Thursday, December 25, 2008


Hanging over
A hush, a star
and Seraphim

huddled in
the straw and earth
a virgin wept
while giving birth

Both euphoric
and confused
shepherds stumbled
and perused

the empty streets
the pens and sheds
a chorus ringing
in their heads

From the east
the wise discerned
a different route
for their return

as Herod tossed
across the plain
sleepless in
suspicious reign

A silent night
pierced by the cry
of a baby
near the sty

son of David,
a shepherd who
would be a lamb;

A guest who cursed
his rotten luck
in his bed
for being stuck

by the barn
and now the din
of God as He
pulled on His skin

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I am no stone
I am no river
I am a red leaf
in the wind
I am the last child
of the limb

I am no forest
I am no sea
I am a fragment
on my own
I am taken
where I’m blown

[extraneous saturday post – because it is the last day of fall, and rules, even (or perhaps especially) those self-imposed, are made to be broken.]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Butcher & His Bride

Loaded in a
Country Squire,
four kids with
their pants on fire,
always ready
for the ride
to the butcher
and his bride

He came swinging
golden gloves,
fists ferocious
as his love;
she came with
her family
through Russia out
of Germany

Kept a little
with the grocery
tabs on file;
settled up
the ones could pay,
never turned
a need away

Stout as weissbier
in a stein,
laughter rolling
like the Rhine,
ornery streak
a mile wide
in the butcher
and his bride

He could yodel
golden throat,
drove a Buick
like a boat;
she could take
a china plate,
paint a garden
while you wait

He made sausages
from scratch,
She made dumplings
from a patch
of blueberries
in the yard,
honest work
was never hard

He carved out
a noble life
with his cleaver
and his wife;
taking every
step in stride
just a butcher
and his bride

Never had
a moment’s doubt
what their time
was all about;
family bible
and three boys,
sixty years
of simple joys

She flew from
his arms one night
one more year
and he took flight
hymnal open
by the phone
to You’ll Never
Walk Alone

Grieving in
the loss of ours
laughter echoed
through the stars
and we smiled
as we cried
for the butcher
and his bride

[1 of 2]

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sing Me Charlene

Sing to me Charlene, third period choir
a voice like the sea that could set sand on fire,
sing to me Charlene, the song doesn’t matter,
no one sang it stronger or clearer or sadder,
just sing to me, sing me Charlene

Your face wasn’t painted
the way that they wanted
too skinny, too tall
they laughed and they taunted;
I saw you, Charlene
in ways that they couldn’t,
I saw the seraph
where all of them wouldn’t

You were the girl that could
set my heart pounding,
practicing scales
the world resounding;
I never cared
what they said in hallways,
that girl from choir
gave it up almost always

Sing to me Charlene, third row of the choir
a voice bright and sweet like a bird on a wire,
sing to me Charlene, the song doesn’t matter,
open your window and I’ll find a ladder,
just sing to me, sing me Charlene

I thought it would matter
that I’d treat you better
than a secondhand lay
in a hand me down sweater;
I thought that you’d see me
as somebody different,
who’d care and who’d call
and be there in an instant

And now all the jocks and the
stoners and posers,
they sell their insurance,
they drive their bulldozers,
and they all have stories
from under the bleachers
or locked in the band room
avoiding the teachers

And all that I have
are my stupid delusions,
these unspoken words
and imagined contusions;
you saw me, Charlene
when I thought you couldn’t,
pining, impassioned,
and that’s why you wouldn’t

Sing to me Charlene, third year in the choir
a voice full and free as a muse on a lyre,
sing to me Charlene, the song doesn’t matter,
No one sang it purer, sincerer or gladder,
just sing to me, sing me Charlene

You knew the score,
knew what you were doing,
you knew who’d get screwed
and who’d do all the screwing;
they never took you
to parties or dances,
so you took their stabs at
blurred backseat romances

you didn’t need me
and you didn’t need saving,
you felt the same hunger
and fed the same craving;
on warm Friday nights
while they chased the cheerleaders
you sang in your room
soft as wind through the cedars

Sing to me Charlene, third period choir
a voice in my head that still sets me on fire,
sing to me Charlene, the songs never mattered,
no one made me weaker or surer or sadder,

Sing to me Charlene, nobody else mattered,
your window is dark
and I’m lost
and I’m shattered,
sing to me, one more, Charlene sing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Corner office
making those reports
look clean
counting beans
until they’re right
framed in flat
fluorescent light

Your wife is home
your kids are fed
puts the youngest
one to bed
goes upstairs
to draw a bath
helps the other two
with math

you pack the van
soccer dad
and family man
Monday morning
up and gone
before the coffee
pot turns on

Someone has to
win the bread
you mumble as
you slip in bed.