Walt Whitman Likely Thought It First

If I think I thought of something

Walt Whitman likely thought it first

Or at least it seems to me

When my self esteem is at its worst

Eventually I realize

My measure as a man

Should not be how Walt lived

Or where he took his stand

It should be my own past

Do I rise and face the day

When my friends and love’s face losses

Do I run or steady and stay?

The constancy of comparison

Wears one’s own art away

Modern media’s consumption

Might be too high a price to pay

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

Highways and Byways

Domain of the tollgate not password

Modern struggle now internalized

Pistons and smoke were once preferred

Terrains of the world once externalized

Progress now deterred?

Not as things once existed

Design of things have altered

Highways of data and gas twisted

Course to destruction faltered?

Why has this foreboding persisted?

Gene G. McLaughlin 2004

Know You Were Loved

This all happened

Despite our best attempts

The world closed in around us

The world became too big for us

Both at the same time

Intention was not part of this

It was just the flow of existence

Know you were loved

Do you believe us absent?

This is not the truth

We are still here

We just can’t navigate

With the ease or the agility

That we once could

Know you were loved

We do not keep secrets

Even if it seems that we might

We are silent on subjects

Because we know nothing of them

We would share all we had

If we had the information

We have the inclination

Know you were loved

There is little among our possessions

We would not let you take from us

We do not hold them dear

Those things are plastic and paper

If we hold them close

It is because they remind us of you

Or some other memory of you

Close to our hearts

Know you were loved

You were loved in the first thought

You were loved in the creation

You were loved in all the moments

You were loved in all our breaths

You were loved in all our failures

You were loved in our sometimes successes

You were loved in our last thoughts

Until the very end of us

Know you were loved

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013


The towers fell

The gauntlet dropped

The desert hell

Full of cold steel props

It beings now

What is needed

This is how

Introspection is seeded

The broken souls

The bloody fist

The dark foxholes

The casualty list

What of the desert

Its blood soaked grains

What of the fires

Of our shames and pains

What do we recall

Of that day?

What did we desire

Or hide away?

Grief not faced

Is a wound left open

For what’s been razed

And for words unspoken

My heart is bled

Of its hatred

In my head

Glimpsing the sacred

The truth clear

The war never won

The ending near

The heat of the sun

In the towers

As they died

And looked out

Into the sky

They thought not of


Or noble deeds


Or government acts

They were scared

Yet not alone

They thought of you

Your face, your tears

Your love, your loss

Reach out now

It is not too late

To touch their hand

Before they go

The pulsing heart

The slowing beat

We must part

The end is complete

Gene G. McLaughlin 2006

The Peak of Life

I want to put my feet up

By the river

The sound

Of the flow

Around me


Coming to life

The peak of life awakening

Once again

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

Blue Buses And Fresh Dill

This is a poem my father wrote shortly before his death in 1999.

I’m wearing hand-me-down clothes.

The glasses fall off my nose.

So I’ll take one giant leap at the moon.

I’m wearing hand-me-down clothes.

The glasses fall off my nose.

If it would only slow down,

I’d sure take that blue bus to town.

Time will come when blue buses

Will roll around heavenly stars.

Full midnight chants will split your pants,

And you’ll put up fresh mint in green jars.

I’m wearing hand-me-down clothes.

The glasses fall off my nose.

So I’ll take a long step to the moon

We’ll take one giant step at the moon.

I’m wearing hand-me-down clothes.

The glasses fall off off my nose.

If you ever pass by this way,

Bring the pipe made out of red clay.

We’ll fill that ole bowl and we’ll smoke,

And cloud up the room ‘till we choke.

Then we’ll climb to the top of the hill,

Where night air is sweet as fresh dill.

I’m wearing hand-me-down clothes.

The glasses fall off my nose.

So I’ll take a long step to the moon.

We’ll take one giant leap at the moon.

I’m wearing hand-me-down clothes.

The glasses fall off my nose.

Gene S. McLaughlin 1999

I Feel Like Bartelby

I feel like Bartelby
The world swirls around me
Preferring not to
Yet doing so
Modernity is a hurricane
Not a gentle rain

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

A Spring Wish

I want to be the man I am on the best of days

For as many days as I able

I want my moments of wonder

To outshine those where I feel unstable

I want to live a life of light and love

Where all days I feel enabled

Come sit with me and we will talk of joys

All are welcome at my table

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

A Bee in a Flower

Do not abide

A lack of grace

In the world

Find it

In small things

Grand plans fade

Crumble to dust


A bee in a flower

Can sustain

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

It Is Important To Me

It is important to me

That even if you don’t know

If love was denied to you or not

That it was not


If you never saw the sunshine

You shined as mine

If you never heard happy birthday

It was loudly sung

You didn’t know you cried out

The cries were heard

Because all things being equal

Which they are not

I’ll take you love

Over what others got

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013