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In the middle of that uncloudy day there is a mighty cloud of joy March 27, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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The lazy Sunday afternoons are gone, as we knew them.

Cancer is encroaching and we are consumed with survival.

Beach vacations and spontaneous day trips are displaced

by infusion lounges, labs, and scans in various venues and kinds.

There is nothing cathartic about talking through scenarios

and contingencies are fodder for the next path to be taken.

Medical masks and gloves are constant companions;

many ignore their protection at their peril but it’s a way of life

and choosing to live is a conscious choice, willing it to be so.

That doesn’t leave God out of the equation, He’s in the middle of it;

He can create a miracle in a moment or in a season of suffering,

but the latter is too distasteful for most so they abandon Him

even if He never abandons them, even in their darkest hours.

A true believer has comfort amidst pain, hope in hopelessness,

and peace that most can’t possibly comprehend on their best day.

So between doctors, nurses, infusions and helplessness;

in the middle of that uncloudy day there is a mighty cloud of joy.

Explaining it to the uninitiated is a useless exercise, just live it out;

allow it to be your calling card; your symbol of obedience and love.


Gray Garden March 24, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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There is Gray Garden in center of the park.

I don’t know how it got its name, it has vibrant colors;

and young lovers like to linger there after dark.

It’s small pool shimmers with silver dollars

laying randomly at its bottom, almost sacred.

I imagined there was a Helen or Henry Gray,

renowned botanists or mayors being venerated

but locals shake their heads not knowing what to say.

Maybe it began with Dusty Millers or Silver Cascades

then some gardener in the forties, during distraction of war,

introduced lilies, or hydrangeas, flowers needing no shade,

and the next gardener found it easy to care for, no chore;

as our Veterans returned to a beautiful place

they noticed a change and agreed it was for the best.

Spending days with their girls walking past or stopping to embrace

and less often taking to the concrete bench for a moment of rest.

The grass is thick and dense even til this day

and even though the surrounding neighborhood deteriorated;

and even though the garden isn’t gray

It will never wilt dull nor will the colors ever become faded.

An apostle not a scoffer March 24, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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It was a man in the mist

Unable to make out his form

My eyes strained, first clinched

Ascertaining an anomaly or norm

I was struck by his color and size

Neither human nor divine

Discerning it could be wicked or wise

Both poisonwater and fine wine

I was lost in its ability to sway me

By its mere presence, no words,

I was unencumbered, totally free,

Then it enveloped me in its vapor

And I was frozen, artless in responding

A warmth that sank to my core,

I lost track of my surroundings

With the vision complete I collapsed

Weeping bitterly from the debt of my sin

Thinking I was cured I relapsed

Searching for a new place to begin.

Feeling desperation in how it might end

I had nothing but prayer to offer

Begging for a sense this was a friend

Revealing I was an apostle not a scoffer

As the mist lifted my vision was restored

And it all became clear to me

But I wasn’t supposed to share it, underscored,

So I know what was meant to be.

Quit school, got myself a job March 16, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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I could quit school and get a job

but at sixty-two I suppose it doesn’t matter.

You could imagine me another lazy slob,

with no ambition, falling from the corporate ladder.

Metal rock was my drug and country music my antidote,

playing clubs weekends with guys half my age

didn’t stop me from hearing the songs I wrote

but playing covers paid the bills, Journey all the rage.

Then I went from being “Dad” to bad grandpa

and I was playing acoustic gigs at wayside coffee shops.

I was listening to good bluegrass and took up chaw

and these kids were no pikers, they know their chops.

So I drifted out to Bakersfield looking for low-hanging fruit

but couldn’t find any and I made my way to Marin

of a mind to find a niche in the obtuse Sausalito truth,

taking a place in the Gold Spike Trio with a toothy grin.

After a year I began thinking about Seattle, maybe Portland.

I left bluegrass for a brief stint in nineties grunge.

Soon I was doing acoustic again, mid-weeks at Laurelthrist,

never catching the Cobain bug, feeling like a glass sponge

so I sold my Fender and amp putting my Martin DRSG first.

Hitching my wagon to soft ballads and edgy Dylan covers

with inattentive audiences the money flowed in easy.

The coffee was strong and all the women were my lovers.

It was all I could do to keep a straight face, not feel cheesy,

with all that “no, no, no, it ain’t me, babe,” like I meant it.

By a miracle I lasted more than two years and found a day job,

driving a TriMet bus and working on a sixty-six Chevelle model kit,

I was beginning to feel normal, not just another lazy slob.

But, I guess at sixty-nine it really doesn’t matter

why I quit school to get myself a job.

Vacant voice vaguely in your ear March 15, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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Ancient myths set the imagination on fire;

Listening to old men speak of sacred rain;

Drops shower the landscape leaving you dry;

Or piercing you like needles leaving you in pain.

Ghosts of Appalachia;

shadows in Machu Picchu;

profile of a hornbill of Malaysia;

phantom in your church pew.

It reminds you of a vacant voice vaguely in your ear;

a mist, not a fog, envelopes you in a cold humidity;

longing for peace there are no reparations for fear;

and no search for Ralph Waldo Emerson’s timidity.

Apparitions disembark a late train;

impoverished spirits seeking passage;

boys standing in a scared rain;

hoping for an end to the rage.

Who left the street in a hurry for a cab to an airport?

Only to abort the flight for an expensive rental car;

like a clandestine operative delivering his report;

to a nameless man with green eyes who didn’t get far.

Sleep disturbed by a translucent nun;

and a violin concerto delivers its news;

while evil plots to blot out the Sun;

asking to dance on graves of its muse.

We are doing a dance with invisible partners embracing;

as we believe the caressing was from love and devotion;

they released us and walked away, leaving us dancing;

finding ourselves drinking whiskey on a yacht in mid-ocean.

Wanting March 10, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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When there is no preaching left

and another season of Lent is in the books

where will I find myself?

Where will you be found?


Mercy is a sacred conception

melting in the hands of the worldly

so doesn’t it melt in every human hand?

Where can it be found whole and unsullied?


If there is no frontier out of our grasp

then we own a disembodied fear of being lost

in the badlands between our needs and wants

and how do we avoid those dangerous paths?


Forgetting the summer and regretting the Fall

I have lessons to learn throughout winter

but how do I learn from the cold and lingering snow?

Do I have enough wood to keep me secure?


The ideals behind the movement March 10, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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When I was twenty I wasn’t interested in the environment,

I was interested in girls who believed it was important.

If you thought I was looking to change the world from the neck up

then you’ve never understood the ideals behind the movement.


Global warming has a whole new meaning sharing a sleeping bag

in the shade of a Joshua tree on an unforgettable April evening.

Often I think I could leave Thousand Palms listening to Electric Flagg

driving my seventy-four Mercury Comet, windows down, and singing.


Maybe ten years later I was in Cleveland when Erie was on fire.

At first I was amused, observing, Marlboro hanging from my mouth.

I moved to the banks of the Mississippi and the situation was dire,

but I shook it off, bought a bottle of Jack and took the first bus south.


New Orleans is under water with or without levees and raised tombs

so I moved along, Biloxi, Mobile, Pensacola, ending up in Dunedin.

With the debris floating in from the Gulf, it was like opening old wounds

and I began to reconsider what I knew about women, life and sin.


It began as a twelve-step program to reorient my heart and soul.

First it was recycling then the green grocer and no smoking or drinking.

There was cold turkey and hot baths attempting to achieve an afterglow.

Cleansing myself as if I could remake my past and stop from sinking.


There was a long summer night in Key West when it came to me

this was time to break from my past and grasp a long forgotten dream.

I didn’t want to drop into parody, someone in the mirror I hated to see;

I orphaned my shamelessness and abandoned my ill-begotten schemes.


We are told we can get right with God by loving the trees;

taking our stewardship of the land seriously, without guile.

In that moment I may have seen what the Almighty sees

embracing animals, rivers and mountains with grace and style.


This selfish man is working a food co-op and raising an urban garden,

working out his salvation with his heart and hands instead of his head.

If you think I am looking to change the world then I beg your pardon;

you’ve never understood the ideals behind the movement, like I said.

The whiskey and weed help me forget what I can never forget March 6, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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The revenuers come and took my money,

smashed my still in my little house behind the barn.

Someone ratted me out but there’s more stashed elsewhere.

I’ll let em feel good for today cause I know they’ll come back another time.


I fly my confederate flag and my black neighbor gives it no mind.

“Heritage Not Hate” emblazoned on the back window of my seventy-nine Ford F-150.

I got an Asian buddy who’ll smoke pot with me

and he has a connection for some bad ass weed

might be Vietnamese or Cambodian cause I remember it from the war.

I served there and now I’m being served the best stuff on earth

and here’s a guy from over there, only nineteen,

and a lifetime ago for me, sharing his bounty real care-free.


The whiskey and weed help me forget what I can never forget.


When I work, I do construction, always good with my hands,

I just can’t keep two oars in the water look enough to get somewhere.

A wise-ass will provoke me or my boss will get on me for being late

and I walk away, cause I don’t cotton to folks who like splittin hairs.


I’m not much of a fisherman, don’t have that kind of patience;

but, I have waited hours in a deer stand in sub-freezing cold.

There’s no accountin for taste or sense or lackin of it.

I don’t have much of a poker face so I tend to flip my cards and fold.


The whiskey and weed help me forget what I can never forget.