by other names ~


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by other names
my heart is worn -
by other loves
the same

tho not as one
that held the wren
above the darkest storm

with not the fire
a northern trust
to flame
were stars revealed

of wonder
curved against my breast
this racing drum
to still

in places
I am older yet
than e’er these stories know

as one to sail
beyond the night -
with every letting go

. . .

touching proof ~


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no more or less
was right made wrong
or hell for heaven trade
was dark alone when light was come
or souls bent afraid?

loving words still echo deep
returned as truth we swore
held to more than promises
the ways we walked before

no more or less
was right made wrong
or hell for heaven trade
was dark alone when light was come
or souls bent afraid?

to paths of fate
disguised as dreams
for all we came to know
silence haunts the lowly heart
with dreams too dear
to hold

no more or less
was right made wrong
or hell for heaven trade
was dark alone when light was come
or souls bent afraid?

. . .

allowing ~


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an ancient box
of cedar fame
is lined with stories
tell again
of all that was
forever now
and what of truth

as carried
from the table
and laid beside my bed
a note of time
for something
yet unsaid

I’ve felt
the gentle swelling
of moss
beneath the dawn
where silent sleep
ten thousand
I have loved

. . .

Image: Beatriz Martin Vidal


a night not far ~


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how soft
the shadows shift
into the sweetest fold
of almost was
a dream caught fire
to burn
within the cold

a telling
of a night not far
and secrets lay behind
where then
they might
as we were found
this close
another time

dreaming of
a place beyond -
the warm embrace
of spark
a wisp of knowing
deeper still
than longing to the bark

gathered as
immortal ink -
the poet’s heart to free
a folded note
of birth rewrote -
I carry you
with me

. . .

riches ~


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One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

I’m reminded of a time when my daddy took it on himself to haul off the trash for the trailer park rather than pay someone to do it. It was a great idea, but contained a flaw that should have been predicted. He brought back more than he took. Even with good intentions, he couldn’t drive off and leave a ‘perfectly good’ ironing board in the dumpster. No more than he could spot a nail on the sidewalk and not pick it up (because you never know when you might need a nail).simple

On a visit a while back, my daddy was looking for his wallet, adamant that it was somewhere on the coffee table. I was helping as best I could, and picked up something that looked like the back off a cellphone.

“Mama, is your phone broken?”


“Well, what’s this?”

“Your daddy found in the parking lot at the Burger King.”

“Does it fit your phone?”


“So……. (catching up) it’s here because there might be a time in the future when you DO have a phone it will fit, and your phone will be broken.”

Daddy interjecting… “just put it back on the table”.

He came from a generation where waste was unforgiveable – near the end of the Depression. He saves everything. Perhaps there is some universal karma at work. “If I found it, then surely I will need it at some point.”

chickensBut that brings me around to the real reason for this piece. I am grateful that he is the way he is, but am also grateful that he doesn’t know anything about Craigslist.

If ever there’s a moment when I need a chuckle, all I have to do is go to Craigslist and access the link labeled ‘free’. Here are a couple of my favorites from the past.

‘Couch in fair condition sitting beside the dumpster outside the Walmart on Gallatin Road. Better hurry; it looks like it could rain.’

‘Bookcase and piano. The bookcase needs painting and a little repair. I don’t know much about the piano, so don’t start sending me emails wanting to know whether it plays or what kind it is. What it is is free.’

‘FREE Panasonic huge tv, on front porch. Do not ring or knock on door!!!! Bring a buddy & a truck it’s heavy. Works great!!! Will not answer door if you knock, I go to bed by 9pm.’

‘Horse Manure. Just bought a property with a horse barn. There’s manure aplenty. If you’re a gardener or you compost, come and get it. If you don’t garden or compost, but you want a bunch of horse manure, this is your big chance. Come and get it. If you know a gardener or someone who likes plants…well, Christmas is coming. This may be just the thing for that hard-to-shop-for in-law. Come and get it. If your teenagers are totally grounded and you want them to learn the importance of mindlessly unpleasant work, come WITH THEM to get it.’

You see what I mean? It’s a great source of free entertainment.

But this past weekend, I was reminded again of why I am glad my dad doesn’t know anything about this ‘free’ stuff.

I chuckled out loud as I walked into the living room. “Honey, I’ve found the perfect thing for your and dad’s birthdays.” (they share a birthday)……

A skeptical look (as if I was being anything but serious).2donkeys

“Yep. A guy in town is looking to give away four donkeys, one of which is pregnant. My only concern is that I don’t know who should get the pregnant one.”

“Well, maybe you should just give all of them to your dad?”

“I could do that. Another guy is looking to give away three chickens and an ‘old’ rooster.”

I am convinced there’s a world of opportunity just waiting for us to find it.

Generally, there’s a deeper message with my writing. But this one – well, it’s just about enjoying life, and laughing when you get the chance.

. . .

hands and thieves ~


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Not long ago, while visiting my parents, my mother and I were discussing a much needed painting as part of home renovations. We talked about the wallpaper I recently got rid of, and some she has hopes of retiring soon

Then, as now, I am reminded of the things that matter – that which we keep. I believe I commented, ‘the wallpaper isn’t bad but I’m not so endeared to it that I’d be hurt if you painted over’.

And yet, in retrospect, I realize there are other ‘things’ that I’ve been sentimental over at times, though the sentiment was tied to an associated memory rather than the physical. You’re probably struggling to understand, so let me give you some examples.

  • When I was eighteen years old, the house trailer we lived in when I was younger caught fire. It was rented at the time, and something on the stove got too close to something on the windows. Before anything could be done, it was too late. Mobile homes tend to be like Christmas trees; there’s not much waiting between flame and ash. I remember that we (my brother, sisters and parents) stood in the road and watched. We held hands, and I’m quite certain each of us cried. Though it was still just a ‘thing’, my mother commented on dresser drawers that bore my sister’s teething marks, and baseboards inscribed in crayon with my name (again and again). That which endeared the place to us wasn’t lost, and yet it was no longer a memory we could see.
  • When my parents moved from the park they owned, they found they couldn’t transfer the phone number to their new house because it was associated with the business. So, they got a new phone number. And I cried. Yesterday, even as I thought of this, I called the old number to see who would answer; as if some sixteen year old version of myself might pick-up. Since then, the area code has changed, but the affect wasn’t nearly as harsh.
  • My brother and sisters reminisce from time to time on an orange bathing suit our mother wore for as many years as we could remember, and a pair of plaid swim trunks daddy owned. Does it matter whether they were stylish? Does it matter where they are now? When I see a flower that color of orange, I feel it new, the same, deeply.

Easterners worn us of attachment, and I realize how easy it is to get tied into things that don’t matter, like the wallpaper design or whether you have the latest trend in ovens. For years, I bought clothes at upscale places. Now, I shop Goodwill, and savor the bargains. But deeper, I feel another association. My childhood is peppered with memories of trips to the ‘rag store’ (as my grandmother would call them), hiding under tables whenever she would cry out, ‘Bobbie, I found you some panties.’ 

That which we keep is that which becomes a part of us. It’s not a thing, and it’s not even a time. It’s a moment that exists still, as close as the scent of an orange honeysuckle, or in the feel of tags against my fingers.

It’s a favorite pair of earrings and words nearly worn thru.

When I started this piece, I thought on time. There are those who claim that I spend too much on the past. And yet, I would disagree. I spend my time (now) living and part of the joy in living is a love for how I got to this place. You see, despite what they say, time isn’t a thief. Time is your constant companion. When you are broken, it reminds you of the need to move forward. The real thieves are hatred, bitterness, resentment, and regret.  They take all you’ll give – health, relationships, and every bit of your joy they can get.

I’d make a lousy Buddhist.  I suspect part of the reason is that I’m a poet, and a keeper of stories (of the old ways). It’s not about ‘things’, but about everything, everything come of love.  Nothing matters; everything matters.

Someone near and dear reminds me that enlightenment is seeing things as they really are.  With time, I’ve come to revel in my wilderness….to linger softly with my tears,  to see with eyes (but more, with my soul).

May you cling warmly to the tender hands of time.

of another place
become of me -
has taken me to learn
e’en now my heart
grows full
beneath the weight
of blessings found
where I begin
to find my joys earned
a field beyond
my reaching
for the gate

. . .

but for another time ~


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he said
but for another time -
might I leave this world tonight
journey into dreams
and not look back
so certain
you would follow
in the traces left behind
picking up the pieces
I forgot
to let you know

she said
I thought I saw you
on the road just yesterday
standing in the shadows
with sunlight
in your eyes
cheated by the distance -
were those violets in your hand
I turned around
and all I found
were seeds

he said
the truth comes easy
but for times
I turned away
forsaking you the days
(for nights)
would that I had known you
before my story set
when all I had to give
was everything

she said
I’ll find my way again
down along the creek
of lessons -
still I wonder about you
someone said
of nothing lost -
a moment without breath

I believe
heaven holds
the breeze

. . .

of sorrows your loving would leave ~


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will the river
run dry
for a promise beholding
as secret these dreams
held aloft
by the stars
tell me their names
share me to story
of a moment -
here in your arms

of a place
in the wood
surrendered to blossom
come of a night
you held me
this way
warned me of sorrows
your loving
would leave me

remind me
again -
what of joy to repay

when all
that is left
is a reason for going
when the cool morning air
sits deep in my bones
beg me
the sweet smell of autumn
if e’er I’ve forgotten
my way back
to home

. . .

thirst ~


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red gardenia
painted lily -
fences grieve the leaving me
for somewhere
just beyond remember
essence nests
in mystery

without the thirst
as need for sorrows
were mine to suffer
mine to hold -
starlight casts a spell
of knowing
across the meadow
deep and cold

braided fates
and boots for walking
fragile yellow buds
wrapped in sheets
the wing’eds envy
wears a cotton gown

. . .


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