Tag Archives: humanist


A man swings alone
in the park beside the library.
I wonder why he’s there.
The parking lot is empty.

The library doesn’t open for another hour.

I put Malcolm Gladwell in the drop box.
He’s been helping me understand the misunderstood.
He’s given me 6 hours of perspective
on how we see things incorrectly.
How we misconstrue the facts.

I want to ask the man
why he is swinging in the park alone.
I wonder if there’s a woman
he wishes he hadn’t lost.
I want to ask him what he did wrong.
Why she left.
I want to find out what his plans are
to get her back.

From my air-conditioned car
I watch him lower his hands and his head
as if he wouldn’t care if his body flopped over
onto the ground like a rag doll.

I diagnose him with a broken heart.

The man’s posture stiffens
and he drags his feet to force a stop.
He stands, turns, and suddenly becomes a teenager
who walks into the arms of a beautiful girl
who just walked into the scene
from god knows where.







God Talk

Of all places, a bar
the week after Easter
six women, six men
talking God, talking Jesus
recapping the resurrection
one of the men, of course,
doing most of the talking
and I was so close
I could reach out
and touch his clothes
if I wanted to,
if I wanted to
challenge that faith of his
if I wanted to
ask a few questions
about the mission
god had chosen for him
which was to spread
the Good News like butter
onto this bread of mine
to make sure every unbeliever
knew that an afterlife
was an option
in exchange for reason
in exchange for the kind of
common sense that says
you need to seek forgiveness
from whoever it was
you hurt, injured, or wronged
instead of from a man
who lived and died
fourteen hundred years
before the invention
of the printing press.
So instead of begging
for anyone’s pardon
I head for the door
that leads to a light so bright
it took ten million years more
than just one day to be created
and no one in the world
has ever existed
who I’d ask to pick up
and carry all my burdens
and while they’re at it
pay for my tab.





What I Want

Very little, really.
If one hundred years
is too much to ask
I’ll settle for another
four seasons
as long as I can live
the way I want to live
which is bravely
and in sharp contrast
to the years I’ve
timidly resigned myself
to the notion that
I am the one
who must be reliable
and predictable
while everyone else
spins out of control—
I want everything
that matters to me
to begin to matter—
I want to say no
to a brand new kitchen
and hardwood floors
and yes to the gardens
blooming large
in my imagination.
I want to say yes
to the mountains
that keep calling me
and offering insights
on the importance
of living with less—
on almost nothing.
And nothing
is what I want
from everyone today
because it’s exactly
what I’ve left to give.






Climate Change

You are a bird
so high above me
seeing it all
from your
god’s eye view
and making
fair judgments
about how best
to keep the sky
and the oceans
cool and contained
and I watch you
from below
with admiration
and reverence
while my ice
begins to melt
under your sun
and I am reduced
to burning carbon
and you are the one
to blame.






Too Much

You shouldn’t
say too much
about the way
you feel because
the way you feel
has nothing to do
with the promise
you made to
keep your distance
and let him be
alone in his empty
where his comfort
is in the ambient
sounds of trees
losing their limbs
and fox squirrels
chasing the simple
goals of their survival—

you are—
you don’t know
what you are
to him
except a warmth
he could live without
if you decided
your heart
would break apart
if you had to knock
on his door again
instead of it being
open wide
on the other side
of a welcome mat
with your name
on it—
perfectly legible
and bold.







Painting by Andrew Wyeth

The Truth

This is what
nobody tells you
most of the time
no one likes to admit
there is wiggle room
when it comes
to certain facts
about themselves—
or that maybe
love is really
the shortest
distance between
point A and point B
and straight lines
are simply the most
economic way
to get there.
Aren’t we taught
that the truth
is absolute
and righteous,
and that flux
and flexibility
are the enemies
of precision
and perfection?
All those religions
promise it’s something
worth betting
your sweet life on—
but I think
there’s only one thing
that can set us all free—
the only truth
that matters
is that there isn’t
only one.






“Figure at a Window” Salvador Dali, 1925


if we keep it this way—
you there and me here
by two cliffs
on the edge of reality—
one at your toes
and one at mine
so that the canyon
between us
can be a dumping ground
for the perfect
little daydreams you’re
starting to have
about me—
and I’ll never have to ask you
to explain yourself
if I invent every word
you ever say.