Haiku about a Bird

Bird perched on a branch
In a naked leaf-less tree,
Then he flies away



Only One Moment (a tanka)

A single moment
Is all that truly exists,
No past; no future.
One moment in which to act,
One moment in which to make a change.



A Touch Away From Dust

Its all falling apart
Like slow cooked rib meat,
Sliding off the bone like butter,
Leaving it naked and exposed.
Once strong protector of heart and lungs
Grown dry and brittle,
A touch away from dust,
Under the noon day sun.


Kaddish for Karen Leys (1952-2018)


Its so strange to think
That you’re not there
In that little house on Salem Avenue
Sitting on the couch
Quietly reading fantasy novels on your Kindle
While Dad watches NCIS,
As if you’d always been there
And always would,
While I sit here across the mountains
Hunched over a notebook
Writing til my hand cramps
Trying to make sense of it all.

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A Song With Many Voices: All the Lonely People

A beautiful collaborative poem I participated in recently about loneliness. I am honored to have been included among such talented poets.

Blood Into Ink


I have always been here, among the lonely people. Despite having people around me, my battles exist within my head and body. To you, I may look normal, but on the inside is a scene entirely different. My constant companions are sadness, frustration, exhaustion — even a fortified fortress to shield me from what the world has and could continue to do to me. Those walls isolate me from my family. The shadows are filled with creatures that know how to hurt me if I move too close. So, you see, I am one of the lonely people. But I am not alone.
Sarah Doughty)

All the Lonely People—

they converge,

invisible at intersections

of Life and Death,

strangely untouched by hands of those


How can it be that so many similar

do exist while lost

to one another?

All the Lonely People—

they are unalone, and yet

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We Cannot Look Away: Not another 17, not another One


This is a collaborative poem written in the aftermath of the latest mass shooting in America. I’m grateful to have been including amongst this group of powerful poets – JWL

Just another day
just another town
bullet perforated backpacks
spilling loose-leaf lined paper, textbooks
onto blood stained sidewalks
helicopters hovering
to give us the birds eye view
I tried to avert my eyes
out of respect for the dead
the injured
but I could not look away
Christine Ray

Even though I should
Because I am ashamed
At the bullets that rain
At the bullet point pain
Etched in their faces, rivulets in their eyes
They were just children, stolen from their time
Not forgotten in these lines
But to their parents and loved ones
It’s a void they’ll never fill, and it shouldn’t
Lives shredded and ruined
17 times we’ve gotten the chance to do better
and for the 18th, we blew it
Just like those children who looked at their killer

Their killer is not Nikolas

The Killer is you
Devereaux Frazier

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The Night I Heard the News


For Karen S. Leys (1952-2018)

And then
You were gone.
A spark of anger
That I missed the chance
To see you one last time.
And then the reality…
Out into the night,
Cool air on my face,
Walking with no destination,
Thinking, processing the news.

Collapsing into the arms of family,
Gripped by siezures of grief.
You’ve gone
Where I cannot follow.
Gone, never to return.

They tell me you’ve gone
To a better place,
But what place could be better
Than one in which we’re together?



Time is Relative


The clock ticks
From morning til night.
One moment dawn light
Warms young faces,
Training wheels, and zoo trains.
The next, cold winter shadows
Fall and grow
Under the west setting sun.

Calendar pages fall away,
Torn, faded;
Yellowed by time,
Littering the ground
Like sun dried maple leaves
In October.

One by one,
Two by two,
Faces fade into twilight skies.
Passing away down trails
We cannot follow,
Until the day we do.


The painting pictured above is The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí.

Unseen Pain on Brave and Reckless

I am very pleased to have my poem Unseen Pain posted on the Brave and Reckless blog as part of the Living with Invisible Illness challenge.

When I park my truck In a handicapped spot at the store, And hang my handicapped placard in the window, I purposely walk with an exaggerated limp That on most days is not natural, And try to avoid the judging eyes of fellow patrons, Who cannot see that the worn down insides Of my prematurely […]

via Living with Invisible Illness: Unseen Pain- John W. Leys — Brave and Reckless


Gold lined pockets,
White hood in the closet.
Bible in one hand,
A noose in the other.
Knuckle-white grip on the book,
Veins popping, spittle flying,
“Jesus said you can’t judge me!”

But the Nazarene
Said no such thing.

People can judge others
So long as they’re willing
To be judged by others
By the same standards
By which they judge others.

A sin is a sin
Even if nobody names it.

And no amount of wealth
Can buy you a needle-eye big enough
To get your gold plated camel into heaven.