09 December 2014


Hey, all

My new poetry blog is at writeapalist.com.  Come visit me as I add new things to my Wordpress site.

14 May 2014

Senior Poem 2014: Present Tense

When they are old,
you hold their hands—the shaking leather glove hands
of wisdom—
and you hear the things you spent a childhood knowing,
the things too obvious to say.
The things you want your children to hold,
but can’t tell them now
because kids can’t reach them.

When they are old,
the common place is precious,
and the thunder
fades to a pale tinkling of glass.
The eyes are small Bethesda pools
of hope.

When they are old,
they home school you
on lessons like
“the shortest distance between two points”
is the heart,
and “love is an action verb”
that also links.
That “time is relative,”
but we give it least to relatives.

When they are old,
you understand yesterday
more than today.
But there are no words that fit
but “show grace to me.”
Because when they are old,
you realize that we never
learn.  None of us.

But now you are young
with embers of dreams
that can be fanned
or extinguished.
Now you look both
ways before crossing from one stage
of life to another.
Now you wonder who you are behind the
awkward smile of the selfie.

But when they are old,
you find yourself poised between parent earth and child sky,
and you hear them say,

“Take what you can from
Me as fertile soil.
Toughen to be hard,
but not so much to not be tender.”

26 March 2014

I Kneel to Pray on a Tuesday Night

Forgiveness is beaten away across
the hand with a wooden rod.
The lungs are sponges for baptismal water
pressing across the chest.
The rumblings of understanding are slight taps
on the shoulder of a stranger.
The voice of thunder barely rustles
the re-sewn veil.
The fragrances of meaning
are absorbed in the fabric of speech.

Grace is a gift lying broken,
rocking back and forth,
on the floor
after the party.

How can I be real to you
when every word is digitized?
How can I climb into your heart
when my legs are scabbed and atrophied?
How can I be what you need
when all I worship are words?

24 October 2013

The Baptism: a short story

Available on Twitter @1fjefp or on the Jef Peeples Facebook page.

13 May 2013

Senior Poem 2013: 17

Standing on a hill, an arm’s length from the moon,
a small teary boy with a one-eyed bear in hand,
holds a balloon tethered to him by the thinnest string
while his face is pressed against the glass of stars.
A train coos a lullaby in the distance while
questions of truth and diligence babysit him.
Why is there hate? When is there pain?
What is a love? Where is hope?
How is alone?
In an empty room where teaching grew,
the desks face forward,
the lead desk abandoned.
Notes on conspiracies folded in corners of books of
Van Gogh.  Starry Nights became dark when the stars fell from
canvas leaving melancholy swirls.
And I at 17
wander to places
too empty to share with company,
too lonely for invitation,
wondering if he or she this young
has such desolate places,
impoverished nightscapes
where cold winds of youth
rattle deserted cans of doubt,
the grime of lust and betrayal smeared on every building,
the scratches of rats’ feet across broken glass,
cat’s fighting in the
Cloudy, cloudy nights block
all light so that the neon sight of the gaudy motel
sign is the only guide for me.
There is a cloud which demands following,
a fire burning in the night
across forty year fields,
through emptiness where no IPhone rings or Starbucks grows,
over sandy thirsty hills where the ignorant rule and the
foolish gain power.
Lakes of tears and winds of cries
are stilled.
And there is meaning when there are no answers.

Standing on a hill, a ways from the moon,
a small teary boy, a one-eyed bear in hand,
holds a balloon tethered to him by the thinnest string.
Fingers loosen in release
to allow the prized to
join the stars.

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