I flicked

prayer out of my life

like a cigarette butt

out of a car window.



slipped through my fingers,

quiet as regret.


My inner compass went mad.


My life spun around

and landed on her.


Her body was a shoreline

curving perfectly

into the grand distance.



And I lied to her.


I became the quicksand

within myself

and couldn’t find the way out.


She wouldn’t give me

her touch,

her secrets,

her whispers at dawn,

the floor cold,

and the coffee hot.


She wouldn’t give me

the eloquence

of her form-

the unsaid

thoughts in her breath.


And I lied to her.


It was a cruel thing to say,

clearly something

that crawled out from a desperate place.


And she believed it

and wept

soft as first snowfall.


I cut her heart open

and walked away.


The eggshell crack of it

could be felt next door

where the plump mailman

left his dinner for the dog.


And I walked away.


The fizzle of unfilled space

crackled within me

and yawned for retribution.


I allowed her

to believe

the sick propaganda

of a spinning mind.


And I didn’t care.


And when finally

the truth leaked into her life,

a certain grace

bloomed like joy.


And she forgave me.


I fell to my knees

and the spinning stopped.

The earthquake power

of her forgiveness

humbled me.


and my faith

was reaffirmed

and there was something

beautiful about the way she said

she understood.








The fabric

of my inner life

became unwoven

the other night.


It had been going on for weeks

until the last string

came undone.


It started with food,

or a lack of it.

I lacked an appetite;

had an empty stomach.


Prayer became an echo

of a voice i’d forgotten-

I could summon no words

despite the beauty of autumn.


I’d sleep through the day;

the night was a jail cell.

Visions and nightmares

made the dark a living hell.


The strings I’m made of

became dangerously loose-

when I abandoned prayer,

my body abandoned me.


To the emergency room I went

my father, mother, and me-

I’m screaming in the back seat

a wretched sight to see.


Awake for 36 hours,

my legs, solid as soup.

They had to help me walk

into the emergency room-

a crying, desperate group.


There was my father,

like a giant oak tree-

he tried to put my strings together

but he lacked the needles and the mastery.


My inner life is mine

and when it’s empty it’s because of me.

The mind effects the body.

In my case, mercilessly.


My dad and I

were never so close

as when we whispered together

in the hospital room-


“You’re okay,” he said,

and I’d repeat it back to him.

The air in the room became lighter,

more breathable and thin.


I’d reach for his elbow

and it was there.

Not like in my youth

when he had his affair.


The life that he and his wife wove

was coming undone.

Still, he stood steadfast

by his possibly-dying son.


My limbs were like limbs

caught in a hurricane;

all of me was flailing

in the midst of psychic pain.


My lips forgot

how to form words-

as the rest of me

clawed upwards in the bed.


I remember hearing voices

in my head that weren’t mine.

this would happen at night;

no, not a good sign.


They were sharp and female,

barking at me.

I’d twist away from them,

but sleep was a mockery.


Back to the emergency room

and my stoic dad.

“I need your presence, not your words,”

is what I said.


I leaned on him,

his elbow a sharp pillow.

and ever so slowly

things started to mellow.


As my strings began to cross one another

into some kind of right design,

I saw my father down the hall:

head in his hands,

he couldn’t stop cryin’.


Some days later

on a ride back from maine-

I thought I’d try prayer again,

even if in vain.


And on I-95

headed south to Waltham,

I said the ‘third step prayer’

and became, again, who I am.


A soothing soft warmth

fell upon this man.

I was safe again,

In Christ I am.


He wove me in warmth

and tender bright colors-

that I would serve him

and many others.


It’s not my time yet

and I feel whole and healthy.

Please bring this peace to my father;

he may need it more than me.











The Halls



I used to visit

dusty church basements

to find the trinkets God left behind.


Like a grandmother

who hoards photographs

from the war,

I’d see things there

that no one’s seen before:


leaflets tossed out of planes,

chips once used as currency,

flags with useless sayings on the walls.


I’d sit in a chair

and listen to ghosts

tell war stories

more frightening than most.


‘A life second to none,’

is what I was promised,

if I just sifted through the basements

and stayed vigorously honest.


I can’t say it was a lie

and I can’t say it wasn’t.


When I was a child,

basements were the gathering places

of secrets and shadowy forces.

When I grew up,

they bristled with quiet joy

and a life of choices.


I learned how to give

and be accountable;

clean up my past,

and overcome the insurmountable.



the architect of my d.n.a.

revealed itself to me

In a thunderstorm of miracles

I never thought I’d see.


I was suicidal early on,

and the thoughts were restless and racing.

After two weeks of professional help,

nothing was changing.


If you believe nothing of what i’ve written

please place some stock in this-

the only thing that saved me

was a prayer that went like this:


See, I used to meditate

with a friend at night.

We’d get quiet in my car

and turn off the light.


I was suicidal and leaning toward the end

when I said these words

as I sat next to my friend.


“Christ, please remove these thoughts,”

I said with little conviction.

After ten minutes of silence

I was free from my mental affliction!


That was some 4 years ago.


That is just one account

of a gift called ‘spiritual experience’

where faith is planted in the heart

through supernatural deliverance.


I could share so many more.


I’m on so many meds now

that I don’t feel I have a place

in the basements that caressed me,

under a churches full of grace.


Here on earth

there are 12 steps to heaven;

the creaky, wooden steps

disappear into a mist after about 7.


Then it’s relying on the silence

and being guided.

I sure hope you did this

better than I did.


I want to come back

but I’m not clear on why-

For the steps

lead out of the basement,

into the world, up to the sky.








Too Good

For someone I love


He spills the marijuana onto the table

and rushes outside.

He’s been my friend for many a year,

and tonight he’s taking us on a ride.


There’s a slam beyond the door

of his disheveled trailer home.

Someone’s getting roughed up,

because they wouldn’t leave her alone.


My friend, his eyes become

a hall of ice

He’s too good for

this ghetto paradise..


there’s the empty kitchen

and the sad march of stragglers,

cackled laughter through smoke

sharp and crooked as deer antlers.


And I stand there in the hall

next to a guy wearing an old ‘Brewers’ hat-

“What the hell am I doing here,” I say.

But only God knows that.


As the fighting ends

and the smoke dissapears

I wonder how the hell

I ended up here.


All I know

is that the love

he can’t find

has changed him forever.






Eating causes pain.

screaming in the bathroom,
a burning red apple
in my intestines.

There is a desert in my body,
scorched and burning.

I walk around dry as a whisp of cloud.

I do not have cancer.

I do not have cancer.

And summer follows autumn

and all the dreams of my youth have come true.