Grateful Indecisions

I would like to believe in this,

yet, someone told me not so long ago …

in an afterthought I decided,

a different direction might perhaps show

how silly ridiculous indecision can be,

when allowed to fester in the mind of our soul.


There is a question of what is right, perhaps what’s wrong,

and then you look me in the eye and tell me again,

I’d simply forgotten is all,

call it human frailty,

and I do walk away self-righteous and proud,

though the cumbersome matter remains our reality.


I listen in earnest to the politic of a poignant idea

and wonder in quiet if when I react,

will I be lauded for agreement or crucified a vixen

of change,

that purveyor of an indecent load of scrutiny,

suggested upon those now with the authority.


I suppose I’ll rather than dwell upon that which has occurred,

might we begin to unravel bindings hold fast passionate Grace.


If I Sleep, I Lose

Have you the courage

to join in the fight,

to step through the mire of second-guessing

peer pressures that though you defined them way back

in sixth grade,

the pressure remains,

I still have to ask you for my approval,

well maybe not with words,

but oh my,

those looks

when controversy knocks on our door,

and you know I love a good moment,

not to help etch in the marble on my plaque,

though it seems sometimes that is the case,

lately I’ve changed,

lately I’ve managed to rearrange,

lately though the hours continue by,

I seemingly cannot seem to stand by and watch the world,

the continual process of mechanization

seems to define our lives.

Lately I only want to figure out a way

to help the remaining hours go away,

then be reminded again.

We already know it exists, I mean,

look at your neighbor,

he hates your guts you know,

can’t you feel that?

Well perhaps there is an occasional

missed opportunity.

I just feel this sense of want,

this need,

I have to go on,

I want to continue forward,

will you join me,

they’ll all follow us I’m sure.

We do recognize there is a pattern here.

In Altering Minds

We do have the power,
though seldom conscious,
how we got there,
how it is we feel to know,
to want,
to take to forget the give
only rely upon the afterthought of
deciding upon
why it
we do choose to allow our lives
the avenue of hurt
found after words,
after the party ends.

After the party ends,
where do the noisemakers
decide to hide themselves,
where might they lend a hand to the power
of a lie.

After the party,
can she still remember why,
even if in his face the feigned cry
of compassion is a practiced
evil lie.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

It’s 4AM, I’m about to wake up and begin the festivities of celebrating Thanksgiving in our home tonight. The fact that I am up all night reminds me of the countless Thanksgiving dinners I celebrated with my family in Duluth and Minneapolis or the Twin Cities and Wausau or Milwaukee as a kid. I was always so wound up the night before I never slept, and couldn’t wait to see all of our relatives.

I’ve been trying to figure out all day long a good solid Thanksgiving message to post in another of my vain attempts to feel like I could put words together that might help everyone resonate in a positive manner on this day of intensely emotional celebration. I’ve had a lot on my mind these past few weeks, being a teacher, and watching our country adjust to the next passage of time we will all endure after such a historic election process. I suppose it is even more ironic that today we celebrate Thanksgiving so close to a period of life in our society more divisive than I can ever remember.

So as I try to figure out the right words, it suddenly dawns on me that the answer has already been presented. Instead of focusing on that derision, that upsetting of the cart, the seemingly odd reality of who we are as a nation, perhaps it is time to be thankful that we can all still rally together as a family of unifying spirits, far and away much stronger than the ability to allow separatism to define who we are today.

I hope we can wake up and find happiness with our loves and our family and memory and spiritual foundation that allow us to live our lives with purpose and integrity. I hope we can look at our neighbors and recognize the simple beauty that is truth far before the ugliness of fear and ignorance that seems to dissuade our society from understanding the magic of believing in the strength in numbers versus the isolation of single-minded self-servitude.

Let’s celebrate our love and make every effort toward putting that energy together in a manner that may help all of us grow and move forward. Let’s recall the people without the privilege our lives seem to be granted and reach out to offer their needs an olive branch of hope and prayer, forgiveness and support.

Let’s all celebrate Thanksgiving together. This could be our truly embraceable America if we begin to believe outside of ourselves..

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

This Wintry Mix


I called you up the other day,

to ask again about the way,

we all went forward

a fleet of love heading his day.

There were trees along the avenue,

laden with snow, heavy waves somber

all leading the way to his final stay.


There is a true relief in knowing surreal,

when we cannot put our arms around real

we instead will gaze ahead,

to memorize the moments when we

could know the love we share is a forever

seam, not certain of any impulsive end

for we are all cry quiet nostalgic dreams of love.


I remember that day like it was yesterday,

and this morning when along my way,

I looked in the skies to see the new melt

the trees bending to speak how sweet the way

we can recall our only chance to say good bye,

it was that bittersweet close to a chapter

His living flesh that now  each day we celebrate.


It is that wintry mix,

the trees a fresh pass of summer’s end,

when the chill of our own reality,

would sudden become the thrill of knowing

he was and is and always will be here nearby

no matter the frailty of a moment’s recall,

we love solemn sound we hear we feel each day.


And in our hearts we will sing again today,

to know this young man, this Billy is today.

When Sleeps Stands By

I look across the room,

the shelves, a hanging painting, portraits,

original works,

there are pieces of furniture

design who we are, at least,

they suggest us, indicate we are here,

and I come to the conclusion this room defines me.

I ask why a lot, what is it that matters,

I ask these questions especially nights like this,

when I am unable to move, to respond,

to recognize that this identity of mine cannot be

a generalized reality.

I look across the room and wonder what my life might be like,

if none of this were here,

the coffee table with select magazines,

the creme colored furniture that has comfort and style,

all of these items have become part of who I am,

and then I pause,

I recognize, it’s not just me,

but everyone,

we all created this world together.

Yet, I’m stunned when I come to that conclusion,

that place where I often feel compelled to suggest,

I don’t know how any of this defines me.

I Turned Off The News


Yesterday, I made a conscious decision to turn off the news. Having watched the now ‘idle’ banter of prognosticators and candidates for the last year, the outcome in hand, I wasn’t excited about hearing any theory, any ‘told you so’ antics, or any patronage from the winning side of an ugly defeat. I told all my classes I was only going to listen to whales singing in the ocean in some New Age melody all week while I gathered my thoughts and wrapped my head around this bizarre political future of our country.

The night did not allow me to completely escape my thoughts though, and the sounds of our immensely serene mammals in the deep blue didn’t contain me as long as I’d hoped. I still felt this urgency to know, to wonder, to speculate just how we had come to the conclusion we had as a voting nation. That answer still evades me this morning; however, what I did see was the peaceful protests throughout the country with our new candidate. The protests hearkened me back to a different time in my life.

I remember in the  60’s seeing pictures of the Vietnam war protests. In a child’s eyes, these were real, these were pleading students and family and friends and co-workers all banding together to make a statement, the riots that would follow later with the civil rights protests, the ever changing climate of our nation. I recall watching all of this through the eyes of my older siblings. To me, these were powerful statements of change and I was a fortunate witness to democracy at its finest – freedom of speech, the right to protest, the right to have a valued opinion. Certainly with that came tragedy, the loss of remarkable leaders from Malcolm X to MLK Jr, to RFK, to so many more names that are part of that tumultuous history. I remember Kent State and wondering how it was, as a ten year old, that our nation could be so angry within our own borders, while thousands were dying in a fruitless war across the world.

We had no advantage of social media to give us instant results. We counted upon Walter Cronkite, ‘and that’s the way it is’ and followed with tears the scroll of lost names in Vietnam on that day, that was the immediacy of our connection to the world around us. The silent protest in our minds became the visible chants outside the White House gates as the protesters ramped up the pressure on LBJ to get our boys out of Vietnam – “Hey Hey LBJ, How many kids did you kill today?” followed years later by Richard Nixon and the ‘tricky dick’ accusations of secrecy and fraud that destroyed his presidency. Back then people were vocal, and as a kid, I watched as it seemed there were good reasons to fight for what we all believed was right.

In that different time, when race and equality were still on the mind of everyone, people began to fight together, and I watched secular groups like the KKK become less severe and threatening as our nation could recognize a holistic approach to life. In the 70’s books were written about ‘The Melting Pot’ a nation burgeoning with immigration becoming one, learning to live with one another and respect each other. Racism and prejudice still existed, but there was this seeming progression, this appearance of ‘love and respect’ that started to gain footing on so many levels. With the onset of so many different cultural mores we began to see a change in the landscape of our society.

The idea of ‘The Melting Pot’ has evolved today into more of a ‘mosaic’ as we gradually become aware of the value of culture, the beauty and elegance that each person in the frame of their own unique heritage brings to our American canvas. We have tried to take the time to appreciate those differences rather than destroy their integrity while lost in our own self-driven egocentric ideals. As a child I was motivated by a naive innocence to appreciate those pieces of our life that I could witness growing up. I wonder about the children of today, and how their exposure has perhaps changed, impacted, or effected their own perception of a modern, electronically driven society around them.

I wonder about the news, and what it is the media will find important as we now walk beyond the unprecedented electoral process that has for some turned their world upside down, and for others provided a voice of indiscriminate reaction that though maybe quieted in years past with active reasoning, today is suddenly harsh and overt and frightening. We live in a democratic society, so there can be no argument to suggest one person’s right to opinion ought be considered better than another’s; however, there is an element of respect and integrity that right now seems surely to hang in the balance.

So, as I observe our new style of protest in American society, just beyond a full day of electing a controversial candidate to the POTUS, I wonder about purpose, timing and decorum. Is protesting today that valuable in a time when we have already made a decision we cannot turn back on? For some, certainly that is the motivation for hitting the concrete, but for others I wonder if we have newer challenges ahead that can capture or channel our idealism. A friend of mine recently posted there is no more time for tolerance through the ideals of love and compassion, in his words, we need to ‘stand up RIGHT now.” I cannot argue with his passion, but I still do wonder about timing.

Perhaps our protest begins in six months, then we have seen a pattern to create a need for public awareness and change. Perhaps today we need to pay closer attention to the immediacy of our national decision, and recognize the hurt, the elation, the brusque reality of our choices demand a closer eye than simply arousing a formulated statement of disagreement.

Perhaps we do still count on ourselves as being the change we desire in the world around us. Ask a friend, see if they and another, and a friend of their own, a family member, a co-worker might join each other and together determine a time, quite likely in the near future to make a stronger more relevant statement, together.

Perhaps we might leave the news off for a few more days, and pay attention to our immediate surroundings.