Thursday, January 23, 2014


When you came to me-
Held fast to my thumb
I transferred my muse,
infused the spark-
creation and thought,
my every turn and
intuitive hop
into that moment,
hazel hit hazel,
my breath got caught.

When you came to me-
all zen, unimpressed,
stoic and satisfied
I transferred my trouble-
the rage from the struggle,
eternally asking
the reasons why,
theorizer, moving
striving toward 
the unreasonable,
hazel hit blue,
my voice got caught.

When you came to me-
angelic and feminine
I transferred my bliss,
euphoria seeking
light from love,
the terminus of same-
my thirsty search for
a singular wink of serenity,
of comfort and family-
hazel hit blue,
my heart got caught.

When y'all came to me-
held little bodies
cozied your heads,
contented to sleep
I was defused inside,
echo of breath,
of voice, of heart-
sounds as solids
cuddled into my chest.
This, your inheritance,
please live it fully-
it's all I have to leave.
It's all I ask.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

found divinity (submission-ready)

You are my goddess.
watching your form
at a far-flung clip-
eyes trace the dance of a curve
from your waist to your hip
as if they had tongues-
pausing at every inch,
hungry yet unsung
mutate my mood to robust-
inspire soliloquies
words so fervent they combust
trace the incline of your smile
teeth bared, eyes alight,
angel arranged to beguile-
You are my goddess.
have seen you in a head-trip,
a dream or meditation
now corporeal before me
my vitality near detonation-
a prayer in solidity, 
a lucid realization of hope-
assuredness transfigured turbidity
perplexity knowing no scope-
mixtures of elation and reverence,
aversion and obsession
fascination with no severance-
I'm enamored but with trepidation-
rouse me forward
and find me trekking with relish
combine dynamism and rhyme
no need to embellish 
You are my goddess.

* * *

Written while considering a rather blissful companion, back in 2002 or 3.

perpetual care 'til the end of time (submission-ready)

"Perpetual Care 'Til the End of Time,"
says the faded-out printing
on the ramshackle sign.
Tombstones guarding the
grown-over paths- names chipping
slipping silently to ground,
yielding to twin wraths
of time and circumstance.
Empty beer bottles
strewn about blazes of
stickerweed and thistle
prickly points of cacti replace
the sign's exaggerated epistle.
Water pooling stale, teeming sick 
with larvae and disease
affairs foreboding wafting despair
to the very canopy of the trees.
Intaglio of Jesus invaded
by blue-green moss-
life blooming on dead stone savior
hanging limply from crafted cross.
All anonymous residents now corpses 
and fertilizer for the forests and wilds
feeding from spent decades of
a landscape and era free of charades.
From the heavens rain down
distant recollections of a chime:
nature keeping covenant
'tween ghosts and sounds sublime,
"Perpetual Care 'Til the End of Time."

simulacrum (submission-ready)

Smelled upon breath is
sweet bottled optimism-
swallowed, pasteurized
chemically-born mask.
Translucence over eyes grants 
sight as though a veil-
a shelter velveteen-tender
demeanor muted, certitude paled-
a stimulating simulacrum
this aftertaste of life.
About my spirit a phantasm
flavored of doubt and paranoia
it cradles like a shroud of
sumptuous cashmere,
proud rococo styling like
foolish notions held dear-
ideas, ideals and influence.
Structure of soft plastic outside
but innards of limpid steel expands 
and ripens-a plenary prison keep
buttressed by cruel homilies.
Spirit inside sits petrified
waiting in vain for resolution
in this self-styled sepulcher.

Friday, March 8, 2013

element call- US Freedom Circle

The East brings the winds
that blow of freedom's promise
a nation's new beginning was birthed
with a quiet footfall
upon the rocky shores
of a fateful place
that would be known as Massachusetts
The sea air,
There giving the gift of inspiration,
that the East would lead in bright discovery,
In commerce and policy
And invite our imagination
To wander far and wide.
Powers of air,
Of inspiration
You are honored and welcomed!

The South stokes the fire
the passion of the summer's heat-
the rising up of sabers
forged of honor and tradition
defending to the last breath
individual will.
A magnolia
with the spirit
of the sacred phoenix of antiquity,
blessed with the courage
to bloom once more after having been burned
and to recast itself as a bastion of justice
churning plumes of zealous ardor
and sparking drive to succeed.
Powers of fire,
Of passion and courage
You are honored and welcomed!

The West floods with waters
Flowing with emotion
The gateway to the Pacific ocean
Pours out all intuition.
Past the sands of the desert
Where moisture is a precious gift.
A healing salve for the wounds of our journey,
and a quenching of thirst for a new frontier.
Our west is blessed with the rains of Oregon
and the wisdom of those that came this way first,
the ancient knowledge
like the foam of the sea,
tucked to and fro
along the supple shoreline
tells us of love to encompass all beings.
Powers of water
Of healing and emotion
You are honored and welcomed!

The North stands solid
upon mounds of earth
solidified and sturdy
a mountain of certainty
in an uncertain world.
Steadfast and reliable
like the wheel of the seasons,
yet ductile and malleable
Resilient through changes
As when shaped into art
In the South Dakota ranges
jutting faces of the fathers up over the expanse.
Gifts us with nourishment from her arboreal hearth.
Holds our bodies at birth
and at death returns them home,
And we merge with the soil
No longer alone.
Powers of earth
Of stability and sustenance,
We welcome you!

The Center quietly sings
though it's voice contains arias
resounding into space
and the ageless beyond.
With you we crossed the Delaware
We beat back the odds
And defended the dream of a regentless realm.
When we shredded in half, torn asunder by hatred
The liberty of your song
caused the wounds to convalesce.
We broke forth from tyranny,
Great emancipator of souls
All above and all below
Gave us strength to to strike a blow,
to loose the shackles of impiety
At Argonne, at Normandy,
At Midway and Iwo Jima
in Korea and Vietnam we learned your lessons.
Now your melody is heard
past twin scars of light
blazing in the sky in a New York night.
We sing back in harmony-
Our spirit unbroken
our voices echo strong
with the character of this land,
this ideal that will not die
this America.
Powers of spirit
of immanence and will,
We welcome you!

you were made like wildflowers

For Aunt Gaddle, aged 102, left this earth on St. Patrick's Day 2006, forever in my soul.

* * *

You were made like wildflowers, 
yours was an autumn blossom-
an essence of joy on display, 
your sustenance was
every day, life itself
scenting the world with
your simplicity of presence.
You were made like wildflowers, 
yours was a winter to endure-
a trying of the soul, so cold
stood firm in the soil
so bold, never wilting
a portrait of strength
suspending the season of growth.
You were made like wildflowers, 
yours was a summer bouquet-
sprouting up wild in wide pastures
in purple and gold
hue that secures, inspired
a sense of closeness
with the land, the one you loved.

Yours are made like wildflowers, 
You made spring eternal-
burgeoning in mind and heart
unfenced and unbound
as you depart, you lay down
a batch of seedlings, 
to replenish the garden with light.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pa's Hat

I first wore the hat at the age of two
in a picture my mother took.
It swallowed my head- its immense size;
an adult's hat on a child's head.

My grandfather wore the hat around the 1950's-
when it was stylish. It fit him funny
we always laugh about the way it sat
on top of his head.

When off it came, a part of him was left inside and stayed for years as it sat alone in the top of his closet. 
When I grew bigger, I lifted the hat from it's lonely perch. 
Now it fit me-the brown hat hugging my head snugly but not too tight.

And all of a sudden, I left the place where the hat and my grandfather were for years.

But when I wear the hat, part of Pa infuses me.
His love and laughter spring to life
and make me into a man such as he.

And neither hats nor grandfathers are forever...
But I'll wear the hat, and I'll keep that part of him
left so many years ago.

And when he's gone, there will be a man
who laughs like him, and walks like him, and cares like him.
Still wearing his Pa's hat.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

found divinity

People seek the divine in many places. Sometimes it is right before our eyes. If you're lucky you'll meet up with it every once in a while. I did.

* * *

You are my goddess.
watching your form
at a far-flung clip
eyes tracing the dance of a curve
from your waist to your hip
as if they had tongues
pausing at every inch
hungry yet unsung
mutate my mood to robust
inspire soliloquies
words so fervent they combust
trace the incline of your smile
teeth bared, eyes alight
angel arranged to beguile
You are my goddess.
have seen you in a head-trip
a dream or meditation
now corporeal before me
set my vitality to detonation
prayer in solidity
a lucid realization of hope
assuredness transfigured to turbidity
perplexity knowing no scope
mixtures of elation and reverence
aversion and obsession
fascination with no severance
I'm enamored but with trepidation
rouse me forward
and find me trekking with relish
combine dynamism and rhyme
no need to embellish
You are my goddess.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

the night i knew

It was a lightning flash coming towards me 
from your mouth and hands and animated gestures, 
penetrating my head and body. We were standing in 
your former home, late at night, the current resident on a trip. 
You were gesticulating, pointing to this, and to that; 
those things that had their origins in your head 
but now servicing someone else. And when the words were exclaimed, 

the flash, 

and the feelings that erupted inside me. 
I wanted to say what you had done was a thing of beauty,
that I had been with you then, not him, 
and that I had appreciated every single, tiny wife-y touch 
you put on that house. The pride in your voice sustained that lightning bolt, 
centering things, hovering it before my eyes; 
causing me to envision, or believe I could envision, 
futures where a meal might bake, steam rising from the dish 

like lighting on pause 

until inhaled to complete the hallucination. 
So I grabbed you with both hands, 
spinning you around, jabbering something, ultimately unable 
to articulate the feelings and the hunger and the steam, 
or the strength with which they came.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

wayside pulpit

Mind astray reading the
words on a wayside pulpit-
so awkward a prophet-
bumbling knowledge-
the acidity of a stunted worldview.

Are you simple as this?
So explainable by twists of phrase  
and pithy wagging tongues
of a bored and boring populace?

Or do you exist in more than an
ever-changing, plastic-lettered,
scared domicile of homicidal  
banalities; meant to be smart?

Might you reside in the
memory of a deceased relative
who died in pain but lived in promise?

Do you dwell a lady’s kiss
at Summer’s first light, balefires lit,
anticipating your rise?

Have you been heard in silent want
upon cold gray steps, with brothers'  
saffron robes dragging the freezing floor?

Or can you be found in
a painted representation of a savior  
dangling, bleeding, rescinding all sin?

Do you feel anger when forced
in containers or bound in
dead leather as the pages of a book?

Can you smell the petals of
an opening rose; waft along the breeze;
yourself the perfume of floral fascination?

How does it feel to be an enigma-
an unknown quantity 
straddling an absolute world?

Have I seen you in my daughter’s smile;
my son’s face in the morning
when I am home and it’s Saturday
and what's past is left in proper place?

I care not how you were conceived;
how to ratify your existence; define your mystery.
I seek only your presence, not to fall by the wayside-
no pulpits, nor altars, nor prayers, nor kneeling.

* * *

Since I took such a long break between posts, I thought I'd try to write something new. That didn't work out, so I went back to a past piece & edited the hell out of it (or maybe into it, depends on your worldview.) One of my pet peeves are those little blurbs that appear alongside the road on church marquees- wayside pulpits- that are supposed to be witty. To me they epitomize the general dumbing-down of religion in this country.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Almost everyone who reads this comes away with their own version of its message. Just a hint- throw away anything obvious- think metaphor, people! One of my more personal selections, written during a time of great transition.
* * *
Looking like
you’re skinny-sweet.
Twig-thin breakable
won’t bear the heat.
frail-boned glass-jaw
head to feet;
Must prove you’re

Grinding gears
you’re double time.
Thick skin big engine
never knew benign.
Elegant delinquent
bring spark to mind;
I think you’re

Pleasing pain
you’re satisfaction.
First-glance flirtation,
one-day distraction.
Don’t dare to miss us
so no retraction;
you say you’re

Berating bleats
a headstrong sheep.
Pent-up acrimony
sarcasm seeps.
Mutation matrimony,
more’s to weep;
forced to be

Treacly tune
contempt in form.
Sad-sack familiar
caused me scorn.
enshrined boredom;
forced to be

Fantastic flights
come to an end.
Tin-man melting heart
on whom all depends.
Wrestling frivolous
to comprehend
just what is

Thursday, May 12, 2011

guest poet : Amara Tankersley

Part of the fun of having FBNL be in blog format rather than its own website is the opportunity to feature other items than just my own poems. Today, in honor of Eilena's birthday yesterday, my daughter, 12-year-old Amara Tankersley will show off her verse. As far as I know, this one is untitled. She isn't aware that I am posting it just yet (ssh!) 

* * *

Eilena enjoyed having fun
in the warm summer's sun.
She took rides
in her red wagon
and pretended she was 
a fierce dragon.
While she sat on a small chair
there was a strange silence in the air-
Eilena went up the many stairs,
"Surprise!" yelled her family with
birthday gifts in the chairs.

Happy Birthday Ena-beena! 
From Amara.

Friday, April 29, 2011


The Source of all being, continuum timeless.
The ground of existence, rhyming and rhymeless.

Today we honor your limitless love,
Your limitless freedom and limitless trust,
O unity of sky’s spirit and earth’s dust.

* * *

O aspect of feminine,
Goddess, wisdom, delight.
Womb of our birth,
Nourishment of eternal life.

Maiden, Mother, Crone
Earth, Water, Moon.
From you came our birth, and all birthed who have lived.
We honor your part in creation,
Your partnership internal in our beings
O Mother in the Earth...

The Goddess on the hillside on a sunlit morn,
bathing Her body in the mists;
She trills out a tune to the infinite;
She sings of yearning and bliss.
Her voice calls the fervor of Her love
His presence She insists
She beckons him sweetly to rendezvous
to fulfill all that exists...

* * *

Bachelor, Father, Sage
Sky, Fire, Sun.
From you came the seed so needed for life which grew in the mother.
We honor your part in creation,
Your partnership internal in our beings
O Father in the Sky...

Dance to the song of the hillside Goddess
and she will lie with thee;
the dew and the flowers and the daylight’s gleam
welcome summer’s jubilee;
spring is complete and summer nearby,
dance with your passion, dance down from the sky
join with your lover by the hillside stream
kindling the fires of life Her decree.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

child's play

For my son and daughters.

I think children are the real masters of all things magical. Weaving the forces of nature to make new realities is something that comes natural and instinctive to a child, especially one very young. The more time I spend with my children, the more of that I see.
* * * 

Children play with rhythm
write your musings for
all the world to see
every verse, all prose, all poetry
'til the drums of war
begin to schism.
'Til the sand grains in the hourglass
forget what they're falling for
incited to rise
No more children shall you play with lies
but wrap
your hands 'round
what's at your core
hear sounds in your heart
that are proud and pure
and ghost-dance freedom
knock-knocking on that door.
Sit laughing naked in wet earth
wearing air as your robe.
Children play with God
make Him yours and
just hit reload if He should smite,
there's no throne for a God of spite
in the clay you're baking to be your globe.
Craft new parents from the ground
let inclination coagulate;
No resting easy- children create!
Fashion cities and farms and compounds
skyscrapers of solid crystal
that can never be marauded down!
Or let there be no buildings
only enduring plains
whoop a paean to the patrons
of the open range
and quicken your mount
by releasing it's reins.
Children play with time
repair the errata we've printed afore
engrave your legends and myths and lore
fate is your minion,
the future your reason
Children play with wisdom,
respect every season.

Friday, April 15, 2011

on loop 288 & I-35, Denton

It is shocking how quickly life situations can change- in reality we are all just one or two unlucky events away from being one of the people we ignore standing on the street with a sign- frightening.
* * * 
The lady at the counter
tells me no more is left
so I move along past
shuffling my feet.
Does it matter to her
that my tongue is cleft-
deformed, so I stay in my seat?

I look in a mirror
and see what others view-
tattered clothes
wrinkled skin and scabs
face unshaved.
Fly-like eyes darting 'round
search for non-existent food-
beasts in my belly gnawing
like eviscerated slaves.

You chuckle at my sign
as I hold it to my breast
or stop and gape
with wonderment
at a man whom has no shame.
You rush past and forget
how God has made you blessed;
it seems that "good Samaritans"
no longer have a claim.

A man in a loud tie
talks about me on TV;
I see it at a store
and on the newspaper page.
You wonder if I'm aware
of the time spent just on me;
I want to scream I do not care
but can't bring forth the proper rage.

Not a one impatient
stranger in their
their empty words produced
for re-election
can understand why I
stand with sign and "slack"
they stare dumb
from windows gilded to perfection.
I fought their war
kept their precious
children rich and free-
grimy hands once held
their flag with swollen pride.
The same hands would have
gripped tight my college degree
but foreign lands and bullet holes
cast dreams aside.

So I stand in the median
with my sign clutched
to my breast
while empty suits spout
"robust times" and
"deserving" what I've seen.
I rage inside my brain
until I reach a lofty crest;
then sag down in disarray and
the smell of spent gasoline.