Open Minded

My friends are all open minded, 
Tolerant in every way. 
We smile and nod affirmation, 
And accept whatever we say. 

Our goal is cooperation, 
We honor diversity. 
It’s a fuzzy and warm occupation, 
Free of adversity. 

When contrary thoughts we’re discerning 
Being open is what we prefer.
The adventure is constantly learning, 
Just what we’re really not sure. 

Truth is a slithery, slimy thing. 
It always slips out of our head. 
It has a vaguely intolerant ring, 
So we think it’s better off dead. 

Thus, we have no time for elitists, 
Who think that they’ve arrived.
Bigots! Fanatics! Homophobes!
Closed-minded, self-satisfied. 

No, we’re looking for truth that’s comfortable, 
That fits like a well-worn shoe. 
We’re looking for truth that suits us, 
Whether or not it’s true! 

I Used to Love the 4th of July

I used to love the Fourth of July,
Marching bands, barbecues,
Fire in the sky,
In the days before we went to war
And so many soldiers died.
I used to love the Fourth of July.

Great grand-dads saw Korea
Grandfathers Viet Nam
Fathers fought in Babylon
Sons in Afghanistan.

Some went because of boredom.
They thought it would be cool.
Some joined to have a better life;
the chance to go to school.

They joined to stand and test their strength against the gates of hell. They joined to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

I used to love the fourth of July,
Summer days and county fairs,
Fireworks in the sky,
In the days before they went to war,
And so many people cried.
I used to love the fourth of July.

Great grand-dads saw Korea
Grandfathers Viet Nam
Fathers fought in Babylon
Sons in Afghanistan.

They went away to the Middle East
for whatever cause they gave.
Some found hate, some fought for peace,
and some slept in a grave.

Some came home and fought the war in nightmares, and despair,
And lived their lives of freedom too drunk or stoned to care.

Now, on holidays I wonder as I think of what’s been lost,
I wonder, when it’s said and done if those wars were worth the cost.
They said they were for liberty, so people could be free,
But was that the real reason back in Washington, DC?

Great grand-dads saw Korea
Grandfathers Viet Nam
Fathers fought in Babylon
Sons in Afghanistan.

I used to love the 4th of July…

Elegy for OWG

Written with TIC

I am OWG,

The oppressor.

An Old White Guy.

I have lived a life of privilege,

Which I did not earn,

And did not deserve.

I have ravaged brown races,

Demeaned and diminished women, 

Gluttonized the world.

Now the pendulum swings,

And I will pay.

Like ancient captured Kings,

Sons slaughtered before their eyes,

I will witness the cleansing of my years.

It matters not I lived without malice.

I am OWG and I must pay.


I sit, fingers arched over keyboard. He hovers at my left shoulder like a banshee.

It is the specter of Wendell Berry.

Oh, the fiendish keyboard! The thief that has stolen the tactile pleasures of page and pencil—the raper of paper. It drowns the flow of words with its infernal clacking.

Yet, I sit.

I think.

I clack.

Leave me, Wendell!. I am past hope.

Words at a Bookstore

“You have beautiful brown eyes.”

She has been staring at the air, gazing away from Sylvia Plath, a  universe on horseback.





Suddenly, he is there. Standing only for an instant. Fifties, maybe older. Wire rimmed glasses. Short-cropped beard. Brown tweed jacket and matching cap. An umbrella hanging on his arm. Carrying three books. And, as though he has noticed another title he finds intriguing — “You have beautiful brown eyes”. He continues down the row, a slender silhouette between Classic Fiction and English Essays.

Stepping left, he is gone.

She does not blush. Anyway, there was not time. ‘Beautiful brown eyes.’ Nothing suggestive. No flirtation. A statement of the facts as he saw them. The words hang in the air like the man’s scent, clean and true.

A doubtful shake of her head –almost imperceptible– she returns to Ariel.

Then, some night, standing at the car door, working the key into the lock, she glances at the black window glass. Her reflection by street light, dark but unmistakably her. In the night she remembers…

You have beautiful brown eyes. 

She settles into the seat and adjusts the mirror. She looks into her own eyes. Fiercely she decides.

She will rise.



She will become.

A brittle fall morning, she stands on the sidewalk. Concrete and steel reaching for the sky–she, tiny at its feet. Doubts flash and thunder.

She enters and finds the restroom. Standing alone by the mirror–you have beautiful brown eyes. She goes to the elevator. She rises.

Again and again, the tireless, wind-words are at her back, 



Fading — always returning.

Until, year by year, borrowed courage is bought and shelved–a well-worn companion.

She leaves the library, David Whyte in her shoulder bag.

On the sidewalk, near the book return, she passes a raggedy girl sitting cross-legged. The carboard sign reads, “Lioness in training. Anything helps.”

The brown-eyed woman pauses for an instant in front of the raggedy girl who looks up expecting treasure.

“You have beautiful blue eyes, young lioness.” And, stepping left around the corner, she is gone.

Family Pride

Woman in MirrorWe are family,

We are brethren,

Kindred in a fallen race.

Fallen from God’s gracious blessing,

Everywhere but on our face.

Proud of all our vain achievements,

Prouder of things we’ve yet to do.

Choosing to ignore our weakness,

We’d have our cake, and eat it, too.


Wretched people proud and broken,

Who will save us from this death?

Praise to Jesus, eternal Savior,

Who gives the corpse eternal breath.


Your word is truth, 

Your word is light,

Your word is Spirit,

Your word is life.

Silence is a womb into which Father implants life.

He is ever fruitful.

Hope Dies Last

Hope Dies Last






Hope is a seed laid in the ground,

A prayer for the lost until he’s found.

A yearning heart that waits at home,

A distant voice heard on the phone.

A melody in the dark of night,

A pale blue pledge of morning light.

A wisp of smoke before the flame,

A cloud that promises coming rain.


Dreams may fade,

And plans not last,

Hearts may grow weary,

But hope dies last.


(From The Butterfly and the Stone