Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Long Shadows

As Elton said
 “don’t let the sun go down.”
Last night as it rested briefly
 on a grove of trees
a melancholy hit me in the
eyes right below the visor.
If only I could hold it up with a tripod of candy canes.
I like the feel of shadows rolling out like cookie dough.
I wanted to pull the truck over
and grab garbage can lids
and old pie tins
and child shaped
have at it.
Cookie cut my
children out of the
silhouette of my truck.
All those evenings out
helping Santa git er done.
I missed many winking suns
with the children. 
So now you golden sphere
I ask you for a continuance.
Please, just ‘til I get them cut
out and laid within
the light of my heart.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mother, Christmas Evening

She sat quietly in the circle,
less and less words each year
but more and more smiles
and twinkles from her eyes.

Laura came with me to take
a spot in the circle.
I think she got it.
She got the time line and
the echo to Christmases past.

My mother had on her yuletide
earrings and looked so cozy
in her sweater.
Her heart warmed by the fibers
and yet warmed even more
by her descendants
all the way down to her
great grandson.

And Laura sat next to me
silent most of the time.
And I wondered if one day she will
be the matron of honor
sitting quietly, smiling, twinkling
like a little star
with my mother’s heart in hers.

That Blows...Then Again Maybe Not

I wonder if the plume
is the last of his brain cells
reaching for freedom

I wonder if Dorothy
will whip out the oil
can to loosen the horn

I wonder if he saw
lovers kiss long
and indescently in the square

I wonder if he
just wanted to play taps
and head to mid-town

I wonder if he wished
he had brought his
flugelhorn to play some jazz

I wonder if he couldn't
wait for a cigarette break
and sit on a bench

I wonder if he
missed the indoor gig
at Macy's by a hair

I wonder if
by off chance
he really felt
fulfilled to pretend
to blow

if this was his
destiny to stand
perfectly still
in full dress uniform

and be ignored
as an individual
and feel the tin
echos within
everytime someone
walked by laughing
with friends

Friday, December 24, 2010

That Face Rings a Jingle Bell --- Part III in 55 trilogy

"You!" the merry gentleman said
as he backed into the mailbox.

"Who were you expecting?" Donner
responded with a "deer in the headlights gaze".

"Maybe Blitzen, but never in a million..."

"Quiet! Now reach around slowly and
hand me that card."

"Santa will deliver that. It was an accident.
He didn't see. He was texting."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

She Has Written

Oh what a night
Late December back in ‘63
She entered a fiesta world
a Latin girl with a root
word for me

A pure form
tucked on a shelf
in the secret
end of the stacks
a book mark of
rose petal 

In a quiet place
whispers came
when my heart
faint a beat
she became free
verse laid on
the dark night
of my soul

Her breathing became
a deep press on my
and grace became her
and grace became us
yet not this word
lay in the page
in the stacks

It was another
love fell out
as I opened the page
and a petal
I placed in my
breast pocket

There is none
so written in my life
there is none

Happy Birthday Barbara
2010 December 22

Monday, December 20, 2010

Clinking, a winter memory

So, why do boots that have a row of clasps remind me of my father?  You know, the over boots that often are hard to push the heel of your shoe through.  One could almost dislocate a shoulder pulling a heel through the last inches like a baby’s crown pushing through the birth canal. Then, the clasps themselves would will resistance against a thumb or finger and pinch the skin leaving a glowing white and red remembrance on the side.  My three brothers know what I am talking about.  After sledding or snowball fighting the snow and ice would seal those clasps shut.   Some only to be pried open with white knuckles and gritted teeth.
But, again, why do boots like these remind me of my father?  Of course he wore them during very informative years.  I was a kid who observed everything.  When the original movie Home Alone released (by far my favorite of the three) there was a character that reminded me of my dad because of the boots and the beard.  It was a movie about a young boy named Kevin who was accidently left behind at home while the rest of his family went to Paris over the holidays.
Another character in the movie was looked on as a villain by the children of the neighborhood.  He was seen often going up and down the sidewalk with a metal garbage can of salt and a shovel.  He would spread the salt as he shuffled in his half buckled boots, face stoic, back bent on the completion of his self appointed rounds. Buzz, Kevin’s older brother would retell the legend of the old man as he passed by.  In a slow cadence Buzz would tell about how children came up missing occasionally.  How the old man would use his shovel like a gavel and kill wandering children…never to be seen again.   The old man seemed to be servicing the sidewalks from ice but in Buzz’s alert imagination was waiting for another unsuspecting child to walk by.
In reality the gray haired seventy something was a lonely father.  As he shuffled and salted with his boots buckled half was his mind was on his family.  His wife passed away, and he was estranged from his only son’s family.  He especially was heartbroken not being able to be a grandpa to his only granddaughter.  Another Christmas was approaching and his ache for them became stronger as the day drew near.
Then there was Kevin, the one forgotten by his family…home alone.  His perception of the old man transforms as he gains understanding… the moment of enlightenment comes in the scene where Kevin is hiding from some thieves in a Catholic church.  The old man is in there already quietly thinking and praying or something.  Then the boots move toward Kevin, the metal against rubber unique soft clanking sound.  Kevin is at first scared, but after a brief conversation, the fears begin to melt as the old man shares his heartbreak.   Then compassion and understanding replace Kevin’s hesitations toward the old man.
Several nuances reminded me of my father who passed away years ago.  The quietness, the work ethic, but mostly the boots brought me back to my father.  I remember him not buckling them all the way up.  I keep thinking of some transcendent truth of loose boots…There was something about the clinking as he walked that assured me of his presence.  His words were few and my soul often felt abandoned by him.  Maybe knowing he worked and persevered at putting on those boots for so many winters gave me the sense that I could too.  That maybe I could make noise that my children would remember years from now when they might feel neglected for my lack of words.  I will commit to speak into their lives more but I realize a default in me, if unchecked, can swallow good words for my family.  May some clinking sound remind my children they are not alone.  May my words be a source of engagement and relationship in their lives.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Untitled(The Photo is the Title) For One Shoot Sunday

She wasn't broken plaster
She wasn't boxed light
She wasn't crawling shadows
She was the maiden on the prow
of a ship long stranded
on reefs of musty
She was beauty
She was grace
She leaned for me
to the next hope
of rebirth
of whispered echos
down hollow
walls of decision

One Note is All

 a tinge of Christ
the One who is the
very Love of God
A messianic verse sung through
the din

and lost am I without
a crystalline
note of soul
snatching rhythm
from prophecies
set  in time before
ever I was

the suffering
injustices fell upon
swaddling linen

It is we who have
no room to lay in
it is we who have
no life to live in
not without
reminiscence or
leaning hope
upon a star

coos the note
which bends
the fiber
of every

Thursday, December 16, 2010

For Whom the Bells Toll...a sequel for Flash 55

The jingles faded
off into the eastern distance.
He snuffed the roasting  chestnuts
and left his paper on the
coffee table.
With card in hand
and boots buckled
he dashed like dancer
to the box and put the flag up.
He turned to find Donner
filing his rack with a flint….
and no jingle bells.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Aurora Borealis

we stood together
almost silently
with mutual awe
for the celestial

pointing with
guiding words
of wonder as
the glowing curtain
danced and skipped
in the northern sky

like a nervous ghost
its translucent
evening gown
tucked and furled
in the folds of
the wind

we stood together
straining to see
the mystery
of us

for my son Nathan

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hobby or Passion...why differentiate? My dish for the potluck

you are reading my hobby
in Calibri body 11
you are in between
the lines of my passion
the keys my brushes
the screen my easel
I know no other form
from morph to myth
with eloquent
with wry bread toasted
a tea stained stint
or coffee cream
like pages white
I sip and wake
while I write
I don’t morn
I don’t wink
I write poetry
I think

Sunday, December 12, 2010

To Aire Is Human

many roads I have seen
yet the one before me
calls and curves an echo
into a question mark
          man made rails
guide man made
the hills rise to brush me
the valleys bow to invite
humble awareness's
in the shadows
of gravel and sage
coyotes whine
and brown tailed hawks
wander their own
guided rails
and I have freedom
to course the rabid
scapes unknown to me
top down
white walls
the echos to
their aires

Saturday, December 11, 2010

We Waited(Christmas memories)

It was at the dead end of a street.  It was a small house jammed with ten kids.  My mom could barely lace up the shoe.  Yet she worked hard to make this time of year special.  My wife has a tinge of sadness when I tell her we would get clothes for Christmas and one toy.  I keep forgetting to tell her the other stuff.
Like the mistletoe hung over archway right under the plaster “Last Supper”. 
Like the strung popcorn and cranberries that twirled around the tinsel strewn tree.
Like new fireman pajamas.
Like the hand knit stockings with a jingle bell dangling in the middle…twelve of them strung across the sun porch windows…each one with a knitted name. 
Like the smell of mince meat pie.
Like the early years heading off to midnight mass.
Like hot cocoa made from real whole milk and sugar and cocoa after being out in the snow so long cotton balls of ice and slush were fused on the bottom of our snow pants.
Like the Ames Brothers and Bing caroling us in the background.
Like the Christmas bells that hung on our back door year round…They sometimes made me think of the magic of Christmas on a hot August night.
Like heading downtown to see the Nativity and being kinda scared of the eight foot shepherd that stared right at me.
Like when we would eat the un-yellow snow.
Like when Bob McDonald, Dennis Shields and I would comb the neighborhood and steal Christmas lights off of the bushes and throw them in the street to explode like firecrackers.  (Until we got caught trying to steal some off of a front door frame)
Then there was the waiting.  The twelve step waiting.  “My name is Jerry and I love Christmas morning.”
“Hi Jerry.”
Ten kids on twelve steps equal anticipation, impatience, giggling, flatuation, more giggles and squeezing for position on the lowest step.  We tried to be quite and yet subconsciously enough noise was generated to rouse the sleeping Santa at the bottom of the steps just to the right.  Said Santa just went to sleep a couple of hours ago (But we didn’t appreciate that).
A gurgled “not yet!” would waif itself around the corner…then more sleep breathing.
ZZZZzzzz snarf schoogle smack smack
We could see the colored light seeping around the corner from the living room.  Our imaginations would be bouncing off each other like the little white dot that jumped a top of the sing along with Mitch songs on T.V.  We knew there would be underwear and socks and pajamas…but what of our “list” would be under the tree.  Which present of the urban sprawl under the tree would be ours?  No matter the lowest girth of the fern it could not contain the gifts. 
And so we sat and she snored.
And so we fidgeted and she took cleansing sighs.
And so we creaked the steps with our buttocks and she swallowed the sugarplum fairy like a hair ball.
I imagine a committee meeting on the landing was held to appoint a scapegoat.  Someone had to directly ask the exhausted Merry Marilee if we could descend.  Most likely it was Carol.  The baby.  The spoiled.  The cute.  The Cindy Lou Who of our who’s who.   Surely Mom would be sympathetic to her soft cry for freedom.  The stairs that imprisoned us all like Babes in Toyland held us.  The rail slats like iron bars on which we would drag our tin cups of impatience cuffed us.  Our bodies staggered on risers like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir…yet our voices(begging)didn’t evoke yuletide inspiration per se…more like pleading for parole or pardon.
Then we would hear a rustling and our fidgeting stopped and earwax melted to listen.  Out from the North Pole rose an elf in a nightie.  Red was her bed head hair as she passed.  Her cats eye glasses guiding her one eye to the coffee pot.  I could hear her flick open her cigarette lighter and flick her thumb twice.  The fridge opened and shut.  Cupboards knocked a few times.  Then she walked past again to her room to get her robe.  I swear I saw her smirk a little and a sleepy twinkle in her eyes.  We reverted to silent body language…eyes popping out…hands almost clapping…nudging…touching…scooting.
She once more came out of her den and fetched her coffee and sat in the living room.   She had a box seat for the show. 
“Alright, you can come see…”
We did see.  Not her face glowing, but lights, and sagging stockings, and sleds, and stuffed animals, and candy canes hanging on the branches. 
We did see.  Not the whole picture of thinking and choosing and remembering sizes.
We did see.   Not the exhaustion and sore muscles.
We did see…and now that we have seen from our box seats, we would all call her or stop by her north pole to appreciate the memories.  That gift is greater than any on our “list.”   Memories of the ambiance of what she created for us.  Each memory is a step on which to sit and wonder, like a child, how she did it.           

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jingle Bells....for FFF

A merry gentleman sat
in the incense of roasted chestnuts.
He opened the local page of the
paper to find the obit about
Larry's grandmother getting
killed by a reindeer while
putting her Christmas cards
in the mailbox.
He got up to put a sympathy
card in the mail...
Then he heard the jingle bells.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Who Told? ... for One Shot Wednesday

Who told you to do that?
That thing you do with your lip,
when you tuck it under your teeth?
Or that occasional bounce in your step like
walking on inverted slinkies?
Or that way you wipe off the phone
on your thigh after saying goodbye?
Who told you to flash a dimple with that smile?
Or the way you sand down your voice
so it’s as smooth and light like balsa wood?
Who told your eyes how to tap
dance when we make contact?
Who told you to say what you feel with
grace and depth like the trinity
of brush, oil, and canvass?
Who told you to love my often
independent self?
Who told?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dream Not.....For Jingle Poetry

Dream Not

I dream of reality,
a R.E.M.embrance
of when I am
presently awake.
Not moving my
eyes in front of you,
but heavy lids
propped up
by your story.
Your joy and pain
sleepy rain
running down
my cheeks.
My reality becomes
a dream with you of
moments of

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Silent Sight....For One Shoot Sunday

eyelashes brush the incense
and stir into spaces
as night
and blur into faces
skin brushes the intent

Jesu.....................A somethin' Sunday poem

He was cradled in time,
as are we.
Strips of cloth
upon his reception.
Strips of cloth
when he left,
and stripes on his
back in between.
His unneeded coverings
except that we
would misunderstand and
clothe our minds with
judgment as this naked
man walked before us.

Our self sewn coverings
hem us in.
Clothes hide
our possible integrity.
Drapes darken our
own insecurity.

A woman with disease
running through her veins
touched the hem of
his garment…
and capillaries were
sewn together like that hem.
Almost unknowingly
healing escaped through
the seams.

Our hems try to keep
us from unraveling.
But the threads
will in time
weave their way out
and we will be exposed.
Healing will come in our

His loose clothing was
a foreshadowing of his undressing.
Naked he was to wear
stripes and piercing
tightly to his soul.
Wounds hemmed to
his heart never to
be unraveled.
His covering so we
could once again be
naked without shame.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Winter Advisory

Winter Advisory

winter writer in residence
white out blizzard

chattering pearl teeth
chip a #2 pencil
eraser worn edges
rubber flakes backhanded
from the page

biblical selahs
sleighing through the
drifts so white

spaces      like     ruts
guide the muse
through the flurries

keystrokes slide
             on down the
                           white cap mountain

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tinselate...for Friday Flash 55...try it in 55 words and link can do it...really

silver spaghetti
bunched up
lookin' like a brillo pad
there stands a tree
in the dunces corner
of our living room
with an angel cap
right between the computer
and an easy chair
like it wants to sit
or get on FB with
the other dress up ferns
It waits patiently for
warmth of tinselation