we start rolling

the window down

but stop

even though we have

some spare change

maybe we’re nervous


or simply embarrassed

by our good fortune

and during internal debate

the light turns green

so we just drive off

not wanting to cause a delay


Late Autumn (Homesickness)

November 22, 2017

ground so cold and hard

i recall my childhood bed

tucked in, prayers said

I, too, sing America.

When I was young I sang loudly.
I learned what they wanted, minded my manners, recited the pledge.
My white friends and I pedaled our bicycles through suburbia, swam the summer away, and sat in our air-conditioned homes watching MTV when the heat was simply too much to bear — sometimes it was so hot.
Just living the American dream…

Two decades passed and I wasn’t sure what had happened.
I had a wife and a mortgage, two kids and two cars.
My pockets were full but my stomach felt sick.
I was sleep-walking through life,
Just living the American dream…

Then, one day, I turned into the wind and woke with a start.
Dirt stung my face as I walked our gritty streets.
I saw people with dreams of their own —
Like living in that big house on the hill,
And driving that big fancy car,
And wearing those nice clothes that the pretty people wear in the magazines left in the trash cans.
Like finding a bite to eat and a way to make their children warm again — sometimes it gets so cold.
Yes, we all have an American dream…

So while I lost my faith, I found some purpose.
And tomorrow I will continue to trudge along, singing my song and trying to make some tiny difference.
Because I, too, sing America.
And I’m wide awake.

Autumn Leaves

January 5, 2016

seems most folks love the autumn leaves


“oh yeah, them’s real nice” I say with a smile

but mostly I’m just thinkin’ it means the cold is comin’

— and sooner than they know


them pretty leaves match the rust on the bridges and the dirty sky blends good with the streets ’round here

there’re nights when those streets are almost hot and you don’t even dream of a blanket

— but not this time a year


some afternoons the sun peaks through all them buildings and makes it clear to the ground

oh yeah I sit there in the warmth like a dog does when the sun pokes in the window of his house

— movin’ every so often til it can’t hit me no more


oh yeah I had a house once

wasn’t so great bein’ all cooped up like that

— stayed warm enough though that’s the truth


some won’t make it through when the winter hits full on

it takes a knack you know

a man needs more than smokes and somethin’ to drink

— but those sure help yes sir


ain’t no big deal I’ll be fine you watch

oh yeah

— I’m gonna have my spring again