Tag Archive: poetry

He walked through the streets in darkness,

Homeless but not alone,

A man on a mission of reverence

beyond the mundane chore of survival,

in a spirit of grace and mercy.


He stopped at Johnson’s Laundry

With it’s Closed for Christmas sign,

He knelt on the sidewalk outside the door,

Quietly saying the Lord’s Prayer,

the only prayer he knew.


Thanking “Papa” Johnson

For the clothes left unclaimed,

He left a small package – a crude, homemade cross

With a card on which was scrawled,

“Merry Christmas, from Jesus.”


Next was Garcia’s Grocery

For the leftovers not yet spoiled

He knelt and prayed –

Another crude cross,

And the card, “Merry Christmas, from Jesus.”


Ten blocks later, Miller’s Hardware,

For his sturdy, cardboard box dwelling,

and timber for his bed,

A kneel, a prayer, a larger crude cross,

And the card, “Merry Christmas, from Jesus.”


Too far from home, the mission closed,

He found a bench in the park,

after a passerby bought coffee

and he walked – recalling forgotten memories –

without knowing what they meant.


Early the next morning on Christmas Day,

he fought the wind and rain,

through the cold streets to the mission,

where Christmas dinner was served, the soul sustained,

and life again had purpose.


The rain stopped, the wind died down,

as he trekked on home,

home – an alley behind the church

white and made of stone,

with a view of the cross on the wall.


He turned into the alley

and stopped in his tracks.

Where his cardboard box had stood,

was a sturdy lumber shack,

with a roof, a window, and a door.


He opened the door to a sturdy wooden cot,

An orange crate table, his few possessions inside,

with something new on top.

A suit of clothes hung on a hook,

with the laundry marker still on it.


He closed the door because he could,

he’d forgotten what it felt like.

Walking to the table he turned on the lamp,

it had been years since he had his own light,

but then his breath went away.


Also on the table sat a Bible, brand new,

inscribed with a name he hadn’t used in years,

next to a picture of a family he’d forgotten he had.

He stood staring at them, his mind racing,

memories bombarding his thoughts.


He sat on the cot and picked up the Bible,

after staring at the picture a while.

He ran his fingers over the only thing he owned

that wasn’t worn by wear or weather,

with emotions he couldn’t control.


Through tears, with shaking hands,

he opened the Bible and read

“Merry Christmas, from Jesus.”


© 2009  Daniel L. Roark

Merry Christmas!

Peace be with you.

shaquilla-hooks-and-chris-hatcherI hosted the Monday night open mic at Angela’s on Sept. 5th. As it turns out, I’ll be hosting the open mic every third Monday, with some exceptions. Be that as it may, on the fifth I opened the show. People began to show up as I finished my set. Bah Jaz followed me with some nice instrumentals on guitar.

Keith Dzygun (Dijun) played next with some cover tunes. Rachel Stokes followed with a bass player and guitar player – collectively called Salt and Light. Temi George was next, followed by Johnny Cromer. Then Allen Larson played his usual eclectic set. Pamela Pantea and Dianna Rice harmonized nicely on some standard hymns. Eric Jones played a nice set of his tunes.

During Eric’s set, Shaquilla Hooks, who had signed up to be next online just that evening, made sure I knew she had signed up. It had occurred to me earlier to check online for new signups, so I knew. I asked her what she was going to play or need. She said she was just reading poetry. So I thought, cool, some spoken word.

Shaquilla sat on the stool, grabbed the mic, and started reading a poem. It was a nice poem and I was getting in to it. I began to wonder where it was going. It was obviously about a particular person. She became nervous and it showed in her reading of the poem. She reached a point, looked behind me, and continuing the poem she said “Will you marry me?”

The person behind me was Chris Hatcher, who works at Angela’s. Naturally, he said yes, and everything stopped while they hugged and she cried. With time left, and no one else signed up, Eric played a few more tunes. During which time I took the picture shown here. It was the first proposal I have seen at an open mic – much less one I was hosting.

Have you ever had someone propose at your open mic? Or something similar?

Peace be with you.

20131103_132007 I hope I’m not the only writer with this problem, but I find it difficult to switch from writing prose to writing poetry or to songwriting. Not that I can’t, I just find it difficult at times. In younger days, when I was writing songs and playing music all the time, the ideas came continuously from everywhere, whether it be a verse a line or two, or a chorus. It’s a mindset. I looked at everything in hooks, lines, rhymes – or not – and musical themes

Writing prose is another mindset altogether. I think in terms of paragraphs, short stories, ideas that can be stretched into posts, articles, essays, or books. There is not the “instant” (in comparison) gratification as in a song that you have just written. The song will go through changes, but having the framework is the hardest part.

So, having written books, articles, and so on for the past twelve years, and having written few songs, getting back into the rhythm – as it were – of writing songs as well as other writing has been a little tough. One idea would be to write prose works on alternate days from songwriting. Or spend a half of each day on each. Which would be good ideas if I didn’t have a myriad of family obligations.

I watch re-runs on tv when I’m writing because it’s background garbage. If I listen to music while I’m writing prose, I quit writing and get into the music and begin to switch to the songwriting mindset. If I listen to music while I’m writing songs, I end up with pieces of songs that sound like everyone but me. And not necessarily in a good way.

How do you juggle writing duties – whatever that may entail?

Peace be with you.

Where was God when disaster struck?

God was with the baby who survived
because her window
was the only one in the house
that did not implode.

God was there to comfort
the woman who lost everything
she owned, and most
of her family.

God was with the family
who stuck together
during the tragedy
and survived – together.

God was with the family members
who were separated
before the disaster,
but found each other safe.

God was with the people
who – despite injury and loss –
helped others who could not
assist themselves.

God was there with the families
of the victims
helping them to deal with
the question of why?

God was there with the family
of those who may have caused
the disaster and who are
struggling to understand.

God was there with grace
to pour upon those affected
and help them to carry on
despite unexpected change.

God was there.

Chocolate Chips
Ritz Crackers
Girl Scout cookies
ice cream sundaes
pizza, pretzels,
caramel squares.

Things that we liked
when we were growing up
that we still like now,
but – somehow –
they just aren’t exactly
the same.

Questions Asked – Poem

Questions asked
may not be answered
when the purpose of the question
is misunderstood.

Questions asked
may not be answered
when the speaker speaks
without thinking.

Questions asked
may not be answered
when the question is not
really a question at all.

Questions asked
may not be answered.

Questions asked.

Athletes are told
that when they play
they should “stay within themselves.”

May I ask,
because I’d like to know
how do you “stay without yourself”?

When someone becomes known
after doing something for years,
they have been “under the radar.”

Now that they
are shown on the news
are they “over the radar”?

Just asking.

In Flight – Poem

Wings in flight,
imminent darkness
if the sandman
does not fail.

Troubles left on ground
will return upon landing
but are temporarily
in cloud limbo
(no, not that cloud).

Turbulence temporarily tosses me
around the bathroom
while the sign flashes
“Return to cabin.”
(I’m trying, I’m trying!)

Constant turbulence
makes the kidneys
and the nerves jumpy,
but the landing is uneventful.

Love thy neighbor as thyself
is not only one
of the Ten Commandments,
it is actually a good idea
I am glad God thought of it,
Because I am afraid
we would not have
-on our own-
Thanks be to God.


Spending the day
in a son’s apartment
waiting for repairmen.
Bringing questions
with no answers;
does it really matter?
Probably not – ultimately,
but somehow it doesn’t feel right.
Good night.

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