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I just put a pumpkin pie in the oven.  Later I will make chili.  It’s Halloween.  How about a ghost story, uh, poem?

Ghost Story


The rain had quenched the roaring campfire,

destroying all hopes of roasting marshmallows,


but the sounds that would follow were simply October.

Stormy clouds arrived before the wind blew in—

then rain that fell in horizontal sheets.  Hail came last,

destroying the objects grouped by the door,

bruising carved pumpkins, un-potting the yellow

chrysanthemums, scattering freshly-baled hay,


skinny, funny scarecrows, dried black corn.  And while

the pounding storm shook the house on the hill,


several small children, wearing feet pajamas

and holding fuzzy bears, were huddled together,

giddy with fear, still

swapping  tales of the Hornet Spook Light,

that swings, by way of legend, in the hand of

a headless man, far, far away—


or the man down Third Street , behind Safeway,

whose “dog is really a wolf.”  They chattered about

Ol’ Henry, who’s nothing but a ’bo pushing a cart,

and had more fun fearing him than bobbing,


later, for the crunchy red apples in the tub on

the Pullium’s screened-in back porch.

first published in Cracked Lenses

My poem, “To Be,” (scroll down to find it) from my current project Windows Toward the World, is included in the Autumn issue of Blue Fifith Review

Also included are poems by my friends, Jessicca Vidrine (second from top) and two by Evie Shockley (again scroll down.) 

Thanks to editor Sam Rasnake.

“It is no exaggeration to say that democratic society is founded on a kind of faith: on the conviction that each citizen is capable of, and assumes, complete political responsibility. Each one not only broadly understands the problems of government but is willing and ready to take part in their solution. In a word, democracy assumes that the citizen knows what is going on, understands the difficulties of the situation, and has worked out for himself an answer that will help him to contribute, intelligently and constructively, to the common work (or “liturgy”) of running his society

“For this to be true, there must be a considerable amount of solid educational preparation. A real training of the mind. A genuine formation in those intellectual and spiritual disciplines without which freedom is impossible. 

“There must be a completely free exchange of ideas. Minority opinions, even opinions which may appear to be dangerous, must be given a hearing, clearly understood and seriously evaluated on their own merits, not merely suppressed. Religious beliefs and disciplines must be respected. The rights of the individual conscience must be protected against every kind of open or occult encroachment

“Democracy cannot exist when men prefer ideas and opinions that are fabricated for them. The actions and statements of the citizen must not be mere automatic “reactions”-mere mechanical salutes, gesticulations signifying passive conformity with the dictates of those in power. 

“To be truthful, we will have to admit that one cannot expect this to be realized in all the citizens of a democracy. But if it is not realized in a significant proportion of them, democracy ceases to be an objective fact and becomes nothing but an emotionally loaded word.

“What is the situation in the United States today?” 

Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander by Thomas Merton,  New York: Doubleday & Co, Inc., 1968 edition, p. 100-101.

I am denied


vivid colors—

the burnt-orange,

the reds and the yellows

framing her face,


her softness.  A sheet

of murky darkness

nailed,  corrosive

barbed-wire planted,

between us:

is it the texture



separates me

from my


sister in Azania?

I feel her eyes, searching—


brilliant world

dimmed by a shabby

over-wash.  Intensity

of the human


does not fade in the

slums of life.  Shadows


and fences only

bar.  The African woman


and I, one prism

toward the light—

nothing halts

the undiluted spectrum.


Inspired by a copy of a painting by Sue Williamson,  Cape Town, South Africa.  First published GFWoman (November 1997).


“A member of my family once said that she did not doubt George W. Bush’s conversion. He is a sincere Christian, she observed, but he is a Christian who has not grown in his faith. He is like a child.

Spoiled children are bullies.”

from Sherry Chandler’s blog  I love it when Sherry gets on her soapbox.

The Church is one body. Paul writes, “We were baptised into one body in a single Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13). But this one body has many parts. As Paul says, “If they were all the same part, how could it be a body? As it is, the parts are many but the body is one” (1 Corinthians 12:19). Not everyone can be everything. Often we expect one member of the body to fulfill a task that belongs to others. But the hand cannot be asked to see nor the eye to hear.

Together we are Christ’s body, each of us with a part to play in the whole (see 1 Corinthians 12:27). Let’s be grateful for our limited but real part in the body.

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”

-Robert F. Kennedy




The Church as the body of Christ has many faces. The Church prays and worships. It speaks words of instruction and healing, cleanses us from our sins, invites us to the table of the Lord, binds us together in a covenant of love, sends us out to minister, anoints us when we are sick or dying, and accompanies us in our search for meaning and our daily need for support. All these faces might not come to us from those we look up to as our leaders. But when we live our lives with a simple trust that Jesus comes to us in our Church, we will see the Church’s ministry in places and in faces where we least expect it.

If we truly love Jesus, Jesus will send us the people to give us what we most need. And they are our spiritual leaders.

October 2006