When a Reading of the Novel Might Have Sufficed, Might Have Except That….

The King of Siam laughed and said that Moses’ story
of creation was laughable. Anna acknowledged that

it was laughable when she told him that the biblical
account of creation was not a scientific account of

the creation as much as a faith testimony of an
ancient people and that science is not in competition

with faith but they are flip sides of the same coin,
supportive of each other. The king furrowed his brow

and wondered about such things as similes and metaphors.
The man read this account of the 1944 book about the

1860’s life of “Anna and the King of Siam,” and wondered
why he spent four years in pursuit of his ordination

degree and three more in pursuit of his doctorate,
when all it would have taken was a reading of the book.

The good theological doctor recalled a high school
student, a member of his first church youth group

and son of the revered town physician, asking why
the good Reverend Doctor spent so many years in

school when all that was needed was the gift of gab.
The good parson took a deep breath and admitted that

he had wondered the same thing a time or two but
then said to himself, wait a minute, it’s not that simple.

For Obvious Reasons

The man just got word that his newly minted
fifty-year-old son, an all-American athlete
in college and a long distance trail runner

was shocked to learn that he takes after
his mother, the man’s late wife who died
at forty-nine and took after her father

(the son’s grandfather) whose family all
suffered from heart disease. The son learned
that he has a partially blocked artery lead-

ing to the heart. When the man heard the
news it hit him like a fist in the solar
plexus but he kept his cool until he got

off the phone. He knew (or so he hoped)
that his super athlete (swimmer, runner,
triathlete) son would be all right with

the proper medical treatment but, still,
after the man told his wife, he sat scared
to death and cried like he hadn’t —

since his late wife died.

Steady Eddie

It has been said that poetry is basically
a work in progress and that a poem is

seldom completed until the printed word
goes to press. Perhaps, he thinks to

himself, that is why he was so attracted
to writing in that genre. He loves to play

with words, write, reflect, rewrite, excise,
add, subtract, delete, eliminate redundancy

(what?), play with rhymes, meters, free verse
and jailed (what?) all in the name of poetic

progress — better progress than regress,
better “Steady Eddie” progress than distant,

unattainable perfection. And then he
realizes that for all that, it probably has

more to do with the fact that often in his
life he has been told that he also is a

work in progress. Often, he wonders if those
were compliments (what?). Revision: like he

just did for the third time. Steady, steady,
steady as she blows, Eddie (what?).

After She Told Her Story

After she bravely told her searing story of
incurring persistent childhood sexual assault,
she stood under a waterfall in the cool, tumbl-
ing waters at the bottom of the canyon. Later,
she ascended to the top of the canyon and joined
her friends. As she stood in the bright, desert
light of day he wondered how he possibly could
stand in her shadow.

Staying Alive

We set our goal.
Our genes said, “Go slow.”
We thought we’d strive.
Our blood said, “I’ll drive.”
So we set our goal,
heeding our genes’ no.
Through arteries and veins
the blood will drive
while we’re along for the ride.
If we don’t compromise,
a crash lies ahead.
If we aren’t wise,
“You’ll be dead,”
the blood said.
It’s time to change course.
It’s time to enjoy the ride.
Living with one’s genes —
a goal for which to strive
in pursuit of staying alive.

Youth and Death’s Greedy Hands — A Lament

The poet wrote, “Death’s greedy hands,”
and for the reader it struck a note.
He thought about all human plans
and how for the young death rests remote.

It seems adolescents are never fraught
thinking death they can just ignore.
Didn’t they rise after being shot
in childhood games of war?

And so, with bravado and bluster
they move through life oblivious
to the dangers life can muster —
concerns of safety considered frivolous.

Until, as an older person laments,
Death’s greedy hands reach out
in youths’ careless moments.
Then they know and protest with shouts —

crying that life is unfair and unjust.
Sadly, coming to such a conclusion they must,

for importunely,  Death’s greedy hands are thrust.


Sunny is a single mom who works two jobs.
She loves the written word and writes poetry
and short stories. She reads her poetry at
poetry slams. Below are three of her poems
which she has kindly agreed to let me post.

The Girl in the Yellow Dress

The girl in the yellow dress
Stands and smokes her cigarettes
And she regrets
Not saying the things she feels

It is a perfect day and the way
The sun hits your face makes her want to
Say, “hey, let’s get out of here”

But out of fear
She does not
And she ought to just let it out
But she’s in doubt
Because without you
Life would be so blue
It’s true

And so

The girl in the yellow dress
Stands and smokes her cigarettes
And she regrets
Not saying the things that she feels.

Do You Love Me?

Do you love me?
Or are you afraid of being alone?

Last time I called
You didn’t pick up your phone.

And the time before that,
You spoke in a different tone.


Do you love me?
Or are you afraid of being alone?

The last time I saw you,
I felt chills in my bones.

And the time before that
Was filled with touches and moans.


Do you love me?
Or are you afraid of being alone?


I still have your pajamas,

They’re in the bottom drawer
But the funny thing is
I don’t wear them anymore.

I still have your t-shirts,

Clean and tucked away
They sit there in the darkness
They never see the light of day

I still have your sweater,

It’s hanging on the rack
It serves as a reminder
That you’re never coming back

Fraying Bootstraps

He doesn’t often use “The Woe Is Me” card,
But he could if he chose.
He could cite how life has been ever-so-hard
And enumerate vividly all his woes.

But if he tried, he would have to stop in his tracks
And think about this and that privilege.
He might try to say that the deck is stacked,
But he would be standing close to a steep edge.

Counting all the obstacles he has encountered,
He still is simply a privileged white boy
Who could be seen as a sniveling coward
Demurring that he is simply part of the hoi polloi

Who has pulled himself up by his bootstraps.
But for all his protestations, he suffers from a racist reality lapse.