Posted in Musings

Listening to recess while waiting at Checkers

My Latino friends who taught me how to (really) play checkers called it a “chanchito” (piggy) when you were able to trap your opponent’s piece so it could not move.

The distinctive checkerboard decor of the Checkers where I wait outside for a burger reminds me of those long ago days at the drop-in center playing games, trying to build peace between gangs.

At an elementary school across the street, I hear the screams of children at recess. I resist the urge to reach for my phone which is my goto habit when I am waiting. I would simply obsess over the news of the most recent school shooting.

Instead, I try to remain present to this moment of waiting. I feel the sun’s caress on my face. I think of life and checkers. I ponder why there seem to be no kings on this checkerboard, why it seems we all are chanchitos trapped in an endless cycle of violence.

I mourn.

I remember.

I wait.

I pray.

I listen intently to the joy of children at play.

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree

The Words That Arise

when my beliefs
fall around me
like leaves
when my body
aches with the
weight of the years
when i long for
the pains of this
mortal flesh
to be washed
from me with the
morning rain
which runs
down my windows
when this gray morning
is somehow comforting
to the withering one within
i turn again
to that which
has sustained me
over the years
the words that arise
from somewhere and
sprinkle down around me
like an oil of blessing
and in the scribbling
before i begin to fade
back into the
walking sleep
that is my
i find that
what i know i must do
yet am somehow
paralyzed from doing
is somehow
a lighter thing
that alights upon
my shoulder
to whisper of what
it can be

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree

when the sky is fire

when the sky is fire
be not afraid
of the wind
which heralds
the coming storm

the dark clouds
touched by flame
of the rising sun
will water an
earth that is
bone dry

and you too who
walk beneath
the burning sky
with dry dreams
shall find them
wet with rain

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree

the shadow knows

sometimes i feel like
i am a shadow of
who i once was
captured by memories
of the lives i have lived
remnants of songs sung
play on in my head
and i want to push them
out again into the
light of day

it is difficult
to remain in the shadows
to wrestle with what
is ego and what is call
what to dream of
what to let go
to wait for the summons
and still stay awake
and open to the voice
that speaks in
bright riddles
of silence

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree

I have come to the conclusion that there isn’t one.

I have come to the conclusion that there isn’t one.

My wanderings,
whether night dreams
of familiar faces
or morning walks
in a new neighborhood,
always seem to lead
me in a circle.

I enter
the cul-de-sac
and return the
way I have come,
still talking to the sky,
whispering the same prayers
past the aspen groves,
my longings like the
silver leaves
glistening in the wind.

Yet somehow
on the journey,
a small something
has been made
in me.

July 8, 2019

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree


I have felt
so much like
a fish out of water,
awkward in situations,
lost from who I am,
flopping on a strange
spit of sand,
to breathe.

This morning
it came to me like
the ruby-throated
hummingbird suddenly
appearing before me
on the wind
that perhaps
I have been cast
from my familiar seas
to grow wings
and become
a fish that

July 19, 2019

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree

Mother Goose’s Redemption

I tried to be as quick and nimble as Jack, but I tripped over the candlestick and nearly broke my back.

I tried to wake Little Boy Blue, but I lay down beside him and fell asleep too.

I tried to be a good boy like Little Jack Horner, but then I got to wondering why I was always in the corner.

Then I realized that trying to be someone else was a waste of my time and suddenly my life stopped feeling like a nursery rhyme.

Posted in Musings

Depression 1.13 – The 8 Slash 6 Cylinder Man

I have come to the conclusion that I fire on six cylinders.

The issue is that I am an eight cylinder man.

I can’t remember the last time I was firing on all of them.

They aren’t knocking yet, but it’s just a matter of time. There’s a lot of miles, hard ones, on the odometer.

It’s a wonder six are still firing. It makes it rather miraculous that I can make it through the day, let alone accomplish anything.

It seems I am pulling off on the side of the road to doze more often now. My mind knows where to go. I am just so tired and it takes so much fuel to figure out how to get there.

Others race by. Their exhaust exhausts me. Death is the end to this race. Why try to get there quicker?

Elegiac grips me until my mind spins.

Lethargy holds me down.

I am captured between the two, racing, yet going nowhere.

I am a six cylinder body with an eight cylinder mind.

Come close and you will catch the faint scent of burnt oil.