The old places

Another Friday night
And he’s sitting at the bar again
drink at hand
If you caught him after
He’d look – is it his eyes or his hands that stop the shakes??
You’d hear him say
It’s not the drink he thirsts for
It’s a life of purpose
Somewhere he feels he lost himself
Or his way …
She makes her rounds
Cigarette in hand
She welcomes all the men from the city
And there’s a band on stage
Reminding you we’re all doing what we can …
And there’s the chosen golden few
Who smoke or drink outside
Believing they are somehow separate and different
But between the bars and the chord change
They feel their wheels spinning
As if to say hometowns and sin are something we all have in common
Like the broken artist
Bleeding out into his drink
To anyone who will listen
About a life he could have had
If he just had courage
And if we just had hearts
Now we are rushed on time
Trying to get ahead
Only downtown
it’s already flooded
My hands are tied
I need to get away
To the water
To the mountains
To a place in mind
Where I remember growing up
Though the memory isn’t too clear
They muddy the water
And the water keeps rising
I wish for more time
And I get sick in the gut
From writing the lines
Me me me
I and I and I
What is courage my son
But to eat when you are hungry
To sleep when you are tired
To know the Lord when you are hurting
To know the heart is right
If the heart is right
You don’t have to worry about the rest
But the holiness inside of us
Somewhere we forgot who we are
We don’t build and we don’t repair
The old places are in ruins
What an opportunity to rebuild

She said I am two different people
And she can see between the lines
God said the walls are coming down
And we are out of time


Poetry (beginnings)

What is poetry?
It is your beginnings …
It is understanding….
It is empathy for your brother and sister…
Not pity but empathy, a silent understanding and knowing…a shared experience that comes from living…
What is poetry?
It is your mother handing you a Bible and asking you to go outside and read a psalm and a proverb because you’re in a bad mood…
It is the way the dirt, the earth turns to powder (not dust) when chickens have scratched it there…
It’s gardens in the summer
And carrying buckets of water and fertilizer for the tomatoes and the handles cutting into your hands because they are so heavy…
Poetry is your beginnings
It’s the stories that make us – us
It’s the love letters in the beginning
And the fights at the end
It’s the knowing when love arrives and when love has left the table
It’s struggling to make it
And it’s finally having enough bread …
It’s the food banks
It’s telling your story
And listening and watching for others story…they are always telling.
Poetry is your beginning
It’s the courage to continue
It’s humanity framed with art
It is us.
It is you.


The roots

30 for 30


My son
Know that there is
More than an app trap
Meme game
Quick rich scheme
Stay away from shortcuts to happiness
You work out your own purpose with struggle and pain …
Your own salvation before the lord.
There is an old way…
Way back …
It’s an old gospel
An old rugged cross …
An old hymn crying out in the wilderness
“It is well with my soul.”
This gospel got your ancestors through the dust bowl…
Through depressions
And recessions…
They built legacies and futures
Living on $10 dollars a week..
Their recipes are still good
Their prayers are still good
Their faith is still good…
This gospel is still good today…
A gospel that sets the captive free
Baptized by fire
Filled with the Holy Spirit
Changed …
Where Samuel said
“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.”

Pray, pray for your family
Your community
Your children

Build up leaders
Build a legacy…

And stand

With purpose that you have worked out before the Lord…

Tired of thirst and a life without purpose
And men who go missing
When Snapchat rings
And they leave their wives and children
Tired of lives unchanged
Tired of being in bondage
And depression
and self help saying
Everything is fine
Build your life son
Be a steward
Walk in purpose and strength
And stand
In freedom
And let it be well with your soul



The space for you…
The rituals
The beginnings
The books, the prayers, the happiness,
There are so many celebrations
For beginnings…
And yet
We stumble through
It can go on for years
Love letters
And cakes
Easter egg hunts on sundays
Turn to words
That shadow our thoughts
Like the echo of sirens in the city
There is hurt here…
That we all have felt
Ache and
But we are not alone
You are still you
You are still whole
You deserve a ritual for this ending
You are my relationship
This community share
She said she wanted to be happy and loved and not sad
She wanted all the things …
She had tried prayer
She had tried meditations
She had tried it all
Maybe, she said, maybe, sadness, is just as big in us, as happiness, maybe endings, are just as big as beginnings, knowing when to let go, when to be gentle, when to leave,
When to just sit with it…
Get to know it
And us
Like Jimmy Stewart and Harvey
Maybe we try to hide these parts
of ourselves, because …
It says there is hurt here
There is ache here
When, by all appearances
Things should be well…
Whatever that means…
She said
She did all the right things
And she still feels alone ….
We have children, telling us what true love is…
Religion telling us to wait
The physical act,
Something so powerful and so insignificant …
It keeps us from knowing such a deep part of ourselves…
And our daughters our children
Are loved badly
In the beds of lovers who don’t even know…

I thought about how l have surely hurt
Trying not to hurt …
How I’ve held to words that hurt me …
And tried to be colder
Because it is all so legal
The ending…
Cut down to a signature
And a transaction …
And in other ways so religious
But none of it human
None of it
Just says
Here, I feel you,
I’m here with you,
And when you mess up trying to navigate this, I will still be here…
I wanted a love that was giving the last warmth …
The last ember…
on the coldest night …
After a lifetime of knowing me…
Of knowing there is nothing left for me to give…
There is no surprises hidden…
No potential…
No lessons left for you to teach me
How to “be.”
“Oh you’re interesting.
Oh I’ll show you all about this.”
I wanted to be a safe space
Where you can rest…
Where you can end
Where you can begin again…
You are whole
You are still you
It may feel selfish
To cry
To say goodbye
But how grand it is
To know,
That you have danced
That you have given space
For someone else’s dance
For someone else’s prayer
And breakfast
For someone to rest
And see their god
From your porch
For someone
To be able to say goodbye
So they can begin again.


Left (30 for 30 #2)

God bless
Whatever is left
To those of us
Burned in and out
Loaded anxieties
You get whatever is left of me
30 for 30
Lines across a paper
We can’t go back
We can’t go back
We can’t go back
You can’t
Change what you know
It’s all of these loaded roads
Loaded thoughts
Loaded shots
Get it out
Move forward
The next thing will be
The next level will be
You will
We will
And these thoughts
Wrap around my mind
Like echoes from a weather siren
After the desolation
There in the quiet
You can’t fight it
But it’s a shadow
Six strings down
Under anxiety
Cursed words
We couldn’t understand
But it cuts deep
There in the end

God bless
Whatever is left
To those of us
Burned in and out
Loaded anxieties
You get whatever is left of me
30 for 30
Lines across paper


Hid away

the yellow room

cold concrete

sun won’t talk with the moon today

The stars still hide

Because they saw your face

eyes still burn

Looking in

Cold hearted devil…

Overcast, my soul

My strength just turns away

Ash in my lung

Coals on my tongue

Walk me to the end of the road

Where we buried letters

all of our secrets

The dirt crumbles

Dry in your hands

I still keep them

And our names

And what we do

Just fades…

Remember me

Morning youth

I wake up to the morning sky




Of memory

Grey and lit with shadows

Overcast dreams


Of wrong and write

I see the light

And tell myself everything is O.K.

Get up

Come on up

Didn’t they tell you

History is written


By those who win?

These fading chords

Bleeding ink

Words on paper

Are just tomorrow’s memory

Did you read between the lines?

The love letters in the margins?

“Will you remember me?”

“Not like I used to…”

Come on up

The cards have been dealt

I pour my tea

I sit and write

Here inside

The morning light….

Moons (30 for 30)

And the sky moves quicker than my breath,

She woke up feeling older

how do you know,

Where the flowers go when the snow falls?

Only that they return in spring…

And the shadows fall

Filling these empty halls

Can we fix these broken things?

She said all her hope was gone

All her heart was wrong

I sat there waiting

maybe it all comes back around

And if it’s not when you feel it should be


Some, things, love

Always the strong things …



in the moonlight

And the daylight won’t know who you are …

But at night

Under the stars

In the quiet

You will feel your heart heal

And your strength grow