Category Archives: mourning

Monday Night Poetry and Music

Tonight I am going to Monday Night Poetry and Music to read some of my stuff.  It is at the East Bay Meeting House, 160 Meeting Street in Charleston.  It starts at 8.  Hope to see you there.


The Soldier Memorial Day 2016

As he lay dying,

He didn’t think of his country.

He thought of his mother

And the tears she would shed

As she buried her only son.

She always told him

Take care of yourself, Albert.

And come home

To people that love you.


He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the rhetoric of politicians.

He did not think that God wanted this war.


He thought of his girlfriend

The girl he loved since sixth grade

But only got up the nerve

To ask her out a year ago.

He thought of her smile

That was often followed by giddy laughter

In response to something silly he did.

He thought of her deep brown eyes

That would make the rest of the world melt away

And made his heart both weak and strong.


He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the minimum wage.

He did not think of bathrooms or wedding cakes.


He thought of his kid brother

Barely in his teens and

Already getting into trouble.

Who will teach him life’s lessons,

While playing basketball

On the court set up in their driveway?

Who will keep him in line,

While giving him space to grow?


He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the racism or the crime in the streets.

He did not think of the hatred of the stranger in the land of liberty.


He thought of many things.

He thought of the people he loved,

Their words, their smiles, their laughter.

And then he thought no more.


And we, whom he died for,

Think of bathrooms and wedding cakes.

And listen to the venomous rhetoric of our politicians.

And moan that the weather did not cooperate for our barbecue.

And haggle at car dealerships with salesman

Who are looking to their next customer.


We, whom he died for, hardly ever

Think of the soldiers

Whose last moments

Were alone

But filled with memories

Of meaning.


Even When

When I am having a hard day

I try to do one really good thing

For someone else, for something else.

Even when my heart is breaking

I can look at that something,

That someone, and say

It wasn’t all about me today

It was about something

Bigger than myself

So even though

My pain is unbearable

I can go on, I can go on

Until another day is done

Until the day is done.


Three Six Word Poems on Race


Shot dead
Lying there
Six hours



I forgot how many died,




So strong
Refuse to help

One of those people. April 5, 2016


I am one of those people

Who has given up on love.

I never found it

Although I’ve spent most of my life

Looking for it.

I might have found it

But I lost it

Many times and many times again.


I thought I had plenty of time

But opportunities flew from me

Like a escaped canary

Through an open window.

I thought it was my friend.

I thought it wanted to stay with me

On my journey.


But it was only a bird.

It wasn’t my friend.

It couldn’t give my life value.

It was only a bird.


I am one of those people

Who must travel alone

Feeling the weight of my own steps

Getting heavier

Moving slower

Until I step no more.

Two Poems Written in Mt. Airy NC


I got a phone call.

It was a wrong number.

Reminded me of

Those terrible things

Not so long ago.



I look for me,

Wherever I go.

I’m never there.

I’m somewhere else,

Looking for me.

Nagg and Nell

I’m 57 today.

I teach in a middle school.

I teach theatre.

Today, I showed my class Samuel Beckett’s Endgame.


Seeing an absurdist play is never a good idea on your birthday.

Absurdism states that life is absurd, hence the name.

Relationships and language are futile to Beckett.

We are all on our way to oblivion alone and nothing can delay the inevitable.


Nell and Nagg, Hamm’s parents, reside in garbage cans.

Hamm himself is blind and cannot stand,

So he is pushed around by his servant Clov, who cannot sit or lie down.

Hamm calls his parents damned fornicators, blaming them for his very existence.

They don’t pay attention to their son.


They reminisce of the time they lost their shanks in a bicycle accident.

They can hardly see.

They can hardly hear.

It is too painful to touch.


I used to have a picture of an old couple sitting on a park bench holding hands on my wall.

This was my idea of true love.

They have each other and that is all they want.

Their life is not futile because they have each other.


Nagg and Nell do not have a park bench.

They cannot smell the flowers on a warm spring day.

They cannot hold each other’s hand.

They are stuffed in garbage cans, in a cold dark room.


I once met a man who at 77 found the love of his life.

He had been alone for twenty years.

His daughter convinced him to go to a Valentine’s Day dance.

He saw that familiar stranger from across the room and was thunder stuck.


Nell and Nagg do not have a Valentine’s Day dance.

They cannot hear the rhythm of their youth.

They can’t recall that moment when they fell in love.

Their struggle is all that they can feel.


But they are alive.

Nagg can hardly hear Nell

But hardly is more than not.

Nell can barely see Nagg,

But barely is better than not.

And the anticipation of another moment

With their soul’s one and only

As they rise from the darkness of their metal caskets

Gives them hope

If only for another moment

One single moment,

One fleeting moment.