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Jesus says:  “Blessed are the poor, the gentle, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for uprightness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness”   (Matthew 5:3-10).   These words offer us a self-portrait of Jesus.  Jesus is the Blessed One.  And the face of the Blessed One shows poverty, gentleness, grief, hunger, and thirst for uprightness, mercy, purity of heart, a desire to make peace, and the signs of persecution.

The whole message of the Gospel is this:  Become like Jesus.  We have his self-portrait.  When we keep that in front of our eyes, we will soon learn what it means to follow Jesus and become like him.

emphasis mine

Passion Flower Clip Art

Ode To the Passionflower

by Helen Losse

O, passionflower,
growing in Mary’s Garden—
your lavender flowers prophetic in unction:

Your tendrils are shown forth
as Christ’s scourging, the three top stigma the nails,
the five lower anthers the wounds, the radial
filaments the crown of thorns,
placed on the head of the “King of the Jews.”

O, teach us, teach us, little reminder—

for red stains are His blood, shed,
the style to mock, to offer Him vinegar:
Your fragrance all spices that anoint,
and like the dogwood, your taller neighbor,
with each flower Calvary’s cross, your
blossoms focus on the sadness:

For, while gladly we walk in the garden,
the joy of heaven has yet to come.

first published in Flutter


Smiles Breaking Through Tears by Henri Nouwen

Dying is a gradual diminishing and final vanishing over the horizon of life.  When we watch a sailboat leaving port and moving toward the horizon, it becomes smaller and smaller until we can no longer see it.   But we must trust that someone is standing on a faraway shore seeing that same sailboat become larger and larger until it reaches its new harbor.   Death is a painful loss. When we return to our homes after a burial, our hearts are in grief.  But when we think about the One standing at the other shore eagerly waiting to welcome our beloved friend into a new home, a smile can break through our tears.


Many thanks to Michael Lee Johnson, who has posted a new interview with me on Interviews Poets, Writers.  Check it out.

My full-length poetry book, Seriously Dangerous (Main Street Rag, 2011), is on the long list for a SIBA Book Award.

Many thanks to Barnhill’s for nominating this book and to M. Scott Douglass of Main Street Rag for publishing it.

Copies are available at the Main Street Rag (Online) Bookstore, Barnhill’s in Winston-Salem, NC, several other Independent bookstores in NC, and from me.

If you want a copy from me send $16.50 (including postage).  Contact me, if you need my address.


Collin Kelley interviews me on Modern Confessional.

Hear me read and discuss “The Danger of Pretense,” “Spin, Spin, Spin,” and “Seriously Dangerous” for my new book Seriously Dangerous as David Ford of WFDD (88.5 FM) interviews me.   (You’ll have to select LISTEN.)

I’ll be at Barnhill’s on Saturday from 2 to 5 pm for my Book Launch Party for Seriously Dangerous Barnhills is at 811 Burke Street in Winston-Salem.  Everyone is invited.

Okay, so it’s been a while since I posted.

After “Corn Ride” was published in the Summer 2010 Willows Wept Review, Eric Dieterle posted some kind comments concerning the poem.


My short story, “Memories of a Joplin Bum,” was published in Fried Chicken and Coffee.


Remember Miki, the French artist who lives in Spain?  I wrote ekphrasic poems to several of her lovely paintings a few years ago.

Well, Miki and her friends have started a site, Eastelspace. com, where poets and artist can meet.  I joined at Miki’s invitation.

And Miki created a picture, “Helen Losse,” to which I replied with a poem, “Helen Walks In the Mountains.” Scroll down to read the poem.


Three of my poems have been published in Poets For Living Waters.


And last night I found out my poem, “It should be obvious,” has been nominated by Redheaded Stepchild for a Best of the Net Award.


Meanwhile, I’ve submitted Seriously Dangerous for consideration for publication, given thought to the Dead Mule’s nominations for Best of the Net, written a few new poems and submitted a couple.

I‘ll be reading from Better With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009) at the Tate Street Coffeehouse in Greensboro, NC next Saturday.  So join me (in the open mic), if you can. I’ll also be reading at the East Bay Meeting House in Charleston, SC  (Monday Night Blues) on September 27. I’ll have copies of Better With Friends for sale at both locations.

Another possible event is in the planning stage.  🙂


And it’s almost time to get back to work accepting more great poetry for the Dead Mule.  Next poetry issue goes live October 5.  Bye, bye, sabbatical.  🙂  Bring on the fall.


Another fine issue of the Dead Mule—with poems from Philip DeLoach, Warren Gossett, Charlotte Hamrick, Kevin Cutrer, Mark Folse, Patricia L. Johnson, Anthony Robbins, Donald Harbour, Scott Whitaker, Joseph  Olschner, Anderson O’Brien and Lana Maht Wiggins—has just gone live.  Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

The Swamp Pundit announces

The Dead Mule School

The Dead Mule School July 18, Saturday

At Riverwalk Gallery on Main St. in downtown Washington, NC

At 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon

** ** ** ** **

The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature hosts

Helen Losse

Carter Monroe

Val MacEwan

and more writers TBA.

The Mules will read poetry, exhibit mulish behaviors and generally entertain the multitudes.

The public is invited. The gallery will be fully loaded with fascinating artistical wonders at this time, please feel free to peruse the gallery during the Mule event. Your sales dollars and your support is greatly appreciated. The Riverwalk Gallery sales host for the day will be Carolyn Sleeper of Slatestone Studio.

For more information, visit The Dead Mule page on Facebook or LinkedIn.

January 2023