She shines like neon,
Reflected on
The city streets

She sounds like rhythm,
The feet that move,
The heart that beats

    She’s still the light that guides me home,
    The reason that I love the night;
    A better kind of power, that
    Makes sun seem tame, and rain seem right —

She tastes like neon,
To the eyes
That find no shining
Through the throes,

When at the end
Of this much day,
The sky may dark,
But still —

She glows

Born Desiring

We are born desiring, wanting;
Seldom does that really change.
Though our scenery may vary —
Furniture we’ll rearrange —

Never does the longing leave us,
Nor our restless hearts feel full:
Everyday the pushing, tugging,
Every breath, the constant pull

Of a striving deep within us.
Reaching for, and reaching past
Every happy thing around us
For some other that will last.

Though the morning sits to greet us,
Though a lover waits at home,
We are born desiring, wanting:
We are born to break

Our own

When and Why

The family’s meeting soon. Last year,
This air was entering some lungs
That are no more in use, and we
Were shopping at a store that’s
Closed its doors.

That’s as may be: once, these
Were woods, before that, maybe
Swamp. We can recall ‘before’;
Just not the ‘before’ before ‘before’.
But our perspective
Typically shows where we
Like our lines to be.

The frame decides what’s
In the paintng, but doesnt tell
You why the artist painted
The desolation of a soul
That finds itself at one with
Empty parking lots

She‘ll Be The One

Son, let’s have it be understood:
It’s work to be worthy of somebody good.
To be kind, and be strong, and to understand —
To do what it takes to be this kind of man —
This is the voyage. It’s part of your walk:
To matter in action, and not just in talk.
For honor is everything when you’re a guy,
Not money, not fame, but the look in your eye
When you know in your heart you’ve been doing your best,
You can hold your head high, and at night you can rest.

But that’s not enough — or, it wasn’t for me.
You’re gonna meet someone, and you’re gonna see
That the world is much bigger than you could have known.
In the way a book’s read, or the way her hair’s blown,
In the serious way that she teases things out of you,
Laughs with you, looks at you, never a doubt of you.
You’d give your life for her, gladly, it seems:
She’ll be the one who’ll beat all of your dreams.
And strangely enough, though you won’t think it’s true,
She’s working hard

To be worthy

Of you

Meanwhile, in the Ukraine…

The holidays are closing in:
So much expected to be done.
Our lives are complicated, no?
But pictures seem so simple —

A child playing on the ice.
November in the cold Ukraine:
With frozen trees upon the hill
And joy upon her face —

But imagery can be a trap,
Just symbols on a changing screen
That keep us seeing what’s around
Wherever we may be

And what we envy may just be
A moment in somebody’s day;
Forgotten soon and left aside
In life’s unending march

But I learned many years ago
From an old television show*,
That if you are not where you are,
You are no place

At all

(The quote is from an episode of MASH – Owen)

One “Can’t”

“You can be anything,” she said,
  In a quiet moment before bed,
  But the child could see some sadness there
  And so asked, “Mom, what’s wrong?”

  The mother paused with a distant stare,
  As though she could see someone standing there;
  And said, “You could be President, for sure,
  Or the reason we find a famous cure;

  You could be a parent, a star, a friend
  Who is there through the joy or the bitter end.
  But there is one ‘can’t’ for us all, you see:
  You can’t be the person you used to be.”

The child looked up, and said, “If that’s true,
She must have been great to be better than you.”

Sketches – 70

I love to see you laugh

I think I have a stupid laugh


I sound like a donkey.
And I snort.
It’s embarrassing

I love your voice.

I notice you didn’t say, “laugh”

I love the sound of your laugh, seriously.

You don’t get tired of it?

It’s when you’ve stopped laughing
That I’ll really worry

You don’t laugh very much.

No. I know I don’t.
Not much surprises me, I guess

That’s why I enjoy the challenge.
Getting you to laugh takes effort.
I like that

Well, your weird that way

Don’t guys enjoy the challenge?
You know, in dating?

It depends. Many do.
I’m just not wired that way

You went after me hard enough

Yeah, well.
I was rather smitten.

I bet we could drive
A long way in any direction
And not find another guy
Who’d use the word “smitten”

I was taken with you?
Infatuated? Afflicted?

Somehow, that last one
Sounds ominous.
Like I was a disease

Crushing on you?
Just fricking gone?

As opposed to now, when —

Oh, I’m still fricking gone
Where you’re concerned.
And a little bit afflicted

I’m about to afflict you,
If you don’t watch out

(To read other episodes in this series, click here. – Owen)

They heard the music playing,
  so followed them the tune:
The mystic ocean symphony
  a soothing bit of harmony
    communing with their souls —
    they needed to commune.

And though poor in materials,
  they found a way to go:
For truly rich, and truly deep
  are memories we make to keep,
    like echoes in the shoals —
    and finding space to grow.

There is a love that joins us,
And there are hearts that feel;
There’s beauty in simplicity,
And making good things real.

And though we slump or cower
Beneath our load of care,
We each can hear the music,
Because it’s always there…

They found a chance for freedom,
  so took it when they could:
And though imperfect all we are,
  ‘twas worth some hours in the car
    to give up their old goals —
    and bask in something