beyond the skies of bethlehem

December 7, 2017

from millions, to billions, to trillions of stars
the universe stretches across time and space
so vast its dimensions may never be known
beyond points imagined in one’s state of grace

infinity; frozen, and searing, and still
it holds but the tiniest thing of a dot
a marble so small, it’d be nothing at all
were it not, for some reason, life’s chosen spot

this fact of creation, aside from its cause
a wonder, divine in its essence alone
where blessings of thought, and spirit, and will
were granted to creatures of mere flesh and bone

however our number, whatever our gifts
there’s not one among us who’s less than a star
if we all were the same in every respect
we’d still be as rare, as unique as they are

but we’re not – we’re much more; diverse and distinct
in color, and culture, and wisdom, and skill
a fact much employed, if not fully enjoyed
for a purpose we’ve likely yet to fulfill

though we’ve managed to bond, to share, and to build
our civilization has not fully learned
freedom’s true spirit, its basis, respect
or when – if not how – it’s assumed or been earned

we’ve given it words, legislation, and praise
at times, far too little; at others, too much
resulting in passionate lectures and rants
or cautious correctness so thick it’s a crutch

perhaps we’d do better to first contemplate
the strange circumstances that led to our birth
and acknowledge some plan, whatever its source
unfolding to give us this home we call earth

whomever, whatever, saw fit this should be
concealed its best proof in its brilliant design
permitting, compelling we find our own path
to the cause, to the source, we each see divine

when we can acknowledge and honor this gift
with respect for this search to learn who we are
then freedom will follow and grow till it shines
as bright as has ever been seen in one star

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i drink, therefore i am

November 22, 2017

(insight at 100 proof)

the more i drink
the more i think
the less i guess i know

as if my past
were scripted, cast
created like a show

my hopes, my dreams
just central themes
through which the actors grow

as roles dissolve
and plots evolve
while writers come and go

—–

yet i remain
my role maintained
atop the grand marquee

its best, its worst
what’s blessed, what’s cursed
displayed for all to see

which makes me drink
which makes me think
while much is meant to be

i must believe
what i achieve
is left, in part, to me

introspectus universum

November 16, 2017

nothing is true till everything is
so gravity’s glue’s is now failing
leaving us all to rant at the stars
as if they were gods unavailing

possessed of the fruit, we tear at its root
by picking the bones of our brothers
willingly blind to its intertwined vine
except where it’s wrapped around others

like pitiful fools, we consecrate rules
to portion infinity’s bounty
leveling fields where everyone’s yield
would otherwise suit them quite proudly

a misguided course away from the source
of all intention and wisdom
till equal for all means equally small
reducing us all to mere victims

dear colleague…

November 9, 2017

the fact that i can’t say it
makes it no less true
and hiding from reality
is sure not helping you

if i could just be honest
i’d set you straight right here
but i would rather keep my job
than state what’s crystal clear

clear about your conduct
clear about your dress
clear about your attitude
and why you’re such a mess

what’s really truly awful
is how you still complain
whenever you can think of ways
your lazy ass can gain

hostile work environment?
you haven’t seen that yet…
but if you don’t make changes
it’s no doubt what you’ll get

sadly, we can’t fix what’s wrong
these rules are such a shame
preventing us from pointing out
that you’re the one to blame

the cat in the hat takes a bat

September 29, 2017

i did not need your grief today
i do not need it any day
i wanted you to go away
and leave me here in peace

yet you remained, despite my plea
continuing to torture me
too ignorant or lost to see
my seething rage increase

you stupid, worthless, soulless thing
satan breeds less suffering
than your incessant yammering
still nothing made you cease

so this is what you made me do
it wasn’t what i wanted to
but warranted to silence you
as i advised police

vision

August 20, 2017

life is a question of vision
the answer is one of degree
some perceive twenty-twenty
is as clear as our sight can be
but eyes, they have limitations
from which the mind breaks free
so it’s less of what you look at
and more what you choose to see

 

sally the serf

August 8, 2017

sally the serf says
the kingdom’s gone mad
the lords are all crazy
the kings are all bad

sally the serf says
the hordes at the gate
can still be held back
but not if we wait

sally the serf says
we need to be fair
be decent, be kind
and show that we care

so sally the serf
she’s formed a commission
to study what’s wrong
and take a position

sally the serf says
we might need a rule
one tougher on nobles
who act harsh or cruel

but sally, oh, sally
what noble will pass
an act to police
its own ruling class?

perhaps, my dear sally
the answer instead
lies in the wisdom
of what you first said

sally, so decent
if you are just you
perhaps some will learn
to do as you do

and sally, if not
don’t worry at all
for when the hordes come
the nobles will fall

rebecca

July 26, 2017

she probably thinks we’ve done more for her
than she could possibly have done for us
she’s like that; so focused on work and others
completely unaware of her own presence

a once naïve girl, still full of faith and awe
she talks tougher now, but her heart is the same
and she thanks us for making her a better lawyer
when, in truth, it is she who made us better

better for the full account of her contribution
a contribution far beyond her role as talented colleague
beyond her long hours, her willing assistance
or the smiles and laughter that accompanied them

for in learning her craft, she was nearly exuberant
wide-eyed, full of enthusiasm for new challenges
she was overwhelmed by a sense of pride in our work
as well as the best she saw in each of us

her mood, her attitude, so absolutely infectious
it lifted us, almost if by accident, to our best selves
inspiring us to pursue the lofty goals we once had
as if all we wanted was to be how she envisioned us

her counsel, a mixture of humor and invention
could challenge our constitutional conscience
as easily as it could leave us in fits of hysteria
(but each in accord with its need at the time)

having gone as far as she can with us, she leaves
a bright light drawn to a promising future
and though we can say we helped fuel that light
in the end, it has forever altered our vision

my new courthouse: a tragic comedy*

June 25, 2017

i hope someone got kickbacks
that fraud, and graft, and guilt
at least explain to some degree
how this damn thing got built

this monument to justice
whose walkway to our courts
requires ropes and pulleys
and sherpas with supports

whose hurricane strength windows
if not some exit doors
were clearly put in backward
cause when it rains, it pours

unless, of course, there’s fire
and one should need the stairs
sadly, few have access
the rest, i guess, have prayers

they claim alarms will open
the stairs and doors now locked
but if that’s true, assailants too
can reach the folks they’ve stalked

as can the angry claimant
who’s now a demonstrator
after waiting half a day
to get an elevator

or perhaps the felon
on trial, unrestrained
who’s thinking of new ways
his goal might be attained

for nothing here is solid
the place is paper thin
the walls, the desks, the fixtures
are barely more than skin

yes, it’s green, how wonderful
to see the lights go out
when they decide you’re finished
cause you don’t jump about

now the pipes are leaking
it’s flooded down the hall
which means the mold we fled from
will catch us after all

well, at least we had some time
to draw a weary breath
before this latest screw-up
returned the threat of death

*inspired, in part, by actual events

full conviction

June 20, 2017

his is a prosecutor, the people’s lawyer
though finished with the last of his litigation
and prepared to begin a new role as judge
he leaves us no less, as we can gain no more

his voice will likely remain in these halls
cracking sharp, like the whip has been
carrying the bark of a front line soldier
as he rallied those needed to his cause

you can cue him to the star spangled banner
and he will keep in time as well as sentiment
not a word or note will feel out of place
each having been composed of full conviction

for his is that rare and unwavering belief
uncommon but simple: there is a “right”
and people of good conscience stand to it
whatever the cause, whatever the hardship

here, has been the good and willing soldier
though his salute, at times, was lacking
and he rolled his eyes at an order or two
he was first, he was always, a warrior

no battle, no foe, no odds were too great
whomever be the victim of injustice
whenever, wherever, such evil was at work
he rose, without hesitation, to meet it

often overworked, underappreciated
left to the impossible, he’d draw strength
thinking of his ‘why’, his home, his family
of fantasy drafts and children’s dance recitals

those who thought him stern or harsh
they never saw that, nor would he let them
no one needed to know why he fought
what, to him, meant more than all he had

they didn’t know, this man who sought death
saw life as the most precious of all gifts
and saw those who unjustly injured or took it
as deserving a full measure of the law’s wrath

now, his talents recognized, he moves on
his experience, its wisdom, put to fresh use
while we, as his colleagues, will miss much
the community gains, as he takes his new oath

for my friend, the Honorable Thomas Coleman