Thursday, March 23, 2023


I cannot read certain authors

without feeling ashamed.

As if all my flaws are exposed.


The gift of writing 

is the double-entendre:

what is said,

what is meant,

the layered lexicography 

of experience,

the masterful placement 

of what fits.


I keep reading – pissed, pleased, perplexed.


Not to hear the echoes of words,

not to follow the Ariadne thread –


-Byron Hoot

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

North of Dawn

The cloud to the north of the sun

is a color no name can name.


I refrain from the blasphemy 

of trying but not the praise


I feel in being in the presence

of the unnamable before my eyes,


within my heart like a prayer 

enticing me to dance what 


is beyond the realm of words

but not experience.   My love


for words is only equaled by my

distrust of them to capture what


may not be caught like the color 

of that cloud just north of the sunrise.

-Byron Hoot

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Janitor

The Janitor

     “a caretaker of a building”

I never cleaned a church.  There was

always a janitor, some parishioner

who took care of that, cut the grass,

shoveled snow.  They seemed to work 

as a team, my father and the janitor.

Dad would spend his time searching 

scripture for the next sermon, counselling 

broken hearts, visiting the sick, praying.

Weddings, funerals.  And the janitor 

would come in midweek. Begin in the Sunday 

school rooms dusting, sweeping, wiping

down, picking up.  Notes written hastily.

A quarter, a dollar discarded he’d put in his

pocket to put in an envelope then put the money

in the offering.  “The forgotten offering,” he’d

say, laugh.  Then move into the sanctuary where

discarded dreams sat in pews, distracted thoughts

lingered, prayers said never intended to go higher

than the ceiling.  Week after week he’d clean.

And on Sunday morning, third pew back on the left

hand side from the pulpit, he and his family would sit. 

Dad would enter the platform from a side door, glance 

first to Randolph and nod,smile slightly as if saying, “Good job.”  

The congregation left behind what they wanted to and what

they didn’t know they left Dad and Randolph picked up.

-Byron Hoot

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Tell Me

It is a day true to itself,

false to the season.


Who has not known such

a dichotomy 


where two opposing statements

about the same thing are true?


It is winter,

feels like early spring.


Tell me your heart

has never known this.

-Byron Hoot

Thursday, January 26, 2023


It is hard to recognize who is looking 

back at me when I stand before 

a mirror.  The body distorts who I 

would see and only by some other-

world calculus do I say, “That’s me”

the way a student gives an answer

without the confidence it’s right.

I move, the reflection disappears 

and I am left to do what I do without

the hindrance of reflection, the doubt

of whom I’ve seen is me.  I don’t 

remember time passing so quickly,

taking so much in its giving.

Somewhere inside I am strong, quick,

smooth-skinned, clear-eyed;

there’s no reflection of that.  I watch

myself feel and think and act,

know as I’ve been I am not.  Think

about breaking mirrors, think about

bad luck, know I can’t break every 

mirror especially the one inside me. 

-Byron Hoot

Thursday, January 12, 2023

One Day Closer, One Day Still Away

Silence, That Hint of a Hum

The problem with silence is it presupposes

you can hear and the problem with hearing

is understanding what’s said which you

may not be inclined to do.  And there you are

listening with your eyes closed

because you know if you hear

and see the same thing nothing

will be the same seeing into 

the nature of things, yourself, 

this life, those meanings so troubling.

-Byron Hoot

Wednesday, December 28, 2022


She searches the radio
for a night song
a blend of Texas and new age
her room lit up by holographic bingo lights

she plays dice
emptying her woe out the window
singing along:

“Be kind to your disguises
Be kind to your sins
Be kind to each other...Amen.”

-Nancy Pontius


I cannot read certain authors without feeling ashamed. As if all my flaws are exposed.   The gift of writing  is the double-entendre: what i...