Sinners and losers

“You work for ME…”
It was the first time I’d come face to face with my father…I was probably 15 or sixteen…
Now every pay day I would bring him my paycheck and he would count it out and hand me twenty dollars, pausing…just before saying… something that would cut me up inside…
I never came to blows with a man…
I usually could listen and talk my way out of it…my fist was my words…but with some people it just twisted you up inside like a knife…
I watched and I listened
And soon I kept more and more of my check and didn’t tell him…
Buying food and gas for the family…
I don’t think he ever even noticed we had food instead of potatoes cooked seven different ways …
I knew then
Freedom wasn’t the ability to just go and do whatever you want…
It wasn’t complete equality
I didn’t want to be stuck here in poverty with termites eating my window….
I knew freedom was the ability to choose…and to restrain…and to build…
Now my girl Grace
She cuts her shirts
Wears out her jeans
She’s southern made
wide open
On the roads of this town
You’ll never see her in the same place twice …
They said she knocked a man out with an upper cut
She packs heat
But she feeds me and when we’re both tired, we can sleep and talk about what we’ve been and where we plan on going …
And how we will never go back again…
Everything comes with a hard earned price
We live and we love
We lose and we win
We all get tired
We come back again
Like a heart
On its knees
When it’s losing
Everything can look the same
Someone told you
You had to stay the same
beat down ….
Who among us hasn’t ever been on the losing end?
She said, you have to stay open
Just to keep your grit …
Building takes time,
They’ll tell you, you have to just be free
But freedom is choosing,
Surrounded by losers
And broken hearts
It’s easy to say
We don’t need any-thing
Or any one …
But I need a touch
I need a touch from you
I need this responsibility
I need to build with you
Burning this engine
Keeping the clutch clean
Just so you can burn me down
In the night
Now my younger brother
He’s doing alright
He’s building his life
And he doesn’t know where it ends up
But he’s open
And he’s doing alright
And I sometimes think back
On how it could have been
Everyone has a place
A fork in the road
Where you can make a change
Or you can stay the same
Oh son
My son
We could have all grown up to be wife beaters …we could have really cut some people down…
But we rode out of that valley
We chose …
You get to decide
You get to decide
And son
Regardless of sin and vice
Let this be all that you wrote
That you decide


Standing in the night

Long time coming
Summer is almost come and gone
Oh baby I guess you know this one
Remember our 20’s we thought we knew so much
Remember our 30’s we thought we were tough
We all have our vices
A game of chance
This lottery at midnight
We’ve seen some with hollow eyes
They didn’t pick the poison
It just came in the night
Over that mountain
Stole a whole wide world from a few…
They made their choices
We all learned the hard way
Time doesn’t suffer a fool
But we carry the memory
Like a fuel
My heart starts and stops
I know you’ve got your own struggles
I’ve got my mask and my burdens too
We both wear it out on the streets of this town
I hide my scars between each line …
I bow my head
I haven’t stopped fighting that fight
Since my father died
I keep trying to get it right
And be alright
But I haven’t been able to get the words
Since my brother died …
Now there’s a loaded train
Running through the gut of this town
It’s got me in knots
We gather around these empty chairs
Nursing old wounds we liked to talk about
You never know what you become
We are here one moment and gone in the night
If there’s anything worth loving
It’s the fight
And maybe we sent our youth to the door …
All the artist
They kind of left this place
Like all the mills from yesterday
But I swear I still see your face
Just like yesterday
There’s still dance marks
In the floor
Where you moved the world over
Just to prove that you could get over
Heart break
And there’s a long time coming
But we keep driving to get out of this town
We’ve got to make it
I’ve got to see you
And I know
We get the rain no matter what we do
And all of our vices
They wreck our voices
And god knows I’ve got a few
I don’t guess I’m as good as I could be
But I know there’s nothing quite like you
Standing in the night
Standing in the night
I know you already know….
Standing in the night
I’ve got to get to you…
I’ve got to see you …
One last dance
Just to move the world over …
Standing in the night



Imagine there are as many hearts, as there are stars,
Poems,as there are brokenness and pain
Loves as there are constellations-
Imagine us
Stumbling forward
Attempting to get it right
Even so …
The words
The love
The life
How do you keep the rain from-
The moon from its afterglow ?
The stars from falling from their appointed places ?
We never really know what’s coming for us…
Even so…
Even so…


One summer,

While I was bagging groceries,

There was this older man,

With thick rimmed glasses

And the same old leather shoes and creased dress pants

He wore in the army …

He and his wife would come in and talk with me …

He told me everyone thinks they have it figured out

In our 20s in our 30s

Everyone wants to have a thousand loves …we want to hold ourselves to this idea we have in our head…

Well who said we had to be what we thought ?

Who told us that?

he had watched her

Go through more hobbies

And gardens

And paint sheds

She had loved him through alcohol and automobiles and Sunday papers, cigarettes and pipes …

He felt like he had spent his life with several different women …

Because he had spent it loving her through all the different versions of herself…

None of us stay the same

And that was the kicker

We all grow and change

Like the seasons

Nothing stays the same all year …

We are living

And we are loving

Be gentle

Go gently

There’s no second drafts.

Most of us I suppose

Will go through three or four relationships in our life

Some may be repeated

That’s just life

Don’t get caught up

On time

And what you think they or yourselves should be …

Go gently



My mom
Used to have this old pot
With a broken handle
That she used to make fudge with
We called it her fudge pot
Because it was just the right size and it got just hot enough fast enough …
We all got burned by it many times
But the food was great…

We soon forgot about the burnings…

We enjoyed the fudge and the sauces…

The stories we would share while cooking …

Stories get passed down
There are things that only you know …
There are things you are especially good at…

Even broken or scarred
With baggage
And confusion
You are still you and you still matter and more than that…you are useful and great at what you do well…

Do the things you do well
Let yourself enjoy them
A little more everyday
Stories are important
It’s all creating
Little by little
A story
A meal
A memory
These things decorate our lives
And make them a home …



Lilith comes in
Off the gallows
Through the street
First wife of Adam
First wife of Lucifer too
Queen of Hell
You know her
But you’ve never met her
She’s an artist tho
You’ve never seen her
You’ve seen her work
There’s a long line
Of souls in her wake
Bewitched by time, ego and pride
The devil himself got tired of her ways…
There’s a lot of seduction
Under her name
There’s a lot of other stuff too…
Five days in
And she’ll drain your cup dry
You’re a fool if you stay
You’re a fool
if you really believe you can go …
Who’s playing who?
Well dressed
There’s no direction home
There’s no intimacy
There’s nothing real here to eat
Just a shot gun heart
A silence in the night
It’s all about who’s holding power
There’s a fire in her cup
Reaching the dead in the night
She’s filling her cauldron
That’s your skin that crawls
When she passes your door
Any minute now
she’ll drain the whole wide world dry
You’re a fool if you stay
You’re a fool
if you really believe you can go …
You put off consequence
To avoid the rain
All you did
Was multiply pain
There’s a lot of truth in the world
There’s a lot of dishonesty
People are foolish
And these days
Everyone walks the same
Even time slows down
When you come around
Spend your life
Your energy
Building more than cities and money
Titles can burn
Salaries can wash away
Any minute now
Hell is gonna come with your name …
Character is the only thing ever built to stay
It will cover the tab
It will be a bridge for you
When you meet Opportunity
Don’t fool yourself son
You’ve got nothing to prove
Happiness only comes with responsibility
You can’t win
With one foot in the sky
Another in your pride
Live on truth
You know what to do
Stop saying things you don’t even believe
Stop hanging out
Where you don’t really want to be
Start walking and listening with women
You’d like to meet
Nothing is out of range but when you start out with dishonesty
There’s no step to reality
A lie will build a lie
There’s no word to take
People are foolish
And I’m the same
You know I used to drink here
But I changed my ways
Like Dylan said ….I’m not that eager to make a mistake ….


I wondered
If anyone
Has ever seen
The sunset
In her eyes
They used to shine
Like lights over water
I wonder
If anybody has ever been to you
A friend
Like you have been for – I


Oh now mama
There’s homeless in the street
You don’t even know
The records the soul keeps
See that cloud
Hanging down
There’s a storm breathing now
Like Samson
To pull the pillars of the earth down
One last moment of strength
And so so we go…

Do you ever worry that you’re everything you’re really afraid of in other people ?

Do you ever see that knife in your hand?

Do you stand in the butchers floor
Where heaven, hell and hearts meet
And see
every man
Can do this evil

I do not
Plot against you

There’s a loneliness
That you just keep inside
You can
Walk on for so long now …
not sure if you’re ever
Really happy
Or if you’re just pretending
It’s a scar
That we all carry
At different points in our life
And it’s one we must decide to put down
Even without answers
And so I wonder
How many ways
How many days
That I will change
Along the way…

And how many ways
this heart will fight to stay the same