A poem is just a poem
Until you invoke the divine.
Then it’s a prayer.

Stanzas are just stanzas
Until you add music.
Then it’s a song.

A voice is just a voice
Until we sing together.
Then we’re a chorus.

A heart is just a heart
Until it joins another.
Then it’s a family.

A life is just a life
Until it finds meaning.
Then it’s an example.

An idea is just an idea
Until it’s put in motion.
Then it’s a movement.

A breath is just a breath
Until we breathe in greatness.
Then it’s inspiration.

The world is just the world
Until we transform it.
Then it’s history.

A poem is just a poem.
Until it’s read.


The pattern that holds my body together-
Is giving in to entropy. Heavenly bodies sag,
creases remain along the laugh lines,
bones crack at dawn that slips by too fast.
I forget the time.

The relationships that hold life together
are fading away. Friends and family are gone,
marriages split along the fault lines.
A card sits in a drawer that I bought for
I can’t remember who.

The ideas that hold the country together
have been broken. News is entertainment,
idiots throw mud across the party lines.
We admired stars and heroes once—
I don’t know when.

The hope that unites the planet
has been torn apart. War is life,
soldiers and civilians die on the front lines.
I am either an ‘Us’ or a ‘Them’—
I don’t know which.

All the atoms that bind the universe
are expanding. The nodes of a graph
pushed apart, stretching the lines,
until they break, snap, or crunch—
No one knows what.

All the forces that pull us apart
leave a hole.  Let me stuff the space
with infinite things, things that matter,
until I become you or you become me,
and we know no time.


Instructions for my Funeral

Take my money, and charter a boat.

Sail out on a warm clear night, under a full moon.

Treat it like a wedding party

After the bride and groom have left.

Invite all the people who have me in common

To forget about what’s on shore for a while.

Order plenty of pizza and champagne.

Tell everyone to bring their guitar.

Make sure there is lots of singing,

Hugging of strangers, and lovers sneaking away for kisses.

You can say nice things about me if you want,

But I would rather you say nice things about each other

So that everyone knows all the ways they are loved

While still alive.

Celebrate each other until morning

(You might want to order coffee as well)

And when the sun rises (I promise it will),

Hold on to each other.

Live a moment of Beautiful Awful Truth

And toast the unnumbered days you have left.

Poem: Breath by Breath

What would happen, 
If we popped open the stoppers to our souls, 
And let compassion for the whole world in? 
And I mean the *whole* world: 

Starving children, 
Euthanized dogs, 
First-time orgasms, 
The sheer magnitude of war, 
The irrational hatred of the sound of other people chewing, 
The birth of deformed children,
Really great fucking music,
Unbridled passion,
Art beyond words...

Would we cry uncontrollably 
Until the earth is a tropic of tears? 

Would there be orgies in the streets, 
Jumping up and down on yellow couches,
Impulsive declarations of love and
Unlimited eternal puppies?

Perhaps we would go mad: 
Tear our eyes out after seeing too much world
And walk in never ending circles,
Pulling at our hair and mumbling about antennas.

Would we all sit around as if stoned,
Contemplating the beauty in each paint chip and beetle,
Acutely aware of each tick of the clock?

Would our houses be full of the needy, 
No one be lonely, hunger be gone, 
And reality TV disappear forever? 

I can't see it happening, honestly.
No one can handle that much humanity all at once.

It's better, then, to rely on each other, my love.
Let's prick each others' hearts, just a little; 

Create a bit more closeness with each kiss,
A bit more understanding with each conversation,
A bit more love with each look in each others' eyes, 

And instead of letting the world rush into us, 
Let's let our compassion overflow to the world in a trickle, 
Starting with each other, breath by breath.

The End of Being Pretty

Tell a young girl that good looks don’t matter.
Tell a young man that making money doesn’t matter
when the world is screaming the opposite.

Tell a middle-aged woman that she will lose the advantage
she was never allowed to admit, but enjoyed nonetheless
when she reaches The End of Being Pretty.

Tell me people will appreciate my intellect.
Take me seriously.
Listen without needing to give advice.

Tell me that when I become a “Handsome Woman,”
dancing and singing,
I won’t embarrass myself.

Wait until people find out
I’m not as nice as they think I am.
Or as innocent.

Ah, the baseball players become younger every year.
Can I still wear this dress?
Do I need to change my lipstick shade?

Not yet.
Next year, maybe.
For now, I’ll only flirt under candlelight.

A Taxonomy of Reasons to Get Up in the Morning

To Be

Be happy [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Reasons for Living]

Be yourself

Be someone’s hero

Be what happens

Be your best self [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Oprah Tropes]

Be a shoulder to cry on

Be a good _______ (dad, mom, sister, brother, friend)

Be kind

Be alive

To Do

Do what you love [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Lies We Were Told When Young]

Do your thing

Do your hair

Do a happy dance

Do it. Just do it.

Do what others won’t

Do whatever you have to

To Get

Get a job [SEE ALSO: Make Money]

Get lucky [SEE ALSO: Make Love]

Get your shit together

Get a grip

Get out of jail

Get through your shit [SEE ALSO: Get your shit together]

Get out of that meeting

Get married [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Consequences of Falling in Love]

Get fired [SEE ALSO: Take this job and shove it]

Get your heart broken [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Consequences of Falling in Love]

To Go

Go ahead and do it already [SEE ALSO: Take a chance]

Go ahead and cry already

Go to Paris in spring [SEE ALSO: Go fall in love, Make love]

Go fall in love [SEE ALSO: Take a chance]

Go tell her you love her [SEE ALSO: Take a chance]

Go on [SEE ALSO: Keep on truckin’, Keep going]

Go crazy [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Consequences of Falling in Love] [SEE ALSO: Keep sane]

Go far

Go fast

Go to hell and back [SEE ALSO: Get through your shit ]

To Make

Make money [SEE ALSO: Get a job]

Make love [SEE ALSO: Go to Paris in Spring]

Make Babies [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Consequences of Making Love]

Make someone smile

Make trouble

Make a difference [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Lies We Were Told When Young]

Make that meeting [SEE ALSO: Keep your job]

To Keep

Keep it real

Keep on truckin’ [SEE ALSO: Keep going, Go on]

Keep it together

Keep your job [SEE ALSO: Make that meeting]

Keep sane [SEE ALSO: Go crazy]

Keep living [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of the Consequences of Getting Out of Bed in the Morning]

Keep going [SEE ALSO: Keep on truckin’, Go on]

To Take

Take a chance [SEE ALSO: Go fall in love, Go tell her you love her, Go ahead and do it already]

Take your turn

Take someone to a party

Take someone’s hand in yours

Take a punch

Take this job and shove it [SEE ALSO: Get fired]

Take a good look at yourself

Poem: Straight Shooter

He would make a colorful character in a comic book:
Cue stick in one hand, cigarette in the other, and eyes that sink your heart.
He stalks the table with an economy of movement, seeing shots that no one else sees.

He would make a typical character in a Heinlein novel:
Tall, dark, sharp, and competent.
He transmits the beauty of his movements into geometry on felt.

He would make a perfect character in a Tarantino film:
Brooding, intense, protective, and loyal.
He points his stick at the 2, and nods to the corner pocket with confidence.

He makes a good friend, to those that know him:
You would let him pack your parachute.
He judges character as quickly as he can judge a table.

He would make a great hero, in this complicated world:
If he could un-remember the experiences he wishes hadn’t made him but did.
I sit in the corner, sipping my drink, seeing the man that he doesn’t see.