Up There

Maneuvered by metaphor,

sashayed with clichés,

I looked up and it was still there,

that sun pasted between

a cobalt wall

with translucent clouds

brushing in the fore.

A golden pill hung

before I ever was

and hanging still

when my blip bleeps its last.

I relish every age spot

given by its graces,

and return its due

respect after

tender shoulders

absorb aloe vera.

A light by which

I see.

A warmth by which

I feel.

A presence by which

I love.

Monday Muse 2020

First Monday. We’re alive. I’m writing and you’re reading. Grace has lifted us once again. How shall we respond?

I write. It’s a compulsion. Sometimes words illumine a way out of a thought jungle. Worry; the great canopy of blocking the light of day. Vines, creepy-crawlies, and unknown sounds and furies. I gotta admit, and I have, that the older I get, the more I am prone to worry. Anxiety strangles the heart, mine at least.

The heart is the matter. What’s the matter with my heart? That question’s been dogging me for quite some time now. So, on the first Monday of this decade I broke out my bible app and entered ‘heart’ in the search box. The verses pertaining to the heart are many, and the conclusion is God cares about hearts. More than ‘likes’ on social media. More than the 24 hour news cycle. More than information and opinions and bowl games. If you have a bible app, look for yourself.

Listen to these verses with your heart…

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Philippians 4:6 and 7 The  Message.

What is the center of our humanness? Our hearts of course! God’s desire is for our hearts to be wide open with Him. This doesn’t come naturally to me. Often I get flamboozled into thinking I can’t trust God with my heart. The realization hits only after I’ve stonewalled God, and am deep into self-protection mode. Think of the reasoning in that! I need to protect myself from God? If there’s a need for protection then I might as well join AA (Atheists Anonymous). I’ve said before ‘If God isn’t good, what good is God?’

Make no mistake, if the verse says fret not, God knows our tendencies. God knows where our hiding places are and He is perfect at hide and seek. Once God even sent Jesus to look for us.

This I pray:

That our hearts will be flung open to the goodness of God. That like water to wine, worry will turn into praise because of Jesus, our only hope. Amen

On Prayer

Take us to the safe places,

not free of danger necessarily,

but void of triggers…

those spaces where scabs

fall off, not scrape off.


Show us how to play,

how to get absorbed

like a child on the floor,

Let us not worry about

how we’re gonna get up.


Help us to trust again,

fearless of reaction,

boundless in hope.

For a long moment

let us reach You.

Bullet Points

  • Bullet Points
  • Entry wounds
  • Exit wounds
  • Mooring snapped
  • Mourning wrapped
  • Blood flows
  • Anger grows
  • Boughs break
  • Hearts ache
  • Coherence fades
  • Frustration jades
  • Chambers dressed
  • Triggers pressed
  • Round after round
  • Sound after sound
  • Good or bad
  • Bad or good
  • Misunderstood
  • Misunderstood
  • On our knees
  • Begging please
  • Don’t shoot
  • Don’t shoot
  • Hands behind backs
  • Hands in our laps
  • See us care
  • Hear our prayer
  • In God we trust
  • We must we must
  • Or bullet points
  • Or bullet points…

Don’t Just Stand There, Do Something (A response to Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There)

Go to the ant and consider.

Wear matching socks.

Create a floss event.


Run Forrest, run!

Read some e-mails,

and respond to one.


X-it the marked spot

and lace up your shoes.

Tell your ego you are tall enough.

Think and walk simultaneously.

Moss doesn’t grow

on a moving target.


Tell your shadow

to get in line

and try to keep up.

Here comes the sun,

here comes the sun,

and I say

it’s all right.

82-year-old man is oldest to hike all of New York State’s 46 High Peaks

Jerry Levine joined the ranks of the Adirondack 46ers, so-called because New York has 46 mountains at least 4,000 feet tall.

Matthew 19:26

Head in the Cloud

White eye brow raised

to open an iris of patent leather sky.

The wisp hung over thoughts

tossed as hard I could.

Dark thoughts, big as chestnuts,

became smaller and bluer the higher

they flew.


Mental blocks hewn under sun,

and weighed down by gravity.

So heavy one moment,

and lighter as they ascended.

Black diminished into blue.

They flew.


I’m serious.

They are Cirrus.

Wispy, laid out on a whim.

High brow attitude

absorbing mine.

Altitude lay across thin air

where thoughts can no longer breathe.


Hold my breath of prayers O Lord

until your face turns blue.


Psalm 8, Psalm 19, Isaiah 55,


Freedom and Dependency: Fraternal Twins

“Are you going to be okay without me?”


Right before I leave for work I pop a question. It is always the same one with the same response. It is not that my wife can’t live without me. She is strong. She will survive. I can hear her singing Gloria Gainer song in my head right now. She sings along every time Gloria belts it out. The reality is she has allowed me much freedom over the years. I can be pretty independent and she knows it all too well. I roam and she trusts.

Monday morning different words came out of me. They weren’t formed in a question. They were a response to a question she didn’t ask. She probably would ask it eventually, but my answer couldn’t wait.

“No, I am not going to be okay without you.”

She smiled. We made eye contact as we always do and “I love you” was swapped as we always do. *kiss


I walked out and got in the driver’s seat and a voice filled the dashboard.

“Are you going to be okay without me?”

Neil Diamond nudged me and whispered something about being a solitary man.

“I am an island…I have my books and poetry to protect me…” Geez Simon and GarFUNKel, I would rather find a bridge over troubled water. It is tempting to hide behind someone’s thoughts instead of walking through them.

“Psssst, are you going to be okay without me?”

Give me a minute. Did you mean, like, I need to come to the garden alone all the time to catch the dew on the roses? Do you want every word that proceeds out of my mouth to be laced with religious overpinnings?

“Shhhh, are you going to be okay without me?”

No, I’ve tried before. It’s okay for a while, but then I can’t receive the beauty around me or hug my kids authentically or lay next to my wife in peace. I can’t hand out hope or smiles after a while. You are love and without you this bruised, groaning world makes little sense and eventually sucks the life and meaning out of me.

“I know. Did you know that I am not going to be okay without you? I want to bring my creation close.  I want to ease its groaning. That includes you. I gave freedom in the beginning knowing there was a chance of people running away with it. Silly ole humans, do they really think they can out run my love? My Jesus came to snap people out of it; that blank stare of independence clutching freedom like a teddy bear.”

The bear is a bit tattered isn’t it?

“Listen, freedom is a wild concept. True freedom doesn’t necessarily expand, at least not in the way some understand it. Independence is good, but interdependence is better. Not co-dependence. Interdependence.

True freedom is not freedom from dependency


freedom in dependency.”

The original intent was to allow us to reciprocate your love, right? Not just to you, but especially with each other. I think I get it. I hope I grow in freedom to love better. To be dependent on and be dependable; that is love in action isn’t it?

“Yes, now go ask your wife a question and go to work. Feel free to live and love. I am here, all the time. I am love.”
Are you free to love? Love God? Love people?

Open and Shut Encasement? “When God Shuts A Door, He Opens A Window.”

“This is the way, walk ye through it.” Misquote of Isaiah 30:21


Did God grow up in a barn,

always leaving doors open?

Are doors better left open?

If so, why have them at all?

Just take the pins out of the hinges

and hang the door in the living room.

Paint the door to blend in with the wall

because when a door is shut it is a wall.

Besides, if God shut the door, did he lock it?

Did we try jiggling the handle?

Are we on the inside or outside of it?

Should we knock? Is God knocking?


“She came in through the bathroom window” The Beatles


Let’s move on to the window.

What a pane.

The window serves a similar purpose whether open or shut.

It provides a view whether open or shut.

I shutter to think that we need to escape.

Isn’t that the first thought when considering

climbing through a window?

Why did she come in through the bathroom window?

That is possible B & E, a felony, maybe.


“Stay here, don’t move, I’ll be back.” God


Could it be people of faith interpret the meaning

of that often quoted phrase one way?

Are there other options?

That question was handed to me and now I am

prying it open to look out or in to see other views.

Could it be God wants us to remain calm.

He leaves a window open for air and a lookout.

God saw trouble coming and told us to wait

while he checks things out.


Maybe God locked us out of a bad situation

and we are given the option to look at it from a safe distance,

through the window.


“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

Just for fun…

How do you interpret this often quoted phrase? Are there other options? I am not trying to be a spiritual brat, but trying to keep God out of a box…or in a locked room as it were.