Keeping the Faith in the Dark

I’m out of place

in the wrong time

in the wrong world.

My life barrels along

yet no progress is made

I seek comfort in words,

but only find a blank page.

Prayer is my hope

but the words are dry

no miracles this day.

The pews are empty

the people scoff

come down from your pulpit

that cross you bear,

they all say.

Even the faithful

mock my every move

we’re too busy 

to listen to you.

I try each day 

to recall those words

the ones I heard

in the silence of my heart,

when you sought my life

and called out my name

even if I wasn’t smart.

So I followed you

dropping my nets

along the shoreline

and into the wilderness

I walked,

that lonely path.

You are the Way,

the Truth and Life,

how can so many

prefer death?

The nails are hammered 

the sound loud on the coffin

of the life I’ve chosen.

I believe, I cry!

Help my unbelief.

Now there is only silence

as I listen for that voice

in the depths of the darkness,

leading me to the light.

The Bug, AM Radio and a Long Nights Drive or what a Young Man in Love does.

Fog and drizzle great me

as I drive my Bug west on the Pike,

Pilgrim Hat signs

with an arrow stuck through them

pointing the way.

The headlights reflecting off the fog,

as semi’s barrel by kicking up a storm,

the car immersed in a baptism of oily water

my hands gripping the steering wheel tightly.

On the cheap AM radio

I listen the the gravely voice of Wolfman Jack,

playing the latest hits of hippies in Frisco

about half naked young women

dancing in the sunlight with flowers in their hair,

the music fading in and out

on the tinny sounding speaker

crackling and popping with static.

Nightime grows deeper and darker,

roadside reflectors glow

guiding my way forward.

Tiny windshield wipers pulsing furiously

as fog and drizzle grow dense

while I continue west into the dark night.

The radio now my only connection

with the world

as stations fade away

I turn the knob searching

for that one station

where the music is pure soul

as I sing my heart out

looking forward to seeing her face

at the end of the journey.

Personal Dilemma

My desk is littered with half read books

journals that I have barely scanned

bits and pieces of sermon notes

and reminders to myself to do something.

On my iPad there are unread poems

that I intend to get to as soon as I can

but there is always something else,

a death this week, a crisis of faith next.

I intend to write more poetry and prose

I want to reveal the inner fears and dreams

yet, those old voices creep shouting 

and my own ego is much deflated

as I would rather seek a place away

somewhere deep in the enchanted woods

where I may lay my head and dream in color.

Away from all of the mechanical noises

that burrow into the skull polluting the mind

and overwhelming my ability to just be.

I look now at this poem, this small offering

above it another half written poem awaits.

Deep down I know I want to write

then again, 

deep down fear crowds out creativity.

Where do I go from here?

How do I end this poem?

Maybe that’s the answer,

no poem is ever really finished

no poet can ever sit back satisfied

the world is so full of darkness

and I hold a palette of vibrant colors

as I seek to paint with the words I see

streaming across the subconscious 

like wild horses running across the plains

unfettered, unafraid, untamed and free.

Rehab Visit

March winds blow cold,

dirty snowbanks along the road

more ice than snow,

as I walk into the rehab

entering into that shadow world

that place between life and death.

A row of occupied wheelchairs

greets me as I walk the halls

wondering why they are all women,

staring at me as I walk by

some with a yearning look

others showing no emotion

their heads bent down, eyes closed

as if they have already surrendered

looking into the depths of their tomb,

I shudder walking by these living dead

then I walk into his room

the old man who smiles a toothless smile

who still lives into the moment

teaching all that life is to be lived,

that love never truly dies

even as the sun begins to set.

In this little corner the sun shines

and he is grateful for the little he has

as I sit and listen to his stories

praying silently that I have his courage

when I will one day be sitting in his seat

ready to face the dark with dignity and grace.

Carbon Copies

I look at the pictures on the mantel

the faces familiar, 

yet different

carbon copies of carbon copies

alike, yet not the same

a shade or two different

as copies are likely to be.

Not perfect as if perfect was once

an ideal that no copy could be.

I look at my Great-Grandfather

stern Victorian in a black and white.

Do I see myself, an imperfect copy?

My Grandchildren are next,

copies of the copy, not the original.

I look into their faces

and I see what looks familiar

yet, it is different

carbon copies of carbon copies.

We carry our copy with us,

out into the streets and lanes

remembering while forgetting

that we are that, 

copies of copies.

We are but dust

carbon dust begat from carbon dust,

to begat more carbon dust,

until we are once again

just dust ourselves

a carbon copy of carbon copies.

A Warm Spring Day in Winter

The warm sun shone on the trees

old Mr. Possum lying in the branches

as the woodpecker taps away

and squirrels dig up our crocus bulbs

to be replanted elsewhere.

In the bushes and branches birds chatter

carrying bits of grass and straw 

building nests preparing their homes.

I watch this miracle unfold

sitting out on a warm day

just listening to the sounds all around,

what some would say is a waste of time.

The joyfulness of life as trees begin to bud

and daffodils peak through the ground

searching for the suns golden rays.

That old possum begins to stir

maybe it’s the noise of the day

after all he is nocturnal 

and not much of a daytime animal.

So he stretches himself out

as he painstakingly begins to move

not rushing, like the birds or squirrels,

he takes his time, 

savoring the moment

as if he knows that this will not last long

that this unusual warm, winter day

will vanish with the cold north wind.

But for now his lesson is clear

a reminder to me to take my ease

to enjoy those moments of peace

not rushing from place to place

but just to sit and be at peace

letting the warm sun shine on my face

to linger over a cup of coffee

while gazing up at the blue sky

Sunday Evening Call

I make my Sunday evening call

to my mother,

being the dutiful son

and each week we talk

about the same thing,

how time goes by

not just goes by

but flys

in the blink of an eye.

She reminisces about dad

now ten years gone

about a marriage 

that would have been diamond

had he not left our world

but now all she has are memories

as she stares down her waning years

so I just listen to her

talk about dad and her,

about missing her great-grandkids

wishing we could live closer,

and as she rambles on

I wonder how I will be

when I reach that age

wondering the same,

as time flys by

leaving me only with memories

fading in the evening light.

The Mystery behind the Mystery

I want to cry out,

to confess that I don’t have the answers

declaring my ignorance in all things.

I want to show my hands and feet

no wounds there, no stigmata

no stripes on my back

these instead lay hidden

deep within the heart

in the darkened recesses

where the Spirit sighs

in the depths of my soul.

I feel the fraud, the jester 

speaking words of faith

like a snake oil salesman

in a time of the quick fix,

here take this and live

when all around death reigns

and the darkness gathers.

I look out onto the people

gathered in prayer

seeking comfort 

in the words I speak,

hoping to see the truth in images

distorted in fun house mirrors

as loud voices expunge the truth,

enslaving the minds 

in Orwellian silence

while the poet sits

listening for that one voice

in the midst of the noise. 

That one voice that brings peace

the one voice that breaks chains

the one voice that gives hope,

the voice that breaths life 

even as death approaches

giving light to the dark sphere

in which we live today.

The poet dares to write

the words he hears,

words that break down walls

and brings healing.

Words wielded as broadswords

cutting through the hedges

of the mystery behind the mystery

the Divine hidden within

shining its light into darkened corners

shattering the lies.