Saturday, October 24, 2009

Why God Made County Fairs

Milky night skies over the city hall lawn
Where Homer and Hannah would sit for hours
Observing passersby and each other
And the rules that are set by moms and dads.
Especially dads, for the boy could see
The man’s face in every ride attendant
As Homer and Hannah would sit for hours.

Lines snaking around corners of each booth,
Dart throw and milk bottle, ball in basket,
The marks shelling out cold, gullible cash
For their chance to prove every game a scam.
But Homer and Hannah would sit for hours
Touching hands, star-gazing, saving money .

Tunes like Stars and Stripes Forever play on
Seemingly forever from a distance;
With echoes of “sorry pal, try again”
Or, “better luck next time”, or “beat it kid”!
Charles Ives himself couldn’t have done better.
Such dissonance makes for a pleasant noise
While Homer and Hannah would sit for hours.

Twilight comes, arrayed in soft skin and gray.
Now the entertainment is nomadic,
Encircled by a crowd of eateries,
Anti-nostalgic, fast food for fast times.
You can still find Homer and Hannah there,
Sitting for hours, oblivious to change,
Monuments of love from a bygone era.

This poem is in response to the Read Write Poem prompt #98.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On the Death of My Childhood Friends

When I was 10 years old, my closest neighborhood friends died in a house fire along with their parents. There was Chris (same age as me), Kevin, and little Kimberly. It was barely comprehensible to me at that age.

I remember waking up around 2 AM to the sound of my mother weeping grievously as she sat on the floor next to my father in our living room. He was crying as well, though more contained. People were scattered in small huddles all around the dark street, and the remnants of flames came shining a few houses down from the demolished structure. As I approached the house with my parents, I first saw what I presumed to be Chris' body lying atop the gurney covered by a red sheet. In my simplest way, I said, "Goodbye, Chris." I don't suppose I fully understood the magnitude of the situation at the time, though it was certainly hard to believe that these friends of mine were all gone forever.

The day slowly began to come upon us, and we learned that the father had survived for a short while in the hospital. But he finally succumbed to 90% burns that he had sustained while trying to save his family.

Now as I write this, I am remembering the funeral service, a very sad spectacle with the five coffins lined up before a large crowd of people. And now my heart breaks again as I think of it.

I shared this story with my wife one day after having it submerged within my soul for twenty-some-odd years. Having been a believer in God since 1998, I still struggle with the the whole idea of suffering, especially of the seemingly innocent. I accept it, but I struggle with it. This was a precious family, Mormon in faith, gentle and kind in all my memories of them. Why did God let it happen? For those who cannot deny their trust in the sovereign God, this can certainly be troubling. And there are many instances of Christians having to come to terms with this issue throughout history. In fact, how many biblical accounts do we have of such unfathomable tragedies! Job is one of the first to come to mind. And his responses to the Creator's dealings with him were remarkable.

More to come in a future post...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

From the Second Shelf

He bore a hell within him which none could extinguish.
Something imperfect and malformed, lodged in the heart of being,
Occupied his thoughts more than all else, like a hallucination,
The true nature of which was not clear to him or any interpreter.
Random mental commotions of this kind are a constant agitation,
Like great waves surging in a crashing sea,
Like a thousand stallions in full gallop in the heat of battle.
May he ruminate well upon the effects of anger, how it troubles life!
Be like waved lead that has cooled and set in the smelter’s mould
To leave no rubs nor botches in the work.
This do in order to gain a clear and just idea of design and purpose.

_______________________________________________________ - Writing Prompt#97 - We are supposed to take a short written work (poem, letter, etc.) and cut it into fragments, then choose random fragments to form a new poem. My inner rebel wouldn't let me do this exactly, but I was still inspired to create this poem relying somewhat upon chance. I selected a book from my shelf and chose a line or phrase from the first page I turned to, then proceeded to do the same with several other randomly chosen books. There are a few adjustments I had to make. Maybe you know a few of these lines. In the comments section, I posted the poem again with the works cited.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


My friendly skies have left me dry again;
A cloud or two would do, but no such luck.
Upon a chance of rain I must depend.
My end would come if rainless lightning struck.
Forever it seems the wise farmer waits,
The thoughts I had of him fading from mind.
Crabgrass and broadleaf, with seducing traits,
Completely overrun me ‘til I’m blind.
These fellows make me think this is the life!
I’m under their protection. So secure
In this illusion, hidden from all strife.
But do impostors like these have the cure?
One drop is all I need, Lord, all I need.
Why stand by while withering souls still bleed?

Thursday, October 1, 2009


How the shimmering waves increase at day's end
As the sun gives one last brush over the vast deep!
Standing on the shore with a gaze of outward stretch
I contemplated that place where light and darkness meet.
Horizon its name, that immovable ancient border
Where water forms a subtle crease with evening sky.
The Light fades, and what was once clear to the eye
Becomes only a distant memory in the thick night,
Our minds engulfed in blackness, with no more
A reminder of day than a faint silver ball hovering above.

Yet the stars arrive to offer twinkling glimmers of hope,
And the children of night are still afforded a witness
That something good remains to heal their blindness.

But from the dark, none behold the line of demarcation;
None see the staggering freedom in its brilliant limitation.
The horizon is the safety net, the gradiose inheritance
Of every peril-bound soul that is brought into the Light.