Here are Now
Days gone by, bygone days,
Wayback whens, whenback ways,
Tomorrow comes, today’s before,
Today becomes tomorrow’s lore.
Some look back, look back some,
Hum the songs back-lookers hum,
For present tense is tense indeed,
Pain is worse, as worse is need.
So some take now and throw it hence,
Now, take some, and throw it thence.
I’ll take now and hold it fast,
Slow it down, make it last,
Cry the cries,
Laugh the laughs
Die the dies,
Get past the past,
Sweat a summer,
Shiver a cold,
Content with young,
Content with old,
Walk a woods,
Catch a fish,
As I am, not as I wish,
And when I leap from time’s giant wheel
Here and now is all I’ll feel.
Book of Skins
I tried to write a book of skins,
And color it with crayons;
Then I thought, which one begins
A woman’s or a man’s?
Start with black, start with white
Or all the colors splatter?
I chose just pencil in the end
‘Cause color doesn’t matter.
Tavern sages oft’ do search;
Grim disciples not to heed.
Holy mages stay in church
Bent to reinvent their creed.
Hard-top T-Bird, engine dragon-roaring;
Dewdrop Highway, flashlight-beam exploring
Cavern damp and deep, promises to keep,
Born of high-school friendship not ignoring.
Twice the Seed
Some say a prayer can save a man from death,
A single moment’s cry his sins remit;
And once infused with God’s redeeming breath,
Assurance, lest he future sins commit;
Yet others say a soul is saved by love,
Not just of God, but man’s resulting deeds.
It’s here on earth the works of God above
Are manifest by holy saint who heeds.
What say, then I, who ponder these two paths?
Could faith or deeds be deeds and faith combined?
The answer will avert the coming wraths
Of God and of my conscience intertwined;
And so with twin theologies I go,
Perhaps God gave me twice the seed to sew.
Cannonballs of Love
Such pointed faith I oft’ tried to avert,
The kind that pastors swing like sharpened swords,
Their battle cry, “Poor sinners to convert!”
While I on basement guitars strummed my chords.
They siege the castle walls of hardened hearts,
Use up each arrow, spend themselves in care,
While I on heaven’s sideline hoard my darts,
And cannonballs of love with lots to spare.
My conscience might at last leave me alone,
If I but strode an inch toward what they do,
If I with jasper gem and diamond stone,
Retold my testimonies tried and true,
And so I launch my song upon earth’s plight,
And with my own persuasion join their fight.
Pop More Corks
They happen once or twice or thrice per life,
Decision points where all that’s hence is changed,
The single moments charged with moral strife,
Whole wars in diminution prearranged;
The all hangs in the balance kind of choice,
The life could sprout, the vow or doubt, the death,
When destiny unwonted trumps her voice,
And time, that terrible tyrant holds his breath.
The saints, I’m told, have more than thrice such forks,
Indeed, their road divides a hundred fold,
The common man, by contrast, pops more corks,
And celebrates with champagne his choice gold;
And so I choose to cherish each clock’s tick,
The next may be my final path to pick.
Great force and fuel it takes to lift our plane,
The jealous earth’s not swift to let her go,
But once aloft it’s easy to maintain
Her steady stride along the cloud plateau.
Now gravity’s a gruesome foe to flight,
Turbulence reveals its deadly goal,
To yank her from her step on heaven’s height
And green-eyed halt her climb to calm control.
For now, we’ll have to settle for ascent,
And all its terrible trials on the way,
For neither we nor she could reinvent
New laws of pull or pressure to obey;
Till far above our sin-polluted breeze
We stroll the starry stratosphere with ease.
What Starts In Earnest Oft In Error Ends
What starts in earnest oft in error ends,
Intoxication comes without a sip,
A treasure map to something more than friends
Should end in gems but how the coin can flip.
That giddy feeling born of nature’s law
Is also born of God’s tremendous favor,
If angels set the table, where’s the flaw?
We consume too soon what’s meant to savor.
A leaven like the likes of this is odd,
To wildfire through the decades undertow,
Till even stacks of showbread hide the fraud;
It’s so hard to detect it in the dough.
My little child, keep trav’ling light and smart,
For all the world reverses horse and cart.
Of all the sacred objects of my past,
(Believe me, some I’ve hallowed even twice)
Which one do I still use? I’m glad you asked:
My set of seven multisided dice.
Dodecahedron, pyramid, and cube,
And geometric shapes with stranger names;
I found one at a Quaker Steak and Lube,
The rest I stole from boxes of board games.
I toss them and they launch a time machine,
The numbers form a date from decades gone,
Then in a flash I’m back at seventeen,
We’re playing D&D till break of dawn.
In gazing at them, what fine things I’ve found!
A band of burly pirates drinking rum,
Or plastic planets fixed in orbit ‘round
My Pepsi can, their sun, Aluminum.
The ancient gamblers fashioned them from bones,
Then with their crude math’matics, carved the dots,
The search for modern answers ends in phones,
They made their big decisions casting lots.
I keep them on my window sill with plants
Treasure chests beneath the Rattlesnake Trees,
Each time the kitchen kettle pipes a dance,
They spin around like dreidels in the breeze.
So when I come to draw my final breath,
Please fold them in the palm of my poor hand,
In case I need to randomize my death,
And choose to leave to chance my promised land.
Rocks and Bottles
There were two crowds, one on each side of the street.
They were shouting loud slogans at each other.
As I walked, my imagination began to get the best of me.
I saw Jesus standing in the middle of the street, there in the traffic,
Lifting his arms in prayer. They say love knows no boundaries.
When rocks and bottles began to fly, I ducked away.
By this time, officers with shields and helmets pushed in and I wanted to scream.
Why do we need riot police, when we already have the Prince of Peace?
If time’s regrets you would avert,
Live today with all its hurt.
Where talent fails,
Light is light most
Where dark is dark most.