Monthly Archives: August 2016


I am tired—
worn through—
of being at the mercy
of people who have power
but have no conscience.



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Autumn yearning

As the Georgia August again wanes damp
And hot into its September dog-days,
With the high-pitched whine of mosquitoes
Buzzing like diminutive Indy cars in my ear,
My heart inevitably begins its aching
For the northern Autumns of my youth:
The long lazy afternoons which
Begin their dimming before supper,
The cool onset of the falling mercury—
Its sharp briskness set ironically
Under the bright blue skies populated
By countless cumulous clouds moving
Sluggishly with the changing breeze.
The coolness of those days,
Deliciously belied by the
Warm yellow sunlight which
Lights the afternoon football games,
Instigates the opening of drawers and closets
To dig out those favorite old jeans and sweatshirts.
Though we put them on against the contrast
Of the plant-life everywhere preparing
To remove its raiment for winter,
For a season the brightness of our clothes
Only complements that of the foliage,
As the trees flush with reds and oranges
Stained earth-tone and ochre. Their colors
Last for weeks before they shake them off
Brown and brittle on the ground, waiting
To be gathered and leapt-in.

Waiting impatiently in the persistent heat
I long to trade my open-toed sandals for
Warm socks—to swing gently with my wife
In our hammock as we listen to the cool
Winds whisper in airy waves their gusty music.

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Would that all people
Understood what my friend
Paul has said—
That those who seek power
Shouldn’t have it.
That the one who seeks it,
Who goes to extremes
To acquire it,
Once getting it
Will spend his days
Going to greater ones to
Preserve it. And
He will love and serve
Only those who immediately
Benefit his aims.
He will destroy everything in his path.

But we are a people too much
Impressed by power,
Enthralled with structures,
Enslaved to success,
And spellbound by
Shiny things—
Trinkets and houses.
We believe in the people in charge.
We believe in their power.
When they do evil, we defend them.

Would that we knew the words:
“The greatest among you is your servant.”
“The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.”
“You cannot serve two masters.”

Would that the way of the cross
Was walked by those who wear crosses.

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Crape Myrtle

Heat-loving Crape Myrtle,
At home in the humid South,
Its trunk and branches
Naked white and
Smooth as dry bones
In the hot Georgia sun
As if it had prepared for the heat
By removing its flesh from its joints
—All knobby and gnarled—
And, reaching green hands
Toward the heavens,
It holds in its fingers
Clusters of firm green knots,
Like an offering of ripe grapes
Presented to Bacchus,
Which soon blossom into
Blooms of white, red, and lavender.


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Pipe tobacco

Smooth grained bowl
Hollow scraping scratches
Palmy thudding thump
Soft brushy wire
Woody sweet aroma
Soft flaky pinch
Firm tamped pack
Clicking hissing light
Brief fiery puff
Another gentle tamp
Warm smoky draw
Sweet zingy flavor
Opaque misty ribbons
Warm delicious smell
Thoughtfully mindless respite

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For Wendell on his birthday

Sometimes I just haven’t
Got the heart to read or write.
I sit down with pen or book
And my mind is overtaken by
The darkness of the news—
By the hate and violence
All around us.
Sometimes I’m overcome
By the stress of wondering
Why the bills are bigger
Than the paychecks and
Why bullies are so strong,
And why it has to be
So lonely to be here.
Then I realize that
There are better people than I
Who’ve been through worse.

It is at those times that I
Most appreciate brother Berry
Calling the mosquito “holy.”
I remember this as my wife and I
Watch the brown bats flutter
Madly through the waning
Evening sun
As the muggy Georgia day
Becomes the sultry Georgia night
While the locusts
And the katydids
And the tree frogs
Fill the air with their raucous
Melodies and songs,
Calling to their beloveds
“Come to me”
From the kudzu
And the rightly named
Lightening bugs flash and hover
Over the green grass.

With sweaty beer in my hand
I draw a puff of smoke
From my pipe
And, for the moment, I
Can forget the problems
We broken men have created
In our endeavor to make the world “better.”
Sitting in the evening with my bride
The hardship and complexity,
The indefensibleness and unsustainability
Of our bully economy,
Give way to the simplicity
And symbiosis of the earth.
And I am reminded
That God is in his heaven
And that heaven is here,
All around us.
And I am at peace.

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