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.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Wednesday, the fifth...concerning the 27th

Wednesday happened along in a somewhat pre-arranged way,
            not necessarily happy about it.
The sun stumbled, like a drunk with a hangover, across the cluttered sky.
And a man, perplexed, looked around and wondered why...
A squirrel pranced in front of an on-coming van, failing to grasp
            the physics of the moment.
The radio blathered mind-numbing non-sensical noise
And I've given up trying to figure out if it means anything.

Trouble arrays itself, encompassing one's life---gone is the laugh.
"Maybe's" are never enough to hold onto, and I wonder what it means
            To hold onto Jesus when muddy tears replace the eyes' gleam.
Sorrow never leaves its old haunts'
And misery, though so gaunt, remains a stalwart foe.
Fear casts its cloak around my shoulders as I slog        
            through the foggy cypress swamp.
The stinking black mud imperils each footstep,
            as I furtively glance back for the coming alligators.
Exhaustion cuffs me upside my head, throwing me into the muck
            like a discarded rag doll.
The fear of what is behind drives me on as I grab for a log,
            dragging myself into a thicket of grass, hoping to
            hide from the assailants
            only to find that I have disturbed an alligator nest....
Get up.....Get up.....Get up!  I have to find my way back.
            They still need me.

Is that a lantern glowing  on the fern-dressed  ridge?
What!?  A beautiful lady in lively colors
            holding high the light? 
Her features are smooth and clear.
            (does she not know the dangers here?)
She fastens her eyes on me and now a smile appears.
Gasping through parched lips, I will my wearied muscles
            to ignore the pain of the cuts and bruises
            and drag my remnants amidst the tangled undergrowth,
            bringing my reviled self to her feet.
I weep as my wife kneels down and holds my swamp-encrusted
            body to her chest as she whispers,
And from her heart spill tears that wash my face....
To A Pearl on Her Seventeenth

The prevailing Georgia dust mushrooms up behind the Accord
            until a westerly seizes upon it and sweeps it on over the
            east side of the Habersham dirt road.
As we curl around a wooded bend, we see an old house, long
            ago left to itself.
            The sill plate grievously bows down between the rock
            pillars.  It seems that the years have played with the rocks
            just as a mischievous child might take  things from where
            they belong  and scatter them about. 
Oddly, the yard has been kept cut, even though there are stones
            tossed here and there and dead oak branches are littered
            about like battlefield casualties.
The house looks like it gave up on the idea of paint about the time
            I was born back in '59.  Only chards of glass occupy the
            windows and the tin roof, where it still clings to the trusses,
            has turned to a bitter shade of brown.

The early spring sky is brushed with a light blue,
Set against the fresh green of the leaves of oaks and poplars,
Hickorys and walnuts.
We pull up by the field fence that bars any from coming too close
To the memories.
My girl gets out and begins framing the scene for some pictures.

I love watching her and it's a time I will sorely miss when she gets
            all grown up and has to move on with her future.
We both make mention about the same time concerning the baby doll
            lying in the front yard, off the northwest corner of the house.
The doll is fairly new; it must be a recent addition of the years.
It has no clothes and is lying face up, staring at the open heavens.
Such a contrasting sight amid the rubble and hapless refuse strewn
            about by the years, now very silent.....

The back of the hundred year old house is nearly broken and its ribs
            show like that of an emaciated horse precipitously close to
            its own demise.
Yet, the doll lies quietly and seems to wait for some little girl to pick
            her up; but the fence keeps all out.

We finish and return to the Honda and trail behind us the cloud
            of Georgia dust.
I wonder," Who was the baby doll calling out to?"  A tear fights
            to make itself known, but I hide it from my Pearl, my
            dreamer, my once little girl.

I love you, Alyssa,
Dad                              August 3, 2005