tankas 32 – 34

sick cat in stillness

on a snowman-print blanket

more time asked of God

bless∙ed sounds of tongue on food

as the new morning arrives!


your proud measured gait;

eyes of citrus and honey

postponed my dread search

for sacred-enough ground, and

the digging of a friend’s grave


a little longer

we’ll walk and wonder at dawn

yes, the end will come

my wish of divine mercy:

that I cease ‘fore those I love



© Kenny Ray Bryant – 2014



new sunlight on dying elm


stray cat rubs my leg and calls for breakfast


defeated, the roof’s shadow slips away


energies scattered


turning point(s) near


morning’s hot wind moves withering vines outside my kitchen window

quickening  . . .



© Kenny Ray Bryant – 2014


I’ve been unsettled lately. . . .

I’m getting older and I feel it. Diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, neuropathy, and back issues govern much of life. Creating verse, cutting the grass, working on the house or car, bending over (and actually getting back up again), actively participating in wild-ass-screaming-shake-the-rafters sex, are all things that I now have to plan in advance: seek my body’s permission for.

My job of many years has turned a corner and started down a road I’m uncomfortable with. There’s almost no chance it will never be the same again. Standing up to management and taking up for a vulnerable person nearly got me fired recently . . . and it still may! I no longer want to be there, but fear of starting over keeps me planted in my seat.

I have a child with autism who, at 21, has aged out of the school system. He, his mother and I, are all in unknown territory now.  I want the best for him, but I don’t know what the hell that is.

I’ll be getting new neighbors on two sides of my property very soon. I didn’t like the old neighbors, but I like change even less. I worry they’ll have the kind of kids or dogs that will disturb my peace.

In the news this morning was a photograph of a brand-new van that someone procured for my youngest brother . . . he’ll be preaching the gospel from it. I guess I should be happy for him, but for reasons I can’t fully articulate at this time, the sight of that vehicle – with the family name emblazoned on each side – just bugs the living shit out of me.

I’ve been mentoring a young nephew who is interested in writing. And while I am enjoying that immensely, it has used up a lot of my limited energy. I’m now far behind on much-needed renewal activities: my own writing and the reading which I enjoy so.

And last, the recent death of comedian Robin Williams has forced me to relive the events surrounding the suicide of my favorite brother, twenty-one years ago. My brother’s children – grown now – have asked me a lot of questions since Williams’ death. I hope I’ve answered them well.

Well . . . there you have it. I hope this explains why I’ve been bit moody and/or disappeared from radar.

Kenny Ray

Unpolished Sermon 1

Religion is not

a weekly preening contest


Religion is not

mindless recitation of ancient text


Religion is not

a pre-populated list of those deserving of hate


Religion is not

the flinging of jeers, spittle, or your own excrement towards the defenseless


Religion is not

the knowledge that your darkest closet contains a very big gun


Religion is not

blind obedience to polished leaders

self-appointed diviners of a Truth

only few can know



Religion is

obliging a cat who wishes to be scratched


Religion is

helping those in need without qualification, requirement, or motive


Religion is

an appreciation for the color a tree turns at first sun


Religion is

the eyes of a child who you’ve made happy


Religion is

deferring gratification

perhaps forever


Religion is

the knowledge that you are very small

the universe is very big

and the end is always near


Religion is

the sheer terror or complete joy in knowing how you return to the world next is

dependent – entirely – on who you are






© Kenny Ray Bryant – 2014