Old People/ Where I Work

Sometimes they cry for yesterday
For those lost and never found

Sometime they cry for tomorrow
For what might have been for them

When they laugh it can be robust
Filled with parades and victories

When they laugh it can be hollow
Filled with slivers of hope

Sometimes they rise early
With a fire in their bellies

Sometimes they retire late
With an ache in their soul

Some days they illuminate our world
With unwavering strength and love

Some days they ground our souls
With endless wisdom and patience

I can’t help thinking these days

I can’t help thinking these days
America has found herself an epic jam
The trouble could be of her own doing
That is how these things go – theoretically
There is no end to the anger pointed at her history
Everyone pays the price in one way or another

Pulling down a statue is well advised
If there is lesson learned through the act
To destroy the living American dream of an innocent
Is not a protest no matter how you dress it up in speeches
That wrong will never win a right or deserve the right to win

There is a change in the air – a deep dark angry change
I pray for people who have their hands raised in anger
I pray for the innocents who will lose everything – for nothing
I will not defend her history because it is indefensible
I will pray for our future and for those who make it there
I can’t help thinking these days
Things have got to get better for everyone here in America

The Rock River: June 2020

The brackish water rolls slowly past the once lush berm
Those who must – will pull their sustenance from within
Those who don’t need to – might find other treasures

The boats pass by with bravado befitting this quaint bank
The vibration angers the fish as much as the fishermen
We drive by in air conditioned and stale smoke comfort

There was an old purse living down there since ‘96
It was reeled in this morning by a boy and his mother
You never know what you’ll find in the Rock River

You are not broken

You are not broken – you are in transition – you must know that
The ideas that swirl around you now are old and outdated
You marched triumphantly though a storm with your head held high
Now your heart leads the way – but is no less vulnerable

You love strong and without fear but tonight fear is getting the best of you
Old expectations and forgotten promises hold you in place with heavy hands
You danced by the light of the moon and changed the demons that haunted you
Now your soul and your God and your love are your flawless suit of armor

You are not broken – you are in transition – please tell me you know that

That Sunday That Summer

Give me a reason to drive these lonely miles
Westward into the heart of the construct of love
But not the love that would sustain me
That love is too far west for a day on the highway

Give me a reason to abandon my pen and paper
Thoughts and words are the charlatan’s game of love
I lay them at the altar of your pledge
To the unwritten words betrayed by our collision

Give me a reason to close the last few open doors
When my soul was shackled by the obligation of love
There were keys jangling in front of me
Once these doors are locked – they will fall quiet

We Have Hope

I imagine peace will find us here if we believe
A peace that permeates class and culture
Like some electrical force sweeping us into its wake
A peace that knows no boundaries or biases
In the meantime – we have hope
Hope is our doorway to peace

I imagine joy will fill our hearts if we surrender
The joy that will resonate across the ages
Like a newborn baby breathing her first free air
A joy so sweet it will elevate us over the din of life
In the meantime – we have hope
Hope is my ticket to joy

I imagine love will find me here if I wait
A love like our fathers had for our mothers
Like our mothers had for their children
A love so powerful it will penetrate my history
In the meantime – I have hope
Hope is my path to love.

Memorial Day: New Lenox

I opened a fortune cookie today but there was no fortune inside
So I wrote my own on the back of a dream I keep for occasions like this
It was a simple couplet with a complicated theme that started with hope
My story begins with the idea that life is short and should not go by quietly
The words betrayed me even though I was well versed in their meaning
So I packed up my doggie bag and walked out with my heart still on the table.


When I know the rain is going to come – I think of you
The promise of hope comes over me cleansing my palette
I want to see you up close – to see beyond the artifice of history
I want to see you up close – to see behind the eyes that hold truth

If you would give me ten minutes – I would give you ten years
But we could never take back what we offer each other today
I want you to see me close up – to see behind my fractured mythology
I want you to see me close up – to see behind the eyes that hold love

When I know the rain is going to come – I think of you

May 9, 2020

He walked with the grace of a man who didn’t know
His soul had an expiration date

He turned his wizened face up to look at the sun
His heart had given up any expectations

He wrestled with the fear of tasting love’s recovery
His mind confused his heart with his soul

He never realized he had the power to throw the game
His honesty got the better of him – again

A Special Madness

Everybody was lost, half-crazy, afraid…                                                     Women
Charles Bukowski 1978

As sure WalMart is going to rape your tiny town
Someone is going to try to break you against your will

The smart ones walk through life
Cripple or crazy or a little of both
Skin burnt from exposure
These are the ones who talk to the voices
The voices that keep them company

The others continue to bang their heads
Against the wall that was built
By years of intolerance and anger
And it all ends up in a different kind of madness

And you look at the guy on the street
Smoking a Newport and talking to a shadow
And you know he has found his place
And you know you have to find your place
In this – your own special madness