Record Broken

GladysColorized__0001Gladys Jessie Smith Lunsford
April 24th, 1919 ~ March 2nd, 2015
Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother
Sweet, Gentle, and Courageous Soul

My father Sister and Brother
Have preceded my mother.
My sister deleted her mind.
Her Earth-Mother body
Calmly continued that gentle sleep
But when it was plain that she was gone.
We turned it off.

Her pain ended, but our mother saw
That body peaceful empty
The round cheeks rosy
The lips full still.
Mommy’s death began with that, I think.

Our brother, mad and hard
Frightened the neighbors
And returned to the streets and fields
And we haven’t heard from him in years.
He’s dead too.

Gladys was father and mother to us.
After twenty-six years held as house help
She saw that we must leave
And took her brood to a new life
Wherein she worked beyond reason
And gave her best years to freeing us.

In that vise of necessity
Her mind burst
More than once.
Yet she returned to shelter the young
Again and again.

When the youngest
The gentlest
The gift and giver left us
Mommy began
Her floating into gray.
As fog filled her head
She wandered ever more
Until she lived within a minute always new
Or in a past
Where she kept things neat
And in good repair
And the little ones never lacked for her care.
The needle skipped
Back into the same groove
Or farther still
To a song long done
An echo fading past empty arches
Sometimes I was my Uncle Ted
And that was good

Then after years of disjoint minutes
I saw the eyes that had seen more than their fill
That had looked with love and fear and wonder

If my series ever goes into reruns
Please cancel it.

WayneSL 2015-03-02




WayneSL 1990

My breath smokes out past eyes that roll toward your scent
mixing with the steam that rises from my flanks,
the blanket off.

My nostrils flare to catch your musk,
my haunches twitch
and I await your mounting.

Grip firm the horn to gain your seat,
leg high and heave
to settle in my saddle.

Ride me as a well-bred dame her stallion does:
shoulders open, back erect and arching,
posting high and hard.

Let me gallop to start and to work up a lather,
and stand in the stirrups awhile and then
taking a fist full of reins and mane

clamp your thighs and force me to a rolling  canter,
holding back the trembling tension
eager for the sprint,
and then we

take the hurdles as one creature,
flow and surge through turn and straight,
strain and ache together ‘til we
catch sight of the final gate.

Now in furious headlong flight
we hurtle down the homeward stretch.

Bend low to taste my salty mane.
Hear the roaring of my breath.

The pounding thrusting gallop throws us forward to the precipice
until with one last lunge we leap the river
and for one eternal moment
float outside of time and space.

My flanks and your legs
brushing bushes and tall grass
sweat and dewdrops mingle

heaving chest and pounding pulse
settle to a glowing bond.

Thunder echoes
deep vibrations
shiver, crest and tingle:
wind-blown ripples on the pond.


In Marble Halls

WayneSL 2013
a vision shared

You float through the room,
majestic in your steady flow
yet fluid in each sensuous step.
Your sheer gown loves the glass-smooth marble floor
a wave in the wake of your tender toes.
My gaze is captured by the gentle curve of your thigh
rising to a graceful half moon.
Yet full, being double.
Through the gauze I see the dimple
come and go as you move.
Your geisha hair frames a solemn-seeming face
yet thereon lies a hint of smile
which does not lie
is not painted on
is born within
borne by thoughts and feelings forged in fire
to beckon me into your wake
and so I swim behind this lovely vision
to the chamber of love.
Therein you take seven months to slip the shroud
from one soft shoulder to your breast
and I can scarcely breathe
to see the next and the next and your collar bone so fine
the gentle rise of your smooth, spare belly
and your navel and still other signs of your humanity.
Your nipples loved the slipping misty cloth
and stand erect to crave another touch.
I caress them with my eyes
until it’s time for more.
As the shroud falls farther past the fertile hips
and valleys hiding streams within their depths
I tremble just to leap into your river, yet
I dare not still to draw my ready sword
in reverence for your gentle revelation.
Onward and off the shroud more quickly falls
your lovely legs the pillars of a temple
where ardently I soon shall give my all.
The pool of silk around your feet lies spent
the treasure it had guarded now revealed
and I cannot stand longer but must kneel
and beg your leave to enter with my steel.

Dark Money

visual depiction of dark money

Dark$ ©2015 WayneSL

WayneSL 2012-10-06 (song lyric)

Variations on a theme
waves on the ocean
and the currents underneath
the back field’s in motion
as we try to live our lives
we’re bound in chains of lies
We see each other’s eyes
we hear each other’s cries & sighs

Then from the cover the shade
here comes that dark money, again.
Dark Money – eating up our minds
Dark Money – binds us to the grind
Dark Money – hides the hand that holds the key
Dark Money – it’s choking you and me.

In between our legs it trickles
and it tickles, and it prickles
and soon it’s in our public hair
and on our tongues, and in our lungs
until a single sign remains
a fist thrust in the air
and it shakes in rage and pain
through rocket’s red glare

Then from the cover the shade
here comes that dark money, again.
Dark Money – eating up our minds
Dark Money – binds us to the grind
Dark Money – hides the hand that holds the key
Dark Money – it’s choking you and me.





Christopher Slater-Lunsford, who will never draw the line.

Wayne Slater-Lunsford Spring, 1991

The World is both within us
and without us
Before we draw the line.
When we have not yet slowed
our rising forward fall
up into life.
We still trail clouds of glory.
We still own all that we perceive.
We permeate our universe
and grow diffusing
through the ether of experience.

Clear jello with little colored spots
spreading out toward each other
each color cloud another life.
You’re East to me, I’m West to you
our colors mix in the middle
and there’s a new shade in the rainbow.
We as children many selves perceive
other than the ones that elders see
those elders call us make-believe-
the persons that we know ourselves to be.

Existential Moment

Black Hole

Black Hole

2014 WayneSL

That existential moment
when finite and infinite
eternity and now
can, will, might
and probably not
swirl and swell
and do not come to rest
yet we persist…


Colossal bust of Ramesses II

Ozymandias Busted. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Waynesl, 2014

What will be made of my ashes?
More than thrown bones
or leaves that lie
in a cup?
I poured the ashes of my father from the plastic box
and tried to see a man there
a life.
Not even pain remained.
We who were left climbed a rock
in the desert where his last glory had burned
and died
long, long, before his body did.
The backward Santa Ana wind
spread those minerals over sand and stone
indifferent, undifferent in their import.
Methodical Joshuas now incorporate that dust
into thorny, twisted limbs.
Neptune may accept me
And make something of my bones
Some coral or a nematode
Or shark.
The hearts I touched may heal
The minds remember
And if these words find shelter with another
Eternity will make of them my seal.

Premature Preemptive Destruction

Used by permission of

Used by permission of

My friend Martin Giles posted this:

A burglar breaks into a family home at 2AM and helps himself to a couple of mobile phones, an iPad and a wallet. Unfortunately, the seven year-old daughter is in the kitchen getting a glass of water at the time, and the burglar surprises her. She screams, waking the parents.
The burglar has a knife and pulls the girl in front of him, putting the knife to her throat as he makes for the door. Mum is already on the phone to the police (and luckily there’s a station two doors down), so armed officers are on their way within a few seconds, while the dad, with loaded pistol in his hand (it’s America) blocks the burglar’s exit.
The burglar is a desperate man however, and though he now has several armed men pointing guns at him, he’s got his trump card – the child. A human shield. The police officers arrive, and father and police don’t hesitate. They shoot the burglar, the bullets ripping through the child’s body first.
Everyone is sad that the girl is dead, but all agree that they are innocent of any wrong-doing. The burglar was using the child as a human shield, so it’s entirely his fault that the girl is now dead. No question. Little bastard.
But wait. Isn’t the point of a human shield that no person in their right mind would shoot through it? Perhaps it’s only in the movies where the snipers wait for a clear shot.

I responded:

Can’t like this Martin Giles, but you point out one of the deepest, most serious problems I see in human culture today: imbalance. The burglar was wrong. There was a need for action to curb his behavior in the moment, and also to discourage him and others from similar acts. However his use of the child limited the options available to the others.

The only quick way they could counter his bad behavior was to threaten or perpetrate violence which risked an innocent life. Instead of keeping a focus on the innocence at risk, they focused on the evil in progress, and escalated to destruction of an entirely higher scale. They fell into what I see as a common, (and perhaps increasingly so) error which costs many of us our very lives. I call it Premature Preemptive Destruction. It is like jumping off a cliff to avoid falling.  Almost all of us have experienced that alarming feeling at the edge, looking down and sensing that we may have an urge to jump, to “just get it over with,” and though we almost universally resist it successfully, it can often set our pulses racing, our hands shaking, and occasionally… precipitate disaster.

It is in those adrenaline-soaked moments that we must draw on a reserve of prior consideration, of preparation, to withstand the unwise, ineffective, course of expedience. It is at those times our race can end or continue, individually or quite possibly one day in an unnecessary world-wide disaster. I believe that our evolution to that capability, and our either overcoming it or falling to it, constitute a turning point in the story of life on this planet. Even if we do mature and survive as a race, I weep for those individuals whose lives are ended too soon, or severely diminished, by the haste of Premature Preemptive Destruction.

Rose-Colored Reason

ISMSGraphic by WayneSL

WayneSl 2008 (revised in 2014 for the Day of Reason)

Reason – logical conclusion based on what I find to be substantial and reliable premises -is how I make every decision when possible.  When I do not have sufficient premises, or my reason is unable to discern a logical conclusion, I prefer to defer any judgment, simply saying, “I don’t know.”  There are a great many things about which I am comfortable saying that I just don’t know.  There are also situations wherein I must make a decision or a judgment without that surety, and then (and only then) I use a further criterion. When whatever reliable facts I do have are subject to differing, equally plausible conclusions, I choose the one which offers the hope of a preferred result.  That seems to me to be the one way in which faith can be useful to a reasoning person.  When reason reaches its limit, and IF a decision is still required, faith recommends the path that offers hope.

One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of faith is: “firm belief in something for which there is no proof,” and Christians define faith as “. . . being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, New International Version, © 1973, 1978, 1984  International Bible Society) making it clear that if any proposition were provable, it would not be a matter of faith.  One is sometimes confronted with two mutually exclusive possibilities.  If neither possibility can be discounted empirically and deductively, there remains a decision as to which is VIABLE.

The relevance of hope can be seen in an incident that occurred at Naval Air Station Cubi Point in the Philippines.  The runway there is bounded by water on three sides.  A patrol aircraft took off and began to climb out over the bay.  It had not yet reached pattern altitude when all four engines exploded into flames, and were immediately shut down.  In the cockpit, both pilots and the Flight Engineer struggled to turn the dying aircraft back toward the runway, but it was obvious they would not make it.  The calculations had already been done.  They were going to land in the water, and a P3 does NOT float.  Nine of the ten sailors back in the “tube” instinctively cinched up their harnesses and helmet straps and remained facing aft in their assigned seats.  The Navigator tore off his helmet, laid his head down on his map desk, and wept.  He did not share the faith his fellow crewmen had in the procedures the Navy had developed for such emergencies.  The rest of the crew had no absolute knowledge that they would or would not survive the event, but they chose the alternative which at least had HOPE.  The water off the end of that runway was only about six feet deep, and the aircraft settled quickly to the bottom, level and intact.  The crew all swam to shore before the rescue team arrived.  That is, all except the Navigator who knew he was going to die.  The radar operator dragged his body ashore, and later told me this story.

Faith uses hope to break the tie between two otherwise equally-balanced possibilities. As such, it CAN be a logical solution.  When two alternatives are equally likely, by every intellectual test, the clear thinker acknowledges them both as possible, but may proceed to one further test, provisionally choosing the assumption which offers more or better options.  Of course, such faith can turn to fallacy if one totally discards the less-attractive alternative.  The discovery of new information or a new line of reasoning may vindicate a distasteful reality.  The reluctance of some people of faith to consider new evidence and to entertain new possibilities has earned well-deserved contempt, which has often been incorrectly generalized to ALL of the faithful.

I propose that while being closed to logical discourse is superstition, faith is often the reasonable, logical choice.


Yellow-eyed black at raising claws to slap

This one is nicer than my dream

WayneSL 1988

Gray unpainted pews in a gray unpainted station
hints of brown beneath the dust
no train, no bus.
The man in the pew ahead is holding
a huge black cat
long and thin, of silken soot.
He holds it like a baby at his shoulder,
rocking forward, pats its neck
and the cat glares back at you.
Rocking back they creak the pew
and the panther takes a swipe.

Taloned paw on snake-thin foreleg,
lifted high in graceful motion,
flung down, stretching out to strike,
but not quite reaching eye and lip
The wind of a near miss ruffles your hair
and all you can do is gag and stare
The yellow eye is welded to your own
and every slap comes closer…