Autobiography 

 

Autobiography

 

I don’t claim to be no renaissance man

Just trying to do the best I can

Jack of all trades, I’m the master of none

Living my life and having some fun

I like to cook, I like to eat

Play my guitar, Man!, life’s a treat

I like my beer and I like my wine

I love my wife, my life is just fine

Pride and Dignity 

Pride

A man in rags
Cooks jiaozi
In a battered black wok
Over a smoky fire
In a 55 gallon oil drum.
He sells them to common folks
On a street in a poor part of town. 
He wears a clean, tall, white chef’s hat. 
 
Dignity

A man in rags,
Who clearly has had a stroke,
Shuffles on his good leg
Between cars
At a stop light.
Dusting windshields with his good arm,
He sings out of the good side of his face.
He isn’t begging for money,
But, if you give him a coin,
He will give you a half-smile. 

Shanghai  2007

Bangkok/Minnesota 

Bangkok/Minnesota

Hell-hot and steaming
And sweat-soaked silk-shirt
Beats stone-cold and shivering
‘Til finger-bones hurt.

Rain-water rushing
Down street-dog-filled-streets
Beats slipping and sliding
On snow-covered-feet.

Still...
Summertime-visions,
Sweet-corn in a dish,
And friends and cold-beer
And home-made smoked-fish
And lakes, crystal-clear…
An expatriate’s-wish.


Bangkok 2010

An Island in Thailand 

An Island in Thailand

Palm trees wave on a beach in Thailand
Full moon shines on a golden sea
In their darkness off-shore islands
Sing their Siren songs for me

I met a girl on a beach in Thailand
Smile so bright it lit the night
Hand in hand for a little while and
Walked till the world was out of sight

Little grass hut, cool night air,
Grilling fish on an open fire
Mosquito net, a single bed,
What more could two hearts desire?

Fell in love on a beach in Thailand
Paradise on a tropical sea
Sweet romance on the beach…

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Nevermore 

Nevermore
An Obvious Homage

He lives a life of languid loneliness
And sails from shore to star-kissed shore
Oft off’ring thoughts to fools and thieves
‘Midst the nurture of buds and leaves
And wonders what this all is for
And what means the somber
Nevermore

He basks in love of one so fine and fair
The years cannot this truth deny
The pulsing pounding of his stricken heart
That sometimes seems prepared to fly apart
At word of love or oft-heard heartfelt sigh of
Nevermore!

He ponders weary, worldly chores
And curses the…

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Ramazan 

Ramazan

To be a witness
Was never my intent

As I turned the cobbled corner
I saw the muted crowd
I saw the fatted calf
Facing toward the sacred place

A hammer descended
A blade sliced quickly through
Prayer and song arose

As blood flooded the concrete
The smell of death
Surged through my nose 

I made my way shakily to my home
Past hovels of whitewashed stone

Soon the imam will lose the sight
Of the thread of black and thread of white
The minarets will glow their praise
The call to prayer will flow and raise
All…

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The New Age 

 

The New Age

In an ancient city
Of crumbling ruins
Near a golden pagoda
Beneath the blessed
Banyan tree

A humble monk
In robes of saffron
Head piously bowed
Legs in lotus position
Reverently
Texts on his cell phone.

Ayutthaya, Thailand 2010

Johnny and Ferlie 

 

Poems for my Uncle and Aunt

Johnny

Like my father before me, I reckon that mirth
Can ease up the pain of the folks here on earth.
Lives can be sung in an old country song,
Or honored in stories of right against wrong.
There’s plenty of time to labor and toil,
And candles to burn, and kettles to boil.
We’ll spend our future under the sod,
So, each morning’s light is a blessing from God.

Now, I see by your face that you can’t take a joke.
The horse you rode in on is tired and broke,
And you look…

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Ken and Alice 


Poems for my Ma and Pa

Ken

Dr. Naismith 
did not have in mind
The sport we see 
at the present time
In days of old 
a game of grace
Now a change has taken place 
Talking trash,
 slamming dunks,
The taunts and jeers of tattooed punks

Steroid use, 
unruly fan abuse
Whining 
at the least excuse
Money talks
Million dollar heroes balk
TV commentators gawk
Fantasizing women stalk

We close our eyes with sad regret
Wish the glory days were with us yet

Alice

Waxy-taut yellowed parchment
Stretched over knuckles so big
On fingers…

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Tim and Marguerite 

 

Poems for Margery's Mom and Dad

Tim

He closes and locks the office door 
Breathing an Iowa sigh and 
Leaves the day behind. 
He drives the elm-lined street 
Past the corn fields and the trailer park. 
Changing into white coveralls, 
He dons the gloves and the veiled bonnet, 
Ties the ankles and the sleeves and 
Grabs the smoker. 

"I have another life 
Beneath the trees near the lilac bushes. 
I live this life vicariously 
With my honeybee family. 
I marvel at their clean, white-housed society. 
Like me, they have…

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