This a mix of poetry. Some of it is Christian; some of it is general. Some of it rhymes; some of it does not. Some of it is uplifting; some of it is lugubrious (isn't that a great word to say over and over again?).


  • Choice

    With bulging eyes
    the aborted fetus curls
    saline shriveled

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  • Child of God

    He heard the groans of the prisoner
    saw the scars of sin on my face
    And raised me up to Heaven
    to partake from the throne of grace.

    He took my filthy, shameful clothes
    the hand of deceit had wove
    And replaced them with the elegance
    of righteously pure festal robes.

    I dined on stolen water and bread
    my soul driven to quit
    But He gave me forever abundant life
    to feast at His banquet.

    I was an outcast and alien
    my condemnation broad
    But He poured out His magnificent love
    and made me a child of God.

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  • Grace

    Cathedral bells chime melodiously
    with the singing of lighthearted folk
    dancing in streets so merrily
    to the rhyme of fiddle and flute.
    As the uncontained laughter of children
    gladdens the sparkling air
    their hearts so joyful and carefree
    bring smiles of love everywhere.
    As flowers of every variety
    explode into stupendous display
    of simultaneous brilliance and gaiety
    opening worlds of life and peace.
    And my spirit is lifted an carried high
    on a sail of colored balloons
    rising to the apex of a rich blue sky
    carried by the hand of God
    And set free to abundantly experience
    all of His glorious treasures.

    This is the result of God's grace in my heart.

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  • The Pedestal

    In the heart of the adoring crowds
    the commanding pedestal towers
    dominant, whitewashed stone.
    demanding all glory
    in its kingdom of perpetual psalms.

    The Believers heap their
    petals of praise;
    and endlessly mime
    their breathless homage
    as many reflective moons.

    Cremated minds sleep contently
    in prosaic matching urns;
    informal ashes licked away.
    Thoughts of unstirred silence.

    nobodies shuffle among the Faithful;
    ignored, belittled fellows;
    their irreverence demeaning their value.
    these -- the disowned people.
    gazing away, answer seekers, unreformed
    hands that will not caress
    minds that refuse to die

    go away
    go away
    or conform.

    Reproach blackens not the
    self-ordained purity
    of this paragon pillar.
    Immune to the disease of sin,
    blame runs down and soils
    the goats the cattle the pigs
    who are not protected by
    the ascendance of authority.
    Those who dare throw stones are buried
    by the contempt of their challenge.

    In this barren, cracked land
    the pedestal stands
    abandoned from the roaring of the throng
    its long shadow growing
    the hollow wind calling
    Climb down,
    Climb down
    The empire has fallen
    like leaves in the fall
    or Jericho's walls

    now...    meaningless

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  • Cascade

    As the clear rushing stream of God's love
    cascades over His grace
    it sends up a gentle mist of mercy
    washing over my resting place
    as soothing drops of comfort
    drip down my tranquil face.

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  • Nick and Stella

    The thin, black hands
        of the starburst
        wall clock sends
        its plastic summons.
    Nick and Stella shamble
        to their daily
        rendezvous with the
        patterned placemats
        set before them.
    Flatware clangs ceramic plates
        decorated with
        large, yellow flowers.
    Place settings courtesy of
        $50 worth of groceries
        from Foodtown.
    The rustlings of a carefully
        divided newspaper
        provide all the conversation.
    Nick's amoeboid belly
        is digesting the
        band of tin
        which edges the
        formica table.
    He breaths heavily through
        his nose
        while he chews.
    The conversation is folded;
        the greasy steel is placed
        among the petals.
    The capless bottom of
        one of the chair's
        hollow metal legs
        scratches the
        decolored linoleum floor
        as it is pushed back.
    They sink silently
        into their
        vinyl furniture;
        only the pulsing of
        the screen
        disturbs their darkness.
    Nick falls asleep and
        breaths heavily
        through his nose.
    The wall clock signals.
        Stella gets up,
        sets her alarm,
        and goes to bed.

    Published in Paisley Moon, 16/17, (Fall ‘92/Winter ’93), 26.

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  • Fulfilled Obligations

    Darkness is reaching across the sky
    with black, gnarled hands while he plods
    with lowered head past familiar scenes
    which hang like long faded curtains.
    He silently carries family obligations
    in arms of factory brick and grit. His
    cigar box life measured by a steel factory
    whistle. Heading back to the house where
    he was born; to where the beer will wash
    down the grit which has been grinding
    his flesh since he was fifteen. The evening
    ahead will merely be a recovering of
    strength until the morning when the cement
    floor will once again continue to seep lowly
    into his body and grow hard around his lungs.

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  • A Forest Walk

    The major-domos in their
    coarse, brown suits usher
    in their delighted guests.
    Their overhead leaves catch

    the moon's spotlight and
    dance like giddy specters.
    Their shadows provide a
    mezzanine of gliding

    ballerinas that leap upon
    our shoes and then with
    arms curved overhead slide
    off to chasse into one

    another on their vine
    back dropped stage. A
    rodeo of fireflies perform
    their cowboy feats while a

    gallery of hidden crickets
    enthusiastically cheer them
    on. Time sits on a nearby
    rock and quietly watches.

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  • Removing the Armor

    The storm tortured battlefield upon which
    many of your feelings were coldly crushed
    is now only a chapter of your history.
    You have left behind the muddy arena of
    shattered masks and shields and are far
    from the raging, dark thunder.

    It's time to remove the armor that
    your tears had nearly rusted closed
    and once again expose your beauty
    to the tenderness that is now yours;
    to feel the warm susurrations of security
    that are lightly caressing your heart
    and to release the emotions that have been
    sheltered for so long.

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  • Healing

    My words like moonlight
    gently cradle your soul;
    Its whispers lightly touching
    wounds still bleeding
    sealing them for now
    and then later
    removing forever
    even the scars
    and replacing them with
    soft, tender flesh that can
    once again feel the
    tenderness of intimacy.

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  • The Castle

    The once monstrous mountain is
    melting into a distant memory;
    its ragged spikes of pain are
    dimming into impotent puddles
    unable to resist the strengthening sun.

    Your healing hands embrace the
    gathering warmth that carries
    unfurling dreams and fearless hopes.

    Your cowering is now a
    castle of confidence
    on which no ice can form.

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  • The Molded Men of Adam

    Across the mighty vastness waste
    stumbles the molded men of Adam.
    Thrice bought
    fully enslaved
    dragging the heavy chains
    the long chains of their creditors.
    Summoned by the Morning Star
    blindly guided by the darkness it casts
    forming long shadows
    in this twilight hope.

    they still embrace their once
    flesh covered dreams
    but now are
    dreams swollen by abuse
    bruise blackened
    but still
    gripped tightly lest they be
    lost forever
    and there be nothing left.

    coins of hope slip through
    tattered pocket holes
    futilely clutched at by desperate hands
    but swallowed by the cracked parchment
    of this dry and weary land.

    caressing a self-made law
    of self-sufficiency
    a law dressed in
    vestment of robe and hood
    of alb and amice
    disguises white washed bones
    taken from an open grave.

    desperate prayers silently
    drip off parched cracked
    lips and fall to the
    tortured ground
    lost in the dust
    they stirred up.

    the deepening shadows
    of twisted caricatures lengthen
    now reaching back
    to the journey's origin
    darkly connecting the children
    of birth and death.

    marching on till,
    at the end,
    even what they have
    will be taken from them.

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  • The Algae Pool

    Standing besides the
    algae-thick pond which
    has been exhausted of
    oxygen you watch
    pieces of yourself
    drop like stones
    into the still and
    lifeless water where
    they disappear beneath
    the greenish, black murk.
    The ripples nudge against
    your feet while the pool
    awaits your plunge.

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  • Elderly Woman

    The silence sits like
    a mallard decoy on a
    still, late dusk pond;

    forgotten by hunters
    long left. Stiff wooden
    eyes stare passionless

    across the languid
    landscape. No companions
    call from the sandpapered

    sky. Drifting into brittle,
    brown reeds; their marrow
    having seeped into the

    slumbering waters; now
    waits to be smothered
    by the powdery winter.

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  • Imaginary Gallery

    You force me into your
    imaginary one portrait
    gallery where I am

    superimposed upon this
    perfect picture. My
    disparities are slashed

    away until you make me a
    phantom. I extend to you my
    dreams, but they are left

    to drift as a gossamer gift.
    And so, I leave you alone
    to admire your artistry.

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  • What Women Want

    Gorbellied machismo that canters in
    slobbering its lusty presence.
    Hairy chested flatteries flexed
    at gullible girls who are
    hypnotized by jockstrap magnetism
    and prance like snorting mares.

    Muscles that surge out from sleek
    car lines and explode with each
    revving of the engine.
    Hormones spinning so fast that they
    smoke and screech before blasting
    ahead. 0 to 100 in five seconds.

    Athletic accomplishments
    unwrapped from sweaty rugby shirts
    and tossed loudly like Olympic medals
    to be gasped over and ravenously
    admired. Barrel-chested victories
    hurled like flaming fastballs.

    Slavering eyes lolling out of
    their sockets and howling their
    approval. Offering a dozen red
    seductions with a box of
    chocolate-covered persuasions.
    Arousal pounces on padded feet.

    Poets will never win a footrace
    with a Corvette.

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  • Roosevelt Chapman

    Roosevelt Chapman was a man of spectacular girth
    who spent his years telling all who would hear
    how he was the most unlucky man on all of the earth
    as he'd drop more peanuts on his shirt stained with beer.
    For he lived his life at Tony's Fireside Bar
    In the dark, with the shadows, and his Cuban cigar.

    Life isn't fair and always is cruel
    he often philosophized;
    because some are born kings and some become fools
    so God should apologize.
    Rambling on he would thin of himself another Aristotle;
    then he would pause and lose all his thoughts and drain yet another bottle.

    Those who were wealthy he most despised
    for their leisure and life of ease
    and often he wished that he had died
    to come back as whoever he pleased.
    "Somebody owes me" or at least so he'd think
    as he'd tilt back his head and guzzle a drink.

    And he complained of his birth
    and the economy into which he came;
    how all that he's known is suffering and hurt
    and that God is the one to blame
    for the rotten conditions he's had to endure.
    Then he's raise up his glass and slap on the bar and
        boorishly growl, "Give me more."

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  • The Grave

    The tears have dried
    the last wreath laid
    as the mourners leave
    his flowered grave.
    He laughed with them
    and their lives were blessed
    but now they'll put
    his name to rest.
    They urged me to go
    but I alone stayed.

    The graveyard is empty
    but I am not alone
    I have as my comfort
    my companions of stone.
    They've seen the sorrow
    this curse of man
    and I know in my soul
    that they'll understand.
    Encircling around
    our friend's new home
    these monuments silently
    each honoring their own.

    I am not alone
    I have my friends
    their quiet tribute
    never ends.
    They never forget
    and neither will I
    I promise you, Papa,
    I won't let you die.

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  • Blackness

    Black clouds fly in like a grim raven
    disturbing the sky's composure;
    it's wingspan spreading from horizon
    to horizon. The whole sky is now
    filled with it's turbulent body; it's
    wings flapping violently as the clouds
    swirl and bellow out deafening screams
    of thunder. My clothes convulse around
    me. I try to cover my face to minimize
    the bite of the swirling dirt;
    but I inhale more than I can cough
    out. Even the blackness of the sky
    is obscured by clouds of dust.

    The others have fled; driven by the
    pelting whips of the storm. An
    earthquake shatters the ground
    underneath. Fury is everywhere.
    Lightning rips out of it's grimy
    prison and stabs at the earth.
    Each flash is a confession. The city
    below, shaking and wild, provides
    unsure safety for the frantic people
    rushing into it's confines.
    A nearby soldier is cowering on his
    knees; his face to the ground;
    covering his head with trembling
    hands; his terrified cries
    mocked by the storm.

    My head reels as I stumble forward
    to my knees. The sharp gravel
    cuts harshly into my palm. The
    rain attacks all that it finds. My
    steeped clothes stick to my body
    and mix with the dirt of the earth.
    My hand slides in the mud and is
    stopped by a wooden post recently
    driven into the ground. A reddish
    stream courses down the stake
    and flows through my fingers.
    An explosion of thunder:
    I'm roused to my feet as I use
    the post and it's burden to help
    me up. I drop the cloak from my
    face and stare at the sacrifice.
    Now I understand. Through trembling
    lips I hear myself proclaim in awe,
    "Truly this was the Son of God!"

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  • Escaping the Darkness

    Decades ago, when I had lived in Perth Amboy,
    the passage to the basement was through my bedroom,
    and when ever the furnace first fired on
    the noise in the pipes sounded like twisted-faced
    trolls clanking their hammers against steel toiling
    faster and faster until the furnace finally
    burst into the guttural rumblings of a demiurgic fire being furiously stoked.
    While quickly pulling the presence-hiding powers
    of my blanket over my head I imagined that
    more of the cellar monsters were being created;
    growing by fragments of life,
    a few more lumps of flesh like clay being
    patted into place until that time when the
    steel door of the furnace would forcefully
    slide open and they would step out.

    Then one day, I was squatting paralyzed
    behind a table, trying to see any forms
    suddenly deepening the darkness.
    And even when my father stood at the
    top of the stairs and called my name
    I couldn't answer because they were closer.
    He had to come down before I could escape.

    And now, it's not enough for you to
    stand in the solidity of your surroundings
    and call my name; you're going to have to
    come down to my darkness and gather
    closer to me than the hauntings that creep
    within my mind and snatch at my perceptions.
    You will have to pull me out of my crouch and
    take me trembling up to your light where
    my beings will be stripped of their
    dominions and their whispered chants
    strangled by the noise of the cars
    on the street.

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  • The Playing Card

    A solitary picture card
    to a
    featureless table top;
    her head looking away,
    a twisted flower.
    Then cast suddenly to lie on the floor
    face down
    and left.

    Her voice speaks only to
    her ears; they hear
    only the voice
    that flickers like
    a wind swept candle;
    quietly persuading the
    jackal pacing in her soul.

    The world has become a
    sandpapered painting.
    Nothing moves.
    No one speaks.
    All light is dim and vague,
    no longer able to reach the
    back-turned figures.
    All life has been leached out.

    There is a heavy hesitation
    as all thoughts are
    drained away
    and filled with
    passionless pain.
    The pacing increases.

    The soft words have ceased,
    the jackal has leaped.

    She twists the lid off of
    the bottle and
    gathers to herself
    all of her friends;
    her only friends

    and swallows them.
    They skip and jump
    through her,
    abut it seems that
    they should be more fun.

    Her heart pounds with the
    sickly cadence of a drummer
    leading soldiers to death;
    smashing against her chest,
    and then slows completely
    as she takes her
    eternal descent into
    the terrible darkness.

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  • Lessons Remembered

    I remember building an Eiffel Tower
    out of toothpicks stuck together
    by a hot glue gun. It didn't rise
    like a majestic pinnacle but, rather,
    was like a large comma stuck among

    cotton balls dyed green. You took off
    from work that morning to drive me
    to school to insure that not a single
    girder would break. I remember the
    puppet show I spent a week preparing;

    crayon colored cardboard figures
    stapled to tongue depressors. Their
    only animation being metronomic
    sideways or bathroom plunger up and
    down. You endured innumerable

    practices staged through the cut-out
    bottom of a box. Then the day of my
    engagement I got sick and missed my
    turn. And to soothe my shattered
    feelings you enthusiastically

    sat through a final performance.
    And now, thirty years later, I
    urgently pray for lessons remembered.
    Tomorrow, the clay replica of the Trojan horse is due.

    ^back to top

  • Blind Date

    With quivering hands,
    the frail embryo of hope
    is planted into the
    furrowed, black soil.

    The conception of its
    sprouting and fertility
    breaks forth repeatedly from
    reality's feeble fingers
    and ripens to fruition
    on the naked air.

    All possible results blur
    by like the blades on a
    frenzied windmill.
    Passions swirl like a
    Kansas storm.

    The approach is made.

    Her face confesses the crushing
    of her eager expectations.
    Hope is ripped from its stalk
    and thrown to the ground
    leaving only an empty husk.

    The obligatory hour and
    a half is filled with
    strained association.
    The urgent task of laundering
    clamors for her immediate

    And once again,
    the waterless winds swirl
    mounds of sterile soil and
    shredded straw against
    tattered shoes.

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  • Military Maneuvers at a Sidewalk Cafe

    With my persuasions lined up like medals
    across my chest, I arranged this tête-à-tête
    with the hope that we might agree to a treaty and
    once again open up our land for each other's use.
    The Bordeaux that I nervously nibbled at was
    as old as the last time that we had seen each other.
    I carefully pushed my words across the circular
    table and past the plate with three petals of veal
    in a squirt of sauce.

    She said that she couldn't go out with me because
    my skin color didn't match anything that she owned.

    For probably the same reason that some people
    believe that aliens take humans into space ships
    I continued with the obstinacy of a soldier
    who, with his legs blown off, still pulls himself
    closer to the front.

    I considered, "The Sun Dial tanning salon is only
    two miles from my house."

    She said that she was too embarrassed to introduce
    me to her friends because my job didn't rhyme close
    enough with my name.

    The barbed wire scratched its nails through my back
    as I dragged myself along the bomb-holed earth. My
    face distorted in the swirling fluid of a burgundy
    filled hole.

    I pondered, "My resume is easy enough to update."

    She told me that she had met a guy who was
    impressive and a gentleman and that she was going
    to meet his parents this Saturday in Rochester.

    For a moment, my crusade was cast in silence,
    and then that shell whistled into my chest.
    The shrapnel arced gracefully into the air
    and splashed into my wine.

    I knew then that I had to put my legs back on and pull
    my chest closed. The war was over, my medals were left
    to tarnish among the veal, my position had been overrun.

    ^back to top

  • After the Decision

    With words ordered as straight and
    sterile as the instruments on their
    tray the doctors said
    that his skull plates were fused together
    and so his head couldn't get any larger.
    His lungs were not developed
    and so he couldn't breathe on his own.
    The decision was made immediately
    after his birth.

    The moon rises against the dark skin of night
    where eyes of light blink through its many pores.
    It struggles through its ascent until clouds
    like a fist tighten around it. The hot
    summer air trembles against the door
    like a voice calling for her child.
    She looks past blurry eyes in a reflection
    in a window that empties across a seedless pasture;
    where ghostly children fold into the fingery
    shadows that uncoil across dried stream beds.
    Her fingers, knowing that they should be gently
    touching something, slowly skim the wall
    like mist across the ground.
    Turning away, she vanishes into the deep of the house
    before the dawn can tip and spill across the fields
    dissolving stars and phantoms.
    She goes to where she can close her eyes and return
    to her silent masque where tiny forms kick their legs
    and slap the floor.

    Outside, hot flies tip-toe around the neck of a
    tightly closed burlap sack of next spring's seed
    that has been left in the corner of the porch
    and which has been torn open by one of the
    night's unseen gods.

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  • Gray Footprints

    The knuckled spots stomp
    around his body leaving
    behind gray footprints.

    The shiniest swellings
    that have risen like
    boiled eggs in water
    are because his stomach threw-up
    the Chinese food
    into his think hands.

    "Be a man"--the words were
    squeezed so tight
    that they whitened.
    But at three
    it is hard to be anything
    but trusting.

    From the kitchen,
    his mother and her boyfriend
    flip cards with friends;
    laughing like large-jawed hyenas;
    slobbering beer and sending sweet
    smoke burning through the air.

    On his mattress he lies tightly curled;
    the garbled groans that bubble out
    of his mouth drip into his shadows
    as they sink beneath the coarsely
    ground remains
    of previous pains.

    Through reddened eyes he sees
    a furtive horse and with
    sutured strength he wraps his
    arms around its head,
    his face bathed by
    its billowing mane, and gallops
    far away
    leaving the torments to snatch
    at receding horse sounds.

    But then, the pains that have
    wrapped like cords around his body
    yank the horse to the dust
    where it rolls over him
    crushing out his breath.

    And so,
    having longed to be covered;
    to be hidden;
    his wish finally granted--
    sealed forever beneath receding feet.

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  • Announcement of the Other Woman

    Lead innocently into the
    ghost filled abattoir;
    affections pressed against antiseptic
    steel sheeted walls. Uneasy eyes
    measure the man's suspicious maneuvers.
    There is an airless lull and then the
    occasion is told with 220 volts
    to the back of the neck.
    Commitment convulses against
    the floor gasping the scarlet air.
    Tears wrinkle the shivering room.
    Horror and hell mix as it spins.
    Thoughts flare like sparks; passions
    explode fortress walls of security
    and stability. A steel chain
    looped around one leg yanks upward.
    An impenitent stab gushes a
    crushed spirit swirling into the
    floor drain. Spade-shovel hands
    slit the tremulous shroud of skin
    as entrails hemorrhage into a
    stainless steel bucket.
    Now, a solitary shell left hanging
    cold and exposed.

    ^back to top

  • Sending the Letterr

    You should set aside the letter
    for a time as long as your soul
    and consider that you are not
    returning a Betty Crocker questionnaire
    or a refund for $1 but the
    pages that can pounce on a man's
    spirit and cause him to either crumble
    into ash pile or to rage forward to
    recapture some presumably ancient
    tribal honor.

    You are like a god; the letter is
    your bible that locks up your breasts;
    your words are like commandments
    wrapping your knees tightly together.
    And though the letter may be shredded and
    cast away it was still memorized on its
    first reading.

    Your explanation as to why you left him
    no matter how delicately the thread is
    woven will still snap like a whip and
    cause a stammering in his knees and his
    blood to feel as though it were flowing
    out of his body.

    ^back to top

  • The One Who Got Away

    Daily you repeat
    in a bleak murmur, "
    Maybe things will get better."

    Your fear holds you like an
    anchor in your place;
    paralyzed, your complaint unable
    to even lift an arm.
    Whether your emotions are being
    killed or are committing suicide it
    doesn't really matter anymore.

    He moves through your life
    like hammer;
    with a voice like knuckles that
    hits even harder than his hands.

    And in those moments of repentant
    charm his words float like a honeymoon
    and he speaks of change and you are
    carried in tearful hope, but
    these moments get shorter each time.

    Yearly you repeat
    in a bleak murmur, "
    Maybe things will get better."

    And then self-preservation cries out with
    one final desperate scream sending
    your paralysis flying like
    panicked birds from a tree...
    And you cut the anchor.

    You are the one who got away;
    The one who made it out alive.

    And have escaped to a world where
    hands glide softly over your body --
    skin barely touching skin --
    following lines of purity
    soft as the snow on the sky.

    Hands that can recover from you
    the gifts of yourself that you
    want so much to give;
    and can cup your weaknesses in
    their fingers until your bruises
    dissolve beneath the
    assurance of acceptance.

    The pain will be put to rest.

    Do you want to love again?

  • ^back to top
    Copyright Bob La Forge 2011        email: bob@disciplescorner.com