Grandpa

He was the junkyard king
Man, he had everything
His friends called em Red
He had a field, a house, a broken down shed

He was plenty tough
He only dealt in rough
His heart was made a glass
But, both his hands were made a the finest brass

He hates old cigars
He sat in rusty cars
He’d burn all his trash
He said that nuthin’ ever seems to last

I thought he hung the moon
He’d sing ole cowboy tunes
He always kept the law
And I’m just glad I got to call him paw

And when I said goodbye
He yelled, “We never die!
Build a hot air balloon!
So I can see you again real soon!”

He was a man a God
Said he was plenty flawed
I don’t believe it though
Cause when’d it ever seem to show?

Loved his wife and kids
He shut his “Old eyelids”
I know he loved me too
Loved me like the grass does love the dew

Then he rode his horse
Into the dusk of course
I want to be like him
So I sat straight down and wrote a hymn

I thought he hung the moon
Whistled ole cowboy tunes
He always kept the law
And I’m just glad he gets to see my mom … again!

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Mr. Money


Mister money!?
The all-lending-gold-stash-in-the-sky!?
Why?
Why am I here so hundred-dollar puny?
And they’re so stacked-to-the-ceiling-bundles-of-cash?

Is it cause I don’t tithe to you?
The all-lending-gold-stash-in-the-sky?
Seems to me like you got enough, feel me?
Your wealth is never ending kind –
And mine is the maybe run out tomorrow kind.

Would it be so terrible if I did inherit a small fortune? ™
Not baseball player money!
No, more like long-time plumber in a small town, money.
Name on the side of the truck, money.
Small recognition and respect, money.

Maybe I’m not the guy cause I won’t use it like you want.
Maybe other folks with short pockets and long donation lists are better.
But this – not make it past one medical bill – type money has got to go.
I’m trying to hold in all my illness.
Can’t have too many burst forth at the same time!
My mailbox would explode with bills.

I’m not too good at working, all-lending-gold-stash-in-the-sky.
I need a little help from your swimming pool coin fortune.
Your bugs bunny, cartoon money.
I have to pay my rent.
Do you want me out in the cold, all-lending-gold-stash-in-the-sky?
Kinda seems like it…

I forgive you though.
You gotta make the money go around to everybody.
But it sure seems like you’re not very even…
What do I know though.
You big time.
I’m small potatoes … and bank account (singular).

Full stop

2009-12-21 18.05.41

It hasn’t gotten as cold as I remember.
This time years ago, I was wearing a
double-lined, rust-colored coat from
the Duluth catalogue; matching boots
to boot.

I prefer a mild winter, with enough
cold to contemplate words like “alone”
and “silence.” If we are in the habit of
preferring, I’d like my mountains snow-
covered but my black, asphalt streets
dry – with no salt to muck up the
underbelly of my truck.

Winter is a clear head; free from
summer’s buzz. All the better thoughts
have settled to the bottom; sifted.
Winter is a reflection and a state of
quiet – no longer heading, but headed.

It feels good to take in a deep,
December breath and feel complete;
like I have managed to move more than
I sat.

In January, I write letters to my future self.
In December, I read them and laugh; goals
too broad in breadth. Then, calm as I wish,
revel in all the pleasant surprises, content.

Christmas Queen

2009-12-21 18.09.50

My perspective is real wide now,
but my vision is like way narrow.
The word “Love” sounds like
when you shout into a bottomless well.
Well, maybe there’s a bottom,
but how would we know, ya know?

We keep seeing you everywhere.

I saw you a whole lot today in the
back of the TJ Maxx on Madison.
There were those peppermint-bark tins
that you used to get, I was gunna get Miss
a picture frame, but I couldn’t wait in the line.

You waited in every line for us.

I don’t know how ya did it.
You said every Christmas would be small,
but that was always a lie.

I don’t think you meant to lie.
I think you genuinely thought
you couldn’t pull it off some years,
but oh, man you did.

I don’t know what I’ll miss more,
your Christmas village magic –
or the thought of you waiting in all
those lines; a big smile on your face
when you began to realize … that year
was gunna be bigger than the last … again.

Celebration of life – 11/10/18

I stared at all your faces
Sombre, though bright alike
They came from all your places
Some drove through the night

I recited poems and sang
The worship songs you’d want
My bright guitar strings rang
Hid my tears all nonchalant

It was impossible indeed
To see your daughter cry
Our simple family creed
Is try, then give, then try

Many wished they’d’ve spoke
Too hard a thing to do
I tried to calm them with a joke
And head back laugh in lieu

In pictures, young I saw
Your face lit up with glee
God’s gift of grace and awe
For many eternity

I know I did you proud
Don’t have to wish a thing like that
Your people sang real loud
I acted as diplomat

I closed with that poem
I read to you that day
Not ever a time alone
When that poem I hear you say
When that poem kneels down to pray

We have the honor to remain

We got everything in order for you.

The disability benefits for your final months.
The life insurance so we can pay off the house.
The automatic payments for the energy bill.
The files are in order.
The mail’s been checked.
The cars are paid off.
The radiation is done.
The chemo is through.

No more doctor’s appointments.

We got everything in order for you,
“Right down to the urn.”

Vulnerable

You can set someone free with your vulnerability. You can quiet a fellow human’s fears. You can spur them on. It’s not necessary to have your hurts mastered, before you share them, so please share them. The impact of uncovering moments you are ashamed of, will reach further than you could ever know. It will save lives.