Thursday, November 25, 2010


Praise the Lord and pass the gravy

Dave got drunk and joined the navy;

raise a glass to Aunt Louise

who passed away and pass the peas

Turkey’s cold but so’s the beer

send them sweet potatoes here

grab a plate, don’t mind the clutter

green beans and some bread and butter

Cousin Crystal brought her kids

(Lord knows who their daddy is)

Cousin Carl’s ex-wife Jan

(call her Jim now – she’s a man)

Someone go tell Uncle Teddy

time to wash up – supper’s ready;

he’s up under Ann’s corvette,

still ain’t got it started yet

Grandpa’s gripin’ ‘bout his gout

collard greens and brussels sprouts;

grandma’s mixin’ up her lunch,

that famous bowl of julep punch

Some stuffing and some dirty rice

cranberry sauce and pop on ice,

sure wish Cousin Frank was here -

hope he makes parole next year

The kids is raisin’ hell, I swear –

s’why they’re sittin’ over there,

sneakin’ more potato chips

and olives on their fingertips

But that’s the whole damn point, I guess -

the din and fights and food and mess –

sure we’re rowdy, plain and poor

but we’re what we’re all thankful for.

I’ll take pumpkin and pecan

someone turn the ballgame on -

praise the Lord, the last is first,

sweet Jesus, think I’m

gonna burst.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I slept ember far too long;

woke up where I don’t belong.

Gilt and gold are all I find,

some migrant Midas left behind.

I walk tober through the park;

scarlet billows, like a shark

prowls through fog and rips through limbs,

shredding hymnals into hymns.

I know vember very well;

rumors that I can’t dispel.

Cultivating our eclipse,

scent of spirits on her lips.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


He brought back a Luger

from World War II;

we all need our trophies

and he had a few.

A Purple Heart medal,

a couple of scars,

a letter in German

and one silver star.

And he had his stories,

his songs and his rants,

his men in the trenches,

a young gal in France,

but he never mentioned

how he came to own

a Jerry boy’s pistol

one night near the Rhone.

Fifty years later

he left it behind

with three other guns

that his son had consigned

to buy a piano;

he hadn’t a need

for his father's weapons,

souvenirs of his deeds.

Sometimes, even now,

I can hear his son play

when the window is wide

and the breeze blows this way,

and maybe it’s crazy,

but I think somehow

those hammers are beating

a sword

to a plow.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


We’ve labored in your grand machines,

you corner office libertines,

we built your smoke and mirror screens

while burying your go-betweens;

with avarice, with arrogance

with no regard for consequence

your words will make no difference

when you collect your recompense

we’ll build a new economy

with music, paint and poetry -

when words become our currency

we’ll learn to use them carefully

the banker and the Bedouin

will stand and sing in unison -

as sentinels, as bastions

regardless of our origin

Doesn’t matter what you tell us

you have nothing new to sell us

peddle deference as rebellious

but your hoaxes won’t propel us

engineer some new afflictions

to endorse some new addictions

blur some facts to grease the fiction

flavor helps reduce the friction

we’ll build a new democracy

with music, paint and poetry -

when harmony is liberty

we’ll play it out responsibly

the grand duke and the destitute

will shrug their station and repute

to raise their voices, resolute

united in the same pursuit

although we’re bruised and bandaged

in a world fouled and damaged

by disasters you’ve repackaged

and the faith that you mismanaged

we’ll still tear down every rubric

of each populist and maverick;

let you choke on all your rhetoric

as thick and sweet as arsenic

we’ll build a new reality

with music, paint and poetry -

when art is made invisibly

we’ll learn to live life beautifully

the children and the elderly,

the indigent and pedigreed,

will slip the chains of enmity

and close the book on history.