Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Along a seawall

                           The S

The clouds are forming from the north;
And as draperies drawn about a window,
So are they, bringing with them the darkness
              and a cutting wind
Which rips at the rigging of White Wine
              secured in her berth,
         tucked behind the breakwater.

The evening out over the coast
In its coming usually is accompanied
             by tranquility.
But this night only courts the frustrated fury
             of the hammering surf
        gutting the beaches.

But even the varied pilings strewn in the surf
Remain as testimonials that the waters
             may for a brief moment
Breach their mark, only to find their grip short;
             And having exhausted their strength,
        they are resigned to withdraw.

To the east, the clouds are as dirty mats being beat out.
While to the south, there is a faint orange hue...
And at the steps at the bayou,
Thoughts I ponder, only to give them up
             to the tide in flight
And the curling wavelets entrancing my eyes;
And comes an understanding of the homes alight
Mirrored on the rippled bayou:
             an image, an image so untrue.

Withdrawing myself from this sight,
The path I have often tread,
Walk once more I do.
And the water sliding along the seawall
Reminds me of words spoken last night...

Purpose lost

Not giving up to Despair,
yet they wait,
Hoping for a future.

trying to look in

forboding darkness,
a chilling haunt.

Out of a collapse

Once a thriving industry,
Now a chaotic heap,
An unintended monument...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

For some...

In the end,

The Pearl

Into the music

Listening to her play the keys,
My heart takes refuge in the notes.
As her fingers dance about with passion,
The piano reveals her heart.
The melodies and harmonies blend
Effortlessly in and around each other
While driving the worries and sorrows
From me and leaving me in serenity.
Only her songs born deeply within
Can reach into me and calm my mind.

Such is my Pearl.
And for that brief hour,
My heart knows rest...

life: like a railway

On the siding of life,
The promise of a future,
Of a destination unsure,
 The gleaming rails reach
Around the bend.


purple haze...
lately, things don't seem...

Monday, December 19, 2011

from a long ago mississippi night

seen in a brother's eyes

the morning, bright of fire,
reaches its hand out over the city;
and street lights, like anxious eyes,
look to the  dawn with disdain,
tainted with traces
of lowly clouds in the west.

dawn finds the lawns drowsy, wet with dew;
the crisp winter air bites the breath
of the child, turning his collar to the cold.
looking to the sun, his eyes are of tears
saying, " you lie in jest..."

cry, child, cry.
breathe loud the lonely sigh.
having tread the night,
your restless thoughts
(which of the right?)
fall like rain,
so stinging...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Times in life

Night Lies Quietly

Night lies quietly at my window
And a wind's song billows the curtains
Of my window overlooking the valley.

Listen now to a wind's song,
So tearful in the willows by the brook
Rustling youthfully
Under the moon of April;
And the tears cried
Spatter in the spring's dust
Of the rutted country road.

Listen now to a wind's song
Full of zest,
Wandering in the woods
So dazzling in color;
And a waterfall,
Knowing the words,
Unceasingly echoes the refrain.

Listen now to a wind's song
And one will never be the same...

on the edge

        Out of the asylum...

On a dream's beach,
I walk in the foaming surf.
The raven night hides the palms and the stars;
All I can hear are the waves' words
But I cannot interpret their worth.

I cannot understand
Why the sea casts out the sage and the shell;
Why has she rejected the kelp
Now dying upon the beach?
And I cannot understand
Why she steals the grains of the beach each day
To leave nothing here when eternity comes.
Why does she grip the vessels upon her waves-
Taking them down into her murky depths?

And the drift wood struggles to climb
The wind-blown, sloping beach.
Oh, it will tire; will it lose itself
To the tumultuous extent?
The sea heightens and the wind strengthens,
Sucking up sands and spewing them in my face--
Blinding me, hiding the calls of the circling birds of white.

But a cloak is laid to cover the dawn.
And once again,
I am returned to the Asylum...

Where one becomes another--

Not being deterred,
So the Talullah....

Monday, December 12, 2011

out of mississippi

         The unheard weeping
                    (come of the evening on Wolf River)

the evening crept upon us
as we splashed about the river.
with haste discarded,
        the evening in accompany with slumber,
slipped upon us in our lapsing frivolity.

the forest fell into a different rhythm
about us as we collected dead wood
for the fire to warm the night.
the untimed falling of the hatchet
resounded the length of the Wolf.
the wood-laden canoes peacefully parted
the easing water, worn from its flood rush;
and the finding of a trout
ushered only exhausted excitement
from those building the fire.

and in our wearied talk
around the bristling fire,
the weeping was left unheard
Once More....

Sunday, December 11, 2011



Out of Mississippi

Reflections upon a moment:
            the interval at Ocean Springs Harbor

The sky is a silent crystal blue
Hovering over the crafts that sleep.
The masts reach at the sky, and the water
Glitters from the relentless stare of the Sun's eyes
While small fish dart about beneath the piers.

A lone catamaran glides gracefully by-
A soothing wind filling her striped sails.
The rippling wake that she leaves behind
Unfolds like a fan that a countess bears.

The tall pines and cedars are gathered in huddles
Sharing secrets and adventurous tales
While seagulls swoop and dive in mock battle.

The aged docks give access
To the crafts that call their masters.
Shrimpers moan from the rugged week's work,
And power boats are readied for their weekend excursions...
The boats of sail are trimmed,
Awaiting the will of the wind.

The wind strengthens--boats roll at their moorings;
Their rodes restrain them....
Voices call out, they drift like waves
             snuggling up to the hulls, or like a path
             through a freshly dug garden.

There is a mirror...
It unveils the harbor channel extending southwest,
And a sailboat enters quietly,
            the crew lowering the genoa.

An egret watches all from atop a piling near a low marsh
While houses hide among the flowers,
           watching the harbor.
Their eyes enthralled by the quiet beauty.
Yet, they see another sailboat seek her berth.

And after her tired sails have rested,
           she will venture again
           into the mesmerist sea
           to become a vision
           against the azure sky...
At the helm--my father.

from west virginia

             Road to Bartlick Chapel

From the mountain, the brook
splashes over the sandstone configurations,
cragged and demure,
to the hills choked in an August forest:
          a restlessness cries the mountain
shown by the whiteness of the brook
over the sandstone channeled
in the cheek of the mountain
behind the Chapel,
         laying in white and silent of tongue
         under a clouded, quarter moon.

To the sides of the mountains
is a road cut to follow
the clefts and hollows,
encroaching upon the tamelessness
        of this domain
        in the Appalachians,
known only by its coal
and mountain rigs gearing down the grade.

And gripping the rails
is the Clinchfield Railroad
       grumbling over the Russell Fork River

The dusk of coal

From a Mountain

From a mountain
     on a Thursday evening
            cast in clouds,
A mountain's family blighted in poverty
     huddles in the muddy yard--
            yellowed laundry
    strung to trees the lonely decor.

Water from a rill, muffled,
    (but to the roots in drink),
           flows to the family
    of the haggard house
(Given long ago to the mountain's claim)
By a hose hung above the road,
     Heralding to the different whispered screams
           of four-wheel drives
With faces in the mask of coal.

And the mother's mother's mother
hollering out mistimed notes
To the Bartlick Chapel walls
             Is sung to by just the ghosts in the pews.

life in death

the fungus discovers its life
in the death of others

onto the future

into the sun,
leaving the past to history,
its memory colored and skewed.

Casting a shadow,
and  what will become of it?
What will be its legacy?

a certain irony

Monday, December 5, 2011

hope peeking around

the darkness attempts to occlude hope.
and we envision  hope as distant,
teasing  us on the eastern shore.
but hope spreads itself upon
the mirrored water,
quietly reaching into the night.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

yea, that's right....
it's been a bad day...
nothing to see here people.
just keep moving

A broken bridge

A bridge broken, left to its demise
with little purpose
as the morning fog lends
even more mystery.
Once carrying hopes across
the banks of the Tugaloo,
now it only rusts and gives up to time,
leaving fisherman with
a pier to catch the
elusive dreams.
So sadly, it reminds us of many of our dreams,
cut off in the middle,
no way to reach the other side.
Yet, it refuses to succumb,
and ever aches for the absent span,
that hopes may be seen through
to their fulfillment...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Biloxi, circa 1977

    Wednesday Evening on Biloxi Beach

The sun relinquishes its burning grasp
On the beach of Biloxi.
On an easing wind southerly,
Floats the last low gasps
From the swimmer trodding ashore
              east of Buena Vista.
A tourist, relaxing on a renovated pier,
Looks at the last of the sun and lapses
             into a maundering mood,
Understanding that a life must not be lived out within a day.
An O"Day grabs the last shreds of wind
As it enters the Biloxi harbor.
Butch waves a parting to Al aboard the Bristol 27,
              ending the informal race.

The western sands of Deer Island accuse like a finger
           as the sun dies with its sins.

In the gray after  of the sunset,
A girl, in cut-off jeans and a halter,
And her Irish Setter walk near
           the Lighthouse of Biloxi;
And wavelets cuddle up onto the beach,
Resembling a tired child lying down to rest
            having been in the sun since morning.
A mullet flings itself from the Sound
            as if in a final salute.
      Its scales glisten in the lights of land.

And now, some diners on Fisherman's Wharf
Tell of being hard aground
Out at Ship Island and mutter curses
                   at "shifting sands."

From the long past

        Remnant of the Broken Past
                              (210 Mason Court)

And I become aware of the musty odor lingering
               in the shadowed room;
The bare pieces of scant furniture being eclipsed
        by the somber dimness of the stale shadows.

I am before a smudged window-
       various prints proclaiming their past
                         presence here.
Threadbare curtains-once of flowering color-
       hang...testimony of the proceeding.
The dull glow of the sun hangs precariously
                   above the pecans and pines.
          Night steals forward from the east,
                   quickly enveloping the household.

I stand, hands clenched behind behind my back,
       and sadly look around at the unkempt room-
                    the dust and the cobwebs
               collecting and collecting.
And the years of strain are telling their tale on my face.

---But the ones outside go on unseeing, unfeeling...
    And I am here.

Ernie, 1978

uh, stirring the pot a little...

A bacon bazooka!  How awesome!
Maybe this could be the secret weapon  to end the
Islamic terrorists attacks.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bear Killer

I am the baddest 2 pounds
of flesh you'll ever meet.
My name is Cami,
But they call me
"Bear Killer"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

With the therapist this last weekend

                 July Night on the Tallulah

Twilight timidly exits the confined valley,
Never sure if it's part of dusk or night.
An ascending cacophony of cicadas
Announce the arrival of the ever-confident night.
         But the Tallulah ignores them  both
         As it cuts its course down to the Tugaloo.
Irregular boulders of quartz and granite,
         spastically positioned by some ancient
Attempt to thwart the river so as to stumble
        in its relentless way.
But the river chortles as it washes by them.
       (Even at the dams, it heartily laughs...)

The hatcheted trunks of the old hemlocks
And the blossoms of the mountain laurel
Are cast in a subdued manner
By the flickering orange glow
       of the small campfire.
Seated, somewhat away from the fire,
Is a lone man of middle years
       who ponders and remembers.
The night, ever self-absorbed,
Attempts to muscle its way
       into the light of the campfire.
The bearded man notices and grunts
As he gets up to add deliberately
             more varied sticks to the fire.

The hyper-active river never seems to tire
       in its relentless journey,
In contrast to the lightly gray-haired man
                    Whose shoulders are slumped.
As a smile uncertainly sneaks
              onto his bearded face,
The constellations peek through the canopy
Of eastern whites, red oaks, and hemlocks
              at the man near the fire.

The lone man wonders about events in his life
        And how all would be changed
If he had made different choices.
            No...He would not be here now
        Listening to the whippoorwill
        across the narrow and tree-skirted river-
Always single-minded in its quest.

Every choice has a consequence,
             an outcome or direction.
So, the question  is set before the man
                       by the River,
"Will you be single-minded as I,
Or will you become duplicitous
          as the night and day, ever changing?"

Startled, the lone man frowns reflectively
                 at the question
While the parasitic fire endeavors
                 to entrance him.
The choice is as always:  Thinking of Home...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bacon isn't just about good taste
it's about smart choices as well.

On the way to Bruce Creek

the shadows of the mind
are driven away by the

From West Virginia

                                     Highway 611

The clouds of dawn weigh
       thick in the heights,
    misting the pre-hours to dawn
                             at Bartlick Chapel.

The road whines the miles to Haysi;
       and the grind of a coal truck,
       through eighteen gears,
Bloated with Clinchfield Coal
Troubles my sleep.

And from a corner,
       edged abruptly from the cliff
             three miles from town,
"Walkin' Tall #1"
Became a phantom to the dawn...
 Words to Deer Island

Here are some words written...

The sun lay without words on the pier
        with only waves of sand at the pilings.
A ramshackle hut,
        within only cobwebs of bitter dusk,
    Falls into the marsh;
And a raccoon,
        unseen on a path,
   Finds a key to the lock on the door-
        but leaves it aside...

A youth walks the beach in search of shells
        washed up by the ceaseless tides,
but they only bring  driftwood from forgotten days
        claimed by the sea
                           the year of '69.

The trees are alight
       (as trees prior to an unnoticed death)
In the amber hue of the slipping sun;
And the sight offers but an emptiness.
western Deer stabs the sun;
       yet, an Islander eases eastward
    on the evening's whispered wind.

Eastern Deer lay to the shadows
       born by today;
And a campfire is to the eyes
       a hope for tomorrow.

By me...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


                 To the Sky

The wind is in the trees
Tickling the fresh leaves
Until they giggle and laugh.
Sunday basks under the Spring sun,
And here is a poem I write just for you.

On the low breeze is a butterfly
Fluttering among the flowering
Rose mallows young in the spring.
Roanoke bells, amidst the tall mallows,
Stir lightly under the warming dawn
Climbing out from the southern forest.
A creek is seemingly without thought,
And the forest, gowned in Spring's
    resplendence unparalleled,
Just chuckles.

To the sky calm in blue,
This, I write just for you.

Ernie, 1975

time travel

                       "Destiny's" Nervous Sleep....

A barnacle encrusted hull lies almost submerged;
The white paint has peeled away
And the timeless timbers decay.
Broken ribs jut out from the dark Grand Lake waters,
Splintered planks hang in abandoned way.
The glass is gone from the wheel house-
Bayou darkness looks out through the cracked frames...

Breaking apart while at rest on the soft mud bottom,
The stern is consumed by the shallow depth.
The starboard deck sags under its dead weight;
Dry-rot lines, parted lines, green-slimy lines
Lie about the hulk- their services rendered no more.
Weeds collect around the withering bow.
Held to the weathered cabin by the lower hinge
           is the cracked companion way door.
A fishing net hangs over the port side near mid-ship;
A winch on the fore-deck is but rust.
She lists to starboard....gaping holes,
And we see the death inside-
           the rancid odor of decay scorches our senses.
But the water moccasin awaits.

Ernie, 1976

This won 1976 statewide poetry contest for high schoolers


All alone by the sputtering flame-
      wisps of flame licking the charred hearth;
And I listen to the subtle static of the fire...
      I gaze blankly at the bricks of the fire side...
          watching them fade into a gray mist
      and reappear- always wearing a different guise;
          but they always return to a fluttering, formless
              figuration of an apathetic life.

Reclined in a worn wooden chair,
       relaxed in an easy manner,
Just thinking, thinking about the opportunities...

The stars have been shining for hours now,
       acclaiming their vast accomplishments.
The curtain less windows allow the faint candle light
       to play with the shadows of the muddied road-
   Peace is disturbed by the grumbling of a hundred toads...
I sigh and revert my vacant stare
To the few fingers of orange flame
       that still valiantly fight their irreversible doom;
And I seem to hear the cries of the cindery remains of the oak logs-
Or are they just echoes of my own unbreathed calls?

Ernie, spring 1976

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

                To a Time to Come                      (1-13-05)

A pasture full of green,
            though it be January's time,
            listlessly lays between the shoulders of two  broken ridges
That scratch the bloated bellies of the clouds gray with cold mist.
A split rail fence borders the creek that hurries
            over and around the rocks
            as it adventures to warmer lands.
Moss covers much of the old fence
Just as a five day old beard on the face of the old man
With his arthritic hands troubling to grasp the splitting maul.

Lifting his eyes from the task, he looks beyond....
            out to the fence, and remembers the slim, curly-girl brunette
            in her jeans and purple blouse.
She always looked up past the clouds,
While he just looked at the clouds and their stunning and artful forms.

That's a tear and not sweat as he thinks back to Senegal, India
            and six lively ones.
He smiles as he thinks of how she hated the cold
            and then frowns in perplexity
As he comes back to this January time
            and remembers that she's inside by the hearth
            sipping her Earl Grey.
She hates the cold; but she's here....

He never could grasp the fact that she loved him-even today.
His old mind still cannot clutch hold of that truth.
Still faithful.
Still loyal....

Grabbing an arm load of fire wood, he stumbles up the steps to her...
            It's the best he can do.
He knows he has failed her in his love
            When she asked to go south,
            by the beach toyed with by the Gulf waves...
And he hung his head and said he couldn't.

She doesn't rearrange the house like she used to....
What once frustrated him, he now misses.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tallulah river

When peace like a river...

Train trestle

History cut off abruptly
and left hanging.
But is it prophetic?

Now left simply as a reminder of how this young country
expanded so quickly.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

still another link

And I thought I was doing good being able to blow one pathetic bubble.
This guy is incredible about blowing bubbles.

another link

Information that will change your life:  the answer we have all wanted
to why fingers wrinkle when they get wet.


Creative alternatives to conventional transportation:

A bridge near by

Note the flotsam jammed
up in the bottom side of
the bridge.
The bridge is about 12 feet
above the North Fork
Broad River
                                                               And where shall I go?
                                                               And is this all that remains
                                                               As my way to get there?

              A purpose in the past,
              But now it lies by-passed
              And left as a causeway
              For the consuming foliage.
              Cast in broken disarray
              Over the North Fork,
              Riveted steel in bent way
              Rusts in Time's passage
              In it's sorrowful ending day.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sunrise at Spring Branch, June 2011

A serenity drifts lazily by
Noticing the fresh sun
Bringing a new set of promises.

A distressed state of age

There's more to be said here.  I'll have to come back to it later.

Kayaking on Lake Yonah, today....

This is my dad...he's 81. He loves to kayak. Heck, he loves the water,
always has, always will.  From one end of the lake to the other is
2 1/2 miles. So that's a 5 mile round trip in 95 degree temperature.
I worked to keep up with him.  He said he was trying to keep up with
me....(He was just being nice.)
There are very few men over 80 who are in as good shape as he is.
It drives him crazy that he's "slowing down".  You're 81, Dad.  It's
ok.  I figure if I live to be 81, I hope I have at least half the endurance
that he has.  He's awesome.

The piano player

When she plays

Sometimes she peeks around the notes,
            checking  to see who is there.
Then there are times as you carefully listen
            you can hear her heart whisper
            amongst the varied notes.
It's not her fingers that play the keys
            but it is her heart.
One can hear her very life begin to pour
            itself into the notes and around the notes.
Her heart gives the music life, giving it
            a resonating beauty.
Her sorrows and joys flesh out the keys,
            causing the music to burst
            even as a flood that rolls through
            the valley and then subsides;
But her music springs forth life and peace
            washing the worried soul of its cares
            leaving one quiet and rested.

And so I sit, trying not to be noticed,
            enjoying this rendition of her soul.
A time to treasure and remember to the very end....

Dad,  February 23, 2008

Thursday, July 7, 2011


"Either you love bacon or you're wrong."
Truer words could never have been spoken.
I only regret that I did not come up with such
profound wisdom.

Just a barn, or is it?

It's not just a barn ready to collapse on itself
from years of use and misuse.
It is the bookmark of an era, a culture,
that is gone--the aspirations and promises
of farmers and families.
Of those, we can only dream and speculate.

A Barn

Even in an end, the sun still shines

It's how we look at it

Shards of the memory
(Shards carelessly grabbed cut deeply;
            but carefully held to the light reveal moments of luster.)

In the light of the red autumn day's end,
Gathered wistfully are the shards of the memory
                        of a friend.
Brush strokes of gold accent the forest green walls
As the sun sighs and nestles in the valleys to the west.
Looking through a small glass, the drink nearly gone,
(The young girls and their belly shirts wanting to be loved
                        but only being noticed),
I devote remembering to her, the only one
                        of the twenty five years
            who endeavored through all to become my
            one true friend.

Considering our youth that has slyly slipped out
            the mud room door, and with raised eyebrow,
            I look down upon my sunken chest
            and chortle as I still grapple with the weights
            of the days, not wanting to be "shown up" by my son.
Yet, she strokes my stomach, but more like the Buddhist who
            rubs the belly of Buddha.

Scars are memorials of history; But how we remember
            divides or unites.
Viewing them often causes within a repulsion
            because of our presumptive filters.
But consider the burl of the elm or the mountain range (the evidence
                        of colliding tectonic plates),
            or the gorge cut by the river.

Of the six, only one was in a hurry.
 And the long nights of coughs, ending with two bundles
                        on the screen porch.
The capture of time is an elusive gambit.
In the end, it is time that has placed its bonds on us.

stirring the pot just a little

So, what do you all think?
Why is the field of obstetrics overwhelmingly comprised
of men? And why would a guy want to be a gynecologist
either?  Let me know what you all think..

Sometimes, life is just ugly

On the 27th of July

An ugliness mounted its assault,
leaving in its past a confused chaos.
Smoking embers of a life amid
muffled cries of depression are all that's left.
Discordant whimpers rise from the desolation of the one
in lonely isolation.
The reports seem preposterous. 
Can they not be true?
A darkness wraps itself around
The refuse heaped on the ground.
The sun is gone and even weariness is used up.
Even the strength of prayer founders,
losing the battle to the grotesquely formed
branches of the long dead hickory tree.
And all that is heard is a mocking laughter
Perched on the unfriendly horizon.

Disturbing images

When I stumbled into my bathroom the other night to shower off the
grime of a hot and hard day, I was met with this disturbing sight:

No....they do not belong to my daughters.  And lose the absurd question:
"Then do they....ummmm....belong to his ...ahhh...sons?"
That leaves only one other person in my house.
My wife.
Anyway, to say the least, I was very disturbed.
As I walked back out to the kitchen to get my phone to take
a picture, my wife was sitting on the sofa talking to a friend.
Without looking at her, I walked by and simply said,
"That's disturbing."
She and her friend knew exactly what I was talking about
and both laughed.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lightening: 1
Pecan Tree:  0


There's a dog following this blog.  I'm glad I'm not doing this
for my ego because I would be totally  crushed right now.
So why am I doing this blog?  Well, mostly something to help
occupy my time when I can't sleep.
Maybe more on that another time.


Probably the most brilliant and creative comics ever written, and most
intellectually stimulating:  Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, and Bloom
Doonesbury is so over-rated and very shallow.

The train trestle

The trestle, once a powerful symbol
Of the irrepressible expansion
         of a young country,
Remains but a strange monument
Cut off from the railway system:
No tracks leading to it
And its span abruptly ending
As a dream upon one's awakening.