Archive for the ‘poetry’ category


February 26, 2014

Obviously this is not a poem. But I may never write a short story again so it is not worth creating a category for it. Enjoy.

“It’s raining again.”

It was Kyle, in the middle of the worst storm ever, dripping. He’s always dripping. He must have walked over in the rain, like four blocks, and his hair was like, soaked, like a long hairy sponge, a four foot long hairy sponge. I mean his hair falls below his knees. If the guy is ever held hostage the bad guys won’t need to bring duct tape, just tie him up with his own hair. Even his eyes were soaked, his eyebrows, like that’s supposed to make him endearing or something.

“So? I don’t want you coming in and ruining my carpet.”

“Valerie. Just let me in for a minute.” He is so pathetic.

“Look, Kyle. I can’t fall in love today. I didn’t do a thing with my hair. Come back tomorrow.” Now he was confused and pathetic – I have no hair at all. But sarcasm always misses him. He’s like a stick figure so no barb you shoot at him can hit him.

“But you don’t have any hair, Valerie.”

“Whatever, whatever…it’s not happening.” And he was still standing there. You can’t be subtle with this guy.

“I just thought, you know, you might need to talk or something. You know. Girls like to talk. I can, you know, listen. I used to listen to Cindy …” He dripped his words like he dripped rain in my doorway. His sister died. Leukemia. Like we bonded, or something, like he knew all about me because of his sister.

“Is it not a good day? Did you have a bad, you know, appointment?”

“No, Kyle, my appointments are always great. I feel refreshed and like I’m looking forward to chem in the Fall.” Sarcasm again. A waste of perfectly good sarcasm. “Look, Kyle. The last twenty-four hours are making me seriously reconsider our friendship.”

“Valerie. You can get through this. I’ll help. I’ll -”

Suddenly I felt just too tired to be there, just be there in the doorway with this guy dripping on my floor and trying to be less pathetic. Such a loser. But I was a loser too and at least he might have time to experience the whole being-a-loser thing. My loserishness might be over real soon.

“I went over to St. Patrick’s and lit a candle, you know, just to… you know.” He’s Catholic.

“No. What Kyle? What are you and a stupid candle gonna do. You can’t make anything happen. You can’t make me better. You can’t create life. Just go home.”

“We create ourselves.”

That didn’t sound too Catholic to me, and Kyle is not the type to come up with profound – profound, hell not even trite comments about the meaning of life. He’s just good at walking in the rain and looking pathetic and dripping on your doorway. That’s Kyle.

“We create ourselves?”

“Father Sanchez said that. Uh, last night. He said we make choices, and it…I don’t know… you know, creates us.” Not an articulate guy, our Kyle. Not the poster child for the campaign to rid the world of the deadly blah-no-phoma cancer.

“I got you a flower.” I hadn’t noticed it. It was a dandelion in the shape of a paper clip. Let’s just say the rain had not made it fresher. Just like Kyle. “I’ve been, you know, thinking seriously about our … friendship. You know, reconsidering. You know, last night.” I had trouble imagining Kyle considering anything. “I thought you might be feeling better today.”

“What? Because of Father Santitos and the stupid candle? Whatever, whatever. It’s not happening. It’s just not happening, Kyle.”

And then he was crying. I mean, how could I tell? He was already dripping so much on my doorway, I swear there was no room for any more water on his face. “Kyle. You can’t…you can’t make plans, have hopes, stuff like that. You know you can’t.”

“I know”. He held out the pathetic excuse for a flower. Very slowly, like it was the other side of the moon, I took it. He smiled. “Don’t worry. I can’t fall in love today. I can’t do a thing with my hair.”

And I couldn’t stop laughing. He always does that. Makes me laugh when I would rather do any damn thing but laugh. He just stood there pathetically for a while letting me laugh, like a cartoon who’s lost its balloon. “Well, I better go.”

“Hey, Kyle.”


“Wait. It’s a … it’s raining again.”

lessons at seminary

July 30, 2013

Here is another poem from Kathryn at the seminary, this time not a sonnet:

these others
who are never me
move from earnest discourse
to deep conversation
which, you notice,
are synonyms.
they stroll along the walks
voices borne across the shaded lawn, mostly
tones and inflections without words –
I might catch a phrase
but my arms are full
of laundry
and if I am not careful
I will lose a sock

Image of the Theotokos

July 29, 2013

I am always glad when Kathryn writes another sonnet. Here is the latest from her stay at the seminary:

In rare and porcelain fragility
The flick’ring votive light illumines flesh
And features of serene stability
Within a childlike paleness, pure and fresh.

The brow reveals no fretful animation,
Unclouded and unlined as glass it bends
Upon the child in solemn adoration
And timeless honor of the life she tends.

By candle’s glow the hands are pale and slender,
Not hands of homely toil and calloused palm
But motionless, the fingers poised in tender
Gesture of a sweet and holy calm.

Yet in those graceful arms what strength is curled
To bear the weight of him that bore the world?

Sketches from a train

July 23, 2013

This is a series of poems written by Kathryn during her recent trip to Wisconsin.


the grapevines are swallowing Sandusky
trees along the tracks transformed to mammoth vegetable
every backyard that ticks by
ringed by a perceptibly thickening hedge
of indeterminate lineage
all the mowers are working time and a half
to keep these creeping
immigrants at bay
because when they’ve unpacked
their bags at last
shapes and sizes will finally defy definition
and one leaf will pretty much
look like every other


I saw a hill in Indiana
a very small hill
squatting diffidently in the midst of
a vastly recumbent landscape
flat roofs in flat acres of flat corduroy fields
God never did make that hill
someone left it there
and forgot it
until the kindly grasses
crept over it
to hide its shame


in Waterloo houses keep their faces
decorously averted
front door wreaths and
bay window flower boxes
welcome the familiar
the known
the safe
and the homely back garden
the abandoned toys
and forgotten tools
are left to face
the just-passing-through


trees congregate
in shaggy islands
alone or by twos or threes
amid the furred oceans of corn and soy
they murmur and plot their return


April 5, 2013

It was a lollapalooza from last week
that landed like a left hook
and left me slack jawed and listless
kneeling there like a lump.
That haymaker haunts me
in the here and now,
uses my yesterday lie
like a bonecrusher to the ribs.

We are four-dimensioned men
boxing over time.
Old Gang rumbles with New Gang,
running riot through soul’s inner city –
and one of them to the death.
Old Gang is pitiful
but he still packs a powerful punch
rising up in my inner vision
like muhammed ali out for blood.
I don’t think I’ll stand
much longer.

Sixty two rounds we’ve gone now.
I long for the bell
that signals some respite.
Every jab I make is weaker
than the jab before.
If I’m to win this fight
it won’t be me that wins it.
It will be he that loses.
I can last longer, that’s all.
I can last long enough.

He towers,
takes off his glove
looking for that final KO
this time.

But stand I will.
One more time.
His desperation steels me.
I set my jaw,
glare back into his glare.
Not one of my bones is broken.


June 6, 2012

is the old ode
to the mediocre
sung anew
in board rooms and rec rooms.
Even that old loser, Zeus,
wasn’t taken in
this easily.
Or Samson,
cozied up to
and clipped,
would not
so easily
have succumbed
to the net.
Now eyes gouged
we push bigger wheels
in longer paths
while mocking dagons
throw peanut shells
and laugh.
Our hair grows.

Doing the Impossible Again

April 6, 2012

With impossibility at hand
possibility slams against that big dead end sign
and bounces back,
paused by uncertainty.
It glances over its shoulders,
glowers a bit through matted eyebrows,
and lunges back at target
with the power of a high tech drilling laser
hyped out with juiced up joules
and good ol’ American know-how.
He splatters head on into that uncrackable mirror
and loses a few more years in wasted time.
No mark on it this time either.
No matter.
Just a couple light years running start next time
is what it will take.
That’s all.

Living Worship

April 4, 2012

Kathryn is so good with sonnets. Here is the newest.

“I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Rom. 12:1

The floury palm that presses once again
into the yielding dough, it is “I love”
that wrings the sopping rag and scours the pan,
that knows the choicest spot to stroke above
the ear or underneath the chin – each form
of kindly touch or labor is “I love”.
The fingers settling root and seed and corm
into the crumbling loam, the hands that move
to draw the thread through cloth or thought through pen,
through brush and clay the shadows glories prove –
to trace the labor of those scarred hands
that formed the all from nothing is “I love”.
For Love Himself is bread and breath and fire,
form of my clay and spring of my desire.

Kathryn Boswell

One TV Evangelist

October 13, 2011

It is not what you think it might be.
It’s a cover up,
though the blood and the pain are as real
as a notary’s seal can make them.
Sounds were uttered to blanket the blanks
so there were no gaps between words
and the ear was enticed to hear
what was not there.
It’s a smooth smooth speech.
It’s a special.
It’s a fistful of verbiage pounded into a pulpit
by a ravenous dog of a liar.
He calls it good news
but no paper would print this,
no clown would do tricks or put on a happy face for this.
He calls it good and he smiles
but what he really wants to do
is eat you handily
raw and alive.

One Night Out in the Pub

September 29, 2011

The music rolled off the keys
like a particularly satisfying swear word off the tongue.
No breath necessary.
Confusion of styles
wove light and night in warp and woof,
while tweeters and woofers washed their mouths with soap
just to get to the next chorus.
The music of the spheres
had a whole new rhythm section
My own voice betrayed me.
My own ear mislaid the chords
and made my lyric the grab-bag for miscreants
to the tune of everything I had.
It put the pub in public.

I’ll give up my seat
on this world’s barstool
and let some other prophet
buy the next round.