Such Were We



we ate
the apple

we divided
the land

we carried

we sailed
the seas

we shot
the cannon

we split
the atom

we ate




such were we

Don’t Forget to Breathe


Train for the end. To finish it. To win. With respect. Enter with a bow. Eyes always forward. To be aware of each moment. Train for the other side. Take your opponents position. And if you lose the battle, you will have won the war. You will be a ronin ready for, service. To meet your new master.

Train to serve yourself. To master your mind and body. To outlive any prognosis. To be more than any disease. To feel the power of the Tao in the breeze. As you practice striking knees by striking trees. As you feel the earth move beneath you. Control emotion through jogging and breathing. Lifting and pressing. Don’t forget to breathe, fully.

Train because you have to. Because you are alive. Because you survived, when so many didn’t. To run with the fallen. Listen as they whisper. Feel the presence of your ancestors. Singing running cadences of all platoons. Who have fought, in any war. Train for those who didn’t come back. If only a dream, dream it for them.

‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season
to go to funerals
to get bad news
to smile and comfort
when others are down

to remember the fallen
to hope for the best
when you get tested
for disease and illness

is it growing or not
is it localized
can it be stopped
what treatment to take

‘Tis the Season
to pray for loved ones
to ask for miracles
to pray for peace
in our bodies and abroad

to choose treatments
surgery, radiation, chemo
to do CPR on loved ones
whose hearts have stopped

to make last choices
burial or cremation
flower arrangements
for obituaries to be written

‘Tis the Season
for so many to pass
to celebrate the birth
as we bury our dead
as we grow older

through the hour glass
life disappears
is precious
is memories
is for second chances to be had


A Father’s Shadow


My friends, this is only the beginning of a new way of thinking. Each blinking day, a blessing. As we live. As we die. As we watch our friends and family paralyzed by loss.

Two of my good friends buried their father’s today. The same day. Our friendship’s cosmically connected by a meeting of their parents so many decades ago. Those photo albums from the seventies stuffed and stacked away. Now digital photos to be thumbed through not touched. Not held. Not framed. My mother reminded me I will wake up tomorrow and remember that eleven years ago to the day, my own father died and how I reacted. How his loss brought me to my wife. Creating my own family.

When I heard the news. How far off. On the other side of the world, when I received the call. “Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God,” was all I could say. “Father, How I miss you.” How I think of you when I work out and try to live up to the tall shadow you still cast. How I hit that heavy bag and pretend to be a champ. How I bob and weave. Pretending I am defending my family. Genetically connected to you. I try to feel how you must have felt. To be the champ in all sports. To tower among men. To be respected by your fists, strength, quickness and even more by your gentle kindness.

I think of the war you survived. Once a Marine always a Marine. How could I ever know what that means. How could I understand the loss you must have felt by surviving the Korean war. The Frozen Chosen at Chosin Reservoir. Retreating. Bodies stacked six high as hard as unbroken bags of ice.

I think of your shadow and how I never will measure up. Never. And maybe that is why I began to quit. Quit karate. Quit football. Quit the Army. Quit grad school. Quit coaching soccer. Who could coach better than you. I can see you running 150 kids through weekly basketball drills from age six to sixteen like you are controlling them with a gaming joystick. Like it is digital. When coaches and kids were physical.

At your funeral I remember, 400 people coming to wish you on. To the other side. Where your heart of gold would work. Would be strong and not fail you. Would last as long as your legs wished to ever bike or run. I remember fifty year old men, who were boys when you coached them football, baseball, soccer, (what did you not coach) crying about you. I could see you cast the same shadow into them too. How you coached them. Coaching was your ministry. Your lesson was to never give up. That was your second golden rule you. How you coached it, not by shouting but through showing. What have I learned. I am a mix of you. And there is no shame in quitting. I can give up on what does not work into my path. Like your Marines whose path did not lead to China.

For all our lives are different and my gifts have never been my physicality. My fight is with no one but my disease. I seek not to punctuate masculinity. And now, only in retrospect, I know a son paints his own path and his own destiny. If only we took that last trip to Cali. I told you,”No, I didn’t need you, I could make it.” Daddy, I did. I made it there and back and I missed you all the way.

Suburban Howl


Cut out and pasted on my wall
my children captured it all.
One deep and primitive howl.
Do you feel it now.

This image protects me
As I vibrate in
the here and now.
Keep digging.
Keep seeking.
Training to control my growl.

The wolf, a symbol
of all that is free and wild.
A territory without fences.
As a pack we hunt
all that can’t be contained.

The wolf is inside my girls.
Its spirit controls our pack.
Has me preparing for war
through finding peace.
As my wife makes our den warm.
As our girls snip
at each other’s heals
over toys that could be bones.

Through the suburbs we roamed.
We found a place to
to grow together
plant a garden
to make a home.

A Billion Earths


planet killers
we drifted on
found more earths
to leach from

our bodies weak
we began to tweak
any atmosphere
for our bones and lungs

for our needs
are one
death and cancer
to all nature
under any sun

seeding the clouds
carving the land
building cities high
always to expand

war and genocide

odds a million
to one
a billion earths
to kill from

space our laboratory
always destroying
always hoping
to survive just one rerun

A Moment of Zen


Little chicks in the back of the van strapped in, to their safety seats chirp and yell and slam ideas around in pretend worlds as their parent’s dodge frequency ranges equal to any weapon of sound.

Try not to be alarmed. This is them being happy. This is playtime. Role playing. These are screams of joy being allowed to explore on road trips short or long.

I now put on earphones and embrace the ride as the these sounds pierce ear drums unaccustomed. Not capable. Too sensitive.

Yesterday, I would try and correct the uncorrectable. This sharpened spear of chirp pierced all brain matter. Killing any possible moment of zen.

That was then, now with earphones plugged in, volume high, I am letting it go, allowing their voices to harmonize with the world I helped create. For little chicks need to chirp and don’t mean to hurt, anyone.

The Sensitive


the sensitive
can’t watch video
can’t eat red dye
can’t be touched
can’t focus on anything
as peanuts kill
a new generation is
living inside a bubble
inside a spectrum
being removed from class
being home schooled

get them tested now
before they are held back
because they could not attack
ten plus ten plus three
because they’d rather move
rather walk across the moon

the sensitive are being born
not able to cope
not able to relate
not able to escape
a world they do not accept
that tries to accept them

as we sit them in front of screens
as we watch their screams
as their fits turn into fights
as their sleep is disrupted
by fear and pain
they enter our beds again

don’t let them go
hold them tight
for they are our future
hold them close
until they know
we accept them fully
with empathy
with open hearts
for all their emotions

in a new world
too much
too much
poisoned food
that a generation was fed
and has born anew
a generation inside
the spectrum grew
with all its color
reflects like a mirror
at me and you

Without Form


Form with no form
is the way
the path
water flows
over land
destroying buildings
carving mountain rock
Grand Canyon

Form with no form
is a chord
is a note
practiced for decades
turned into jazz
embodied in masters
playing pure spirit
Miles Davis

Form with no form
is science
is math
is technique
coming together
to bend space time
to visualize riding
a beam of light

Form with no form
is the everything
is the nothing
the frequency we tap
being led as our
thoughts merge
and collide
through words


Casting Spells

I quit watching the news
but it continues to seep
into my consciousness
like a virus getting a grip
it makes my stomach sick

I often found myself
rushing to stand
between the television
and my children
as the newscaster cast
spells of
school shootings
mass graves,
of water logged
dead bodies
hanging from trees
among all the debris
from natural disasters

From where I stand
we can hear rockets launch
we can feel the rumble
of humanity slowly
leaving the planet
through the decades

Here, man has progressed
to the Moon and now to Mars
Here man kills, rapes and drives
drunk from bars on the beach
to fill locked cells behind
iron bars, where we keep
a steady rotation of
the newly laid off
the new money rich
having sold
their small Yankee homes
coming here
to buy sand castles
as we stand together
fishing and hunting
studying and sunning
we slowly drive through history

We are the news
No need to watch it
We feel it
We take our pulse
as it thumps in our throat
and feel the collective anxiety
written on our to-do lists
as long as our strip malls
for another space mission
for another war to transition

Our thousands of