

They cling on to bits
of remembering.
She needed help ordering.
He was reminded to pay.
They remembered just enough.

Senior coffee and a burger
as they sat ignoring everything
but each other.
The decades teach the wandering.
They remembered just enough.

Sitting with cold coffee
and hands pancaked one on top
of another and another.
Blood pulsing through age spots.
They remembered just enough.

Hair, gray as clouds,
and eyes  surrounded  by
folds and ridgelines
connected as they spoke softly.
They remembered just enough.

My sister stood by the register
and I stood by her invitation
into a moment of love
so retreated from the fray.
We pray to remember just enough.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Five More Minutes

I gained an hour this weekend
              Yet all I want is five more mintutes
                               Not to stay up
                                            But to stay just outside of life
                                                                To write a bit or two
                                                                                   Of what I have seen and felt
                                                                                                     But stubble needs harvesting
                                                                                   And teeth need attention
                                                                 My boss wants me to show up
                                             Show up browned down
                                 And ergonomically toned and turned
                So a shower and a shake
And a kiss laid on lips I will miss

Til after sunset and a step outside life will draw me to her once again

Sunday, November 7, 2010

WWJD on FB? Somethin' Sunday


All the sudden an icon pops up…friend request.
What would the icon look like?
The Catholic Jesus?
The Protestant Jesus?
The Pentecostal Jesus?
A cross, a dove, a fish?  
Would I have to think a bit before pressing “accept”?
I would definitely look at His info page.
I mean, I’ve heard lots of sermons about Him.
I’ve read about Him in the Bible.
I have my perceptions and interpretations.
I accepted Him once. I’ll hit accept.
I head for His home page.
His status update…”I love you.”
I hit the “like” button.
Immediately He pops up to chat.
“I was just thinking about you.”
Huh? I thought.
“What?  Don’t you believe me?”
“I’m sorry, just a little disbelief.”
“Yeah, I get that a lot.”
“Oh me of little faith.”
“Ever see a mustard seed?  Talk about little!”
“So you’ve been thinking of me…what about?”
“How much you look right through me.”
“How can a puny little human like me look right through the Son of God?”
“You would be surprised how many do it.”
“So, how do I look through you?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“I’m not exactly sure, but I do want to do the right thing.”
“I know that about you Jerry, all your life doing the right thing
has been up there on your list…Do you remember when you grabbed that
bar of soap and took a bite out of it?”
“Ha!…My mom didn’t even know I said a bad word.”
“Your conscience has been pretty healthy through the years.”
“Yeah, but I still did and thought a lot of  not-so-right things.
Still do.”
“You live in a not-so-right world with a not-so-right heart.”
“Amen to that.”
“But listen, I gave you a part of Us to help with that.”
“Do you mean the Comforter?”
“Absolutely, He has partnered with your conscience to turn you
when you need turning.”
“You mean repentance.”
“Yes, but I try to avoid words that have lost their power
because of over use in religion.”
“Wow, I brush over a lot of words like that because I’ve heard
them so many times in the Christian culture!”
“That’s how.”
“That’s how what?”
“That’s how you look right through me.”
“What?” My heart sank.
“I know how important words are to you.  John’s gospel said I am the Word.
The difference is that I am a living word.  Yet often I am a word that is simply read
on a page, or used as a by-word…a curse word.  Remember the other day when someone
used my name in vain?”
“Yeah, I thought how it was a shame your name had so little value to that person.”
“Jerry, you do it too.  You don’t use it as curse word…you have other
words you use for that.”
I cringed.
“Don’t sweat that so much, just keep track of your heart.  But when it comes
to my name try to remember that I am behind it.  I Am, you know.”
I do know, sometimes I know too much, I thought…It’s just that the knowledge gets
rattling around in my brain.  It’s fun to know stuff and let it come out in
“Hey, don’t be afraid to tell me what you are thinking.”
“Sorry, it’s just that you make me think.”
“I was hoping for that.  About that knowledge that rattles around your brain…you need
to swallow it.”
“I’m sorry?”
“You need to swallow that knowledge and get it in your gut.”
“In my gut?”
“Yes, in the Old Testament some would meditate day and night.”
“So meditation is like swallowing?”
“Yes, and I would compare swallowing with understanding.  Understanding will
show up in every day stuff.  Get knowledge in your gut and your actions and
response in the ins and outs begin to transform.”
 “So what happens to the knowledge I don’t swallow?”
“Your brain and ego get puffy and sometimes it comes out in conversations.  It gets
good when you hook up with other puffy brains.  Someone coined the term ‘talking
heads‘…that would explain it.  Back in the day the Pharisees were pro’s at it.”
“Ah yes, the bad, ‘good’ guys.  You didn’t have much patience for them did you?”
“I suppose pride is something for which I have little patience.”
I paused and thought……”hey, aren’t we ‘talking heads’ right now?”
“What do you think?”
“I don’t sense that we are, yet we are talking.  Why is that?”
“It’s because our conversation is in the context of relationship.  Remember
yesterday your lunch with Barbara?”
“Yes, it was rich.  I felt so close to her.”
“Yeah, but all you were doing was talking.”
“I get it, it’s because we have a context of 26 years of living life.  The words are
thrown into that context and meaning is ‘quickened,’ brought to life.”
“That is what I desire for us and anyone who is willing build a context for us to
have conversations.”
“Hey, I’m sorry but a context is calling me right now.  The kids are up and need
some help with their Honey Nut Cheerios.”
“Yeah, I’ve noticed.  It was so nice to chat with you.”
“Yes, like wow, it was rich.”
“Just remember, I am with you always, not just on FB.  Lol”
As I wrote I love you on his wall I saw that he was posting with lots of other people.
“Slow down….let me help you pour that milk….”

Feb. 2010