Where There Were Snakes Reprinted January 22, 2015

When I was a boy, we caught garden snakes in a field next to a place called the Tub Factory over by the railtracks.  

We trapped the snakes by stepping on their tails.  Pinching them behind their heads we picked them up, looked at their flickering tongues and peered into their angry, cold eyes.  

Their teeth were little bumps.  You didn’t bleed when bitten, but they wouldn’t let go.  

We’d collect six or eight of them in coffee cans, all writhing at the bottom.  I took a can home to my mom once.  She wouldn’t let me keep them as pets. 

The field of snakes was behind the rambling old Eden house with its clapboard exterior that time had painted weathered and grey where seven brothers and sisters lived.  

Their father Mit, a full blooded American Indian was a mean, hard drinking railroad man cruel to people even outside his family.  

His oldest son John was a bad apple.  He combed his greasy black hair into a pompadour, wore cuffed jeans, points, white t-shirts with cigarettes rolled into his sleeve.  His half smile and white teeth belied angry, cold snake eyes that said he could kill you if he wanted.  

People said he even scared his father.  

Legend was he tied cats’ tails together, threw them over clothes lines and set them on fire. 

Later in life he changed his ways, married a nice girl and became a Baptist minister.

Love’s Stolen Desires

There’s a place upon the hearth  

never bare of lovers hearts with shattered  

madness, torn desires,  love’s broken promise 

lover’s sadness, 

gladness flogged to death with sheer delight, 

every step along the road of

kindness  given …


ask the floggers, the madness drivers,

the breakers 

the ones who make  the hurt

they’ll tell you 

It’s non of their concern.  


I see them now I’ll see them again 

hidden from the sight of gentle awareness  

stealing the fruit of their desire.  


I see lovers besieged, 

held prisoner in bonds of despair and sorrow, 

false love turned shrapnel with cruel intent

injurious to the soul 

rotten to the core with usury 

the flesh of gladness taken then  



Those unstable lovers, 

those usually male forces they

lose  bits of their lives every

single day they reap the sacrifices that are made for them.

A bleak reminder to all who seek love 

look first before you leap for love 

grab and hold to what you know is real 

not what you  long for 

be patient for what you seek

impatient for love’s deceit all who  

seek to steal your precious

life away with their conceit.


Those lovers of deceit

they never hold on

they squander what is  good they 

convince the good they’re good to 

serve their fleshy purpose

they maintain their facade 

they are masters of disguise those mean 

users,  abusers, confusers, bastard misers, thwarted useless 

pliers of lover’s wills, stolen hearts broken bonds

of trust and truth,  thwarting lives of Hope. 

THEIR  love


within the realm of its desire ..

THEIR  love


Rotten fruit given in return for

life’s most precious

gift …