You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2009.

I’m back from a two week trip to Joplin, Missouri to visit family and to Kansas to rail fan.  Details to follow.

Home greeted me with 220 e-mail messages.  That’s just on one account.    One of the those messages was the acceptance of a poem for the Fall Issue of Blue Fifth Review.   Thanks Sam.

Saturday, July 18 – Washington, NC

The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

Faculty Reading
Official Book Release Party for Better With Friends

and more

much, much more…

I do know Carter Monroe will be there.   Others have been and will be invited.


Time and other readers to follow…


An on-going draught left bony carp
               the year everyone lived

but didn’t know why. Men on the bridge
used dough balls for bait.

                                 Hungry church-folk
walked on rounded rocks,

doubters pinned frowns to somber faces.

Tom broke his trot line.
                                               In August,
when he tried to fix it from a
leaky boat, an old man called him

a “damn fool.” Kids ate tadpoles
                 from a stagnant pond.

Dragon flies lingered
near its sun-burnt shore.

And “Harry the ’Bo” hummed a song
                              sung by gandy dancers,

and took his meal in a metal can, as usual,
on the eastern bank of Shoal Creek.

first published in Rearview Quarterly

The Spirit reveals to us not only that God is “Abba, Father” but also that we belong to God as his beloved children. The Spirit thus restores in us the relationship from which all other relationships derive their meaning.

Abba is a very intimate word. The best translation for it is: “Daddy.” The word Abba expresses trust, safety, confidence, belonging, and most of all intimacy. It does not have the connotation of authority, power, and control, that the word Father often evokes. On the contrary, Abba implies an embracing and nurturing love. This love includes and infinitely transcends all the love that comes to us from our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, spouses, and lovers. It is the gift of the Spirit.

emphasis mine

The iron seat, though painted white,
would stain our clothes with rust,

and the embarrassment of golden mud
causes a certain hesitancy.

We look at flowers,
sniff the ocean breeze,
dip our toes into pollen-
coated streams.

Alone with desire. Flanked by azaleas.

We lie in sweetly-scented springtime
down beneath the magnolia
by invitation of the grass.

first published in Independence Boulevard

Who are we? Are we what we do? Are we what others say about us? Are we the power we have? It often seems that way in our society. But the Spirit of Jesus given to us reveals our true spiritual identities. The Spirit reveals that we belong not to a world of success, fame, or power but to God. The world enslaves us with fear; the Spirit frees us from that slavery and restores us to the true relationship. That is what Paul means when he says: “All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons [daughters] of God, for what you received was not the spirit of slavery to bring you back into fear; you received the spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out, ‘Abba, Father!'” (Romans 8:15).

Who are we? We are God’s beloved sons and daughters!

emphasis mine

Empowered to Pray by Henri Nouwen

Prayer is the gift of the Spirit. Often we wonder how to pray, when to pray, and what to pray. We can become very concerned about methods and techniques of prayer. But finally it is not we who pray but the Spirit who prays in us.

Paul says: “The Spirit … comes to help us in our weakness, for, when we do not know how to pray properly, then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put into words; and he who can see into all hearts knows what the Spirit means because the prayers that the Spirit makes for God’s holy people are always in accordance with the mind of God” (Romans 8:26-27). These words explain why the Spirit is called “the Consoler.”

emphasis mine


Better With Friends is a book of poetry that explores the intersections of memory (factual and embellished), dreams (daydreams and night dreams), reverie, and prayer, so that all of one’s thoughts can be envisioned as prayer. Although the book has strong spiritual overtones, it is not a religious book nor a book of poetic devotions. The events that serve as story in the poems make possible a life in which one can “pray without ceasing” (II Thessalonians 5:17) through the bad and the good.

Better With Friends
Rank Stranger Press (2009)
$14.00 (plus $2.50 S & H)

send check for $16.50, your mailing address, and any instructions for personalization to:

Helen Losse
2569 Wood Valley Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27106

All copies will be signed.

A big thanks to Sandy Benitez, editor of Flutter Poetry Journal, for including Better With Friends in New Book/Chapbook Announcements for June.

My poem, “In the Forest Below,” which is now a part of “There Is a Presence,” and is in Better With Friends, was first published in Flutter in August 2006. The poem is not archived.

Learn how to meditate on paper. Drawing and writing are forms of meditation. Learn how to contemplate works of art. Learn how to pray in the streets or in the country. Know how to meditate not only when you have a book in your hand but when you are waiting for a bus or riding in a train…. let its rhythm work its way into your body and soul.

People who only know how to think about God during fixed periods of the day will never get very far in the spiritual life.

Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation (New York: New Directions Press, 1961): 216.

emphasis mine

June 2009