Sermon Rock


Robert F. Kennedy lay in the hospital and
I stood on the stones in my back yard
Where I used to preach as a kid and prayed for his recovery
I stood later on my front steps and prayed some more
But my prayers were for naught
And my birthday became the day he took his last breath
I can still smell the honeysuckle plants behind sermon rock
I can still feel the wind on my face as I stood and called the congregation to prayer
Each blade of grass was my holy community
Each thick green leaf on the magnolia tree was the choir
The thick southern air
Was not like the California heat
My young life
Was not like his young death
Our lives never came together
But my dreams were big
His dreams were big
And now all he can do is dream the dream that never ends



I am obsessed with flight
With the roar of engines
With the lifting of weight

From the earth
From my heart
From my accounts

Of the wondrous clouds
That I saw
And the Northern Lights

From my window
At 34000 feet on a
Dark winter night

Like what I feel now
Waiting endlessly at the gate
Of a fragile future

Ghost of the Parking Lot


I remember what it was like to stand in the middle of
A crowded parking garage and kiss you as if I would never see you again.
I haven’t seen you in 7 years and still I hear the wind in your hair
The sound of my tentative footsteps going up to your room
The sound of my heart like a drum circle, as I marveled at my luck
And then breaking into a million pieces when you disappeared from my life
It’s as if I was a cherry pit spit out
Even if my words were indeed a little moldy, or at least too plentiful
I don’t know how to be quiet–neither my mouth nor my heart
I see your house in my dreams
And wish it were mine.

You might say you were being strangled by my constant attention,
And “I became a ghost so I can breathe again
I need to become light as a feather
I need to become a rainstorm in spring
I need to feel safe as who I am”

And I might say “a rainstorm in spring”…when I was
A child, and it rained, I used to crawl under
My father’s desk and look out the back window
I felt safe watching the rain pour down
Outside the glass that kept the scary world at bay

That’s how I felt when our lips met in the parking lot
And the cars were voyeurs
And for once in my life, after the long night of mourning,
I could breathe


Digging Under My Own Dirt

Whatever you remember
Pass it under the table
So I can keep it for myself
I have secrets
Which I sell for tips

I sing songs of victories
Sometimes just over my own desires
I write verses of hope
That I make it through the next time I sit down to write a poem

I was born in the afterlife
I was raised in infinity
I was brought face-to-face with death in the present
And I want to go back to the beginning

Some who knew who I was
Remember the hope I used to have
And what I hold up now
Is the hope that hope returns


A family is just as close as my Internet connection allows
They sing and play together
Like there is no tomorrow except
The one in their imaginations sweet
Like honey that drips through the heart and onto the mind
Yes, it drips upward
Moving at the speed of the sound of dreams
Moving at light years ahead of those who want dreams to die
This is the family of precious resistance
This is the family of jeweled hope
Caressed with loving care
Into verse and chorus
Hugged tight in arrangements
That are long lost friends
This is a ladder to the stars,
Winding from room to room in heaven
This is the breath of life
A song to what can be
When we find our true home.

Lyrical Beauty



[H/t to Sabrina Benaim ( for the motif from her wonderful poem “First Date”]

I want to write poems of lyrical beauty
Or, maybe I just want you to listen
And by listening, I mean I want you to pause in a dark alleyway
When you’re not sure which way to turn
And head toward the light
By light I mean I want these words to come into your head
When you struggle to speak to another soul
I want to be your words
I want to be the space between your syllables
I want to be the breaths of air as you think of the letters
I want to be the aftermath as the sounds roll off your palate

That moment when the star
Calls out for a fan to come onstage
And sing along
I want to be your harmony
I want to be that breath of anticipation
I want to be that moment of hesitation before you jump
And then I want you to wake up
With me in your arms

Necessities 1

I strain to listen
Old as I am
Deaf to change as I am
Blind to reason as I am
Afraid to die as I am
I strain to hear the voices
Calling me
Telling me I can be whole

I reach for a remote to change
My life back to what I wanted
When I was young
But the channel is stuck
The program repeats over again
Until the time comes to sign off for the night

The sign-off program used to play that poem “High Flight”
“Put out my hand, and touched the face of God”
I just want to touch a face that touches me back


Measured tones
Quiet voice
Strong hammer-like wit
A piece of ancient history
Modern dressed archaeology
I was his son
When he preached
The earth didn’t move
But the heart did
And it beats in me still
As I contemplate how to stay alive


For David Glaser

I will lift you in my arms
And carry you through the minefield
Jumping for joy

I will take you into
Dreams I have yet to fulfill
Singing while I chase the future

I will forge an anvil
Of hope
From the aching hearts

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Rap When I Should Be Sleeping

Too much
Too little
Too late
Nothing is prescribed
Can’t decide
Too much
Too little
Too late
Nothing is expected
Nothing has changed
Estranged from reality

In truth,
I can’t rap
I can’t make good beats
I can’t make good enough words
I can sometimes barely live and breathe
Enough to satisfy
My expectations of my own power

But that has never stopped me
From trying
From reaching out beyond myself just one more time
Putting one foot in front of the other
If not in my mouth
Putting one more morsel of food in my gut
Putting one more crazy idea in my head
Thinking someone will love me
Thinking someone will remember me