The Big Picture

He was asked to consider the big
picture and as soon as he heard
the words he looked down at his
hands in his lap. He put them to-
gether and said to himself, “Here’s
the church; here’s the steeple; open
the doors and see all the people.”
He wiggled his entwined fingers,
smiled, stood and looked his boss
in the eye. His boss said, “Well?”
He said, “I think I just got the
big picture,” turned and walked

What a Lucky Dog

I was on my way to put the
Chocolate Lab in the car.

A couple was coming out of
the motel at the same time

walking an old, arthritic
Greyhound who they told me

was a rescue and had been a
champion racer. They were

on their way west to estab-
lish a practice in ortho-

pedic surgery. What a lucky
dog, I thought.

Bare With Me. NO!!! I Mean Bear With Me.


I am always in such a hurry to post a musing that, often, my editing and revising go on and on and on after the post is originally published.

Sorry to say this was especially true for The Dark Hair of Her Lover .

Someone said that writing is like carpentry. Measure twice; cut once. Actually, I agree with many writers who have said that writing is like gardening: planting, watering, tilling, weeding, arranging, rearranging and, yes, pruning.

Poetry, like life, is a work in progress, I guess.

Thanks for bearing with me.


The Dark Hair of Her Lover

The line of poetry went “…Delilah watched
the dark hair of her lover tumble….” — “dark”
being the operative word for him. It just jumped

out at him like the little, dark-haired dog of a
friend jumping on his lap, jumping down and
running all around his friend’s little apartment.

Perception is reality, right? Well, child of Scand-
inavian and Dutch parentage and child of a lily
white church upbringing, he just knew Delilah’s

lover had golden, wavy locks flowing over his
shoulders down to the middle of his fair-skinned,
muscular back. There were paintings on church

basement walls to prove it, as he remembered.
But then as he remembered, you could almost in-
terchange Samson or Solomon, for that matter,

with Sallman’s Head of Christ, Christ at Heart’s
, Christ in Gethsemane and The Lord is My Shep-
except Samson and Solomon, for that matter,

were more blond and even though Jesus seemed
softer, he had to have pretty broad shoulders
to carry all those sheep. He’d say Jesus could

have been English or German, but not Italian
or Irish. As he recalled, the hair does seem
to have that hint of red or at least auburn but

it doesn’t have the typical tight, Irish curls.
Italians are typically too dark-skinned, black-
haired even if it does flow and brown-eyed. He

remembers blue eyes; surely they had blue eyes.
Jeffrey Hunter’s Jesus had blue eyes. As a kid,
he saw blue eyes everywhere. How could he ident-

ify with a dark-haired biblical hero like
Delilah’s lover in the poem? But then again,
how could blacks and Hispanics and Asians and

Native Americans and even those of Jewish ancest-
ry, who trace their roots back to the biblical
heroes, identify with Moses as they pried

his guns from his cold, dead hands?

Sometimes With a Big Smile

His father’s business was to sell
headstones. The business was
attached to the house, so he had
a graveyard display in his back-
yard — kinda gruesome, huh?
Fifty-five years later, to convert
a lame backyard fountain into
something without water, he fill-
ed in the hole and before he knew
it he had created a grave in his
backyard. Kinda gruesome, huh?
Until his artist wife put a really
funny face on what had become
a headstone. History repeats it-
self, but, fortunately, sometimes
with a big smile.

Adventure On the High Seas

The man read the story of adventure
on the high seas. He had no idea.
The Bob Barker chased Thunder
for four months and eleven thou-
sand nautical miles through rolling,
riling, tumultuous seas in order to
save Charley Tuna from extinction.
Governments wouldn’t pay for Bob,
but for Bob Barker the price was
right along with other luminaries
of the entertainment world. Not all
have stars in Hollywood, but each
one is a star in the starry, starry
night helping to guide the idealistic
crew in hot pursuit of the fish poach-
ers who decimate the population of
big fish, particularly the valuable
“toothfish,” (Say what?), aka, Chilean
Sea Bass, a more appetizing name
for seafood loving palates. The
bandits were caught and even though
Charley may wish to be hook-
ed, he gets to swim away and survive
another day. The man can’t wait for
the movie version starring The Bob

Laughter’s Nuances

“Does anyone wish to challenge me on
that?” she asked.

The fellow across the table laughed out loud.
Was it a confident

laugh of utter derisiveness about how he
would demolish

her argument in a moment or was he being
cautious about the challenge

because he knew she was really smart and
he had to be really

smart in return or was he agreeing with her
because he thought

she was right? Or was it the nervous laugh
of someone who was

afraid of the challenge? It all comes down to
the nuance of the laugh, doesn’t it?

Spinning From Death To Life, a poem by Don Van Hoeven

Had I been there, I would be spinning also—
which I am—not as I used to do it.
I don’t know that man—

deaths makes people different –
the ones who are near
only spin and spin—

maybe even hallucinate—hear things and
talk and talk when someone
is there but not known but

thru grief’s creating—if we put a spin on this,
it is a wall, disenfranchising kind of wall—
do walls spin as they block

curative relinquishing? That is what dissed
lurkers know and feel– self-shame
as grieving is stopped

by another wall—all this because Prof Doak
knows a hell of a lot about the
dissing of bereavement—

sadly only now they tell me— he tells how
and why, like mourners, all those
addicted shame victims,

giving up their souls because of the faces
and voices spinning around them
singing, “you’re not good enough,”

over and over until they are spinning and
singing, and doing “I’m not good

surrounded by the scenes of death and
dying, and their own deep enough
bottoms their only

hope for being in the “now” where
they can be stopped and
have another tune to

sing and dance to—we listen and
it sounds like something
out of gratitude, the

music of which moves me to dance
with them, closer and become
more of who I am becoming—

I didn’t feel this until a dear man
went spinning by and shout-
ing to me telling about it all—

said he heard it on the radio, and a
little child led him to it. Who
was the little child—find one,

and it will be a light for all to see
while they spin and spin, listen
and maybe sing this song that

comes from the dead.

Written while cleaning the tank of the toilet
–Don Van Hoeven