Give Them Chains and They Will Worship

If you’d but set my weary heart to waking I’d be yours.

I’d change my soul for a morsel of certainty that you hear me.

Instead, I brave the frosty night alone. An unlit candle in the one hand, and a flask in the other.

There are no vigils in this place. Maybe not ever again.

I’m yours still, but with agony.

The listeners, they speak with such discontent about the lives of others, but when they speak it is final.

Silent ears for a silent night, and red ink for our burial. Bathed in absence, coated in longing for reunion.

When east meets west, the light will shine.

East met West, and the light shone brighter than the sun.

Then they were whispers on the passing wind.

Overlooked, pain and sorrow make sense now, but let’s not get too hasty.

Forget the words of our fathers, we’ve transcended into the beyond place.

Light that candle if you wish, but if it’s you, we’d prefer you be gone.

We’d damn ourselves a thousand deaths before we took away the bread.

Give them bread, and they will follow.

Peace is War.

Give them assurance, and they will damn it into certainty.

Freedom is Slavery.

Give them chains and they will worship.

Ignorance is Strength.

Feed them, don’t pester them with freedom, it’s too sweet an elixir.

They simply can’t bear it. And you have damned them with it.

If you’d but give us a sign, some work of heaven, we would bow down

You’ve stolen everything.

We sought to erect three tents

You interrupted, and ruined everything.

We built them anyways.


We sought to shatter your peace.


We sought to shatter your people.


We sought to take your throne by force.

I wonder if you hear me, sitting in your Reichstag,

I wonder if you’ll remember our weary and departed

There’s no answer but one

and this answer

I sometimes do not like


A Night With Sister Winter

When my weeping heart shall cease and pain shall now find rest, letting go of counted tears for sleep upon your breast, soft, soft skin and curling hair, the pillow for my rest, and waiting still with tender ear, to listen to our guest.

Heartbeats form a serenade, your breathing is a song, and where rise the pains of yesteryear your song shall guide me home.

Hold me close now as my dreams encircle me for peaceful sleep. For in my waiting I shall see, what dreams have been awaiting me. Your scent will lead me on.

From dust that dashed our yesterday, to the dew of what we still call tomorrow, it is your weather which is sweet to me, even as I hope these words are sweet to thee.

Be still, we say to the little robin, perched upon the ropes of dreams. Her song is the secret, that calls to the fox, and asks him whither goest Sister Winter.

Gossip now the merry-maid, sings her song into the stillness, carmine lips that set the waves to marching. Ere she goes, leaving juniper in her footsteps, little prayers of mint and madness rise up also in her waking.

A’fore she rises, Sister Winter. Heavy no more with autumn’s cloak, she shakes the dust with a triumphant finality. She rises to cool the sun with a welcome kiss, his blush makes him grow distant, such a shy suitor, what manners for a caller.

With your hand in mine we watch as the overture rises, what bold and wint’ry guests have come to play in this earth, in this cold and hallowed space. Delightful neighbors waking from their slumber, ready to entertain her, to summon from her lips that wondrous smile.

I’ll cherish your kiss in the presence of this merry band, the creatures of the night, the keepers of crystalline stillness. The owl and the wolf shall be our shepherds in the passing, and the fox our clever guide across cool waters.

The stars will whisper guidance as we trembling cross the drifted wonder so carefully our own. Perhaps, trembling with anticipation, we shall spy a leaf whose own anticipation is mirrored in our own.

We have left only impressions, only footsteps, all too readily filled in with erasures of our passing. Give me your lips in the still of night, and we shall have a dawn. Walk beside me, and in the rising night, wait with me. See she walks alone, a glistening diamond, singing to the moon.

In the eve of her passing, let us keep watch as she fades, and await with tearful joy, the coming of Daughter Spring.

My First Love Story

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,
they’re in each other all along.


by Coleman Barks


There’s just something so fantastic about someone whose heart and pen both touch the soul of the world.

Heart of Gold, Man of Stone

Heart of gold, man of stone
hearts that pump the unknown
breaths that wait in the day
trying to sleep the night away

Echoes in the breaking grass
reeds that sing as we pass
every step that we take
another step towards the day

Eternity in our hands
life and love, in our plans
hearts of gold, skins of stone
hearts that sing the unknown

Splendid nights on the swings
sunsets calling for our songs
we can hear the anthem ring
as we whisper the unknown

Eyes of glass, have to wait
for the medicine to take
feast of love, in our hands
through bread and wine
we discern the final plan

Skins of bone, echoing
as hearts of gold begin to sing
pumping love in the cracks
as we take our bodies back

Bodies hid in the grass
bodies risen at last
full and rising with the dawn
as we walk upon new lawns

Only hearts made of gold
can these sights now behold
we can see the darkness pass
as tomorrow comes to grasp

our eyes with a new song
a new toast to the unknown
songs of love in our veins
skins of flesh now remade
hearts of gold, early morn
as we cherish skins reborn
Bread and wine come let’s eat
with Him who is the sacred feast

Aching with Nostalgia for Now

I guess I get nostalgic for the future
is that just another way of saying
aching with hope?

If so, that’s what I feel,
right now.

Jurgenn says that hope hurts most
right before the chains are loosed
i think he’s right

but i guess tonight
i see the chains
and they ache because i see them

either way, i ache for the future
i miss it with tender and even bitter longing
When the end matches the beginning,
has anything happened at all?

Nostalgic for the future is another way of saying
aching with hope. I know that now.

Some New Banner

If we widen our catcher’s spires
and let them reach into the sky
will they bring down stars for us acquired
from the happy heights of mars?

If we whisper to the willows sweetly,
will they hear our sagging pleas
caught between the passing moments
when they hear only the breeze

Conversation must seem like an annoying insect to a tree,
it crawls about you buzzing for a moment
before you hear reality again

If we watch the world with wonder,
and approach it as a gift
will we find the bounty of peace
or only shame and suffering?

take my hands and lead me down that dusty path
out with weeping i shall go
to catch sight of that amazing thing
the light of which my heart shall know

vindicate me, with your night of wonder
bring light into my desperate heart, light from darkness
light from life
that i might sing about the stars again
and echo true our rising song

that hearing and seeing might lead
to family once again
under some new Banner
knowing now some other song
than the one taught to me by kith and kin

teach me that once old and weary song,
bout a world turned upside down
’bout a man who loves his wine
and the bread that shakes foundations of the world

My Eyes Have Seen

In anticipation He waits
silent, solemn
praying with the saints

In hope he prays
smiling, longing
counting down the days

In faith he knows
a messiah comes
to these, the low

To the lowly he whispers
of the king enthroned in flesh
and glory

His eyes have parted
a great mystery
in anticipation of the promise

Looking for the consolation
he eagerly awaits to see
not kings or gold or riches

he looks not for mansions
or palaces and diamond causeways
but for the One obedient

He looks for little salvation,
all humility and gurgles
a child, this child, salvation

This is the salvation
This is the meaning of it all
This little child, bearing the weight of Glory

I’ve joined a biblical poetry group and we’re focusing on bringing out some creative examinations of biblical characters throughout the Scriptures. This one is based on Simeon in Luke chapter 2. He is one of my favorite biblical characters and i hope this poem explains why.

Peace be with you always,

A short collection of thoughts

I’ve invited you into my life. Into my pain, my misery, my fears and woes. I’ve invited you to witness it all, and to observe.

You asked me to send you a gift, so I decided to make you this, a little box, full of everything. By the end of this script I shall have poured everything into it, everything that I am, and still it shall not be full.

I looked into the heart of time itself, and woke from my stupor, recognizing the power of my foolishness.

I looked at you, looking at me, and saw with the eyes of love, for the very first time. How impoverished i had been without you, how utterly foolish i was. Starving for love, yet unable to find the strength to dig a well.

When it mattered, the well sprung up from underneath me, and set me aloft, sustaining me. But in the beginning. I had dug a hole, through the center of the earth. Through the center of my little world.

I started looking for you, under bushes and on the wind, in palm trees and sweat and mirrors.

I went searching for you, under the cover of starlight, when darkness approached and in storms.

I did not find you, in harems or in lost places forgotten by time and the earth.

When I woke, i discovered the secret, and it’s like my heart was set on fire, for everything i thought I’d known was wiped away. I discovered the great secret, the one that opened my waking eyes, whispered in the words behind your face. Lovers do not find each other along the way, they do not meet in passing. I discovered the hidden fact, they are in each other’s hearts all along.

Waiting Game

And so the tired old dance goes on
what hideous frames hide within a stone’s throw
aching for the freedom to be
motion like clockwork hiding behind
7:45 in the morning and the delusions
that everything begins the way it ends

those frames, built like iron giants
from the dreams of our fathers
on the tears of our mothers
and the corpses of children

I’ve had a brilliant idea,
a novel plot
before it all crumbles beneath us
terror from the world we have wrought upon ourselves
this is not a poem

answer the phone dear,
from empty autumn
where everything once lonely
continues to traverse the boulevard
drifting like the dead leaves that make lovers content

when it all starts to call again
like the ringing phone
asking for redemption
do we echo the lines we’ve been taught,
or break away and change the future?

ugliness is green and grown
sprouting up like a manifest
there’s no grand finale,
we all simply leave, one at a time

What hideous strength lies in broken frames
what mighty terror in the hearts of men
lives happen in technicolor now
but once there was no time

I’ve had a plot to discern
the nature of the universe
with a single moment of clarity
a single meditation
and i have failed

this cup of tea cannot console me
where I’ve gotten it wrong
and no poem, story or song
has the ability to now atone
or set right what has been done

When the tides rise and flood our gates
I’ll fall by the wayside,
looking into a fractured mirror
an echo of a word never spoken
the shadow of a mind projected onto this stage


Every step taken in waking
echoes forever in our dreams
and hell is simply repeating everything we did once
forever and ever

when it ends, who knows what we might be?
are we angels?
I think not.
Watch me, watch me.

Look at the watch now.
Look at the time.
when it all resumes in silence
will it all have been rehearsal?

Sadly, it shall have been a grand game of waiting
waiting for perfection to happen
building on center stage
a mimic that shall never have an audience

when life works out her strange and dastardly loops
and Godel meets Escher in Sarajevo,
then, then we shall be gods again
eating from the tree of life

then you shall have that which you want
and I shall simply live
we’ll let the world grow round us
and enjoy the lonely autumn breeze

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His jets are erect, full, and black like soot…

Don’t tell me you have exhausted your limits
With your excessive moderation
You go by many names
but you’re surely not the child of promise

It doesn’t matter if week after week
It seems logical to say it doesn’t mean much
your faith may be a broken idol
but worship with all your fearful might

You may listen to this dreadful song
From the moistened wood at the little pulpit
dripping with soot and punishment
this helm beneath the watch of almighty god

If a little wooden figure, black as coal
Challenges your faith
roll over like the waves,
rise no more

I don’t know if we listen in
To the conversation of gods or devils
But night after night I’m falling back asleep
Examining these empty bones

The whispers gather neatly neath the crashing sky
judgment’s billowing fist swims ‘neath us
escapes our wandering eyes
and no one knows what this hand of Poseidon may actually look like

I notice now, that everything is not as it seems
under the guise of unfathomable science
I notice you’re only alive, in the deep and the chaos
Capsized in the torment of you, loving me, loving you

The billowy current electrifies the senses
The weary waves yawn a great white noise
Terrible to the waiting ear caught in wonder
Promise me these, the chorus of the damned cries out

This dreadful ocean is full of broken lives
Fellowships swallowed whole in misery
Marriages for matinees,
Honeymoons for lost causes

Whether in dreams or in waking
When you say you’re happy now
Half of me turns with the rollicking tides
Nobody stands alone beneath a crashing sky

This city might be swallowed into the Atlantic
But it shall never have my heart
When everything is shown to be inconspicuously incorrect
The faith of the landsman falters

Nothing was ever as real as this
The curdled roar of fury lurks behind our souls
circling us in inky gloom
waiting for the end of day

Images graven on the teeth of the damned
Throwing crown and dignity to shame
They speak the name once more
before tracing death in the starry heavens

The love for life flows out like
the washed out first aid kit we stole
We know nothing anymore, just prayers…
and the torment of them burns us at the wake

Spend your soul with blood ‘neath thunder
if you see the whites wail
eyes embattled by the coal flaked denizens
Will you hear the rising prayer?

Confession is a bitter quarrel
cracking oars leave lives forgotten
Thick lipped Leviathan, curling round the bend of judgment
floating ‘neath the wandering curds of foam

the sound of vengeance breaks upon me
rain throwing down the gauntlet of challenge
echoed in our haunted eyes
we accept with morbid grins

Black as soot my eyes confess
that we have seen his wat’ry mess
from hell’s black heart it comes
madness maddened only spoken to itself

Panting and snorting like a mad battle steed
the ocean boils over, her denizens breaking the icy silence
calling out to claim her dead
till that day shall rise again

Spread The Joy Around

To rising and falling,
to echoing the victory,
to falling freely
we raise a glass and spread the joy

To the garden of the gods we toast
to the stones that testify
and the knowledge we’ve stolen
we raise a glass and spread the joy

We have become like God
in the land South of Mamre
We raise up for ourselves
many tomes and prayers

Waiting with impunity
laughing at the feeble ones
we toast to our love
we raise a glass and spread the joy

Metropolitan gods
no longer in our hearts
we thought the mountains would crumble
but we raise a glass, and drink our tears

Temples in the subway
capture the weary hearts
of the wayfaring and empty crowds
a chorus of broken backlit screens

glowing in the darkened night
echoing the cold and empty glow
of hearts ablaze
with the power of nothing

wait, and you will see
perhaps it might be true
that they themselves
are raising a glass to spread the joy

if sputnik is empty
who else shall hear our prayers?
If all the world’s a stage,
when can we stop acting?

to the valley of the saints we speak
to the stones grown long silent
to the good that we’ve made evil
we raise a glass, and then play coy

To empires and hordes, the forces we’ve unleashed
here’s a toast to remorseless defeat
to standing fetteredin the square for all the world to see
we raise a glass, and spread the joy

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To Unknown Gods

When all is well and silent,
our friend shall meet you
in your faraway places,
down the river’s edge

When you look out over the wandering horizon
you’ll never find the end
She’s always one step ahead of you
pulling you towards the end

And for a moment,
the silken wind echoes something
you thought you knew before
only to leave you longing

A passing whisper
the memory of lover’s touch
beneath this tree in the night
the leaves like stained glass

A big oak cathedral
to the way things were
a hollow altar
to the love shared in the midnight wind

When all is empty allegiance
you’ll show them your bruises
and the night will whisper back
‘what matter is it to you?’

A look into the mirror
will confirm your suspicions
you’re not who you thought you were
wholeheartedly another creature

Maybe it’s not far to go at all
but we might be frozen, stone
stuck in the rising Sunday,
memorials to our quarrels

When all is well and silent
it will be because we’ve become
altar stones to unknown gods
and the argument has finally ceased
by force

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