Poetry Archive # 3
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O Precious Gem
Crying out in desperation
you look toward me and say:
"give me healing"...
as I cringe and retreat
from a flowing tide
of unceasing pain, anger,
bitterness and rage.
You wash upon my peaceful shore
leaving scattered bits and pieces
as fragile, broken glass-
yet, know not
that the unceasing and repeated
honing of this restless, crashing sea
will turn your jagged edges into
a translucent and precious gem.
If I were to declare the swirling hurricane
a bastion of hope,
would you laugh at the obvious
face of destruction...saying:
"how pitifully naive and blind is faith" ?
I ask you:
Were I too place the Most Holy Book
as a "grail" before you,
could you lay aside false rewards
and self- fulfilling prophecies
to open it's illumined pages
and drink in the promised Wine
and healing light
before an unbiased and truly searching face?
Should you identify yourself, mindfully,
you would discern that, indeed,
the "death" which haunts you is real...
that what you feel as real...has become "unreal"-
that your destined journey,
in "abundant fullness",
has come to a stark end
at a frightening precipice
you will either retreat
into the world of the "living dead"
or cast yourself, with absolute detachment
and humility, into to the Great Ocean.
There, listening carefully,
you may perceive and hear
the songbird of your own throbbing heart
and recognize it's sweet, warbling melody
as the harbinger of your own birth.
Likewise, you would harken
to a "Nightengale's" poetic words,
as those familiar mystic songs
which were meant for you to recognize-
(from the seed of your ancient beginnings
unto the fateful longings of now-)
to be God's beckoning, healing reflection in an awakened and deserving heart.
Of "time", we are weathered-
emerging from this wilderness triumphant...
grasping the honed gem of "self".
At last then, we may seem
to wear the tiara as a rightful crown... But, as the curving pathway transmutes
into deep waters
and the gloom of night approaches,
at dusk we shall say:
"We travel this road confused and alone" !
For never does the journey end
but where "preludes" embark
upon the new again!
to trumpet the approach of rain,
as the Sun will foster a garden's growth...
And the sacred flowers
shall always reach
for the illumined, warming light-
to spring forth in perfected beauty
along every winding and pebbled path.
Every one issued forth
as heavens ornamented offspring....
Colours and hues freely flew
as illumined fireflies dancing
and descending earthward
from the womb and firmament of birth.
Far they flew in dimpled, innocence-
as laughing babes and the dawning of soul...
Born to reach as outstretched leaves-
as the adornments of the human tree
of the world.
Behold these sacred children-
all and every one-
verily, glimpse the grander theme...
For no greater prayer ascends
or heals this Day
than that of these
manifest colours of light.
From what fathomed depths
will Wisdom finally spring forth?
Say: you were well-born and well-contented-
holding a silver spoon!
But, life has burned you out,
as a shooting star, too soon....and
you find yourself
in a realm of voids and vacuous "space"-
"out of tune",
inhabiting a "tunnel"-
if the light you seek
is known as birth or death.
and attachment to views,
you must sweep all aside
and come to Him "as a child"
For what you "know" now
no longer matters...
which purges you
and makes you "empty".
shall the Hyacinth of Wisdom
ever spring forth.
Scattered words scarcely
brush the surface...
as summer's twinkling suns
flashing from the water's rippled sky,
crystal bits of meaning
grace my heart
from the lucent, magic wings
of flitting dragonflies.
bathes me as I wait,
upon an ancient floating log
in perfectly peaceful silence...
Speak To Me of Roses
Speak to me of Roses
and I shall inhale
your fragrant words...
as fragile fragments
from the sacred world...
I lie in a field of foxglove-
as a healer of weakened hearts-
and weave my magic wreath
to crown afflicted and weary heads.
For I hear
His broken-hearted offspring
weeping at the Garden Gate
amid the flowers so gaily-jewelled
gracing the trellised Maze .
Gather to me the ivy-clad lives
of all those whose love has died;
and hasten to the willow tree
whose treasured weeping boughs
disclose their withered and helpless cries.
For I shall offer grief's reward
from a goblet of Morning's wine-
a potent dew from the Roses' lip,
an elixir of All-Healing and
the sacred mystic Sun.
City Of The Heart
I cannot be contained,
nor the cartography of my soul
You may find me...
as different from one city as another
and as familiar as the water
in every flowing river.
I may rise to the heights of heaven
or drown in the earthly depths-
rise to the pinnacle of understanding,
or hold a ransom of sinful debt.
I go where the wind carries me, free...
sailing thru life's rushing current, a mariner
cast ashore content,
upon unknown and foreign ground.
I am the winging bird and Song
heard among the rocks and crashing mist,
the navigator within the lonely ship
cresting the cruel and churning Sea.
I am the mother of every healing word,
the lullaby of shards and broken hearts
the keeper of hopes and dreams-otherwise
swept away by the broom of time.
I am the dust and the ash
and the rain and the mud.
The light and the dark shall be called mine-
for I am a child of the times,
born of the sun to wash ashore
with the changing of the cosmic tide.
I am a leaf upon the ancient tree-
which bears the most succulent fruit,
the reflective green of spiritual growth
from the ancient and growing root.
Black or White?
You see yourself darkened
by dualities existing within your soul...
Yawning, you inhale
and satisfying oxygen...
deciding to go another round,
the good and the bad-
right down the harried middle.
Dismayed by the "bad" that you see,
you fearfully suspect
that what you are
is overtly blackest black
and a meagre flimsy of white...
A flaming and smouldering coal-
or a whispering of under-defined purity.
As time outstrips your sense
you linger on a finely drawn line-
pausing to review the passing
of years.... and the cache of
a lifetime of tears....
asking the so-called friend
who inhabits your "all-in-fairness"
if you are blameworthy (?)
Idiot! You are human
Life is only an archade...
it deems thee to see how best
you can play the game.
Know your strategy.
Weigh the balance
of causes and effects...
if your actions have come to
a "good" or "bad" result.
This "line" is the singularity
at which you may invoke
the opportunity to define true clarity.
Get on with it.
I Shall Not Sacrifice My Clarity
I shall not sacrifice my clarity
to drown in a false and
but gloom and doom-
For, discovery lies beyond
the closed doors of the defensive mind.
One must grasp the handle
that what is held in the hand
is the truth...nothing more.
It is the real and unadulterated
that opens the door.
Grasping at straws,
these passive attempts
guzzle away the light-
dim the senses and alter
the true diamond
as a dazzling faux gem.
Drink the numbing mead
and to no path will it lead
Inhale the heady breath-
and one will become entrapped
in a spider's alluring
and jeweled web.
Flawed, But Undying...
If you place your trust
in my hands
freeing yourself of any responsibility,
sad experience tells me,
you'll most likely fall-
as I watch to see
how hard you land...
If you set me on a pedestal
holding my principles and ideals up
as a holy test I should never fail,
realistic experience tells me,
you'll most likely watch me fall
flat on my "can" 'cause
it's "human", I am...
If you accept me as all that I am
I'll be your flawed, but undying friend...
For, if you'd love me,
honest experience tells me
you'd witness both
the light of the sun
and the dark side of the moon
as the dual nature and myriad universe
that I am.
I Hail Thee
I hail thee,
Oh, Master Sadness of the world,
drowning in the ocean of thy
I hear thee set thyself apart
saying thou art a stranger
in these parts...or doth
the region of imprisoned hell
be the grounds
we all must dwell?
I see thee burdoned
by the digging of a grave-
I see thee alone-
and thou knowest not
there are those awake.
I give thee a clue:
He lives not far o'er cloudbanks,
but closer than a life vein,
inside the hibernating soul .
He will not descend, but arise,
as a wick
to be lit by thy heart,
as a flame....
Oh, Master Sadness
all is not lost-
It deems the not to reacheth out,
but doth deem thee
to reacheth within!
Friend Raven appears,
to claim his favorite branch...
As I hear the "medicine rattle",
a single feather,
then drops it before me,
uttering a throaty note
beneath his mystic breath.
I am at attention, mindful
noting my surroundings-
listening and watching...
within the timeless world.
Absorbing the pressing heat,
realizing the roaring fire blazing
within the beating drum of my heart,
I throw back my head
and open my throat
emitting the howling
sun storm wind.
As I chant and dance,
I am consumed
as fragrant bee's wax...
Only do the golden drops
of rarest honey remain...
Suddenly, I have returned,
grasping this shining feather,
to observe him laughing
my fearful cares away.
No Sea Serpents
There's not much to say.
Happiness, like a playful thief,
stole turbulence away.
I am calmly mesmerized, here,
sunning on the skippers deck,
inhaling the salt mist
and healing breeze...
No Sea Serpents
to crash in the uncertain tide-
but only the silent and ever-present
water slicing Dolphins
joyfully leap and ride
in the wake
of this ocean-bound Navigator's
my yearning mind
in too many directions
enveloping me in a world
of confusion....now lingering
on foreign ground.
I must untangle the
inter-laced and woven skein
giving every thread a name....
I am the needle,
darning its way
upon a winding path,
a thread trailing,
it's measured mark
within something more grand.
A strand, searching
for it's pattern-
stretching to understand
the ultimate and final unity
of the Tapestries plan....
Striving mindfully and prayerfully
to picture the object
of my un-quenching thirst.
To grasp the inkling of creation
written by my own hand,
to be cognizant of who I really am.
Numbed, the rude
thought intrusions subside...
Somewhere they hide
behind the band aid's protective
There are sparks arcing
when I close my eyes...
I meditate upon them
as they gradually descend,
Soon the swirling, undulating pattern
of deep purple spins from its central core
toward a welcoming dark blue void...
and I feel calm, in a petrified stillness-
Don't make any sudden moves.
Visited By Darkness
I was visited by darkness
which emerged stealthily
from the utensil drawer.
There (the silver blade drawn
from it's protective sheath),
open-eyed and gaping-
above the kitchen sink....
arguing silently upon
the alluring and aching edge.
Rocked me, rock me.
Talk me, talked me
into the receiver's solidity...
grasping the outstretched voice
as a staying hand...
Waiting upon Angels
to brace my fall, to
wrap me securely
and trundle me
down the corridor.
No tears, no shouts-
just the terrible trembling,
shaking and tumultuous fear
I was still not dead...
a Manic at the opposite end
of a depressive fact.
In wincing, but welcome dread,
I was a live wire
to the mind numbing,
"Butter and Eggs"
"Butter and Eggs",
in outright roadside happiness,
as a painter's impressionistic smudge
of simple, yellow joy.
Stop. Get out. Take a breath. Look around.
Sand and grit and hot blacktop
ripple in the summer prairie heat...
as a wavering mirage hangs elusively,
like quenching water
at the horizon of miles gone by.
in blue-tailed haste
beneath the cooling shadows
of roadside cast-away rubble
and corrugated roofing-tin
as barbed-wire fence posts
lean and creak, harmonizing
with the distant barking of dogs.
A mild scent of cow dung
fills the swishing grassland wind,
rustling the painter's canvas
Sweet, dear man
your words dwell
in the realm of despair...
Saddened and perplexed,
the analytic mind
reviews its own apocalypse-
the inheritor of life's grief, oppressed.
These death-fires find thee flaming
as the searing words of hell's smoldering,
Hush then, and lie in stillness.
Reach thou within thy breast,
for the Raven sees thy pain:
There be a forged Ruby
of priceless, and unmatched fire
to crown thy weary and martyred head.
Offering prayer, as hope,
the flame is lit from a wick
upon a measured amount
Then, one may surmise:
that hope may be consumed
burns as a
emitting traces of its essence
as an element
of wafting vapor...
by which the fragrance
of it's intended message
may be inhaled, as a healing spice
to ease the heart
the restless, wavering mind.
May this Sweetgrass
as a purifying manna
from the heart of one who prays
for the Greater Hope
that is Offered for the Healing
of these darkened days.
I needed you here next to me...
to hear me out.
Never mind that you were always
beneath my feet, tripping me up
and down the hallway and stairs.
You'd be dependably there
with your jewelled , Green Tourmaline
Listening to my every word,
analyzing my every move,
brushing your whiskers delicately
across my typing hands...
adding serendipitously your
keys of feline thought
to the forging of my words.
And when it wasn't going well,
you'd remind me
it was time we both eat....
you and me sharing rare treats
and afternoon tea.
You'd push yourself into my face
and nip at my nose and chin
and force your head beneath
my massaging hands
again and again and again.
And blessedly sit with me during
dawn prayers in solemn respect,
yowling your own amen's.
And when you became sick,
I cared for you more than I've ever cared
for any creatureand tended to your fragility
with my deepest love,
but felt your declining body receding
far, far from me-
taking with it a piece of my breaking heart.
And when, at the very end,
I held you protectively in my aching arms,
your exquisite Tourmaline eyes gazed
and locked onto mine in magnificent strength,
sharing for a last time
your knowing and grateful soul,
gracing me with a heartfelt goodbye
amid my sobbing cries.
And now, I am here
occupying a lonely and vacant
office, endeavoring to write
of you, my beloved "Marcel",
this broken hearted
Me and Vickie
We were two of those kids that were
what our folks called: "tom boys".
We climbed a lot of trees, and
jumped off a lot of roofs and stole
a few more hens eggs
than we'd like to admit...
We still remember the terrible ecstatic thrill
(and awesome guilt)
of smashing all those hens eggs
down the side of Isaiah Crippens
brand new tin shed.
Wow, those eggs, they'd splat everywhere-
and then they'd ooze
down the side of the shed
all yellow and mucus-like, with chips
and specks of eggshells all dripping, gooey and sticky...
eggs became when they dried!
It was so coolly disgusting!
And we'd belly laugh loudly,
rolling around on the ground, throwin'
and smashin' those eggs again and again.
But what made it totally "the best" was:
they were Isaiah Crippens's eggs!
(Vickie would raid the coop
while I coolly kept watch...tsk,tsk, tsk.)
So, we kept this up for a week or two-
always drawn to that dastardly frolic
until one day, in the middle of our reverie,
Mr. Isaiah Crippens himself, made a
surprise appearance on the crime scene!
He was like a red hot poker
as he came charging our way
and we lit the hell outta there
barely escaping, by the seat of our pants,
scrambling under the rickety fence.
He waved his arms and ranted and yelled,
swearing he was calling the police
to have us put in jail.
Geeze...we ran faster than jack rabbits,
until we fell, scared, exhausted and spent
into the hay loft of Vickie's barn.
We hid out for hours...at least 'til dark...
then parted ways,
with our "stories" straight,
and crept quietly home.
We got through the night and next day
and never did become "captives"
of the police.
(darn good we made our selves scarce.)
Next day, we decided that: after all,
what we were up to, was really wrong.
It was stealin' and wasting perfectly good eggs.
And besides there were kids in China
who had nothin' to eat.
So, we humbly apologized
to Mr. Isaiah Crippens,
and mercifully paid for the loss
of them eggs
by cleaning Mr. Isaiah Crippens hen house
for two months.
We were really sorry for what we done
and went to church
and did a whole lot of prayin'
Well, I guess
we've been forgiven...
it's been all these years
and we ain't NEVER
stole nobody's eggs
Look, Look, look, look, look!
There he goes straight down
into his dark little hole!
(I'm down on my belly,
looking deeply into the hole,
trying to glimpse
the place where he hides).
"National Geographic " camera
might reveal him shuddering
in the farthest reaches of his den,
digging frantically deeper,
never to be seen again.
Me , I wait here outside
hoping to overtake him by stealth
I loop the hole
with a noose of fishing leader
and back off, feeding out more line.
Hiding the pole, I lie down on my belly,
flat as a pancake on the prairie floor.
Behind some clumps of sagebrush,
I wait in the quintessence of stillness
and silence watching
for his apprehensive
prairie dog whiskers
to tentatively appear
from the top of his mound.
There he is !
Whizzzzzz, Bang. I Got 'im
wriggling on the line!
Now, when he lays there
playin' like he's dead,
that's when ya reel him in!
That there is: "Prairie Fishin'".
This was a tremendous source
for a lot of us farm kids .
Sometimes we'd make
a family weekend "outing" of it.
All of us laying around in the
middle of the prairie and sage brush
with our ridiculous fishing poles-
waiting for the excitement
of actually catching a prairie dog.
And exciting it is!
They kick up a real fuss.
Better than any trout I ever caught.
Of course we never kept them,
but always let 'em go.
They're real cute up close.
Prairie Fishin's about the only way
you'd have of seein' one
"up real close"....
( uuhhmmm bio-scientifically speaking)
So, I don't suppose it was all so
"animal activist" wrong!
So, I don't suppose it was all so
"animal activist" wrong!
We learned about the creature
and learned to care
about what's right
and what's wrong.
Wasn't too long
before we stopped Prairie Fishin'
My Dad was a charismatic man
He had a way with people,
a tenderness and concern
for their happiness and growth.
He was also a visionary, establishing
his musical career with elegance
and downright mind-boggling struggle.
Self made, he was loved by many...
as well as scorned,
but truly known by only a few.
He was a proud man
who held fears around his virility....
when it was obvious to all else
that he was a man of success
with noble principles and values.
He was hard on himself, having been
unable, through a physical ailment
which affected his hands, to become
a concert violinist as he had planned.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
made it seriously impossible to withstand
the pain and numbness in his fingers
He could no longer reach
for the artistic perfection
he'd once possessed and held
with grand ambitious plans.
He bravely changed his direction
and took a serious look into the music
of his Irish Ancestors, recalling
the wonderful folk songs and fiddle tunes at Grandpa Sullivan's place
on Saturday nights.
He found he could still play the fiddle..
just as he'd learned from his Grandpa
and remember the songs too.
He became so intrigued
that it changed his entire life
and set him on a whole new course:
The sharing of the Beers Family
Ultimately, it led
to the very concert stages
he'd dreamed of as an aspiring violinist...
Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The White House...International tours, Cultural exchange.
And so life rolled along,
including with it, my Mother and myself
Supporting, (in every way we could) father's professional dream.
He was a musician and a perfectionist,
driven by artistic visions.
As a taskmaster he was strict
and could sometimes be cruel.
But he was a heart filled with joy
with a rare love of music and humanity-
a seeker and gladdener of souls,
a "David and Psalmist" of peace
and brotherhood, an earth angel,
plucking his sacred Psaltery....my Dad.
I inherited a love
of my Mother's exquisite taste,
worn twirled round her matronly breasts...
Amber, was the color of her eyes
which unified and became one with
her amber beads as they'd glint
in warm and beckoning mystery....
her favoring, honest, wholesome
Danish beauty gazing upon me
in my tender, growing years.
She wore it at her throat
as a deflector of that awful flem
That continually plagued
her exquisite singing voice...
A beautiful talisman to deflect what made her feel
though we all knew
it was really that tin of "Meggezones"
that did the trick!
The vile little lozenges
that tasted like hell
but seared her throat open and clear.
Many a side trip we made,
in search of those little "Meggezones".
Then, she'd sit like an
Elegant Queen on stage,
wearing her Mysterious Amber Beads
and sing like the rarest bird
you'd ever heard...
(all the while gracefully clinging
to her lace kerchief
which contained her emergency stash
of amber colored "Meggezones"
and wedges of lemon, two or three).
Dearest Mother, how much I remember
with absolute love, joy and amusement!
You still need to clear your throat-
even after all these years!
Listen Ma, If I could track down
would you trade me for your
Mysterious Amber Beads?!
A Divine Rose
What is there
in this ugly world
that still remains
in unadulterated beauty?
Say: The Glory of the Rose.
We see her multi-colored beauty
overflowing in Reunion
on the garden trellis's of the world,
in the faces of God's returning souls.
We hear her voice
in the chanted warbling
of the Nightengale's healing Word.
and perceive her intoxicating fragrance
in the healing prayers and hopes
of all the peoples of the world.
Love may be found in the Rose Garden
where "feelings" are the beginnings
of "knowing thyself" ( never as a "fool"),
but as the fertile soil of the heart,
questioning and mindful
in the honest, intelligent and necessary
work of personal growth.
Every drought will come upon us
as a longing thirst
until through our fervent searching,
these storm clouds burst
into the nutrients of spiritual birth.
What need we care of the dust heap
of this world
the incessant assault of serpents,
we rid ourselves of poisons
in ultimate process
until we discover
hidden within ourselves,
the rudiments of true value
and the principles
of the cure.
In each heart and mind
we may find the seed
of our true Nature
and the recognition of
The Divine Rose.
Bright were the days
of innocent play
in backyard frolics with Frisbee
Carefree the times
when no racism arose
in impassioned, discriminating
and Nazi tones.
Clods of dirt incessantly thrown,
fruit and vegetables hurled from
cowardly and huddled corners;
in hard-hearted anti-Semitic fervor.
Witless rocks and wicked ice balls
from babbling, boisterous and bullying
who baiting-ly unleash
their charging, snarling, growling
and fanged attack dog.
Bestial behavior from these
so- called "holy" Catholics-
who inhabit a vehement hell
of their very own!
Outcasts from the Kingdom-
though they know it not,
kneel in pious sanctimonium while
staining the Pure, White Robes of Christ
with the stench of a cesspool of shit.
A thunderbolt approaches evil doers
upon their couches of hatred...
in the coal-dark and cobwebs
of Satan's poisonous snare.
We say nothing, do nothing-
but silently watch them
as day by day they fall
from any fragment
of Christian grace...
"for they know not what they do".
Still Thy Raging Heart
You weave your way into our lives
masked within the withered winter bushes,
soiling the blessed branch
where wrens in early spring
summoned summer's joyful songs.
Smoldering smoke mingles
with the winter's chilled air,
choking the fresh blue sky...
singeing our gasping breath,
filling our lungs, muffling us
as manipulated marionette's
before Dante's flaming depths.
Flame-lit and soundless
the smoke-wreath surrounds us
suffocating- as a diadem of hate
threatens to crown us
as horn-ed beasts with lowered,
Heaven heaps these tests,
as we fall backwards, stumbling-
groping toward the thunder-roll
of the promised light of tomorrow's
throne of inner tranquility and peace.
No personal anarchy shall swallow us
as we mutely turn our backs, walk away
and close the gaping door....
withdrawing into the arms of sanctuary
and God's helping and healing grace.
A Fallen Tree
Take a taste...."sweet cakes",
Fill your cravings in this
season of frenzied materialism
and call it
the "Christmas Spirit"-
joining Santa Claus's
velvet, red- suited and
jolly "wizened" beard
to your children's repertoire
based on the merchant's
Seated on what was once the
Thrown of Christ, "good 'ol Saint Nick"
upstages the simple, tranquil and sacred
No Star of Bethlehem remains
just the blinking false twinkling
of garish and competing extravaganza's
of neighborhood exhibit's
and the downtown neon
Christmas window displays.
Christ has become the image
of a fallen tree, harvested ruthlessly,
as millions of tokens of greed.
Wasted, dried out, then
after the "family warmth"
of Christmas Day...
to a garbage dump
forgotten, destroyed and decayed.
It's the time honored way
of wayward wonderers who weep
and wail for better days,
sleepily hoping on a "new start"
as they begin to devise deadened lists
of drunken New Year's resolutions.
There's got to be more
to Christ's Holy Birth and Words.
Thistles prick His Crown
in ever-altering degrees
the Blood of Christ remains-
His White Robes stained,
as He observes
the children of men
from the cross and crucifix,
snared by materialism's chains.
Surely, He tearfully searches
the whole world
for a single, pure and fragrant
Music of the Night
I lean my back against cool glass
to steady my gait
while gazing at the moon
at the miraculous origins
of the stabilizing influence
which supports my staggering body...
hanging in the dizzy, spinning spell
which overcomes me...
Simple sand come silica-
the sliding glass panel
of the patio door,
a wonder and marvel to me now
in this unsteady and heady reality.
The shadows of the trees
cast bright auras... as does the halo'd moon,
forecasting a cleansing rain
as crickets earnestly call out
in cheerful and hopeful darkness
for yet another generation of song
in the seasons ahead.
Some semblance of reality
overtakes my brooding, wavering mind
forcing me to inhale
the deep cool of the night air.
As oxygen fills my lungs
with life saving regularity
I slide slowly down
the glass panel to the cold solidity
Lying here, mindful
in the middle of the night,
I am nothing more
than part of the vast ecology,
harkening to light wind chimes
which fill my transcendent soul
with the healing music of the night.
I follow the fluttering patterns
of the flitting butterfly
among the flower heads
and hitch a ride
upon her joyful, fleeting reverie
to seek out the golden nectar
and delicate morning dew...
How silent and sunlit it is, as
her wings carry me along
a blessed journey amongst
the magic thickects...
transforming my earthbound
Enthralled, I become transfixed
and transformed within the warm caress
of nature's healing -
as an ascending and mystical wanderer,
lifted beyond all sorrow,
as an ageless and ancient earth angel
barely visible to "for granted" eyes.
Gratefully, I sip the mead-like dew
and drink the rarest wine of simple pleasure
and manifest offerings
as a Manna,
Perceiving the perfume of joy
as an elixir of evanescent Return.
Overtly here and self evident
for the nurturing of all mankind.
Ten Goin' on Eleven.
I was six when I arrived
from my stay with my aunt in St. Louis.
By the 5th grade, I was fairly settled
in a fun neighborhood with lots of other kids and
went to grade school in Billings, Montana.
Way back, when I was ten goin' on eleven.
Billings was a western town with lots
of dust and Stockyards, The County Fairgrounds.
There were Ranching, Forestry and University people.
Mining people, Lumber people, Oil people, Geologist people and Sugar Beet people.
A "strong people" with growing family's in a
kinda large "on the Map" town, eaten up by
vast prairies and surrounded by rugged rim rock cliffs.
The Crow Indian Reservation
was on the outskirts of town.
Mostly, the Indians kept to themselves,
but there were those who chose
to leave the Reservation and
send their kids for schooling into town.
Some Indian families moved into town,
off the reservation and lost all government "privileges" ( the government cheque)
in order that their children
could receive a better education.
Most relocated Crow families were very poor.
They had few skills in white society and their
choices for work were very low wage jobs.
Crow parents, (just like any other family) were
desperately trying to better the lives of their kids.
Needless to say,
this caused divisions
in both the
and the Crow Community.
So, relocated Crow families
with a variety of local prejudices
as well as estrangement from within their own reservation community.
They were not of the
"good strong white people"
of Billings, Montana, but represented
the street poor
who lived in tin shacks on the edge of town.
Dirty and unkempt, they were unhealthy, on welfare
and were often alcoholics.
They were a bitter, disillusioned and sad people.
But, when I looked a local Crow in the eye,
I saw something much more; the proud challenge
of a strong, vibrant heritage clinging to life.
Wisdom staring back at me
from deeply knowing and troubled eyes.
It was a mercy that the children
of the town Crow families
were at least fed once a day by the
knowing and generous
school cafeteria staff.
There were two Crow children in my 5th grade class.
A brother and sister.
That sat in the very back row. So you had to
turn all the way around to see them..
The teacher never called on them.
They just sat there, bored and depressed.
The kids ignored them at recess.
It was like they didn't exist.
(But I sure saw them).
My heart went out to them.
I noticed all these awfully
How "mean" others were to them
when, from what I could see,
they were real kids with real problems
just like me.
So, I befriended them
and the three of us became schoolyard friends.
And we played the games
that all school yard kids play: tag and jacks
and rope rhymes, and "Zorro" fantasies
joyfully grateful and happy to be friends.
Meanwhile, all the ot her kids were playin' War
and planning the capture
of all "Injins and Injin lovers"
in the schoolyard :
in order to force us to play
We didn't wanna play.
So, we mostly kept to ourselves at
the farthest corner of the gray wired-in fence.
All year through, I was grateful to have
them as playmates and friends, because I too,
somehow could never quite "fit in".
(but that's another story).
Then, on one unfortunate day,
our 5th grade class had an
from the school nurse.
She suspected that we all might have head lice!
And we all needed to be quarantined and inspected,
and treated for infestation or for the possibility of being carriers
of hatchlings and eggs!
Then she boldly pointed,
and in front of the entire class,
branded the Crow kids as the cause
of the outbreak of head lice
in our school.
How totally disgusting.
The Crow children were immediately whisked away
by several "suited-up" strangers
as if they were two filthy infested varmits
or perhaps as dangerous as "rabid" animals.
I caught the look in those children's eyes-
the humiliation, the helplessness, the fear
the terrible angry injustice of it all.
And there wasn't nothing I could do
to let them know
it didn't matter to me one way or another;
I was still their friend, a kid with little power
to have an effect on the whole damn world.
Still, it burned and me and made me mad
to see a cruel thing like that.
To me, it was more important that they
didn't have shoes, or regular meals,
or warm winter coats,
like the rest of us kids,
than getting all worked up
about head lice. That could be fixed.
What about the lives of those kids?
Could that be fixed?
Make No Distinctions
like vinegar, lack
the honey of compassion...
for the Everyman serves
his Appointed place.
Appearances have no meaning
if judged as only
the "cover of a book".
Take another look
at your own thoughtless tongue
and confine all judgment
to the self.
For trammeling the "ignorant masses"
speaks only of
the imperfection of one's self.
Make no borders or distinctions,
For each man has his own
"personal work" to do.
brings one's darkest demons
by the whole human race
and one will surly glean
the Global Face
and the defining future o f the
Triumph or Fall
of planetary fate.
Shadows on the Wall
Existing like a shadow
on the wall-
an illusion made
only by the light,
leave no trace of the real...
as the golden sun disappears
behind the revolving earth.
Night, the harbinger and theater
and illumined answers
reflected upon an alternating
and opposite screen.
blocks the outspreading rays
beneath the cloudless sky...
For what is real
cannot not be seen...
'lest one unites with
the timeless, immortal
Go to Page 2 below (continued Poetry 2003)