Only A Breath Away

Joy, confounding mystery that it is,
comes at the strangest times:

A breath of fresh air, after a stuffy
Time spent inside all day.

A deep breath, relieving tension
From working under pressure.

Breathing in the scent of a nice perfume,
When a woman passes nearby.

Breathing in the familiar smell
Of my house when I walk through the door.

Breathing in the scent of my wife’s skin,
When she leans close to my face for a kiss.

Breathing, yes, just breathing,
Every day of new life.

Joy is that simple,
Only a breath away.


Be Yourself

Stop. Listen.
What do you hear?

Buzzing, perhaps?
That’s nature.
Enjoy it.

How about a television?
Turn it off, or at least down,
If someone else is watching it,
Or close the door.

How about a stereo?
Hope it is nice music.
Or at least something cool.
Something that moves you.

How about a voice,
On the telephone?
Turn it off, unplug already!
If you’re not on it,
Close the door, if you can.

Distractions, interruptions,
They are everyday.
They consume us.

Sometimes, they are
Our identity.
Sometimes, they are
Our weakness.

Don’t let the distractions
Become you.
Be unique.
Find something about yourself,
Something that nobody else is,
And that will be you.

Then do it.

In, Then Out Again

Jumping into a box,
I closed the lid.
Voices, I could hear,
But none that said

My name, or anything
Related to me.
No, no one was interested
In my identity.

Not my words, nor my actions,
Meant a thing to them.
I was simply a number
To count on one hand.

Just a thing, a machine,
Spitting out babble,
A distraction, a nobody,
Not a goddamned thing.

But do I want to be that?
A thing, a game
For their amusement?
A fun toy, an instrument
To play a tune?

No, not that,
I told myself.
I will just sit here
And be me,
Collect dust on the shelf.

But that wouldn’t do,
It couldn’t last forever.
I needed them, you see,
I needed to be clever.

I needed to woo,
To impress, to call out
“Yes, this is my truth!
This is my song!

I have lived this life,
This constant strife,
This longing,
This fight,
This spring wound tight.

I am something,
I have paid my dues,
I deserve a shot,
Even if to just coo.”

Is it worth it?
I asked, very cautiously
Of myself.
To be ignored?
To be shamed?
To be belittled?
To be sore?

Yes, of course,
I replied.
It’s worth the price.
To be a poet
Is an honor
A virtue, not a vice!

To speak one’s peace
Is a right
Of every man and woman!

No mosquito,
No arrogant,
Pleased with himself,
Will cast a shadow
On my sun,
Shining brightly
For everyone!

If only…

Ah, if only…

‘Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n.’*

No place is secure, not anymore.
No person is heaven,
No place, no time.
Not on Earth,

Or anywhere else,
Eternity included?

If only…

If it were true,
Those shocking verses,
No, not those!

The ones I see,
Staring at me,
In my mind,
In my heart,
In my soul?

If only…

That promise,
So special,
So absolute,
So delicious,

So sacred,
To so many,
And so disdained,
To so many more.

The doubt crawls
Up one side
And down the other.
It lingers…

Oh, if only…

*From Paradise Lost, by John Milton.

here and now

stopping to check it out.
oh, how nice.
no, not really.
only if.

another life.

not me.
not now.
not here.

back to reality again:
on a limited budget,
with responsibilities,
a set bedtime (sort of).

got to be at work in the a.m.
got to go to church on Sunday.
got to worship…?


that’s not right, is it?


here and now is nice,
isn’t it?


Can do, can come through.
Going to, on top, trying not,
Going for, leaving not,
Staying through, on it.

How do we label things?
How do we push through
Those difficult times?

We close another chapter
In difficulty, and look to
The brighter future
Of our darkened life,

Hoping for a bit of luck,
Counting on it.
We strive, we hope,
We cling to that hope.

Blessings will come.
It’s in God’s plan
We are God’s chosen,
Even if it kills us.



Looked, saw, felt, smelled, tasted.
Gone, now.  Yesterday again.

In passing,
Another time and space–remembered?
Wells of grief and regret have buried
What was at one moment
A shining beacon of light!

In passing,
A love–so deep, so full of power and strength,
Lies as ruins in the dusty basement of memory.

Only a passing glimpse of something,
Perhaps superficially unrelated,
And sometimes even
Far from the truth…remembers.

After passing,
A possibility that was
At one time only imagined,
But still, at one time, very powerful,
To some sense–in the mind,
Or the body, or the soul…
Still, after all, it Lives.