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Everything is political May 18, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Fiction, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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When I hear someone is staying out of politics,

it’s a bigger lie than politicians tell every day.

Everything is political: love, sex, you name it;

that fruit basket on your desk is a political play.

Of course, I don’t need to tell you that.

I know you look upon our political processes with disdain,

But, generally, your average goes up the more you bat.

You can use sports analogies until you feel the strain.

My father was a trade unionist; my mother, a devout sympathizer.

My sisters were radicalized enviro-fascists, but left it for men.

So you may wonder how I turned out as a narcissistic Nixonian,

but it makes perfect sense although not worth the time to defend.

All of us have Area 51s in our lives staked to the politics of the day.

That day passes and stakes get uprooted without compunction.

You migrate from liberal to conservative to libertarian to shades of gray

or land in no man’s land with no gumption to move from form to function.

You claim apolitical blues and expect me to believe that on its face

and I could if I didn’t know you and I was willing to deny human nature.

To think you are apolitical is like refraining from the Embrace.

But, believe as you must, we are only apparitions and misty vapor.

We live in a era of false flags and misdirection;

the politics embedded in all that is extraordinarily complex.

Our digital world easily blurs the line between fact and fiction;

its uncomfortable, disturbing, creating a perennial pain in the neck.

So, when I hear someone say they are staying out of politics,

I know it’s the biggest lie I’m going to hear that day.

We know everything is political: love, sex, you name it;

that fruit basket on your desk is the ultimate political play.


Running toward a brick wall April 20, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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We are running toward a brick wall;

full tilt without a second thought.

Your loyalty is far beyond the call,

and your integrity can’t be bought.

Let’s spend our time focused on you.

Your flaws aren’t as obvious as mine,

and, typically, I don’t know what to do

except I know I will follow you blind.

Ours is a love forged from three decades,

and running through walls isn’t a mistake.

No doubt you are well above my pay grade,

but we always give more than life can take.

This real world becomes stale without imagination

and we straddle the line like ice dancers.

We look beyond sarcasm and condemnation

understanding we are bald chancers.

We burned stacks of self-help books laughing,

and we sat on the front stoop and smoked

because we didn’t want to endure the crying

or displace the vicious angst of being provoked.

You taught me the value of body language;

eyes that burn; nose that flairs; gaping lips.

I gave you the gift of a languid visage,

arms swirling high overhead and pulsating hips.

And our lives are lived unashamedly al fresco;

seated in front of the glass and never behind it.

We believe it makes it easier to come and go;

unfettered we capture peace others never get.

We are running toward a brick wall;

full tilt without a second thought.

The police too late to catch this call,

and we revel in the joy of being sought.

Igniting butane April 1, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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When I left you in the rain

my head said yes and my heart said no.

But I was pushed on by the pain

I couldn’t admit and you’d never know.

Don’t give away what you can’t hold

I heard you tell me time and again.

Don’t give away what can’t be sold

I couldn’t understand your single sin.

Most nights I hear you scream my name

and just before I go insane

I want to forgive you for this crazy game.

But it’s only igniting butane —

Only igniting butane.

If you could feel the fear of my fate

you’d see me bargaining with my demons.

I keep telling myself it’s not too late

to run from your emotional treasons.

Don’t give me something you don’t want to hold,

I told you time and again.

Don’t trade in things that can’t be sold

and maybe I can forgive your unforgivable sin.

Most nights you wake screaming my name

and just when you’re going insane

you want to forgive me for this crazy game

but it’s only igniting butane —

Only igniting butane.

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.