Saturday, June 28, 2008

Corned Beef Hash

Warning: I know it seems absurd with such a title, but this post is rated PG-13 or 15 or so.

My friend David and I got so good at Taboo that we could do them all in one or two words.

David: Bubbles

Robbie: Root beer!

David: Not at a crime

Robbie: Bannister!

David: Doo doo doo

Robbie: Tchaikovsky!

We could get up to 14 or 15 in one turn. The trick was to boast about our mental connection while at the same time acting like we'd never played before. "So is this kinda like Password? We're really good at Password."

Then we'd destroy them.

There was one card that caused us particular consternation, however. It was one that read "corned beef hash." David had never tried corned beef hash, and he couldn't ever seem to get a grasp on what it was from my descriptions. "Wait, it's dog food for people? I don't get this." Every time that card came up in play, I would try to describe it, and he could never remember the name of it, and we would lose valuable time. I realized the only solution would be to expose him to the actual substance, but couldn't really see myself actually purchasing any.

Then came Youth Conference 1998, which we both attended. We did a canned food drive for the homeless as our service project. One of the bags that were left for us contained a can of precious corned beef hash! I was ecstatic. This was our chance!

When we got back to the church where our dance would be held that evening, we set down the bags we'd collected with everyone else's, but I slyly absconded with one purloined can in my hand. I walked into the alcove toward the scouting room, where my backpack was piled with fifty or so others, but the door was locked. I turned around to find some other place to stash the hash, but there were some church-lady types meeting each other in the hall by the drinking fountain, effectively cutting off my escape. If I was seen with a can right after a canned food drive, I was sure to be questioned. I don't know whether stealing a mere $1.39 can of processed meat would look like a terribly egregious sin to these ladies, but I was pretty sure that stealing ANYTHING in a church was frowned upon, and stealing from the homeless was probably reportable to the Bishop or God or worse. So I ducked through the nearest door, which happened to be the men's room, and looked around for a hiding spot. On the wall was an air-freshener. The type that sprays every fifteen minutes, but the only time you're ever in there long enough to hear it go off is when you're sitting on the pot, and so you start to wonder whether it has some sort of odor sensor on it, you know? So I was able to get the can to stay on the slanted top of that little spray thing. Feeling disaster (or at least judgment) averted, I then used the urinal, and as I was washing my hands afterward, I noticed the problem. The can was out of any normal line of sight when one was facing it, but it was clearly visible (unavoidable, even) in the mirror. I got it back down and peeked into the hall. The door to my backpack was still locked, and the ladies were still barricading the other end of the hall with their wall of gossip. I was getting desperate. I looked in the only as-yet-unexplored part of the restroom: the stall.

Then I got an idea!
An awful idea!

I took the wrapper off of the can (metal container), took the lid off of the can (toilet), and stuck the hash in the water in the back of the crapper. I would come back for it later. I can be a real genius sometimes, especially when pressed into a corner.


During the dance, I was walking by that hall to get a drink of water, when I noticed that the room with my backpack was finally open. If I was going to get to my backpack with the stolen Hormel goodness, I would need to act quickly, now, without thinking. I hastily ran into the alcove, through the bathroom door, across the few feet of beige tiles, and threw open the door to the stall, and--

--and the visual cortex of my brain fought the rest of my brain in an attempt to make me process the fat Mexican kid inside the stall had been masturbating when I first burst in, but now he was yelling at me. "What are you doing in here!?"

"What are YOU doing in here!?" I gasped. I had backed away from the stall as much as I could by this point.

"What's your problem? Why don't you knock?" he demanded.

"Why don't you lock the door?" I countered (reasonably, I maintain) "especially if you're going to be...." I fled.

I don't know how I was able to respond verbally to the boy; in my head the whole time I was just thinking, "AAAAAAAAAUHHHHHGHHHHHHH."

A few minutes later, under cover of dim lighting and whirling disco-ball stars of light, I saw el Mexicano gordo y masturbante back on the dance floor with some innocent young girl in his manos. After pointing him out to my friends, I cautiously slipped back into the bathroom, retrieved the can, and packed it away in my backpack. This time, as in all instances prior and since, I tapped politely on the stall door before entering, in order to assure myself of its vacancy.

David and I ate the hash the next morning, and David got to see just how barely tolerable, but shamefully enticing the stuff really was. And we had learned our lesson: never ever ever steal from the homeless. Bad things happen. There was, however, one wholly positive outcome of the whole ordeal....

David: Masturbating Mexican

Robbie: Corned Beef Hash!

Yeah, we were unstoppable.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


So, I transferred all my poetry over to this blog (at least, all my favorites), and I spruced them up with some pictures and all. Since this blog is really my gage to see what out of the things I've written is the most popular, please leave comments on the ones you like the best. Hopefully my voice comes through in all of them. My signature is heavy on opinions and wordplay. We'll start off with one that is sort of an experiment in sound.


My feet get all pruny, skimming just below the surface of the water,
down where the frogs and the fishies frolic,
down in the brown where they squelch around,
faintly afraid of worms and germs and
creepy crawdads in the cold murky muck,
digging for twigs and stones with my tiny toes
while water wends and slowly flows.

I rub the sweat off my brow with my hand, and see the crisscross lines from the grass,
feel the bending blades under the weight of my body
pressing my pink palms to the ground,
Hold the land in my hands, and wonder what the world is worth,
feel the beetles and roly-polies busily bustling beneath me,
My fingernails scratching into the dark mushy earth.

A mosquito hums high by my head, harmonizing with a distant beehive,
while the river rocks provide percussion,
a swallow sings solo, slowly,
and I, their unnoticed but awestruck audience,
lazily lie by my creek, listen and learn the tune
of June.

The sunshine, like drops of sweat, rolls down my crown, turning me brown,
drowning me in gold-green warmth,
as my skin and limbs try to slowly grow
in its glorious glow like the grass down below,
eyes closed, and the rosy rays radiate through my little lids,
puzzle pieces of light on my face, all around this place,
the bright summer light providing quite a nice show.

And here, behind my eyes, between these pleased ears, my fears disappear,
the stress and strain of a world gone insane,
panic and pain down the proverbial drain,
and here, in my heart, a happiness hides,
spreading spryly inside, shining childlike light right out of my eyes,
and after a while,
my blackberry-bloodied lips quiver at the tips,
and softly slip into a sweet, sticky smile.

One Morning

One Morning

I peeled the sun and took a bite
And threw us into frozen night
So we could sneak around and play
(We never could by light of day)
Through static yards and neighborhoods
And into black inviting woods.

I grabbed the clouds and pulled the drain
To let out all the drippy rain
So I could hold your hand and run
Without the awful glare of sun
Through walls of rain so shiny wet
To wash our brain so we forget.

I took a deep breath just for fun
And blew the stars out one by one
So we could lie in solid black
With only dark beneath our back
Through years of brightest pain behind
But missing all because we’re blind.

The Time I Died

She bit my knee playfully on a cloudy day, hard enough that she had to spit out a little morsel of my flesh, blood dribbling down her mischievously pleased chin, dark blackberry stain red, and her impish eyes danced from behind a wall of thick hurried air that wouldn't crumble outward into my lungs so I could scream. Her blond hair wisped in the cold caustic breeze that assaulted my face, carrying bitter flecks of ocean across the stretch of sand and seaweed where they pelted us, the strong boy with strawberry hair and a hole in his leg, and the delicate waif with razor teeth, letting warmth and crimson spread beneath her and seep down to bathe the crabs. "I love you," she whispered like Claudius' poison in my ear. I scrabbled away, bellowing at last, pulling a yell up from every part of me like a tuning fork, a yell that was swallowed by the grey sky atop his hoary oceanic sister. The girl followed me on hands and knees like a puppy, a horrible demon cur with leathery gargoyle wings that wants to be friends but can't keep its tremendous weight from squishing your brittle soul, while something about its sleek scaly elegance keeps you aroused until it kills you. I ran and ran and fell, salt in my mouth and deep into the bite in my skin, and I rolled over quickly with a look of flagrant horror on my strained face. "You are not the only victim here!" she kept shrieking through injured tears, and for a moment I dumbly wondered if the imp was telling the truth, if there were others who had fallen into her trap. Then in dizzy desperation I stood down or up or aside or some direction and grabbed for the shovel, which I would swing around and around in a fabulous arc until it connected with the side of her shallow beautiful face. But there was no shovel, only a boy in wet blue denim shorts, and a teenage demon waiting for her breasts to fill her big sister's faded floral bathing suit, and lots of sand, and maybe some soggy bits of kelp and the flaccid blanket my mother had wrapped me in when I was younger to protect me from the elements. Even my essence was being carried away into the water, leaving no way of sucking it all back inside through a straw in the sand like the way they drink coconut milk in cartoons, and no chance of getting my life back from inside her belly without risking the loss of even more. As I bent to gather up the bits of myself and try to pressure them back into place, she came upon me, descended, and devoured the rest of me whole. She returned alone along the tortuous yellow-lined road that evening with stains on the front of her hand-me-down bikini, though witnesses in the town say they saw her in the company of a muscular shirtless young man with a blank stare on his face and a strange limp.


It’s overcast
And there are children playing tetherball in the recesses of my brain,
Skinning knees and making noise.
Everyone's aware that soon:
A bell will ring,
A dog will salivate,
And recess will come to an end.

By the fence
In my mind, a creepy stinky tinker rolls his creaky clinking cart,
Feared and sneered by children
For his beard and weird appearance
At the corner of the schoolyard.
He sends an oath to heaven:
He will get them all.

Up the valley,
Beneath the thick black clouds of doubt and in the wafting smell of dairy air,
Is a factory where they make the children’s toys.
Doll makers make dollars,
Exploiting girls and boys,
Building a skyscraper to heaven
So they can put themselves in better hospitals
When they are old.

In the hospitals,
Mental patients
Welcome newbies with their open arms and wounds.
They have been (for our
Sake) forgotten,
Sleeping in their urine.
They never go outside or see the sky.
We don’t have to think about them anymore.

On the playground
Of my brain, the tetherball comes ‘round too hard and smacks a child upside his head.
He cries and lies upon the blacktop,
Looking at the distant sky,
Holding his small hands up to the swelling
Of the other children’s laughter
In his ear.

In the teacher’s lounge,
Miss Rigby sits righteously at a desk in a chamber reserved for her alone,
Sipping her virgin Bloody Mary,
Praying to the bloody Virgin Mary
That she’ll die married, not a bloody virgin,
That God will open up the heavens
And shower down the blessings of a man
And purpose for her life.

Behind the jungle gym,
Young Prometheus coldly lies on jagged rocks behind my eyes,
Yearning for the skies
Yet tied to earth
With no rhyme or reason,
For no crime or treason,
Bound for heaven for his intrinsic godhood,
Bound to earth for his weak compassion for humanity.

In the chapel,
The priest is locked in his confessional and won’t come out until he’s found the perfect prayer.
He hunts for (and preys on) words,
Prays in words,
The plays on words go on and on
And fly to God or whatever lies beyond the stratus clouds.
He’ll have to wait to see if anything comes back.

On the hill,
Burdened Atlas holds the heavens out of reach from all the rest of them,
And maybe some young Heracles
Should climb the hill and tickle him,
Let the heavens come crash down upon the wretched children
And the slinking tinker and the priest, the makers of the dolls
And the poor young tortured titan and the teacher and the patients
And the rest.

The folks are stuck to earth because the gravity of their desires and sins is just too much.
If one is ever meant to reach the sky,
He’ll have to bring the sky to him
And to the whole damned world,
Toppling gods and beating odds
And falling to the deep blue way up high.
Why then, oh why can’t I?

The bell rings.
An angel gets its wings and wings away from us.
The children will play no more
And it finally starts to rain
At the end of the recesses of my brain.


WE are the ones who storm your frabjous castles
WE are the ones who eat the last piece of your birthday cake while you float in clumsy slumber
WE are the ones who raze your village, rape your women, and sell your children
WE are the ones who grow uglier at the threat of your beauty
WE are the ones who smash your saints and relics just in case they work
WE are the ones who have no qualms about dumping you headlong into the moat you dug for us
The ones who lacerate your tongue and then kiss you with salted lips
The ones who tell everyone about your sacred dreams and the demons that haunt you by night
The ones who poison the tip of the meat thermometer before truculently thrusting it up behind your scapula
The ones who drop logs and boulders on your anointed head, and revel in it
The ones who laugh for you to hear when your perfect pink baby dies
The ones who wade through your excrement finding the filthiest jewels to send back to you in the mail
Who rap your strong knuckles with the nail-protruding end of a dusty board
Who tell you not to think that brightly yet won't let you change
Who leave bloated rat carcasses on your charming marble porch
Who sing songs that crawl into your ears and gnaw blisters onto your exquisite brain
Who pee on the floor when it's your turn for bathroom duty
Who visit you in your old age and strike you down with a misty rusty scythe
That is who we are
Do not hate us

After All We Can Do

by Elder Robbie Pierce

I had been in that hole for a very long time—
In the dark and the damp, in the cold and the slime.
The shaft was above me; I saw it quite clear,
But there’s no way I ever could reach it from here.
I could not remember the world way up there,
So I lost every hope and gave in to despair.

I knew nothing but darkness, the floor, and the wall.
Then from off in the distance I heard someone call:
“Get up! Get ready! There’s nothing the matter!
Take rocks and take sticks and build up a fine ladder!”
This was a thought that had not crossed my mind,
But I started to stack all the stones I could find.

When I ran out of stones, then old sticks were my goal,
For some way or another I’d climb from that hole.
I soon had a ladder that stood very tall,
And I thought, “I’ll soon leave this place once and for all!”
I climbed up my ladder, a difficult chore,
For from lifting those boulders, my shoulders were sore.

I climbed up the ladder, but soon had to stop,
For my ladder stopped short, some ten feet from the top.
I went back down my ladder and felt all around,
But there were no more boulders nor sticks to be found.
I sat down in the darkness and started to cry.
I’d done all I could do and I gave my best try.

But in spite of my work, in this hole I must die.
And all I could do was to sit and think, “Why?”
Was my ladder to short? Was my hole much too deep?
Then from way up on high came a voice: “Do not weep.”
And then faith, hope, and love entered into my chest
As the voice calmly told me that I'd done my best.

He said, “You have worked hard, and your labor’s been rough,
But the ladder you’ve built is at last tall enough.
So do not despair; there is reason to hope,
Just climb up your ladder; I’ll throw down my rope.”
I climbed up my ladder, then climbed up the cord.
When I got to the top of it, there stood the Lord.

I’ve never been happier; my struggle was done.
I blinked in the brightness that came from the Son.
I fell to the ground as His feet I did kiss.
I cried, “Lord, can I ever repay Thee for this?”
He looked all about. There were holes in the ground.
They had people inside, and were seen all around.

There were thousands of holes that were damp, dark and deep.
Then the Lord looked at me, and He said, “feed my sheep,”
And he went on his way to save other lost souls,
So I got right to work, calling down to the holes,
“Get up! Get ready! There is nothing the matter!
Take rocks, and take sticks, and build up a fine ladder!”

It now was my calling to spread the good word,
The most glorious message that man ever heard:
That there’s one who is coming to save one and all,
And we need to be ready when he gives the call.
He’ll pull us all out of the holes that we’re in
And save all our souls from cold death and from sin.

So do not lose faith; there is reason to hope:
Just climb up your ladder; he’ll throw down his rope.

Other Thoughts

Have to find something else to think about

That man has a hook arm

Metal, impenetrable arms

Wait—How does he pick his nose?

Dead fish in the marketplace, grey, cold, dead

Almost out of money; have to return to work soon

Razor blade, poisonous, keen

Where are my house keys!?

Okay, they're in my pocket

I can’t do this

No drinking fountain on this damned bus

Blood, worms, dust

Forever unused bottles of nail polish and perfume

Our little bridge over the Napa River going by

A stop, and there goes Captain Hook

More Mexicans get on

The barren future

Getting sleepy

My headrest is gone


Awake again

Where are we!?

Downtown, all the people, moving, unmoved

So thirsty, always now

Foamy, spongy food; all I get anymore

Is that Tina Davidson? Has she heard?

Just look away--Can she see?

Uncomfortable bench, no seatbelts

Rusted, sinking nobody

Mouth dry, needing kisses

Have to pee, have to hold it

Always, always, have to hold the liquids in

Time to clip my nails again; no reminder

Last month is swallowing me

Train of thought slipping


Quickly, anything else

Scientific advances within the last hundred years

(not ENOUGH!)

Mom's meatballs

A kitten, and fleas sucking the life out of it

Frowning Arabian crossing guard, sweaty

Should have seen the signs


A bit ill; no more corn flakes at home

Chuck's baptism, creepy, necessary?

Guy across the aisle looks like a turtle, wizened

Cracking world made of solid ice

A bell, a light, a lurch!

Now down the stairs, left, right, left

Yellowing, lumpy mayonnaise spilt on the counter last night

No one to clean it up

No one to clean it up for

Cold, insensitive smiley faces, like stars

Distorted by the atmosphere, rushing blindly past

Gamma rays on my head, hungrily biting my face and neck

Raining that day, not like today

Powdered misery, just add water

Shouldn't have eaten those microwaveable nachos for breakfast

Pushing the pavement with my feet

Should have learned to cook for myself


Have to let go

I waste too much time

What does despair taste like? Does it taste ugly?

Gouging blade in a dying wrist

Spiral checkerboard in my eyelids, hell

Here at last; the grass looks nice, green

Need to call Mom back

The empty spot of ceiling over our bed

Linoleum composure, easily wiped off

No one to clean it up for, either

How sad the caretaker woman must feel, no teeth

All her friends deep in plots against her

How do you spell resolution? How do you do it?

My shadow is being midgety right now

Falling across the erect slabs of marble

I can’t help but step on him, on you

Veins pumping black tarry sadness

Here I am, here.

Can't ever make some people happy

But I still bring flowers


I only think of you when I run out of other thoughts


A guitar strums simply somewhere out of sight,

Down in the valley this October.

We lie still atop the golden hill we’ve climbed, Jill and I,

To fetch a pail of water,

Looking down at the town below,

Only God watching us,

Looking down on us in turn.

The air is so full and crisp that you just know

That if you stuck your sweatered arms out to your sides and spun around,

You might just lift a few feet off the grass

Like a whirligig,

Then float gently back down, crisp and dried and gentle.

The sunshine comes down sideways, backlighting everything:

The purple grapevines, the dusty telephone poles,

The rusty cow-licked hair of children playing ring-around-the-rosies by the river;

Ashes, ashes,

We all fall down!

It's not exactly that there's no wind today, but

A breeze blows in from all sides at once, equally,

And cancels itself out, electricity hung like blankets to dry in the air,

Pine smoke and ashes smearing around seductively like rainbow-colored oil in a puddle.

Come; look with me at this withered, tortured tree,

Leaves the colors of brilliant mud, seemingly frozen in time here

Under cruel Medusa's stare, snakes of autumn for her hair.

Father time kindly glides by as we watch,

And a single leaf falls down, around and around

On its way to the ground and to winter and death and the natural progression of life,

Lazily, beautifully, tragically. Its life is a macrocosm of its death.

As is all of this.

As are we.

Ashes to ashes.

We all fall down.

For The Night

The jungle grows dark, and I
just lie there, pretending to sleep in
the foxhole with
your skin,
pressed against mine, struggling
to hold my breath as it gets
heavier and
heavier like a rucksack after a
full day's march. You
stir, and
I whirl
inside like I'm avoiding bullets and
dropping to the motherly ground,
exhilarated. I
sense your sleepy softness and
the hard muscle underneath, trying to
breathe you in
through the thin
patch of skin
on my elbow that
connects with your back. The crickets
grow quieter,
if there are crickets at all, afraid
like I am of waking
you and ruining my moment. I
shake, cold and rocks
and fear
are penetrating my
ribcage, but a blanket between
us would grant warmth while
rapaciously robbing me of your touch like
the naked little pickpockets in
the village. Hours
pass, and nothing moves but
my heart, and yours just
behind and the part in
my gut that must have to
hold perfectly still for me to fall asleep. Soon
the enemy is out, spying
on us with his garish
golden rays of
light pouring through the fronds and
tearing at my tired eyelids. It's
time to get up and march and
defend our country before
we are seen.

I do not fight for a nation or a people who
would not let me protect them
they knew
who I am, nor for a dream that
does not count my life
as worthy to sacrifice for it.

I fight for you, and
for the night.

You And I

You are the radiant yellow flower, sprouting suddenly in my hitherto well manicured lawn.

I am the child, exhausted and crying, holding your hand at the close of Disneyland day, whelmed by novelty and joy.

You are the centrifugal force, whirling me around so fast I think I might throw up, smearing happiness across the front of my clean white shirt.

I am Actæon, hushing my hounds and peering through the clearing at the goddess bathing in the woods, afraid you might see me.

You are the second source of light and gravity, burgeoning into the closed solar system I’ve created for myself, and exerting a new pull on all my planets.

I am the devourer, sitting at the edge of your world and drinking in the sunset until it sloshes around in my overfilled belly, groaning into the night.

You are the seasons, hitting me all at once and losing me in wonder and confusion and color and sunshine and cold, bitter, snow.

I am Argus, guarding my golden apples in my mighty tree with my hundred eyes, waiting for you to arrive with a happy story to lull me to sleep so you can pluck them all.

You are the neighbor child, coming over to draw me a pretty picture of a horsey, then putting all the crayons back in the box in the wrong order.

I am the baby, shrinking from your grasping, garish new world, trying to escape back into the comfort of the womb.

You are the moon, shining on a lake so serenely it tickles, and I want to shake your silvery beams off lest I laugh and ruin it all.

Please do not be surprised if you are left speeding alone through your flashy universe, while I walk away by myself down my solid familiar path through the dark parts of the forest.


There is a Force
That permeates the Universe
And keeps order.
We call it Gravity, though it is known by another name,
This force that keeps two heavenly bodies hurling together through the blackness of space.
And so I revolve around you, and you around me,
And both of us around the Sun,
Year after year.
They (the scientists) say
That just maybe the moon was formed from matter taken from inside the earth,
Pulled like a rib to form earth's own companion.
I do not claim that anything inside of me could have created you;
If so, that rib was my best quality before it was lifted out.
You run my tides, and guide my seasons,
And in the darkest night of winter,
After the evenings and the fall,
When the Sun has hidden his warm face,
You are the lesser light to rule my night
And keep me in your glowing embrace 'til break of day.
If we could eavesdrop on atoms,
Observe the smallest molecule of matter,
We would see that this Force runs every bit,
For deep within the sun,
Hydrogen atoms run on the same principle,
One proton and one electron, forever locked in holy orbit,
Until one bright and glorious day
When the two finally come to rest together,
Matter is transformed into pure light,
The light of the Sun, a million nuclear blasts,
Which extend out into the Universe,
Or right here to our backyard,
Falling gently on our apple tree, entering its leaves, and making it grow.
And as we watch the years go by, the moon traveling around the earth, the earth around the sun,
The snow and blossoms and fruit returning and falling away,
We remember that in such a garden, with such a fruit,
Was love first made possible on this otherwise barren rock of a planet,
Where there had been no fall, no falling at all,
And beneath such a tree, with such an apple, a man first discovered this invisible force that keeps the Universe moving around,
And keeps us together, falling into each other.
Down this gravity well, forever falling in love.


The clouds finally burst one December night with a phone call,

Lightning traveling along the wires,

Thunder awakening her where she slept,

Tossing and turning

On her flimsy wooden fishing boat,


A woman

On the other end of the line

Said he's not coming home

And in a moment the sun was gone from the sky.

Soon the storm was raging,

The depths of hell dumping down from the heights of heaven,

Her delicate head getting heavier with the weight of the cold rain,

The swells trying to toss her off kilter,

Children clinging to her thinning wet housedress,

Apostles huddling in terror,

Ghosts on the waves,

Bills in the mailbox,

No one to steer the ship.

The whole universe waiting for her to face her storm,

Grab the wheel,

Save them.

But the wheel had come loose,

The rudders were broken,

The ship could not be steered.

"I cannot even save myself!"

She yelled in her prayers at night.

"I cannot weather the storm."

She rocked herself to sleep,

Hugging the cold places on her back where his arms belonged.

The long night dragged on,

Creaking timber,

Cracks in the boards where the water was forcing itself through,

Where she couldn't keep everything together.

And in the fourth watch of the night,

Sometime in mid-January,

In the center of the pitching waves and the pitch black,

She looked out over the tumultuous sea

And faced her God.

She could barely discern his face

Through the rain and mist and darkness and distance,

But she called out to him.

"Lord, if you are there, please bid me to come to you."

And he said, "Come."

She looked around at her small house,

Two kids to a bed,

And she looked at her empty résumé,

And she looked at her empty cupboards,

And then she peered over the edge of the small boat,

And looked at the murky, stormy water,

And imagined all the eels,

And sharks,

And tentacles down in the sludge.

Finally she looked up at her Lord, who was still beckoning,

And she stepped off her porch

With her briefcase and a sack lunch,

And went to work.

She did it!

She was doing it!

She didn't need to swim.

She could walk all the way.

And she sat behind her desk,

Filing papers and earning money.

But then she knocked a stack of papers off the desktop,

And she bent to pick it up,

And she looked down,

And she saw the swirling sea,

She saw that the wind was boisterous,

That no one would ever love her,

That her children would starve

And she'd never make it on her own.

She was afraid.

She started to sink,

Up to her neck in bills,

Over her head with raising a family,

Drowning in cold turbulent loneliness.

With her last breath she gasped,

"Lord, save me!"


Jesus dived into the water,

Sank into the sadness with her,

Stretched forth his hand,

And caught her.

Wet, and shivering,

Tangled in seaweed,

He pulled her onto the boat,

Wrapped her in a towel,

And hugged her to let her know she was safe,

His arms warming her back.

He closed his eyes,

The clouds parted,

The wind ceased,

The boat stood still,

The bills were paid,

The children were fed,

And the spots of longing on her back had vanished.

When the sun came out,

Pouring golden light on the gray sea,

And she was made perfectly whole,

Jesus left her side.

She stood again,

Went to the edge of the boat,

Looked out across the gentle waves,

And whispered over her placid sea,

"Thank you, Lord, for rescuing me.

Please help me learn how to walk back to you on my own."

She got out of bed, got ready,

And went to work again

With a prayer in her heart.

A Natural Death

On the way over there

Father said something

I didn't understand

about youth

in Asia and Mother horrored at him

as though he had just said “murder”,

dropped the M-bomb

[embalm] in our happy family van.

“She had to be alive

so our son could have a chance

to meet that woman who used to sing

and make strawberry cheesecakes,”

she said,

“and besides it's just the moral thing to do,

the natural thing.”

I had no idea

until we had arrived

that we were going

to visit a woman's old srange feet;

claws, veins, and coldness;

great grey gargoyle's feet

at the end of a


of a bed.

I did not want

to touch the old strange woman attached to those feet,

yet strong adult hands

firmly pushed my narrow scapulas

and all of me

toward the alien tubes,

tubes robbing the death from her nose;

toward her eyes, eyes

like bitter cold mood rings;

toward her teeth

like a wooden chest in the attic

whose cracks have widened with time;

toward matted grey hair

[grave hair]

like frosted grass concealing warm bugs.

Mother said

she used to sing things

with a once unblistered tongue,

shout hello to her grandchildren

from her porch

with a twinkle

in her clear sapphire eyes,

but all that was here

was like some unearthed

and eroded artifact

that offered no hint as to the essence

and spirit

of the ancient civilization that had once possessed it.

Then terror and dread


as a crow's leg of a hand

appeared from under the yellowing crocheted afghan


one of the hands that mother said

used to bake strawbury

pies and roll meatballs.

It acted autonomously,

clutched and explored my shrinking face,

her skin cold like ashes

where one might expect warmth.


no, aliveness--

pulsed in and out of those tubes

to her nose and body

like thick bitter cough syrup through a straw

and then she looked

at me,

or rather something dark and outside looked at me

through my great-grandmother's eyes.

I was on display here

for a fossil to observe

like a Bizzarro museum.

My inside places got all cold and hard,

and my clothes slackened a bit.


she released me

and I backed away,


not caring if I bumped into a chair

or a stack of flowers on a TV tray,

doomed to perish

with their faded


or best those foreign metal canisters of essence

forcing aliveness into the worn

[worm] body,


from the dust of that sterile

lifeless tomb

of a

living room.

there were adult whispers then

and strained feigned faces

while I sat in the coroner

drawing shallow frowning faces in my breath

on the window,

trying to shudder off the


flakes of her skin on my young face.

Months later

they buried those feet

along with the rest of the woman

I had met that night

where a little decay

would finish making her into dirt.

Left unburied

was the part that Mother righteously said lives on,

the part that sings and makes spaghetti,

the part that sadly I had never met,

it having departed long before our delayed encounter,

her carcass having been draggled through the morals of relatives
and in the end left alone to survive.


Cut down in the forest
Only a stump remaining
Dragged back home to Mom
Lower limbs trimmed away
Propped up
Dressed nicely
For all to see
Sapped of life
Adorned with ornaments
Filled with memories
Family gathered
Gifts given
Speeches made
Tribute paid
Then dried out
Hauled out
Left on the curb
Purpose served
The War Hero

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Well, folks, it's finally here. The online version of the movie my friends and I worked so hard on last spring. Please, if you like it, link to it, e-mail people the link to it, send us feedback at The goal is to try to get a writing deal for a sitcom for the Sci-fi channel. Maybe I'm shooting too high, but we'll see where this goes. Also, if you'd like a DVD copy, we'll make you one (with extras!) for $5 once we get that system set up. Pre-order by e-mailing us a request at Hope you enjoy! Also, we loaded up a pretty big version because we didn't want to cut down very much on the video quality, so depending on your internet connection, you might need to wait for it to load a bit. You can also try them at their youtube locations here, here, and here.