Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Google Maps

Flying from Lincoln
To Denver
To Phoenix
To Portland

I sat in a window seat
And watched the world go by

It looks nothing like Google maps.

I watched farm land
Rise to mountains
That fell into desert that bled
Into grey rainy weather

But I never saw a bright red line that indicated a state line
Or a small black one to show a county
Or a dotted line for a new time zone

I watched rivers snake across the land,
I watched straighter roads do the same
 At times I could see the vehicles
 Rush with the tide

But instead of division lines
I connected every city
Every town
Every farm house
With the roads that cut across the surface of this country
It would take time,
 But I could walk out my door and see anyone

I found it interesting how easy we are all connected with the things we make
 Airplane Seats
Yet, the person next to me has nothing to say
 Earbuds are in the way

From 40000 feet
This life doesn't look anything like
Google Maps.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

To the lady wearing two different shoes

6 in the morning
Portland Oregon
I'm sipping Pike Place coffee
 (with cream)
The city is waking up
The brick sidewalk is busy in front of the glass
Cars, busses, and parked taxis fill the narrow downtown streets
The pedestrians do that sideways glance
   wanting to see who is behind the glass
   but fearing real eye contact
There are all kinds of people walking past
    pants hanging low
    wobbly heels fighting with the bricks
    a grandpa, ear plugs, jogs by

Then a woman with an air of grace walks by
Black shawl wrapped around her, matching hat still shows some grey
She has a walker, but it might as well be an umbrella for the way she handles it
Then I notice her feet
Two completely different shoes
    left foot is an old beige nurse’s shoe (S.A.S still makes these)
    right foot is a denim flat with a silver buckle

I don't know her story
Is she among the homeless I’ve seen in the city
  camped out in doorways and underpasses
Maybe it is crazy shoe day at her granddaughter’s second grade class
   and she gets to come for lunch
Hell, just maybe, she likes to wear them that way

What I do know is that I saw you
   with your two different shoes
You inspired me to write this poem
(Which I know you may never read)

It is now 6:30 a.m.
In Portland, Oregon
And I am hoping I meet the woman with two different shoes in heaven

Thursday, September 8, 2016

To A Young Poet

I feel your words
  The angst of youth crossing every T
  The deepest questions dotting the I’s
I once raged on the page as you do
         Now I envy you

It’s not that the words have abounded me
   They can flow like water at times
      Creating new rivers of discourse
      Through the landscape of life

But I find it harder to get the words to bleed
 To cut through the skin
 To pump through my aorta

But your words fill the poem with emotion
  Needle to vain
  Band-aid needed after reading
  Two cups of orange juice just to have enough
      Energy to get off the page

Maybe I have run out of blood
    Or have become too afraid
    Filled with fear and age
          To let my heart be seen by the world

Because I’ve learned that I might speak truth

But the reader always has their own connotation

And too many times they don’t match

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Grey Morning

The rumble of the garage door breaks the silence
I step out onto the driveway
The sky is grey-blue
A quilt of clouds sit on the horizon
To the east a small smudge of rose filters through the clouds
But I know that there will be no rays of sunshine today
To the west a lightning show has begun
There is almost a rhythm to the strikes
Funny how the past generates so many storms

I turn toward my car, keys in hand
It’s going to be another cloudy day in my heart

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Different Yesterday

If we would have had a different yesterday
Today wouldn’t be so rough
And tomorrow so lonely

Life may be a highway
But it seems that the crossroads are unmarked
No street signs
And no one uses their blinkers when they turn

I looked in my rear view mirror and you were gone

I stopped at mile marker 21
Parked on the shoulder
Hazards blinking
Did you know
  you aren’t suppose to drive while under emotional distress?

I tried to reach you by phone
But the reception was horrible
I couldn’t hear what had happen to you
If you were safe
Or happy

I turned off the hazards
Merged into traffic
Turned up the radio
Because I knew this was going to be a lonely trip

My mind kept going back
To all of my collected yesterdays
As I passed every new mile marker
Wondering how I could have made yesterday different

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Warning Label

I smile
You smile
Like everything else
  Terms and policies
   My Little Pony castle instructions
   The sugar content in cereal

We do not pay attention to other people’s Warning Labels

Smiles with turned downed corners
Eyes glancing with no contact
Their love with conditions

We know the labels are there
But we simply check the box

    “I have read and agree to your terms.”

Please email me your terms of endearments
I’ll save them in a folder
  That I can’t actually find
  I only know the shortcut from my desk top
I know I can text “Stop” when this gets out of control
Unsubscribe to the updates
But somehow I live with the pain
I understand it is my penance for not reading
    The warning labels

Nothing will change until my computer
    Or phone
    Or heart


 This poem was inspired by a work from A.J. Lancaster. His work is powerful and raw.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Through the Field

It was a late afternoon during a warm August day
Walking through trees and tall grass
I came across a field filled with seeding dandelions

White puffballs seemed to float above the ground
The afternoon breeze gently caressed the seen
I stood amazed, lost in the personification of forever

I was tempted to disturb the scene
To pull a single stem and release the seeds
With a belief that dreams could come true

Instead, I stood watching the dandelions sway together
Almost envious of the way they moved
Each white puff seen but a part of the field

When I saw a flash of red rise then fall below the wave
On the horizon to my right
With it, the seeds rose angrily into the wind

Leaving a chunk of empty green space
The flash of red burst diagonally across the field
Small explosions of white marking its progress

I can tell it is a fox. I am unsure if it is chasing prey
Or playing with the dandelions, enjoying the way the
Seeds fall into the wind, paratroopers of the future

The air is filled with white tomorrows
The field looks like it was hit with bombs or meteorites
The fox playing the role of both

I watch the fox move to the wooded area to my left
Leaving the field damaged in its wake
Not a care for, or even a look back

To watch the wind clear the sky of the seeds
To see the holes it left in what was once a peaceful field
It cares not for the field it just passed through

I squat down to look at the line of dandelions
I touch a single one in front of me
The head seems so perfectly round

The seeds are soft against my finger, almost tickles
I stand back up, hand empty
The field is no longer the same powerful vision

The fox’s rumpus trot made sure of that
But I couldn’t bring myself to pluck the stem from the ground
Not my place to determine the dandelion's future

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Didn't Know Forever Looked Like This

I believed in your whispers
 And words spoken in quiet moments under moonlight
I believed in your notes and cards
 Left on pillows and steering wheels
Forever looked different then
Forever was our fingers intertwined
Your head on my shoulder

Forever was a given
Never questioned
Always believed

But now
Forever looks like crumbling clocks
Rings that have broken to have a beginning and end
Turned downed eyes
And unanswered messages

Whatever happen to kisses that stopped time
To holding each other until the sun broke through the blinds

I didn’t know forever looked like
Silent dinners
Stay late at work
Infomercials at 2 a.m.

I didn’t know that forever could look like goodbye

Thursday, July 7, 2016

As My Daughters Sleep

4:48 in the morning
My day begins
Coffee is brewed
I try to stay quiet
Everyone else is still at rest

5:25 in the morning
Time to get ready
For work
Teeth brushed
Shoes match my belt

5:55 in the morning
Computer packed
Coffee mug filled
And I head for the door

Two of my daughters share the room
Next to the entry way
Their new string of lights glow
Soft and pink in the morning light
They lay sprawled out like dolls
Blankets twisted between legs and arms
They are Peace personified
My heart jumps
As I consider the world I will open the door to

I fight the urge to lock them away
To stand in front of them
As the world shoots arrows of discourse
Aiming for their hearts and minds
Aimed to destroy

6:00 in the morning
I make my feet move
To enter a world meant to destroy
But I have the strength to go
Because my daughters will be awake
With smiles and hugs
When I come home

Monday, June 27, 2016

It's Been a Long Winter

It’s been a long winter
  And another storm is raging outside
The power is out this Christmas morning
  No wrapping paper litters the floor this year
  No tree fills the window view

As a family we slept huddled together in the living room
To silence our hunger we eat Pop-Tarts and dry cereal
The drifts block the doors
Cell phones are on low battery mode
  But it doesn’t matter
  No service blinks at the top

I see the fear in my little ones’ eyes
My wife sends a question with a look,
 “What do we do?”

It’s been a long winter
  And another storm is raging outside
There are small flames in our neighbor's windows
The battery operated radio is just static
  Until we find a voice on an a.m. station
He tells us that this is the worst storm in years
  As if we didn’t know

I wonder if I have the Faith to wait it out
 Or should I grab a shovel and a scarf?
My wife produces a cassette tape
The joyful music feels like a scream in the grey sunshine
I see a small wisp as I breathe out

My oldest daughter has a book
Everyone has a blanket
Then our heads snap up in shock
  As a howl fills the space
There is a pack of wolves running between the houses
  Snipping at each other
  Sniffing the wind
  On sits atop the drift in front of our patio doors
I shrug in amazement toward my family

It’s been a long winter
It is Christmas morning
Another storm is raging outside
Instead of wrapping paper on the floor
We have wolves at the door