A Modest Request

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A Modest Request

When I grow old and weary, 
legs all atremble,
unable to walk far, 

and my garden—

the delightful colors, 
the delicate shapes, 
the delicious scents,

when my garden— 

eyes weak and bleary,
too distant to see,

then please, 
if you will, 

bring my garden to me.


Unmerited Finery

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Unmerited Finery

She said, "Open wide."
I did.
She said, “Close down.”
I did.

Even though I'm barely
a commoner,

much more the 
or serf,

she treated me as


placing a crown on
an exhausted molar.

"Thank you," I said, 

and hurried home

Buckinghorse Palace


I be found out.


Hot Stuff

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Hot Stuff

Whenever my
ego fluffs up
gets in the way


I use a small i
to help
remember me

how little i know


auto mechanics,
pie crust,

and especially

the unfathomable riddle called


Then things even out
real fast.


Gunslinger 101

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Gunslinger 101

Gunslinger 101

Recent school shootings
have prompted some 
otherwise, normal citizens 

to urge school officials  
to encourage and force
classroom teachers

to arm themselves 
and bravely
defend their students. 

Imagine this—

a maniacal gunman, 
shielded behind a wriggling
armful of 15- year-old Jennifer,
reduces the blackboard
to shredded chips 
of powdered rubble

with his AK47 killing machine.

Meanwhile, the teacher 
patiently waits to get 
a clear shot off

at the shooter’s forehead, 
just above Jennifer’s shoulder,
without grazing her ear, 

so that the intruder might
experience firsthand 
the finality of death.

Despite the teacher’s lack 
of Seal Team training,
of marksmanship, 
or warfare in general,

he stands firm amidst chaos,
and the shrieks of terror,  
not daring to seek shelter 
for fear the shooter might 
touch Jennifer improperly.

His best option seems 
to be to let the crazed gunman
blaze through endless rounds 
of ammo,

until the local Swat Team 
can swoop in, 
arrest the shooter,
rescue Jennifer, 
and answer questions 

much later.


Unanswered Prayer

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Unanswered Prayer

When I was a boy Mother insisted I attend church each Sunday, 
though she never stepped through the door. 

I occupied a pew beside my sisters, and thought about rocks, 
fishing, and just about anything else but our Lord and Savior. 

One fine morn there was a special feature—a woman came 
to play glorious music on her harp for all to hear. 

Wait a minute, I prayed. Harp is a light Irish beer, and I'd 
sooner have a glass of it than her and that danged harp.


A Boy, Once More

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A Boy, Once More

At a lake or pond, 
A lovely scene, 
I should like to be a boy, 
Turned fifteen. 

A boy, Once More, 
Young arm a rifle,
Worries and cares
Not even a trifle. 

Flat missiles at hand,
Smooth to the touch, 
Mined from the land,
Stones and such.
And play,
Once More,
For old time sakes, 
Oh, Once More,

Whatever it takes,
To play,
Once More, 
At Ducks and Drakes. 


Learning In Transit

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Learning In Transit

The mountains are so huge, grandfather. Is there anything bigger?
The snow, lad, the snow. It covers the mountains.
The snow is so huge, grandfather. Is there anything bigger?
The sky, lad, the sky.
The sky is so huge, grandfather. Is there anything bigger?
Your Mother's love, lad, your Mother's love.
Her love is so huge, grandfather. Is there anything bigger?
No, lad, there is nothing bigger than a Mother's love for her children.


The Handshake

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The Handshake

Can you see a narrow path, just wide enough for one
where two men chanced upon each other a long time ago?
In the morning glory, witnessed by a watchful sun—
did they stop and stare and wonder, friend or foe?

Can you hear the roaring silence of unbridled fear
louder than the wails of most destructive storm?
When men came face-to-face, blood pounding in the ear—
Eyes wild for escape, sensing death’s true form? 
Can you feel the breath of danger cold upon your face,
and hair upon your neck bristling to attention?
Were two molded statues, crafted from God’s race—
rooted as the oak or maple, actions still undone?   

Can you see the younger of the two, stalwart as could be, 
his empty palms extended, no killing blade secret there?
Was hatred harbored in his heart, more difficult to see—
or reflected in his eyes as youthful courage rare? 

Can you hear the other man, older yes, and tall and lean,
notch mute arrow and string his deadly bow?
Was language infant then, the world still raw and mean—
that no words passed between them, oh so long ago?

Can you feel a seething warmth lick across your skin, 
a glistening swath where death simmers hot and near?
Were words so few that mere actions cradled sin—
and in your throat you stifle the choking grip of fear?

Can you see a selfish path where brave men often kill,
and must in desperate haste decide another’s fate?
Do you see a fiery blacksmith’s forge, hearts upon the anvil—
shaping threatened lives, facing heaven’s yawning gate?

Can you feel survival’s strain amid death’s insistent call,
when the one with most to lose, smiled and stepped aside?
Can you feel the forest’s breath release a sigh for all—  
where two men chose civility over instinct to abide? 

Can you see a narrow path where many came to walk,
and a pleasant widening grew, and many paused to talk?
Where empty hands were grasped to show no harm was meant—
and where a wordless truce between two men was heaven sent?



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There was a time,
Once upon,


Men lifted the hood
Of their car
With confidence,
Rag and wrench in hand

To diagnose and
Repair the machinery
Found there.

And a similar time,
Once upon,


Opened recipe books
With happy hearts,
Measuring cups in hand

To create something
Delicious of simple

Electronics and takeout  
have fixed all that nonsense.