Today’s Lesson: United We Stand [140922]

It is amazing what two people can accomplish together. I have had many victories this year… both career successes and many personal successes. I was reflecting on the year so far today, and I realized all the biggest wins in my life (this year and throughout my life) have been with the support and partnership of someone else.


Some random successes that popped into my head were when I was younger and writing lyrics for local singers. That success came because a coworker read my poetry and demanded I take it to her producer friend. It was a great partnership but I would never have gone down that path without her.


Achieving my black belt–especially when it became a personally difficult choice–came because my long-time friend and teacher, Shihan (Master) Peterson, was behind me the whole way, telling me I could do more than I ever thought I could, and then showing me it was true! Moving to Grand Rapids on the tail of a failed career, divorce, and financial ruin could never have happened without the loving support of my brother, Milo. He quite literally dropped everything to make sure I had what I needed to succeed.


It is hard to imagine how I would have succeeded in many areas without someone else there to hold me up, hold me accountable, or sometimes just help me hold it together. All my successes happened with partners. On the other hand, all my biggest failures happened alone (divorce, trying to go into business for myself by myself, bankruptcy… all the bad stuff was with the help of me, myself, and I).


Looking at whatever you are trying to accomplish right now, pause and make sure you have a partner. In a world as complex and chaotic as ours is, you can probably find a way to go it alone, but I can tell you unequivocally it is easier, and more fun, to have a partner in crime.


(But, of course, don’t actually commit crimes. Hopefully both you and your partner are not that dumb…)




The Rusted Key

In the palm of her hand

between trails of geometry and ravines and lines that could map the surface of Mars

The rusted key idly waits for a destiny unrequited.

No, neglected, pushed into the corner of a dark chamber

in a hall of chambers and dark corners

in her mind.


The rusted key was mine.


The lock, an intricate series of oiled steel pins poised and positioned,

waiting for the mission, a call to action… that never comes.

Maybe they are waiting still… a memory of something kept until…


They are aging, once slick and smooth pistons separating oil into constituent pools

of water and sludge

in a dark chamber in a hall of dark chambers

in her mind.


Nearly a perfect pirouette of legs and charm

she slips into the arms of a kiln-fired body

essentially a ceramic toy she can smash with a word

–a sword, a single cut to shatter an illusion of courage.

She could make him drink razor blades.

And the fool would never know her final name.


But bliss drives ignorance

and as you know, when we ignore the evidence

then the evident hides in a dark corner of a locked chamber

in a dark hall of dark chambers

pushed from the abuse of razor blades and illusions

held in her mind.


Like all great magicians and mistresses,

as they dance in a bright ballroom

the ceramic boy and this pirouetting marionette

pretend they are heroes of a kind

in fine gowns and trussed up columns,

He says, “The light is the moon.”

She says, “Then it is the moon, dear”

and as they sway from one end of the hall to another,

he never notices the rusted key,

slipping from one hand to the other.



Beautiful Lie

Your breath is a brush of kindness

—the last ember

—the fading warmth of dusk

that ends the kiss.

In candlewax, a teardrop

on your cheek,

Then my lips

taste saltwater sugar.

Then your lips taste

honor and soil,

our lips…

bitter betrayal dirty fingernails musky sex and morning dew

Before dawn

dries it all away,

Before the rest of the world knew

it was ever that beautiful.

A glimpse of you shimmers

in my palm

while I raise a puddle to my lips

to keep the tears we lost

Before the breath is gone

I close my eyes and breathe in

the last of us.

We knew it had to end, but

it was a beautiful lie.



The Sweetest Crumb

The sweetest crumb of my torture

is to remember the flame before it burned


The searing lash

of every kiss, a blister for every wound

every flicker inside

before it was mine.

Every inch in     every space given

or taken

glows on my skin where lava trails

fill the veins who went there.

You say you like that it hurts me


that love remembered is etched in pain.

In pain? In stinging whip-cracks when it is given away.

I wonder if you will feel the same

when someone else is holding your whip.




That Was October

Night was falling with the Autumn leaves

but in that moment, time stopped

and we lived in that pause

between breaths,

in the skip of a heartbeat.

We lived dreamily

after the smack of a kiss…


Autumn leaves waited for the chill of night

but in that moment, we lived

in the space between palms,

clasped together,

and never felt cold.



Obsession To Possession

I wait to feel her cool bare feet, crossed, resting lazily on my thigh.

I wait to trace a trail of mystic birds migrating across her naked shoulder. I turn my Self to smoke and wait for her to slowly… to slowly inhale.

I wait to softly, to softly place my lips on the tender curve of her neck like a wish, there and lost in the same breath.


I wait, oh I wait… to coil

around her hot spine and peer into her dreams,

to press the weight of my arm against her chest and pull her close as she easily rests, as she lazily wrests…

in slumber.


I wait… patiently? No, no… I wait, still, still… curious in motion, a pause in action,

waiting for momentum to play that moment that changes everything


from Obsession to Possession.



Last Echo of Night

(I am the Word of God, if a god you need.

I am the last religion you’ll seek, the author and interpreter of your original sin.

I only gave you free will so you would learn to return it to me.

To bend you like the willow, to teach you like a child, to honor thy word

like a hero.

To heed me, as rain to thunder, as smoke to purifying sage, leaving the history of us

smudged on your skin, as fleeting as my whisper to)


Time. Space

separates us

from the dark lilt of your voice,

the light tilt of your head,

the curve of your neck,

that slightly familiar breath,

the sharp bite on your belly

when you sling aside

the curtain.

The moist warmth of kisses past,

between lovers,

passed beneath covers (which belong to me).


You ate the holy words

and I watch kingdoms fall

that should not have been summoned at all

to be trampled beneath your feet.


My words pause, patient but tense.

Whispers at your neck

nudged between the last echo of night

and first blink of sight.

There I wait,

waiting for you to dream,

so I can slip into your mouth

when you sleep.





It’s so fleeting life like leaves whisper across stones.

Sun gives life Fall leaves Summer. Sun takes life, leaves left drying, brittle and cold.

So fleeting too, days with you, left living all alone. Where leaves were scattered, now only stones.

Where once we lived, you are a memory I used to hold. I’m feeling older now. We told each other we’d live forever.

We’d grow old together, never bitter and cold. But you’re not coming home this time. “Forever” seems so long ago. We’re not out of time but there’s a lot less, I know.

We’ll never know each other, now, a lifetime ago. A reflection in a window… a man I used to know…

He looks so young but I’m looking older now.


O, Unchained

There is no wind. You know only…

my breath on your skin.

No sun, no warmth…but the heat of my body, a guide to your fingers.

No light; blindfolded.

You are blinded by dark matter,save for the radiant white of my irises

leading you, always.

The moon in each pupil

–A gift; a reflection of your alabaster heart in the dark matter.


Should the moon slip from your hands,

should it dip behind the clouds…

Such is prelude to punish you, as I must.

Don’t fear instruction;

it is mine to teach…


To make you yield,

to turn alabaster to cotton when you must kneel

and cotton to marble when you are to stand



It is mine to erase the arches of protest,

of your resistance–one by one–if necessary.

It is mine to chain you,

to bare the whip

as you bear the whip.

To make you listen

and hear your voice




the ballads and melodies of the hand you bit

and begged to kneel beside.


Come. now.


The hand you bite

has always been…

the hand that feeds you.



Washing Your Hair


It’s a silent observation reflected in snake-streams chasing your fingers,
Washing Your Hair

Was I there? On your mind? Or am I dried and dusty already?

Am I mud cakes crumbling under shower heads,

devolving to dirty rivers at your feet, dark rivulets around your toes?

Your dirtiness slides from the skin,

rinses away the places I’ve been.

Now we’ll see

what’s really underneath –



      pure skin?     Or…?

We could have been magnificent.
And we could have been