Saturday, August 18, 2012

When the Beauty of the Dancer

free verse poetry; copyright 2012

cover art by Deanna Adams

Cover blurbs:

“. . . exquisite and poignant.” – Cathy Gould

 “ . . . wry wit, random insights, and vision.” – Sarah Clarke

“. . . master of all things beautiful, written, visual, aural & of the heart . . . It makes me see & feel in ways I never have before.” – Elizabeth Burnam

“Your writing is poetic, philosophical, down to earth, visual, and interesting.” – Derrick White

“. . . such a creative genius it’s scary.” – Carol Wilcox

 “ . . . it brings me to feel these things, even if I didn’t want to.” – Russell Laird

“. . . this collection is pretty amazing.” – Terri Hendrix

“Ah, your poetry is dangerous and delicious. It’s amazing to me how one vessel can contain so much truth and raw beauty without going mad.” – Tina Marzola


when the beauty of the dancer
overpowers the beauty of the dance
during the decimation of the world,
when we no longer find beauty in the small,
when there is no mirror, nor even

a reflection in the oily rainbow of a pool,
when depression blows like a clinging wind,
when she lost her youth for an edgier sadness
to fit in so neatly into expected roles,

when a desperate man buries the last fact in sand
hoping to grow wisdom
while everybody else lies in bed,
bellies full of booze and pills
as they drift coma-like
through swatches of memories but no one sleeps
well enough to dream,

frequent short hard showers will stir the dust
of the dance during the decimation of the world . . .

I Love the Woman Who Lights the Stars Each Night

free verse poetry; copyright 2012

cover art by Joshua Richardson Kight

Cover blurbs:

“This collection is pretty amazing . . . Your words sing.” – Terri Hendrix

“I love the courage and kindness of your poetry, its honesty that’s dark yet leaves the road open for hope . . . You do know they’ll be teaching classes about you as a poet some day, don’t you?”– Elizabeth Burnam

“A trove of gems. They don’t reveal themselves all at once, and they suggest more than they reveal. You will want to keep it close by awhile, a collection to ponder and marvel over, each visit inviting another return.”– Richard Dobson

“I love your perspective. Of the earth, of human beings, of universal consciousness.” – Tiffany Shea

“Your poetry crashes me like a computer.” – Amanda Shires

“Vivid and fresh.” – J.P. Schwartz

“Your poetry is so thought provoking for me; so much depth.” – Chris Brittingham


when I think
of you, is it first
of your breasts
warm in my hands,
of the gentle curves
of your hips,
of your princess face
pretty and peaceful
(of the distant sadness
sometimes in your eyes)

this is what
I really mean:
I hunger
to journey with you,

I thirst
for the sweet water
from your deepest wells,

I wait for you
in a field of thorny roses,
often I slip through
the guarded gates
of your emotions

to walk with you
on moonlit nights
in the sea mist
along the rocky shores
of life

Seemingly Discontinuous Ramblings

short musings; copyright 2012

Cover blurbs:

“You distill joy & pain, light & dark, & hope into such powerful images & thoughts. I was moved to tears at the beauty of your writing. Everything you write makes me think, but these poems help me feel in a new way. – Elizabeth Burnam

“These books are masterpieces.” – Terri Hendrix

“. . . your book is brilliant.” – Glenn Bowie

“Mesmerizing . . . I was impressed that so much can be said in so few words.” – Shirley Elliott Cosby

“. . . makes me think he is the modern day Mark Twain.” – Margaret Eldridge

“Exquisite and poignant.” – Cathy Gould

“From the moment I opened your book, I wanted to touch and taste the words . . . palpable and delicious.” – Valerie Ann Tuttle


The old man woke up weak, weaker than usual, a bit overwhelmed by the bright of the sunlight coming through the window glass.

He knew that, if he spoke, his few words would be soft and slurred. By late morning, he thought he saw blackbirds gathering in the room – on the upright piano, on the radio, on the back of his worn, favorite chair.

By mid afternoon, still in bed, he thought he heard them begin to speak.

He thought he heard one ask, “Hasn’t he lived the best possible life?”

And one reply, “Yes, he has. In many ways, enviable.”

“He has loved and been loved.”

“But he has outlived them all.”

“All but one.”

“She was the most important of them all.”

“He hasn’t outlived his memories.”

“He’s tried to leave many of them behind.”

“Yes, many are lost.”

“All but a few.”

“He is tired.”

“Weary to the bone.”

“Is it time?”

He speaks for the first time that day, trying to tell them he’ll wait for those from his childhood who are coming.

For She Was Once the Thief of Time

a novel for the 21st century, exploring two people together; copyright 2010

Cover blurbs:

“Lyrical. Wise. Textured. Images that are so beautiful they almost hurt . . . Your name will become classic and set new standards and perspectives about how to view the world and express them. “ – Elizabeth Burnam

“These books are masterpieces . . . Your words sing.” – Terri Hendrix

“They don’t reveal themselves all at once, and they suggest more than they reveal. A trove of gems.” – Richard Dobson

“Ah, your poetry is dangerous and delicious. It’s amazing to me how one vessel can contain so much truth and raw beauty without going mad.” – Tina Marzola

“Your writing comes across as almost effortless. You definitely have the gift.” – Marc Durbin

“Vivid and fresh.” – J.P. Schwartz

“I love your perspective of the earth, of human beings, of universal consciousness.” – Tiffany Shea


A city. Like all the others that remain. Bricks. Stone. Glass, most of it broken back toward sand.

A high-ceiling, 30-foot building is almost lost in the dozens of other ones almost like it.

Dust motes flood in shafts of light from high windows; the light illuminates wooden shelf after wooden shelf -- many of them as worn as the city outside – floor to ceiling around the tall walls. Precious volumes of books are stacked on the worn shelves, most of them neglected like centuries of prayers. These certainly aren’t the only books that still exist, but they are the largest known collection.

Footsteps echo on the rough stone floor, even the rustle of garments from the visitors who, from time to time, bring single books or small bundles to leave. Old wisdoms are often unspoken, the words often misunderstood like once-lovers avoiding one another.

The librarian has only the vaguest knowledge of the collection. He is old, half blind. He sometimes feels the joy in the words as they slowly float through the air and gently nudge him into other times and places.

What Texas Music Really Is

selected music columns from Buddy Magazine; copyright 2009

Cover blurbs:

“Very good listener and very perceptive. I wish there were more like you.” – Lloyd Maines

“Yours is a voice that at times reaches out gently and turns my face back around to where I should be looking. Thank you for that.” - Nathan Hamilton

“I really, really appreciate the careful consideration and thoughtfulness you put into your writing. It’s refreshing to read an articulate perspective and response to the music, as opposed to just a regurgitation of press materials. Yours is the kind of writing that I used to soak up when I was teenager, and would send me running to the store to explore that music on my own. So thanks for maintaining a real voice. – Danny Schmidt

“You are one of the best advocates we have, and I thank you for your non-materialism, your selfless patronage of the arts . . .”- Jeanie Perkins

“I love the way your mind works, your interpretation of life, and the way you communicate your perspective.” - Tiffany Shea

“His knowledge of music and the music business is astounding , , ,  a real professional and intellectual.” – Michael “Rockzilla” Johnson

“ . . . Eudora Welty of Texas music.” - Candance Robison

“I’m just drunk enough to tell you that you’re my most-admired person in Texas music.” – anonymous


Black dirt mixed with sweat fills the tiny cuts on your fingers. Your back aches without release in the cotton fields, where the rows are long and dusty and the first blues notes danced in the heat.

In the old mountains where Celtic music began to become American music, vague feelings of isolation and inevitability danced with the changing of the seasons.

In the dark of a long night lit by the moon through an open window, and perhaps in the one-room church on a Sunday morning, we danced with one another and we prayed for imaginary sins to be forgiven.

These were among the kinds of spiritual places where people created the roots of our best music. Good music comes from many places, but these are the places that call me tonight. In the landscapes and in the yearnings of the Celtic and African peoples who could lost themselves – and find themselves again – in the soundscapes that are, at the same time, as simple and complicated as the at-once real and mythical South. It is easy to write that most of this nation’s most meaningful art – including music – has risen from the fundamentalist South. It is easy to write that this art is most often dearly personal.

The acoustic blues, as a musical form, comes from the country. The blues got a little more complicated, a little less clean, in the city. So did the kind of country-folk music I invoke here, although in its revival today it is, perhaps, less of a novelty than acoustic blues.

Neither kind of music is, by today’s cynical standards, sophisticated. Which isn’t a problem for people with open minds.

Listen to the stories in the acoustic guitar from the cotton field style. Perhaps Lightnin’ Hopkins on Blues in My Bottle, or Blind Willie Johnson on the older “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground.”

Listen to the stories in the fiddle (sometimes called the devil’s instrument, because it’s so hard to master) from the mountains. Perhaps Stuart Duncan on Dolly Parton’s “Little Sparrow” or “Mountain Angel.” Or to any number of Texas players.

Listen to the layers of complexity filtered through the Gospel of Sin and Redemption.

And listen to the unsophisticated voices sharing deep passions: Parton’s sweet vulnerability and Hopkins’ raw perseverance, among many examples.

There can be a kinship of the guitar and the fiddle, played the way they can be played, and of the voices of our most soulful singers. It is a kinship -–a union of meaning, if not blood – that asks more questions than we can ever answer. And it is the questions that move us, that make us dance. Answers too often urge us to stand still.

It is the questions that move us.

Let me write it one more time: It is the questions that move us. We may see movement, just for a moment, as our own spiritual seeking, a search for purpose or validation. For a place to belong. It is a popular pastime again today. And it is, perhaps, nothing more, nor less, than seeking the truest stories of our own lives in the strangest of lands: Song, Inspiration, What Was, Love, Joy and Pleasure, Meditation, Tragedy, Memory, Subjectivity, Comedy, Fate, and Dance.

These are the dozen provinces of the classical muses, whose roads we travel when we listen to meaningful music. We journey long, and come to a crossroad from time to time, where the devil lurks in a ramshackle tavern hoping to buy another soul. We ply him with drinks and play him one sad song after another on the jukebox, and wish him well as he nods, momentarily, and we waltz out the door.

The best music is direct and uncluttered, from the heart. No more complicated than it must be to keep one foot moving ahead of the other.

Ultimately, as we leave the devil nodding at the bar, we realize that the blues and the folk side of country music are the music of optimism.

The blues dance in the heat.

Isolation and inevitability dance with the changing of the seasons.

We dance with one another in the dark of a long night, even when we are apart.

It is the lyric – our limited language – which sometimes turns music into poetry. And it is poetry that tries best, and almost always fails, to put into words the way we feel.

Love and Masks and Ghosts

essays from the trailer trash years; copyright 2009

 Cover blurbs:

 “ . . . an iconoclastic creative thinker in a world of derivatives.” ¾  Mark Hughey

 “. . . writes like he’s breaking out of jail.” ¾ Ray Wylie Hubbard

 “ . . . a complete artist with his use of language.” ¾ Terri Hendrix

 “In an age where we are trying to run from the heart. You run toward it brave.” ¾ Gayle Bell

 “I guess the word I was looking for is ‘evocative.’ As I read what you have written there is the suggestion of (understated) significance. It stays with me.” ¾ James Michael Taylor

  “ . . . spending hours with my nose in your writings (studying, analyzing, digesting) . . . what an amazing teacher you are to me.” ¾  Tiffany Shea


Less than a mile from where I find myself, between my new home and the cemetery where all of my grandparents are buried, the Neches River begins its 416-mile history. The Neches comes up from deep in the ground to wander through Guthrie’s pastures of plenty, through loblolly, post oak, dogwood, pecan, and more -- nurturing all of its life like a minor deity.

Down river, the land flattens into virulent swamp, the Neches lazes around cypress and Madonna trees. Birds and bullfrogs sing, water lilies dance with 'gators while a woodpecker goes on one of his drumming sprees.

The Neches finds its own cemetery in the Gulf of Mexico (where its spirit merges with the world’s seas and oceans). It loses its self in the evidence of mankind’s exploitation born in the belief of divine rights and in greedy notions.

Water flows, and people pass into the earth.

The Clovis culture was here; it passed; the Caddo culture was here; it passed. The Spanish, with their missions, couldn’t hold the land. The white man spewed pollution for what he amassed. The pirates de Aury and Lafitte soiled the Neches; slave smuggling became part of the lower river's dread. Logging upriver, rice down; the Spindletop oil boom, cities built of ammonia, phenol, sulfides, zinc, and lead.

Water flows, and people pass into the earth.

The Neches and its land challenge the empty places in the human soul. Blues flourished here, an odd expression of hope; mountain sounds, too, calling love a “wounded heart.” My people came across the South from Cape Fear to harvest from the land, to live and die in this place, to learn that time becomes melody as much as rhythm near where the Neches begins its journey to disappear.

Water flows, and people pass into the earth.

Near where the Neches begins, I see light cling along the horizon at sunset. I see moon’s eclipse the color of dried blood. I see a willow dance. I see stars wink without regret.

Water flows, and people pass into the earth.

Less than a mile from where I find myself, ghosts claim that water coming up from the ground is the cold, collected tears of the dead. I say the sweet, first taste of that clean water, as you bend to reach it, is closer joy. It is as close to first water, as close to pure, as we'll ever find anymore.

Water flows, and people pass into the earth.
He Dreamed Fragments

short fiction collected from limited edition chapbooks; copyright 2009

Cover blurbs:

“. . .  always thoughtful/beautiful/disturbing in the best possible way.” – Sarah Lynn Fisher

“You meticulously splash bold red hues throughout a seemingly transparent, fragile piece . . . never seeming to allow the bold to overtake or even bleed into the pristine thought patterns you are weaving.” – Tina Marzola

“. . . I enjoy your writing more than any other contemporary writer.” – Dana Jones

“You have such an incredible mind. Thanks for always sharing it.” – Kym Webster

“. . . a beautiful soul who writes beautifully . . .” – Susan Gibson

“There is no place anyone can go to learn to write like that. It is something that seems to rise more or less effortlessly out of the depths of one’s soul but, at the same time, finds a way to devour it.” – Joe Parsons


The two of us come upon a statue of limitations along the side of the road, discussing buried pleasures with the grim weeper softly enough to wake the dread. So softly, silently, that we can’t hear them as we walk by, shivering, the smell of regret heavy in the air.

“We have seen bitter days,” one says. “We’ve seen the stuff that screams are made of.”

“We have been convicted of high crimes of reason,” the other says. “Of the joy of forgasm.”

“We have also, regrettably, committed crimes of ration.”

“We have seen the cold heart facts.”

“We know that furiousity killed the cat.”

“We have gone to the inane asylum, and heard the intellectual simulation. We have heard great expectorations.”

“We have heard cheap trills and actual sighs.”

“We know that the meek shall inherit the dearth, and that too often it’s binders keepers.”

“We have drunk from the primal stream.”

“We have seen a simple twist of faith, and taken it for granite.”

“We have seen paradise tossed.”

“We have heard glibberish, and seen the irreal.”

“But, I swear on a stack of baubles, we are spinning too much time on this rite to remain silent.”

“Dust will yet conquer us.”

“That’s an extinct possibility.”

“May we rust in peace.”

Nothing but the wind blowing . . .

Stolen Lies

free verse poetry collected from limited edition chapbooks; copyright 2009

Cover blurbs:

“These are poems I will read again and again. You rekindled my love of poetry . . . ” – Jory Sherman

“Tom Geddie’s poetry falls somewhere between Wallace Stevens’ subtle layers of thoughtfulness and the blunt, brutal grit of Bukowski.” – Nathan Hamilton

“Good poetry knocks us out of our conditioned rut. Tom’s work does that.” – Jim Bush

“It strikes me as jazz-like with all its freedom and expression and passion and rhythm – both on the beat and off.” – Lynn Adler

“Your writing reminds me of Richard Brautigan’s. Just beautiful stuff that moves us beyond this earth.” – Jeanie Perkins

“Your words are so good I can taste them!” – Linda Ayers, author, The Time Bridge Travelers


a pale, black-haired girl

little breasts just beginning to grow

secure, simple in her goodness

she hugged everybody gently

in the small, airy sanctuary,

and smiled

and led the younger kids away

as the wind, blowing,

exposed the crescent moon

tattooed on the slender neck’s nape

until the long black hair

fell back into place

a place of ritual, clinging faith

where the tall young preacher

seems so sincere and insecure –

a believer with a dwindling congregation

in an age of selfish expectations

meanwhile, along the mirrored wall of a bar,

5 kinds of canned laughter, foamy,

full-bodied and sweating condensation

cheap whiskey,

jug wine by the glass,

exotic, over-priced drinks with faraway notions

the man is perked up by an old idea;

(odd tattoos and body piercings

and mask          deep, deathless eyes)

his hand feels her slender waist,

caresses the small of her back

before she walks away, crescent moon on nape

“What’ll it be?” the waiter asks

“Oh, well,” the man thinks,

“they tell me it’s only a matter of rhyme.

But tonight, I think, I am

harmed and dangerous.”

this congregation is too big and noisy,

and he walks outside, into a moon so close

he feels its pull