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
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
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.
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.
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
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
I will never know
how hurt you have been
You held it together for
years. Then one day it all
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
I’m afraid I’m not asking.
Right now, show my mother … love like she’s never seen.
Asleep in a still pool of water;
the figure balances atop
without disturbing the
Even the thought of a ripple –
would rock the water awake,
the figure has cleared
Can you feel its quietness?
The sound of an empty mind
falling out of consciousness,
neither asleep nor awake?
It is hard to imagine
the sound of the space
and moment between
the two worlds we know best.
A third place, where the figure
finds his mind’s rest, is not
a beginning or a destination,
question or answer.
It is rather a state
of such tremendous peace,
that it brings a foe like worry
to its knees.
If you like to think of God
as a metaphor for everything good
in the world,
I think that’s ok.
If you’re not sure
what faith really is,
it’s alright to say,
I don’t know.
If you can think positive
thoughts when everything around
is falling down,
Then you’re ahead of the game.
If you want to believe in love
when someone says something mean,
and it hurts more than you think you can bear,
then you’re already on your way.
Make small, little acts of love a big deal.
Make big, complex concepts seem small and easy to understand.
I give you this advice, little one.
Take what you like.
Leave what you don’t.
And be sure to give a whole lot away.
With all the love in the world,
There is a deep intimacy
to the music made with you in mind.
There’s a secret sound
buried beneath all the chords.
I’ll be honest, if I didn’t have that,
I wouldn’t believe at all.
But when I close my eyes and sing to you,
There was a time tonight,
when I sang to a group of friends,
the words they say you spoke and speak,
and I cried while I sang them.
I tired to hold it back – like always
and I wondered if that gentle push
was you saying:
“Let go, Ty. Please, just let go.”
When you’re gone, return to dust
I’ll be alright, You’ll have to trust
You’re only boy, your “favorite son”
I’ll be fine, when your day is done
Miss has my back, and I have hers
Thick as blood, more than words
The joy of friends, I’m sealed with love
Only good comes from above
Think of the place you’ll get to be!
Golden courts for eternity!
A place of rest, for a body worn
A Savior king, the curtain torn
Peace forever! Not for a time!
A whole new body! A whole new mind!
Cancer is a forgotten word!
It’s name is never, ever heard!
You’ll run and jump and maybe fly!
And never, ever say goodbye!
Only love, that’s all you’ll know!
You and me, we know it’s so!
No more bad, no more pain!
Two more completely forgotten names!
All your words get whittled down
And somehow “Love” is the only sound
You’ll see your dad, you’ll see your mom
And all the others, who have passed on
Run into – your daddy’s arms
And gaze upon his million charms
A loving mom, ‘til the day you die
But we keep it here, with us inside
I think what I’ll remember clear
Your steady saying, “I love you, dear.”
I love you mum!
When between two brothers
an argument divides,
Cast pride beneath
and anger aside
Brothers, in their nature
will posture and fight
But do not sleep in anger
bid quarrell good night!
I love my dear brothers!
But evil tries take
all the good that we’ve built
all the changes we make
The love of a brother
can be nothing but strong
If something stands between,
you must right the wrong!