If I Am Counted Among the Departed

Someday I will be long dead

And someone will think of me

They will be no one I can hear

They will be no one I can see

In this time I shall feel nothing

Existing only in memory

May I exist as hope

In this future mental interaction

May I exist as love

Despite my corporeal retraction

May you feel me rise through you mind

A wave redirected by refraction

Through life’s tangled mass of possibilities

Pointing to a bright new direction

Gene G. McLaughlin 2020

To the Angry Young Men (Which Once Included Me)

Rage encounters empathy
If you live long enough
Acknowledgment of the other
That’s where it gets rough
Your friends and enemies
Each know the same pains
When harm’s inflicted
Both souls are stained
To be a mammal is to anger
Putting your needs above
But to be a mammal also
Is to love
You did what you did
Then and before
But you can choose to do it
No more
Maybe rage is part
Of a divine plan
But maybe love can grow
In the heart of a man
Live long enough
Perhaps to learn
Fire can warm
Not only burn
Gene G. McLaughlin 2019

I Come To Take Your Hate

This I write

To make true

Decency is not lost

Love is not diminished

Grace is not absent

I come to take your hate

I will turn the hot stone

Into a cool wind

Fire only consumes

Remakes the world

In its own image

Of ash and ember

This I do

So that you may know your own sound


Hear your heart

The beating

Of the engine

Hear the blood

How it flows

With quiet force

The sound

Of your fingers

As you gently

Rub their tips


This is the sound of time

Without the weight of years

This I give to you

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016



When I Was A Ghost

When I was a ghost

Songs sounded like sorrow

The aural recognition

Of time fading away


When love shaped my form

I knew the song was melody

The joyous exclamation

That then is always now

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016

The Subtext

I wish I could show you what

I see


It lacks impact

Without context


As a hint

Love and light

Are the subtext

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016

I Shall

I have few resources

Often only kindness

And the will to not be inured

To the sorrow of the mourners

And the cries of the injured

I shall not keep to silence

Nor allow bigotry to be ignored

I shall seek no answers in violence

In pursuit of grace much can be endured

I shall make a quiet strong alliance

Between peace and love letting both be heard

In a voice even, but full of defiance

Against wrong thought and action

Committed via both deed and word

Gene G. McLaughlin 2015


Something I wrote to remember both how sad and outraged I was last week in South Carolina, but also how inspired I was by the survivors families in Charleston and their capacity for grace and forgiveness.

Outside of Time

I like that there was a time like that

Even if it is not mine

I like that there was a place like that

Amid the ruins of time

I like that love existed

Between those I shall never know

I like there are those that shall travel

To destinations I shall not go

I begrudge the universe nothing

I shall take what is given to me

But my universe shall exist of

Much more than I can see

In the earth are buried narratives

Stories by the score

In the sky are floating passions

Making the world both less and more

It is all one tale

Told outside of time

That I am the lead actor in

Yet which is never mine

Gene G. McLaughlin 2015

Straight Up v2

I could tell you it was about love

But it was straight up about the need

I could say I drove too fast due to lateness

But it was straight up about the speed

I could tell you I was into Phish or the Dead

But it was straight about the weed

I could tell you I work for the love of it

But it is straight up about the greed

I could tell you a whole lot of shit

But telling is not my creed

Gene G. McLaughlin 2015


Tell me a story

Of the things you want

Tell me your tales

Of the places you haunt

Show me your heart

What your see in the mirror

What tears you apart?

What god says when you hear her?

It is all just instances

Guiding us toward the now

All just hearts and souls learning

The intimacies of why and how

Tell me how I can reach you

And the secrets you know

Tell me how to approach

Where to hasten and slow

Tell me what a kiss means

And when I’d be brazen to touch

Tell what songs you sing alone

What memories are just too much

Do not hold back the burdens

Those that are too much to bear

Do no hide what you value

Or mask that for which you care

Be cautious and careful

For I would be to

But for those things I ask

Answers maybe be slow

Yet please make them true

Gene G. McLaughlin 2015

Be Human


Lose ground


The end

Feel joy

It goes around

Without us

My friend

Be human

Do not fear

Feel love

Do not pretend

Gene G. McLaughlin 2014