Wednesday, March 31, 2010

crazy like spring (yellow)

spring makes me think of daffodils, tree houses and crazy people.

on the corner of my parents yard, where the gravel road turns to make its loop back toward the grave yard, there sat a pile of large random stones. one was a concrete ball with about 3 inches of rebar sticking out of it that i imagine adorned a wall at some point. green moss filled in the spaces on its rough skin; rust giving character as it spread into the stone from the base of the rebar.

it was beside this pile of stone that we built our tree house.

our dad did most of the work, building the deck, attaching the walls, even shingling the roof. but we got to paint it, using cans of left over paint from the corner of the garage and old soft bristle paint brushes. white was what we had most of and so white became our tree house, slowly between stoppages to rinse paint out of our eyes, from our haphazard painting.

as we painted, my sister sat on the stones, playing dolls in the dirt.

my heart, backfiring like a rusty muffler, sent goose flesh in waves to the shores of my arms, when i heard her scream. eyes rolling back into her head, spittle stretching in rivulets from her mouth, my sister flailed around the yard...screaming...hitting herself...throwing herself on the ground. it was the most peculiar thing we had ever seen, of course this was before we saw brad pitt in 12 monkeys.

gesticulating like a puppet whose stings had become tangled, she pirouetted in the green grass.

grabbing her, my parents whisked her into the house, away from prying eyes. we heard their taught voices through the wood of the bathroom door, then water gushing into the tub drowned out her keening. paint dried tight on our fingertips, as we sat in the hall, our backs pressed against the wall, waiting.

the door opened, eyes swollen, her body still shaking, wrapped in a green towel, my sister made her way to the couch, leaving hundreds of twitching ants drifting toward the metal drain.

the tree house is long gone now, the stones haunt some rubbish pile, and in their place grow yellow daffodils. the warmth of my coffee cup leaks into my fingers as i watch spring unfold, knowing the ants find each of us at times and at first glance we may seem crazy, until someone stops to care.

this is a Theme Thursday post and a much belated Magpie.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

two cents worth

a penny
in the rain
today, slick
and shiny on
the black asphalt
of the parking lot.

when i find another
i can share my

taking a break for a couple days this week, allowing my muse to catch its breath. don't plan on being online until wednesday, at least. look forward to catching up with you then.


Friday, March 26, 2010

twinkle, twinkle

the islands float
the sun sets
the moon goes up
the stars glide
in the night sky
and twinkle tonight.

to my famulee,

we might make a poet out of him yet.
he's seven, so he's got plenty of time...

have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

stain glass rainbows

stain glass rainbows
paint his mahogany skin
as he shuffles down
the crimson carpet aisle
to a front row seat
with God, gasps
rippling through
the lily white crowd.

this day, i
see where love ends
and i am
glad he's not gay
or supporting
health care reform
or the stones
might have come

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try, or just read more, go see g-man.

so maybe i went a little controversial this week. it just makes me mad to see people spit on and degraded. its easy to condemn and sometimes even to tolerate, but its a whole other thing to love your neighbor.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

whats your sign?

silverware clinks
on plates to the rush
of a hundred voices
but i only
hear you
and i am looking
for a sign that
this is more than
two people eating
dinner under dim
mood lighting.

this is day 3
and i cant stop

i cut my steak
into small pieces
trying not to look
like a pig and to
stretch out
the evening
and i am looking
for a sign that
this is more than
just one night
in a long line
of many.

dinner is over
and its time to

when your hand
finds mine and it
fits perfect, as we
slow dance in the
middle of
your room
and i am realising
i don't need a sign
to hear what my
heart is saying.

this is day 6235
and i still
feel giddy...

For more takes on 'sign', go visit my friends at Theme Thursday.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

gunshot lullaby

gunshots cough on side city streets, out of sight, beyond the soft street light pools that ring the dark shadows of the park. horns squeal siren calls into the night, few feet beat as the urban jungle falls asleep.

rubbing hands sound like parchment scraping together, as he blows his request for a cigarette into the air. receiving none, he picks his teeth with a blade of grass, working it, and working it, smacking his gums with a sucking pop.

spilling from within the layers, a soiled handkerchief peals back to reveal the days treasure trove of crumpled butts, retrieved from cracks in the sidewalk, carelessly tossed by those that have enough not to worry about a final puff. chipped fingernails work at red lipstick rings around the filter, not picky, it just don't match my outfit, his of beat smile breathes.

his eyes are not here, though he is, lost in some other time and place, drowned in the distance contained in their far off gaze. wishing upon a star, eyes flutter and he drifts off to sleep, the comforting sounds of home tucking him in, beneath his tree.

gunshots cough on side city streets...horns squeal...few feet beat...

10DOM...A Shot in the Dark

Monday, March 22, 2010

magpie tales: flat tires & buzzards

who's to say what would have been different about that day if the nail would not have nestled deep into the rubber teeth of the tire, leaving us stranded by the side of the road to bake in the sun. frankly, i don't like to think about, but i do.

late is something we never were. early or on time, but never late. even vacations were discharged with clinical precision, suitcases piled neatly by the door until the appropriate time to be put in their appropriate place so the door would whumpf shut and we could be on our way, on time.

tires hummed, siblings argued, mom navigated by torn map pieces, and dad stared ahead hoping it would all be over soon, or my sister at would wait at least 30 more mile before needing to visit another gas station just to inspect the interior decorating of their bathroom. there really is no way she could have actually used the bathroom that much.

pshwapt...balarubprubprupt...the sound of a cat trapped in a box followed by a small earthquake shaking our car, and we found ourselves drifting off the road into the scrub, where highwaymen hide the bodies. at least that is why we stay in the car with the doors locked, watching the shadows of birds circling overhead. so much for being on time.

even though the windows are sealed tight, we still heard dad teaching the lug nuts new vocabulary as his shirt darkened from white to a wet grey. surely some kid left the nail balanced perfectly on its head, just for him. mom turned a brilliant shade of red, though she said it was the sun. when i try them out later, i end up with a washcloth full of ivory soap on my tongue. evidently it was not the sun.

the crunch of the tires in the dirt and stone signaled our return to the road, and as we crested the hill, blue lights greeted us, slow hands signaling us through the wreckage. faces pressed to the windows, life rolled in slow motion, etching our minds with pictures, then the wind blew through the golden fields and its was all behind us.

some song played on the radio and being on time just didn't seem important any more. flat tires, not so much of a curse. nothing is random, not even the nails. sometimes i think about that.

This story was written for the prompt at Magpie Tales.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

160 - her legs

lifting her
out of the chair
into his arms
he becomes
her legs
with her
friends; smile
almost as bright
as the beauty of his heart.

What can you say in 160 characters? (spaces included) Go see Monkey Man.

At the retreat this weekend, there was a young girl in a wheel chair. Her older brother took her out and carried her so she could participate in the obstacle course. It swelled my heart so much it pushed tears out my eyes.

My friends at the Poet's Rally have blessed me again with the Perfect Poet. I nominate rhapsody.rerouted.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


sand sucks
between my toes
with each caress
i want to let go
and let you take me
out to sea...

they thrash
against me
what do they
hold against me

breath sucks
between my teeth
a taste of you
rushes into me
salty sweet and
i want to let go...

they threaten
to crush me
give chase
and over take me

i just want
to drown in you...

wrote this for a friend last week. actually i did not really like it after i wrote it...just feels kinda like an emo country song to me. i am too tired to write anything this morning. great night though. talks went really well. traveling back to VA around lunch...going to play a little catch up on your posts while i wait for a friend.

so i raise my coffee to you and hope you have a great saturday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

55 - the burden of guilt

why do you ask?


who told you?
obviously someone
told you.

yes they did.

they never
should have...

its for
your own good.

nothing good
will come of this.

it will
if you let it,

excuse me...

it will...

no, what did
you call me?


sorry, you
have the wrong


Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Decided to try my hand at something a bit different today and let the burden of the scene rest on the dialogue. Was inspired by on of the writers at Magpie Tales, who let the burden of the story rest on just describing the surroundings.

I am traveling and speaking all day Friday up until midnight, so I will catch up with you on the weekend. Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

breakfast comes

some memories are better
in black & white...

her hair blows
in the wind, glows
in the sun and her
laughter is magical.

her mom smiles
in the seat, miles
in the jeep and her
day is complete.

this is how i
imagine them before...

we pull her from
twisted metal, tires
still spinning, leaking
rainbow puddles in the
green grass, and she
for her daughter
and when we find her
my breakfast comes in
thick sticky globules
at the edge of
the highway
felt too
in a belt and wanted
to breath free

can't i

just say

some memories are better
in black & white...
because it drowns
out the color...

For more takes on the theme, go see my friends at Theme Thursday.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

view from the backseat

dad, i think you should be aware of my future.

yeah, why is that?

well, i am going to have a big farm. we will have chickens and cows and sheep. mom and my wife will cook. cole will cut the grass and plant the fields. i will take the eggs and milk the cows. i don't know who will sheer the sheep yet. but you get to shovel the poop.

(i guess now i know where i rank in the pecking order or maybe my son thinks i have enough experience shoveling poop. on the bright side, at least i have a retirement plan now.)

i won't be at the farm all the time, i will also be the principle of a school. and when i am home i may be in the basement of the barn, because i will be a scientist as well.

(is it just me or is this starting to sound like a compound? i wonder if he is working on the kool-aid down there is the basement.)

anything is possible logan...

(by next week, we will either be back to being a superhero or off to something new. but chances are i will still probably be shoveling poop.)

keep dreaming...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Magpie Tales: Marionette

there is a certain comfort that comes when you pull my strings,
knowing that you are in control, that I don't have to worry about
what i need to do.

if i need to talk, you speak for me.

if i need to move, you move me.

if i need to feel, well i don't...

you are in control and i mindlessly wander to the whims of your
hands, following you here are there. dancing for your friends,
their smiles are courteous, hiding their pity. at the end of the
night, you will drop me back in box, close the lid and forget me.
it is dark in here, and quiet...i like it.

in these shadows, i dream of what life would be like without the
pinch and pull. blasphemous dreams, their freedom smells so
alluring, yet scare mes. i have never been on my own and would
not know where to begin. you have assured that.

one day, when i wear and splinter, you will grow tired of me,
much like the others that used to inhabit this box. maybe
then i will understand, why their smiles don't need to be
painted on, any more.

This story was written for the prompt at Magpie Tales.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

160 - happy now?

whatever makes you happy
their wisdom whispers
still in her ears
as she sits
amid the
hoping this
is not how true
happiness really

What can you say in 160 characters? (spaces included) Go see Monkey Man.

This coming weekend I will be speaking to a large group of teens in Maryland. One of my topics is our quest for happiness and how misleading it can be when we use it as the basis for our decisions....

Saturday, March 13, 2010

the walk

they give up,
my favorite jeans
breath their last words
foreboding my
ides of

we walk on.
i walk on
walk on

under the overpass
where strong arms
reach from the
rushing brown water,
bracing the bridge,
scrawled in white
spray paint, reads
the horizon is not
that far away.

i find peace
in that.

It was one of those mornings, today, when everything sits on your shoulders, threatening to push you into the earth. The knee ripping out of my favorite jeans was prophetic in where the day was heading, so I took a walk by the river to clear my head and some graffiti poet gave me something to ponder...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

55 - street rhythm

her third leg beats
with the
of soft bottom brown shoes
scratching along the sidewalk.

oh the things she's seen
at eighty three, as
she looks down,
hunched over,
not weak;
her strength,
she still
keeps rhythm,
as she heads
down the street.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Nothing amazingly deep this week, keeping it light hearted and fun. Just an older lady that made me smile, still going strong after all the years.

Thanks to Jingle and my friends at the Poets Rally, for the week 8 award. I nominate Megzone, for keeping it fun yesterday.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


is it time
for shoulders yet?
my tired legs,
they need a rest.
this road is long
and often harried,
and sometimes i
just need carried.

Cole and I climbed the mountain today. At the steepest point he gave out and I put him on my shoulders the rest of the way. Standing on top, overlooking the city, we pointed to familiar places and talked about things important to a five year old, while tossing rocks at trees.

This simple little verse played around in my head as we walked back through the trees.

One of the most important hats I wear is being a dad. Being there for the silly conversations, the victories and losses, and sometimes being willing to carry him when the road gets steep. I learned that from someone special, my dad.

The most important thing I can do for them though is to wear another hat, and show them how much I love their mom.

I may wear a lot of hats at times, but its always good to come back to those that are most important.

For more takes on the theme, go see my friends at Theme Thursday.

Also, I am in the spotlight today over at Six Feet Under. Drop on over and see what Tess has in store for me.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

search & seizure

i can't sleep, not that i don't want to,
nor am i being deviant or sneaky but
because they won't let me.

it happened again. i awake surrounded
by faces i barely recognize, of men that
come into the house in the middle of the
night to check on me, letting me know
it happened again.

rerun, rerun, sounds boring
just saying it, but that is all that is on,
as my eyelids wrestle a cage match
with my will power.

must stay awake.
must stay awake.
must stay...

tomorrow they will glue electrodes to
my head, one at a time, until wires
sprout like multi-color hairs. flashing
lights periodically just to stimulate me.

how many more days will i have to
take these little white pills, and explain
them again? or better yet why does
this happen, can anyone tell me?

i will walk into school, my hair a rat's
nest of hardened epoxy and dark
circles under my eyes. you will look
at me and wonder, thinking you are
not, but you are...

the same kinda different as me.

Its been a while since I wrote about growing up with seizures, and never really understanding why I had them. They went away somewhere during puberty, disappearing as mysteriously as they came.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Magpie Tales: Better that way (a children's story)

clouds sprinkled the sky like dust, the day the elephant came to live at our house. it was rich and blue, not like the grey storm you would come to expect, or lightning flashing strobe lights through the pane. no it was blue, and the elephant small.

i kept him under my bed, better that way, as no one felt the need to talk about him. not that you would, even if he walked passed the kitchen table while you were eating dinner, or tried to slip him a lima bean to avoid their nasty texture squishing between your teeth. no, no one every really talked about him, even though he was there.

while he did not eat lima beans, and i would not blame him, he must have eaten something as he began to grow bigger and bigger. pretty soon, he would not fit under my bed, and though i tried to squish him into the closet, he found a comfortable place in the corner, where i piled my dirty clothes. i think it made him feel closer to me, it was probably better that way.

i could not tell anyone about him, who would believe any way that there was an elephant in my room. once it almost slipped out, but a hush, hush and off you go, kids you know, left him sitting squarely in the middle of the room again. it was hard to miss him, he was as big as the station wagon at this point, but visitors just walked around him politely, and quietly. better that way, as he just might stampede.

i figured my family would ask him to move out eventually, as he was taking up so much space, but they just left him, even when he put his foot through the window one day trying to turn around. duct tape came to the rescue and we just stopped going into the living room, by then he was too big to get out. we painted him to match the wall paper, it was better that way.

one day, sitting in my wooden desk at school, scarred with the initials of previous inhabitants, i was astounded to see the elephant walking through the school yard, on his way to the playground. his trunk held high, he was blowing a mighty tune, finally getting his overdue attention. all the kids ran to the window, cheering and giggling, to the teachers dismay. me, i just smiled from my desk, thinking its better this way.

elephants are meant to live free.

This was written for the prompt at Magpie Tales. It is not my childhood, I just tell it for the kids that live with elephants.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

160 - welcome home

a line of cars,
lights on,
passed me
on their way
to the cemetery,
a small face in a rear window
i wonder if he knows
something we

what can you say in 160 character? (spaces included) go see Monkey Man.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

10DOM: Corruption of Evidence

she lets it slip
around the edge
of her coffee cup
to trickle in his ear
and fill him with fear
of the greatest monster of all,

it slowly takes grip
hatching maggots
in all of his stories
of times they shared
that he never even cared
until no hope at all has

relationship busted
all evidence corrupted
around the edge
of her coffee cup
it slips,
her wicked smile drips

This was written for the Tenth Daughter of Memory. A true tale of the slow poisoning of a little boys mind.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

55 - dust to dust

his shadow
stretches beneath
boughs of the old oak
tree, before a fading sun,
fingertips tracing
rough-hewn initials
worn smooth with
time, stirring
dust from
their depths.

her fingers
untangle his, lending
strength; yellow dress caught
in the breeze, turning to
butterflies wisping
into night, leaving
him to walk alone,
dusty roads

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


thick tendrils,
slither between mountains
choking trees until color drains
from their outstretched limbs,
leaving them grey,

cry within
but are lost to
my eyes.

spills heartily
along rocks laid in the
dawn of creation, burbling between
banks, carved smooth
in its passing,

seizes tight,
pores contracting, toes
curling around pebbles, as the
current scrubs clean
my naked body,

warm kisses,
dries me gently,
returning green to the valley,
my own personal Spring,

Think Green, before it becomes a fairy tale we tell our grandchildren to remind them.

For other takes on the theme, visit my friends at Theme Thursday.

Thanks to my friends at the Poets Rally for another Poet Award.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

all aboard

peering through prickly
scrub brush, we tremble
in anticipation, even before
the rumbling sound begins
to shake the ground...

small pebbles hopping,
the iron horse rounds
the bend belching smoke
signals to the stars, unaware
of what is coming...

some small voice whispers
doubts on the hairs of my neck,
torn between flagging the train
before its too late and
awe at what we are doing...

who derails a train?

her raw energy pulls
at my cheeks, my breath
catching in my chest
in that last moment, ears
peeled and eyes pinched tight...

she rolls on into the night,
leaving our coin gathering
moonlight in her tracks, and
i am not sure if i am
disappointed or relieved...

or scared of what other
lies we believed.

Note: If you did not grow up by railroad tracks, you may have never heard that you can derail a train by putting a coin on the tracks. I can tell you from experience it is false. Though sometimes I wonder what we would have done if it had. Or what we were even thinking in trying it. We were young once...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Magpie Tales: Band-aids and boardgames

We are standing behind the complex where he lives, at the edge of the woods. He is five years old, tawny brown hair with a grin. His eyes carry shadows.

That's the boom boom trail...we don't go down there.

My mind turns this over slowly, examining it for anything that could be good, coming up with naught. An orange cat walks lopsided toward us, its back feet skittering to the side, ribs forming ridges in nappy fur. Milky eyes peer over its ragged smile and its cries sound like an abandoned baby.

This is my cat. He walks funny. Want to pet him?

A head pokes out a screenless window to see who is talking, then darts back inside. Muffled voices, then a burn scarred face appears, then disappears back inside, shutting the window. Meth she'll mumble, one day as we talk on the stoop. The breeze carries the aroma of sweet smoke.

My dad is over at Billy's. I can't go there, when he is there.

Empty beer cans pile in an altar, random debris littering its base, leftovers from last nights sacrifices to Bacchus. I can still hear their raucous echoes in the blood beating bass drums in my ears, and just try to breathe. A cop strolls through the alley between the buildings, eyeing us then moving on, his heavy belt jangling.

Want to play hide n' seek.

I feel the march of a thousand ants on my arms and neck. We play. We play to make it all go away. For a brief few moments maybe it does. I make calls, file reports. In two weeks, he will fly out of the second story window, in a rain shower of glass.

We will hear stories. He will get a new home. I will not see him again.

This is not pretty.

Sometimes it isn't.

But I keep going back to broken homes and busted lives, with band aids, board games and hope.

I can't save them all,

But maybe just a few...

This is the weight that I carry.

This was written for the photo prompt at Magpie Tales.