Phantom Amber Rose


Our wonderful 17 year old script supervisor was the inspiration for this poem.  We were in Minsk, Belarus shooting “The Road to Glory”. 

Stone whispers and a

Khamsin Wind

Beit She’an, Israel was the backdrop for the poem. 

The Jungle

Ek Balam, the translation is Black Jaguar in the dialect of the Yucatan. 

The Saskatoon

enders alley

Ashland, Oregon

Down the dark street by the alley that ends

At the house tightly boarded its people have gone

The sliver of moon and the light that descends

Writes ghostly whispers in moon shadow’s song.

Old tin upon tin not fitting at all

Where the creases and grooves all fight for distinction

The black cats and toms have slipped as they fall

End over end to clatter extinction.

The cans are more worn than the trash they contain

But the smell that emits when a lid is pried loose

No match for the nameless no name that remains

Wild in abandon spread vile with no shoes.

A raw row of tins in a dank columned file

Hid the bulk of his body in a dirt rumpled mess

Bare stumped were his feet from a newspaper file

A cheap bottle of wine, not far’d be my guess.

And the tale of his woe, now silenced but plain

Spearhead to Seattle…The Ten Forty Five

Them big business deals, All bluff but no gain

It’s a long way from home and the heart of alive.

And slowly but surely and bit by small bit

The “What is it that matters?” Don’t matter at all

The soldiers of mercy can take a big hit

While old Mothers, grown wild, may be gone by the fall.

And how did it happen and what was the reason

All saints to the front to do battle again.

For the souls that have faltered are crops out of season

And the sting of the rain felt more by these men.

Now where is the will for a life be well spent

For the ups and the downs, and the ebb and the flow

Saint Peter is crying “Too late to repent,”

For travelers come and travelers go.

Prairie Forms


Paws for poetry

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When my eyes grow dim as in the darkened storm

And breath of life is flowing out of me

I’ll not so eager look to the new morn

But know my spirit grows more wild and free.

The falsehoods of the dream the traveler saved

But secrets sliced the silent night in half

And change is certain as the falling blade

Its steel-eyed glint strips bare the fatted calf

What was it came into your life abrupt

In two directions pulled both dark and light

Your coltish youth corralled by dank corrupt

Who stole your soul in defense dead of night?

For night it was that flirted with the day

To offer up a short time for escape

But to fall by cuff or blade; no one to say

Had we all a hand, your breath of life to rape?

All down through the ages you may often hear,

   The voice of the handmaiden; “I.”

I’ve been blessed with a curse, you may curse

   That I bless the souls of the men who did die

By the hand of dismissal or the power that corrupts

   As they lived their life as a lie.

For I am the voice of the Handmaiden.

   I will tell you what I know.

I’ve been there when the olives were pressed to oil;

   Gleaned wheat where it stood in a row.

I have plaited hair for royal heads,

   Shone armor for pomp and for show.

I’ve stood under the arbor, heard plots with devise

   And feared for my own life too.

Be it a mistress with candor, or a master with pride,

   I’ve seen all emotional hue.

If it served best interest of who was in power

   The plot might include killing you.

My curse to foretell, but with no one’s belief,

   I see into the future: attest.

Where anger prevails and fear is the law,

   Man cannot be at his best

Though millenniums passed, a new one to come,

   Still there remains unrest.

You can hear me in places unseen or suspect,

   In the crumble of marble or tile…

In the shadow of frieze or a lamp that burned oil

   Or baths to sit for a while

Or a stretch of columns that once rose to the sky

   Where they lay toppled o’er single file.

If these stone whispers or a khamsin wind

   As it blows from a hot desert plain

Can stir in your soul a voice from your past

   N’er to repeat force again,

Then my vision’s not dimmed nor my deeds be for naught,

   And history will not stay the same.

For though each age had the smartest of men

   That headed affairs of the state

They sailed and conquered and blustered about

   And marveled to hear themselves  prate

Though we all are descended from blood and bad deeds

   To change is never too late.

Though I’m only the voice of the Handmaiden,

   And speak through long ago

I appeal to your senses as I tried to do then

   “Plenty abounds,” It is so.

To rob and to kill, defend and amass;

   These are unnatural foe.

I hope somehow that you with honor be

Though wrapped in death’s unseemly unplanned shroud

Full seventeen, your path was wild and free

Through time’s short stay you stood out in the crowd.

I will meet you in the corridors of time

Though my many sleeps in rooms outnumbered yours

From muffled overcoats, hard passion’s fine

If change is real and opens locked closed doors.

Though I be granted years o’er just your few.

When time has run the sand down through the glass

Dare I to say, spirits meet in death’s renew

And your dark demise revealed will come to pass.

@Flo Lawrence  Dec. 26,1996

For I am the voice of the Handmaiden

   As I whisper from the stone

And I am the cry on a Khamsin Wind

   Tempering earth before me to moan

As I fly in the cracks of your conscienceness now,

   I still look to find a home.

Given tools of an era and thought of the time

   We chipped and built away

How much was done with so little then

   How much we could do today.

With power not force, our heart as a rose,

   What could we then assay?

We’ve conquered about and bludgeoned to death

   Those who did not think as we

We’ve hyped our religion “For God’s sakes,” we have said,

   “This is the way it should be.”

We’ve banished and poisoned, but responsible choice,

  Is the voice that’s in you and in me.

Although we’ve done much, of what is its use?

   Still we proffer the killing of men!

Of ancient times, of might and of power,

   Old cities resurrected again…

Avenging angel, Khamasin Wind, Stone Whispers

   Cry out… cry out… cry out!...”WHEN?”

@Flo Lawrence

July 24, 1997 Caesarea, Israel

And I felt the cream smooth sun

Smiling through the vaporous green light

Things grew from where they were

Little at first

Breathless and at once naïve.

Smooth and wild and strong

While the engineers of gaiety,


The strong  moorings of the rich.

I felt the outrage of the peasants.

It grew too.

At first quiet

From where they were

Little at first

Breathless and at once naïve.

Then an undershouting

From the underbrush

Became a roar.

Fast and furious

Jungle growing.

The sun stayed cream smooth

And watched.

Supplied the armies

With strong sticks

To beat back the peasants.

But passions win out and power wears thin.

Passion is the calling.

More strong,  more true.

Stronger than the strong sticks

In time

More strong.

Stronger than

The dictums from the order

The order of things, the order of Kings, All…

All become weak

Feasts for the underlings

And the Gods of Prayer

Answer the call.

Oh have they answered the call.

And the winds of time

And the winds of change

Fell the largest temples


Crumbling in decay.

And the large sticks lay silent


Covered over.  They lay, covered over

With other things growing.

They grew from where they were

Little at first

Breathless and at once naive

Until they burst,

Smooth and wild and strong.

And the naked child

                        Lay sleeping

And the naked sapling

                      A strong stick grew

And the naked blade

                             Shone hard and cruel.

For a while…

               Protected in their casings

Coaxed soon enough

Cocooned no more.

And made their choices too

Too long for the contentment

And the jungle roared once more.

And the cream smooth sun

Smiled through the vaporous green light.

May 9, 2005

Rancho Encantada

Lago Bacalar

Quintana Ru

Yucatan, Mexico

Astride an Arabian horse borrowed from two Arab boys in Nazareth

A stride

I am the fastest

And fleet of foot

Mud caked tractor grooves

Dried and turned to fine


In the lazy summer sun.

My summer feet bare


In the fine powder.

Tracking warm prints

Five toes, high arch

Heel to toe padding down

Going everywhere

At once.

I am that deep tarnished smell

On the warm hide

Of my horse’s neck

Dry or in sweat

That smell that moves me to great heights

And carries me to conquering visions

We move

My horse and I


Faster than I can imagine

Astride with time


And heroes that have soared

And crumpled on the battlefield

To leave history panting in excess.

We are the wind

That strove to carry the new seeds

Laid down


Idyllic tunics softly blowing

In new breezes

Unrifled in our natal armies

Raw flesh to muscled hide.

Rippling with perfection.

We are the thunder in the rain

That quiets quaking aspen

Sunbaked earth

Returns to rivulets

From round the globe again.

My horse and I stand.

We are still

Silenced with the falling drops.

While kings and queens take

A gentle supper.

April 27, 2005

I watched from far away

The hillside across the valley floor

There were streams of riders

All making their way

In spirit song.

Wisps of smoke

Accompany them.

In mortal streams

As they move up river

Hoof beat matching drum.

Silent snowfall

As they move from summer song

To winter dross

And back again.

Ever moving

Unfolding time line

Restless quiet fury

Moving, moving, moving

Leaning forward into captured time

Without fear or dogged grit of jaw

For food they move

For freedom still they move

And for movement as they ride

Nomads of the earth they reach

Far into the sunset.

I watch.

I want to join them.

I know that for their winter pemmican

They will dry

And eat the Saskatoon.

I am too an ancient tribesman

I know the far hillside

The bushes loaded

With the ripe juice and

Ancient stories.

And I can stand there

With my Mother and my Sister.

We too are the hunter gatherers

Ancient purple sunsets

Ancient purple berries

Floating in the prayer of the Great Spirit.

For I am lost and found again

In the ripening way

Of my ancient brothers

Leaning into the ancient freedoms.

Riders streaming by

The hillside across the valley floor.

As they grow faint

I must act quickly

Or too late will I be

To take up and go with them.

I feel their breaths surround me

Feather and travois act as one.

I am pleased as I become

The rhythm of the great tribesmen

On the move there

Far away the hillside

Across the valley floor.

April 20, 2005

And somewhere on Fourth, not too far from Main

In a room dimly lit in a ramshackled home

On a soiled easy chair, an old woman’s frame

Dwarfed by the size and the emptiness grown.

Wild in abandon but silenced, alone…

Night shadows write their own play on her face

Out from the hollows old eyes set the tone

Of Sadness the Time and Pity the Place.

She sits and she stares off into the gloom.

Her old ruddy face and her gnarly old hand

Reaches to take the scotch in her room

In the glass on the table that is her night stand.

For sit there she did all through the day

And sit there she will for she is the dark night

The brethern and preachers have all gone to pray

No saving the souls who can’t get it right.

And through the dark pane a sliver of light

Catches the glass of a yellowed old frame

As she hastens to clutch to her bosom so tight

Like her son as she did years ago,  much the same.

For something o’er swept, like a dark velvet cloak,

And what happened those years and the moments run by?

With shattering glass came death’s darkening stroke

Ghostly night whispers, her last heaving sigh.

And fortunes away and fortunes be gone

The room shivered cold in a swirl of grey mist

Not far down the alley the moon shadows long

Lingered an instant… on Enders to kiss.

Flo Lawrence

May 9, 2003.

Completed on Horizon Air on way to Ashland and to Tom