Thursday, May 19, 2011


A man’s success is not his own
despite his gifted hands;
a soldier needs a captain who
needs those who he commands.

He no more is his finest hour
than is his darkest turn,
and neither one can profit him
save what by each he learns.

His life is not a sum of strokes
he’s made along the way,
but hallways full of canvasses
he’s painted every day.

A man’s success is not his own
despite the heights he reaches;
all his knowledge dies with him
apart from what he teaches.

He is not the friends he knows
but friend as he is known,
not the wealth he’s harvested
but seeds that he has sown.

It is not faith on which he holds,
but faith takes hold of him,
a purpose not in depth of roots
but fruit upon the limb.

A man’s success is not his own
despite how he’s enshrined;
the measure of his life is found
in those he leaves behind.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Robbie and Bobby and Buster and Glen
climbed in the car at a quarter to ten
hoping to find something better to do
than hold down the trailer with softcore and brew

Robbie was driving and Bobby felt great
blown as the speakers in that Z-28
Buster and Glen shared a bottle of Jack
they passed back and forth sitting crammed in the back

Their mom was a mess and they moved quite a bit
living on welfare and gravel and spit;
three different daddies between the four brothers
countin’ on nothing aside from each other

Robbie and Bobby and Buster and Glen
found a good party and piled on in;
Robbie and Bobby sat down by the bong
and Buster kept both of those kegs going strong

while Glen took a walk ‘round the block with a girl
smearin’ her lipstick and mussin’ her curls
who never did mention that she had a beau
not that it mattered, but how would he know

that fool and his friends would be waiting inside
with heads full of liquor and fistfuls of pride -
words were exchanged and then somebody swung
and the whole goddamn party went mad and unstrung

Robbie and Bobby and Buster and Glen
sent that fool through a plate window and then
Robbie and Bobby knocked two down the stairs
and Buster used someone to bust up a chair

while Glen went outside, took a look at the lawn
and knew it was time for the four to get gone;
the guy had a pretty good bleed from his neck,
the girl was sobbing, the house was a wreck

The cops finally showed but a little too late
to do more than look for a Z-28,
no one had names and no one really knew,
it happened so fast that they couldn’t say who

and Robbie and Bobby and Buster and Glen
packed up and took off and weren’t heard from again;
countin’ on nothing aside from each other,
and that’s why I grew up without my big brothers.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Had a lucky silver dollar
stamped in eighteen eighty-four
kept it with me
in my wallet
maybe fifteen years or more

It was with me when I found out
they had kicked me out of school
and the day
that I got hustled
down in Austin, shootin’ pool

On the day that I got married
and the day that I came home
to a pretty note
she left me
and some other guy’s cologne

On the night that I got cold-cocked
For a stupid smart remark
and the time
I got arrested
just for pissin’ in the park

On the day I got evicted
and the day that I got canned
and the day
the IRS said
that I owed ‘em seven grand -

So I sold that silver dollar
for a fifth of sour mash
and a pack of
and a couple bucks in cash -

By the bottom of the bottle
as I drank it in my truck
couldn’t stop myself
from smilin’ -
guess I’m finally
outta luck.