Ten dollars and a direction

she relays to me

that I’m odd

(not that I haven’t heard that before)

and that I’ll always

be that way

(yah, I’ve heard that too)

 

and this is why

she likes that chapter:

some steamy romance

going nowhere

because it’s not yet written

or maybe

the plot

dried up

as with my tears

 

accusing fingers

holding your place

between

the part I played

and the mock-up

of a man riding in on a white stallion

saving you

from God knows what

 

open hand offering, reaching

out to you,

and to look upon

you, your favorite

of all the pretty-boy

poster smiles

long, stately mane

flowing in the breeze,

my wizardly ways

which have seen

the world

 

and the knowledge

that this too shall pass.

 

Art credit: Harrison Dale Conti, age 4
“The sun and Daddy at Gumpy and Nini’s”

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MARVELS

Marvels

 

The old rugged cross

splinters and all

thorn in one’s side

festering

‘fore it let go.

Devoid of the deity

destined to be there,

simple sheep

beast

burdened.

 

1.

 

he used to imagine:

 

The Hulk.

Hues, shades

unable to see the forest

we walk among,

for that one

damnable

tree. Low-hanging

fruit, making all of paradise

one sticky situation.

Anger of the Father

flaming swords and all,

gamma-induced

mean streak,

counting to ten.

Commanded from the first

judge, jury,

and executioner,

throwing the Good Book at them.

Idle worship

of this,

that,

and the other

makes Him

green with envy

 

GOD SMITE!

 

His incredible wrath

setting sin upon his Son.

That day the sun,

stopped shining.

Veil torn in two,

yet this was but one of three.

 

2.

 

he used to imagine:

 

Spider-Man.

Nothing spectacular

or amazing

in appearance

that we should be attracted to Him.

Swinging in,

a man of sorrows

and acquainted with grief

your friendly neighborhood

Savior. “A menace!”

shouts J. Jonah Pharisee.

Suspended there, webs

hold our hero in place

until he nailed things down

got his story straight

all the world

and all the weight

 

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

 

3.

 

he used to imagine:

 

Vision, blinding

light

and sound–

a voice

disembodied.

Road to Damascus

neural pathways

synapses

flash

mental math

making leaps of faith

tinkered tin can,

less

than a man.

The 1s and 0s

do not compute

aligned

within the mind

and the soul

is but a stone

the builders rejected.

 

The weight of it

brought him to his

knees, dirtied

hurried, a hasty pace

placed

‘pon simple Simon

scuffs of dust

on shoes not yet walked

floorboards.

It shows in his own scars.

Autumn Retreat

Reds and oranges

joined the chorus

skish and crunch

listened to the leaves

beneath the feet

of those that

forge the forest floor.

 

Ogethan pondered on

his path marked out for him

map, yellowed

at the edges

like calendar pages

falling

as time went by

quicker

and quicker

with the dying light of day.

 

Sharpe, Garth Addison, Jones…

…Lynnae.

 

Cheery cherry

pit in his stomach, turned

grew dense

caught up in

lives of little sparrows

and breathed

chest,

too narrow

inhaled the crisp

cool air, breathed

out a sigh of relief

and his heart

fluttered

migrated farther

and farther

how much more the Lord cared for thee.

Prayers for the Order to Our Houses

After the living room shake-up

the pleading fight

to watch

“just one more show.”

The brushing of the teeth

lasted less than I care for

gummies and two Batman phonics readers

the long I and U

sounding suspiciously

like a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

 

Say it with me now.

 

After the bedroom shake-up

the pleading fight

to read

“just one more story.”

The gnashing of the teeth

lasted longer than I care for.

 

After the noodle song

which was first composed

from the front seat

during the witching hour

(expertly timed to the latest breakdown)

a tune, incorporating

long vowels of its own,

yet never mentions noodles.

 

Say it with me now.
Nah, we’ll not go into that nonsense.

 

Then come the prayers,

say them with me now:

 

We pray for Harrison

We pray for Mommy

We pray for Daddy

And we pray for baby Ida Mae

 

We pray for all of Harrison’s friends

all of Mommy and Daddy’s friends

and all of Ida Mae’s friends

 

We pray for Grammy and Bop-Bob’s house

Poppy and Julie’s house

Gumpy and NiNi’s house

And we pray for our house at North Hall

 

Last comes the freestyles:

 

Heavenly Father, thank You for this day.

We especially pray for Mommy

for NiNi…

…and Gumpy.

Yes, Harrison, Gumpy, too.

…and the 3Ds

…and George

 

…and GiGi.

Endurance

My end
shall not be
determined
by their finish.
Photos or not
bodies thrown
prone
spread out before you now
all within an arm’s reach
length, step
gingerly
aside, footsie, footing
for the best purchase
until these rugged
places become plains.

It’s all fluff, nutter.
Bananas,
sandwiched in
aren’t ever
going to make this healthy
no matter how palatable
the lie you tell yourself.

Keeping the pace
of your own race
struck
down
again
and again
(and again?)
pavement
sending shocks
through the system
algorithmic
malfunction chip
pry it loose
as it gnaws at you

try your best but you don’t succeed

or

pull yourself up by your trail shoes

because it’s not
place, PR, age category
but about time,
the shining glory
of your participation trophy
isn’t coming from it.

Overburden

My heart is heavy.

 

I marvel at this

rock of ages, eternity even

strip mined

for what’s stuck beneath

the surface.

 

All this runoff

just so I could,

baring it all

and laying it to waste

water, tears a by-product

of a cold coal

carbon-copy

of once-living

matter

stratified plants,

and these dinosaur’s bones

as layer

upon stinking layer,

the fecal fecundity

of fickle feelings

fossilized:

compacted

impacted

though it seems

as if it doesn’t

matter,

and we may not see

the error of our ways

for years to come.

 

The hardness,

burning hot and dirty

so close to beauty

can’t see

for buried too deep.

 

Time and pressure,

like Superman,

taken in his hands

to make a diamond

out of me.

Lounging

surrounded

by this great cloud of

witnesses

behind and before me

letters

the stepping stones

speaking out Your name.

 

I cannot bear to drink

from the cup

You’ve been offered,

yet I continue to request

a seat at your table.

The left, of course,

my liberal side,

but not too much so

because I am more comfortable here

with my OCD

holding me fast

to the simplest forms

of norms

I’m not willing to do without.

 

Stepping in time

with this parade of sinners

saints, as they go marching in

robed in the school colors

blood of the lamb washed white

technicolor dreams

of funding the arts

reflecting facets

of Your unending

spin cycle

the rinse and repeat

as I stare

while You hand wash

the delicates.

Disappearing Ink

red pen

not in correction

    but connection

a written revival

red letter Bible

words of Jesus

    may it please us

 

the rule of thumb, among

us creative types:

write what you know,

but not about one’s self.

the unholy trinity

of me, myself, and I

 

bouncing bullies in back alleys

against the dead end

of another wall

the past, stacked

against me

boxes, such are coffins

bodies of work

parchment

sloughing off like old skin,

yet the hair

and fingernails

growing long in the tooth.

The Distress (Letter to the Editor)

My eyes peruse the abuse

from the tip of an unbeliever’s pen.

 

We shall counter that blade

with flaming swords

holding back

their tide of triumph.

 

The enemy shall not overcome.

 

Funny, how quickly I run out to the paper,

funny, the faith I have

that He will do as He says

as I meet Him at His word…

 

Yet I can’t remember

to read the daily Bible passage

on the bottom corner

of the same page.