This is Home

Someone wrote that water is so
important that it forms the land
where we live but seek to leave
for that very water — that im-
portant. We were thrust out
with an earth shaking quake as
determinative of the future as
original sin and with that first,
painful, necessary gasp of air to
grab our first breath we want to
turn and dive right back in —
like standing before an O’Keeffe
in Santa Fe, New Mexico then ris-
ing off the ground, hanging above
it for a pregnant moment and diving
right past and through the peduncle,
receptacle, sepal, petal, stamen,
anther, pistil, stigma, ovary, vulva,
mons veneris, labia majora, labia
minora
and plunging back into the
womb happily, giddily like a little kid
diving off the end of the dock at a
North Woods lake on a mid-August
evening and coming up snorting, spit-
ting, laughing, coughing and knowing
he is home.

A Fish Out of Water

In the Mid-South, I was an damn, urban, Yankee boy.
In the Dutch north, I was a renegade, wise-ass, half-breed Swede.
In retirement, we joined a mostly gay church
only to be told I was something they didn’t need —
it seems as an assertive, straight, alpha-male, I did annoy.
So, now on Sunday mornings, we mostly stay home.
My wife does mixed media sculptures and I write a poem.

They Still Have Something to Say

I spent some idealistic time
in the inner city
thinking I could take pity
on the poor and soon
all would be fine.

But my stay was short
and I headed to
the college scene
to cry against the war so obscene
and ponder things to sort.

So, here we are all these years later
and the more things change
the more they remain the same
goes the cliché,

and Adam, Eve, the
snake and Abel and Cain
still have something to say
about a world seemingly
gone insane.

It Ain’t So Great

My good friend Dr. Thomas Eggebeen wrote a fine piece
and posted it at his blog site about the rampant racism
found in Southern religion and politics. I wrote
the following jingle and left it as a comment at his site.
If you have time, visit Tom at http://takefiveanytime.blogspot.com.

It ain’t so great
right now up in my
great lake state.

Roads are crumblin’
and the legislature
is fumblin’

and the educators
are strugglin’
and the corporations
go a muggin’

the gullible, stumblin’
public that still
thinks it is one
misfortune away
from strikin’

it rich,
so they keep votin’
for the folks who
put them in
such an economic fix.

There’s inequality
in the cities;
the majority
black ones
are under the
governor’s thumb

and it’s still
real easy to buy
a big, bad gun.

Racial tensions
run high
and the law now
states
that public
adoption agencies
can discriminate

against those
they don’t see
as being perfectly
straight.

So, I do cringe
when thinking of
the way-down-south
Southern fear,
but I lived in
the Mid-South for
seventeen years and

in some ways
it ain’t a whole lot
better there or even
up here.

We’re Not Getting Out of Here Alive.

We’re not getting
out of here alive.
I don’t know why that truism
hit me hard —
upside the head.
Maybe it has some-
thing to do
with the Jim Harrison
poem I just read,
but I’m having difficulty
connecting mortality to porpoises
or even the purposes of porpoises
which is what the poem was
about, I think.
No, it was the one about
all the skulls, so many skulls
clattering in the wind
kind of like the heavy, ceramic
wind chime on the front porch.
It takes a pretty strong wind
off the Big Lake sweeping
down the dune
to make that half clack/half
thud sound like what I
imagine skulls
would sound like
bouncing
off each other
in the wind.

Lazarus is Home to Stay

He’s home —
continents away
from where he was,
where we are
this day.
Is he home?
Has he outlived;
have we outlived
our stay
or do we
sleep and then arise
on the third day
refreshed to the
rocky cliffs and yesterday’s
blasting waves
and start all over
again
as we start the
count down
to the day we
sweep the dirty
dust away
from the tomb?

My Feet Took Me

My feet took me across Halsted St. to
the creek in the forest preserve when
I was just a kid and I went home with
the creek as my feet.

My feet took me across the state line
to the Indiana Dunes when I was a teen
and I went home with the Big Lake as
my feet.

My feet took me to Kentucky and the
farm ponds and creeks, rivers and
lakes when I was a young adult and I
went home with ponds,

creeks, rivers and lakes as my feet.
Now my feet take me once more to the
Big Lake and rivers along the way and
I discovered I was home with feet

as creeks, ponds, rivers, lakes and the
Big Lake. My feet are swift, rippling,
still, moving, moving, moving out to the
sea where I was born and where I belong
— still.

He Sits Under the Canopy Under the Clouds

He sits under the canopy at the camp-
site on a cool, damp morning having
just returned from a somewhat painful
jog on his arthritic knee. He takes

pain pills knowing that an over-easy
egg on the rest of last night’s goulash
will be served shortly thus absorbing
some of the anti-inflammatory med-

icine. He listens to the local, classical,
music station, opens his computer and
goes online only to read of the capture
of some maniacal, twenty-one-year-

old, white guy who walked into a black
church, sat in a prayer meeting for an
hour, stated, “You rape our women; you
are taking over our country and you have

to go,” before discharging and reloading
his gun five times killing nine prayers
before walking out and driving away.
The man’s knee begins to feel better and

the radio station hosts keep kidding each
other during the spring fund drive before
playing a piece by Robert Schumann.
The news comes on with a report about

the white supremacist, lunatic’s hate crime.
A syndicated program featuring Sir Edgar
Elgar and cello concertos follows. The
sky is getting darker and it looked like

it is going to rain. The man listening to
the cello, closes the computer and is
glad for the canopy as the rain begins
to fall. Tearing, he repeats the Kyrie.

The Next Day

The next day as he finished the mystery
and after the fictional president had re-
covered his equilibrium, he looked up
again on the front porch between the
wind chimes and saw that the mourning
dove had returned to the highwire. The
bird sat content on two legs instead of
one this time as the cirrus clouds moved
eastward high above the bird. The man
closed the book’s cover and sat for a
minute with both feet planted firmly on
the front porch as the Tao Te Ching ad-
vised. He breathed deeply several times,
said goodnight to the dove on high and
retreated into the house for the evening
greeted by his wife and the Chocolate Lab.

He Looked Up

He looked up from the mystery he
was reading wherein the president
was being informed that his vice-
presidential choice had been born
in Mexico, just a few miles from the
US border but forever away from
confirmation by the senate. Need-
less to say, the fictional president
felt like a man standing on one leg
on a high-wire stretched across the
Grand Canyon. The man, listening
to the rain tap the new transparent,
polycarbonate roof on the cedar front
porch looked up between two wind
chimes fluttering in the breeze, making
beautiful music and saw a bird perched
high up on an electric wire balancing
itself quite nicely on one leg. The bird
looked up into the rain, shook the water
from its feathers and flew gracefully
down into a shrub perhaps to escape the
rain. The man had read that the Tao Te
Ching
states that it is good to keep two
feet planted squarely on the ground.
Straddling a high-wire on one leg in the
rain is only good for the birds, the man
thought, but we keep pressing our luck.