Be Careful What You Wish For – by Dan O’Neill
Reasons to Have a Happy Woman in Your Home – by the late Ron Naas
Eyes of the Circle – by Jim O’Neill
A Cocoon – A Story for Men – by Dave Clark
Where the lonely boy and the blindman touch – by George Montero
I’m Listening – by Doug St Amant
On the Death of My Dad – an anthology of scattered feelings – by Earl Vicknair
Farewell to the Big Easy – by Steve Lindsley
Men in Caves – by Rik B
Me and Leaves – by Rik B
Real Men – by Ron Naas
Stuff Only The Shadow Knows – by Ron Naas
My Mommy’s Blue and White Blanket – By Ron Naas
Come Autumn – By Ron Naas
I Have Dreams – By Malcolm Fugler
The Dump – by Malcolm Fugler
This Time, The Work – by Dan O’Neill
Sweat Lodge – by Ed Tedrow
Love and Grief – by Ed Tedrow
Ruff’s Grave – by Jim O’Neill
Stories – by Jim O’Neill
Remembering My Father – by Jim O’Neill
Tiger Dream – by Jim O’Neill
Gunshots At New Years – by Jim O’Neill
Winfried – by Rick Wadsworth
A Man Returns – by Rick Wadsworth
I Love Being A Man – by Rick Wadsworth
Doom and Oh No! – both by Homer Branch
Patience – by Charlie Fikes
Three Angry Men – by Stephen Hingle
We Can’t – by Stephen Hingle
Ode To My Piss- by Stephen Hingle
I wanted a nymphomaniac; I got a crazed woman.
I wanted enormous wealth; I got the fear of losing it.
I wanted to be admired and looked up to; I got put on a pedestal.
I wanted total control; I got blame for everything.
I wanted endless pleasure; I got tired of it.
I wanted to know it all; I got told things I wish I didn’t know.
I wanted to live forever; I got hooked up to a machine.
I wanted all the trouble and pain to end; I got death.
When you’ve a contented woman in your kitchen and you’ve amply praised
her baking, you’ll dream sweetly at night, knowing no knives of resentment are
glowing in the moonlight, no poisonous jelly quivers innocently in the refrigerator.
Treat her right and no last cup of tea will ever inflame your belly.
When you’ve a rested woman rustling inside your dome, you never lack
direction. Your old furniture is constantly being rearranged. “Your ego must be
moved into the corner, dear, she patiently reminds, “Or our guests will trip over its
octopus legs.” Once she’s soaped, squeezed, and de-fossilized your brain, once
she’s strung your soggy complexes between the poles, you no longer feel strange
fluttering there like a butterfly upon the clotheslines of change.
When you’ve an ambitious spouse busying herself inside your house, she
combs out the kinks of your burdensome rationality, straightens your curls of
delusion that you are godlike complete, and transplants your bald spots of
procrastination with thriving tropical flowers. Then, when people marvel at your
productivity, you can always claim your accomplishments were just good men folks ideas.
When you’ve a happy beloved roaming your heaven, though she moves
humbly from room to room, seeming not to listen to your lightening plans, please
remember she is also sister to the Darling Divine who lit the fuse to the Big Bang.
Though her hair is bound by a blue handkerchief and she hums your mother’s
favorite song, she simultaneously dusts the undersides of galaxies you never knew
existed. Thus She has the power to materialize any universe your dreams can
When you’ve a pleased goddess presiding in your palace, you wade knee
deep in the river of spirits who flow endlessly from her royal womb. Fear not when
statues whisper and fountains bubble with love’s green laughter. You’ll know the
peace that passes all understanding as she weaves the golden web whose strands
hold your exploding world in suspension.
When you’ve a blithe wife warming your bed, there’s no need to straddle
the edge like some bachelor playing with his ego. Join your lover in the multiple
middle, that place where legs and arms get crossed, separateness gets lost, passion
gives testimony to the wisdom of tangle and toss, and your hungry root swells into
the honey pot of its destiny.
When you’ve a wise Sophia brightening your workshop, your art prospers
and shines. Your desire to share and craft the naked light you feel opens the
cornucopia which once lay closed upon your bench. Out flow feathers drifting
toward the sacred stream, sails billowing to the other shore, your steeples pointing
to the stars of surprise. You savor unimaginable completion when your images,
like white stone steps winding through a meadow, lead people to paradise.
When you’ve a happy woman in your tub, fishes forever swim in your soap
dishes, and fear slips away as you lay between the portal of her sudsy breasts.
Soaking in that holy water which embraces both weakness and strength, ego and
eternity, your staff and her burning bush, you realize you are immortal.
When we turn from the world outside and the world within to meet the eyes of the circle
we arrange our chairs so we can meet each other’s eyes. Then I commit to see you as you are
and you invite me to be as I really am, and together we agree to shed the trappings of
who we are out there and what we do and how much we have.
We ask the questions about security and confidentiality because we don’t really know for sure
what part of me and what part of you may need to be seen and accepted this time.
We come together in hopes that we will not find eyes that judge or shame or humiliate or attack.
Other places, other eyes look up or down, around or through.
Some eyes seduce and some stab, some are blank (nobody’s home) and some devour.
We know those eyes out there and we need different eyes:
eyes that open up like windows to the soul;
eyes that take delight in whoever shows up;
eyes that see the shadow hidden from me.
And in our circle if a man’s eyes begin to fill and then to flow
we welcome those tears as gifts from a man&’s heart.
Finally when the work is done and our eyes meet for the last time, the eyes of the circle say it all:
and then our circle is reflected inside and carried as the eyes of love
to sustain us through the next step of our journey.
A thousand moons ago, or perhaps in one to come, there was a great Thunderbird who was wise and strong,
and who flew with the spirits of men and gave to them. His counsel and caring were welcomed by those
who knew him. He lived in a safe nest, high in the mountains, and he was wise, storing away much corn
for the winters ahead, and he lived a good life. As he grew older he became suspicious that there
was a predator in his nest, but outwardly he showed no concern. The predator became known as “The Smoking One”
and smoked a thousand pipes between each moon. Now so many pipes cost a great deal of corn and at times
the thunderbird went without. The air became so cloudy and black that at times the thunderbird could not see.
Eventually the sky became so thick with smoke that he could not fly. His vision was fading, he attempted to walk,
but that too became a concern. The predator voiced fear for him to leave the nest and thus restrained him –
for his own protection. Spirits of the Clans of different directions became concerned and started to visit
with the thunderbird, who was seeing less clearly. They took him for outings beyond the nest so that he could
at least breathe clearly. He would take a few kernels of corn with him to enjoy these visits with the spirits.
The Smoking One became angry that Thunderbird was using these few kernels for himself when so many kernels were
needed for the thousand pipes a moon. The Smoking One decided there was not enough corn for Thunderbird to
have any of the corn that he had worked so hard to gather, and hid them all.
After going without for many moons, and after much thought, Thunderbird devised a plan to obtain a few of
the kernels he had saved for winter, and for a few moons, he enjoyed the company of fellow spirits.
The Smoking one eventually became suspicious and secretly checked the supply of corn. When it was found that
Thunderbird had taken a few kernels for himself, many a loud scream was heard and thick smoke choked the air
and no more kernels were seen. Thunderbird had now lost all vision and found himself caged in his own nest,
without his own corn. The spirits were forbidden to visit even within the cage. The Thunderbird, now blind,
spoke not, but lay quietly in his cage, in the darkness, breathing slowly, waiting…
The wind began to blow from the spirits, first from the East, then the South, then the West and then North.
More wind blew in from above and below and from the inside of all the spirits in the land, and the wind
became stronger and more powerful as it became filled with the energy and the tears of the spirits,
and it swirled as always in a mighty clockwise fashion. And it swirled and gained more and more power
in its center. And in its center, there began to form a cocoon which was strong, yet warm and supportive.
And the energy of the cocoon grew and found its way to envelop the Thunderbird, who was now blind; so that he could
rest peacefully (he had already a ritual with the spirits to prepare himself). He moved about less and less.
After a time the Thunderbird, with vision, but no sight, began to feel some strength in his wings
and he began to move about. The cocoon gave him more and more strength until slowly and softly his blindness
began to disappear and he could see light. He rested awhile, but then with great strength burst forth
from his cage and stretched his wings. He could see light. He could feel the energy of the spirits from
all directions. He flew high above the trees. He flew high above the smoke. With a mighty screech he warned
all who could hear, to not let themselves be taken in and paralyzed by the black smoke. The screeching
and the beating of his wings was heard by all of the spirits who could hear and especially by the fathers and
grandfathers who were ready to welcome him to their land.
This is a true story told to Ravenspirit a thousand moons ago, or perhaps one to come,
one night under a full moon and a clear sky.
Where the two worlds touch
The lonely boy
On a stoop
A lonely boy sits
The weeping willow starts to cry
The sun begins to hide
It is now time to go inside
In the beginning
In a city by the gulf a boy was born and remained an only child.
He played alone and made up many fantasies and games.
The lonely boy survived a great depression, a world war,
However, he had to serve 4 years in a police action conflict.
For the lonely boy this proved positive as he finally found brothers.
The lonely boy met a mate in the city by the bay
And returned home to the city by the gulf.
The lonely boy and his mate produced three beautiful children and life was good.
Then life for the lonely boy again became a dark shadow.
Years flew by and the lonely boy reached the age of 63.
The worlds touch
The lonely boy meets the blindman
The lonely boy started to lose is eyesight.
He knew he had to find a community that would support him.
He discovered a community of men that was led by a great holy man, the shaman of the community.
The boy experienced a rite of passage ritual led by the holy man.
The lonely boy was now a man.
He then took spirit of the great thunderbird as his totem name.
He then joined a clan of great spirits, the wind, the raven, the hawk, the otter, the smiling polar bear and last but not least the spirit of love.
The man was no longer a lonely boy, he felt accepted.
But now he could no longer see.
He had to go inside, he meditated, he now could communicate with the grandfathers and the ancestors.
He asked them for their help.
Now there was no dark shadow.
But, now at last, the lonely boy is no longer a lonely boy but now he is a
Now he can imagine the golden light within his soul
Quietness, stillness descends upon me
Absent of noise, feelings and thoughts
Calmness and peace for a change
Well, it’s about time the voice said…there is a message…
A reminder of things important that has been long forgotten…
How I have lost touch …
How, I can reclaim…Reclaim me…
Well…yes…I have been wondering, worrying, restless,
Even anxious, disconnected, unloved,
And certainly scared and afraid, of late…
I think I heard this before…
But I did not listen…
hear…can’t be important…I said…
Can’t make a difference…I said…Can’t be bothered…I said…
I have so much to do…I said…
So much noise and distraction…
What…..you say the message has always been there…
It has been about life/death concerns?
About happiness? about peace…about connection…
But the problem is I did not listen&…
You know…you’re right…I’m a good father, in fact a damn good father…
I’m a good husband…good teacher…good citizen…
I have laid siege and conquered many dragons and demons in many lands in my time…I have taught many well…
But me not so well…
Yes…I hear you now…yes, I will listen…
I have been the king of a great kingdom…
I have been the warrior who protected and did service to the realm…
I have been the lover and magician who had the rights to many feelings and judgments…
Now, it is time to be mother/father to me…I have nothing to do now,
But to be me
Yes…I’m listening…I’m listening…
Oh, so much do I hear…No more will I turn a deaf ear…
Until all has been reclaimed by me, here…
I wrote this poem over looking Cooks inlet in Anchorage, Alaska in 1997.
Hospital rooms suck.
My Mom can stay forever.
You have a smile and I decide to take a break with that smile embedded in my mind.
The parking lot is the best refuge.
It offers solitude.
Trees growing, birds flying.
Nature is comforting.
A pigeon is flying low.
He lands on top of a car.
Something is wrong.
He is hurting.
His wings flutter and he lands on the hot pavement.
Nothing can be done.
I want to help.
A futile thought.
A car speeds past him.
He wasn’t crushed.
He continues his struggle.
I cannot look anymore.
I sit on a curb.
The shade and breeze give relief from the sun.
An ant is crawling on my leg.
I smash it with my finger and feel remorse.
Harold would not have approved.
An update… on a subsequent trip to the parking lot, I saw the pigeon again.
He was dead.
Is this the last minute?
TTD is the term.
Not many people know what it means.
Time till death.
The doctor says weeks or months.
As I write, you say something.
I go to your side.
You say,”I’m not going to make it.”
You say to Mom, ” I love you, Earl and Wayne.”
Tears flow freely.
The doctor talked to me privately.
She will talk to my Mom and Dad about DNR – do not recessitate.
I know my Dad.
He will choose that option.
The weeks and months have become hours and days.
Soon to become minutes and seconds.
I don’t want you to die and leave me.
I want you to feel the warmth of the sun.
Hear the birds.
The truth is that you struggle for breath.
I realize I have one more thing to tell you.
“I am proud to be your son.”
You and Waggles
Waggles was my only son.
I remember his eyes saying, “Daddy help me.”
I was too late.
Your eyes are different.
They are sparkling.
You want a malt.
With real ice cream.
We both know you can’t have that.
You say, “I’m going to die. Why not get me what I want.”
And you say it with a smile.
I’ll tell the nurse, but you will get your malt.
Part of me knows you will see Waggles soon.
Another part of me doesn’t believe that.
I want you to be with him.
I have never seen you laugh that hard.
The Last Room
You have been moved to another hospital room.
This will be the last one.
You told the doctor no more dialysis treatments.
And no more medication.
The Reaper had you in his sights.
You decided that your death will be on your own timetable, not his.
Some people just don’t get it.
You made the decision to hasten your death.
In years gone by, you would have tried to convince them otherwise.
You have come a long way.
Others say, ” I cannot imagine what he is going through.”
And you are the only one who truly knows that.
Yet you have told your loved ones.
And they listen.
They want to hear every word you speak.
Twenty four years ago, your doctor gave you five years to live.
You amazed them all.
But you never gave up.
It is the way you lived your life.
Now you have decided to end the suffering.
Not many know you did it for your family.
A big clock on the wall.
You used to stare at it.
We wanted to believe…
That it wouldn’t happen in our lifetime.
We ignored the warnings.
We believed the levees would hold.
We hoped the pumps would work. We pretended we had a Plan.
We knew better, but…
We wanted to believe.
We even believed the Saints could be winners.
On Aug. 29th, 2005, Katrina blew into town.
The levees broke.
The pumps failed.
The Plan was an illusion.
The Saints lost.
It may not be possible to believe again.
Oct. ,2005. Dallas
Some Men, go into caves
It’s a sacred place, a sacred palace
Strong healthy masculinity permeates the calm still air in the smoke from burning sage and the shaman’s wares
Our shadows dance joyously by fire-light
While we sit in stoic repose, legs folded, hands on our knees,
Staring straight ahead into the flickering fire and boiling coals introspective
In small groups of eight or ten we gather in caves
We wear hand-made leather boots, dear skin loin clothes, a medicine bag,
Or maybe a bone fastened with horse hair around our necks, as a reminder of a special
day, a tribute to our god, or a love lost long ago.
Some of us wear a bearskin robe.
We stand 10ft tall by the end of the night.
Our faces distort by the shadowy light of flame wildness emerges
We delve into the deep black darkness of caves, and the hidden corners of our souls
We grow hair on our faces, throw away our watches, ties, and combs
Our wind tunnel tested GQ hair-do gets long matted and dready
Mud is smeared on our chest, belly, and face to commune with the warm comfort of
mother earth’s womb
We paint war totems on the wall as provisions to battle the haunts of our wounds
We get bone needle tattoos, and piercings with eagle talons to bleed out the grief that’s
disallowed in more crisp shinny places of refinement and ‘culture’.
The darkness of the cave is treacherous to small men like sergeant dad
Men who shame small boys by saying,
“Shut up before I give you something to cry about. You sound like a little girl” And
“You’ll never amount to anything!!” Oh, and let’s not forget, SUCK IT UP!! DON’T BE A PUSSY!!
They’re welcome, and we’d honor their courage if they’d dare enter
And feast in facing of their fears.
But women…women are not allowed at all.
We can’t risk the subtle emotional terrorism of “Aw, be a BIG boy, and make momma proud, don’t cry”…
In the quiet of the cave I stare into the eyes of god, and sometimes gnash my teeth in disgust
At the horrors in the lives of little children …and at some of my own
There’s the musty smell of dirt,
Moist damp decaying leaves where small blind creatures scamper
I’m careful not to step on them, or smash them as I roll over in my sleep
And when I awake, I sometimes eat one with the boiled roots I garnered the day before
And thank that same god for providing me with what I need to survive
And from the outskirts of the forest, one can hear in the hollow of night
the howls of anguish, rage, and despair echoing out from the cave as we exhume,
and make peace with our parents, institutions, and abusive societal constructs that once
robbed our boyish innocence…we are phoenix rising from the flame
One can also hear us laugh like burly giants at the stories we tell each other about
easier childhood times of games, insect collections, and the first time we kissed a girl
And all will go quiet for long moments, as a man reads a poem
Where he talks about his dog from childhood…His first conscious memory of love
In caves, we drum
Focused, meditative, entranced
Sweat dripping down my back… furrowed brow
Sporadically interjecting primal grunts
And harmonic low tone chants
We drum, and jump, and flail our arms, and swing our heads in unison with the rhythm of pounding
The rhythm quickens, eyes dilate, adrenaline courses, and something powerful rises from within
It’s the courage to face myself, be myself, be by myself if need be
And know, from a deep calm still water center that I am a man
And I am good enough
Leaves on a tree
fall like my broken will.
Float to the ground,
a slow graceful death.
Unlike my silent struggle,
Of writhing and flailing,
Attempting to hide my weakness,
Leaves enjoy the view on the way down.
Guided by unseen wisdom
Leaves brown and decay,
Crunch and crumble to their fate.
Humbly…or courageously, they accept their limits of
A real hombre delights in being both straight
and bent, gay and sad, strong as water and weak as
iron, crazier than a loon but saner than sacks of
whole grain flour. At his choosing, he can be a
meek member of a constellation or royal as a
Polaris around whom the heavens move. Whether a
temporary streaker across the night sky or eternal
as the love expressed in a flower, whether gentle
as the Sacrificial Lamb or raging as Leo the Lion,
a real Merlin plays every part in the Zodiac of
wholeness. A dog making music to the moon or a
mewing cat digging through a garbage can, a real
mensch does what is necessary to achieve his starry
Thus a real wise man can cry on a whim, become
macho on a dime, climb the walls of castles on
frayed clothes lines, bind the wounds of his
comrades with the queen’s curtains, sit passive on
mountain tops, inhale clouds and receive visions,
wash silk stockings in dripping basements while he
plays poker with his buddies.
Though their cards may look varied, real long
fellows play with full decks. They are able to whiz
you a warrior when your wounded spirit needs
protection, trump curses with their magicians, deal
you the moon eyes of Rudolph Valentino when needed,
all under the direction of the Heat King, who rules
Camelot from the center of the round table.
A real Galahad is always evolving a new vision
of maidens. He’s certain they are not virgins to
be sacrificed to his dragons. He’s sure the fairer
sex are no longer conquests, nor are they saviors
needed to circle his square and offer his soul
completion. He wonders why damsels can’t be map
makers too. Why can’t they share the same boat as
the Greek heroes, as its bow noses its way into the
heart of darkness?
A real man does his midnight gut work. With
the help of the elders, he vomits up his snakes and
shadows onto the magic carpet. Once he licks and
receives stitches for his wounds, he enters the
land of paradox. He knows he is healed and yet,
in some darker valley, he realizes he is not. So he
gives his ripped heart a zipper like those offered
on the finest goose down sleeping bags made by
Eddie Bower. That way he can offer his feathery
womb to fellow sufferers.
When a real gentleman has wronged another, he
eats crow presented by a British butler upon a
spotless silver platter. He swallows the flapping
wings and even uses the claws for toothpicks,
cleaning his crevices ever so thoroughly, so that
the teeth of his spirit will not rot.
A real rooster wears his cock and balls with
dignity and pride. He shares his worms and June
bugs with his wives. Swaying in the night tree, he
warns of approaching coyotes. As he grips the limb
next to his brothers, his spurs gleaming in the
moonlight, he creates no needless strife. During
the day, scratching in the dirt for larvae,
watching over his flock, he makes certain his
barnyard crowings benefit the hoop of life.
Real braves dance naked with their shadows in
firelight around teepees down by the river. It’s
such an elegant waltz, looking their dark brothers
in the eye, as they whirl around the fire stones
together, as they sound their horns into the dark
hills, as they continue to welcome home from across
the river all their desperate parts.
Brave hearts are alchemists. They not only
transform their leaden experiences into gold, but
they spot the polished diamonds that are scattered
everywhere in their lives. Such gratitude allows
them to stroll this world as if pleasuring within
the reclaimed Garden of Eden.
Real Adams use their swords for carving out
statues of themselves from the Big Mother who
swaddles us all in her darkness. Thus these bright
sons have faces so unique and beautiful they stand
out from the crowd who have not the courage to be
born. These swordsmen from the stars chisel at the
base of the marble names that reflect who they
Real warriors no longer listen to the lullabies
of the tyrant kings. They have no need to feast on
the corpses of those who are weaker, no reason to
nuke a neighbor who scratches the nickel plating of
their egos, no cause to spook the herds of buffalo
with their patriotic slogans. A real Texan gets no
satisfaction from playing cowboy and shooting the
world in the foot with our missals. As in the
Bhagavad Gita, wise leaders save war only for high
As you can plainly see, a real man is a pizza
always in a state of being completed. But donâï¿½ï¿½t
take the fact that his pockets are full of all
kinds of wigglies and wallies as a weakness. If
you dare to challenge a real wild man…try to force
his black cat up a tree, his fool will be the first
to part the leaves, peer down, and say, “I embrace
this Godly mess that is me.”
Â© Ronald Lee Naas 4-05 80 Lakewood Loop Hattiesburg, Ms 39402
Me from a trashy brood. Me ding dong lewd.
Me squeeze axle grease from me yelping junk
To get your goat, I shit triple crude.
Cause you see me evil as a black weevil
Breeding worms in your white oatmeal.
See me with my long tail I be your damdest
Your ears closed to me, so I bad to the bone.
Ain’t no wonder when you first open my lid,
I wigggle, hiss, piss, curse and groan.
I lurks among the peels and pits in your garbage.
But shine your flashlight on me, see my wetness glitter,
Use me right, me shit makes the richest silage.
Sure, I is a tramp. I admit to Father I’m the bum.
Cause I’m the prodigal, you puff up your chest.
Really a saint,
I suck the dirt from under the nail on your left thumb.
But take me as the treasured brother lost to your sight,
I get sweet as a meadow in flower. I give you all my animals
And a voice like spirit whispering through pine in the moonlight.
Make no mistake. See me as one face and you’re fucked.
I wear so many masks, to pleasure in seeing them all sewn together
Would be likened to your cock getting sucked.
The dark deeds I whisper about need not be done,
Only acted out round the fire, mouse skulls crushed,
Eagle Feathers dropped to the pulse of the drum.
Disc me, I be boogie man planted neath your bed,
The big bad wolf who blow your house down.
Your wormiest nightmare, your darkest dread.
I the fart you try to hide while shopping for bread.
Me stink catch up with you in the next aisle.
But iffen you don’t
Munch on my loaves, you’ll end up stone dead.
Like a new moon, it is my dark you must reverse.
Let me fill you in, make you ooze with paradox, or I grow
So very, very hairy and perverse.
How I loves to muddle in your secret mud puddles.
When logic gets too tight, your psyche too bright,
Me splash your waters with snaky slippery riddles.
I so dipsie daisy, so very sleek and cat lazy.
Play with me, hear my purr, let your eyes grow
Oh so hazy, or me drive you motha fucken crazy!
For I am the universe’s poet, her favorite tear.
I is big enough to run it all, yet small as
The slightest whisper in your ear.
Forget to sit round the round table with me,
Shun my kingly council (only the shadow knows)
You miss out on Camelot’s energy and rosy beauty.
You either see me in the mirror, or, like a movie,
You flash me onto the screen of other hombres.
Me looking glass wake you up. Screens make you sleepy and lazy.
My steam flows fresh and bubbles itself into open spaces.
The visions in my cave ain’t got no time to petrify.
No ticket takers around my holy places!
Which you just don’t get. For I am also the golden
You cast onto the faces of your heroes. Why can’t you
Applaud your own greatness? Shame on you for not being more bolden!
Do a coin have only half a side? Can the bright Shine without the dark?
Don’t the proud sun
Depend on the lowly moon to beautify his light?
Can’t you see I’m your partner on the see saw?
The holier you get, the heavier your dark angel becomes.
Sorry Goodie Two shoes, but that’s God’s immutable law.
So don’t fuck up. I’m half of fortune’s flashing wheel.
An up got to have a down or nothing comes spinning around.
Come to me if you want to whole out and heal.
© 3-24-08 Ronald Lee Naas 80 Lakewood Loop Hattiesburg, Ms 39402
Sister Nancy wove this comforter just for you mommy,
from blue and white threads, her favorite hues, to take the
chill out of your demented bones in the nursing home, in Bella
Vista, which means beautiful view in Spanish.
I know, dammit to hell and back, I should be grateful I
was there when you passed on into the blue beyond, after we’d
shared our last supper together, yours an eyedropper of
morphine, mine a power bar fetched from my zipped up
But what a shock, when kneeling, I heard your last
breath, eyes titled in back of your head, and you surrendered
(You?! Impossible!!!!) the last of your Holy Spirits. Strongest
woman I&’ll ever know, though you’d lost all of your black muse
hair, had shrunk to below a hundred pounds, you were no
challenge I suspect for the undertaker, in his coffin chamber,
5,000 degree propane blue flame reducing you to these hot
sparks I hold between my thighs.
Am sitting here with my familiars, with that wove blanket
covering my shaky knees, sucken my thumb, like Nancy still
does, twitchen as bad as the Terry you carried for 33 years, till
your mighty hips got ripped out at the sockets. But I will
continue to wear your gold wedding band on my right index
finger, there beside Nancy’s ring of 4 silver hearts. I must be
strong, or I’ll plain drown myself in the quick currents of this
always changen river of salts.
But want to know my true heart? I crave my muse back,
your hair the color of black widow spiders, who used to spin
their joys in the house of the half moon, your big ass perched
upon one of its holes. If I could retch our childhood farm, I’d
cast your tirds in bronze, just like you did my baby shoes.
But consider this piece of trifling prose an early
testament to your greatness, this crow carrying a blue ribbon
in his bill, bringing it to you in your Un-death bed, your
threads woven into my cells, eternally, as I clutch my
mommie’s blue and white blanket, and suck my wet thumb.
Should I develop buckteeth like Nancy’s got, I’ll stick
them out with pride, and learn how to mouth mama and
poppa all over again, the two of you now gone into the misty
blue. Or better yet, why shouldn’t I regress back into your
narrow tunnel, and know again your sweet and serene and
watery darkness? And choose never to pop out of your lips,
and wail no more songs, the big lights too harsh for these
tender eyes. So count me as dead dead, for I desire never to
Your Un Borned son,
Ronald Lee Naas (rhymes with at a loss, now that you’re both gone)
Â© Ronald Lee Naas 80 Lakewood Loop Hattiesburg, Ms 39402
When the sumac begins to redden, I will be that
phosphorescent wake the boat captain described out in the
Gulf of Mexico. He saw a whale like a Sears Tower of
moving lights. When the officials take a census count, I
will no longer exist on the 47th floor, laughing at you,
also an empty but hot phosphorous spark.
When the flowers surrender their last blooms, I shall
be the eyes of soul gazing at you. I’ll be the kitten on
your back, clawing at the toy mouse, my pupils the size of
swollen moons. At the zoo, I’ll be the oranged-assed
oranatan, mistaking your coat for a mating sign, suddenly
all affectionate, in the hope of getting some of your sweet
tail. In the theater, I’ll be the documentary of Hitler,
the time he looked into the camera and saw his own
absurdity, and everybody in the audience laughed as he
When the nights start getting longer, without my sunny
ego, I’ll be unable to separate good from evil, and thus
I’ll make my necessary pacts with the devil, whom I’ll
likely mistake for Santa Clause offering me a gift of
cologne. But as I look into the mirror, I’ll be undecided
which face to splash it on. Am I all of them, or none? Am
I empty, or full? Am I poor or am I all the world’s
riches? Am I the self everybody plays in, or am I selfless
as I lurch about the neighborhood, playing Frankenstein, a
bolt through a head that does not exist. Still I love
gobbling up the yummies in my plastic pumpkin.
When I have written my last book, its final page
falling from the tree of my life, I will pronounce every
word rubbish. I will write my own reviews: this tome is
packed with wisdom. Thus only fools who haven’t yet lost
their minds should read it. I will appeal to the King and
the Queen: burn my trash in the square where public
executions are performed. Hang my sentences by the neck,
send them kicking and screaming and dribbling on the
ground, till their erections point to a moon can’t be
caught by words, no matter how slippery or sexy.
When I have buried my last turds, with no hope of
ertilizing next spring’s begonias, I shall finally retire
from the world. I mean, I’ve run it for nearly three
quarters of a century. Why not give someone else a turn
rolling their rock up the mountain? Why not give some
other poor sot the opportunity to gospelize about a river
that’s white water one second, near stagnant the next?
Then yammer about it, and call the mess he’s made studies
in truth and eternity.
Come autumn, I will admit I don’t know nothen and can
do even less. That will be my last will and testament to
an Irish vessel emptied of his blarney. Quick someone slam
down the lid fore he yaps again.
Â© 2-2009 Ronald Lee Naas 80 Lakewood Loop Hattiesburg, Ms 39402
I have a dream –
To discover the real person behind the mask,
The real person behind the issues,
The issues that are behind the issues,
The real person I want to love.
I have Dreams and a strategy to heal issues –
To discover a paradise in this world.
I dream of a correctional institution that houses the homeless,
and actually corrects human behavior so they can return to
society, or stay in a safe home away from society.
I dream of a nursing home and child-care facility as one
location of learning and sharing love and joy at the beginning
and ending of this physical form.
I dream of birthdays and death days as community celebrations
I dream of abortion as unwanted because our society, being
loving, wants the child to come join this world and be
showered with love and attention.
I dream of guns, as collectibles like arrowheads – unneeded and
I dream of welfare as a safety net, entered and left rapidly as
one returns to health and wealth.
I dream of hospitals fully healing illnesses and maintaining
wellness, both mental and physical, instead of being just a
I dream that humans can feel safe to experience our sexuality
without criticism, judgment and evaluation of our dreams,
goals, desires and fantasies. Let us experience joy, happiness
and fulfillment when we relate to others (be it sexual or not).
I dream of employers who work to create a team effort to
reduce stress and an environment where employees work
together as family members who are motivated through love
not fear of losing their job.
I dream of police departments policing and directing for safety
through loving encouragement and by building self-esteem of
those who prey on others without having to resort to
I dream of schools, which educate the mind and mold the
individual for a healthy, happy life instead of a baby-sitting
service, which encourages children to regurgitate information.
I dream of politicians who are retired, successful individuals –
role models in society – who are chosen by the people to direct
and guide on a voluntary basis with no possibility of personal
gain through their office, instead of a paid career and an
invitation to corruption.
I dream of churches as a nurturing place – a home that excludes
no one because of their beliefs or lifestyle and allows people to
congregate and share loving projects that balance and better our society.
I dream of the creation that our creator intended – extended and
expanding love everywhere with everyone and everything.
As the master of my mind,
I give no valuable meanings
to fearful ideas or feelings anymore.
I no longer visit the ideas or feelings
that resulted in any lack of mental
or emotional peace of mind,
as I did in the past.
To me it seems insane
to visit the garbage dump
time and again unless
I am dumping something there.
I do not expect to find anything there
or to live there anymore.
So why would I ever go there anymore?
For many years I visited the dump
through many different names,
like, Worry, Shame, Blame, Guilt, Resentment,
Prejudice, Condemnation, Arrogance, Ignorance,
Attack, Defense, and many more.
Yes, they all stunk, felt, and looked
like a filthy garbage dump and all the more.
I may look like a hog and act like a pig but
I don’t wallow in the slop there anymore.
So don’t be surorised if I don’t
moan, groan, complain, bitch, nag, holler,
scream, fight, flight, or even get up tight,
depressed, stressed, angry, or upset anymore.
I don’t mean to offend you.
I just don’t go there anymore.
I came because my brother asked me to.
(Although he’d asked me many times before).
This time I made-time for what I had to do.
The work was waiting for me at the door.
I met a man who said that he was lost.
To me, he seemed a treasure to have found.
This time, I thought, I will not count the cost.
The work began to follow me around.
The men would gather in a wooded place,
Investing it with legendary fame.
This time they held as sacred as a grace.
The work became the reason that I came.
A man told me the story of his life
Of drunken, crashing cars and crushed dreams.
This time he spent away from his wife.
The work is not always what it seems.
The drumming of the drum inside the drum
Invokes the spirit fathers to our sides.
This time slows down and stops. The clocks won’t run.
The work it seems is older than the tides.
So clear I hear the beating of my heart.
So strong I see the rising of the sun.
This time is over now, so we depart.
The work, once done, is only just begun.
(A reflection on the NOMC Fall 2002 Retreat)
From an old myth an old man
in faded jeans and fiery shirt opened
the boy’s head mercifully as if removing
the cork from an old bottle of wine and removed
the brain before the boy even knew it was his.
The old man lowered the brain into the tub and set
the machine on gentle cycle. After the spin
the old man placed the brain in the boy’s hands
and said this is yours. The boy was grateful.
He in his vacant stare saw a pretty good brain.
He carefully placed it in his head and screwed it
in place the best he could. The old man watched
from his old myth but didn’t help the dizzy boy.
When the old man from an old myth
leaned in close to inspect, the boy thought
he would suffocate in the blur of folds of the fiery shirt.
The boy could see nothing. From the heat of the man
the boy began to sweat and in darkness he thought
he saw his grandfathers. He saw strands from the shirt
tied to his dreams like balloons. And like balloons
the old dreams popped. He needed new dreams.
The old man left but the boy still couldn’t see. He needed
a new myth, a new man, and asked his brother
what do you see for me? His brother gave him a sentence
or two hoping it would help the boy. The boy opened
his eyes and saw his brother and in his brother’s
eyes saw a tiny reflection of himself.
While it was an image that he had not seen before,
it was the clearest image of himself he’d yet seen.
He patted his sweat with his bandana and with it doused
the old man’s fire and cleaned his lodge.
Using the sun and his brother’s lens
he lit his new myth on the old man’s shirt.
He turned the wheel of the car
and he is gone. It could have been
any one of us and each of us knew
we’d been incredibly lucky
maneuvering those massive
internal combustion engines.
He is gone. Mine are gone.
Love and grief.
A baby is born. A father is born.
A grandchild is sick.
A grandfather is sick.
My grandchild is distant
I am distant. I am sick.
My heart is full.
Love and grief.
I know some boys
who want to play
cards, volleyball, shadow play,
winnebago dice, a dirt road run.
When father and his baggage
weigh down your shoulders
play is seldom fun and losing
never is. For those learning
to handle new baggage, play
is not yet rediscovered.
I play for joy and I miss that boy.
My heart is full.
Love and grief.
I don’t go there everyday,
but I know his grave is near,
and when I do visit I notice
just how the mound has sunken
as his dead decomposing body
surrenders to the embracing earth.
There is a certain need in me to
avoid that sight at times on
certain days when I don’t have time
or energy to deal with the loss of
-my ecstatically wagging tail at the door friend,
-my shaking over with eagerness for a walk friend,
-my can’t wait to play fetch and prance friend,
-my vicarious source of delight friend,
-my chased cats with no remorse,
and begged for attention with no shame.
But I also had a need to dig that grave in August heat,
to dig deep enough and wide enough till the sweat
poured off of me like my whole body was crying.
I had a need to bury him close to me so that I would not
forget his simple spirit of attachment;
so close that when his spirit was pressed out of his body
it might find its way into me as a visiting angel
to drive out my cynical, don’t risk more than you,
fearful spirits that dampen the enthusiasm
for life and bonding that both he and I were born with.
But just in case the hard concrete, glass, and steel
beat his spirit out of me and the bottom lines,
the pressing schedule, and my germanic (or is it just manic)
need to be doing something important,
which of course could never be what I feel like doing,
begin to crush me with their relentless
I brought a puppy home the other day
and he won’t ever let me forget
the sheer animal delight of being alive
and being one of the pack.
There are stories that must be learned.
Stories our parents have forgotten
our teachers have abandoned
our leaders don’t have time for.
Some old people know these stories but
they have been put away;
their stories smiled at but not heard.
For want of tellers and listeners,
the stories pale and fade away.
The TV has stories, but they are mostly as small as the screen.
They’ve made the screen bigger now,
but small stories are still small stories.
My soul longs for the big stories;
the ones that pull you in
spin your head around
turn you upside down
slam you up against the wall
then bestow wings to soar.
Stories that know you better than you know yourself;
drop you like a stone when you lie and cheat,
drag you through the dark dungeons of your past,
pull out and parade around your closet’s skeletons.
Stories that display your life on the big screen of imagination
with the dilemmas you avoid played out in front of you
with no commercials and no answers
with each step leading deeper into the mire and mystery.
I need a big story to live and die with
like my lungs need air, sails need wind.
My choices are clear:
make my story bigger and better than yours
till expanding I take up all the space and air in the room,
and you are left gasping and crawling your way out.
Or believing you have the big story
I follow you around like a beggar
picking up the scraps of story from your table
waiting for the day when you give me a big part.
Or I study the stories of the past and find one that almost fits
one that’s big enough to include us all
one that stands the test of time,
and I live with it AS IF it were mine today.
Or I shed ego’s skin and walk soul naked,
take in your story but not be taken in,
learn from the great stories, knowing they are past
And forsaking forever the viewer’s couch
I plunge into the Big Story without a script
no director, producer, no certain outcome,
no pay, no hours, no vacation.
Then, lost and adrift on a wide open sea,
slowly, tentatively at first,
I hoist the sail,
put hand to rudder,
line up the stars above
with the stars within
and set sail.
Days pass, alone, beset by storms within, without,
tormented by the blazing sun and burning doubt,
hearing voices of ridicule and scorn,
longing for the scripted life,
the warmth of the crowd.
Till one day dawning out of the morning mist,
first, only one, then another off the port,
I see them, one per boat, weathered and worn
but in their eyes a burning light.
My heart swells, my eyes tear,
a sigh mixed with rising joy
gives voice: “Ahoy Mate”.
Seven years later: funny what I remember;
his hands and fingers, the tremor when he wrote,
his signature, shaky but still the same,
the flourish of the E, the repetitive ovals at the end.
The scent of the man, the intelligence in the eyes,
his fairness and integrity, no point made, just there.
His anger at the politicians and crooks, his laughter
reading Truman’s caustic assessment of Nixon:
“The only man he knew who could talk out of both sides
of his mouth and lie out of both at the same time”
The stories about St. Louis, his mother, his brother,
the early days and the silence about his father.
Dad provided well for his wife and children,
never knew him to complain about that.
I wanted more for him and from him.
I wanted him to use his love and skill with literature,
but he was content to see his children well educated.
I wanted more demonstrative expressions of love,
but his way was quiet, more in actions than words.
I wish he were here today, not gone to ashes;
his cigarette habit cutting short his days.
He is here today, in his family, in my heart.
Here when I remember him with love.
James Henry O’Neill
(Second son of Eugene J. O’Neill, 4/26/1914-8/26/1987)
Dream’s image stays with me still:
our bodies pinned to a chain link fence
while a tiger tears at the flesh
leaving us bloody and dismembered.
Who is this tiger in my dream
and what does it want with me?
The dream came the night of January first
after a peaceful day visiting family,
family fighting with cancer.
Am I the tiger?
Is there a tiger in me that hunts and
feeds on the flesh of others?
Sometimes I worry.
Or, more likely,
is the tiger cancer?
A beast of prey
ever ready to attack
at the least evidence of weakness
or a falter in one’s step,
a malingering,or nostagic look back
a holding of something dead within:
or even the need to be oneself.
A dream deferred can stink
like so much rotten meat.
Before the vultures ever circle
this beast has done his deed,
preying in secret on deadness within.
A master of deceit, this cat,
for you cannot see him coming,
his stripes are hidden,
his movement invisible.
Do not run from him
or lock your door;
he is already within.
No, meet him at the door of your soul,
dig deep and pull out all that is dead,
decaying or festering.
Throw it out to the beast
and slam your door,
you have life to live and,
this tiger feeds on death.
I listen now in a different way
picking out the sounds
and separating them,
so i now can tell
what is fireworks
and what is gun fire.
I never paid any attention before,
but now I must listen.
Listen that we and others
may somehow escape the bullets
falling from the skies.
Don’t ask me why a man loads his gun
and it misfires through his ceiling
into his baby daughter’s room
and kills her instantly.
Don’t ask me why the bullet
could not go elsewhere
in that room in that house.
is it so that he and others may learn
that the guns are never safe,
that they are never just noise,
that they are forever
Tell me why I need a license to drive a car
but not to own and shoot a gun.
Tell me why I have keys to lock my car
but there are no keys required on guns.
Tell me why it’s legal to buy machine guns
and military weapons when we’re not at war.
Tell me why so many die.
Was it you I saw today
Winding down River Road on a Harley
Boot up on the crashbar
Gaunt gaze drawn to the distance
Helmet inflated by the Wind
Chin strap holding your mouth shut.
Was it you or your ghost
Maybe you’re not dead
I never saw you lifeless.
Yeah it was you
Winding down River Road
Cruising over flat plains
Winding through high mountains.
It was you
It was you
I love you
And a man returns to us
This gathering of men
And he says “My heart is sick”
“You see it beats irregularly,
It has an extra impulse that leads it astray”
“I’ve been away for years”
“Let’s walk in the wilderness”
My body is hairy
My voice is deep
My chest is wide
I follow my feet (after the retreat)
I love being a man.
My hands are large
My toes are big
My rod erect
The better to dig
I love being a man.
When you see me
You might shrink
Because I’m frightening
I love being a man.
My arms embrace
My brother who’s crying,
Over the lost souls
Of those who are dying.
I love being a man.
The sky is black with doom
I see a hole
The Sun shines through
Illuminating my Soul.
By Homer Branch, NOMC
My car is sick!
I hear a tick!
It is only hypochondria!
Kept safely locked away from the dangers of life
Fed but not nurished; Housed but not nurtured
Years just living for the possibility of a tomorrow not really knowing any other way
When the door is opened to the light of day and wings are spread for the first time;
He retreats in fear and cowers at the sight of his own wings!
Safety comes from that caged environment
He ventures out only to retreat again
Accidently, he finds these wings give him support and lift him off the ground
And is swept away with feelings of joy and anxiety
He continues to push the limits; getting stronger and more confident to take flight
till he is free of the trapping of the ground and finally aware of where he belongs
Soaring hundreds of feet above the ground
Gliding on the currents of the wind
Master of his own domain, touching down only for food and shelter
No Longer Imprisoned by the cages that once kept him safe!
Bully and Victim hate each other.
I, frustrated, hate these brothers.
They hate me. The circle completes.
They are me. This hate repeats.
Without my hate, can I live?
I never learned to forgive.
Do I look calm?
We can’t spin around fast in swivel chairs, can we?
I mean, we’re grown men, aren’t we?
We’re not supposed to draw spaceships with crayons,
Or cut up construction paper and make silly hats.
We can’t read Archie comics with Oreos and a glass of milk,
Or build clubhouses out of our neighbor’s trash
And send notes in secret code.
We’re not allowed on the swing sets or the monkey bars,
And we’ll never know what it feels like
To jump into those bright plastic balls at McDonald’s.
We can’t hunt for toads and lizards and cool bugs,
Or run out into the rain, jumping in puddles,
And squeezing mud to feel it ooze between our fingers.
And we certainly can’t wrestle and have tickle fights,
And fall together laughing in each others arms.
I mean, we’re grown men.
Someone won’t allow us to play.
There’s someone under that tree
With his arms crossed.
I wonder if he wants to play?
I piss on the Earth!
And where my yellow ink stains her,
I succle Earth’s breast.
She feeds me corn.
She lays her daughters and sons at my feet.
Some of her children sing me songs,
And some of them try to kill me.
I piss on them all!
And flowers grow.
My stream is an umbilical cord.
My splash is a joyful noise!
The Earth, she likes it when I piss on her.
Why doesn’t everyone?