...the chubby penny 

...box of yesterday


kenny gave us the music man
and dolly the colored coat
time in a bottle wasn’t meant for jim
it was just a song he wrote

some said it was elvis forever
as the king of rock n roll
but who could know his majesty
was spinning out of control

peter, paul and mary
sang dylan’s blowin’ in th’ wind
as the beatles did it all for us
with a little help from their friends

those years all past too quickly
and are now forever gone
even neil, the solitary man
returned to brooklyn roads, his home

the statlers wrote of monuments
in washington d c
mccartney climbed on jonathan’s wings
and crashed into the apple tree

mac showed us a little ghetto life
james took us up on the roof
the oak ridge boys went into a saloon
to down some hundred proof

jimmy smashed electric guitars
while janice sang bobby mcgee
rick’s plane tumbled from the sky
he said no garden party for me

kris and willie inhaled their weed
said it make their throats feel good
but jimmy should never light my fire
in mr. roger’s neighborhood

a song could go on forever
about the singers i’ve never known
and one by one they’ve said goodbye
and turned to go back home

where have all the flowers gone?
that’s the question pete seeger asked
i guess with old songs everyone
to that great juke box of the past

 new york memories

i watched the glare of neon lights
from the place they say is new york city
i walked her streets on lonesome nights
and watched old men pushing carts of pity

i wept amidst the lettered street signs
and prayed beneath the subway stairs
stood for food in winding breadlines
wondering why god refused my prayers

i stood in the shadow of concrete towers
and smoked broken cigarettes cast aside
and joints that gave me super powers
refueling dreams that had already died

i watched the sunrise in central park
joggers and dogs all looked the same
but the sun painted over the black of dark
and soothed my aching childhood pain

so many people laughed and smiled
so many strangers seemed to understand
time had come to travel the miles
it would take to leave this new york land

yet with fondness i remember those new york nights
when young women worked the streets for a hit
as they stood beneath those neon lights
hopelessly trapped in hell’s deepest pit

i felt the waves on the atlantic shore
then travelled to the city by the bay
can't see the new york lights no more
and i suppose that's just how it'll stay

i never felt new york was unkind
i guess i never felt new york at all
but all the memories i could find
i left scribbled on a subway wall












Silent Scream

i heard the silent scream
and felt the piercing of my heart
…where i used to live

now someone else plays in my head
games i wish not to play
with no board and no rules

i will die alone
when the time is right
with wicked fingers
pointing accusation
squeezing my final breath

the voices in my head hurt
in ways i never knew possible
as my tired body longs for sleep
while my racing mind craves peace

i stand
pleading guilty
as the hand of my magistate
shreds my heart

the silent scream is louder now
and the voice i hear
frightens me
now that i recognize the crying
i feel the tears
the silent scream is my own


lifeless fruit in her bowl of sin

she was an urbanite socialite
who had done nobody wrong,
a debutante who had no want
and she took me right along.

she graced me with her words of french
and taught me with her time
how to love between th’ satin sheets
and the love she took was mine.

she rarely saw the morning hour,
and borrowed life from yesterday.
her time just seemed to be her own,
yet her minutes slipped away.

she knew where she was going
yet she wondered where she had been;
apple trees grew on her barren path
like lifeless fruit in her bowl of sin

her daddy was a very rich man
but he didn’t own her mind,
and the ivy towers behind her college hours
had made themselves unkind.

she knew the works of whitman...
and quoted emerson and thoreau,
but their pages left her lonely;
and that’s an awful place to go.

so one day she closed her book of life,
seems she’d erased too many words.
til the appleseeds were devoured...
by the ravens, poe’s darkest birds.



answers from far away
Music by Janice Kelly.     Visit her website @

the umbrella

it rained on tuesday
washed the blues from my jeans
and made me thirsty for another taste of heaven

hungry for breakfast
i settled for the smell of yesterday
and hoped for the fresh aroma of tomorrow

my only conversation
was born in a grumbling belly
filled with bubbles of emptiness and pain

i discovered that hope collapses and folds
like a cheaply made umbrella
annexed by harshly changing winds

and i wondered if i would die
on a tuesday blessed with rain
and if the umbrella would hold up

one last time



* rabboni

there was no passionburning within his empty soul, no whispered secret from the windthat once cradled warm thoughtsbefore laying them safely on a page,throbbing for another word. he chose to stand alonefor a moment, if not more,gathering blueberries and stained fingerswhile waiting to hear his own heart. some folks said go this way, others that,until all inspiration spilled over like fresh blood flowing onto a city street,crimson in the black of night. he wonderedif passion had trickled outand returned to some hidden placeto quench the parched heart of another. some folks still sipped from the tarnished silver challiswhile he grew thirsty waiting for wordsto follow after one another. his were sometimes tears of joyshed to fashion a meandering trailleading to a swollen cistern so children might never thirst again.


*The word Rabboni is used only two times in
the New Testament (Mark 10:51 & John 20:16)

It is the higher form of the word Rabbi. 









With all that is happening in the world I thought a look at a couple of passages from the Bible were in order. 

"And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." (Matthew 24:6-8 NKJV)

"In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’
Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her." (Revelation 18:7,8 NKJV)

And from that, i wrote this...not pretty and not uplifting but please read:

everybody’s dying

everybody’s dying, everybody’s dying
in this world we call insane
and nobody knows it,
‘cause it’s part of the game

and there is no resurrection
once we fall down from that cross
and there is no institution
to redeem our final loss

and there is no cotton bandage
that can stop the bleeding wound
and no time for looking backwards
‘cause we are already doomed

everybody’s dying, everybody’s dying
and we’re smiling all the while
we just never realize it
we just line up single file

and the explosion of that bullet
bursts across the night time sky
and the mushroom cloud filters down
and the laughing people cry

and there is no restoration
once our cities tumble down
and there is no consolation
for no prizes can be found

and there is no rhyme or reason
that can color over dead
and no time for looking backwards
to the words that jesus said

everybody’s dying, everybody’s dying
and some have sold their souls
and everybody knows it
after sifting through the coals

and there is no hope for another time
the stainless sword just fell
there is no care for your fellow man
as he stumbles into hell

and there is no constitution
that politicians sign
for the sign’s already written
and sealed since the start of time

and everybody’s dying, everybody’s dying
though none can answer why
and there are no super patriots
who storm across the sky

and there is no firm foundation
to hold your footing down
and there is no more destitution
past the hunger sound

and there is no vegetation
to keep a man alive
he should have eaten the bread of life
if he wanted to survive

and no time for looking backwards
to the way it could have been
that time has passed and satan’s tongue
has pierced the hearts of men

everybody’s dying, everybody’s dying
god, take this pain from me
this sight of annihilation
this staining of the sea

everybody’s dying, everybody’s dying
the anguish is too real
even a blind man who has darkened eyes
no longer can conceal
that window of his inner soul
which holds the picture clear
everybody’s dying, everybody’s dying
my friend…
the time is here




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more poetry by tolbert: http://www.kephale06.wordpress.com