The Naked Truth

There was a time, in the growing up
Of boys, immature, that naked
Was a funny word, a funny thought,
Before the days it began to imply
Things it oughtn't, for we all owned it,
In a sense, and we would sit around,
Boys, in the calm of late night
And early morning and joke about
Every man naked under his clothes.
We said it because of it's truth;
Clothers were but a cover-up
For our innate nakedness,
The plight of mankind, eternally naked
And needing to cover it, and the elders
Somehow heard of our jesting
And thought it course and, of all things,
Immature (for we were, and how
They thought otherwise will forver be
Unknown). What followed were reprimands
And talkings-to and other nonsense.
After all, what's so wrong
With an observation of the obvious?
I wonder now if there weren't
Denial in their accusations,
But we knew, under all their fine
Garments and window dressings,
Their were naked men, as afraid
Of exposure as anyone.
It strikes me as odd that
Even out leaders refuse that
Which is common to us all.
That is not to suggest
That I think we should all be naked
All the time, rather, that it ought
In some manner, to be discussed,
Because hiding it won't remove it,
Ignoring it won't destroy it,
And there are some who falter
At the realization of their nakedness,
Of their humanity, and think
That they are utterly alone in it,
As if we all were somehow a part
Of our clothers and owned
No true flesh, no nakedness,
And they fear to be exposed
For the abnormals they suppose they are.
It's not that we ought
To dump our garbage
On a Sunday morning alter,
Or stand at the pulpit
Before the congregation unadorned,
But these facts of flesh,
Of mortality that we all share
Ought to be shared to overcome it,
Fight it, to realize we really are the same.
A wise man once said:
"There's something about being naked
With a group of guys
That opens you up to a new level
Of relationship with them."
It's the comfort we take in what
We all share, but there are always
Elders and those who condemn
What they themselves have
But refuse to speak of,
And there's nothing to do
But pretend back which is why
We'll all continue simply
To be naked under our clothes,
Until one finds the courage
To step, naked, out of line,
And deal with it.

Simon Peter

I hear roosters in the distance,
And I can feel my weight sway
On the loose footing,
Like sand washing up in the tide,
And I fight it;
I fight the moon and its gravity,
And the changing winds
That whisper, in the distance,
Of coming storms.
A denial for every day in the grave
Or, perhaps, a day in the grave
For every denial.
I might as well be buried now,
Alive or dying,
Headstone reading: "Simon -
The house on the ocean,"
For I am too good even for sand.
Is there sarcasm in a name?
I'm sure he felt it so,
As he sank into the water,
His eyes turned from salvation.
Of all the names . . .
And he must have wondered,
As I often do,
What rock feels like under the feet,
At the equating of houses and faith,
At the wise men, unswept away.
Were they the crumb in the corner
That God couldn't reach,
Or were they just well-hidden,
Transparent to reveal only linoleum?
I wonder if they build
Sand castles in Israel
And what they call them,
For I feel no part my name,
As Doubt becoming Rock,
And think perhaps a rename
Would be appropriate,
If I could only pinpoint
My exact inadequacies
And weep bitterly at my weakness,
Which is not at all Manly,
And I wonder at the irony
Of such a name, a part
I can't act well it seems,
At least, not when it seems to matter.


In the drown of turbulence
Coexisting in me,
I can frame perhaps
Three entire entities,
Speaking each from what they want,
And I drunkenly stumble,
At times, separating them,
Not knowing which movement
Fills which pigeon hole.
No amount of experience
Makes this easier.
You tell me you are you,
But for that, I am me,
And even you are a part of me
Yet saying you are different.
Be more vague
And maybe I will
Accurately dissect you from myself.
It is delicate - loosening
The unidentified tongue,
Trusting it harbors no venom.
But I wonder if I myself
Am venom, or some resemblance,
Because, without any great evil,
I am slowly poisoning
What I might have
Once called faith,
But now, for a lack
Of internal literacy,
It has lost its name,
And most value there equated.
Its depreciation is measured
In doubts and lack of common sense.
I wish I could say
You rang more clearly,
But my own bias
Has clouded more than one
Evening sky. One would think
Deception a sharper tone,
Or self a king
Unmuddled in a crowd,
But all voices seem
Equally frappéed into a mess
That spills, nearly daily,
Over my future, staining it
With a tint of helplessness.
When help comes
In punctuated spoonfuls,
Half a year outbids
All ocean beds,
And I really do wonder
At myself, and whether
I made it all up.


Graves afford ease,
for any who want it,
those who let dirt
house their sloth,
let grass gwo
as crowns to
their apathy,
and somewhere
a newspaper is printing
a nameless obituary,
a morgue tags a toe
an autopsy reveals
death comes to all,
but not when
or how or why.
And why would
we speak of it?
Our epitaph's
are expendable
because we all
carry them
and there is no cure
that words can conjure
for them.
So we'll continue to die
in silence,
from mute voices
or deaf ears,
each screaming
his own plea,
begging to be heard,
to be helped,
and so caught
as to distill
all others.
And we'll keep
playing house,
everything is okay,
waiting for our turn
to lie down
and die,
six feet beneath
an able and waiting

After Burning Burning Out

I saw them bury empty carcasses
of men in gluttonous earth with no regard
for the hearts once bespattered with their lives.

I was solemn
from the ascension
of variously colored souls,
men meeting God
in a bleeding hope,
and I groped,
in what seemed dark,
for a corpse to hold,
and I urged life,
prayed life,
with spirit laid on hands
and watched wounds open
to the searing eyes
they had hidden from.

I saw them glowing by the light of cedar
crosses, their silhouettes becoming res-
urrection on the boulder rolled away.

With suitcases
full of changes,
they left the week behind,
becoming, again,
the dead they were before,
and I wanted, harshly,
to grip their faces
with hypocritical hands
and shake them out
like a trampled rug.
What was it for
if not for real?
But I watched
the living
accept a path of death
not even placed before them.

I saw them shining like transfigured Jesus
on mountains each their own, refusing descent
when already they had fallen off.

In the end,
they dragged their soles
across the concrete
in apathy,
and I thought
what's not to care about?
So I stood,
my feet yoking with concrete,
utterly unaccepting
and, eventually, uncaring.
As I looked
up from the pit
I had fallen in,
I realized it was my own
and the death
that hung on their faces,
gripped at mine.

I saw myself marching with them into
graves pre-labeled, one for each, a dis-
tant look upon my face from falling short.



Smooth the varitone melodies of my heart
to one concordant hymn of praise
and quell my trite augmented roots
that sting with intoned inelequence.
Flay my weathered scales of forged remorse,
contrition tempering dischordation
and burying octave differences
behind the composition's frame.
Beach the tremolo of weary pitch
and bring me to a coda's rest
where hallelujahs spring from key
and not from sour dissonance.
Bathe this stagnant opus in the gleam
of absolute resolve from tense
suspension, hanging dominant
in verse with vast diminished fear
And raze crescendoed appetites of songs
in tenor and in tune amiss
and bleeding out the tempo of
the only metronome of worth.

The Walnut Tree

Is a home dependent on unbroken?
Does rain fall on no particular roof?

He came arrayed in water
wanting my mother to adjust
(beating hard on the windows
wanting in)
a flower girls dress
the dress was in the car,
the man was in the house,
the storm was inbetween
and it flexed unanticipated
muscles; out lights flickered;
thoughts flickered -

he mentioned the tree to be
chopped down, walnut,
(huricanic anger
wanted the tree)
and growing in the front yard,
if it didn't fell itself
in surrender to torrent
and tempest,
and at camps and even
in Europe, hand met hand
protesting the fall of the house
of squirrels -
(and it huffed
and it puffed
but it was the big tree
that could
and it fought,
huffing and puffing itself,
against the surrender
of altitude.)

It may fall, he committed,
but he, and other fretting minds,
hoped walnut could with-
stand weather,
could play its war games better,
could find a faster route
(surrender might mean suffrage
in that house, for rain)
to checkmate, even to stalemate,
extra fire wood found in the yard
or on the trampoline even,
but if it weakened
it would still outstrength
shingles and hardwood blueprints,
if the hand of unknown gods
or unknown fates so guided -
(it hungered for that roof
it strove to smite
the shepherd's sanctuary
only a driveway

I saw later, the tree
still standing, that the dagger
could have reached the heart,
plunged with a cold, wet hand
and twisted,
(its legs were too strong
that day)
removing tissue and blood
and leaving an open wound
that future foes would squirt
lemon juice in, insult
to injury, wet furniture
to orificed roof, no mercy
for the family inheriting
an ill-placed walnut tree,
but ill-placed, apparently,
has no bone with ill-tempered,
(it stands and waits
to be tested again
and the family prays
because it still stands,
and will until blooming
(until chainsaws and
labor crews
sound its demise with)



In the eternal frolic of sun and moon
Breathes the drench of hunger,
Caressing between desire and passion
A bottomless gleam.
I remember dreams of morning,
Gentle and island kissed
By an evening smile,
And I remember the flicker
Of entwined fire,
Wedding the whisper of blood and angel.
Sleep is a perfume wanting the flesh
Of beds and candles.
It worships wine doves
And haunts chocolate drunkenness
With a mating of love and luck.
Some gods bleed champagne;
Others devour vast bouquets,
But they all cherish the glisten
Of life unwound to naked,
The unleavened loaves of forever’s skin.