Circulating Mistakes

A million hard learned mistakes
populate my veins
Good dirt I turned to mud
The white blood cells
have given up
“To hell with it, we can’t
beat this strain of stupid”
They’ve gone back to
simpler prey
Cold viruses
Hay fever
but the mistakes?
They stay
I wouldn’t have it
any other way


I can master nothing as the
butterfly I seem to be
Attracted to the sweet
nectar of sound
I alight lovingly on an
instrument’s petals
tasting its bounty but
never staying long
Some other flower’s song
will call me and I’ll follow
My hands covered in pollen from
What’s next?

The Story In A Shoe

They keep showing that one shoe
More a soft insulated boot with
faux fur
some distance behind the
truck that struck her
Her last act before impact
was to push the stroller
out of the way
Another shot of the shoe
I don’t know if she made it
I keep the sound down
during the news


The song I hear
That rhythm so deep
and so dear is
through a broken
prism but the
melody is clear
to those who stand
near enough
Are quiet enough
Who haven’t had enough
of holding
their breath



I haven’t had that
moment yet that
John Wayne moment
by the side of the
trail in Stagecoach
spinning his Winchester
when without a trace of
braggadocio he became
the GOAT
and the world sat up
suddenly rapt
and said “damn!”
So I make do
the best I can

The Bond (Becoming Music)

Tuning a Burma teak surbahar
requires devotion far greater
than any guitar demands

Eight main and thirteen sympathetic
strings wound on friction pegs
and wondrous teak, the greatest
of all surbahar woods
is an oily thing
The pegs prone to slip unless
forced hard, chafing the palms
and this magnificent beast is
tuned by ear in relation to a
drone tone, the “sa”
And it must be precise

Exactly right

or its spirit will not shine
Its resonance will decay and
then it’s only wood, expensive
decor, not at all what it’s for

To tune it is to know it
intimately, an exquisitely
painful meditation that
in time forms a single soul

There are few that can
even hold it
let alone play
but I sit with it

Practicing patience


Mountain Town

Surrounded by mountains
sits Big Lick so named
for a large natural
salt outcropping
A big draw for wildlife
The name didn’t stick
but the town did growing
into a city

And that’s about it

More room for
more of the same
Folks got old and died
and their kids lived
and passed that way, too

Some odd force holds
people in place
Never enough ambition
No plan
to evade its
staid gravity
The mountains can
hold a soul tight
Past what makes sense
or wrong or right
Now it’s a big cell
that refuses to divide
cupped close by those
sexy, wily mountains

A nice place to visit
It’s pretty
But I stopped living there
and had to escape

Bring To Simmer and Reduce

People clamor to be a
part of something larger
by the glamor
of the grand
band of brothers
marching off together to do
whatever grand bands do
Like minds through and through
but what of reducing?
Factor the I
Grind it to its
and find
that you are
a giant

Tool of the Trade

My little leather cover holding
little “Live & Explore” notepads
that hold scads of notes and poems
It’s home is my back pocket
with my sword of choice
a black Bic Atlantis
medium point
and between
us we have
created worlds