Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 19 - Confluence of Numbers


 Confluence of Numbers

They’re just dates, ages, times and amounts.
Rolling by, leaving marks in history,
That no one a thousand years from now will see.
But here in the moment they feel like everything.
They mark the paths of their lives.
By merest chance a birthday crosses a day
With someone’s death in it;
Losses falling on anniversaries of life;
Days of celebration marked with pain.
It can’t be helped I’m sure.
God knows the way we need to go.
Every day’s somebody’s celebration.
Every day is someone’s sorrow.
Only time will smooth it over,
Eternal life’s the only thing that can
Leave behind the grief and keep the holidays.

© 2016 by Tom King

* Picture courtesy of

April 18 - My Daisy's Bear

Daisy gets a vacuuming in our old chair....

My Daisy’s Bear

She’s gone too suddenly
I’d no time to prepare.
So I sit here of an evening
In our broken down old chair

Daisy thought she was a lap dog
She’d jump up in the chair
With me for her daily cuddle
And take a nap up here.

Sometimes she’d bring her bear
Or squeaky duck or mouse.
We’d play a game of catch and shake;
Romping all about the house.

She’d watch the world with me.
Lying there on her rumpled bed.
Or she’d sit beside my recliner
And make me scratch her head.

Now my chair’s half empty.
And broken down and battered
By a heavy man and big old hound
A Fellowship that to us mattered.

I sometimes see her shadow
On my old companion’s bed.
So I keep her old bear by me now
And sometimes scratch her head.

2016 by Tom King

April 17 - Sauce for the Gander

Sauce for the Gander

If you play it loose
The sauce for the goose
Is sauce for the deuce
The goose and gander
Don’t mean to pander
Don’t get up your dander.
I want you to know
The same is so
Wherever you go
I don’t know
You can puff and blow.
But your cultural practice
The simple fact is
And history backs dis'
That the things we like
In front or back of the mike
Every recreation
Came from some other nation
And was an appropriation.

Peace out!

© 2016 by Tom King
* Skeltonic Verse was invented by English honky poet John Skelton (1460-1529). Skelton was a colorful character. He was teacer of Prince Henry, later King Henry the VIII (the original party king). Leading the way for modern rappers, Skelton did a stretch in the big house when prisons weren't the fun places they are now. He also was banned by the Church as a "corrupter of youth".   

Like rap music, Skeltonic verse has two stresses per line and any number of unstressed syllables. Every line is rhymed with the line before it – unless the poet decides to change the rhymed last word. So sometimes you’ll get 2 lines that rhyme with each other and then two more with a different rhyme. The rhymes could be repeated three or four or ten times – however many the poet decides he wants to repeat the rhyme. The rhyme pretty much goes on till the rhyme runs out of “energy”. 

Given that Skeltonic verse was invented in the 15th century in England, I think it’s fair to say that the rap rhyme scheme was appropriated from ancient Caucasian culture – at any rate, we had it first. In exchange for my foregoing corn rows, I demand that you forego appropriating our white rhyme schemes. 

As John Skelton would say, "If you play it loose, what's sauce for the goose......

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April 16 - Daisy's Chains

Daisy’s Chains

She was just a dog, so why the hole
In our hearts, now that she is gone?
We didn’t rescue her. She rescued us.
It was our souls she’d print herself upon.

She danced upon our hearts not long enough
Always underfoot, her foolish lopsided grin
Telling us there were squirrels outside
That needed chasing up their trees again.

A chain of evidence, of a vibrant doggy life;
Everywhere the traces of the love she left behind;
Of a life well-lived among the humans she possessed.
Traces meant for us one day to find.

One by one I’ll collect them all – her toys, her blankets;
Her bed, her brush, her collar, all the things about her.
And her human mom and me, weep over every bit and bob,
We come upon in our struggle to live on without her.

©  2016 by Tom King

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 15 - Ragged End

Ragged End
By Tom King

I think I’ve hit a point in life where I do not care much,
About when all of this will rattle down to its ragged end,
Or whether I’ll even finish all that stuff I wanted to get done
All those years ago when I was standing in the starting gate.

I think we sense when our work in this world is just about done
Or at least when it’s coasting down to some kind of conclusion.
There’s a kind of finality that hangs over everything we do now,
Fog-like, intrusive, nagging at you constantly every dragging day.

I’m not afraid anymore, though. God is watching us too closely for that;
Making all things work together for good and all,
If not for our comfort, then I suspect He does it for our edification.
I’ve learned to live with that after all these years and all I’ve seen.

© 2016 by Tom King

Friday, April 15, 2016

April 14 - Homegoing

By Tom King

I’m far away; a stranger in a strange land.
My heart is elsewhere in the soil of another place.
I used to think I carried home around with me.
But it seems a part of me still occupies a former space.

The power of the familiar draws us all at last,
When our denouement comes stumbling down the lane
And life passes haltingly before us one more time,
The picture album so long closed now opens up again.

If you live to be old, life doesn’t flash before your eyes,
There at the last. It scrolls itself out – pages plucked by chance
From memory - misty, age-dimmed, yet calling softly still; 
An invitation, time-faded, to a well-remembered dance

© 2016 by Tom King

© Copyright Chris Reynolds and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April 13 - The Myth of Power

The Myth of Power
By Tom King

A wise man said once that power corrupts,
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
But I think he was wrong and it’s always been
An opinion I’ve held resolutely.

You see it’s not power itself that’s the problem,
Anymore than a spoon causes fatitude.
It’s that power attracts the corruptible sort.
It attracts those with a corruptible attitude.

It’s the smarmy, the sleazy, the evil and slimy,
That you find drawn to places of power.
That give us the fits, when they once get their mitts.
On the keys to that terrible dark tower.

It’s hard for a man with money and power,
To pass the eye of the heavenly needle.
There’s only one way and that’s on his knees
It does no good to bargain or wheedle.

So I say to the snake oil salesman parade,
To the charlatans, frauds, and rich few,
You may win for a season, but a reckoning comes,
For there’s a power that’s greater than you.

© 2016 by Tom King

April 12 - Tex-Mex by Moonlight

Tex-Mex by Moonlight
By Tom King

Late in the evening in Texas
When hunger pangs they do vex us,
We make a run for the border
And with a jalapeno-laced order,
Build a fire under our solar plexus.

© 2016 by Tom King

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April 11 - Raindrops on Noses

Raindrops on Noses

By Tom King

Raindrops on noses,
Whiskers on old men,
Stumbling along the cobbles
On a wet afternoon.

Mist swirling ‘round legs
Dewdrops on young men
Pounding the jogging paths
In the foggy wee hours.

Sunshine on shoulders
Brown skin on children,
Running in the park
Through the golden afternoon.

Snowflakes on my bald head.
Frozen drizzle on my shoulders.
Impelling me forward
Along the pathway toward home.

Weather at rest,
Where it fell to the earth.
Falling on souls
Beside moments of living.

ã 2016 by Tom King

April 10 - It's the Sun Stupid

It’s the Sun Stupid
By Tom King

I went out on the porch in the morning one day.
The sun had come up in the usual way.

The radio sat playing inside of the kitchen.
NPR had a scientist on the air just a bitchin’.

We’re destroying the planet he knowingly opined.
It’s your car, it’s your dinner, it’s your lifestyle he whined.

You people quite obviously don’t give a darn.
That your selfish pursuits make Earth terribly warm.

Yes the warming is global he shouted and lectured.
All the scientists agree, it’s not just conjectured.

We’ve monitored temps from weather monitoring stations.
Like the one in our parking lot near the heat pump’s location.

The planet’s getting warmer they tell us for certain,
And if we do not do sumpin’ we’re all gonna be hurtin’.

I sat down to ponder the points he did pose.
Felt the heat of the sun on my face as it rose.

And it suddenly struck me as I sat there a thinkin’.
I thought and I thought till the sun started sinkin’.

Then, I noticed it’s colder when the sun’s out of sight.
Maybe, just maybe there’s a connection alright.

Maybe, I thought, if the temp’s going up.
Then maybe the sun’s thermostat’s been turned up.

I suspect if the globe’s climate changed I know why.
It’s that nuclear heater way up in the sky. 

© 2016 by Tom King

Sunday, April 10, 2016

April 9 - The Science of Love

The Science of Love

There once was a brave scientist,
Who never had ever been kissed.
With some gears and a sprocket
He had in his pocket
He discovered just what he had missed.

He used a computer for brains – quite fantastic
Electrical stuff all covered in plastic,
A robot, a beauty,
A mechanical cutie,
A paramour mechanically gymnastic.

© 2016 by Tom King

April 8 - She's Going Away

She’s Going Away
By Tom King

She’s going home for a while.
There’s a cousin with a dying husband,
She’s needed there; more so than here.
Besides, she thinks it’ll be a good thing.
I’m being left behind,
Just me and the dog,
And a mound of unfinished business.
It’s not that I mind getting my own supper,
I’ve been doing that anyway for a while.
It’s not the household chores, she knows
They won’t be done to her standard.
She’ll fuss and fumigate when she comes home.
I worry will she be all right without me,
To bring her morning coffee,
Her meds and breakfast in bed?
I worry most that she might find,
That running around with Cousin Kay
Is a lot more fun than putting up with me.
What if she doesn’t come back?
What if something bad happens to her,
And I’m not there for her
And she calls out for me
And I am 3000 miles away.
What would I do?
If my phone was out of minutes,
And I could not hear her voice.

ã 2016 by Tom King

April 7 - The Song of Eeyore

The Song of Eeyore
By Tom King

We see the pain in those we love, in their eyes.
We see the sadness engulf a tender heart and want to help.
And we draw conclusions often wrong – we did not know;
Stepping back instead because we fear to intrude.

They need not isolation, the cheerless ones;
They need not to be alone with the grinding pain.
But we hesitate to take them in for fear of doing harm,
Holding back when we should be drawing in.

Pooh knew the answer, so his friend always came with the gang.
Pooh knew that adventures have the power to heal a wounded soul.
So he would take his friend along without demanding that he
Should be happy when they all understood that he could not.

You understand what it’s like; you do not want the pity either.
You understand what it’s like; you want to be a part of everything.
Just as who you are, even with your quirks, your joys, your sadnesses;
Just as one of the gang, going along on an adventure.
© 2016 by Tom King
© 1994 by Micah King

April 6 - Disappointment

By Tom King

So I’m sitting in the lobby in one of those plastic chairs
With the butt-shaped dent in the middle of the seat.
The doc’s got me waiting while they test my blood,
And ruminate over the condition of my arteries.

It’s an appointment.  You know that makes it sounds so serious
and final, like some kind of reckoning – which it kinda is.
The doctor is never fully satisfied with my numbers anyway,
So, it works out to be more of a disappointment.

© 2016 by Tom King

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 5 - Mama Said


Mama Said

By Tom King

Don’t go in there, it’s dark.
Mama said that, when I was little.
It’s good advice, even when you’re big.

Don’t go swimming after you eat.
Mama said that too, but she was wrong.
Cramps can get you almost any time.

Always wear clean underwear, you could get into an accident.
Moms have vivid imaginations, where underwear is concerned.
But there are other good reasons for having clean underwear.

Don’t run away from bees, they’ll sting you.
Mama said that too; but wrong again.
The hornets stung me nine times. Of course hornets are not bees.

Do what your Mama says, it’s good advice.
She’s not always right, but she means well.
And that means the odds are good that she knows.

© 2016 by Tom King

Monday, April 4, 2016

April 4 - A Murder of Crows


A Murder of Crows
By Tom King

The world is sick with critics,
Like vampires sucking out the blood
Of all who manage to get up off their bottoms,
Pecking away at the things that we’ve loved into being
 – the crows descend.

Critics are parasites, black birds descending,
Feeding on the best that we have done;
Art, music, words, movies, plays and books,
Even upon the simplest, best-loved of our creations
       the crows descend.

Crows are thieves when you think about it.
They do not make, they do not create, they do not lift up, .
They peck away at all we've formed with energy and love.
No matter what we've done or how hard we've worked.
                                                –       the crows descend.

What we need are the opposite of crows
Unselfish folk – appreciaters, encouragers, lovers
Of those who try; of those who put themselves out there.
Scarecrows in the fields of human endeavor to keep
       the crows away

ã 2016 by Tom King

Sunday, April 3, 2016

April 3 - 'Nanner Puddin'

'Nanner Puddin'
 By Tom King

I'm on a diabetic diet and I wanted me a treat
So I got some pudding – sugar free – at the store just down the street.
Got some wafers of vanilla, sugar free and nothing less
And milk, fat free and no cholesterol my arteries to stress.

I got bananas, ripe and yellow; sliced 'em up before they spoiled
Then I mixed the pudding and I cooked it in a pot until it boiled.
Then I poured it in a bowl, with bananas and some cookies;
Arranged the cookies in a circle, we ain't no decoratin' rookies.

Next here comes the waitin' part. The bowl goes in the fridge.
To thicken up the pudding and to cool it just a smidge.
I sit back in my recliner; wound the dial on my timer.
And as I waited my Sweet Baboo sends me this reminder…

"Oh, it's not banana pudding without a dollop of whipped cream,
"You can even stir it in the pudding for a texture that's a dream."
So I got up without thinking, added Cool Whip, oh how sweet!
As I contaminated blithely, my fancy diabetic treat.

Oh I didn't need it anyway, I should really avoid the dairy,
Bananas? Well, they're iffy, make my glucose levels kinda scary
And those carbohydrates in the cookies I should probably forgo.
Oh well, no 'nanner puddin', I'll have a bowl of kale………to go!

© 2016 by Tom King

April 2 - Composition

By Tom King

Creation’s built into our blood
We cannot help ourselves but do it.
It’s a song we cannot help but sing;
Life’s passions running through it.

The human beast’s the only creature
That signs his work so all will know
It’s his and his alone a work, an artifice
That survives him when he goes.

We are creatures of the tool, the knife and brush
The saw, the pen, the word, the dark and light.
We shape the clay, the canvas, or the paper pages
And decorate with paint, ink and pure delight.

God made us like Himself it seems - an image
Of eternal fire; the kind that rolls out the flaming stars,
Like showers of grain upon a broad threshing floor.
And we in turn pour out creations that are ours.

We are made of the stuff of stars – imbued it seems,
With the essence of the One that made the planets in our souls
We cannot help ourselves, like children we must make things
It’s just, it seems, that that’s the way we naturally roll.

 © 2016 by Tom King
Photo © 2011 by Tom King

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April 1 - The Six W's

The Six W’s
By Tom King

Growing old I find at this late stage in life ain’t fun.
Growing old is one of the few journeys in the world
Where the voyage itself was a lot more fun than voyage’s end;
Where your destination was not the place you thought it would be.

It does seem a little sad to me, that my expectations were so mistaken.
It does seem a bit ironic in a way, and not in a good way,
When we were young, alive and full of vigor, we did not understand.
When we were so anxious to grow up, we missed the part about growing old.

I miss my youth more now than when I was busy raising kids of my own.
I miss my senses; the clean feeling of touch in my toes and hands and face
What is left of me is not quite the man that I had hoped to be.
What remains is not the man I feared I might become.

I can’t tell you if things might have gone better had I made other choices.
I can’t tell you if in the time that has been granted to me to make my choices,
Whether I have come to the place I once set out for as a child or
Whether or not I came here all this long way, entirely of my own volition.

All I do know in the warm light of day’s end is that I am content.
All I do know in the stillness of the twilight of my life is that,
Who I am is who I might have wanted to be back then and
Who I am is not the miserable old man I might have once become.

I got here on a path that I thank God I had the sense to choose when I was young.
I got here, not by the easy smooth road, but by the high path and hard trail.
Why I came the way I did was His doing not mine for I’d have chosen easier ways.
Why I came here was grace entire; the inevitable gift of love if only you’d have it.

© by Tom King

© 2009 by Chris JL - Some rights reserved