Buford. Quiet Time. Prayers.

The spirit lays
next to the cat scratched couch.
80 pounds tipped on his side,
legs extended, paw pads pudgy.

He will shed more evidence
into the worn traffic lane
of carpet fibers.
I pray as I step over Dog.

Blood hounding me,
I wish the spirit of canine
would come and lick
my dry cracked skin.

I wouldn’t pull away
this time, but scratch
beneath his collar line.
Eyes beneath droopy lids,

contact mine to validate
we are both dog tired.
I thank God for Dog,
and we both sniff the air.


Poplars, tall slats on the edge
thank the breeze for scratching
their backs.

Their gratitude sounds like
waves curled up on the beach.
White noise for a moment
before all the colored noise begins.

I read to them poetry,
lines thrown to the wind,
caught up and carried
across the field
to the undertow.


Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There.

Stare at the ants like a slug.
Stop matching socks.
Don’t even intend to floss.
Don’t move.
Stand perfectly still
like a pillar of salt.
Mark all e-mails as read
and stand.

Set both feet
over the X marked spot.
Leave the shoe untied.
Allow your ego to try
to add height to your stature.
Think tall, stand tall,
don’t move at all.
The moss will grow on one side.

Your shadow will do the walking
under the sun,
under the sun.
It will be the long
and the short of it
under the sun.

I stood around this morning. No words. Reading was awash. Ho-hum. Ever find yourself there?

Sometimes a break is needed to review. Some breaks are planned. Some are a surprise. I am on vacation this week and part of the plan is to get more writing done. Yesterday, my wife and children took off for co-op school stuff and I stayed home to pluck away. I settled into a groove and words flowed.

I met with a writer friend for a coffee break and we filled in each other on our latest projects. We admitted to each other the emotional struggles and discouragements of writing. Encouragement also threaded into the conversation.

Then another writer friend offered some tough advice. The good kind of tough. A tough that got knocked me a bit off balance. The intent wasn‘t to knock me out or down for the count but to show me how to square my feet and stay in the fight. Writing is a fight you say? Isn’t anything which has the potential for growth a fight? Isn’t anything that adds value
to the world tested and resisted?
Stephen Pressfield in his books “The War of Art” and its sidekick book “Do The Work” he talks about resistance. Resistance comes anytime we set ourselves to a worthy task. It is subtle and sneaky. It will pull and pull until you act like an A.D.D. person on steroids. Call it the devil. Call it doubt. Call it fear. It will come up against anyone with ideas which add value to the world around them.

The poem above is a tongue-in-cheek stop-gap suggestion. The last stanza focuses on how miniscule our lives really are under the sun. If we remain perfectly still, even our shadows stroll around a bit. But weren’t we made for more?

By God’s power, grace, and design we can fight the resistance and make a difference.

Are you in the fight? What ways do you fight the “resistance?”

Without a Word. When Grief Is A Silent Embrace.

She sobbed into my chest
and loss sent an arrhythmia
I once knew.

Between beats, regrets thrummed
over the irregular thoughts.
Synapse stuttered memories.

She lost her friend without a goodbye.
My mother whispered,
“Hold her for a while.”

For Monica

Sometimes just a hug will do.

While She Was Sleeping

Her hands folded under her cheek
and covers pulled over her shoulder.
God’s grace came and lifted her away
while she was sleeping.
Such a short distance between dreams.

For Monica

A Toast to Life. When Situations Pop Up.

“Don’t move. Wait right there and when they pop up immediately slather butter on them,” I instructed Cecily a few days ago.

Butter is for melting, especially on dry toast. The butter needs to melt fast and run deep into the porous surface. This morning the butter for my toast was as hard as marble. I stood guard as the wires inside of the toaster glowed. As soon as the pieces resurrected I laid them on a plate, grabbed the stick of butter like a pencil, and rubbed the end like an eraser. The white/yellow scraps disappeared and the toast glowed all greasy. Perfecto.

Life feels like dry toast lately and the butter is frozen. Sure seems like situations are taken one crusty bite at a time and hard to swallow. In our house situations pop up like toast all the time. Often I am not there to apply the butter before the pieces cool. That’s a good thing, because I would be rubbing the frozen butter on the toast situation like a cheese grater and slivers would be everywhere. What a mess. Barbara spreads the butter while I am off working and I hear about the toast in the evening.

I am on a huge learning curve when it comes to conflict resolution or situational situations. My answer would be to avoid the stick altogether. Buy spreadable margarine for crying out loud (We only use real butter now). Or better yet, let’s have oatmeal instead.

Occasionally I engage and the butter melts and the situation is glowing like grease and easier to swallow. Most of the time Barbara is on it and her experience is evident. What I have learned can be accredited to observation and coaching from her.

The ideal would be to always have room temperature butter. Yielding yellowness on the ready to soften what pops up around here. We need a greasy grace to slather over situations.

God help us to be ready to make a toast. Cheers!

This is the way, see the melted majesty?



The Giver. A Poem.

A light breeze through the poplars whispers of a Lake Michigan shore.
Hummingbirds engaged in dog fighting over the feeder.
A lone woodpecker pokes around in the distance.
Flies hurry past sounding like Indy cars.
Crows speak in short sentences.
I breathe thankfulness.
God is a giver.


Painting by Wilfred McOstrich