Falling in Waters White

This time it’s for you,
about you, because of you.
You who bumped my skiff
of folded paper into the
heartbeat rapids swirling
and crashing over
unknown emotional rocks.
I who became captive to
the eddies of obsessive stasis,
grip on my oars lost,
forced to paddle my way out
with these ink-stained hands.
The scenery’s still a blur.
Then, because it all
moved so fast in rosy hues past
my infatuation-blinded eyes.
Now, because my memory
fails but for those
too-close instances to
the falls and the too-long
from the thrill of dropping
into certain oblivion.

A Question of Keys


Does it exist, the place
they say you go when you go?
Or is it another con to keep
the masses in line, because
the laws of Man aren’t enough
to keep the dirty, hungry, needy
you and I from becoming
just another mammal,
feeding our children the milk
that likely is the only kindness
they’re likely to feel
from other humans unless
they believe fabulous
(if not fabled) prizes,
await for doing the right thing?

Is it that important that
we need some Over-Us Being
and a minion of winged, haloed,
glowing, enrobed, stern, gentle,
even immaculately impregnated,
come-from-above with the
Keys to the Kingdom
of a happily forever-after life?
We hold the real key from
the time we are born,
kept within that other
readily accepted fable,
the loving heart — the soul.

It is simple and sanguine,
not ornate and gold.
It is a Rule Golden that makes
desert, forest, jungle, prairie,
all Heaven on Earth.
Do for me as you would
do for yourself…
if you loved yourself.
Someone else does,I hear.

An eyes-half-open sprint of a free write for my friend Kellie Elmore, based on that photo up there. I’m trying to make a comeback from the dark place I’ve been. It’s a struggle, but I see that golden light ahead. Bear with me until then, Okay?


Who are you,
I hear you calling from
the redbud trees, but I can’t
find you in this morning light.
Are you looking for a friend,
I hear lots of other’s singing
their songs, too. I don’t speak
their trilling tongue, so
I don’t know if they recognize
your poem, either.

I sing each day, too,
It’s uncertain if I’m singing to
an anyone or a flock.
Ever think we’re singing
only to ourselves?
I’m glad we talked today,
Maybe you could listen to my song
someday, too. In its own way
it goes something like yours.

A catch-up day drabble about a conversation I had this morning, Day 21 of Poem-A-Day April/NaPoWriMo 2014. They all can’t be as good as my avian brother’s poems.

A Study in Scarlet


Photo by Heather Grace Stewart

I enter the room and immediately sense a disturbance and a late presence.

My eyes glide to the fireplace, where a smudge of ash lies upon the polished tile hearth. I feel a faint warmth come from within the firebox and, with a gentle whistle into the ashes, I awaken seven orange embers from within their gray ash bed.

Swiftly, I turn to the coffee table behind me and note the magazines tossed somewhat haphazardly eight inches off its midpoint. Upon closer inspection, I find a dried ring upon its surface, two and five-sixteenths inches from the coaster. I lick my finger, touch its tip to the ring and tap it to the end of my tongue. I taste a ring of smaller diameter on the opposing coaster.. Hmmm… Sweeter. Yes.

Just inside one of the table legs I spy a broken bit of popcorn kernel. I taste that as well. White cheddar. I wince at the juxtaposition of flavours, but do not judge.

I advance to the south-facing window, through which morning light provides a three-dimensional stream for dust motes to course. Dust I was certain I did not raise.

Springing to the nearby bookcase I note, with self-serving glee and some bit of distress, the lady of the house has not deemed to dust the shelves in seven–no, nine–days. And THERE! On the fifth shelf from the bottom, bare spaces, binding-sized slots shining amid the semi-matte sheen of slovenliness.

A quick assessment of the shelf and its alphabetic array of volumes and I know I have solved the case. A D shoved amid the Cs. Elementary what’s happened here, I assure myself.

A call out to the hallway and the thirteen-year-old I hallooed enters the study. She carries with her a mug of tea—green with honey, as expected—and plops rather insolently into the chair with the scarlet pillow, placing her mug within the left side of the ring of my earlier investigation.

“My dear,” I say. “Were you and Hannah in daddy’s study last night?”

“No! I know we’re not allowed in here when you’re not home. How could you accuse me of that? Mother!!” she calls.

I raise my hand and softly say, “Don’t deny it. I have all the proof I need right here.”

I point out all the clues of the evening malfeasance perpetrated in my wife’s and my absence while we attended a dinner get-together at Hannah’s parents, the Watsons’ next door.

“Okay,” she says. “But we didn’t do nuthin’. Stupid books are nuthin’ but old-timey stories. No cool London scenes, slow and wordy. In our wildest dreams we couldn’t even imagine Cumberbatch in the starring role.”

“Grounded Friday night,” I say. “No phone, no computer, no Kindle, no iPad. Just a paperback version of A Study in Scarlet, which we’ll discuss Saturday morning.”

“Mother!!” she wails just a little louder.

“Oh, and his surname is Doyle, not like Conan-Doyle. D first, not C. Now where the hell’s my pipe?”

An unedited just-for-fun lunchtime write based on my dear friend Heather Grace Stewart’s Take Ten Thursday photo prompt up there. Sorry, Heath, the poem I thought I’d do for the winter scene got run over by my Holmes (Sherlock, not Mike) fixation.

Songs of a Castaway


Out here in the wide and wet,
the winds still whoosh but the waves
don’t lap. There is no shore,
just the wander and wash of lifting,
dropping, pushing and pulling in any
and no direction at all.
Here floats the castaway. The jetsam
from a tall white cruise ship painted
with gilt names like Society or Propriety.
Or maybe tossed from a tramp steamer like
the S.S. Familia. Doesn’t really matter.

We float out here under sun and star,
among the same sharks, whales,
and schools of shining somethings.
There come times it gets lonely, though,
when all the humanity you hear is
gasping as you swim and swim looking
for a place you can rest your feet,
listening to your voice singing
off-key shanties taught you by angels
inside your head.

One night, I swam near once-distant lights.
A shore of dry earth stretched before me,
where tramplers raised dust and a constant
dissonant holler, angry and confused
as gulls in a hurricane.
I asked did I really want to set
my feet down among that, when out here
I’m free to just watch, and the angels
and I could make up more songs about
what we see, hear and think of it all?
And so we swim.

A little wake-up Free Write Friday (actually Sunday) poem based on a GIF prompt set by my friend Kellie Elmore. This one came straight off the pillow, so you all can decide if it’s the remnant of crazy dream or the truth of first-light consciousness. Does it really matter?

Shadow Play

Behind the pink scrim, shadow play performers gesture about the stage in indistinct silhouette to woodwind accompaniment and the plucked bass string of my pulse.

Here and there, flashes of halos bounce against the screen, but instead of blinking I open the curtains.

Before me I see lakeside willows waving and the glaring pitter-pat of the Star’s face upon that shattered mirror of water.

It falls warm upon my cheek like your touch, and I can’t help but close my eyes again.

“What are you smiling at,” you say, as I lean back, humming the score of Nature’s Ombre chinoise.

Here is a 100-word, Five Sentence Fiction drabble prose poem that I am sharing with Lillie McFerrin’s troops (Prompt: SUNSHINE) and with my friend Victoria C. Slotto’s call at dVerse today for and Object Poem, where we look at something quite ordinary, but in a different way. Hope I haven’t jumped too far from their requests…these pain meds and all.

We’ll Be Somewhere When I’m Done

I emerge from enveloping shadow and hear
my feet slap the pavement, feel my breathing
deep and even. Brownstones whiz by
my fluttering eyes and I recall the last time
I whizzed this effortlessly was forty years ago.
A rumbling regiment of cavalry cuts off my route
at Lark Street. Smart in their dark blue uniforms
trimmed in gold, black hats sit jauntily upon their heads
just as the riders perch with élan upon cantering steeds
that match their headwear. The echo of this mounted
all-baritone chorus out of a John Ford western
follows me north. That’s when I see him again,
standing on the corner, at the corner of my eye,
and spy him through the open doors of a UPS truck.

Turning west toward our old place, I sense his back
quickly turned toward mine. A bus grumbles by
and I catch a new aroma, its exhaust like coffee
from the kitchen. I snort, lift my head from the pillow,
realizing with pounding heart, I have run my covers off
in dreaming my first dream in months, or at least
first I can remember. When I slap my feet upon
the cold true floor, I realize I do not like your
night-time dreams. To me they lack meaning,
a beginning or an end. I prefer my waking ones,
like this one, in which you and I may not know
where I’m going, but I’m pretty sure
we’ll be somewhere when I’m done.

An unfortunately true retelling of one of my fever dreams from last week. In truth, I do not dream much, at least anything I remember upon awakening. But if this foolish thing was any indication of what I’m missing, maybe I’m better off. At least the colors were nice, though.

Can Only Tell You

FWF 12-27-13

Once, spatterings of who I am would drop
onto the page with the certainty of gravity.
They poured like rain in an empty jungle
silent and secret. And when I opened
the road to me, you tore out
some of my simple sheets to paper
the walls of your hidden places.

Your smiling oughta’s and supposed-to’s,
my shoulda’s and what-if’s, all have dammed me,
punishing with expectation, confining
my thoughts, hopes, even loves.
I can’t reach in to clear them out.
I am stranded somewhere between an ocean
and desert with nowhere to turn.

So I will wander around this page
today, maybe even tomorrow, looking
for a home, hoping I can find another
route to that lost me. Whether
you come along is up to you.
I can’t tell you what to do.
I can only tell you.


Enraptured ~ A Story


lace_black_02 (Photo credit: queenBlingerie)

“While I’m in the shower,” Elise said over her shoulder to Glenn, her date this hot July night, “would you be a love and pick out a set of undies from the fridge for me…whatever strikes your fancy.”

As he pulled a sandwich bag – a sandwich bag! – full of black lace from the vegetable crisper, the open refrigerator  couldn’t cool the burning on Glenn’s face, nor the burning question others asked of whether he’d bitten off more than he chew in asking out Elise.

He couldn’t think of anything but Elise since she came to the firm’s Cincinnatti office from Columbus, a law school buddy of Glenn’s supervisor, and how he finally got up the courage to ask this edgy, cerebral beauty out.

Over the sound of the shower, feeling the chilled bra strap between his warm fingers and along a gelid lightning bolt from his right shoulder to his navel, Glenn heard Elise sweetly call, “Just leave them on the bed or dresser, Glenn…I promise not to keep you waiting long.”

Glenn was about to place the underwear on the long dark dresser when he noticed two gold bands and a diamond ring sitting in a blue dish; he blinked, stared at his reflection in the mirror, then shrugged at the familiar-looking guy goofily grinning there, and sat softly on the bed.

A flash of Five Sentence Fiction today, based on the word Enrapture from Lillie McFerrin.

The Tracks I Leave


contrails (Photo credit: Hope For Gorilla)

Their airborne travels are marked
by the cloudy tracks they leave.
Though birds travel the same roads,
they leave barely an echo behind
for us to ponder their paths.
Yet we remember those songs
like scars upon our skin.
And ponder I do, these cool mornings,
when the sky travelers’ prints course
across that field of blue.

I see the east, west, or southerly routes
they took before the sun finished
its own hidden path to morning,
when we can see all. For now.
But the winds aloft and day’s progress
disperse the records of their passing,
just as this old man’s memory
will lose these tracks I here leave,
ethereal poems of here to there.

Please keep them safe for me.