A collection of short poems originally penned in 2012, now detached from their original purpose…
A fine line
Divides the pursuit
The high tide line
On that Day we harnessed
But there was nobody around to hear it
So instead we Continue reading Verbal Alterations
A Song for Santa Cruz Island
I might have been a late arrival
But I’ve been here all this time
I was here when the plates collided
I passed the bread and wine
I was here when we emerged from weeds
When the heavens gave us fire
When our songs kept our mother awake
When the rainbow held us higher
Vizcaíno saw me here in 1602
He called me by my name
The island of Bearded people it was
And to this day remains
I saw them come and plant the grapes
To sip the nectar from the vine
Prohibition shut them down
But the idea was never mine
The sheep were led to slaughter
And silent so was I
When the cotton gin reduced their worth
To diamonds in the sky Continue reading Late Arrival
In the home where I grew up⠀
A porcelain monk lived on the kitchen counter⠀
Belly full of cookies⠀
Admonishing us not to steal⠀
Back when the house was full of sneaky fingers⠀
I saw him enter the kitchen one day⠀
30 years ago⠀
Something clearly wrong⠀
Part of him had vanished⠀
Struggling for the words⠀
To tell me that my grandpa was gone⠀
Thou Shalt Not Steal⠀
Yet socially engaged like a teenager⠀
A calendar with no empty days⠀
Erased by a global pandemic⠀
A solitary castaway⠀
In the island of his own home⠀
In the socially distanced archipelago of our lives⠀
The dispatches from neighboring islands indicate⠀
That something was clearly wrong⠀
Isolation taking its toll⠀
Or a stroke of something worse?⠀
I’ve traveled this road all my life⠀
And so did my father⠀
Miles on our odometers until the math became meaningless⠀
Never expecting to find him at the end of the road⠀
Beneath these parting clouds⠀
No longer driving⠀
Not even moving⠀
In his chair⠀
Eyes rolled back⠀
His face lifted to the heavens⠀
Feet still on the ground⠀
But getting lighter with each labored breath⠀
Caught before he drifted off⠀
3 more weeks in the hospital⠀
Confined to his little room⠀
A castaway once again⠀
He’d build rafts out of medical equipment ⠀
And attempt to set sail to freedom⠀
Always thwarted by the tide of nurses⠀
As he floated down the corridors toward the exit⠀
He’s back home now⠀
In the house where he raised his children⠀
But at any moment⠀
I brace for the news⠀
That he’s built a raft out of old family photos⠀
And managed to sail away⠀
We hope his sailing days are done for now⠀
His final voyage a long way off⠀
But when it finally comes⠀
And his home is left empty⠀
As that porcelain monk ⠀
I will remember⠀
That there is nothing⠀
Nor even a global pandemic⠀
That can steal our joy⠀
Or our hope⠀
Or our love⠀
Hold on to what matters⠀
And say to the thieves that try to take it all away⠀
Thou Shalt Not Steal
It’s not every day you wake up to find the world around you burned to the ground while you were sleeping. Loved ones passed. Nothing lasts. It was too much to ask.
And yet here we remain… unanswered.
Our voice in the darkest night… unanswered.
Our screams out on a hill in the wind… unanswered.
The promise of a new day just isn’t out there.
Circle the earth six times,
You won’t find it on the seventh either.
It’s not hiding behind some sage mountain peak.
It’s not ordained in the words of the wise.
It’s not contained in the wisdom of fools.
It doesn’t dwell in the houses of the holy.
It’s not the circumference,
It’s the center.
It’s within us.
It’s the breath in our lungs .
It’s what fills our empty cups.
It’s the morning coffee that hasn’t yet been ground.
It’s our cat that ate the rat and left its remains on our doorstep.
It’s our car that doesn’t run.
It’s the leak in the roof.
It’s the drip drip drip.
It’s our kids that think we speak like a leaking faucet.
It’s our wives that wonder when we’ll get around to it.
It’s the creak in our bones as we grind them into movement.
If it weren’t for those things that are still to be done, these bones would grind back to dust and be gone.
Each new morning brings its own beautiful troubles that wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for those that call them our own. As long as we are here, we are still here.
New Every Morning.
It’s the end of the west
It’s the setting sun
It’s a train-wreck that’s only just begun
It’s a crowded bar
It’s the law of the land
It’s illicit activities obscured by hot sand
It’s a war at sea
It’s the first shots fired
It’s victory in sight, though not the one desired
It’s a shift in the wind
It’s an outgoing tide
It’s the last man standing as the captain died
It’s a history lesson
It’s the name of the street
It’s a blank stare from the strangers we will never meet
It’s childhood freedom
It’s only in jest
It’s just getting started but it’s the end of the west
A fine line
Divides the pursuit
Of overwhelming joy
The high tide line
Consider us divided
Even the Spaniards
On the tall ships
With a dash of salt
Who wrote this book of etiquette?
All of the pages are blank
As though the ink has spilled right off the paper
Leaving us to write our own rules with pencils
And burning eyes
After reading from cover to cover we are left
Just as we were before
And still rather unrefined
Even though she was royalty
We continued to stare
At the lines
Her blue eyes
And at the
Shape of her
Her delicate mouth
Meeting her was
Our good fortune
She showed us grace
We did not
Little did we know then
Just how good
The Queen would be to us
Or just how difficult
Fortune can be
Who have received it
The hills are burning
And we breathe the smoke
Of their exhalation
Second hand exposure
To long forgotten memories
The mountains never forget
Hovering over the water
Weightless over the face of the deep
The storm rides silently off to the hills
To darken the eyes of the cattle
And drown out the country music
The light that remains
Clear and unfiltered
Falling from above
Reveals an orchestra of liquid geometry
At once carnal
Yet also divine
Each note the offspring
Of a passing storm
With the laws of fluid dynamics
We’re drawn to the symphony
The melodies ring beyond the hall
To the cliffs high above
Calling us to a quick dip in the sea before dark
But once inside the concert hall
We’re swept away in a mass movement
Of salty sweat and black leather
Nearly drowning in the mosh pit
Bruised, bloody, and broken
From there we glimpse the orchestra more clearly
Four awkward teenagers
And a mountain of noise
Who allowed these kids to take the stage?
It is here that we learned this law of the sea-
It’s always bigger
Than it looks from above