Thursday, May 28, 2009


We bought some rounds
we made some friends
the bandaged thumb
of Michigan
we broke some laws
we bought some time
a shake of salt
a squeeze of lime

short of accidental
but it wasn’t really planned;
wasn’t quite a tractor-trailer
wasn’t quite a black Trans Am
but we never let it stop us
never let it slow us down
chewing through the endless asphalt
just a ricochet through town

We bought some rounds
we made some friends
red wine and
we broke a sweat
we borrowed time
and danced on
someone else’s dime

it wasn’t desperation
but it didn’t make much sense;
we had nothing else to offer
and we offered no defense
we just kept the tires burning
and we kept the headlights on
as it all flew by like fenceposts -
all we ever got was gone

We bought some rounds
we made some friends
black coffee and
we broke some bones
we did some time
sold our watches
and our prime

it didn’t make a difference
that we didn’t have a clue
that the miles, meth and money
we were blithely blowing through
would be coming up behind us
like a freight train down the track;
when those two kids died in Denver
no one thought of turning back

We spilled some rounds
we lost some friends
with shredded backs
whipped by loose ends
we broke it down
in double time
and left it at

the county line

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Smart Cookie

I always take a cookie
when I tiptoe down the cellar,
so in case I find a monster
I can feed the fearsome feller.

I move real quick and quiet
and try not to look too savory,
then when I race back up the stairs
it’s my reward - for bravery!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dones Capped

when it got too cold
to travel
when it got too dark
to see
i was forced
to build a fire
with the maps
you made for me

as the embers
drifted upwards
they set all the
stars to flying;
i have found
their fallen feathers
i’m done chasing
but still trying

through the breathlessness
of mountains
and the valley
of the ghost
it was never
me i looked for;
i’m not who
i thought of most

where the sand
becomes a mirror
i denied
what i was proving;
it’s the rain
that makes the river
i’m done running
but still moving

i can’t tell you
that i’m sorry
but i can’t say
i was right;
it’s a funny thing
but sometimes
there’s more beauty
in the blight

when the sum of loss
is profit
and when faith
deciphers knowing
every lily
wears a crown;
i’m done building
but still growing

and i think you
always knew
even as you
watched me leave
that it wouldn’t
be the answers
but the questions
i’d believe

put a candle
in the window
trim the wick and
keep it burning –
don’t be worried
know i’m coming
i’m done searching
but still learning

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Skinny Fingers

She had them
skinny little fingers,
she had them
skinny little legs,
she had a certain way of walkin’,
made the boys all walk on eggs

She was a cool
backwater diva,
she was a truck stop
angel eye,
kept her makeup in the glove box,
always gone before goodbye

She sashayed in
the roadhouse
as I tuned up
my guitar,
skinny fingers wrapped a cold one
before she got to the bar

and she ran
her skinny fingers
through her
long brown silky hair,
at a dark booth in a corner,
black powder in her stare

And when I
finished playin’,
she walked
right up to me,
with a voice like June and julep,
skinny fingers on my knee

and I recalled
my mamma,
she’d read ‘em like a book,
sayin’ never trust a woman, son,
what don’t know how to cook

So I told her
she was lovely,
I was glad
she heard me sing,
but how’d them skinny fingers
ever hold a diamond ring?

And she
looked at me quiet,
and the tears
rolled down her face,
and her skinny legs was shakin’,
ran her straight out of that place

I think about her
in these empty sheets
at night,
and that last long skinny finger,
and I think my ma
was right.

[to all you mamas – who are, of course, always right – happy mother’s day!]