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Honesty

An Omnibus of Chapbooks
Volume 1, Issue 1 (Jan/Feb, 2012) - Volume 4, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec, 2015)
S. Terrell

Contents
Honesty, 2012
Volume 1, Issue 1 (Jan/Feb)Pg 6
Volume 1, Issue 2 (March/April)Pg 26

Volume 1, Issue 3 (May/June)Pg 40


Volume 1, Issue 4 (July/August)Pg 53
Volume 1, Issue 5 (Sept/Oct)Pg 66
Volume 1, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec)Pg 76

Honesty, 2013
Volume 2, Issue 1 (Jan/Feb)Pg 88
Volume 2, Issue 2 (March/April)Pg 98
Volume 2, Issue 3 (May/June)Pg 108
Volume 2, Issue 4 (July/Aug)Pg 119

Volume 2, Issue 5 (Sept/Oct)Pg128


Volume 2, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec)Pg 136

Honesty, 2014
Volume 3, Issue 1 (Jan/Feb)Pg 146
Volume 3, Issue 2 (March/April)Pg 155

Volume 3, Issue 3 (May/June)Pg 166

Volume 3, Issue 4 (July/August)Pg 179

Volume 3, Issue 5 (Sept/Oct)Pg 190

Volume 3, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec)Pg 201

Honesty, 2015
Volume 4, Issue 1 (Jan/Feb)Pg 215

Volume 4, Issue 2 (March/April)Pg 226

Volume 4, Issue 3 (May/June)Pg 240


Volume 4, Issue 4 (July/Aug)Pg 254

Volume 4, Issue 5 (Sept/Oct)Pg 266


Volume 4, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec)Pg 275

Vol. 1, Issue 1
Jan/Feb 2012
Generosity
gave away the shirt
on my back, then
tried to regain composure
hard to do when
youre naked, and
the cold turned me bitter
thawing was slow
as frostbite
had set in
just when it seemed
I was warming
the shivers worsened
until oxygen fanned
a flicker of hope
into a fire
now I wait for
a blaze to burn
brightly once again
so I can warm others
not with my shirt,
but the flame

Swan Mentor
I walked with a swan today
at first I thought I might scare her
I should have known better
she glided on beautifully, gracefully
self-assured and assertive
she knows her purpose
and her limits
walking on I wonder
if I could be like her
presently, I decide to try

Cycle of Seasons
another year passes by,
once more
a cycle of seasons
transpires;
hard to tell the end
from the beginning
in the passing from
one year to the next
the previous year lingers
in the cold of late winter,
as January welcomes a new year.
then spring evolves with new beginnings
significant changes are present each new day
summer heat settles in
offering warmth,
but at times suffocating
intensity. when
overcast autumn skies form
above, and sometimes
storms accompany them;
a welcome changeand the cycle begins again:
a cycle of tears and joy, of despair and transformation,
but always offering the prospect
of yet another season

New Life Emerges


happily distracted
by holiday cheer,
a secret life emerged
while we were unsuspecting
a flutter at first
now persistently knocks,
reminding us often
of his growth.
as delivery day
draws nearer
his is not the only
new life taking shape;
while sometimes scary
to accept, but undeniably true,
our new identities
are already forming:
will we be what we need to be?
do what we need to do?
will we remember
to make time for one another?
will we be a reflection of You?

Squirming
sitting quietly in a corner booth
hearing fragments of conversations
analyzing her own, but not fully
feeling torn between two worlds
unable to pinpoint the reason
shes learning a lesson:
Logic does not equate Wisdom
(she doesnt know that yet)
the words are understandable
the reasoning succinct
her prior knowledge
of the subject
is simultaneously
confirmed and challenged
its not what she expects
she acknowledges the viewpoint
even accepts it, but shes
not in agreement,
or is she?
arguing a point that only
teases at the depths of concern
like tugging at a corner
of a blanket she knows not the size of
she cannot organize her thoughts
as quickly as shed like
or as is required
the discussion moves on
she is not ready
she is caught
entangled in a blanket of questions
squirming, squeezed tightly by the
intense grip of hypocrisy
who would have thought
squirming
could be an act of courage,
or take one?

10

Escaping the Heat


walking away
from the burn
flames lapping
behind
a bittersweet
exit offers motivation
yet disbelief
as new beginnings
appear thru a
nearby windowpane
she catches a glimpse
of the reflection
and recognizes
herself
its been awhile

11

Destiny?
like squares on a grid
pieced together
to form a whole
each one filing an individual role
would my piece fit
in a different space
or is this it
my souls spot
reserved in this sole place
a member of this union
called the human race
would my hand fit in yours
would my heart
speak the language
in your head
if I had lived elsewhere or
you had instead?
call me an optimist
call me a fool
say Im nave
thats fine, its cool
I have to believe
that no matter
where I am, where Ive been
this moment,
complete with chaos,
order, and reprieve
this place
this space
this face
is meant for me
meant to be
by the power of fate,
with the illusion of free

12

Motivation
I lay silent but restless
between the past
called yesterday,
the new day called tomorrow.
awake,
but not alert;
aroused only
by the future.
lying here, I lie
to myself,
restlessly wrestling
with whether and how
to infuse energy
into my present,
or whether and why its
time for a change,
and if so, whether and by whom
I would be accepted,
and whether and why
I care

13

Free to Love
feeling so undeservedly blessed
I wait for the other shoe to drop
humility and gratitude
give way to irrationality
as I ponder
of that which I hold sacred
what will be sacrificed
to make me a more deserving recipient
of this new gift?
but sacrifice is not required
we cannot earn
loves limitlessness
and faith alone
can free us from fear
lest fear itself
becomes the other shoe

14

Melancholy
every day should be like today
filled with beauty and despair
every heart should long like this one
for clarity and peace
what equilibrium does nature offer?
nightfall for the day
for the soul, melancholy

15

Blame Has a Name


the choice is ours
to love or hate
we can blame others
for the choices we make
we can blame
hurt, or anger, or fear,
we can even blame
the time of day or year
but we cannot
shirk responsibility;
blame has a name,
and it is insecurity

16

Perspective
with demons as big
as my dreams
my hopes are as great
as my fears
but my greatest fear?
exposing them to you
having no wish to expose them
having no right to burden you
wishing for perspective
what can anyone do?
accept the reality;
negativity creates symmetry
sometimes the shining
silver lining
must be blinding me
since my heart just
keeps complaining
about the dampness
of the raining
ultimately if
I cannot choose to see
the goodness
that must be
my only choice
to spare you and me
of the rainstorms at hand
open up an umbrella
over where we stand, and
step forward
out from under the rain
into the sunshine again

17

Healing
crumpled Band-Aid
on the stair-well
you fell off
I didnt notice
revealing the wound
that healed
while I wasnt looking
now, between two floors,
I realize the will
to keep climbing

18

Life
life cycles mystery;
which came first?
chicken or egg,
parent or child,
acorn or oak?
yin and yang,
front and back,
two halves of
one whole;
they both came first.

19

I Am Poetry
I am poetry
I am simple
And
I am complex
I am nature
And
I am nurture
Past and future
I am right-brain
And left-brain
Yin and yang,
Joy and pain
To know and
Be known,
To grow, and
Have grown,
To lend and take
To mend and break
And all this
For
Loves
Sake

20

The Cardinals
we round the corner
and they appear
untamable treasures
to behold
a simple yet
astounding sight
a flash of red
a flutter of gray-brown
and the flock of beauty
scatters harmlessly
before us
escalating gracefully
into the
shadowy naked branches
stretching upward
the effortlessness of
the graceful display of nature,
both pleasing and admirable,
has suddenly materialized
in our presence;
a Christmas gift

21

Lets Dance
clusters of blackbirds
dance across the
late December sky
as notes on a page
in singular rhythm
bringing order to the
expansive canvas above
unaware, unthreatened
by the boldness they display
selflessly working together
so proficiently
in solidarity
against a stark contrast of vast,
unrestrained immenseness
inspiring all of nature
to do the same

22

Act II
found myself
on the scene of a set
where I didnt belong
said some lines
I didnt mean, which
only seemed to prolong
the agony of the situation,
the awkwardness
of some relations
its a shame,
I must admit,
I tried to place blame;
looking back, it was
my fault alone, I stumbled
onto that set on my own
played a role that didnt fit,
didnt know how
to confront it
now I play a part
thats right
for my heart
hold your applause, please;
my reward is
my souls ease

23

Advent
the cherry tree
not about to bloom
but about to put on buds
not spring,
or even early spring
but the very last of winter
the jet thats not about to land and
not about to depart
but has just received the flight-plan
a heart on the advent of advent
anticipating patience
almost whole

24

Uncomfortable Necessities
prying open
jaws clenched shut
and breaking and re-training
legs which healed themselves
improperly
however painful
the process is worth it
allowing proper growth
through the pain of
change and shame
true health
and humility emerge;
the mind is re-opened

25

Vol. 1, Issue 2
March/April, 2012
Resurrection
I am wilted flowers
used up coffee grounds
I am a song off-key
a crooked line
day-old bread
an empty fridge
a smudged note
yellowed newspaper
I am rain-soaked clothes
tired feet
I am your cross to bear
your sleepless night
how will you receive me?
with denial, cover-up?
intrigue?, distraction?
or worse yet, embrace?
dont settle for me,
conquer me.
I am less than your best
its not enough to name
your crosses
and simply carry them
eventually all arrive at Calvary
will you be bold,
fulfill your work,
be transformed?
be more than I am
be the one the One
made you to be

26

Fill Us Up
an old gray man
shuffles out
one solitary
loaf of bread in hand
for a solitary stage in life
young mother and
her brood is next
their cart explodes
with mounds of food
each one takes enough
to feed their needs
or so they think
expending energy to
consume, to expend
and yet, were empty
for Man cannot live by
bread alone
as the old, gray man
in each of us
already knows

27

Judas and Job


I am the drug-dealer,
the rapist,
the thief.
I am controversy,
errant humanity,
the inexcusable excused.
I am Judas, and Job
but also
Jacob, and John.

28

Grace
stepping out on your own
wondering how best to survive
the answers and facts derived,
lie waiting, inside
but knowing this,
or at least believing,
adds contrived pressure
to this burdensome time
feeling now, as Sartre,
awaiting the inescapable
grace appears, and you are
suddenly capable
finding there are
many forms of right,
but potentially only one wrong
offers a liberating possibility
isnt it beautiful
to consider:
we are both bound,
and free?

29

Nice Is Nice
I abandoned niceness
for a time
nice was boring,
glib or smug
and certainly
lacking in creativity
but nice came back
and told me
it was praiseworthy,
trustworthy, worthy
since nice is nice
life is fine, full of sunshine
it is kind and caring
not smug, not boring
it is simple
but not uncreative,
not sugar-coated
nor overdone
nice
is nice

30

Dont Inhibit the Civil


who were you before inhibition?
who were you when you dared
to use your intuition?
you know, not before you knew god,
but before you knew religion
I remember sometimes
the freedom of my mind;
that daring feeling I could find
not invincibility but admittedly, pride
like god it is a two-edged sword
luring us from our comforts,
leading us toward the absurd
speaking of pride,
how about humility?
not servitude
but a form of civility;
make a point to reach in
but dont forget to reach out
its not where youve been
when you had your intuition
its who you can be if you
give whats within

31

Once, You Were the World To Me


the world saw my self-respect
and called it pride
saw my assertiveness
and called it aggression
the world saw my smile
and called me a politician
saw my laughter, called me a fool
saw my flexibility,
said I was indecisive
the world saw my loyalty
and called it obligation
saw my maturity and said
it was good behavior
saw my concern
but called it indignation
you couldnt
understand my faith
and never saw me for me
you said my strength
was stubbornness
and my hope, anxiety
so I walked away; now
the world says Im a failure
but I know Im a success
I may be weary
but that doesnt mean Im weak
armed with the gift of forgiveness
Ill escape the worlds cruelty, since
there is now as for always
justice, as well as peace

32

Age of Insecurity
would you trust me
with your soul-space,
hide that ridiculous mask of a face,
so we can be
each others safe place? lets
let the sinless cast the first stone,
lest we sinners be left to stand alone
against
the wiles of the wild
we encounter
in each other
rather, Ill
embrace you
my sister,
my brother
and the truth
will set us free from a small portion of insecurity
and together
well engender
a new age of tolerance, not exclusivity

33

Ripple-Effect
in an era
where error
is engrained
in humanity, humanity claims
its only human
and fear of facts becomes
a driving force;
for,
arrogance is the author of
aggression. and, it is pride
which pontificates power
To err
may indeed be human
but to justify error, inhumane

34

Pleased, As Polyanna
he remarks on the negative
she reacts with the positive
they compromise on reality
he criticizes her positivity
she views it as optimism
and opportunity
rather than denial of truth
still when he points out
his righteous judgments
she cannot deny them
nor fully concede
knowing dwelling only resonates
the dwelt upon;
knowing if it comes to choosing
being compassionate
beats being right

35

Sabbath Thanks
God gave me broad shoulders
to battle through pain,
long arms for patting
my own back without strain
God gave me muscles to
carry you too
but God gave me tears that
make it hard to see through
so God gave me love
and loved ones who care
he gave me genuine
friendships, so rare
God gave me life best of all
good and bad,
happy
and sad,
fiction
and truth;
God gave me loneliness
but also, you

36

Out of Touch
balanced precariously
atop ladders uppermost rung
stretching upward on tiptoes
reaching up so high, so close
presently I lose my balance
stumble down a rung or two
then order is restored
and the climbing resumes
you are just out of reach
or is it me?
maybe I dont need to
try so hard, strive so far
I only need to step down gracefully
throw the ladder aside aimlessly
risk it all and put my whole self
into loving unabashedly, unashamedly
confident its worth it because
I am who Im required to be

37

The Molding of Mentors


mannerisms echo of
the girl she once was
hunched over a book
focused, intent
hands running mindlessly through hair
picking up a coffee mug
sipping slurpily
cupping it
between cold hands
straining
not to memorize,
but truly know
her authors, mentors,
professors, soul-mates, friends:
Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Augustine
shaping her existence,
or was it already shaped?

38

Fellowship
displaced priorities
give way
to conflict,
where common causes
once prevailed;
and individuality
heeds not to disagreement
so pain persists in
pleasures place,
but through
healing insight
grace guides us
to restored understanding
soon, our souls peace
becomes to see our brothers

39

Vol.1, Issue 3
May/June, 2012
Ocean*
loud and large
overwhelming, slapping
waves, water
calm, then clapping
find rest by my side
as you listen to the tide
a reminder of who you are
as I rush near, far
rush away, like me
keeping ears and eyes open
that you may hear, see
dont vacillate
in my vastness
but rest
even in my restlessness
then, steadfast and serene
I will lull you to sleep

*Ocean was originally published, as an overlay on photography by Roberto Cerini (robertocerini.com).

40

Equality
we are alike:
your green eyes,
my brown ones,
yours, pale skin;
mine, olive-toned;
we are.
we feel alike:
my fears,
your ambitions,
my joys,
your frets;
we feel.
we think alike:
your ideals,
my disinterest,
your contentment,
my desires;
we think.
we think,
we feel,
we are.

41

Migraine Relief
brawn might be admirable
but brains wont bite
besides arguing and over-thinking
both cause headaches
butting heads is concussion-causing
dumbing-down, patronizing
rather than ignorance
wiser than arrogance
more responsible than indolence,
compromise, requires acceptance
for when empathy tires,
approbation inspires
each admission of weakness
provides for complement,
avoids resentment
so, with contentment
use muscles and mind,
and allies, not enemies,
find.

42

Functional Form
if poems are prayers,
tokens of truth
cast upon fated waters
where coolness runs calm,
justice is joyfully known,
and resoluteness becomes righteousness,
then, there, wildness may be
tamed by worthwhile-ness,
and function will take on the ultimate form.

43

Deprivation
exhausting,
the yearnings
for un-received
earnings
and patience
becomes plight
as day turns, again,
to night
when gratification
calls for delay,
we wait once more
as night hearkens the day
when justice
will come
as the noon-day
sun,
and
light
will shine upon
the throngs who wait
silently,
hopefully,
sorrowfully,
but knowingly
knowingly,
sorrowfully,
hopefully,
silently
watching doors
open and close,
knowing
as only a Knower knows

44

Circles
my mind walks in circles;
ripples in water,
rings on a tree-trunk,
ever-widening circumferences
orbiting a core;
constantly reaching in,
constantly reaching out,
then beginning again.
never quite returning
to dead-center.
never quite meeting
the end.
oh to find a worthy destination,
oh to stop the anxiousness,
the placation.
but that would mean
starting again

45

Navigation
accordion folds to the heart
make it difficult to
decipher the big picture,
see the story,
understand the black hole
where the pain
of mankind dwells;
a vacuum of
insecurities,
injustices,
untruths
and with the darkness
tucked away tidily,
concealed behind creases,
genuineness and understanding
are sacrificed, surrendered;
also, time spent delicately
folding over the distasteful
creates distortion,
falsifies facts,
fosters delusion;
faith, though, is a filter
saving out that which
would otherwise
be enveloped:
confidence,
kindness,
truth
to navigate murky waters,
flatten out the map,
find fellow explorers,
consult the Guide

46

Love, Make Haste


power and corruption
you will not win
love finds its way
greed and money
you will not stay
love finds a way
hatred and judgment
youre already spent
love will find a way
sorrow and depression
you will set like the sun
love will shine its rays
repay no evil with evil they say
and so I pray
love, find your way

47

Reciprocity
words used
wisely, unveil mystery
exposing future,
describing history
used foolishly,
risk much,
binding us and others
to we know not what
to be
abundantly clear:
you take the lead while I listen,
so we both may hear

48

Acceptance
put a lid on the soup-pot,
add some spices, but dont
taste too many times. cover your child with his favorite blankie,
tuck his lovey
under his arm, but dont tie his shoes
once hes learned; dont leave the training-wheels
on too long. love may be everyones true-calling, but
the person you love is not.
love will not be contained
in parent, child, friend,
or spouse.
healthy love can never be housed.
bigger than any unspeakable
evil, mightier than any despicable
storm;
stronger than forces
we can
imagine, and
stronger than
forces we cant
love wraps its
arms around us
so generously, it wont let us wrap
ours back

49

Debunking destiny
fear not, missed opportunity
or overshooting destiny.
if its meant to be,
its what the eyes will see
as a bird doesnt fear
not having wings, and a tree
doesnt fear not having leaves,
so too, the earth doesnt fear
not having trees
day doesnt fear night,
nor does death
fear life
put your whole heart into
this day, and leave alone the rest.
Destiny is stubborn, genuinely providential;
indeed History
disproves
destiny.

50

Love For My Childhood


when I had a tea party
you always came to tea,
when I rode my bicycle,
when I scraped my knee
remember Ring-pops?
climbing on rooftops?
singing on stages?
forgiving each others rages?
you were my childhood,
everything bad and good;
until, as we changed and grew,
our lives became separate and new.
but please rest assured
my heart will always cherish you

51

I Will Not 'Cry Uncle'


an acorn in a vise
suffers just as an apple
when a perpetrators pressure
is applied
because a victim is a victim,
and a vise is a vise
pandering to the other side
doesnt produce justice or mercy
imagine if Rosa Parks
gave up her seat
or the whale
spat out Jonah prematurely
so I will not cry uncle
no, I will not utter a sound
I will not surrender
but I will be a defender
defend the needy and the poor;
let justice and peace abound

52

Vol. 1, Issue 4
July/August 2012
Invitation
hay bales decorate
the clean landscape,
cake-toppers haphazardly placed on
a childs birthday cake
the entertainment is provided by
cicadas who chirp, and
birds are perched atop fence-posts
as decorative eye-candy
in the distance cows sport
black and white tuxedos,
while sunflowers gaze toward the sun,
anticipating patrons
the preparations are complete;
where are the guests?
is that they
who pass by the venue
in shimmering, metallic boxes on wheels
forgetting to stop,
forgetting to walk
barefoot thru dewy grasses,
forgetting to feel,
forgetting to smell,
forgetting to touch,
forgetting to heal
April thru October
the party begins, then ends
will you pull over; stop in?
open your car door, your invitation

53

Poverty*
Im embarrassed to tell you
we spent $100 U.S. Dollars
at our corner market today
your corners have no markets,
no wells, no faucets
your child has no bath,
while I scold mine
for too much splashing on the floor
so much excess
what is it all for?
our children see
fireworks shows
at theme parks
yours flee gun-fire
and smoke
and now I really
must rest
my head
(we bought
a new mattress,
and bedroom set)
but tonight I wonder
where
is your bed?

*Poverty was originally published by DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace (Colorado).

54

Hot Under the Blue Collar


gas,
groceries,
gold
up,
up,
up
mercury
rising in
the thermometer
but middle-class peace of mind
vanished with
89 per gallon;
not by choice, but by force
the climate changes,
as do we.
now, how do we
break free
of this dependency?
perhaps
it is relative
to say we are free?

55

Hope for the World


War
Famine
Divorce
Abandonment
Bankruptcy
And Crime
Sometimes
I hurt for the world
But if I can hurt
I can hope
I can think
I can speak
I can act
I can hope

56

Why I Care
I believe we should
teach a man to fish
rather than give him one
but I also know
that no matter the lesson,
learnings not for some
and so, I am required,
if I have a heart that cares,
to provide for my
brothers and sisters in need;
until then, my work is not done.
and yet, why should I care?
even Jesus said,
the poor will always be with you
but I know he meant only
to encourage us
to keep a loving focus;
do unto others, says it all.
what would I do
if I were the homeless man
with only one shoe?
no food to eat, no credit cards,
questioning how life
got out of control this far;
far be it from me, to judge
someone elses honest adversity
if I cannot help the oppressed
achieve their best,
I cannot live with me.
rights may come with responsibilities
but responsibilities
should not precede them;
if so, we dont
have rights at all,
we simply have authority.

57

Unsolicited Advice
getting high on negative feedback
feeds the soul with cynicism;
predictability offering temporary
comfort, in place of insecurity
manipulating circumstances to
control the outcome may work
with science,
but not philosophy
since its in submitting
oneself to vulnerability
that positive growth spurs on
the spiritual journey
because ultimately, self-serving
never serves the Ultimate Purpose

58

Warring for Peace?, Or Pride?


in the search for Truth
a competition ensues:
the literal versus the abstract,
dogma versus dogma;
throughout all generations,
sword is drawn against sword
the only shield, a faith
neither side genuinely seeks
to defend
complacency sits in another camp,
its smugness suggesting
criticism of the battle;
yet its laziness offering no alternatives.
humility remains mediations only
chance and channel, but
success requires a
steadfast commitment
to coexistence

59

America, America*
playing in traffic
we gamble with
our childrens future,
our own already threatened
we are adolescent,
thrill-seekers
sophomoric in our
reasoning skills;
unwilling to admit
we might be wrong:
wrong foreign policy,
wrong economic policy,
wrong social policy
I tremble in the boots
by whose straps
I am supposed to pull myself up;
I want off this
carnival ride
but the crowds keep cheering it on and on
until all I can do is pray:
America, America
God spare us from tragedy
Bring home our troops
Bring back our jobs
Bring healthcare to our needy
America, America
God spare us from tragedy
And crown us again
With dignity
from sea to shining sea
* America, America was originally published by Poets Responding to Senate Bill 1070 (online).

60

Censorship
bashful, bring your white-out, your eraser too
when you read the script of life
full of passion, full of strife
no, it isnt always pretty,
creativity isnt clean,
no one has all the answers; no ones always nice, always mean
but blocking out that rough-edged dirty, naked, raw,
makes for boring,
comatose, snoring
so please, dont
censor me-dont base your truths on insecurities
and please,
dont censor you-To thine own-self be true
freedom doesnt
guarantee perfection,
and by definition
cant be detained.
lifes unpredictable, slippery, scary
but freedom grants the right to be me

61

Manners*
Im sorry,
Please, and Thank you;
You forgive me,
Ill forgive you.
For people that have
come and gone,
wars that have been
lost and won,
deeds that have been
done, undone
we say
Im sorry,
Thank you, and Please;
Ill forgive you,
You forgive me.
Say goodbye
atrocity,
formality,
bureaucracy
Make way for
what was once-called
common courtesy.

* Manners was originally published by LaBloga Floricanto (online).

62

World Peace
I wish the world
for my child;
I wish him peace,
I wish him health,
I wish him loving-kindness
and soul-satisfaction,
I wish him both
humility, and strength
to withstand adversity,
and I wish him hope
and happiness;
I wish the world for my child,
and what I wish for my child,
I wish for the world.

63

Contentment
sun sparkles
on a seemingly
endless
shining surface
of wetness;
wind-blown faces,
and tired, wet dog
curled up
on boats floor
beneath our feet.
you smile at me,
this is my heaven

64

Southern Pride
fly that Confederate flag
if you like,
enjoy that southern pride.
just dont be surprised
if you sacrifice some rights.
reread the history books.
rights were not given;
it was rights they forsook.
and reading some
other history cant hurt.
the French revolted for rights' sake
but Marie Antoinette said,
"Let them eat cake."
as for the 99% that complain,
standing strong despite the rain,
eating their cake has been disrupted,
what with Hostess Twinkies bankrupted.
so please dont claim to
love heritage and history,
touters of ignorance and
rejecters of the real story.
yes, there were defenders.
what was it they sought?
freedoms and rights;
plentitude, not plight;
advancement of classes, yes;
only, benefitting the few
at the expense of the masses.

65

Vol 1, Issue 5
Sept/Oct 2012
Do Lines On Paper Matter?
the glass I dropped,
the test you failed,
the egg she fried,
the taxi he hailed;
cause and effect,
manipulation,
coincidence, or
pre-determination?
if Truth
can be
defined as,
sincerity
in action,
may these lines, on this paper, utter what matters

66

Patience
seems like
similarities between
sitting ducks, and
ducks in a row;
duck decoys, and
playing coy;
waterfowl, and
water-tight.
ducks may well
teach order, but
waiting doesnt very well
teach patience.

67

Seasons*
child, as you yearn,
the adolescent strains,
adults strive, and
elders wane
how I would spare you
hurt and pain, but
to do so would spoil,
and rob you of life's toil
which teaches all,
regardless of age or race;
so with each season,
know the burden is this:
accept, and embrace.

*Seasons was originally published by DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace (Colorado).

68

The Simple Things


a child whispers
I love you
the grass thats covered
in morning dew
a conflict resolved
with a loving look
the musty smell of an
ancient book
events as effortless
as they are complex
bringing neatness to
the worlds chaos and mess
age-old instincts made brand-new
as only the simple things can do

69

Extremism
oh "Christian", "Muslim", "Jew"
who use the names of Good for Ill
you, who hurt and hate and kill
who rebuke your neighbor,
you insult your Creator
using religion to propagate hate
while claiming one of these Great three
your distinguishable traits
become hard to see,
through a seemingly united
mentality of arrogance, disgrace, and anguish
which is neither Muslim, Christian, nor Jewish
for that which is Loving and Just and Right,
which leads us thru the blackness of night,
that which cries with us when we mourn, and
rejoices when a child is born,
births Equity and Peace, but
withers with your corruption and scorn
deplorable, don't call yourself
Christian, Muslim, or Jew,
justifiers of evil, admonishers of Truth
you who take God's name in vain
as you divide houses,
curse others, inflict pain
let's call you what you are
let's be honest about your position;
don't dishonor true brothers and sisters
in Faith and Religion,
by calling yourselves
Jewish, or Muslim, or Christian

70

Opportunities
closed doors
shut tightly
tried every key
no luck with the locks
gaps under door-jams
can shed light,
changing perspectives
turning around
shows what was presumed
on the door's other side,
was behind me

71

Creature Comforts
purring cat,
playful puppy
bare feet on
hardwood floors
coffee brewing,
piano needs tuning,
watering houseplants;
home waters the soul

72

Good Old Days?


why would time validate?
the true is always true,
and false, false
ticks of the clock,
passing time, does not
make it so, or not
what is, is and
what is not, will never be
as a matter of facts,
with the essence of Truth,
in the abyss of antiquity

73

Faith
in the great contest
with a cloud
of indifference,
falling short is
terrifying, tiring,
with grasping,
gasping;
seemingly desperate, like dying.
and, leading? surprisingly deflating.
so, floating down from
boundless sky,
comfort comes in
joining the throngs
with their many psalms and songs
except when songs dont
resonate rights and wrongs,
no reflection of coping;
all sunshine, all sunny
where did the clouds go?
more importantly,
wheres the sky?
looking down didnt reveal,
and looking up caused short-lived zeal.
but, by looking forward,
finding a handle,
gaining insight,
it might
be possible, to come in for a safe-landing

74

The Big Picture


counting cross-stitch
reaching for threads
matching a pattern,
colors that blend
vibrant blue, purple,
red, and green
are bold now,
readily accepted and seen
while the grays, the tan,
the creamy-white,
olive, taupe, and mauve
may not be as pleasing now
but then again, won't
fade as much, with light
when the big picture is formed
using a design
not all colors will
withstand stress and time
yet all serve their purpose,
all hold their place;
honest observation proves
a picture's more interesting when
all threads aren't the same
furthermore,
history shows,
timeless beauty
actually betters
with age

75

Vol 1, Issue 6
Nov/Dec 2012
Undercurrents of Anarchy
the devil's horns
have sharpest tips
such that ache
eeks out above
evil's iceberg
tripping up good intentions
using heartache to act as
bait,
luring little minds,
narrowness, navet
pointedness, pointing direction
directed to distracting
masses
while massive motion
beneath these
hurtful horns
gains momentum
pushing undercurrents
swiftly away
from fact
while rudimentary knowledge
runs wildly away
chasing the
pretty, pointed orange carrot,
carrying society
orderly
toward chaos.

76

Genuineness
Fake looks a lot
Like faith
And surfaces
Can be deceptive
Tricky to tell
Truth from tale
When a line
Fits the limerick
So well
But the cast call
Will end
When friend
Defines friend

77

Crash Landing
tumble, roll
scramble, fall
up again
then,
lost it all;
lost my place,
got it back,
got a grip,
then slowly stalled.
tired now,
exhausted, really;
a little bruised
and beaten
never mind though,
it was worth it
and the peace
is so relieving.

78

The Battlefield
uphill battles are
best fought
from laid-back,
relaxed positions.
forward motion,
being inevitable,
doesn't allow
a break in stride, and
forcing the
forward motion
won't impress
an incline.
so, gazing ever-upward,
faithful, find your stride
settling the pace,
not setting it, as
triumph requires a truce,
then wins, from within.

79

Flight Under Pressure


pacing, mind racing
stress and caffeine
taking their toll
questions and fears
appear
at every mental turn
too few options
too much time
as deadlines and policy
procedures and expectations
oversight and standards
loom;
and complaints, questions,
problems
relentlessly urge
for attention,
another mental puzzle
presents itself:
when the clouds
close in toward the
tree-tops
and the trees
press upward
toward the storm-clouds
where does the bird
go for refuge?

80

Certainties
racing around this track
at top speeds
flying fast and high
like Icarus; remember?
a crash was imminent
what did we expect?
whats surprising is
we didnt fall sooner,
hit harder

81

Layers of Honesty
truthfulness, a fluid notion?
I hear myself speak,
knowing the message
is misperceived
though not intending
to be untrue.
I restate my thoughts,
now feeling exposed
why wont the right
combination of words form,
or, why wont
they be heard?
grasping for expression
of the truth, I know
a layer of honesty
has been revealed
but gaps in communication,
or perhaps rationale,
have prevented
a bond of understanding.
what can remedy this?
another attempt at honesty?
or, ears that
listen with generosity?

82

Upside-Down World*
too often we look emotionally
upon that which needs objectivity
and too often we look objectively
upon matters of the heart
why do we walk past
our neighbors in need
with more mouths
than they can feed
how can we neglect
a friend who is sick
why is a note or a phone call
so hard to make
and why do we often
let fear
drive our finances
and our cars, frustration
work-places and politics
driven by vague feelings
dont make for strong nations;
were upside-down
lets take the emotion
out of our honeymoons
and put it
into our marriages
stop over-thinking
compassion
and basing decisions
on raw passion
there is a place for the heart
to be cautious, and
there are times
for acting on impulse
but ultimately
hearts are made to feel
and we think
with our heads;
so lets stop hanging
upside-down,
and be right-side-up
instead.
* Upside-down World was originally published by The Poetry Explosion Newsletter (Pennsylvania).

83

The Message
the sinful is subtle
and faith is forgetful
but constant is
the opportunity
for insight
didn't get the memo,
or didn't read it?
keep checking the inbox
and discover
"Right" is always
right there waiting

84

Fire
sometimes closure comes
when and where
it is least expected,
and even unwanted.
we know time
lacks permanence,
but places deceive us
with their symbolic solidarity.
through loss, the heart
finds finality
when things taken for granted
and things cherished
become equitable,
in their impermanence.

85

Walking In Woods
outside, cold air snaps
around us and
cornflakes crunch
under our feet
pine trees
in the distance
hold the only color,
reminding the world
nature is
very much alive
even in the deep
freezer of winter

86

Solidly Built
Pisa's tower is
precarious,
but when pushed
it doesn't topple. so it's true what they say, looks
can be deceiving
and truthfully, all that shoving
seems childish.
plus,
the prospect of that bell no longer ringing
it's beauty, is sad; still, it's surprising
to have found
the foundation was ultimately, sound

87

Jan/Feb 2013
Vol. 2, Issue 1
Fate Tempters
Delilah didnt
do anything
that Samson
didnt let her
since jumping in
snake pits only
invites bites
faith can tame
fate, for a time,
but only until
time transforms

88

Blossom
fine tapestry
woven tightly with
silken threads and
richest colors
conceals even its own
most precious gift in
deliberately constructed pleats
that only the Great Seamstress
chooses to reveal,
as time and trust transform;
once, a simply lovely curtain;
now, an ornate mural borne

89

Disarmament
as loud throngs wildly
debate controversy,
lamenting regulation
complacent crowds are
drawn distractedly
from freedoms
while greed
surpasses Rights
which slip single-file,
silently into shadows;
Shhh...

90

Uncensored
when antennas
reach out desperately
picking up radio-waves
only inconsistently,
messages become
misplaced,
disorderly, or
undeliverable
the picture
is scrambled
the presentation,
skewed
to stop the senseless conveyance,
strengthen the signal;
dont censor the sender,
accept the story;
for, filtering out static
occurs easily
with proper
connectivity

91

Fall On Your Knees


(Dedicated to Sandy Hook Elementary)
six Christmas angels
and 20 twinkling stars
look down on us from Heaven this year
reminding us we're Yours
when unopened gifts are sitting, waiting
under Christmas trees
and our mourning hearts
are baffled by this fresh tragedy
it's so hard to find
Your presence and Your Peace
but, once again, with help
from these sweet
souls, we will.
as we
cannot help but
fall, desperately, to our knees.

92

Ad Astra per Aspera


sailing is a
vulnerable sport,
simultaneously
exhilarating and
intimidating
yet amidst navigating
tumultuous waters
little chance is offered
to ponder the
vast expanse of
sea and sky
but even the land-locked
may search the night
seeking the tides that guide
and only the insensible
wait for calm
that may never come
as the slapping waves
drone on
the wind waits only
for the resolute
who, together, may
ride its grace
into Eternity

93

Sleepwalkers
a deceitful society
wanders purpose-lessly,
as with purpose
self-absorbed zombies
stumbling blindly
in self-created darkness
shining flashlights
which simply project
pre-meditated
mental imagery,
readily blurring out the
needs of others,
effortlessly reflecting
personal desires,
staggering determinedly,
plodding toward the
next objective
all the while,
unwittingly,
beckoning the night

94

Enough Is Enough*
an herb is no better
than a shrub,
a turnip no less lovely
than a tulip, but while
nature provides beauty in
abundance and variety,
humanity insanely seeks
plentitude through sameness
challenging creation, it's
creatures walk in ignorance
working stubbornly
against the greater good,
as though inherently better
rather than accepting,
Enough
trumps Much
* Enough Is Enough was originally published by DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace (Colorado).

95

Confession
self-reconciliation is a Golden Egg that
Mother Goose no doubt
reads as a double-faux pas, while
raccoon stands nearby to wipe
the egg off its face, indulging
an infantile compulsion
to air these once-discovered,
yet under-developed
nuggets of error-and whats more-for the pure
satisfaction of a new,
clean bandit mask;
proving once again that
the Confession
is itself, the Temptation

96

T-Rex
brown and black
mute messages of
a petrified past
taunt us with
mysteries of
giant proportion
these precariously placed
relics of
ancient nature
now,
the prizes
of modern nurture

97

March/April 2013
Vol. 2, Issue 2
Punctuation Marks
shouting, "rights!, rights!"
may be uncomfortable...
but is surely less distressing
than leaving no mark; for
today's exclamation point is
simply a period tomorrow,
and in the future, a comma; so
exclaim today!
if only in a small way?
teaching children
the punctuation marks
of progress.

98

Refinement
fire burning brightly
wanes until only
colored embers
light the night
a dusty,
crumbling pit
where once
ambition danced
gradually a few,
narrow tapering whips
lash out,
reaching skyward
exposed to oxygen
a contented balance of
heat and air
are mated
fleshing out
the now,
most captivating
of flames

99

De-flowered Psyches
driven to the edge by pride
pushed over while saying
"it's fine"
sacrificing truth for
fear of rejection
daring to test the
same old test of time
as our same, self-centered souls
are once more, sadly transformed
from over-confidence
to self-pitying whores
peddling intellect as,
'pearls before swine'
then pissing it
away again, by design
disgracing the very author
of our best;
of what's not yours,
not mine,
but divine

100

Refrain *
good deeds done
need no accolades;
even money well-spent
is just spent money,
and patting one's own
back can cause strain
sometimes a gift
isn't in the giving;
though a well-timed
word takes work,
a parent's nod
CAN mean more
than scolding,
and sometimes, to give,
means withholding

* Refrain was originally published by DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace (Colorado).

101

Superficialities
sophistication seems
to seep
from vines that clamber up moss-laden bricks,
but beneath this
thoroughly-covered
faade, mortar cracks and crumbles
pitifully. and, visible through a
murky-glassed windowpane,
sediment
settles
in a cheap Pinot sitting in a predictable place
on a sideboard-table
alongside two dirty, used wine glasses;
as a two-fold reminder: emptiness
offers no wholesomeness, and bad wine is a phony sage
which does not improve with age

102

Glimpses
a simple token of reality
an unbeknownst gesture
to the lonely soul
MILK, COFFEE, OLIVE OIL /
CALL BABYSITTER.
jotted on a now, misplaced
paper-bag, providing
familiarity and insight
seen through
similarly-burdened eyes
and even, imagine!,
left haphazardly
in this public place,
such that the
Listers loss, becomes
the gain of the Estranged

103

Exoneration*
while politicians nit-pick
lobbyists lobby
workers work
parents provide and
monastics meditate,
justice journeys on;
the innocent Inmate,
watchful of a world
working actively against it,
patiently awaiting pardon
until that hour of
quiet redemption which comes
when acquittal arrives, and
the face of the once-condemned,
is graciously revealed

* Exoneration was originally published by DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace (Colorado).

104

Preconceived Misconceptions
outside the outside
looking in
observing the observer
rushing about
tending to daily activities
unable, unwilling, unaware
of the capability to tame
the pretenses of the spirit
imprisoned by a faade of structure
while mindful only of chaos
preconceived misconceptions
of duty, obligation, ultimately fear
override inner passions
serving the former mission,
the mission now former
to oneself

105

Bleak Mid-winter
solemn hawk
in dormant tree
oversees the warmest
yet harshest of winters
when bold flocks
refuse to fly in sync
stagnating in indecision,
stalling forward motion,
excepting
the advancement
of corruption
with fall-out from
a crumbling core
summonsing
a bleak season
of anarchy

106

Humanity
Confident
Strong
Capable
Proud
Arrogant
Intolerant
Insecure
Weak
Broken
Helpless
Sensitive
Understanding
Compassionate
Kind
Confident.

107

May/June 2013
Vol. 2, Issue 3
The Great Diversion
its so handy,
always available,
at-the-ready,
loyal in fact,
to its subjects.
yes, Criticism is king!
crowned with hypocrisy,
clothed in righteousness, and
riding the chariot of expectation,
since nothing brings criticism
swooping in more hastily
than a desire for praise;
a symbiotic relationship occurs,
one requesting the others presence
until, spent, these sad emotive catalysts
converge, having doled-out generously,
their gifts to each other:
Opportunity and Reaction;
ensuring
only
a
distraction
from
Truth.

108

Likenesses
snowflakes
are not unique
in their uniqueness;
ice crystals and
aggregates of such,
each bearing its own
design
with similar
characteristics
amongst a multitude of
exceptional differences
so too,
our own 7 billion,
averaging 70,000
thoughts per day

109

Shark-bait
victims & villains:
the world has known you,
named you,
hated, or condoned you...
sharks and minnows
so easy to see,
bring comfort to
small-minded humanity;
battles with no
shades of gray
may SEEM to keep
sharks at bay,
but serve as
little more than
distraction from reality
beware instead, of
quiet, still seas
since the absence of conflict
does not equate to
the presence of Peace.

110

Palpitations
geared too high,
for a pace
too slow; causing
out-of-sync rhythms
making hurt linger;
making music but
with an absent singer
a juke box
full of many records
calling up that one
empty slot
persistent dysfunction
makes the helpless of
one who is not

111

Spite
hard to hear
through the chatter
of restless hearts
and judging minds
with lingering hostility
stealing the limelight
on a stage where
no truth can shine,
robbing both
actors and audience, of
honesty, genuineness,
sincerity; and time

112

Commitment
my heart is a child
standing near waters edge
anxious about falling in
my heart is an adolescent,
preparing to jump
in deep waters;
my heart is young
presuming the falls
worth the splash;
my heart is all grown up,
having been shoved in
and disappointed,
having not been caught
before waters disturbance,
my heart is the wiser now;
having conquered
these, all,
and learning:
the fears
worth overcoming,
jumping in is fun,
but mostly,
its the splash
thats worth the fall.

113

A New Song
a sleepless night and
the monotony of the
latest top-of-the-charts
mentally, plays itself
over and over
and over,
until finally,
enough.
and spring beckons
outside, a new song:
a pair of Meadowlarks,
countless Cardinals,
morning-doves, and more;
life, made new
through music.

114

Affirmation
today,
I will
make no excuses,
take no excuses; break all
excuses, find a clearing
in the mental fog;
feeling weak,
will myself strong
rejecting that which
distracts, or tempts,
and instead,
embrace needs met.

115

Conviction
yells and whispers
only slightly
differ;
volume is valid,
but its the type of noise
that matters.
since strong isnt always loud, nor loud strong,
adjustments to hearing and speaking are needed,
when a thing appears Right or Wrong.

116

Sacrifices*
before the lamb
lay down with the lion
the cub bit the sheep
and wounds ran deep
the fawn and wild boar
bedded-down not
upon forests lush floor
without natures
painful consequences
showing true-colors
once more
as final, futile acts
before a peaceful
course set
todays pacts,
preceded by
yesterdays
shameful fits.

* Sacrifices was originally published by DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace (Colorado).

117

Humility
dont be misled
a joke,
a tease,
a nudge,
a wink
may help to see
the lines
between the reading
"self-deprecation"
can be deceiving
playfully poking fun,
the truth is made
a pun
not as ridicule
not as dishonor
but easing the
burden of feelings
with tact, and
leaving a humble
offering at the
altar of Fact.

118

Jul/Aug 2013
Vol. 2, Issue 4
Private Eyes
planned a surprise party, booked a private jet,
slipped on some ice, spilled my drink,
wrote a love-letter "for your eyes only," i think?,
without even a warrant
snooping eyes are 'searching & seizing,'
judging you and judging me, on probation as though guilty
so freedom of speech,
and freedom to be,
differ vastly from freedom of privacy.

119

Sideways-glances
hold on,
gimme a second,
just wait;
the racing conveyor-belt
doesn't help this
trying state, and
side-steppers in uniformity
shuffle on, shuffle off
creating confusion
making difficult work of
finding Truth in this illusion
so hold on,
gimme a second,
just wait;
if only to understand
the circumstances of
the sideways-glances.

120

Entitlement
who deserves to
drink, eat, be?
who has truly
earned their keep?
the deer of the field,
the fish of the sea?
life is work, & work, life
so live honorably,
knowing...
earning is not meant
for keeping,
nor does keeping
equate to earning
since "what will be, will be" &
we are ALL born to die free.

121

Traction
Scraping mud-soaked feet
With mud-drenched hands
Is messy business,
The anti-thesis of
Progress; making weak
The weary.
Flinging mud
Gets others dirty,
Spreads filth,
Improves little.
While a ticking clock
Causes drying, cracking;
Then dirt flakes off
As dust,
And bare feet
Find traction.

122

Calculations
Mis-steps are hard
To define
Since yesterdays
mis-step caused
Todays encounter
With the Divine
But oddly, disrupts
Tomorrows design.
Yes, mis-steps are
Boastful, stubborn,
& inconsistent
Defined only by
Incalculability.

123

Journey
Took a foot
Off the pedal
Ever so briefly
Discovering the scenery,
An unexpected awareness,
Of an incongruent backdrop
Then rather than stopping,
Sped up,
Attempting to fulfill
Misguided obligations;
But escaping reality
Is an uphill ride, Silly!
Saw the crash coming
When a shimmy developed
On the descent;
Long after
the adrenaline,
Soon after fitful rest,
Emerged a better
Navigator, passenger,
And driver
On short roads and long,
Willing and able,
Journeying on.

124

Understanding
the opposite of right
need not be wrong
as the opposite of silence
isn't always a song
to run is not the only
protest of sitting down;
and the presence of wind,
doesn't mean it will be strong.
consider anew that
the sky is more than blue;
and I am okay as me,
and you are okay as you.

125

Caution Signs
When exercising
restraint
Becomes an
Exercise in redundancy,
The cautionary approaches
reproachful;
From precaution,
Emerges prevention,
And vigilance eventually
invokes volatility.
Instead then,
Practice tolerance;
Openly observing,
Allowing admission;
Reserving repression
For matters of emotion.

126

Awakening
To tire of casting
Pearls before swine
Takes maturity and time
While worthwhileness
Takes shape, and
Pointless pursuits fizzle
Natures patient Master waits
to reveal
the discovery of Great.

127

Sept/Oct 2013
Vol. 2, Issue 5
Patriotism
Thomas Paine said
what was right,
when others
wanted to overlook;
he persevered
published his book.
if only we will
open eyes and see,
the figures in our history
generously offer insight,
rouse us from
silence to noises,
and give us eyes
to use our voices.

128

Discomposure
blinding by the
glare from
your blade
causes awful
squinting
keeps this
head spinning;
then disoriented by
the unprecedented
a pledge of allegiance
is sworn,
to give and to take;
to end and to start
at the ceremonial
ribbon-cutting of
the caution-tape
around my heart

129

Weary
when tired meets pain
theres a basic hurt, unnamed
along with the cause,
an absence of pause
which gives way
only when compassion emerges, stops the ache,
the needless grieving,
with the simple presence of another human being.

130

Candidness
hang your coat
on the rack,
then stand back
and look;
does it suit you?
or is it a costume?
playing roles is okay
for children....after all,
it's 'child's play'
but really, it just
looks silly
to the astute,
so please stop
wearing that trendy thing,
and put on a proper suit;
yes, take that cloak off,
will you?
not only does it not flatter,
but it also
may become
your dagger

131

Uncommon Angels
easily recognizable
under open-minded
circumstances
a mascot for your dreams
cheers you on
through adversity
with pom-poms and fanfare
of the heart; and trumpets and drums
so loud, ears ring
calling out encouragement
when down-trodden
spirits stumble;
so easily overlooked
in moments of tension
and stress
the love of common souls, in
unexpected places,
expressed

132

Existence
Aquinas and I
had a good talk;
I said a thing IS,
if its not, not
I got so flustered
when he said he agreed
that I tripped over
my own two feet
but his colleagues
helped me to my knees,
where the Greatest Debater
meets with all who dare
to seek his peace
maybe theres no god,
some say;
maybe the world just
appeared this way.
well maybe, maybe not.
but who can prove
whats what?
since God doesnt
need we feeble to believe
he is, or is not; and
real faith is not in seeing,
nor in boastful believing,
my proof in God
is merely just
in Being

133

Outlook
'don't count your chickens
before they hatch'
is good advice
until, at last
a chirping bird emerges
from the
splintering, oblong sphere
demanding care of
a different nature, as
waiting and hoping
gives way
and yesterday's worry
becomes the work
of today

134

Renunciation
ignore, reject,
and renounce
emotions that
crowd, shove, push;
so, then
free from distractions,
temptations, and strife,
in the act of rejection,
exists the acceptance
of life

135

Nov/Dec 2013
Vol. 2, Issue 6
Scar Tissue
talking heads cause
heads that spin
to try and catch
a glimpse
of Perpetrators
in the act
of the stabbing
of the back
and grabbing hold
of something, anything,
to stop the dizziness,
is reasonable
but dangerous too,
depending on what
you grab onto;
that bystander
may look innocent,
but only until
proven guilty,
with the
embarrassing realization,
that shoulder offered
wasnt meant for crying on;
never mind though,
it was enough
to steady yourself
and comprehend,
a wound can heal
along with the pain,
but where theres a scar,
it will forever remain

136

Motion Sensors
sensing motion,
a glaring light kicks on
makes it bright as day
during dark of night
but what does it matter?
flood-lights may
deter burglars
but it takes Alertness
to let in True Light

137

Work With Me
even a child can find flaws:
the un-swept floor
in the room that's a mess;
a stain on that shirt of
the slovenly-dressed;
pointing out faults
with no benevolent purpose,
calling out others
when as much blame is on us,
takes practically no effort;
so, lets use constructive-criticism
to bring about peace, which
may sound uncomplicated,
but sadly too often,
does not come with ease
lets be the wise who work
to find the common in the rare,
allies among enemies,
and facts among error

138

Vacant Visionaries*
empty eyes
use
a looking-glass to see
reality
thats fabrication,
making images to suit the occasion;
finding what isnt
present,
and using false
as witness.
to say nothing of fact,
these glassy-eyes reflect falsehoods, diverting truthful impact.

* Vacant Visionaries was originally published by Dissident Voice (online).

139

System Fail
mental backlogs
bog down the
Operating System,
consuming energy
to regurgitate old files
causing loss of
new information,
tuning in but
to the wrong station;
change the channel,
reset the machine,
or switch it off;
then watch the
Live Stream

140

Precipices
thresholds are disconcerting,
nerve-wracking, worrying
and planning too far ahead
causes logistical chaos
but who can resist peering
over peak's-edge, even though
looking's always worse than the jumping
unfortunately, having a fear of heights
doesn't change the fact:
we are all skydivers

141

Appreciation
he bent over
backwards to pick her that flower
but she was allergic; and she made chili
but he cant eat spicy
and you asked,
Can I take your jacket?
but I said,
No way, Im freezing. and
sometimes support isnt supportive, but the asking,
and the trying,
and the presence of being,
give life its meaning

142

Intersections
traffic converges
at intersections, as
cars and trucks
move in succession,
hastily, or slowly
toward stop-signs
making mass-movement
invisible from
this vantage point
and a standstill
seems inevitable; but
advancement of vehicles
marks Progress

143

Diplomacy
self-defense and
self-promoting
both convey a
set of motives
in personal matters,
or those of a nation,
to win or lose,
to stand or fall,
depends on the Artist
in us all

144

Temperance
kinetic energy creates
a counter-intuitive reaction
if opportunities
for excess emerge,
that which was presumed
a facet of personality
proves, rather,
to be a matter
of altruistic effort

145

Vol. 3, Issue 1
Jan/Feb, 2014
Jewelry Boxes
when we are genuine,
actions flow naturally and
time is not a burden,
but a treasure;
each moment
is a jewel
and each trinket,
a new chance
and, when we are genuine,
our actions presuppose
our belief systems; and
needs precede desires, so
even fools gold
becomes valuable, and
costume-jewelry, authentic;
when we are genuine

146

What Do We See?
when Wordsworth
wrote lines from the Abbey;
and Gunn entered
that room once more
perspectives had
changed, and yet
stayed the same
when looking through
lenses of time
a building, or nature
is a bookmark
marking the distant
or near,
the dim or well-lit,
keeping us grounded
as we seek prestige;
making us bold
in the face of fear

147

Measuring Sticks
self-defense seems
to be a reasonable gauge
for makers of homes
but not worldly regimes
picking on others
is always wrong
for children, though
doesnt last long
when the time comes
that children are grown
but their parents showed
killings okay,
letting hate lead the way
to a future thats unstable, allowing
powers-that-be,
to squander chances
through a system
that was not willing,
while able

148

Advocacy*
what happens when all the advocates are gone, and those who profit
unknowingly from battles fought by others must learn to cope
without
the hope
of realizing change? then,
the ones whom martyrdom didnt spare,
will no longer be enslaved by the victims
who took for granted their wares
and the rest will be left
questioning their fate.
but those who sought their downfall, while victorious,
will find the only game they won was hate
*Advocacy was originally published online by the Bedlam Writers Guild of Crowder College (Missouri).

149

Litmus Tests
to self-efface does not
necessarily equate to grace
cautionary silence, and
pretentions,
are easily confused
with good intentions
for self-aggrandizement is
a naughty trap,
catching even those
whose purposes started pure
as the vanity of the heart
is a strong allure
but proof of true colors
becomes evident in
a concern for others
calling all out
to truthfulness
and silencing
arrogances ruthlessness

150

Accounting
skimming off the top may be
the ultimate instant-gratification;
with great ease, acquiring sums of
superficial satisfaction.
but underneath, more
relevant variables await solutions,
where accuracy finds the
results of the equation
and the Great Auditor,
to whom all assets
and liabilities
are obvious,
will accept no excuses or accusations,
desire no flimsy explanation.

151

Epitaphs
I re-wrote my ending today
never changed my purpose,
since my Day 1 bore similar soul-ness
to my present barrenness,
and boldness, but
I re-wrote my ending today;
used to wake and take,
build and break,
find problems to solve, then
struggle with indecision and resolve,
but I re-wrote my ending today;
no longer bound, no more sifting
through the Lost & Found
and no more subsisting on less than,
instead focusing on substance, and
saying I can because
with all things Being being equal
and so many things Worldly that are not,
it just makes sense to face facts,
reject falseness, and
reserve the right every day to say,
I re-wrote my ending today.

152

Playing Catch
a welcome pass-time,
you toss the ball,
I catch it, throw it back
the ball will get dropped
now and then, its inevitable
even when trying our best
all the more important then,
to try hard and earn an occasional rest
but what if we start questioning
the balls validity
while in mid-air.
is it round enough?,
where was it made?,
what color is it, anyway?
and suddenly, lots of balls
are being dropped;
before long, we are
both being pelted;
and were arguing now:
Stop throwing balls at me!
YOU stop, will you?!
and how can this be?
the basic rules in
the game of life, forgotten:
you throw, I catch;
I throw, you catch
remembering love
should come before hate,
helps keep our pass-times great.

153

Snake Charmers
snake-charmers amongst us,
seek to benefit
as they entertain,
while making healing claims
and behold, their snakes obey,
despite not hearing
the charmers lovely songs,
but fear-based persuasion is strong;
meanwhile we foolish audience-members
are amused, deceived by these follies,
while these political snake-charmers
pocket our tax-payer dollars

154

Vol. 3, Issue 2
March/April 2014
Self-respect
limits to grey-matter,
matter
since, if theres only
enough time in a day
for rushing after
mindless tasks
generate sentiments
of respect
using brain-power
for self-less acts

155

Materialism
materialism has
many faces
searching, searching
for a bargain
never spending,
always keeping
valuing saving
over giving
with the intention
of seeking safety,
only to find security
isnt in the hoarding;
rather, in trusting
the night
to bring
another morning.

156

Present-tense
when the present
is tense
its tempting
to disengage
but facing facts
can help save face
in forthcoming
unknowns
minding mental
puzzles now, and
closing old
board-game boxes
ensures winning
the only game
we play for:
a happy future

157

Calisthenics
in a world
accustomed to
constant change
going through
the motions can
invoke claustrophobia
causing aching for
expression, instead of
everything same
and its stifling when
attempts at breaking stride
are met with disdain
but there is
comfort too
in calisthenics, which
in a world
accustomed to
constant change
prescribe a
need for
something same.

158

Pushing Buttons
bold to play the victim,
when your favorite game
was always instigating;
time to check
the rule-book?
but once the
final buzzer rings
its only fair
for everyone
to storm the courts

159

Clay
hurt hardens,
and others match
hardness-es with rigidity
then brittleness
takes hold
just before the breaking
but miracle
of miracles!
crumbled earth
met with the
fluidity of mercy,
becomes malleable
once more;
ashes to ashes
and dust to dust
or so they say; so
human hearts are also,
not flesh, but clay

160

Familiarities
Why would you
continue to stay
with him after
he did that to you?
Why would she say
something so mean
when she knew
what she knew?
I cant believe
they are acting
like that,
can you?
But is it surprising
to look to the sky
for comfort after
a conflict?
It may have brought
the storm about,
but it promises to
that familiar blue.

161

Lessons from Elephants


much to learn
from pachyderms
who listen, not knowing,
but hearing, understand
and despite giant size,
display proportionate grace
with seemingly
infinite memory,
make pilgrimages
to show compassion
ignoring times sand,
journeying to distant lands

162

Friction
sometimes saying
the wrong things
better than
saying nothing
as long as we
eventually get the
feet out of our mouths
and onto the pavement;
because ultimately
even wheels spinning
in hearts and heads
still cause friction,
and well-intended actions
might not change the world, but
a lack of action will almost-certainly
change it for the worse

163

Mediocrity
teaching tolerance
is fine,
good,
noble
unless the tolerant
edge
past
acceptance
approaching
laziness and
immorality,
under auspices
of communing
with humanity
becoming promoters
of Mediocrity

164

Keeping Pace
staying ahead of the pain
is a serious game
not to be trifled with
nor to be beaten
requires admission
of our needs, and
making peace with
our demons

165

Vol. 3, Issue 3
May/June 2014
Being Cheeky
once I said that funny thing
just to make you laugh
but soon regretted my smart-ass comments
and being a know-it-all
because now theres little mystery
left for our future history
and these flushed cheeks are tardy
in telling you not to take me literally

166

Closed Circles
quick, hold hands tightly,
tighter than usual;
a recent acquaintance
wants to befriend us;
we cant let that
happen again!
why in the world
would we want
to meet others?
why in the world
would we extend
friendships hand?
you say you once
knew his family?
well I attended her church once, too
but thats no excuse!
we must be strong now,
in a steadfast state
keeping out intruders
is the only way
to ensure
our long-protected
future
of hate

167

What the Sign Said


needed to smell
the sickening-sweet
bakery-aromas at
6 in the morning
surrounded by other
early risers, ordering
their coffee with
bagels and schmears
needed to believe
in the oven-warmth
of false community
to fill a void
created by spite and glares
and the silence
behind those donut-holes
of empty-stares
so it wasnt the pastry
I couldnt buy,
or even the hunger from no breakfast
but that ache in my belly and mind
was caused by the CLOSED sign

168

Senses
hearts are blind,
and ears can see,
eyes can listen,
minds can feel
feel, listen
hear, see

169

Pushing Boulders
perfection is
made of moments,
not days or years
strung together
but aches and fears
overlooked,
as microscopic instants
of bliss are achieved
such that boulders of hate
and hurt may be pushed
aside by tiny pebbles of
loving-kindnesses
piled up
in instances of good,
one-by-one-by-one,
side-by-side-by-side,
moving imperfect masses
over cliffs edge

170

Prognosis
what does
the future hold?
what new season
comes next?
how can we look past
the panic prognosticators find?
only by steadfast
determination of kind.

171

Character Development
grace is borne of adversity
and comfort borne of grief
in anxiety-ridden expectation,
patience spells relief
and lessons can't be contrived;
thus, character is defined
by embracing difficult times,
not leaving them behind

172

Margins
shards of glass
from broken ceilings
cause a need
for fancy footwork
then while we are
dancing, dancing, the
obvious pain we begin feeling
isn't just a sharp-piece, stuck
but the realization
that we, reasonable,
have been crowded
out to margins, left to luck.

173

Translations
some may dream
in foreign languages
waking with exotic
tongues and phrases
engrained
upon their minds.
some may wake amidst a nightmare
hoping for comfort they can't find
and sometimes don't we all attempt
to find the meaning
in our
dreaming?
but tonight,
I dream in poetry,
finding and seeking what I can share with you,
seeking and finding what you can share with me

174

Indecision
temporary mindsets
rob the moment
of its worth
making molehills
out of mountains
and seriousness
into mirth
but committed purpose
frees up circumstances
to become all that they are
keep us mountain-climbers
looking upward;
bringing goals nearer
and pushing distractions far

175

Spaces for Greatness


empty bookcases offer
hopeful spaces for adventures
and joys that await
and though hard to retire
the clutter
thats cherished
the treasure of
new opportunity
is Great

176

Holding Back
second-guessing
second-nature
for fear of
being at fault
turns others
into strangers
and our hearts
into a vault

177

Speed Limits
unspoken rules
gauge reactions,
and unlikely reactions
change the rules
of the road
put up a yield sign
if you want to,
but dont expect
the traffic to
continue flowing
following speed-limits
keeps drivers moving,
avoids road-rage, and keeps all
on the rule-books same-page

178

Vol. 3, Issue 4
July/August 2014
Sad Eyes
it hurts to be happy,
knowing how you cry;
as I smile, seeing
youre dying inside.
and, in time I am weary
because I cant fix your filter,
or free me from this guilt, and
clear up your clouded vision, or
help you acknowledge differences
between sad and happy,
the truth and lies.
so Im left to wonder if you like to see
sadness as reality

179

Hollywood Endings
Which character
are you playing?
Which actor,
actress,
role, and
theme?
Because I seem to meet
a lot of people like me,
only to find their idea of real
is my idea of fake,
and my idea of love
is their idea of hate
So I have to wonder,
is it possible were
watching too much television?
Cause the beggars on our streets
may LOOK the same
as the ones shown on t.v.
But they dont go home
to a plush apartment,
lavishly decorated,
organic food in the fridge,
parties to attend,
and soap-opera stars for friends;
Those newspaper-blankets,
the cardboard-shelter
that IS where they stay
when the cameras are turned off
at the end of each
god-forsaken day
So heres what I think,
when it gets right down to it,
we dont want to know;
dont want to face the harsh facts,
dont want to urge on the REAL victims
depicted by actors in films
Wed rather pretend, play a role,
and most importantly, ignore the end
because when we go to the theatre,
these Hollywood-endings we see,
are only reminders that where the movie ends,
is the beginning of Reality

180

Gluttony
indulgences are deceitful,
requiring the Astute
to practice diligence;
determining not only
where to shop and
what to buy
but how much to spend,
or how little,
and why?
as gluttony is re-defined:
beyond exorbitant luxury,
to include also, saving
and spending energy instead of dollars
only results in exchanging
one type of excess for another

181

Q & A
good advice
isnt always handy
as sometimes
a response yields
no profundity
but even when
theres disappointment
in an answer given,
never were
sounder words spoken
than by the one
who asked the question

182

Hourglasses
you made me an hourglass,
so I can watch
the time pass
you built it so durable
it has surprised me,
on occasion
I thought about moving
my hourglass once
but it was so strong,
it was burdensome, and
the prospect now
seems a juvenile stunt;
time has changed
this hourglass;
the base of which remains safe,
and a topmost part with more space
just as was intended?
to fill with what matters most,
the things we cant see and touch,
the laughter and tears,
the memories of days and years
so now I understand the meaning
as the slipping sand settles,
making space for feeling.

183

Perseverance
plans are wet cement
but goals
are concrete
so if a sidewalk
was worth pouring
in the mold,
though it may take
constant maintenance,
once set,
best to put in the work,
because if a route
was ever worth walking
then its worth
not neglecting
the investment

184

Intricacies
humble origami cranes
with their multitude
of intricate folds
giving paper
wings of flight
symbols of peace,
concealing plight;
enveloping complexities
which simplifies the look
reminding onlookers of
age-old wisdom:
the cover is a poor way
to determine a book

185

Training Wheels
walking may seem easier
than roller-skating, but
eventually it's time to
take off shoes and put on skates
even if rinks are slick
at first, because
forcing ourselves
to take baby-steps
in otherwise tranquil
circumstances
proves some amounts
of contrivity
can be lessons for
future action, but
only when recognizing:
on smooth surfaces,
wheels work better
than traction

186

Deconstruction
when walls come
crashing down
even when
we see them falling,
in slow motion,
processing the cause,
the impact is startling
and the weight, stifling
deep breaths
can help
to lift the burden
or roll out from under
but too,
the rubble
crumbling all around
is worrying,
not knowing how far
the filth will spread
since even after dusting off,
and the long walk away
from all that debris,
bits of mortar
caught in pockets
and cuffs of pants
are heavy
reminders
of destructive
times

187

Rewards
what will your
Heaven be?
roads paved
with gold,
and gardens
of paradise?
Heavenly cities,
clean, and pristine?
conjure up
your imagery
but be ready
to do the work:
laying up treasure
in Heaven
means getting
hands dirty on earth

188

Priorities
when youve
gone without
what matters
its difficult to
understand
the flatterers,
willing to grovel
to get even more, when
they already had plenty;
and, when youve
looked death
in the face
its hard to regain
meaning in this
time and space,
or find others
who understand
the questions
about the
Wants versus
Needs, and
the ability to see; love,
as lifes only priority.

189

Vol. 3, Issue 5
Sept/Oct 2014
Carts and Horses
galloping horses
and rickety wagons
distract a charioteer
from his scenery
though, on the way to
catch that runaway cart,
the sound of clip-clopping
CAN give the rider a jump-start

190

The Capable?
Expert problem-solver,
accurately assesses situations
in need of change,
demonstrates proficiency
in quality control,
and
maximizes efficiency
in all aspects of
difficult circumstances
Butwhat about
when theres no crisis
to manage

191

Water Filters
tried to block out
the rushing water,
focus on what matters
then real life broke the dam,
with all its distractions
and the procrastinations;
in murky, ruddy water,
use a carbon-filter,
sift through silt
drinking in all,
by accepting the obvious
without dwelling on obstacles

192

Flexibility
they say
some friction
is a necessary
thing
lest the lack of it
should cause
earths creatures
to slip
or maybe we should
simply learn
to be more at ease
on skis

193

We Are the Wind


blowing, gusting
in winter, snowing
in summer, dusting
where will you
take us today?
during this blustery night
or at the break of day
how secretive are your ways
where you are going
and from whence you came

194

Melodies
layers of emotion
befuddle me
just when I thought
those loud-clanging cymbals
had lost their ability
to seize my attention
there always seems
to be another element
a harmony to the tune,
more incidental flats and sharps;
those melodious
chords that make
hearts find ease,
but also ache

195

Slip-ups
how do we retain relevance
after errors
with others staring
and no one caring
and past contributions
are withered memories, when
significance reveals itself
as a slippery thing

196

Exceptions
knowing rules is great
but realizing
some are just guidelines
is crucial
by acknowledging a need
to accept the exceptions,
we can focus on life,
not on rules

197

Paradigm Shifts
just when you were on top of your game,
the rules changed!
and that blind-siding bastard of a referee
had to go and call you on it,
like you shouldve known?!
wait, the rulebook IS the same?
well then,
obviously it was
the coaches fault
for bringing you
to this crushing defeat,
and tarnishing your good name
you did everything right! this is NOT cool.
OK, gotta figure it out:
Cmon, think, think, think, think
oh.my.god. is it possible?
it cant be. thats repulsive:
if it wasnt the coach, the ref, or the rules,
the ONLY thing different is YOU

198

Lightness
in dark corners,
shadows haunt
and there is
an aching
in cold, winter bones
not easily warmed,
especially in
damp and dim
until surprising arms
reach out in support
serving as reminders
of weightless times
making frigidness fail,
letting lightness shine in

199

Anemia
flatness and lacking
laziness?
slacking?
not choosing,
but not acting
as healthy noise,
becomes
devoid

200

Vol. 3, Issue 6
November/December 2014
Prevarication
there you go
making those
grandiose promises again
while ignoring the
foundations for
everyday safety
and focusing on
so-called achievements
rather than existing needs
all of which manipulates a people
to stifle forward-thinking,
and overlook long-standing truths:
with rights come responsibility
and unchecked-freedom
erodes Democracy.

201

Nativity Scenes
its a familiar scene
the baby Jesus
wrapped in white
the angel and star too,
in shimmering lime-light
there is hay and a manger
and when the actors have
completed their lines.
enter, Stage Right, the real star,
in his classic red & white
while parents and pastors smile on,
children are thrilled by what to them,
is more than the seasons monotony
and there is magic in the moment, but
Preservers of Truth, be cautious:
the lines of reality and nativity
are often blurred, so we are obligated to admit,
No, Mary did not ride a donkey.

202

Identity
does a rubber-band feel badly
that a string cant stretch?
it seems like it should, stretch, that is
at least it sort of looks like it could
but alas, it cannot, and
never will, without breaking
and admittedly, this rubber-band
has a hard time trying to understand;
as meanwhile, the string is
so genuinely sorry for me
that I
st r e

t ch

Counter-intuition
strange how approaching endings
makes distance seem greater
with victory or defeat impending
slow-motion takes over
grey-matter
and all the atoms and
molecules of Being
allow simultaneous
near, and far-sighted vision, for Seeing.

203

Crescendos
without the quiet lulls
its hard to hear
what matters
quiet pianissimos
break up loud fortes
of clanging clatter
seizing moments of stillness
offers a two-fold reward:
appreciation for calm poise,
and understanding of noise.

204

Dodge-ball
nice
to have niceties
that outweigh
everyday difficulties
when life
throws curveballs,
or just
plain balls
and maybe
we dont feel like
playing dodge-ball
at all
but because hardships
are inevitable,
and balance
is essential to stay sane,
striving for positions
that offset adversities,
is not extraordinary,
but mundane

205

Rock Climbing
learning to ascend from
vulnerable positions is tiresome
and descents only lesson
is one of futility,
but when deliberate planning and
disproportionate patience
prove no match
for excessively jagged-surfaces,
the essential alternative
is releasing the grip
that desperately clings
to natures strong-holds,
and summons trust
in nurtures tools,
to free oneself
to climb.

206

Taken for Granted*


tonight my sons
eat pizza that I pulled
from my electric-oven
with a hot blast in my face
transporting me to our own youth
when oven-heat from
a floor-vented furnace sent
our pink nightgowns billowing up
in clouds of warmth,
as we giggled, and sighed with relief
at the comfort of that heat
in our very own home
which mother-nature has now
simultaneously stolen from each of you,
in your respective struggles,
as I worry over you from a distance
with overdue gratitude for
a family home,
a source of heat, and the
laughter of sisterhood

* Taken for Granted was originally published by Writing for Peace (online).

207

In Praise of Distraction
my heart sinks
with what, grief,
or relief?
its hard to tell
the difference
these days
and time is no comfort
but distraction offers
the hope of promises
yet unfulfilled
yes, distraction!
causes the empty glass
to appear filled
and therein
lies the mirage
that stimulates
courage ,
that motivates action,
that yields results;
all because
of Distraction

208

Back Pain
shortened steps
help to minimize
this backs debt, by
staying put, or
shuffling along
to keep the
hypodermic needles
from their resolute
stabbing manifesto,
declaring control
over their victim,
until the creditor
is satisfied
by interest paid
in the form of rest.

209

Messy
Ive never understood
rain-bonnets, or
that tacky, clear plastic
people put over furniture
plus, why do people
hate getting sweaty
in summer, or occasional
dirt under fingernails
I like dirt and sweat,
and comfy armchairs, and
I think hair looks sexy
when its messed up and wet

210

Disgracing Lady Justice


when will it end?
whats it all for?
all this,
taking it on the chin
and,
not keeping score
when do the hard-workers
get to stop working for free?
when will the greedy-haters
start to finally See?
the imbalance imbued by
a culture of mediocrity
taking away all the rules
wont make everything fair;
protects the interests
of a small fraction
leaving the countless many
without regard or care

211

Curtain Call
greatest are
the successes
which once
entertained defeat
before ushering out
short-sighted audiences and
welcoming Perseverance to
take Her seat

212

Subtleties
silence, and
sorry-eyes
body-language, and
omission-styled lies
a glaring-look, or
a missing key
portray the significance
of unspoken subtleties.

213

Excursions
the most treacherous journeys
are the ones we never take.
the greatest climbs, hardest battles,
and deepest streams
are the ones that only crossed
our troubled minds.
and, when our hearts seclusions
arrive at new conclusions,
the places we remain, may not seem the same
but times the only thing that really changed.

214

Jan/Feb 2015
Vol. 4, Issue 1
New Beginnings
fits and starts are my specialty
because new ambitions
bring out old inhibitions
and pulling the trigger
is my weakness, because
deciding where to aim
means having to accept potential-blame
but theres nothing to decide
when its sink or swim
so there is comfort in
the action required by
the words, Lets begin.

215

Fair Shares?
Feels selfish to desire
an advancement
to better positions, but
who can bear falling behind?
Its not fair to depend too much
on the future generation,
causing ourselves,
and others ruination;
But hard work doesnt always
equate to success, so
what happens when the context
for thriving, seems measureless?

216

Guidance
thinking critically
differs vastly
from critical-thinking
since evaluation
without education
can only ever be criticism
but a well-informed
thought-process is
a guided decision

217

The Provocative
sexy dancers are ever
on stage, where
crowds flock and eyes are
drawn intently. but philosophers
will linger
at the bar,
seeking consolation in
the bartenders string
of quips; since,
when flamboyance
has finally
turned to monotony,
the limelight
shines on intellect,
which conclusively earns its
tip of respect.

218

Charity?
you were so thankful, and my friends
were so proud of my gracious
charity, seeing
I had aided
you with an ounce
of peanuts
to help
fulfill your needs.
but I couldnt help, as I devoured my sandwich,
feeling a little ashamed,
and my friends couldnt discuss the matter, as they were too busy
snubbing their own caviar and champagne.

219

Crutches
Is it okay
To embrace
That which enables
Your brave-face?
Does an alarm-clock
Serve more than to remind,
When it rings,
Waking you
From the abyss of
A sluggish mind?
And, Is it a crutch,
Or a lifeline
If an object
Of passion keeps
You operating
Within the parameters
Of current
Space and time?

220

Beating Dead Horses


oh my god
its tiresome,
the way we have the whip,
and the carrots too,
and we keep coaxing,
and prodding,
even coddling;
and we led it
to the water,
like they said,
but there was no drinking,
or at least,
not that
we could tell
and of course,
just wishing for civility
will never allow us to ride,
but beating dead horses
doesnt improve
our state of affairs,
and only draws more nasty stares
so how long
will we keep trying to lead
where no one will follow,
and everyone keeps saying
sorry but, theyve gotta go
see a man about
you know the rest;
making changes mid-stream
is never easy, but if
a turn of foot won't help
pick up the pace,
it may be time to scratch
this one from the race

221

Bullies, Beware
tyrannical minds
seek antagonistically to
inflict power over seemingly
disadvantaged prey
utilizing long-held
rituals of distress
to expand empires with
those they hope to overtake
but prospective targets
may in time, unseat these
loud-mouthed Aggressors-to their great dismay;
by refusing to be phased,
would-be Victims become Victors,
demonstrating unsung strength,
with the simple poise of Faith

222

Presence
running errands,
changing clothes,
picking up the kids,
planning a trip;
all while
hurting, lacking, missing,
needing, wanting, wishing,
for Presence of a
greater kind, and a
different frame of mind
to slough-off superficialities
and see this place
as a less significant one,
that is only a page-marker
in the book of Time and Space.

223

Fabricated Crises
there is comfort
in making mountains
from molehills,
then rejoicing that
there was no volcano
Look, no lava! What a relief!
though there was
never any real danger
and there must be
satisfaction in arguing
with others even when,
or maybe especially when,
life is easy because
the alternative is scary,
but known arguments
feel safer
ever started
down a bad path
to find turning back is
nearly impossible?
maybe its easier
to be angry,
and play martyr
to the unwelcome state
than to accept
inward responsibility;
or express tolerance of
outward circumstances;
both of which
would mean embracing
the unknown aspects
of an unruly Fate

224

Consequences
there are times
when the world
gets by with laziness
and then there are
times when laziness
gets one over on the world.
and thats when the response
will never be adequate
to change things
that werent done
when there was a chance
to improve something, or someone.
they say, Talk is cheap,
but Ive found it
to be rather costly,
because sometimes
its not enough
to say, Lets wait and see.

225

March/April 2015
Vol. 4, Issue 2
Scandal
when cheating on a poem
with that harlot, Prose,
whose wordiness rambles on and on, in those elegantly-crafted, albeit high-maintenance, descriptive rows
and who seduces
with her need for the verbose,
minding not vanity,
nor showing any remorse
while her acquaintance, Poetry,
strikes a more modest pose,
waiting quietly for appreciation of a different nature;
a Panderer is soon inspired to scrub off the ash
(inadvertently gained when jumping
from frying pan into the fire)
from the scandalous attempt
to give up Poetry for Lent.

226

Make Me Make Sense


a heart needs to thump-bump, thump-bump,
not just one or the other, to make a thing live
a mockingbird in a world void of sound,
searches in vain for a talent that's elusive
a rose-bush that has not one bloom
is but a sticker-bush, even in sunny June
so a heart may go 'thump-bump' just fine
throughout each season
but this life, without truth
is a life without reason

227

Temple Walls
building up walls
never kept anyone out, or in
for that matter, for long
and the effort
put into building them
is ridiculously exhausting
but it feels
worthwhile at the time,
and somewhat sacred
it seems worthy, yes,
making everything else
lacking, to a point
eyes weep involuntarily
at the mere consideration
of letting outsiders in
demanding the acts of simultaneously
showing and accepting others
Original Sin

228

If I Were Truly Humble


were I truly humble,
Id make everything good
unknown, untraceable, to me
Id put out sleaze
as disguise for me,
instead of trying to look classy
and in every opportunity
where it couldnt possibly be credited to me,
I would share nothing but
love, compassion, justness, peace,
and nothing but empathy
for all the proud, hopeless, slime-balls like me

229

To Try Is A Terrible Thing


to try, is a terrible thing
because it takes exertion,
and demands questioning; why?
and yet, we try
to try, is a discouraging thing
because it means failure, at times
and frustration,
and requires persuasion
to try means believing,
and convincing others also
it means transforming,
rather than conforming
yes, I loathe effort
because sometimes Im lazy
and I genuinely hate trying;
but the alternative, just might mean dying.

230

Fringes
out here on the fringes
it's uncomfortable, and
I want to climb back up the thinning strands
towards the comforting masses
that cover up blemishes
with warmth and security
but no sooner than settling in
under the comfy-folds
the stifling sets in,
and I go crawling,
gasping for air,
out to the fringes again.

231

Never Too Soon To Quit


give me an analogy for war,
and I will show you the skills for peace.
make me know what its for,
and I will help you to see
a simpler way
to understand
why I blame
the Nature of Man
and why, the sooner
we learn its okay to be wrong,
we can spin this world the other way
making grateful praise
from hateful riots,
and turning brash noise into serene quiet.

232

Vilifiers Abound
there stood a man
in innocence, blind
to the hate and hurt
and spite she'd find
when he challenged
her mental paradigms,
and crossed
an invisible line
between, a self-less facade
and a selfish instinct,
exemplifying how broken people
create a broken system,
making victims into villains,
and villains into victims.

233

Victim, In Disguise
the clothes she wears
and words she swears
those rough and tough
snide comments
are only, really made
to help her display
anything other than
her need for mercy
see, sometimes showing
a brasher side
is an easier
way to hide
what's inside, and
seems less vulnerable
at least, to the
casual observer
until in time,
a hole is worn
in the disguise
of the forlorn
and scared
and shy,
the girl she
had tried
so hard
to conceal,
was inadvertently
revealed-to those who
know her best-right along with
the world's weight,
with which she feels pressed.

234

Clarifications
I can change a light bulb,
grow a garden, lace a shoe;
I can talk politics
with you too
but Im no expert, Im not perfect,
Im no green-thumb;
no, I may not be a genius,
but Im not dumb
I know the difference
between right and wrong,
and the way it feels at the end
of a day thats been too long
and I may not always
understand subtlety,
but my wish for you, and for me, is
to embrace the value of honesty.

235

Steering Wheels*
steer me clear of
the obstacles, please
I simply cant deal
with all the death and disease,
and lately even the thunder
bothers me also;
my power-steering seems
to have gone out; Im making slow
turns these days;
the storm-clouds are harder to outrun
and the more I want to avoid them,
the faster they seem to come.
* Steering Wheels was originally published by Poems and Poetry Blog (online).

236

Forgive Us Our Sins


when in the shade of the Tree of Life, Adam took
that cursed fruit and with it,
Eve forsook,
we could contend the issue became
not one of temptation, or even of sin,
but one of blame,
shifting humanitys fate
from one of simple, unconditional love
to that proud condition of hate.
a basket of apples, a bushel, a barrel,
spills out before humanity
now so fragile;
each variety
demanding to be picked up, examined,
tasted, before spat out sickly-just begging to complicate
the act of forgiveness, which we
withhold from others, even as we crave it.
the only gift we need to give, and to receive,
has nothing to do with apples, but
comes instead from that eternal Tree.

237

Noise, the Culprit?


sounds of children playing,
phones ringing, the
oven-timer beeping,
the dog snoring while he's sleeping
plus people are laughing
harmlessly, or
birds are singing
or there's a distant bell ringing
proving noise is not
an enemy;
who wants to live in isolation?
but, it is time that's the true thief of patience.

238

Being the Balm


alms for the poor
are a sorry substitute for a legitimate balm for the sore
that could heal an inequitable society
with proactive ideology, not a bandage that's reactionary;
by work from within,
rather than useless outward observations,
making its people healers instead of first-responders,
creates citizenship, rather than mere wanderers.

239

May/June 2015
Vol. 4, Issue 3
Your Scheduled Maintenance Is Overdue
disdain
is something I reserve
for items which ask
to be maintained
as maintenance requires
a cautionary-stance;
so for the conflict-averse,
the heart finds remorse
in things that
want for attention.

240

Moon Bridge
silver shimmers on late evening
dew-covered grass
where lethargic footsteps
are required to pass
bridging present and future
from evening ache to morning peace
lighting paths for both the dreamers and
the doers, paying in full daylights lease.

241

Railways
tonight I write as
trains rumble in my sleep.
I manage a balance-beam
between two tracks
as strings of box-cars
shudder past,
breezing by my shoulders
each in their own
directions, and I concentrate, to
the extent
a dreamer can,
on my own sure-footedness,
as anger wells slightly inside me
at their distracting presence:
these two passing
entities,
each so confidently
gliding
by, both so oblivious
to the difficult predicament
theyve forced
on us lonely
walkers, fighting
hard to keep a solid
footing on a rickety
pathway,
and where are we
all going, anyway?

242

Pending Extinction
there is no time
can you feel it?
earth is slithering out
from under our feet
as the sinkhole of eternity
opens up underneath us
it is urgent.
dont you know?
that we act on those
fleeting thoughts,
reach for the outstretched hands,
pick up our sluggish feet
were missing it!
did you know there was a deadline?
for the work
thats stacked upon stack,
pleading for our attention, while
we whittle away each... vanishing... moment

243

Isolation
to be removed from
a sense of belonging
whether by a meter
or a mile
and to have to prove oneself
worthy of a simple smile;
to be alone
in a sense never before known
as in exile amongst those whose language
you do not speak
or amongst those
whose bonds you dare not break-as if youd want to, to
somehow break in-to what's just, yet another
form of Isolation .

244

I Know What Matters


Im bad with details:
I remember the game we won,
but I forgot the score
Im good with details:
I cant remember the movie we watched,
but I know what I wore
Im definitely bad with details:
I knew your grandparents
but I cant remember their names
No, Im definitely good with details:
they always had those
blue and white iris in their yard
I may be good AND bad with details,
but I think I know what matters,
just the same.

245

Tools Come To Mind


he told his grandmother
at the proud yet gentle age of three,
when she asked him what he wants to do or be,
Tools come to mind
yet somehow forgot by age of six,
he had said what he was so certain he would use
to make his way in life
with the allotted time given.
but one thing was sure, and always will be,
children use the Tools we provide
some will beat swords into plowshares
others will smelt plows into bullets
so, for giving them
improper tools,
the shame lies, at least in some part,
upon us.

246

Stepping Off Ledges


empty space, dead space, where
there was sure to be a platform
creates a dumbfounding
sense of utter panic
and then the flailing
arms start
and the failing
of will and of heart,
but sometimes
its the not knowing
that causes us
to do some growing.

247

Rawness
a mandoline
makes quick-work
of potatoes and hard-cheeses,
but spuds dont have
much in common
with the hearts dealings
and soul-work
was never meant
to be easy.
grating may be fine
for raw food-things
but not emotions;
no, a mandoline
was never meant
for feelings.

248

Blasphemy Enshrined
it has long been understood
Idolatry is Blasphemous, and Gluttony
and Murder
but what about a culture
whose ungodly injustices
to minorities, and the poor
leave our lifes true work outside the door
while we inside, enjoy ourselves as
at a celebration
where our host--the god of all creation,
is forced to wag his head
in disgrace,
at the slap in his face,
that we will spare no expense
for this gala event;
save,
the inclusion of
those outside the tent.

249

Bring Me Down a Peg


Ive rushed too much,
until there was
no rush left,
no ratcheting up,
no more pushing myself;
because Ive pushed too hard,
until there was
no impetus for action,
no remaining ambition,
no rightful motivation;
since my motives,
though previously clear and
relevant and entirely sane,
transformed into a different scene
on the other side of the window pane
in which the window itself,
no longer a transparent barrier
to an orderly world, instead became
the lens of an ever-changing kaleidoscope
viewed through a glass-less frame
filled with less distinct objectives,
yes; but lacking pretentiousness-the tangibility of which makes
the modesty required of such unknowns,
safe odds to take.

250

Enlightenment
tears stream relentlessly
over heart chambers;
a saline bath that
washes away the worthlessness,
ruthlessness, and even the
sentimental that seeped in
...throughout,
permeating all barriers
to comfort, and to pain.
filling that hollow pit
with Discernment of
another kind, as both
a burglar of juvenile dreams, and
a bearer of Ambition.

251

Taxes
our roads are paved with dollars;
the bricks and mortar too,
where our children go to school;
all our infrastructure, as a general-rule
but our homes are insured with fear;
and our pockets, themselves lined with lint,
are rubbed threadbare by nervous
hands shoved in
to keep warm, when the electric bill
didnt get paid so theres no heat,
and there are few perks at work since our businesses,
by extension, have little profit to reap
from a people spreading the
slight amongst many, while
bearing the insatiability of the shrewd;
our work may not pay, but our vote still
counts today.
so where will the ballots land?
haphazardly on polling place floors?
or into capable hands?
who will deal responsibly
with a societys needs,
stacking up nicely
against the proponents of greed.

252

Future Remorse
hurt
should
carry
the weight
it half-heartedly alludes to, in delayed acknowledgments
that spring up like water,
coursing through frazzled nerves as aquifers, while rich indulgences
fabricate
a need to satisfy an insatiable thirst,
forcing open dry,
cracked earth with more than a shifting of plates,
but also a shifting of balance, disturbing the peace; yet, knowing no warrants will be issued,
no shame admitted, at least until that distant, unforeseeable day
when society admits,
Fracking was not okay.

253

July/August 2015
Vol. 4, Issue 4
August Arrives
the familiar
oscillating breeze
is ruffling
sheets and curtains;
a dog barks outside
then quiets himself
tree-frogs,
or are they cicadas?
are humming
tonight
it is
Summer

254

Mere Pawns?
mere pawns sit quietly
upon respective checkered pasts,
grateful the chess board
is not made of glass.
satisfied participants;
knowing, alternatively,
spare pieces are left
at outskirts, entirely.
hoping the next move
might be theirs to make,
but acknowledging others
whose roles have more at stake.
so, having frequently observed the
entrapment of kings who took the bait;
and, desperately wanting
to avoid abandons fate,
mere Pawns working under royalty
patiently await,
the chance to overturn the board,
when they will say, Checkmate.

255

Plodders
Plodders
I wish I were a better plodder,
but I seem to lack the stamina.
I wish I could be a model,
set an example;
but I seem to lack
a certain quality
that makes some souls
plod and breathe and keep
up the continuity
thats needed
in a world so full of
desires and extremes
instead of simply, un-begrudgingly,
steadily trudging

256

Injustice, Done
when a scandal
that is a scandal,
isn't why the scandal
is a scandal
when the truth keeps
us from speaking,
rather than teaching
us to speak
when the world believes
the lies we're told
simply because
we are too weak
to worry about an injustice done;
and when we are relieved injustice
is no longer the threat,
Injustice has already won

257

Recollection
I wish I could recall
the firelight
of late last night
that seemed to summarize it all;
that made
my blackness
into white, until the whiteness
was just a lamp-shade,
luring me back
from a lethargic state,
asking my sleep to abate,
long enough to turn out the light. so the track
of a restless mind
made clear,
was sadly lost, I fear,
in the sleep I was finally able to find

258

Simultaneity
what if we could see
all potentials
at all times?
and what if
each scenario
would end up fine?
why do we think
wed be able
to see which is best,
when we can barely
make simple choices
about the present
in which we live, and
the future
we aspire to; as
though there were
any better Criteria than
what we already have.

259

Religion Versus Reality?


religious folks are criticized
for being Ideologues,
who insist on hope in sad times
and religion has been said to be
an opiate of the masses instead
of a simple choice of people, free
which keeps us in our place
to help ensure order amongst
the chaos of the human race
if so, then so be it;
whats more, do skeptics
have a better way to see it?
religion is not reality avoided,
but the confident knowledge
of a ship to fly us through this space-void,
I contend the so-called Idealists
(who use a modicum of common-sense),
are we who make the best Realists.

260

Quantity and Quality


its true that those
who have the most,
may have the least
to show for it
and those who
have the least,
might stand a chance
to grow from it;
but quality of living
of course, has less to do with
little, or lots,
and more to do with giving.

261

Social Identity
is progress quantifiable?
the question seems definable,
but the answer makes me squirm
a little; like these documentaries on T.V. that speak of wormholes, and space, and quantum physics
Lets change the channel, shall we? something less
educating, and more entertaining, please
sadly, it seems, Ive become the statistic that I seek.

262

Oversights
takes time to
make amendments;
to notice a need
for improvements
delicate work too,
to keep that which
was alright,
and then,
employing modesty,
take inventory of
which corrections
are necessary.
plus sometimes, the
blunders are realized
too late; once a story
has gone to print,
demonstrating definitively
the necessity of flexibility
in a world so prone
to oversight.

263

Monotony?
there is only one message:
never monotonous,
ever current
playing out over and over
making new the old,
making hot the cold
finding truth in error,
accepting the common as rare
'take it or leave it'
there is but one choice
in each moment;
reject or embrace
transformation:
gazing again at old paths,
and finding new direction.

264

The Relevance of Plumb Lines


plumb lines make no apology
for their idealistic nature
even as they demand workers to
bend to the straight and narrow,
promising successful results,
demanding trust in their accuracy,
expecting laborers to try, aim for the best;
never dismissing the exemplary
with a wave of the hand,
plumb lines assume perfection
is achievable, providing the guidance
needed for direction
patiently
awaiting outcomes, rather than
fallout.

265

Sept/Oct 2015
Vol. 4, Issue 5
Assimilation
yours is mine
and mine is theirs
and theirs is hers
and hers is his
but
we were
never
really
Ours

266

Energy Reserves
your restraint from
instant gratification
may indeed
be
admirable, but you may find
in hindsight,
you wish youd told
yourself, lifes too short, and live a little. those
arent sayings of mine,
made up, but truths proven over generations of time.

267

Almost Too Easy


your rudeness
drives me
to tell myself again
kill em with kindness,
but it feels almost
too easy since
its obvious?
you dont get it,
compelling
me to
wish
not for a harder challenge,
but at least for
a change
in the cause
and style
of your commentary
which gives me pause,
with hopes I can at least feel
Im making a positive impact,
whilst my spirit, you easily steal.

268

Hitchhikers
told me today youd
offered a ride to a guy whod
been working the harvest
crops in a nearby research field, now picked bare.
he was walking east when first
you passed him, and walking still when you saw him next, plucking him from the barren stretch
of highway in this lifes research field;
and arent we all the hitchhiker, just a someone-heading east toward a rising sun

269

Shortsightedness
its not too hard
to be strong
when you know its short-lived
and besides, it would be wrong
to avoid making the effort. plus, theres
your desire to keep your composure and find
out why you even have this
need to be kind
in this (albeit seemingly
short-term) predicament
youre in--as though theres an answer, but really there isnt;
and youve only scratched an impermanent
proverbial surface
of your real work, because completing
the immediate task required,
is only the beginning

270

Hyperventilation
when
breathing easy
doesnt come
easily to me,
and deep gulps
feel like drowning,
but theres still enough oxygen
to drown out the sound
of suffocation that rings, in a raspy way,
in my lungs and ears
from all these
soulful tears;
bottomless gasps for air,
remove me, again, from despair

271

Its Starting, This Years Ending


few indeed,
are the leaves
which now begin
their brief descent
from homes on solid branches
where a years loveliness
has passed,
and even grass
becomes sun-dried, crispy
and the fallen leaves pass over quickly
with help from gentle breezes,
tip-toeing over alleys and easements,
as our eyes
chase
their glistening,
fading figures.

272

Loves Hall of Fame


love is that skinny hallway
splitting two warehouse-sized rooms,
one of which holds,
without much practical use,
an empty store
of self-absorption
amounting to the most transparently
loneliest of portions.
the other enormous space is
filled with people but offers only allegedly meaningful action,
making plain theres a profoundly
difficult, transformative passage
through which a name
finds admittance into Loves Hall of Fame.

273

Only One Heart


we are symmetrical
beings--those of us who can call
ourselves fortunate
enough
to live in a body
without injury
or disease.
we have these
two beautiful ears
with which to hear
our creators call, and eyes to see,
and arms and legs and feet.
but have you ever noticed we have but one
metronomeheart with which to live
and spend it how we choose: to take, or to give?

274

Nov/Dec 2015
Vol. 4, Issue 6
I Always Try To Look Up*
down in the dumps,
but the temple exhibit in a museum
with an ornate cathedral ceiling
that I almost missed, is uplifting-unlike the unknowns
of relics, minds, and bones
that ask to steal our attention
away from the wisdom
of fellow spectators
whose sage words
are sometimes more relevant
than that
of a curator
or counselor,
in giving gentle advice such
as, I always try to remember to look up.
* I Always Try To Look Up was originally published by Dissident Voice (online).

275

These Are My Trophies*


would that
words
become my
trophies, heard
by contemplative
souls
who
only
seek that
which I fear I cannot give,
but am forever after
trying to; as the pensive
reflection tells me anyway,
in this, my computer-screen trophy case.

*These Are My Trophies, was originally published by Dissident Voice (online).

276

Fellowship Halls*
Im a long-standing member
of that church
of peeling plaster
walls; and cobwebbed corners,
and sobfilled souls; with a basement room
full of cold folding-chairs,
and a piano thats out of tune,
but the genuine faces
and fresh coffee
make warm spaces
(away from mega-church throngs)
in the small church,
where I always belong.

*Fellowship Halls was originally published by Unity Presbyterian Church (Iowa).

277

Exposure*
why, when clouds
float by above
does one see
butterflies and elephants,
while another
conjures up cell phone
towers, and guns,
and drones?
or, are those
the real things
in our modern skies,
rather than envisionings?
and all this time I was told
we emulate that to which we are exposed.

*Exposure was originally published by Knot Magazine (online).

278

Green Ball, Center Pocket*


in the moist basement
of our youth
there was a pool-table
with its relentlessly obtuse
angles, thwarting
boredom between
family meals.
but the nave
are short-sighted,
ignoring the warnings that fertility
exists for Growth. and soon bright
orange and green billiard balls
would be forever sunken in
our memorys pockets; a filled in foundation.

*Green Ball, Center Pocket was originally published by Knot Magazine (online).

279

Growth*
in unfettered Midwest fields,
the Iris and Poppies bloom
during warm, tender
days of May and June,
and the caterpillars
begin to creep
out of cocoons
where they did sleep,
and restless souls
begin anew, the search
for that which haunted
while earth
plodded through its winter nights;
roots grew deeper, and wings prepared for flight.
*Growth was written as a gift to McCulloch Elementary 2 nd Graders.

280

At What Cost*
once upon a sordid time
the rooster crowed,
announcing the morn
which woke the hen with a start
who, feeling badgered,
and with a saddened heart,
rose to do her daily grind
despite feeling out of sorts
until one morning
unlike the rest
she didnt rise
to meet that cocks requests,
deciding instead
to take a nobler stance
against the bullying
ways of arrogance
but while basking in a moments peace,
her once fearful heart
finally at ease,
she realized the victimizing
she had unwittingly done
while in the clutches of dread;
wasting opportunities
to commune with the rising sun.

*At What Cost was originally published by DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace (Colorado).

281

When Time Reveals Itself*


when history
books
come flying
off shelves, it may
be natural
to try
and stop
the clock
that sits so solidly atop
the bookcase of humanity,
complete with the
knowledge of our ancestry,
but heeding,
rather than
halting
time, could hold the clues
to stop the world from
crashing down around us

*When Time Reveals Itself was originally published by Visual Verse (online).

282

Self-awareness*
I do believe,
by happenstance
perhaps
(and quite because of
my own selfish greed, I'm sure), that life is but a
mirage of sorts, seeming to grant us control of a situation,
when actually, though it counters intuition,
we're really only ever offered awareness...
and just enough,
to cause the questioning soul in us to stir; and when it does,
we can vaguely see, the human mind's
a most unusual kind
which leads us to believe
we control certain deeds;
and as a matter of fact, I did just write this sentence!
and yet,
I can spare myself regret,
in that to lose and to gain,
though they hardly seem at all the same,
can be likened to exactly that,
in the eyes of the omni-present.

*Self-awareness was originally published by The Piker Press (online).

283

Poets Note: Thank you for your interest in my work! This omnibus of personal chapbooks is presented with
omissions of select poems, currently under consideration for publish elsewhere. Previous publishes are marked as
such, with gratitude to their respective editors. For more information, please see: poetrybysamantha.weebly.com
/s/: Samantha T.

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