Tropical penguins
Sunbathing while enjoying
Red watermelon.

(In Japan, one of the major train pass companies is called “Suica” and their mascot is a penguin. But “suika” also means watermelon in Japanese. An odd combination that creates a funny picture, don’t you think?)


As the Moss Grows

It’s a four gas station town that falls
On the border of two North-South states,
In the crook of a pale mud-brown river
Dotted by smokestacks and rotted docks.

But the trees are actually quite lovely–
A town fit for the outdoorsmen
From the belt-line of America,
Even if it doesn’t live up to “back home”.

It’s a place where the term “local”
Yields a sense of pride in community;
When not much else is strong in a place,
The people–and their bonds–tend to be.

We transients pass through on our way
To bigger cities and follow the river
To seas far over the eastern horizon,
While the locals take root and moss over.

Speak Truth in Love

This will be the third and final poem on a theme with a friend (for the time being). The theme this time is “Seeming opposites brought together”. This poem takes some liberty with that in calling “truth” and “love” opposites, though I base the idea off the fact that so many people do (incorrectly) consider them such. I will post a link to my friend’s poem here when it is published.

How can I explain this to you?
If I only knew a method of teaching
That would cause you no pain
In learning the lesson you hate.

Is there no easy discipline?
But then I see it is like the struggle
Between two foes to submission:
It is rebellion that causes anguish.

And thus put down, the rebellious
Would cry out against the injustice
Of the victors in their strength
And their unmerciful constancy.

The adage owns that truth hurts;
The truer it is, the sharper the sting.
How fit that the highest truth should
Call us to take up our cross and die!

A Bottle for Two

Continuing last week’s project of writing poetry on a theme with a friend, this poem’s theme is “Sharing Food (or drink)” and how that brings people closer together. You can find my friend’s poem here:

The makeshift wall of glass between us
Invites, rather than divides, we two
Who have joined together at table
To share a moment and intertwine.

The bottle shrinks and the glasses grow
In fullness of health and tannic vivacity;
Dry mouths are whetted for conversations
That swirl around in our decanting minds.

We pour out libations of joy and mirth
Alongside moments of sobriety and warmth,
For we know our own temperant limits,
And here we will better know one another.

Tennessee River Valley

Over the next few weeks, I will be writing poetry with a friend on similar themes. This week’s theme is “Childhood” and you can find my friend’s poem here:

I see before me, in morning light,
On the sides of Tennessee highways,
Cherished, long-forgotten memories–
Snatches of childhood adventure.

The trees of a never-ending forest
And the fields that lie just beyond
Blush with new-found coloring–
The greens and golds of first spring.

I see a young boy, scrambling ably up
Shadowful, tree-laced mountainsides,
Hands in dirt, grasping at bramble,
Pulling his way toward the hill peak.

From there, to look on his domain;
What is not his that he can see?
The world belonged to those like us:
The youthful boys who claimed it.

Far from society’s spoiling politics,
Simple nature displayed her customs,
Granted us wisdom from on high,
Revealed mysteries on breath of wind.

Such was stolen from me long ago
By a sinist’rly structured complexity;
Now I know it yet remains inside
To be revealed only in remembrance.


How many times has the thought crossed my mind?
Nonchalantly, rationally, I’ve examined the idea.
At the strangest of times, it makes an appearance,
Whenever a spare moment empties my mind.

How easy would it be to win the game here—
To say enough and to fall into lasting sleep?
But it never seems so simple as the fall itself;
There remains the afterward to think about.

There are, of course, those last few moments
Before the impact, the flash, the snap of eternity,
Wherein the mind might choose any number
Of alternate decisions, regretting the impossible.

But the aftermath of eternity
For those still stuck in time
Is what so often saves me—
To save them the trouble.

Thirty-thousand Words

Nothing demonstrates so well
The frailty of this human coil
As when floating helpless on air,
Where hundreds, thousands, feet, miles,
Lose all their relative meaning.

What action could I now take,
What word should I here speak,
That would change fate’s mind,
That might tempt her to acquiesce,
And allow a man just one day more?

One day more to say what needs
To be said to those who need
To hear one last word of parting,
For peace at heart, if nothing else;
That is all I need ask of her.

But if there be words to give,
Let these few suffice for you:
What I have not said aloud,
You have already guessed;
In your heart, you understand.