On the couch

in my mother’s home;

the phone rings,

it was late June.


The quick, deep voice

of a doctor:

“It is cancer,”

My body

sinks into the couch.


‘I’m too young,’

I kept thinking.

‘Surely it hasn’t spread,’

and this boat ain’t sinking.


The phone dropped.

The scuttling of my mother upstairs;

my father reading on the patio

as I thought of what to say.


Her sweet smile,

the smile of a loving mother,

approaches me in the living room.

How can I have the heart to tell her

that her son may soon be in a tomb?


‘it’s cancer,’ I said,

standing straight

but eyes fixed on the floor.

I broke with her

and cried for what’s in store.


‘I have to be strong for dad,’

and be the man

he always wanted me to be,

not the coward

who wants to flee.

‘I ruined his life,’

he was to say later,

in a hospital hallway:

“I ruined his life,”

after we found out it had spread.

Stage four, Inoperable,

yer gonna end up dead.


I couldn’t let him think that,

my dear father,

the man who put up with my addictions,

and suffered through my life’s disorder.


I wasn’t meant to hear

what he had said,

so I texted him soon after,

letting him know he is a great father.


‘If it could only have been me,’

cried my father

on the way back from the first cat scan.

but if it had been him,

I’d be dead already.



October is my heart


There’s something about the slant of the sun

on an autumn afternoon-

the splash of sunlight on brick

that’s here, then gone too soon.

My heart is in October

where the dying leaves spring to life

and the light feels closer to god

a certain sheen that makes things new and right.

A friend once said, “Death and beauty are dance partners.”

and October plays the violin.

the blue is bluer and the red makes me blush too.

the face of a single leaf is a song in God’s heart,

written for me, written for you.






The nature of grace

I’m being more and more convinced

that one’s inner state

has nothing to do

with one’s outer fate.


I can only explain

this run of tranquility

as a sweet gift from God-

sunlight amidst catastrophe.


I’ve been trying to figure this out-

this euphoric new freedom.

only to see the answer

scatter in the rainy season.


Sunlight splashes everywhere like a child.


I dash everywhere,

like a madman,

searching for the cause of this bliss

but every street is a near miss.


I thought I saw

a pair of gleaming green eyes

down India street

about sunrise.


’twas a hunchbacked thing,

dressed in fluffy shadow,

beckoning me on

over puddles, into the shallows,

’til the sight of my feet were gone.


My ability to live

had been greatly diminished,

but my desire to do so?

Well, I just know I ain’t finished.


It happened, somewhere these past two weeks

where a great terrible burden was lifted.

I just sorta woke up one day, free of fear-

of living, of dying, of you drawing near.


I remembered that I couldn’t remember

how to swim and my arms became jelly-

i’ve followed my hopes into the depths

only to find no answer.


My breath and my feet

have been bouncing on the street;

Oh, my breath and my feet

be pounding on the street.


The fatigue last up and left

like a dark breeze.

Now I’m wondering if i’ve been cured,

of this terrible disease.


I can see things in the clouds again.


I went hiking the other day

and I swear, the leaves whispered-

‘you’re gonna be ok,’

words from my almighty shephard





evergreen hearts

Fear beats

like the wings

of a rabid bat

in a lonely cave.


I am in that cave,

so deep i can’t see the sun;

there’s just a beating of wings

and loneliness and no fun.


I hear distant voices

calling out to me

and I want to call back

but it’s only me I can see.


The cold, dripping stalagtites

whisper of stillness and a kind of death;

if I stay here too long,

there’ll be nothing, not even breath.


This is the waiting place,

between light and dark;

one sad hallway in nature;

anything but a forested park.


It’s time to take action

and find my way back to the voices;

for therein lay life and those i love;

and evergreen hearts full of choices.



In the park

Maybe it’s because

a roomate is having me leave;

maybe it’s because the changes in my body;

in any case, there are so many words I can’t retrieve.


Like a family of fallen leaves

scattered upon the wind,

I can’t keep track of them

and find the right blend.


The leaves, they are

love letters from God

and i’m in the middle of a park

chasing after them, trying to prod.


I get a few in my arms

then the wind picks up

and the slip away

quiet as forgotten memory.


Nature is made of words,

at least, it is for me-

but they have lost all order

and scatter indiscriminately.


For now, I am in the park

trying to find my life.

All the words have been written,

but putting them together

is eating soup with a knife.