Indian Summer, Blackberry Winter

She is yelling in a barely audible whisper
Shrill, but comforting
Soft too

Cold, but not bitter
Like peeling ivory –
Waves of chills

I turn my jacket collar up
against her wind,
My back turned to her brunt

It’s when I most know I’m alive
In her quiet
In her intoxicating still

* * *

They always try and break it
Shatter her silence
But she’s resilient and always wins

Though, she doesn’t call it winning
She’s not much for competition
There’s no better or worse

She understands the moon’s
dull light, stoic and unassuming
compared to the glorious sun

She also understands
their insufferable efforts
to try and make a villain out of her

That Hustle Cold

Sunset –
the little ghetto market,
westside parkway

Gotta get an early start
Set up shop so to speak
Greet more folks than the mayor

Trains don’t so much
echo in the distance,
they are the distance

Shake hands with
the shady,

He drew his own tattoos
Musta been high as hell when he did it
cause they shake too

“Gotta catch the next one”
He says, eyes darting
He ‘Oh wells,’ and leaves his outline behind

* * *

on the corner
selling roses for a buck

Buck shot
stuck in
the market door

They hand a dollar over
cause Christmas eve service
just let out

Little roses
wrapped in plastic
and sealed with a sticker

The market man
says to try somewhere,
anywhere else

He’s called the cops before
and for far less than
stray bullets in the door

The King Has Come!

An angel appeared, swift in the night
A warrior tall and full of light
Said don’t be scared! For God will come
You’re son, Mary, He’s the one!

The family traveled to Joseph’s land
Bethlehem town in God’s own hand
A little stable which held the least
So they nestled with the friendly beasts

Newborn babe in manger slept
With Mom and Dad safe they kept
God came down to bring us near
Great joy to all the people here

All the while a star shone bright
And Shepherds all beheld the light
Angels sang behind lowly hills
He’s come! He’s come! You must be still!

The shepherd’s ran to see the One
And gasped when they saw Heaven’s son
Wise men traveled on camels far
All because that lovely star

A rescuer! They whisper soft
Child on high from Heaven’s loft
A king they say he’ll grow to be
One side of the Holy three

A palace? No a homeless man
Poor of spirit though not of plan
The blind will see, the lame will leap!
To rule with service, our hearts to keep

Sad will perish, hate will cease
All the world will know is peace
What fear of death we oft live by
But he says this! Death too will die!

Born to rags though really king
Heaven fell soft and earth did sing
His name decrees he’s God with us
A Prince of Peace, his sword is just

God came down as little child
Be careful though, this lion’s wild
The world will know his boastful fame
And all will bow at Jesus’ Name!

The world will know his boastful fame
And all will bow at Jesus’ Name!

You and me, will bow at Jesus’ Name!

50 Questions to ask God this Holiday Season

1. Hows come we can’t see you?
2. How many bulbs have broken when idiots put up Christmas lights?
3. Why don’t people use their fucking turn signal?
4. Why, when I forget to use my turn signal, do people get so mad?
5. If I count to 100, how many religions can you name?
6. If your love for us was a color, what would it be?
7. Rainbows, how do you feel about those?
8. What do you want from me?
9. So, are you sure true love only comes once? I’m asking for a friend.
10. I’ve got two books on systematic theology, do I need those?
11. I think anteaters are funny, do you?
12. Do you sleep-in a lot?
13. How big is your bed?
14. When you get mad, does your face get super red like ours?
15. Who’s your least favorite and you can’t say Hitler?
16. Why do I have an appendix but not wings?
17. What’s your spirit animal?
18. Is it an anteater?
19. If you were going to write me a letter, how many pages would you need?
20. If I live for like 70 years, how long is forever?
21. Yankees or Red Sox?
22. Bourbon or vodka?
23. I cheated on my eighth grade engineering test, is that bad?
24. Would you ever secede from the union?
25. What’s your favorite boys name, and you can’t say Emmanuel?
26. Do you ever think your muscles should be bigger?
27. I’m not great at growing a mustache, can you fix that before I wake up tomorrow?
28. Can you build something you can’t move? (My college professor keeps asking)
29. I didn’t make anyone’s christmas card list again this year, does that count as sadness?
30. I turned all my book reports in on time in third grade, were you proud of me?
31. What do you want for Christmas this year, and you can’t say cash again?
32. Two trains are traveling toward each other. One leaves from Pittsburgh and travels consistently at 85 mph and alternates tracks every 10 minutes. The other is actually a plane. Math…am I right?
33. Do you believe in miracles?
34. How many government people are watching me right now?
35. Where do you live currently?
36. Is it better than the last place?
37. Whaddya think, you and me remake Cars 2, but this time we get it right?
38. I’m up shit creek, do you have a paddle?
39. Do you like Blues Brothers as much as I do?
40. If I’m a crooked stick, are you a straight line or are you more like a circle?
41. If you quit your job and did stand up for a year, what would your special be called?
42. Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel?
43. Are you left handed?
44. The earth is bipolar … so … do you take your medication?
45. Did you ever get married?
46. My wife’s on the other side of the world isn’t she?
47. When I prayed real hard that the Pittsburgh Penguins would beat the Philadelphia Flyers in the ’97 playoffs, were you asleep in your big bed or something?
48.Can you explain the meaning of life using only bendy straws?
49. There’s a burning ball of fire in outer space that affects the seasons and pretty much everything I’ve ever thought about. Are you random or naw?
50. Dad?

Grandpa Strittmatter

My dad’s dad, my grandpa Strittmatter, was confined to a wheelchair or scooter for a lot of his elderly life. I don’t remember many conversations I had with him, but I do remember that he was always smiling and I admired that. He was a WWII Naval vet and my grandma would tell me that when she got up in the morning to make breakfast for their eight kids, he would read the bible to her and keep her company. I admired that too.