morning’s today

subtle quiet while dogs, little ones at that, wag what tails are visible
eyes alive
darkness is breaking as daylight warms the silence into obscurity
knowing full
well happiness is overrated sideways with such a peace of mind
long overdue
i think calmly of tomorrow alongside a wonderful sense of fulfillment
fleeting yes
but welcomed as a rain-soaked traveler would be seeking dry lodging
can it
all be real this inner anonymity soothing a beastly marrow raging
against insecurities
and such fears beckoning unknown forces preying on my heart
like ashes
to dust i rail in the wind a little child fist raised hawks verging
on destruction
not so morning’s today washes away pain of defeat or regret
daylight it
is and daylight begins a journey of unprepared longings for
a finer
peace; funny word, peace, but it is real and it is here and it
is embraced
without work, tinder, ignition or tiresome justification of lost
reasoning for
all the best intentions there have been lives changed forever
perhaps more
so than ever before as you come with me through this maze
of confusion
there is morning’s today enveloping all of this incompleteness
as a
blanket of protection sealing pieces easily, softly as it should
be because
morning’s today lift the souls of my shoes into a lofty place
found only
by those no longer fitful, plagued by discomfort and swimming
in a
water so clear, so warm, it floats all of you without fear or measure
it is

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Lament #415

A long life lived
to its
fullest in a battle
yes, forever
the battle lost always
murmurs of
hope plastered alongside
doom that’s
right doom shedding
light upon
moving days where
this thing
called happiness dwells
unnoticed and
out of reach for a
very good
reason because of the
unanswered
prayer leading directly
to sameness,
dreariness of unimaginable
proportions but
and it’s a pretty big but
the super
bowl is in town.
How ’bout
that for a game changer?

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There was a man

He was a gentle soul with a slow amble of a walk, more a shuffle than a stride, but a stride it was. He spoke with a certainty of the good fortune bestowed upon him by the fates of powerful change. Perhaps from a greater power he chose to call a God of his understanding.

Many of you reading this may not of known this particular man and are at a disadvantage for not having the honor of his presence. But maybe you’ve known someone just like him. A man of full measure that could be counted on in all situations. Think on that for a moment: A man to be counted on in all situations. Rare.

He had a smile where his eyes would tell you of the goodness hidden in pain. That pain, perhaps weakness, even fear, were his foundations for strength driven by gratitude and love. He wore it with ease.

Love, such a word drenched in ubiquitous little utterances. That was not so in this gentle soul. Not so at all. He wore it easily, simply, without fanfare or edict. He just was.

This gift was born out of years of anguish, broken promises, leftover days and forgotten nights. Even prison after crimes were committed and time served for real transgressions. There was heartache aplenty. Anger and fear were close friends. Life was scrabbled together hard and without quarters. His was a path lined with foul play.

Then, it changed. Slowly. With difficulty. It was not a religious conversion, financial windfall or cathartic vision. He got nabbed by a movement of sorts. A man with unwavering support stood by him and said yes, it can be done; yes, I will do it with you. Yes, there is a life to be lived that is worth living.

This gentle soul jumped into the flow of this group of men and women learning how to live one day a time without the use of intoxicants. They would band together on a daily, nightly, weekly basis, and ascribe to a blueprint already laid out by so many before.

This relentless protocol was absorbed into this man’s inner being and actual change was afoot. It was clear, maybe even unnerving for this man who only lived in darkened, resentful corners of this world. And he knew only too well how this world could be ugly. He’d been a part of the ugliness.

But not now. Not for many years. The other side of four decades, this man walked with a grace reserved for a few. He was that few. Helping scores of men and women find their way from anger to peace, from hatred to love, from anguish to comfort.

This gentle soul was tough; tough as hard-tacked nails. He had a car fall on his head once only to have it lifted off by his loving family. He was tough as hard-tacked nails.

He married and raised a family of fine sons. Good stock, as my father used to say. Well bred. Good stock. His life shines brightly in their faces.

Author Thomas Hardy wrote a book, “The Mayor of Casterbridge.” In that book a character describes the mayor as “ a man to be reckoned with.” I can think of no greater honor than to say that about this gentle soul, Don Newcomb. He was a man to be reckoned with.

As you might imagine by now, we lost Don recently. He had just turned 80. The world misses him. We miss him. I miss him. I miss my friend.

Godspeed, Mr. Don Newcomb. Godspeed.

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A writer’s lament: Absent ability (Forgive the alliteration)

Last night, that would make it Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, I tried to write a free-formed poem with a new style that minimized word usage; a poor man’s Hemingway, I suppose. I failed miserably. It was called “I just had it.” To those few who suffered through the poem, and there were a few, I apologize.

I always looked at poetry as a puzzle; something hidden inside like a majestic surprise. These works inspired strong debate, intense discord, soft unity, and finally, a cathartic understanding. Great stuff. My poetry produces headaches. Life is grand.

I would say it won’t happen again, but it will. No question. I’m not very good at this but I do love it. Been pestered by writing my entire life. My head’s full of strangeness, blandness, stories, dreams, love, hate. Head full of colliding stuff. Noisy as hell in there. When I write it quiets the noise.

There’s something about writing that puts my mind, body at ease. When I write of deep sadness, I feel elated. When I write of great happiness, I feel sad. How about that for being nuts?

I’ve always written. Always. The first poem I ever wrote and shared with someone, members of my family to be exact, I was maybe 7, resulted in ridicule. Whoa is me. Right? Reeeeeeaaaaaally! Who cares. When you get right down to it, if something is being done that equals breathing, you just keep doing it.

I guess it would be more polite not to share such mutterings publicly, but that’s kind of chicken-shit. Pardon my French. Writing poems, columns, blogs, novels, stories – whatever, must be shared. That’s the key. Not to win over the hearts and minds of others but to throw it out into the rushing waters where it may catch on something. Where it may stick to something, somebody. Maybe, somebody will raise their heads and smile broadly towards the night sky blushing with stars like I did when I finished reading “Sweet Thursday” by John Steinbeck. Please understand I’m not even in the same universe as Mr. Steinbeck, but when I read “Sweet Thursday,” I longed to be alive only to discover that I was alive. That’s pure joy.

Then again my writing is more prone to cause mild irritation at the obvious ineptitude of the scribe.

But I write and write some more. I used to scribble daily observations in a notebook when I was basically living without a permanent address. Nowadays that’s called homeless. In my day I was called a bum and a bum I was. Just random thoughts basically fueled by sadness and confusion. It was my best friend, this small dog-eared, green, pocket-sized notebook. I don’t have it anymore. I wish I did. I miss it.

One time during my road rushes, I wrote an entrance piece for a university, “The Autobiography of a Jamaican Strongman or Spontaneous Scientific Thought Concerning Western Civilization.”

The words in the poem formed pictures. A friend took the piece and using a fine form of calligraphy transferred the entire production to a continuous roll of bathroom towels. The old kind that were rough, brown and without tear perforations. Just one solid sheet of paper. She then burned the edges with a match, forming a kind of scroll, and tied a crimson ribbon around it. I presented it to the university and was accepted on the spot. Funny thing was, I didn’t much care for school, to sedentary. But this college had no grades. Couldn’t even fail. Just a no credit. I got a shitload of no credits. God bless the 60s.

And there you have it. The writer’s lament: Absent ability you keep breathing, keep writing and maybe, just maybe, catch a ride on the Sweetness of all Thursdays.

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I just had it

i just had it grasping meaningless sentiment eyes squinting
behind glass mirrors
long ago sounds ricocheting intensely into heartbreaking ladies
men always men
pants with names can’t spell but rough on the thighs and legs
wish I was better
so often i be the case of better because of her golden eyes
wisp of laughter
smiling is heavens parting and I don’t believe in heaven
clouds and highness
just down here where the bright orange mushrooms, probably
deadly, grow with frequency
all right here alongside the path eyes smiling lips glistening
blond oceans hair
falling showers of warm rain drops cannot explain the sudden
exchange of rushing ancestry
it was a teen thing blossomed into another realm of impossibility
such a word
love breaking into pieces stability and remorse lurching forward
forward and forward again
a cliff is nothing to fall off as whispers of wind float underneath
safely depositing unharmed
brilliantly lifted warmly greeted lips of magic cannot stop madness
contained deeply held
bones crackling breaking searching lighting and finally
coming to embrace
the inevitable conception of wanderlust fulfilled simply by
breathing woman’s soul
It is in her, always, where sunshine is omnipotent defeating
the last wall
crashing to the ground with a joyful lightening thunder way
off before me

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Sleep timber is one way to go – A poem in 5 parts

Weather grabs instinct away from the sender
it takes a breath amount to realize distance
is worrisome like a broken rainbow under siege
listening is difficult at this stage because of the rot

Cobblestones line up without rhyme or reason
just as morning runs into fog rife with night scars
lining moss-covered bridges underneath where
nothing is seen only intuition knocking on the door

Not loud but heard by the soul in a constant rhythm
of rain, it is not friendly but much maligned steps of
forgotten lightness and sun, warming to the touch
always in the early days of clarity and smiles, tears

deep, few, long, loving in the soft embrace of more

Constant more is always the answer as day turns
to night and as night turns to day; more is the answer
we count on…

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Love untitled No. 8

A sign rattles in the wind, back and forth, creaking all the way announcing dreams awaiting inside without a dollar to
spare but pockets lined with vague promises of more

Dust is married to the gusts as it swirls, rushes and moves
clothes off the lines into nearby brush, dirty, like chapped
lips screaming between the cracked bleeding splotches

It is just a street after all with all the standard features
such as doors, windows, shades, shoppers looking
for the final sale to make all wrong, finally right

Wouldn’t that be nice, we all say to ourselves to finally
have right before wrong but it is just a street and we know
this, deep in our bone marrow that right will not happen

We go forth in any event to discover the solution is still
out of reach, hidden behind the clouds of illusion because
we need the deception to forge onward, even stumbling

But pushing forward keeps us believing the street will finally
deliver on the vow of happiness that we’ve been indoctrinated
into the purchasing process of buying and more buying

For isn’t it in the buying that makes all things possible where
ever-present isolation once so prevalent now is replaced with
another being of life surrounded by garlands around the neck

This frenetic pace leaves us wanting, wanting for more in the
shroud of love. And then we stop. The sign once rattling is silent.
The street once bustling is empty. Yet, all is right in a real way.

Yes, all is right. The sign agrees as it breaks anchor and falls
gracefully to the ground where two lovers find it, dust it off,
and place it in a safe location for its own protection.

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