moments

February 27, 2017

drip, drop; tick, tock
as the water, as the clock
holds its petty, steady, pace
creeping, crawling, to a race

shifting, sifting, grains of sand
slipping through each aging hand
strips the soul of conscious breath
yet reveals no view of death

what’s in this; its pain, its bliss
in the thought, the choice, the kiss
if we know no youth, no prime
if we simply can’t tell time

life, so dear, of length, unclear
are your moments, as they near
touched by fate, at least in part
meant to stir the soul, the heart

so to break the will, the mind
from those best laid plans confined
from those schemes, so long conceived
so one’s dreams might be achieved

orange mice and yellow cats

February 17, 2017

orange mice and yellow cats
love poetry and wonder
and hide, outside, despite the risk
of lightning, rain, and thunder

they dance the floors of God’s good earth
beneath the stars on balance beams
furnished by their friend the moon
to spark their fancies, hopes, and dreams

and all the world remains to them
a mystery, enticing
a multi-flavored layer cake
of every type of icing

they can’t understand why some
would sacrifice what they might see
or hide, inside, within a box
to fit what others thought they’d be

i’m sad so few can see them
but gladder still, they caught your eye
for while we’re here, each glimpse of them
helps explain the reason why

the wisdom of saint valentine

February 12, 2017

love remains unqualified
unquantified, innate
beyond mere words’ capacity
to capture or relate

yet much of that which makes it so
our language can define
in terms not quite as beautiful
but equally divine

in part, it’s simply passion
the first of nature’s fire
the spark, both brief and blinding
which draws us to desire

it’s promise, it’s a confidence
a faith as lit as lust
its bond, at times unspoken
an absolute, a trust

and with it, understanding
a knowledge of the soul
the best, the worst, the everything
that makes the other whole

but none is more important
in practice or effect
than holding, with that knowledge
a loved one in respect

for in this form of reverence
we’re lifted and restrained
whatever weighs upon us
when life feels too constrained

this saint, this day, they’re offered
to celebrate that truth
the heart, so freely given
and through it, endless youth

all i’ll say i missed

January 20, 2017

if i’m to leave this world
to die before the spring
say i left it happy
except for just one thing

for all i dreamed, i chased
with many prizes won
and barely a regret
to any cause begun

no failure did i know
no pain, no true remorse
as great as might have been
had i not stayed my course

but time, he sets his limits
and some things i won’t see
and others, by his hand
quite simply cannot be

among them, you and i
the moment we first kissed
which, given how i lived
is all i’ll say i missed

a dancer’s resolution

December 31, 2016

i used to love to dance
to move across the floor
and take the willing hand
of one unknown before

there’s something life-affirming
in reaching out to share
to steady, to encourage
a step, a move, a dare

somewhere in those moments
i felt the clock stand still
as if, for just a second
it bent to serve my will

but now, it’s new year’s eve
and time has fled so fast
without this precious gift
that used to make it last

so somehow i will manage
despite my circumstance
to capture time this year
by taking him to dance

it

December 27, 2016

i had it once
but let it go
to dream, to chase
youth’s quid pro quo

it reappeared
a time or two
but older then
i’d work to do

and as approached
my middle years
while conquering
my greatest fears

came face to face
with it once more
yet let it pass
as if unsure

till age arrived
to find me scared
of feelings held
but undeclared

which, withered now
reveal a cost
beyond the prize
of any lost

as i grieve not
for what was then
but dread, instead
it comes again

santa, accused, responds…

December 22, 2016

cease and desist, dear madam
from these false things you say
your wicked accusations
a thoughtless zeal display

though true, i enter houses
amid the dark of night
even scrooge withdrew his charge
upon last christmas’ light

and not an elf would whisper
they’ve ever been mistreated
let alone deprived of goods
or by my check been cheated

i never did withhold my name
all decent people know
exactly who, and what, i am
and when, and where, i go

the cookies you allege i stole
were offerings to me
left by grateful, loving souls
for gifts beneath each tree

the egg nog had no alcohol
no accidents occurred
the reindeer fly, so i don’t ‘drive’
your claims are just absurd

but most offensive of them all
is lewdness in my work
i don’t jingle my own bells
i never even twerk

i suggest you start anew
review your ‘so called’ proof
unless, of course, these charges brought
were meant as just a spoof

holiday spirit, unmasked

December 16, 2016

there is something of true spirit here
a feeling so ever present and presumed
it is barely acknowledged in these halls and offices
amidst the walls and doors of decoration

if overshadowed by our festive exhibition
it is at least noticeable today
rather than completely hidden and ignored
behind well-worn masks of stress and frustration

for today, the masks of those who labor here
lifted by a generosity for each other
and genuine concern for those less fortunate
fade, if only briefly, to reveal the best of us

not the power or entitlement of office
not the strength of our resolve or commitment
nor fearlessness, bravado, or ambition
instead, unmasked, just people, overwhelmed

people facing challenges beyond their ken
asked, time and again, to do the impossible
frequently unaware of its unattainable nature
quietly doubting ourselves and our abilities

under conditions which breed constant anxiety
we summon from ourselves what we must
to make an otherwise doomed enterprise
succeed beyond any reasoned expectation

some so motivated to serve, to render aid
they can look past fear and confusion
to stand up for those who have been wronged
oblivious to the strength of their own character

oblivious to the spirit they embody
individually and collectively
the spirit of ultimate giving, of one’s self
even as they struggle and occasionally fail

it is this, rather than snowmen and menorahs
that truly adorn this place with the soul of the holidays
though the reams of pretty paper have their place
if only to open our hearts to the greatness therein

cubs win!

November 3, 2016

the curse is finally over
the billy goat’s gone down
the cubs have won the series
and taken baseball’s crown

a century of heartbreak
has ended overnight
bringing to chicago
a timeless sweet delight

but second city’s conquest
does more than end a drought
it revives some promises
whose terms have come about

what was that you said you’d do
when chi-town wins it all?
i’m glad i kept your number
and ready to play ball

thank you theo, thank you joe
thank you cubbies, to a man
thank you for the title won
from a truly grateful fan

what the courthouse might think…*

October 28, 2016

i am but a courthouse
a building, nothing more
my worth is but the promise
of justice through my door

so long as she remains
her scales and faith intact
no error, wrong, or scandal
can from my worth detract

though she has suffered some
in misdeeds through the years
she’s worn her blindfold proudly
and veiled few bitter tears

but blindfolds can’t hide mold
or smells that choke your breath
or cancer-causing agents
that spread from life to death

and she’s coughing now
so loud i start to shake
as if there’s little more
than she or i can take

it’s sad, if what i’ve done
if all that i could do
to warn of her demise
was take a life or two

still no one truly listens
they simply say, ‘hold on’
unaware that they, like her
might very soon be gone

*the opinion of a fearful building