003 First Draft

god’s “Amazing Grace” 

Aunt Gracie doesn’t believe in television

We have to keep it turned off when she visits

She also doesn’t show her legs, or cut her hair

She needs to keep it long to wash Uncle Don’s feet in Heaven

At least that’s what she says


Aunt Gracie only visits when it’s raining a month after your birthday

When she comes I have to cover up and watch my mouth

She brings gifts of homemade preserves and cinnamon bread

You can taste her sincerity in her cooking just as you can see her faith her in eyes

When she says “I’m praying for you” you actually believe it

Even if you have been raised to believe nothing at all


Aunt Gracie is younger then Grandma but looks 20 years older

Her skin leather tough and calloused from the hard life Grandma ran from

Aunt Gracie works the farm, and smuggles Bibles into Russia

Grandma is on her second vodka soaked husband and works for the IRS

Aunt Gracie has only ever loved Uncle Don, second to her God


Aunt Gracie has seen all the dirt villages of the world and has [seen] her faith

She takes her first family on a mission to Japan

and loses all 4 of her children when her boat capsizes

She doesn’t grieve them but celebrates them with a prayer and a potato salad picnic

god needed them more than she did

At least that’s what she says


Aunt Gracie is an angel my father believed

How could she not be after facing so much loss?

But I wonder how anyone could be so selfless

My father dies and I can’t even look at her smile or amen’s

On her knees with the clasping of wrinkled hands she justifies gods plan once again


Aunt Gracie sings her praise at another funeral

This time it is my family that her God needed more

She has her faith and I have my anger

Who will wash a [non believers] feet in heaven?

I can’t even believe in her anymore

Not even in god’s “Amazing Grace”





002 First Draft

A hideaway from reality-hop in and escape your life

A fleeting moment, just this once

Bee-stung lips devour my conscience

Roaming hands, razor burn, that familiar scent

Motor oil, dryer sheets, Irish Spring and spearmint


An awakened sensation long forgotten

A piece of history, just this once

Reminiscence clouds my judgment

Our past, our present, my future without you

Goosebumps, butterflies, tingles and everything


Eyes wide open even when shut-piercing into my soul

Recognizing all of you, just this once

A smile that penetrates my tears

A face that captures all that life should be, and all it shouldn’t

Lines of laughter, calloused fingertips, shoulders strong holding the world


A tether to my sanity-tie to my wrist who I used to be

An ease like a summer’s day, just this once

Arms wrapped so tightly remove the pins and needles

Comfortable silence, nothing forced, like going home

A worn t-shirt, my favorite song, a memorized map to treasure


A hideaway from reality-hop in and escape your life

Just this once.


001 First Draft

Between A Laugh & A Tear 

Fingers tracing alabaster piano keys

Alternating top notes in melody

My little child hand over your composition

A pitch so high my tip-toes could not reach


Never without a tool of lullaby awaiting your creative

Or notes circulating through your conscious

The looks, the status, the sound

Talent so raw burning the skin like salty streams


But the coda ends the dream,

Begins a broken heart


Secondhand loves overturn amplified noise

Laughter breaks through the principle drum beat

Lyrics made to accompany 10 strings guitars lost to suites and ties

Your star shine glimmer decrescendos to a whisper


A life once dedicated to a young man’s song

Decimated to a room with a view of empty sheet music