Thursday, April 29, 2010


She smells like the
summer rain
drifts like an old song
through my brain

moves like breezes
through the grass
as warm as home
as smooth as glass

every smile is a sunrise
chasing darkness from the sky
and I’m a little gladder
every time she passes by

Her body like
the crashing waves
can’t help but stare
and be amazed

and when her lips
begin to part
a bolt shoots through
the harshest heart

each smile is the silence
just before the music plays
and I’m a little gladder
every time she looks my way

Eyes that spark
and flash and gleam
like glints of gold
inside a stream

and when a sadness
clouds her face
the sun and stars
seem out of place

she’s the girl that you meet
that makes you glad you came,
and I’m a little gladder
just because she knows my name.

[from the archives. 2000-ish]

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Returns Department

Ten past nine
it’s cold and wet
haven’t had
my coffee yet

some days you love
some days you hate
most days you just
go in at eight

Look for the file
that no one’s seen
and curse the loveless
fax machine

ain't no rhyme
or reason to it
when you have to
just get through it

Something grandpa
used to say
more in a farmer
kind of way

I edge closer
to recall
when the phone
shatters it all

can’t say that it
matters, though –
have to get
that cup of joe.

[from the archives. mid 90's]

Thursday, April 15, 2010


forget the thought
I thought I thunk -
I shoot my mouth
when I get drunk

and I don’t mean
and I don’t aim
that ratshot blast
but just the same

I ougtta leave
that whiskey be
what puts the devil
into me

forget the things
I think I said -
God knows what
flew out my head

like tossin’ shells
into a flame
until they pop
and mar and maim

I oughtta quit
that wicked juice
what knocks my sense
and jaw too loose

so just forget
the man you thought
I am because
turns out I’m not

I’m loaded with
the hammer cocked
a bottle up
and almost crocked

I guess that’s just
the bitch of me -
i’m smokin’ in
the armory.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


She was long and low and lovely
and she handled like a boat
as I barreled down I-80
in my old man’s hat and coat

they was all that I took with me
but they couldn’t case my shame;
left my father’s house in ashes
but I couldn’t shake my name

it was all he ever gave me
‘fore that long and awful ride
of a drifter and a grifter
hawkin’ used cars on the side

and a pretty little penny
out to catch herself a thrill -
what her daddy couldn’t buy her
in that mansion on the hill

Didn’t know where I was headed
what it was I thought I’d find;
if I’s out to capture somethin’
or leave somethin’ far behind

Atlantic City to Toledo
like a Waylon Jennings song;
just a slice of pie and coffee
ragtop open all night long

Passin’ every Joe and Johnny
99 on cruise control;
phantom faces on the highway
patrolman on a pecan roll

No he didn’t give an answer
but what answer could there be;
wasn’t nothin’ but a monster
and sir what does that make me?

Livin’ like I had no reason
to believe in much no more
since the day he made the papers,
that state trooper at my door

but way out in east Nebraska
I felt something breakin’ free;
the captain of a Continental,
windblown prairie as my sea

Just a captain, a Continental,
and Nebraska
as my sea.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Four Questions

What bread is this that does not rise?
We can not sleep - redemption flies;
so gather what you can and run
and let it bake beneath the sun.

What is this herb of bitterness?
The flavor of our hopelessness;
the silence on a servant’s tongue,
his lamentations left unsung.

What stem drinks from a pool of tears?
You, beloved - your frontiers
spread out like a scarlet bud
from all our fathers’ bones and blood.

What is this pillow, soft and deep?
The chains we lost; the peace we keep.
The freedom where we find our rest
in fortress, field or wilderness.

It is at once our history,
our present and our prophecy;
tonight’s what changes everything
as we pass over,
into spring