Your brutal ways are cloaked in ‘luring form.
Mascara: coy, yet fearsome facial flair.
With grace you sit, aloof above my dorm,
indiff’rent if I even know you’re there.
You could descend upon me any day
and I would scarcely have a chance to flee;
or you might choose to flirt with other prey
and nary give another thought of me.
Then suddenly I scurry to my hole,
and see that you’ve impaled some other soul.

Golden Shackles

These golden shackles I wear:
heavy and tight,
but they pay my dues.
They’re outdated and tarnished
but they still have use.
These golden shackles I wear:
rusted iron,
are well past their prime.
They are owned by another,
and yet they are mine.
These golden shackles I wear,

which I hold the key.
I could unlock them right now
but wouldn’t be free.

Just One Song

To merely know your name is all I long,
to see your face and figure, if you please.
Oh how you tease to offer just one song
ere ghosting me with silence in the trees.
I heard you sing but once, your melody.
‘Twas not enough to fathom who you are.
I squint and strain my eyes, in hope to see;
but woods are thick and you have gone too far.
How long should I pursue you through the mire
and yearn to catch your beauty in a glimpse?
How far can I give chase before I tire,
when fervent march gives way to aching limps?
Alas, with vestige of your presence gone,
my memory not knowing you lives on.

Warm Your Soul

When sinking into a bleak sheol
and seeking a torch to stay night’s wrath,
electric light is the prudent pick;
but given a choice…
Refuse the switch, and ignite a wick;
for though bulbs are best to show your path,
a flickering flame will warm your soul.

Published in Spring Thaw Spring 2021 Itasca Community College

Fall Camp turned Winter

After a full autumn of being busy at work, directing a play, and raising a one-year-old, I was ready for an escape into the woods. So what if it was Halloween? A solo camp seemed like more fun to me than a costume party at a bar… so off I went to some favorite turf in the Chippewa National Forest.

The plan was to build by own shelter with a tarp. But I didn’t (and still don’t) have a good camping tarp. I had one of those plastic woven tarps you use to cover firewood or whatever. Also, it was way too big and had grommets/tie offs in all the wrong places. Well, the bigger issue was that it didn’t have them in the right places, i.e. the center of the tarp. Only on the corners and edge.

A29CB27B-F0CC-4B25-BFD3-F123919AFA38End of October in northern Minnesota, I should have expected as much, but the fall turned to winter quickly. My shelter was frumpy, and I orientated it with the view of the lake in mind… more than the prospect of wind coming off the lake in mind. I’m still a little wet behind the ears when it comes to bushcraft, and lacking some of the right gear to do it well; but a terribly constructed and planned shelter compounded by falling damp temperatures made for a pretty restless night. In the midst of rut, I was also kept on edge by the sounds of enamored deer chasing each other through the woods. Even though I’m ‘all grown up’ and was 95% sure the noises I was hearing were just deer, my imagination was still going wild as I slept alone in the woods with noises of creatures breaking through the darkness. For comfort and security, I kept my side arm close at hand. Just in case the bears weren’t hibernating yet, the wolves smelled steak on my hands, or Leather Face was out on the hunt.

I woke in the morning with hands that were too cold and stiff to start a fire. Also in the early stages of a cold that was beginning to eclipse my sinuses, I decided to call it early. It would be one night rather than three. Nonetheless, it was a good little adventure in a fun spot to which I hope to return.