Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Mist of Gold

The atmosphere was the thinnest cheesecloth

filtering the light into a fine mist of gold

dust and the sky held dark, massive, aggressive

gray clouds with the whitest white billowing 

clouds next to them as if they knew

alone their beauty and terrible majesty incomplete

but side-by-side a beauty and awe to be remembered.

There was a shimmering of houses, the woods,

the fields of corn with the green, now golden green, 

swathes cut in-between.  I thought how beauty and art

arises from the right combination of parts the heart 

grasps immediately and thought again why we are given

such scenes if not to take them in and be moved by them, 

to create in our lives such a beautiful, terrifying, seductive art

that can change everything.

-Byron Hoot

Blue Ridge January Morn/A Tear In The Sea/Of Vain Poetry

Blue Ridge January Morn
Free Verse # 2

By: Philip Kent Church

Wintry morning in mountain woods,

The icy white tangles suspended in mist;

With crisp, crystalline branches drooping,

Over little snowy-ridged chevrons below.

Glaring, gray light diffused throughout,

A shadow-less white opaqued withal,

Glinting tiny rainbows sparkling on,

Twisting, snow-crowned stems fading,

Into the bright-foggy, blank nothing.

Muffled, cold-silence blanketed wood,

All nestled in a softly-stilled forest dawn.

There, frozen-quiet spirits rest beneath,

Game-trails ill-defined by snowy drifts.

Meandering into pale, oblivious shallows,

Where the quiet earth breathes to the sky.

A Tear In The Sea
An English Quintain

By: Philip Kent Church

When I think of all that’s real, my life seems so small.

Like dust trapped in Sun beams, the years float, then flee.

So where am I in the deal, where’s destiny’s call? 

When I think of my dreams; all that may, or never be.

All my life really seems, just like a tear in the sea.

Of Vain Poetry
An Ottava Rima

By: Philip Kent Church

Poems bear heart’s love, joy or pain,  

Artful constructs of mind; 

The syntax of thoughtful gleaning.  

The impact not in kind.  

Is poetry inscribed in vain,  

Obscuring wisdom shined? 
In vanity there’s no meaning,  

The blind leading the blind.  

Express soul in a way that’s sane; 

Revelations to find.

As something lost, found while cleaning,  

Offer nuggets for gain. 

Planted seed within others lain,  

To grow, mind-milled to grind,  

And bend to some human leaning:  

Not empty words, which feign.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Hugging My Dog at Night in Winter

How can we live in peace

when nails of sleet tap war on our window?


Looking out

was I a fool to think we were ever safe, ever could be?


The walking dead of nuclear winter

a creature of the night all those years, lying in wait


alarming us with a sneeze

What does one say to a demon when it sneezes?


I hug my dog

Listen to our breath, the night, clock, ice maker, tinnitus


The silence of bodies in a ditch

By Girard Tournesol

Daffodils Where a House Used to Be



Every hour of every day there is love in grass

Why else would deer graze so hungrily?


A Cape Cod, white with blue dormers where the kids once slept

Family sit-down dinners, birthdays, holidays—now all grass 


A porch swing complete with voo-doo flyswatter to hit an AM radio 

when the Yankees hit a home run


Nights filled with stars 

and frogs and crickets and the rising mist 


Once a week or so that whole house would worry 

enough to make the grass quiver every minute that car was late


That house could stuff dandelions with dreams and good soup 

but the girls would safely marry well, yes of course


and the savings bonds would be more than enough, plenty

Grandsons would go to work in flying cars 


that ran on rainwater

each generation better and better




The grass, knee-high on a deer is really the perfect lawn 

as immaculate as any garden


“You can’t have The King’s lawn 

without The Queen’s garden,” an echo in my head said


all this today, an epilogue to dreams too bitter for deer

whizzing by the smoked-glass windows of my truck


row upon row of daffodils waving at me in the breeze 

little yellow flowers with broad shoulders

By Girard Tournesol

Breaker-Breaker ONE- Niner

Good Ole’Buddy Bob can I get a skywave skip 

off’a these-here gray thunder clappers?


It’s been too long in miles Bob, Good Buddy

since Go-Go Juice was a dolla-sumthin


when the posted limit was 55-saves-lives

all things seemed slow-mo in the window


and we liked yellow, now yellow was respectable

the color a’chew spit like country was country


Slow like life back then Good Buddy and how ya sold me 

on this here million-mile single side-bander


Shut up old man! 

Bob an nat Stop been closed!


 dumb damn dead foo — for Got knows how long!

Got-damn foo been tawking the dead a hundret got-damn miles!


They ain’t so po-lite as we used to be back in the day Bob

Good Buddy, Bob — Breaker-Breaker, ONE-niner, come again Bob?


Times were good back when the smell’a diesel and black coffee 

and fried eggs and biscuits-n-gravy 


from in at Ethel’s gridle kepus going better than any methsmoke

Times have changed, Bob


people have changed

and the weeds have grown long in my life


It’s time to pull over

— By Girard Tournesol

Friday, September 23, 2022

Water Boy

Every morning before I 

walked to the bus stop,

crossed State Route 119

then listened for the bus

to crest the hill,

I drew water from the well.

It was the cooking and drinking

water for the house.  Five gallons

to begin the day.  No letting 

go of the handle; a slow steady

winding up.  The well door opened,

the galvanized bucket, then the trigger

release on the slender cylinder.

Repositioning that, tying off

the rope.  Closing the door,

the walk back, then lifting 

the bucket to the kitchen counter

by the sink. Books tied with a bungee

cord, paper bag lunch, a dime for milk.

Then off to catch the bus.

I’ve been drawing water all my life.

-Byron Hoot

The Opening

I hesitate to open the doors 

to my past.  I say, “I’ve lost

the keys!”  The truth is I never

locked them.   Now, I hear door

after door sticking as it opens. 

-Byron Hoot  

Friday, September 2, 2022

Sundays Recollected

It is Sunday and the stillness and near

silence stir memories of a lifetime 

of preparing for worship.  Being quiet

was a way of life, especially on Sunday 

mornings as Dad tried getting closer 

to God and the right words for the sermon

and Mom got my sister and I ready 

softly speaking to see how close we were

to going to the church and Dad entering 

a little later.  There was a reverence surpassing

religion; I did not know it then, I know it now.

And how deep the respect for silence

and stillness, the preparation of being

in the presence of the unseen that could be done

when buttoning a shirt, tightening a belt,

tying shoes, running my hand across my crewcut.

I have never lost that feeling 

anywhere worship is being prepared for.

I look outside, bow in my heart, refuse the urge

to speak, refuse the blasphemy of words

when none are needed.

-Byron Hoot 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Living Far Enough Away

I admit the news of the cities seem

strange to me:  politics, agendas, 

conspiracies, wars for what no war

can conquer.  I grow tired of the cry,                   

“I’m right, you’re wrong!” as if we’ve

lost all human feeling and thought.

Consideration that knowledge and 

ignorance are never equal, that the 

certainty of today becomes uncertain

tomorrow.  The overwhelming sense 

that what is said to be true is never so

completely.  That we can’t find what 

our hearts contain. What we need to do

is beyond right and wrong – it is, simply, 

the thing to do.  I live at the outermost borders;

of course, that kind of living can occur

in the cities, too.  

-Byron Hoot

Mist of Gold

The atmosphere was the thinnest cheesecloth filtering the light into a fine mist of gold dust and the sky held dark, massive, aggressive gra...