Broken Rhyme’s Epitaph

Here lies                  a                   lost poet's
heart which died                            for want of rhyme.
Though he fought its pull,                  the lines don’t show it.
Rhyme's addictions he swore off,               Except for this last time.
If your heart is filled with an older spirit     and bleeds lyrical laments,
with words of ancient archaic origin        set to a romantic bent.
If your humor laughs with Donne    in his flea-bitten puns,
and your heart wrecks       with the Deutschland,
if you retch           at Rossetti's fruit,
and hear        Herbert’s lute,
Run!       Fly for your life!
Or       say goodbye
  to silly rhyme,
just as I,
and in

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The Fallen Fruit

An apple fell on the footpath.
It tumbled, bounced, and bruised
As it rolled on down the pass.

The fallen fruit came to rest in slimy mud,
Colored with hues of black and oxblood.

Oozing sludge clung to the abused skin,
worms and rot feasted, devouring it from within.
The dying fruit released a painful odor,
Like a breath mint in the mouth of an ogre.

Then came a bright-eyed boy
who knelt in the filth with reverence.

He picked up the worthless fruit and spat on it.
He rubbed it on his stainless shirt to clean and shine it.
He worked gradually till his face could be seen in its mirrored finish.

Looking up from the pit with bleeding hands clutching his find,
The boy shouted at the sky: “I found it!  The job is finished!”
“I found the fruit that was lost!”

He arose then and ran on up the path searching for the farmer,
all the way he wept a joyous relief, crying:

“Father!  Father look, I found it!”
“I found the lost apple dad!”
“I did it like you asked.”

Running up to a kindly old man he said:
“Can I keep it father, please can I have it?”

The farmer beamed at his son with pride,
and eyed the blood-red apple, a glint in his eyes.
He scooped them up with a laugh and replied:

“Because you obeyed me and did as I asked,
You may have all the apples you choose,
Even the one that fell on the path.”

If I could paint the sky…

If I could paint the sky,
If I made it rain so plants would grow,
If I commanded seasons “Change,”
If the winds obeyed my voice?

Nothing in those ifs of mine
could match the beauty of this.
Nothing I imagine can be mine
without infringing on this.

For he is and was and will be.
He spoke mater into being,
He started the ticking of time,
and said “let there be light.”

He spoke magic words in song,
Words of praise for all we see,
Words of right made wrong,
Words of hope to all who seek.

Words painted the sky tonight!
Words of love an unyielding might,
Words of time dying to-night,
His is the song of rising light!

Bursting Beakers

Have you ever discovered someone who wouldn’t fit neatly in a box?
Maybe they filled them all the way and just couldn’t be contained;
Irrupting from their shell like a volcano, bouncing off the walls.

She would always surprise me as if to tell me “Just you wait and see!”
I imagined her like molten metal still hot and malleable,
still rebelling against that old time mold.

One garment, or shoe, or anything new, bubbles over.
New songs or sunsets light up her canvas like the end of 1999.
Thoughts simmer and pop in her like a palette mix of primary colors.

She is a hot mess of desires tempered by wisdom quenching fire,
Doused in love, she sizzles and snaps in the learning process.
Is it wise to watch chemistry without protective lenses?

Then there are the ferric friends who can’t resist her pull,
They follow her every move gushing in praise and admiration;
And when she chooses to repell a few, they wish an opposite charge.

She is not confined to a gas, liquid, or solid,
She is more than base or acid, more like both combined.
She is a chemical reaction, and a magnetic attraction.

This is not a high school science lab.
No single element or isotope defines her atomic mass;
Someone more competent mixed her ingredients.

She would laugh at that scientific description,
Those eyes would say, “You’re crazy and still not even close.”
Maybe I just haven’t figured out her style of art, but I’m just guessing.

This is not even art history class.
Her shape is more than cubic, more than realism.
There is no single era, artist, or genre I can reference.

Then again, some of the greatest masters took their time to lovingly refine.

Perhaps she is a great masterpiece in progress,
An oil on easel, or pigment in water, a mess of tile shards.
There’s a maker’s touch, a chemical explosion, paint dripping off the walls.

human face with glitter

Confessions from an Aberration

Killing Medusa

She sat alone accompanied by bound friends reading from one,
and waited upon by a cup filled with caffeine’s intoxication.
Her eyes found mine in a flick, and spoke a barred-up welcome,
Then came the sideways huff as if to dismiss an aberration.

I was not real, my flesh turned transparent in that glance,
Two crossbow bolts aimed at all who brave an advance;
Like a wounded animal, or an abused pet bristles mistrust.
To be fair my absent mind may have warranted disgust.

I might have misplaced her name in a poor substitute.
I might have mistaken her identity in passing salute.
I might have been oblivious to some personal foul.
My existence might have been more than grace could allow.

My pitiable state inoculated me against Medusa’s gaze,
for only men are frozen by her eye’s disinterested weight.
A drizzling cloud preceded me, shrouding me in apathy,
an armor suit, a dressing for my sense’s mortal casualty.

For years I walked by unphased, like a wraith of gloom, faceless.
I would pass that table many times without appraising her virtue.
My oblivious breastplate on, and with a visor smile, I felt impervious
to the danger, then the clouds began lifting, the son broke through.

I could feel again!

Even now that I know her name, I never discovered the nature of her wound
That table sits empty ever since her new friends entered service,
Though she hasn’t lost the faithful books who occasionally surface,
And as far as I could tell, her skies were turning to.

She could see then!


Magic Shag Carpets and Stale Chocolate Music

When I close my eyes, I can picture grandma’s living room.
It was a room of shag carpets, trinkets, and clocks,
A sagging sofa accented with a llama skin throw and guarded by a gramophone.
That sanctuary of stability, anchoring memories, changeless by so many years.

Grandpa’s new chair and a flat panel TV at odds with that theme.
He’s gone now, that booming voice still echoes in the air, punctuated by his crazy hair.
Grandma would sit in his chair for years after, riding the recliner down memory winds.
Flying through turbulent patches, times rapids, on to some slow sweet summer days adrift.

I know this by that flat smirk and a twinkle in her look.
A regular visit paid to that place, Friday night’s after dinner traditional TV channel.
Like chocolate cake for her reflection, fondly held in memory, religiously consumed.
The rest of us held our noses, stale to our ears, but stayed to watch her happy thoughts.

I didn’t join in on that magic carpet ride Friday, but those moments remain with me.
The sound of folky gospel, vocals braded in choir, boisterous bands, and singers.
The sound of tap dance shoes hailing like so many high school drummers.
Grandma’s favorite music cake, a sweet melody to her memory, the Gaither Band.

Dumbstruck Redo

If I could go back to when I first met her,
I wouldn’t stamp and stammer sifting through my thoughts,
I wouldn’t discuss the weather like my mind couldn’t fathom something other,
I wouldn’t stare that way with nothing else to say while my heart and blood fought.

Were I to meet her now, I’m sure it would go much better.
My smile wouldn’t quiver but would be sincere, strong, and confidently smoother.
My mind wouldn’t stall; it would enter gear without a chatter.
My modesty wouldn’t fail me in my ecstasy either.

Then prepared with proper warning, all my faculties would fail me not,
For I would slip the chains of fear never to be caught,
For I would speak with elegance and wise forethought,
For my heart would be prepared, ready for this moon-shot.

What I wouldn’t give haunts me now, with a desire to return and do it over!
Oh that moment my mind took flight and left me blubbering like a head donor,
Oh that day my eyes first found you in that precious spot.
Oh to get a second chance to set that first impression slot!

Then you might have really looked at me beyond the frozen stare,
Beyond the quadriplegic frightened animal so scared,
Beyond the mindless dribble, and small talk impaired,
Beyond all that, I’m here, — if you are curious enough to care,
— me the man, dumbstruck though I be.

That World I left behind.

A world of mango trees,
where parrots fly and scream.
Markets filled with ripe bananas,
giant jicamas,
savory papayas,
or baskets of guavas,
with a mix of art and all forms of necessity.
A world of child hood friends,
Andrew, Joel, Junior, Ben.
A life bubble in the midst of the jungle,
where all are aunts or uncles.
This world my mind has made,
sets even the sky ablaze,
with wee-hour lakefront hymns,
and evening walks under amber haze.
Those tear filled days dissolve and fade,
the longer my mind tastes this favorite treat.
Bitter trials ooze away like that mud from my bare feet.
like chocolate memories,
like raging flood waters eroding banks,
above which a cement bench sits to watch and ponder,
the affects of time on life’s mind
for me, it’s a world left behind.

A Heart Shaped Shoe

We met in that enchanting way
in palace corridors spying the other.
Our eyes locked and then the world faded
as all thoughts of others dimmed to sputters.

Awestruck, we danced a careful ballet, 
hesitant, neither sure the steps of summer. 
Resigning hope of finding worthy words to say,
we just smiled, listening to time's beating drummer.

Her name, for shame I couldn't fathom or remember, 
and as I dared to finally speak , I felt her shutter, 
the spell broke like some truth betrayed
to flee in autumn’s bounty sleigh.

I still have that magic shoe
but there may be other feet more true.
I trust Him, the one who’s laces I shan’t undo, 
to find me feet to fit my shoe, in time that may be you!

Ode to Chocolate

What is the point of chocolate?
In madness do we question what for,
Or study it and say: why does this exist?
No, we surrender to savory bliss;
Oh, we delight in its earthy flavor!
Once consumed and in our bellies lay,
caffeine, sugars, creams brighten day,
Then we smile, and on lingering taste soar.

From sun, water, and soil comes cocoa,
And again, with much toil, sweet canes,
Add milky cream, then behold: chocolate!
No one can refuse it but the loco,
Who do not belong among the sane.
Chocolate, glorious, none can balk at it!

One palate flight, leaves addict wanting more.
Yet, with reason and sound mind on display,
Delusive sense can, an audit, outweigh.
Likewise, sublime verse engulfs the lore,
And meaning of the lyrics with beauty’s kiss.
Heed soliloquy imparted by McGinnis;
Regard poetic pictures and adore,
Passions so heavenly, so chocolate!

Life of a Sock

When life turns tumultuous twisting and churning,
Which way should I go, which way is up? …Squirl!
What does the sock experience when washed?
Does it like the squeezing, rubbing, and spinning?

The end will come when the dirt is gone,
But to be of use is to collect stains and stench.
Every worn cloth is subjected to this carnage,
If not now, then after goodwill recycles.

I pray that my weave withstands the friction,
Holes or frays render harsh judgement from the maker.
Nor will filthy rags escape this fate,
They are tossed out and languish in the rubbish heap.

No cloth can wring the filth from its fibers,
It must accept the help of the holy washer.
No fee, no soap just a simple please,
The washer washes as soon as you believe.

The weaver is a willing worker,
Talents are given to all cleaned by the washer.
With dexterous fingers the voids are filled,
The threads of life knitted a new.

To know the weaver lends a new perspective,
A strength and desire to fulfill the calling.
What rag should fear the washer,
What is there to hide from the weaver.

Once washed of filth and woven anew,
A raiment of fine clothing we are.
One day my cloth will be eternally clean,
Oh, the joy of knowing this turmoil must end.

For now, I feel unworthy to be a sock,
Or to touch the feet of the maker.
Even so, when the drawer is opened,
I scream “Pick Me!”

Blue Smudge’s Muse

On a crisp fall evening I heard the most peculiar thing,
when the trees swayed and the wind curled by.
There in picture frame reverberating as if to sing,
blues and greens, yellows and whites of night’s sky.

Stepping closer, gazing, straining silently to listen.
Then above the chorus, from the center of the swirl,
a voice cries sharply, disgusted, fading in the din.
“I suck” came a dejected lament from the star lit girl.

Looking about confuse, “who was that, who are you?”
Weeping followed sobbing, and that by a huffing sigh.
Again the voice cracked, “look here a smudge so blue..”
“Oh smudge, what is it, what causes tears this night?”

“Can you not see the shape and boldness of my figure?
These pigments stand out from all the other finer colors.”
My heart ached, my mind raced for words to give her,
but no words formed to sooth the wound so suffered.

My own conscious stands to form those sounds in my ear,
accused of lacking value. Words my constant companions,
beating drums, like marching songs throughout the years,
and only here today, saved by a love which never abandons.

“Smudge!” I cry, “There’s more to you than meets the eye!”
Backing up, embarrassed by my forwardness so confused,
and yet my eyes are blessed to see this sight, I cannot lie.
The signs are true, a master painter’s touch clearly used.

Cupid’s Parenthesis

Curved containers
Punctuation drawing emphasis
Bowed frames demanding considerations

Swaying in the slightest breeze, beckons me to see

Twins dance in the star light under crescent moons
A single noble peak overshadows sculpted furrows
Gusty gales rise from mirth’s fount eagerly amused
Bright birds, timidly dart and flutter in the willows

Beauty locked within, veiled by this espresso tree

Don’t hide or shy from these observations
Fired darts explain helplessness
Mirrored archers

Mournful Man Minus Mate

Look and see; a tree stands alone atop a hill
One soldier nationless, wandering absent moto
Nowhere bound goose, silhouetted by the moon
Examine a sock with other lost, no longer fit to use
Left in a drawer untouched, like a lock missing keys
Inert is the book with ideas lacking, empty but folio
Even right needs left, and darkness light to hide from
Reckless is the man fording life’s tides without a mate