A Tip O’ The Hat

Madman on the street, recounting
His days with the queen.
“She was just a wee lass ye know.
Won’t ye give us a kiss on the cheek?”

“The dogs, they howl so mournfully
In the garden, for they have
but a scrap to eat.”

Chewing at his fingernail, he bends
His head to the cobblestones.
Music wafts from the pub,
The tune of his life.

“Oh, I do remember the time
She said, ‘Barnaby,’ ‘Barnaby
She said, won’t ye come in here
And talk wit me? Won’t ye now?’”

“An’ I said, Aye, I will. An’ she
gave me sweets ta eat,
an’ life was good.
She gave me sweets.”

And he went about his way,
a tip of the hat to some and
to others he paid no mind.


I Will See You In My Dreams

My days are longer now,
because you’re not there.

They are lonelier now,
without you to talk to.

My hands are more idle,
without yours to hold.

My thoughts have less meaning,
without you to tell them to.

I have no direction now,
without you to come home to.

But I will see you again.
I will see you in my dreams.

There we will laugh,
and dance, and love.

There we will hold hands.
There, we will be together.

I will go on,
I will make life worth living.

But it will not be the same.
Not without you.

And I will see you again.
I will see you in my dreams.

Six Haiku

These can be read alone or together as a story.

red cardinal
against a backdrop of snow
sweet morning music

his fluttering wings
spread snow crystals through the air
the sound of warming

cardinals gather
on a branch to talk and sing
the air is music

fluffing their red wings
the color contrast of snow
and bright birds beauty

suddenly they fly
a chorus of sight and sound
leaving one red bird

he sits alone
chirping and preening he waits
for the birds return

I Am

I am the son of a man
with calloused hands,
who had dirt and grease
permanently pressed
into the lines of
his knuckles.

I am the son of a women
who worked hard all
her life, raising me
and my brother. She
worked a switchboard
and helped college
students find their way.

I am the father of
of three great kids
who I helped find
their way.

I am many things
but these, I am
most proud of.

Watching Life

I cut my finger on the
dulled and stained
edge on the blade of my
pocket knife.
The blood runs quickly,
bright red as gravity
pulls it to the white sheet
of paper that lies on the
table, dark, almost black
as it is absorbed into
the carpet beneath my feet.

Thickly flowing from my
finger, I stand mesmerized
as drops splatter on my shoe,
the carpet, and the kitchen
floor as I finally move to
the sink to let the blood
drops mix with water on
the bottom of the sink fresh
from the tap that I ran
moments before cutting myself.

The blood joins water droplets
and begins to flow toward
the drain mimicking a river
who’s water finds the easiest
path. I stand and watch as
my life seeps out through
the hole I created at the end
of my finger. Platelets rush
through my blood stream and
work to stop the flow, keep
the life inside.

And I do nothing but watch.


the day
THE day
like any other, you suppose.
It should be memorable
it should be…

You stand in line at
the grocery store

In front of you, a person
whose card won’t work.
The manager is called.
Behind you, impatient people.

Your car had ice
on the windows.
You scraped until your fingers
were frozen, and waited
in the house thinking,
someone could steal my car
running in the driveway.

The store was warm,
fogging your glasses.
Someone said hello.

The beat of your heart
in your temple as you
wonder if your card will work
as you watch the
frustration of those
in line,

with you,

We Were Good, We Were Right

Music, jagged edges, shredding sleep.
Visceral emotion, dredged up, thrown open
like a fresh wound flesh wound.

The dream, so real, slowly bleeding away
replaced with morning light, and
realization of the dream.

Scratching, stretching, remembering.
She’s still dead. In the dream
I could touch her. Hold her.

She sang. Her voice warm, and
beautiful suddenly raw with pain.
Suddenly screaming like a buzz saw.

And awake. I don’t know what that means.
Maybe nothing. Maybe just my wounded mind.
Guilt. I could have been better, loved her, more.

No. Guilt is the salt in the wound.
No guilt. No reason. I loved her all I could.
And she, me. We were good. We were right.

My Dog, Insomnia

A large orange moon hangs
above the horizon,
like nothing else does.
At 1 o’clock in the morning
I walk my dog, insomnia.

Thoughts swirl, ebb and flow
as if my mind is a
great ocean and I
on a small raft, float
upon the surface
at it’s discretion.

My dog sees something
behind us and as I turn
I see a cat following.
Dead cat walking, I think,
if it gets too close.

Geese on the water make
small disturbed noises
as we move along the path.
No people walking at this hour,
only the occasional car.

The ocean’s depths are
filled with thoughts,
I can’t remember where
I put my keys but a hot
summer day when I was
six years old fills me
me with nostalgia.

Ghosts of memory jitter
and jump like little maniacs
in a bouncy castle and I,
at 2 o’clock in the morning
write these words.

On this first day of
September the air is cool,
summer having gone
without my noticing.

Changes have come, fast
and furious like a
high speed train, each
car bringing a life changing
event. I’m getting left behind.

So I walk my dog, Insomnia.
She sniffs everything,
enjoying this new experience
in the dark while I
stumble behind her, wondering
what the hell I’m doing here.

One Tear

When my wife died
her last act upon this earth
was to shed a tear.
One lonely tear.
Because you die alone you see,
even in a room full of people.

She took her last breath
and a tear formed at
the corner of her eye.
It traced a damp path
across her cheek to
the pillow beneath her head.

I reached for it with a tissue,
dried her face and cried.
I cried for myself,
for our children and grandchildren,
and for her.
I cried for the deep dark hole
her passing would leave in our lives.

In her last days when her doctors
said there was nothing left
to do, her depression left her.
Sneaking out like a thief
with nothing left to steal.

Her spirit was radiant.
The love she had for her
family and friends
was all she had left.
And it was enough.


Searching for words, finding none,
the sound of rain on leaves, a
backdrop to memories old and dear.

The window glass is splattered
as a gentle breeze wafts
through the trees.

He stares through the window
not seeing, not understanding
her leaving.

The sound of the door closing
behind him and her image
blurred through water on glass.

When she’s gone he steps outside
lifting his face to the sky.
There is solace in the rain.


belly crawling, skin sheading,
panting after desires madmen, rule.

Sick, twisted, self-worshipping
madmen rule. Rule countries,
rule parties, rule lives.

Back biting, back stabbing,
hating, racist life sucking madmen
rule. Hey Ho I got my finger
on the button.

Mess with me pal, and that’s it
for you and your country.

No more rights for you, or you
either. No. More. ‘cause I say. I’m the
president an’ you’re not.

Toilet tweeting, look at me now
has-been ruler appeals to the
basest instincts of human nature.
Survival, grab everything you can,
to hell with everyone else.

Power and money are the twin gods,
To be worshipped above all,
Before air, food or water, before
human beings, before love.

Madmen exemplify the base instincts,
worship them as gods, made
in their own image.

Made in their own image.


silence screams for attention.
begs. pleads. cry’s.
finally it slinks off to
a corner and sulks, loudly.

silence is not happy.
silence has long boney
fingers that wrap around
your neck to cut off your words.

and then you have nothing to say
because silence is dark and the
words that do escape are swallowed
by it’s inky blackness.

like a tar pit trapping
an ancient dinosaur your words
get sucked down to rot and maybe
someday someone will find their bones.

Surreal World

So here I am in the surreal world of cancer. My earlier post let you know that my wife has cancer. When she started having symptoms and we got the diagnosis, everything changed. And I mean everything. It is amazing how this happened. She started having breathing problems. Suddenly cold air makes her cough uncontrollably. Which means if she goes outside she has to have a scarf over her mouth. Even opening the door to let the dog out means a coughing fit if she doesn’t hold her breath. And holding her breath is hard to do since she has breathing problems. She can’t work. So our income has been slashed in half. And the bills are starting to roll in. We have insurance but everything we have done so far and will do in the near future costs thousands of dollars. Chemo is expensive.

Ann has hundreds of nodules in her lungs. They impede her breathing. So basically doing anything is now a lot harder than it was. Ann has always been in pretty good shape. She had a physical job. Running up and down stairs, lift heavy stuff, monitoring a boiler, driving forklift, etc, etc. Now, talking too much can leave her winded. It’s devastating. Everything about her life has become different. She’s taking loads of medicine for coughing and pain. She is using a nebulizer. She has to write down everything she takes, every time to makes sure she doesn’t overdo any med. She can’t vacuum the carpet with getting winded. Fifty years ago she’d probably be dead in a couple months.

We have a great cancer center at our local hospital. The Virginia Piper cancer center is known around the nation for it’s top notch care. Our local affiliate is excellent with great people working there. So chemo starts next week. In the mean time we are getting used to our new life. And getting used to the idea that my wife will lose her hair. That’s a tough one. A woman’s hair is important to her. It’s part of her identity. My wife has beautiful red hair and it’s going to be awful for her to lose it. But we are at the mercy of this horrible disease. It is now running our lives. We’re grabbing hold of whatever we can control but control is an illusion. You never really have control of anything. You just never really notice until something like this happens.

But we’re doing okay. We’re in pretty good spirits and dealing with this the best we can. Ann is amazing for the resilience’s she has. Her ability to accept what’s happened and deal with it is a lesson for anyone. She makes me stronger. And I love her.

The “C” Word

About a month ago my wife starting having some health problems. After many rounds of tests and biopsies we now know that my lovely wife Annie has cancer. The “C” word. It started in her uterus and has moved into her lungs. She will start on chemotherapy next week. This is devastating to us both and for our family and friends. But we have positive thoughts about it and we’ll see it through no matter what. I have started a Go Fund Me page. Here is the link. There is also a Caring Bridge page for those that want to keep up with her progress through this ordeal. Here is the link for that. Please consider donating if you can because our medical bills will be huge and our income has been cut in half with her not working. Thank you for following my blog these past four years and thanks in advance for your positive thoughts and prayers. Please feel free to reblog this so others will see it. Thank you!