Three Words


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When I was young, I heard
and saw a lot, listened—took
it in, used my senses to try
to be the best I could be.

Sort of a win before life began,
something the humble guard
as theirs to be, open-minded,
a sponge in the open sea—

God overhead, faith within
the soul, but this was before
the words crashed upon my
mind’s eager shore, yours too.

Mom was nice, but sometimes
I was passed on to other laps
and arms, thought they were fine,
growing up now I heard three

Words.  I heard them, but I did
not feel them or want to
repeat them; I needed more
evidence but in vain I searched!

It may have been Grace that
pursued me, Senator Klobuchar
on the Judiciary Committee—steady
truth, still not in my diet.

I nearly passed out, then teetered
on a jacuzzi ledge, smoked out
on pot, lit up with flammable
liquid in my veins—

I avoided the three words, the
feeling in them, maybe because
my super fun and amazing dad
never used them.

“I love you” was whined into the
wind by a loving, conflicted mom
who canned Dad on a dark night
of confusion, not long after Dad

gave me his last sip of bourbon
to drink, the same room reporting
“Divorce”—despite Jesus’ teaching
against its very existence.

God help us, was not yet prayed,
but off to college I went full of
love—but Backed Up, like a troubled
sink, I threw my guts up on the seat.

Anne Devereux was all I wanted,
tennis on the circuit—no one listened
we discriminated against children
I’m just another weak heartbeat.

God, help us was not prayed, because
the need not peaked, not yet at
bottom the alcoholic I’d become
sought answers elsewhere, namely

in grades at school, trying to be cool,
all a cover-up over love for Anne
and Mom, all a cover-up for the lies
I told myself to tell other lies that

I was not lying when I said I only
had a beer, when I had three, and for
me at 90 pounds that was quite a buzz,
a mini-suicide, love walking away

from me, the next girl Melanie, a JJ
in there, maybe a Marne, Allison in
Summer, all an avoidance of telling
the Wife of my Youth

“I Love you.”

Three words, hard to learn, harder
to say, so when my AA sponsor said
them to me in 1996 without needing
to hear them back from me,

I felt something I could not brush off,
it was unconditional love, something
he learned at home but more in AA.
Weeks later I said, What the hey?

And I started to say the words, three
of them to express the love I feel
for life and you.  Three words to
bring the love revolution out of

the sad alcoholic closet and into
the open, below the big bright blue;
God above, faith in our spirit, the
shine all around the moment we

clean the street off, tell the truth,
ask a higher power into the mix,
and tell Anne how sorry you are
you did not tell her how you felt.

Back then was back then, and
here we are living in the stew and
stink of the pain of past wrecks.
But we rise for another day, turn

wine back into water, study
even further than our teachers
suggest!  Be the best we can
possibly be, with or without a

big cross tatted on your chest.  To
believe in a big world and universe
and to play a small but impassioned
part is to live toward peace of mind.

To say “I love you” key to indeed
living truthfully and ably from the heart.


Back to Church


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by Bill Watkins 9/26/2018


I was confirmed Catholic in a haze of “getting it done,” not quite hungover but certainly between hangovers.

My first memory of church was Dad’s legs, moving really fast.  “Come on, kids! We’re late!” and he sped-walked up the boulevard to church.  We followed, the rest of life pretty cool with lots of well-timed presents and stuff around to keep us entertained.

My first love went un-reported, as Proverbs 5:18 and Malachi’s 2:14’s Wife of your Youth was not much preached or cared for in our neck of the woods.  Alcohol was everywhere, something I now see as a false god, along with college and anything else that distracts us from the straight, narrow path to Heaven.

I had no relationship with God or any kind of Higher Power until I went to an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center, where my sister had checked herself in in January of 1995.  On February 7th of that year, in a small therapy group on the campus of the Betty Ford Center in Palm Desert, California:

I had a spiritual awakening.

It involved telling the truth.  A black social worker named Lee Harris asked me in that group if I had a girlfriend, after asking me why I was “excited” to be there.  Between those questions, he asked how my relationship was with my dad.  “Loving? Affectionate?”  I said “We hi-five and watch sports.”

So Lee asked if I had a girlfriend, and I looked left and right, saw a safe room—and admitted the truth to all there that I had Never had a girlfriend.  My big secret.  I had no intimacy in my life, no close friends.  I played sports.  I drank alcohol.  And I pretended to believe in God at church, something impossible to accomplish without telling the truth.

February 7th, 1995

The scales lifted, the eyes clear.

Honesty, finally the truth at
twenty-two given with a tear.

“I’ve never had a girlfriend”
coaxed when the moment was right,
I let down my guards to finally
see the light.

You can’t be helped ‘til you ask
for it.  You can’t ask ‘til safe,
I looked left and right before I
truth supplied and saw that it was all
right—I came out!!!

I was unhappy, even though I had
friends after friends coming to my
bar-b-que party.

I was empty even though the trophies
and plaques on walls increased
and filled—attempted to fill, this would
have to be enough!

Spiritual Awakening—LORD, have me!
Done hiding it was safe to bloom,
and now, no more garden parties,

I separate the happy with the gloom
and see the world in poems—

I did not ask for permission and leave
another world behind: self-doubt, beer,
hollering around death, we put up
our hands at fear.

Trapped no more at Betty Ford
the 7th of February a.d. ‘95
ready to turn the boat around…

Trapped no more you want more
and more so ditch tomorrow for today.

They criticize you and analyze you
as you smile and accept today


From Betty Ford, I went into the Al-Anon program, for family members and friends of problem drinkers.  Betty Ford had prescribed two meetings a week to all Family Program attendees like myself, but I’ll report here that I started out going about once every other week.

I limped into the meetings, learned about my perfectionism and people-pleasing, started to believe in a Higher Power—which at first was the unconditional love of my Al-Anon groups.

Later, my definition would expand, come back to the Bible, the Tao Te Ching, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, and even the Native American Great Spirit.

My last conscious drink of alcohol was on March 6th, 2002. I now celebrate sixteen years of sobriety and growing health, after I almost died in two drug overdoses, 1999 and 2000. My drinking started on Dad’s lap at five—his last sip of bourbon on his lap.  It was then that I let the Devil into my life.

I was blacking out with friends on the substance by age thirteen.  Graduated Polytechnic School in Pasadena, California a full-blown alcoholic at age seventeen in 1990.  I did well in the classroom and sports field, headed to the false god college without God, graduated, then found my way to Betty Ford, chronicled above…


Recently, I came back to the Church.  My father passed away in December of last year; he used to attend mass every day, and I saw a vision of starting to go, to get out of the house, get started early and be of more service to other people and God.  I’m glad I have decided to do this, despite the many problems I see in the Church.

For instance, where did YHWH go in the New Testament?  LORD, all capitals?  Weird, we go down to “Lord” in the New Testament, and everybody nods along, as if nothing strange is afoot.  Many Christian churches call Jesus God, but I studied the Old Testament, saw an amazingly deep and convincing description of YHWH that would never accede to being watered down into anything else.

I love Jesus.  A best friend with words from God to be sure!  He teaches us to be as little children, truthful, and Loving!

A path to heaven is carved by the Word, and I love to study it and try to do what Jesus taught, along with obeying the ten commandments God gave to Moses for the Jews to follow.  So, therefore, I consider myself a Judeo-Christian, and think all true Christians are that, including Catholics.

You can’t master the New Testament without obeying the teachings of the Jewish Torah. But then there’s that lingering continuity error, regarding “LORD” being reduced to “Lord.”  By who?  Jesus?  His disciples?  The Greeks who wrote the gospels down on paper?

YHWH is the real deal, as a Native American would say about the Great Spirit, both reflecting true power and the Great Mystery.


We speak of Jesus, forgetting the Father.
There was the Hebrew text, the Torah,
what Christians call the Old Testament.
In it there was a SACRED Name, no vowels,
all capitals, that WAS NOT TO BE UTTERED

Not casually dropped in a sentence,
but used in worship for specific prayers
and purpose.

YHWH.  Do not use it in vain.

In English, someone decided to write
this sacred name with a vowel, we must
forgive them: “LORD.” All capitals, though,
do not forget that, those that interchange
Jesus with God, “LORD” with Lord, the small
case “New Testament” version.

The Father is the Father, the son is the son.
Jesus came with God’s word not pointing at
himself, but Up, at his Dad.

“Our Father, who art in heaven,”
prayed and taught us to pray, did
Jesus.  Not “Our Jesus…”

YHWH.  Do not use it in vain.

Power, lightning ending your life
in an instant.  Giving, creating, the Creator
of All.
Do not forget the order… Do not forget
the Father.  Respect the Power.


The Great Spirit


Once upon a wordless time,
the beat and pulse of the universe
created a ball of fire that became
our earth.

People walked on it, when it was
less hot, battled big beasts for
control, then learned to get along
in different areas in different ways.

There were things all people had in
common; others so different that it
led to more battles and fighting,

and life?

It’s always a bit of a fight for peace,
for the good feelings that arise when
we stay quiet and let bad times
roll into good like thunder from
lightning, rainbows from the rain,
the waterfall cascading down as
a poem from the Great Spirit above.

The Great Spirit is the Native American
concept for God, higher power, a
supreme creator and director of all
things and beings.


Be quiet a while.

Listen, and if in a bad energy, find a good
one when you can.

Take a walk, and let your legs
guide you to the Peace that you need
to spark an idea.

Recall that it was a great spark that created
the earth, all of us humans starting
as the love between man and woman,
the universe the same.

“Something there is that doesn’t
love a wall,” said Robert Frost.

Something wants the wall to break,
if for no other reason to get humans
off the couch to with the Great Spirit
up and Co-Create.


Do not always do your first thought’s
dream.  Wait, sometimes, for a second,
even a third before you decide with your
highest form of prayer or thinking.

Move your arms or dance as a sign
to the Earth and sky, and call things you
see names that make you feel a connection
to them.

I am a former Englishman, living in

My native name is Naked Horse, as
in a wild horse without a saddle—
running free and guided only by love
and Truth.

If you, too, live here, maybe you want
to look out for a native spirit name to
call yourself.

Whatever you want, you may ask
for it.

The answer will come in your dreams,
if not while you are awake, so

listen well, and smile as you play
the game.


I could write another piece called “The Confession of a Polytheist,” my upbringing all over the place, never centering on God.  “School, Sports, College, Girls, There, Here, no there!”  Anywhere but humble at the feet of one, unifying power.

The best sermon I ever heard our pastor give was about putting God in the center of your life.  There are good elements to the Roman Catholic Church, it does get me out of the house, socializing and mixing with people.  The singing and music can be pleasing—not just to us, but to God, as David showed us…

Church is a thing, like school, like any other place, a passion, a hobby or interest.  If one wants to be spiritual and do the will of God, the work is private, the prayer best done between you and God.  Jesus warned against public prayer, and promoted private moments between you and God—public prayer being rewarded with a slap on the back, private prayer rewarded by God Him or Herself in private.

Humility—knowing our place—will bring us all to oneness and Peace.  The rough places will be made smooth, evolution works, but no good thing thrives without honesty.  I plan to continue attending mass, trying to be of service where the Gospel is spoken, songs sung to please the LORD.  I wrote this piece to tell the truth and inspire truth, knowing how powerless I am over so many things.  Admitting that, we come to believe in a Power greater than us, see the glory in turning our will and lives over to that power.

May no person, place or thing get in the way of that Power, of our dedication to trying to know God’s will and carry it out.  No doctor’s diagnosis, college, or anything not clearly God.  Beware false gods; they are everywhere, tempting anyone not rooted and committed to the One.

Only God is Good


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We deify ourselves, to our
own detriment.  We throw the
ship off balance, forget our
place, and suddenly we imagine
we did this and created it all.

So we register, buy a car, sign
on with a “doctor” and do what
everybody else seems to be doing.

The goal to live a long time, right?

Only God is good, taught a rebellious
rabbi from Nazareth, and for those
who do not believe in God?  Find
a dictionary, or look at,
some place online, type in the letters,
G-o-d, and see the concept defined.

God exists.


Next, break away from all
convention, and all things you do
and have done because other
people said it was good.

Ads on TV splashing a flammable
liquid around in fancy glasses
and bars, telling you it’s great
to drink!

That man or woman in a white
coat telling you you have a grave
disease that requires much care,
stated with assurance and high
education, Latin terms and bull.

When was your last hike in nature?
When did you last discard your
wardrobe, walk naked in the
sun, feet on earth, taking in
the Great Spirit, a song in birds
sung, the click click of a squirrel
being chased by another squirrel,
the deer waiting for quiet to speak,
soft tracks by the creek? Jump in
it’s wet, cleansing and a reminder

we created nothing.

Only God is good, look it up—
I didn’t say it first, say it now,
not last, aware I prayed to God
for poetry and got it from my dreams,
prayed for a sense of humor,
and got it right away in a car burning
earth as it rained sunshine, cooler
than it seems.

Screwing Up


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Do we get a second chance?

Romance, a thing of the past,
growing up sagging parts at 30,
life is lived between five and twelve,
then shoots down the ladder of

What if you drank alcohol at five years
old on Dad’s lap?

What if you fell in love with
a girl named Anne in Third Grade?

Then never told her until you were
in your middle twenties, a part of
a twelve step group that honored
truth, needed truth, and gave you
God for your troubles.

Love is a fifth of vodka in the face
of the ignorant.  We come out of Mom
not knowing a thing, perfect bliss
minus the hellacious rush of light
and reality felt the moment we

“Let me back in!” is not an option
as you keep breathing, if healthy.

I stayed in the hospital for two weeks,
a blue baby—they helped me to
breathe, and what did they think
at home?

The devil is all around us, we live
on the dragon’s back, wide the path
to destruction—you cannot change any
of it!

With a lion’s roar you win some ground,
but tell her you love her.

If not, you’ll be like me.

Writing about love on the lonely
sea, the dock of doom cluttered with
broken sails, amends and promises.

I was rude instead of honest;
I found fault in her eventually!


Can you ever go back to third grade?
I’d tell her I loved her.  I’d ask her
to play tennis.  I’d take her to the

But no; I was with the devil since
five, bourbon on Dad’s lap, he and
Mom pretending at divorce while Jesus
just shakes his head!

Man can never separate what the LORD
God has bound together, so Anne:

I’m sorry.

Bound now to bedevilment and alcoholism,
to girls, gals and chicks who treat me bad.

I could have married Anne, but no
I had to fail!  The poet’s tale!

What could I write with the wind of
perfection behind my back; I’d be, sadly—
not a writer at all.

I’d be closer to a “doctor”—a know-

I’d be something I was not; “God” has me
just where he or she wants me:

Writing Truth, fiction, lies that supply
the counter and cupboards of jokes and
stories to tell our children.

Warnings to not drink flammable liquids;
to always be true, grab a god first, as it
helps with the courage to be you…

And tell her again and again that you love
her.  Again and again that you love her.

Again and again that you love her; making
up and making amends that you love her…

I screwed up.  I…

Still love her.

Bottom’s Curse


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We want to do it all; be all
things for all people, please them
all—have them hold us in their
so very high esteem, be paid,
praised and sleep.

“I can do it!” we volunteer, often
for things we do not well, but
have within us a self-confidence
that knows we do that thing
better than most!

Then one day we wake up,
shake off the hangover—feel a
little tired of holding a flag
for big groups of others, as its
weight lags and lags.

Truth washes over us in the
shower, some better yet find
lines off shore, paddle out and
fall in to be cleansed of all the
self-told lies mirrored out;

We give to God but not enough,
reserving really hard times for
wine and beer.

We claim belief in a Nazarene
teacher, who pointed up not
to himself, said about your life
to never fear!  The birds are fed,
God clothing fields with grass,

and you?  You are okay, maybe
just stay in your lane a little more,
do your achieving there.  Look at
Solomon with his one bestowed
great trait,

David could sing and dance, very
blessed, Jesus a teacher—

And you?  What, are you the first
down the pipe to master all trades
at once!?  Haha, you have been
cursed with Shakespeare’s bottom,
you’re an ass,

I say with all loving embrace.  Wake
up striving for the stars, and find
yourself falling on your face—

You are not good.  Neither am I;
we get a few talents, pray to god and
thank, then with that one or two
things we do well let’s go out now
and to the world supply.

Turn Around


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Before time began, we were ordered
but not yet delivered—the point of
sale hot and hairy with the friction
of moving bodies through space.

One “day at a time” was created by
faraway forces, all in perfect harmony
with a divine plan—the mystery impossible
to penetrate, the more pondered,

the more lost in that… space…

Truth comes to us late in life, sometimes
after horrible events, always when
we least expect

After the conditioner wears out,
blood instead of shampoo on the
bathroom floor, vomited mess.

We were sure war was good and manly.
We were sure men should be strong.
We were sure sports were good to play.
We were so sure college was important.

July 4th exploded in our face.

We saw the light, when we read a
real deed to the land to find it more
native than white—to have stolen
property a curse on everything in
civilization we do.

Perhaps that is why we, not the
native people, so often curse, cuss
and spite our walk on concrete.


Turn around.  Look back, when it’s
safe, tell the truth; start with strangers
if you must, and swim toward the next
real thing, peace of mind the chime on
fourteen bells of alarm so alarming
you’d rather silence it than tend to the
fire burning all around you.

Burning earth, driving cars, helicopters
playing more war in my “city” stolen
because our British forefathers thought
it the only way to live.

A bible?  A bound set of papers with ink
on them?

Could it ever compare to the waterfall?
The river?  The mountains, the valleys
of gold in morning’s light, saunas for the
sun if the desert catches it just right,
lick it up bright—

I call this life crazy, but I’ll ‘til the wheels
come off live it, it’s my right.

To swing around the sun a hundred times
a goal of sum;

Dogs and cats more honest in fifteen,
some birds to sixty, disease a myth of
the rich, while the poor continue as
the prophet said, blessed with the meek

The sorrowful now under feet with a key
to heaven easily won, take a peak.

Thunder to roll, God by another name as sweet,
this is or is not a game played by at least
some far off unfathomable beings.

Maybe green, blue, fat or small, maybe

The native chiefs knew, but many of
us just wanted to thump our book;

both point to the Great Mystery.

The Heartbeat


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Taking off, it’s your best chance,
the first romance never topped
as long as you live, so if you’re
lucky to be young and reading this:

Tell her you love her now, but pray
first!  Courage not from a bottle
of flammable liquid but from a
dependable power you can’t see

but know it’s there, the things you
don’t know mounting high as a
cherry mountain, a dreamy plain
fair and true, humility is not a bad

thing, it’s knowing what we can and
cannot do.  The Truth.  Enough to spark
a revolution, tell her you love her!
Tell her now!  Stay with her, the Wife

of your Youth, never leave her!  Give
all you can to God and life, one
day at a time was not a lie, be like
Henry said a Hero in the Strife!

Gosh, it could have all been nice.
But could it still be?  Can this last dance
make up for the time I ignored my
feelings, stuck in a hole of not

knowing?  Of not understanding, nor
inherently having the necessary things
you need to Love?

Freud was occasionally right; not about
member envy, but I liked the Id, ego
and superego, nice words—kind of pretty.

And about Alcoholism?

Could have been a picture or poem
about me, he said that alcoholics cannot


Kind of being dishonest to your own
heartbeat, you see her, but look around
at parents who fight or call themselves
“divorced.”  You freeze, have not a friend

to help, and you freeze, because you
loved your dad but kept it secret from
Mom because the dragon is all around
us, and alcohol feeds its fire.

You want heaven or even just some
peace of mind, give up bull, make
a schedule for today, believe in a
God that works for you, and learn the

Law, starting with 10 good commands,
Native American final stands, Tao Te Ching
yin and yangs, no more Big Bangs, take
it slow and easy—blessed are the meek

and poor.  If you have nothing, seem abused
at every turn, turn the other cheek, survive
the chaos and torture for the years like
John McCain in jail, come out and shine.

We are a race that throws money and
accolades at survivors of pain, we do it
all the time.

Rainbows to rain, the flip of the coin,
smile while you have a beat, better the
ball of the last play…

And dance.

Ser Alegre


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Es decisión, ser alegre, pero
también son transitorios todos
los sentimientos.

Emociones vienen y van, olas
del mar, alas formadas antes
de nacer, nosotros todos nacidos
como un piano.

Hay notas altas, bajas, y todo
entre las dos.

Ser alegre, que esta debajo del toro,
de la tierra a tu nacimiento para
tu vida vivida para capturar la
niñez, ¡sí!

Sí, este es un camino, a veces corto—
a veces largo, para…

para la niñez, para recordar quien
somos debajo la ropa, nuestra
conexión al polvo, a las flores,
el cielo y nubes;

el viento empujándonos y este
astronave tan perfecto alrededor
un “sol” que es brillante, caliente
y poderoso de cualquier nombre
que le damos.

Al lugar donde no hay palabras
llegamos, el lugar donde empezamos
el viaje, primer paso, ultimo lo mismo,
la verdad de bebés mas cerquita a
Dios, pues…

Cielo, paz de mente, disfruta este
momento tan móvil, transitorio y
salvaje.  Es ser alegre, o mejor…


Illusion of Power


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We sell our souls the moment
we pledge allegiance deeply to
anything not God, not good, not
the Creator, not Nature, not the

You know the One.  The peace you
feel when you appeal to the highest

It’s hard.  You have to ignore or
overcome your past, stuck in a
bottle or two—pushed out or down,

it’s tempting to get revenge, climb
some big ladder, and from apparent
heights spit down and cause problems
to your apparent enemies.

Keep it simple, they say, and maybe
they are right.

The more we hide, the more our sins
expose, the secrets we keep barring us
from finding what we truly seek;

Peace of mind.

Abandoning hate from anger from fear,
we wake up to a new day, listen to
higher power, wear less suits, tie
yourself not to things, material everywhere
except heaven—

which still exists!  Yes, we make or break
the goals we score, the mystical place
gained beyond the Great Mystery,

Native America pushed aside but truth
seeping up through evil’s cracks,
they are back in the grin of Columbus
the shiny coin of Lincoln, Seattle,
Standing Bear and the beginning.

Nothing ends that cannot, Newton
squaring all of us in three parts, one
of which asserting the conservation
of things, the equality of reality, dreams
and poking holes in power which is
only God’s no matter how it seems.

“Good Orderly Direction.”  Beware the
false gods and flags, borders and divisions.

Beware big words, capitalizing this
or that thing, there really is a jealous
Being moving stuff toward Faith.

Death removed, life toward one goal
with the Guide.  Good luck on it,
admit your faults, come out to see
the rainbow—

Imagine if after the rain, the sun
decided to fly!  It’s always here, while
today’s obsession comes and goes.

We cannot improve or change the world;
enjoy it, bloom where planted, and
consider deference to real power,
instead of the kings you crown on TV,

only that which we can touch and see.

There is more, believe me—or just wait
for the next event to humble us from shame,
putting higher power first is…


In Love


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It’s better to go with it, don’t
question the smile when pure, across
the room or arena, across the trail
she’ll let you know whether she
fully knows it or not,

whether you want to settle down,
marry and have children or not.

You’re “got” when she smiles, the smile
pure and in love.

In love with life, with her walk, and
then you wind up on the path, and it
seems to please her, too.

So you let her in, wait for the right
song to dance or take a chance
on a building melody, nothing blessed

without asking.

Ask a power greater than yourself for
help and guidance or get tricked into
thinking this love with a woman is

Humans are fallible animals, full of
goodness, love and dreams, but also
of selfishness, fears and anger turning
to hate more than you’d like it seems.

We cannot control much, so let that
smile happen, take it in;

enjoy the loving moment before the
earth stops, a new life starts, before
some other kind of storm yesterday
ended suddenly appears and begins.

In love is part of a sixteen hour day,
the other eight for rest, take it in;

enjoy the loving moment before the
earth stops, a new life starts, before
some other kind of storm yesterday
ended suddenly appears and begins.