Monthly Archives: March 2019

Vestigial Tail

Gay Street, to the movie theatre, to see a tear jerker romance.

I hate the comic book shirt I wear, vestigial tail of another life.

Death comes, but it doesn’t have to come from a fist or his gun.

It can come because our bodies betray us, break down, fall away.


The street is loud and noisy and bright, people, neon and traffic.

I want the life of love even when it ends it loss and death; it’s still light.

All these people on a Friday night, I think some of them are in love.

If I can just dream of warmth and innocence, I’ll be okay all alone here.


A beer, no popcorn or snack, just love for an actress that has a bright soul.

I’m not holy, or I am only in fits and starts, and I want to be a child of her light.

Love story, full of sorrow, but with whom a lover wipes away all those tears.

I made a place in my heart to receive her light, not let’s see if I can keep it lit.



The best thing about Tennessee is that you can leave it, but where would I go? It’s all on fire out there.

No place above the stars or warmed by the sun, your life will be taken in this war, no matter what allegiance you wear.

I sit in James Agee Park, after work, the air starting to chill again, hoping for a moment to dream, before I am taken by despair.


I dream of a moment, the last hurrah for innocence, when it was winter and I was an angel, and she touched my face.

Laying entwined, at peace and content, some kisses, some sighs, I was whole and loved, a fleeting moment of grace.

And that grinning skull the moon looked down but did not see us, could not find us, as love had struck down it’s animal face.

The Parson’s Daughter

The parson’s daughter walks down the street.

Her ear buds have a soft and lilting backbeat.

An angel, non-binary, sings of stricken wheat.

An angel, non-flesh, says we are death so sweet.


The parson’s daughter knows she walks quiet.

She is a girl, her true self, and will not deny it.

The parson is in Knoxville, away from the riot.

He never touched her face, could only defy it.


Long hair, gold today, black tomorrow, soft.

An angel makes the daylight kind from aloft.

An angel does not reproduce, not broken so oft.

She was an angel when she sang in the choir loft.


And the music stops for a moment, a morning still.

Saturday, 7am, by the private university, monied will.

Will anyone ever touch her face, on that cemetery hill?

Her face, a shell, not like angels, whom only light fills.

Her and You and I

No apocalypse. No being taken up into the clouds.

No ending and judging and justice.

Just us here, today, in this world.

Day in, day out, minor prophets

standing against the darkness and blood.


The wars come and the wars go.

The tyrants rise and fall, rise and fall.

Ordinary people make their lives,

lives that can be so easily swept away.

No ending of it until all of our race is gone.


Minor prophets, her and I and you.

Fight against the dark. Be the light.

What peace and love and shelter can

be won from this ever breaking world.

It’s all we have. It’s all there is.

Tender and Kind

Early in the morning. A Tuesday. Early spring.

A rain came in the night. Now the sun is shining.

A watercolor sunrise through the chapel windows.


A plain casket. A young woman, unknown, lost.

We found a poem written to an unrequited love.

We found the pewter medal of St. Michael.


We didn’t find her name, or her home, far away.

We wrapped her in the burial linens, tender and kind.

We placed her in the casket like she was our own child.


It’s a soft and quiet morning this Tuesday, still so cool.

I pray now, as we say a few words, as we give her a

dignified passing out of this world, into the crematorium


that she’ll be welcomed in loved in heaven beyond us,

beyond this lonely world, and all it’s frailty and it’s evil,

and be welcomed home and nothing will ever be sorrowful again.


Tuesday. The sun is growing brighter and stronger, the remnants

of the rain evaporating away now, and it will be warm this afternoon.

I say a prayer for one lost and left behind. So many who have no names.


Fire Tender

I wake in the forest. Early spring. Still cold in the dark.

The fire is faded, but still burning. I burrow into my sleeping bag.

Late into the night. Early in the morning. Too long before the sun.


I look across the flickering flames, and I see her.

Long dark hair, glossy, reflecting the orange flames back.

Sad and proud eyes catching the sparks, catching the stars.


She watches me, curious, ethereal and distant, like stars above.

Unsure, afraid, I look back at her, but she smiles, and I am at ease.

She tends to the fire. I fall asleep again. I dream of her, of summer.


In the morn she is gone, and the fire is ashes, but I’ve made it through.

I leave a little wine and some meat in the hollow of a still living tree.

The tree is hollow like the woman’s back. But hollow is still filled with light.



Birthing Saints

Riding on a Vespa, up the rolling hills to the cold forest.

There is a little place by a clear flowing creek for us.

A picnic of red wine and soft, brie cheese, a communion.


We walk hand in hand, spring still harsh before noontime.

The soft and golden light sneaks through the just budding branches.

Illuminated angels trying to crawl into the dark human heart.


Her hand is warm and soft in mine. I hold hers tight. I hold her close.

The babbling and laughing brook is near, and we unpack our basket.

In silence, we eat and drink, our things mingling in the air, birthing saints.


We cuddle close, full and warm and content, trusting in touch and grace.

She looks up, and she smiles and touches me face. I am not afraid.

I kiss her head, so full of golden and silky hair.


We go to the water’s edge. We drink from the creek. We remember.

We baptize each other by the sprinkling of water, making us whole again.

We hold each other close, clinging to the faith that we are indeed new and clean.


I watch them kiss, as I walk on the opposite side of the street.

Two young woman. Rich perhaps. Carefree.

They are in love. Maybe gold sickness doesn’t steal everything.


Luminaries in this town. Ones that made it to the wider world.

I’ll always be here. Haunting book stores and bars.

I want to be young like them. In love. Carefree and open. No paranoia.


They smile, and hold hands, and walk on down the sidewalk.

They conspire, share air, as they whisper secrets.

Rich girls hands are soft and warm. My true love’s hands; calloused.


And they’ll see the stars tonight, love making separating souls

from their bodies, and letting them touch that holy fire.

I will write words, trying to remember that, and being human.

Kind. So Gentle.

I don’t know what I see in the mirror.

A face. My face.

It’s not the light. Or the soul. Or the hope.


Parked in The Fort, walking to work.

Cold. So Cold.

March didn’t keep it’s tinfoil promise.


I dream of her. I recoil from love.

Kind. So gentle.

I want her to touch my face.


Maybe the afternoon will be warm.

Lost. Always angry.

I might walk to the water’s edge.

Deep Tides

Elle was drifting in and out of sleep, a dreaming and half-awareness,

as she in her boyfriend’s car, coming back from a show in Nashville.

She watched the stars blur and whirl and smear across the black sky,

the galaxies become whirls and wheels like the whirls in her father’s

thick brown beard when she was a little girl.


She saw lights blink and flash, and the ones that didn’t twinkle she thought

she remembered were planets, distant in the cool and endless night.

She wondered if any life was there, was looking out across the blackness

to this little blue world, hoping or wishing or dreaming, were they with the

ones they loved in their own cool nights.


The singers music, the singer they had seen, continued to play slow and low and

quiet on the car’s radio, melancholy and loving, and Elle smiled, and let the emotion

rush over her dreams like the waves on a distant and warm shore, carrying her away

into deeper places. A female voice, the only voice she wanted to hear singing, telling

of lost love and an ache that was sweet in it’s sting. She would be 20 come April, and

she knew she was be carried into those deeper places.


Awake or half-asleep, she touched the stars, and they were warm and gentle to her

fingers, and there was no need to breathe for in this vision she was an angel and a

glorified body, and all that old frailty and corruption and constant need was not hers

here. Endless and alive these worlds were, all that could be dreamed was in being,

in this lost place.


Home. Her boyfriend shook her shoulder. She roused and she was human and flesh

and a young woman again, her stomach growling. She turned and hugged her boyfriend

and picked up her purse that was lain in the floorboard at her feet, and got out of the car

and walked to the little house where she lived with her parents. Before going inside, she

turned back to her boyfriend, and blew him a kiss.


The deeper places were coming, and she would be carried by the tide into them.