Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

1957. First Christmas with my baby brother (John). Peace to all today and each new day!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Happen again

This morning we sit in our
Family room by our tree heavy
With thirty-nine years of memories  
We decorated on Friday,
Yes, that Friday
The only day and only time
We could get together,
Go to the nearest lot
Because we couldn’t pull off
A trip to the tree farm
To cut a “real” one,
We watch the news
Resift the details
The impossible
So simply repeated
And it appears that
We will keep talking, posturing
And arguing
But actually doing little,
If nothing,
To see that it doesn’t
Happen again

Friday, December 7, 2012

Yes, I still take the daily paper

I have a piece in the current issue of catapult magazine. Following is the opening of the piece and a link to the complete story and others with the theme of Print:

Yes, I still take the daily paper. Other than the physical shifts in my body, this may be the truest sign of my drifting toward extinction (more specifically, being old).

It seems ridiculous that I still subscribe. I spend most days hovering near some type of Internet-connected screen and frequently look at numerous news sites. By the time the actual paper arrives I’ve already caught the news, many times over.

I wonder what will finally force me to end my daily practice: economics (why pay for it when it’s free online?), environmental concerns (do we need to be using paper this way?) or technology (they go under and stop printing!).

In recent years our local paper has been sold from one mega-corporation to another, been through numerous shifts in executive and editorial leadership and shrunk in size. All of this, along with staff reductions and moving printing services out of town, can be viewed as last-ditch attempts at life support for the industry.

So why do I still take the local paper? It may be little more than sentiment and habit, but it is real. Here’s something of an overview of my “relationship” with newspapers.

Click to continue reading https://www.catapultmagazine.com/print/article/yes-i-still-take-the-daily-paper

Monday, November 26, 2012

a poem for Cyber Monday

Only a fool
would post a poem
on Cyber Monday

Who is going to
waste precious nano-seconds
reading poetry
when they could be
making the deal
of their life
saving 20, no 30
maybe, if they are
quick and lucky,
over 50%
(with free 2 day shipping)
on something
they desperately need
or have wanted for
a very long time,
well, at least, since they first saw
the pop-up this morning

Yes, only a fool
would post a poem
on Cyber Monday
but come to think of it
only fools
write poems

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

alone awake
or at least the only
the only one out of bed
darkness holds all around
but will soon give way
to morning light

children, hungry, thirsty
and playful
adults will sip coffee,
I'll stick with my tea,
we'll read the paper with
talk of football
and Black Friday
and who is coming, and when
there will be memories, too,
of who is not here
and who can't be here

food prep, that began
days ago, will shift
into overdrive
it will be like all others
but it will be different
and we will be thankful,

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Isn't it strange...

Isn't it strange
how when someone,
maybe anyone,
as best as they can
to follow Jesus,
to actually live like Jesus,
they may very well
end up
being treated
like Judas?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Last words on election day 2012

Been here before,
A number of times,
Gave up thinking
It will change
Years ago

Do my part
Hope for the best
Oh, and no matter
What happens
Treat everybody
Decent on Wednesday

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Coffee shop musak drones on
Doing battle with the humming
Refrigerator, clanking of dishes
And cars outside accelerating,
Slashing through rain, to make the light

A song I never liked, a group I never cared for
Makes me beg for a commercial
Yet, revives a memory
Of laughter and banter
Connected to something that is no more

The song is gone
And I look out the window
At drenched trees with leaves aflame
Soon to drop
And be no more

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Things I Don't Like

Number one. Going to the doctor.

Not that going to the doctor
is the number one thing
that I don't like.
It's just, that it's the next thing
I need to do, that I don't like.
So, it defaults to be the
first thing on the list.
There are many other things that
I don't like. I know there are.
But I can't think
of them now.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dear Rain,

Dear Rain,

This may be a difficult conversation.
You left about three months ago
No notice or warning
One day you're with us
Next day gone
We're not used to this
At times you've been away
For a week or two
But this was different
Day after day
Week after week
Until we started counting by months
We heard you were in other places
Far away places
Let's be honest
We thought you didn't care
And so we moved on
Seemingly endless sunny days
We got used to it
But this morning you came back
There was a bit of warning
Things felt different
The past few days
Guess you can come and go
As you please
But you need to understand
We are people
We have feelings
What we're trying to say
Is that we may need to
Renegotiate this relationship
We sincerely hope you understand

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

For Kyle

From August to December
Or January when we’re lucky
Sunshine and sound breeze
Fold into the fickle autumn
That vacillates between
Days of Indian Summer and
Others of unrelenting rain
Eventually giving way to
Dark, too short days of bitter
Whipping wind
With more rain from near any direction
Or an occasional snowfall,
Which is almost a welcome relief

Long drives with predictable radio chatter
We’ll talk a bit; kids and work
But mostly players and the game
What might happen
What is hoped for
And what is feared
We park and walk and talk some more
Tend to our pregame rituals
Eventually arriving at our seats
To once again greet our neighbors,
Our friends;
Jordan, George, Sam and others,
We know more by face than name

The pregame frenzy
Usually finds me wiping tears
Being together, game after game
Year after year
The hope of what might happen
And the acceptance of what does
Shared moments and memories
The game begins
We ride the waves  
The schizophrenic dance of
Winner’s celebrations and losers mutterings
Then its over and we make the walk to the car
And talk about next time

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The list

Step number 1:
Make a list of all the things I can’t control

Step number 1: redo
Make a list of all the things I can control

Step number 1: redo, redo
Forget the list

Friday, September 14, 2012


I originally wrote this for our 35th anniversary. today is our 38th.


Sometimes I wasn’t sure
We’d make it
Sometimes I wasn’t sure
I wanted to

When we started
I assumed we’d get here
Expected us to stay together
But had no clue what was ahead
Or what it would take

It’s not a milestone,
Like fifty
But well past twenty-five
People notice twenty-five and fifty
Appears thirty-five
Is no big deal
According to public opinion,
At least

Memories made
And more forgotten
Seasons of devotion
And trials of anxiety
Grace remembered
And offenses forgiven
And much forgiven again

It is the choice we made
The path we’ve followed
And I would choose it again
I think I do
I hope we do

Thursday, August 30, 2012

technically... continued

this must be what it's like
for a pilot holding space
in the sky
at the discretion of
some unnamed controller
so near your destination,
you can see it, almost smell it
but unable to
make your "final descent"

do they play games?
counting how many of your
friends are also circling
or the alphabet one
hoping to see someone from
Qantas to get that "Q"
before unnecessarily banking a turn
laughing while passengers
gasp and grab

anything to quell the boredom
but, technically... they are on the clock

Monday, August 27, 2012


technically i'm on the clock
waiting for an answer
a bit of information
before i can take my next step

it's been about 40 minutes
i ate my lunch
checked email, facebook and twitter
surfed the web
news, sports, books
chatted with a
couple of others
who were, also, waiting for
permission to go forward

i suppose this is somehow good
for my impatient tendencies
but i am not convinced

oh, wait, i just slid in my request
according to my sense of this rhythm
i've got about 10 to 15 more minutes
enough time to kill
but not enough to focus
or start a project
but then again,
technically, i'm on the clock

Monday, June 25, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

X, Y & Z

First day of summer
Always first of something
And last of something else
Who do I know,
Correct that, did I know, that
Won’t see this one,
This summer, I mean

If I stop and
Think and
The reality,
Possibly the stupidity,
Of spending today
Looking forward to
The completion of X,
The end of Y and
The arrival of Z
I can keep finishing,
Acquiring, accomplishing
Until there is no more
And, yes,
That would include
No more of me

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Conversation related to the transition to adulthood from the Karolyn Merriman Show

Today I discussed the transition to adulthood on the Karolyn Merriman Show. You can hear my interview with Karolyn at: http://karolynmerriman.com/2012/05/31/5-31-2012-how-to-help-young-adults-transition-into-adulthood.aspx. I’ve shared a friendship with Karolyn for many years and it was a joy to spend the time with her discussing this important topic. for specific help and coaching related to this and other topics follow this link: http://jimschmotzer.com/services/life-coaching.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The charity of art

catapult magazine: Theme Song

Like music over the opening credits, a song can set the tone for an experience or trigger a latent memory. Sometimes manufactured and sometimes by chance, songs come alongside our stories like old friends, or perhaps like uneasy acquaintances.  On the songs that make us feel something.

My contribution : https://www.catapultmagazine.com/theme-song/article/the-charity-of-art

Monday, April 30, 2012

A reasonable request

All I’m talking about is one meal
I’d settle for a snack
You could fix something
Or take me out
Drive-thru if it’s easier
I’m not asking for much
Just food
I mean, a soul’s gotta eat…

But when I am
Doing my usual dance
That is politely
Referred to as multi-tasking
That intersection of
Busy, erratic activity
I ignore the voice of
Or stuff it with any available filler

Like the grade school white paste,
Not the Elmer’s,
This stuff was thick, almost dry
Some kids liked to eat it
I’m guessing it was safe,
Though void of nutrients,
Thankfully it wasn’t going
To kill anyone

I preferred crayons that
Reminded me of wax lips and moustaches
I’d buy at the candy store and
Jam in my pocket
With the collected detritus
That could tell my life story
Until my Mom would
Wash away it away

Monday, April 23, 2012

I was thinking (2)

I was thinking
I’d go for a walk

Down to the library
To return a book
With a title I can’t remember
And that I never opened

Then stop by the post office
And pick up my mail

Check the creek for salmon
It’s time for their run home
Thrashing through rocks and current
To a soon and certain death

But I looked out the window
And saw the bucket
Filled with water
From last week’s showers

Raindrops began to bounce
From the surface
Fulfilling the forecasts
I’d hoped were not true

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Yet still...

Another day of Pagan rituals blended
With evangelical fervor
We squint through the twilight
Morning, standing damp-footed
In dewy, cemetery grass
For yet another sunrise service

I bow my all to Easter

Relatives and once-a-year attenders
Drawn by the scorn of a long
Gone grandma or some family curse,
Now days called expectations,
Arrive at church

I bow my all to Easter

Brunch in the basement
Between services for
Egg and bread casserole
Hastily made the night before
With fruit and dry ham, barely warm

I bow my all to Easter

Overflowing sanctuary
New bright colored dresses
And enough ladies hats to force
Even the most polite teenage boys
To smirk and jab their friends

I bow my all to Easter

Similar sermon with
A “zippy” new title, louder
Does not make it different
Or better, there is one
Easter story, get over it

I bow my all to Easter

“He is risen.” “He is risen indeed!”
Some shout, others mumble
The silent few, hope not to be noticed
Their obligation is clear
Attendance “yes,” participation “no”

I bow my all to Easter

Families, friends gather for dinner
Kids search for quickly hidden eggs
A few may not be found ‘til July 4
Too much food and obvious table talk
Candy, pictures and goodbyes

I bow my all to Easter

Cars chase dusk, disappear around the corner
A messy house, colored egg shells,
Shiny foil wrappers, flimsy colored plastic grass
Dishes to wash, leftovers to organize,
Should have sent more with the others

Yet still, I bow my all to Easter

original post: April 2009

Monday, February 27, 2012

February Plea

a re-posting from 2010, couldn't miss this in a leap year (thanks for the reminder paul).

As the second month
February is easy
To forget or ignore
Something about following
January’s celebration
It’s too short
Even when we
Add the “twenty-ninth”
Every fourth year
Optimists herald longer days
The approaching spring
Yet darkness and drizzle
Soon overwhelm their
Heart-felt cries
Ash Wednesday arrives
About mid-month
Begging us to embrace the barren
And retrench for
The weeks of sacrifice
And self-denial
To not rush to spring
To quickly
But to somehow
Enter into the
Lingering death of winter
With hope of again
Discovering a new resurrection

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent, again -- a poem for Ash Wednesday

I wrote this a few years back and now post it for annually for Ash Wednesday.

Lent, again

Small Baptist church
Edge of the city
Family farms were gone
Ever widening streets
Car lots and early stage
Of strip malls
Good people
Almost "country folk"
My mom's people

They knew the Bible
They loved it
They tried to live it
No creeds of rituals so
They believed

Lent was bad, almost evil
Empty routine of
False religion
Catholics and Lutherans
Maybe some others so
Far from faith

Home is not so distant
Four or five hours down the freeway
Decades later, now about four

Yearly ashes to my forehead
The joy of sorrow
The smudge of death
The touch of some pastor
I hardly know

What was once forbidden
Now is my food, my life

I worry for a moment that I may later see
Someone I know at the
Store who won't understand

Six weeks Wednesday at noon
Sitting with Glenn
Sometimes others join us
A hymn or two
Short sermon
Some good, some not

Lunch in the basement
Church cookbook casserole
Creamy salad
Water or tea
Neither of us drink coffee

Talk of family and sports
Maybe the sermon
Church friends and politics
Work updates
We say our goodbyes

Giving up something, maybe
Remembering, anything to help

Holy Week, the beginning with
Sword ferns posing as palms
Maundy Thursday
It took a long time to
Understand the "Maundy"
Good Friday
It's trite,
But who ever thought to
Call it "good?"
The dark, quiet and waiting

Easter and
It's over
Day of joy
Get my life back, again
Not sure I want it
At this cost
The seasons end

I hope it will come again
Next year
Or maybe, I hope
I'll be here next year
To remember that
It happened
Jesus suffered
And I live

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For Connie, #39 & counting

An early summer afternoon,
Maybe Late Spring
That first glance
Across the way
Later a kiss
Awkward, yet exhilarating
Waiting and wondering
Which led to more
Times together, most apart
Calls and Letters
Visits, when possible
Engagement, marriage,
Jobs, kids,
Vacations, transitions,
Traditions, gatherings
Sustenance and surprises
Moments of understanding
And some with a lack thereof
Crises survived and joys shared
Cancer whispered a possible
Too soon end
But that is now old news
Grandkids, proof of passing
Time and certain future
Hard goodbyes with a finality
That hollows the soul
A few decades and a few more
And still those moments
And those smiles
And trust beyond words
And still more

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I’ve been here before

another hotel and I realize
I’ve been here before
two, three times maybe four
to Dallas, not this hotel
but only for conferences

airports, shuttles, hotels,
meetings, USA Today, networking,
meals and goodbye

there were two times
I got away
to see the grassy knoll,
and those making a living
keeping conspiracies alive

same with
Orlando, Vail and Chicago
and others I can’t recall

there was the time  I visited the Nelson’s
and went to Wrigley with Mark to see the
Cubs play the Tigers
we sat down the third base line
on Father’s Day, without  any of our kids

oh, and also Atlanta,
except for the trip with Kyle
to the 2000 All Star game
the year he graduated and I
had won the radio contest