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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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.

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. 

A poem to call on confidence

I have a stately purpose
Just like a stately pine
I have a sprightly wit
Just like a friend of mine

I have a stunning sense
Just like a flower’s smell
I have a sustained vigor
Just like a young Orwell

You like my noble name?
Why yes, it ends in matter
How ‘bout my natural charm?
Mad, just like a hatter

I bring a sparkling fury
To music like a dance
My hand’s superb command
Puts my readers in a trance

I am a throneless king
Who picked the wrong to rule
You can call it vain conceit
But I know I ain’t no fool

I’m slick with polished ease
Gold throughout my voice
Calculated with mathematical precision
And you thought you had a choice

There is a majestic awe
To my nameless grace
A simple, modest plainness
To my fervent, steady pace

Don’t make a vital mistake
And sullen, call it quits
You might make boats for a living
But I’m the captain of this ship

-TS

I’m Not Asking

I will never know
how hurt you have been
and are.

You held it together for
years. Then one day it all
came apart.

Maybe you saw it coming,
but couldn’t believe it would be
a new reality.

Reality sounds kinda nice
compared to what every
stunted, splintered day in this hell feels like.

I hope you can have some good
before you go. There’s been a mistake
in how much broken you were handed.

I pray peace for you, even when you
really frustrate me. I want to hear
more joy in your voice.

Not one more moment of pain, Lord.
Not one more God-forsaken moment.
Let’s see you redeem.

I call upon you now to right this ship.
To make impossible good out of
insurmountable bad.

I’m afraid I’m not asking.
I’m telling.
Right now, show my mother … love like she’s never seen.