The poetry of Beto Ochoa, Prose from a spiritual warrior

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The Poetry Of Beto Ochoa~ Prose from a spiritual warrior

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Solstice Moon



Under the solstice moon
We danced in ragged rings
As dogs sniffed the wind
With noses in the sky

There the breath of God
Drifting through Orion’s Belt
Took our humble prayers
Through footless halls night

Lo the power washed us
And lifted us on high
Where the sun will come again
Reborn upon the wheel

So Frankincense smoke slow
Float upon the winter air
The tally of our needs
God’s grace to fill once more

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Climbing Tree

We ran all day and climbed the trees
Without the fear of falling
But with respect for gravity
And always felt it calling

We rode in cars without air bags
The steel dashboard projecting
On slick hard seats in front and back
With no seatbelts protecting

We ate the food called poison now
And still grew into Titans
Because we ran or rode our bikes
And did our own fist fightin’

We heard an independent call
And hated slavery’s chains
We roamed at will and rode the waves
And suffered freedom’s pains

That one or two were taken out
Pursuing freedom’s verve
Was caution tale and understood
And served to steel our nerve

Yet now the children prattle by
In uniforms once earned
A tear comes to my wizened eye
And lesson hard is learned

The pain that you’re protecting from
Was once a stage of growth
So choose between a man or child
You cannot have them both

Sunday, November 11, 2007

To The Veteran




For every hero on the stage
On parade or in the grave
With medals pinned and glory flags unfurled

The humble serviceman by scores
Packs the caissons, Guards the doors
Sails sea and sky across the troubled world

Comrades in arms who heard the call
And stepped across that line for all
Knowing well that fate might call their name

They crossed that sword mark in the dust
For freedoms sake and God they trust
And did it not for fortunes gold or fame

So on Remembrance Day give thanks
To veterans past and current ranks
And Praise Eternal God that they were there

Oh quiet heroes, every one
Without your hand, naught would be won
Pray our acclaim, the purest badge you wear

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Fight

This is a story about bullies and those who are bullied. Sometimes a bully gets his.

The first four and a half years of my life were spent
on Air Force bases in Bangor, Fort Worth and Austin.
When we moved to Bergstrom I was big enough
to wander off by myself when I pleased.

We lived in officer’s quarters but since my father
was only a Warrant Officer our bungalow for six
was bounded behind by a big drainage ditch
and the Non-Com families’ duplexes.

There was a big kid that lived directly behind me.
For some reason he didn't attend school with the other kids.
He was seven but could throw a rock with dread accuracy
from a hundred feet.
He probably turned out to be a serial killer or a major league pitcher.
"He" would wait for me to come out my back door and
"He" would nail me with a rock.
Needless to say I learned to get out of the house and
into the neighborhood to play without him knowing.

One fine October day my mother sent me to the park with
a special treat for a mini picnic.
The sky was the kind of thin blue sky with a crisp dryness
that makes Austin so attractive.
That morning she had baked bread and roasted fresh peanuts.
Then she made her special peanut butter.
The kind of peanut butter that dwarfs duct tape in stickabilty.
You had to be very careful with her peanut butter and eat it slowly.
It would choke a whale if eaten too fast.

So there I was, carefully balancing a slab sandwich
topped with at least a half inch of the best damn peanut butter
you have ever eaten, walking to the swing set park at the end of the row.
The slab sandwich was relatively the size of
a bed pillow in my small hand.

I had just taken a seat on a swing and was formulating the
logistics of eating such a formidable treat when
there "He" was, coming down the ditch, hurling threats and curses.
Sort of like the Jabberwocky in Lewis Carroll’s poem
but armed with a big tree branch that had been
trimmed along the ditch the day before.

I knew I couldn't out run him and fighting an armed
thug twice my size without a weapon of my own
was suicide so I stood my ground,
armed with an open faced peanut butter sandwich.
I was only four but already battle hardened.

A war movie I had seen once came to my mind
with the Officer ordering his men "HOLD, HOLD, FIRE!"
As he raised his arms to deliver a blow with the branch,
I closed ground and delivered an open palm strike with my right hand.
A hand that was filled with perhaps the stickiest substance on earth.

The instantaneousness of the results was amazing.
The branch dropped from his grip as if God Himself had swatted it away.
He stumbled backwards like a dog that had suddenly gotten a box stuck over its face.
(That’s another story)
There was a long second before he realized what had happened.
His hands began to tear at his face in a futile attempt to
remove the deadly mask of whale choking peanut butter.
The peanut butter had filled his mouth, nose and
glued his eyes open but covered.
He finally got a part of his mouth free and was able to get a little breath.
The low but growing wail that came from that small hole
caused the dogs in the vicinity bark furiously.

After he had drawn another small breath there was a pause,
then a scream so blood curdling that it could be used as a torture device.
He then began to scream "I'm Blind! I'm Blind!"
Wives and Mothers ran to the ditch to see what had happened
and there "He" was.
Smeared peanut butter and torn chunks of home baked bread
covering his face and hands.
My mother helped the hysterically sobbing "him"
get home and 'he' never bothered me again.
The word got around.
The other bullies never bothered me again either.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Lonely Whistle

When the rain's just right and the wind blows hard
From the south southeast you can hear her whistle
Moanin’ low up Cypress Draw in the dusky air

She’s movin’ on to places strange and far
With a poundin’ diesel roar that shakes the earth
Throbbin’ low up Cypress Draw in the dusky air

I stop my toil for a brief sad moment
Listenin’ hard till she’s gone again
The mem'ry floats up Cypress Draw in the dusky air

Some day when the rain and the wind’s just right
I’ll make my way down to those tracks
And lay in wait down Cypress Draw in the dusky air

If I screw my courage up enough
To grab that box car flyin’ by
At a breakneck clip up Cypress Draw in the dusky air

Then I’ll ne’er look back and ride that flyer
Till the sky falls in and the mountains crash
And just my ghost walks Cypress Draw in the dusky air

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ode to Mrs Olson who always had faith in me.

I remember the hat Mrs. Olson wore
As she rode the bus each day
She’d bought it downtown at Woolworth's
I've forgotten how little she paid

But she cherished its presence above her brow
And was whole when it was in place
It was decked with flowers and Irish crochet
And it shielded the sun from her face

Yet under its brim was the sun itself
As she beamed to the world her love
And rode the bus to St Mary’s
To light candles for those now above

I’d sit as her escort and she’d talk of life
While we wended the bumpy miles
She taught me of duty, and Gods Holy Hand
And to always speak sweetly and smile

Then one chilly morning she wasn't aboard
So I queried the bus driver’s thought
And exited there in the middle of the block
He’d barely just got the bus stopped

I fairly flew as I raced to her door
And knocked, but got no reply
I went around back and found her gone
Then I sat in the garden and cried

I smiled and spoke sweetly, how I’d miss her so
To ne’er see again her bright face
And went to St Mary’s when they laid her to rest
With her hat set neatly in place

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Shadow of the Passing Sky

Did you know me?
I was there
Though you only noticed the breeze
Or the sound of water
Falling in the distance
Yet underneath your steps was my work
That all I ever needed was a nod
Or truthful remark, be it good or bad
Still, it was too high a price for you
So I faded, broken and forgotten
To trespass your path no more
It has no consequence
As one retires another comes
The passing wheel of sky continues on
The broken lay in the shadow of its passing
To be known no more

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Places

I sat upon my duffle
On the shoulder of the road
And looked back in the distance
At the path that I chose

The places that I’d visited
Some for just a time
Others where I’d tarried
Many were sublime

But there were other places
Where wreckage marked my way
And sorrow fell upon me there
Like water falls from rain

I wished that I could travel back
And start my walk anew
With wisdom that I did not have
When memories were few

But that alas was not to be
And so I rose again
Trekking towards the sunset
As the path was darkening

Then realized the wisdom gained
Was mine to use right now
And felt a springing in my step
Quickened by the Tao

And glancing back to where I’d been
When sorrow had me bowed
I saw the weight I’d carried
On that shoulder of the road

I could not pay for what I’d done
However hard I tried
Seems forgiveness is a virtue
That’s best when self applied

So now I’ll greet each traveler
With that same grace I found
And share the wisdom of my path
With those who’ll stick around

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Old Man's Drawer


An old matchbook and a napkin ring from a place we went to dine
Some socks with holes and some thin t-shirts that he swore were still just fine
Some old wrist watches unrepaired and a ring that didn't fit
Are what remains of a life well lived that the others didn't get

You may have passed him on his way and said good day and all
And never known how your lives were blessed by this gentle loving soul
Now I sit alone with his memory as the others have gone home
And the mourning swells in my heart and eyes as it settles in "He's gone"

It's for myself alone I mourn for I am left behind
But hoped I'd find him in the end adorned in glorious kind
Then hand in hand we'd wend the way to where there's much to learn
And from who's gate and starry path this traveler won't return

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dog Joy


Dogs are, that they might have joy

That in God's service, labor here

Bring us peace, as a child well raised

And love so freely without fear


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Photograph


Hello my friend who's always there
Whose gaze does not wander
Nor the edges droop on a perfect smile
Though you left the door so long ago
Still your phantom lingers
On paper, captured 'neath a sheet of glass
It's good to know one's limitations
And me, the limit of your presence here
Still in the face of storm or conflagration
It's you I'll risk my tenure in this borne to save
The others captive, hanging here
Or set about for all to see
Witness time in silent confirmation
Caught in moments now long past and gone
Am I captive also in a box or album somewhere?
Or 'neath a sheet of glass as you are here
And though that moment caught me with a smile
Below the thin patina am I trapped forever
Broken hearted or malicious in my thought
Perhaps the the primitives were right to fear it
With power to take a wafer from your soul
For all to view the dissection
In microscopic examination
Defenseless to the moment for one's self

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Memory Drawer

I pulled a first remembrance from the mem’ry chest
And set it on the table for a while
We reminisced for hours of the time we met
The both of us were sitting with a smile

But soon the sun was setting and the shadows crept
And I returned the mem'ry to its place
Then somewhere in the mem’ry chest, the mem’ry wept
But seems those tears were painted on my face

I looked into the mirror o'r the mem’ry chest
As light was fading softly from the day
Then hushed my tears and counted all the ways I’m blessed
And took the mem’ry out once more to play

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Sunken Road III. Antietum Creek

I was just a baritone choirboy
Followin' orders and friends
In such pursuit, I learned how to shoot
And how to take means to their ends

Then one night the Captain he stopped me
And asked me if I had the stuff
To lead a brave comp'ny of men up the hill
Did I think I was up to snuff?

The words I spoke to the Captain
Haunt me now many years past
"I'll lead where you say and we'll carry the day."
My chance for glory at last

So I called the men 'round in the wee hours
And boasted of my new command
They looked at me stark out there in the dark
Now I held their lives in my hands

We all went back to our billets
And gathered our meager effects
Then penned letters home to those we had known
And wills of our final directs

The dawn broke cold and remorseless
Our breakfast was bacon and tack
Then I led with a hymn of bein' home again
And our spirits were better on track

We mustered in front of the others
And formed in orderly lines
Then bravely struck out with a soldierly shout
As the sun rose over the pines

Halfway up the hill no resistance
So we all broke into a run
Our colors were stiff in a crisp morning wind
You’d almost have thought it was fun

Then the first volley busted our rapture
And brought us all back to our roots
But we dared not relent and redoubled our bent
As if we had wings on our boots

The front rank was startin’ to stumble
And some were cryin’ and prayin’
As lead and sorrow fell on our troop
Like water falls from rain

We'd all been pressing hard forward
When the bugle blew recall
So we parried our tack and all doubled back
Yet we still continued to fall

I picked up the colors a lyin'
Where the troop who was sportin' them fell
I raised them again for the faith of my friends
And we all let out a loud yell

It seemed like an eternal journey
To make it back down to our kin
I fell to my knees and begged the Lord please
don't send us back up there again

I turned to rally my comp'ny
And found my self standin' alone
They were still in the field that would not yield
I was all that was left of my own

Then the captain called me a hero
That honor was mine that day
But I wasn't much proud and I wept out loud
'Cause my troops were the ones who had paid

The battle was done in a few days
And a truce was called for a while
To gather the dead all shot up with lead
And bury them soldierly style

Pinned in the backs of their jackets
Nestled there in the fair ferns
Were the letters and wills, hair locks and bills
Stamped for their own self return

Now that the fightin's all over
I went back home to my call
I remember my men when fall comes again
And the others who served with us all

So don't take for granted your freedom
Remember that some here were pressed
And how brave comp'nies of men fight for you
And charge you not for their deaths

I was just a baritone choirboy
Followin' orders and friends

Memorial Day

I called to them but they were gone
Yet still I hear their crys
Of Rebel yells and cannon shells
Then silent bye and bye

So it is that we are born
Of Patriot Rebel kin
For us the shackles torn away
Moved forward from our sin

From Kings we came, slave and master
Down to brothers in the end
Tightly grip the thread that binds us
Lest we be torn from the limb

We alone of all the nations
Shed our blood for freedoms call
So Gods' blessings do abound us
Save us even when we fall

Ner' forget the ones who've served us
Honor every end of May
Cheer the brave and weary soldier
Here at home and far away

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter

Gethsemane, we found our Lord
Bleeding there from every pore
Taking then the bitter cup
To save us all with Holy Love

Betrayed there, came they for his skin
Since Judas, Satan entered in
Thirty pieces was the weight
That seeming sealed our Saviors fate

But railed He not against the field
By Grace the severed ear He healed
Then borne away and roughly so
Yet anger did our Lord not show

In the Temple of his Father
Blind men sent Him to be slaughtered
Still He did not raise a hand
Christ the Sacrificial Lamb

So to the Roman Governor
The mob proceeded through the door
But Pilate found no fault in him
And saw the special soul within

Then rioting, the mob did chant
Give us Barabbas, kill this man
So Pilate turned Barabbas free
And beat the Lord relentlessly

So showed the visage marred to them
And washed he then his bloody hands
A wooden cross was bound to Him
Whom Pilate judged was without sin

To Calvary with whips and cords
They drove our Savior on before
In weariness he stumbled such
That Simone the Cyrene helped crutch

On the two did bear the tree
Nailed to it  our Lord would be
Then cried out did the King Of Jews
"Forgive, they know not what they do!"

Then gambled did they for his cloak
And to the Heavens Jesus spoke
Abba, Abba can't You see?
Why has't Thou forsaken Me?

Then in the sky a Heavn'ly Host
Appeared and Christ gave up the Ghost
So in the tomb they laid our Lord
And rolled a stone before the door

Then three days hence was Easter Morn
And Christ arose in flesh reborn
Salvation now was fait accompli
With nail marks in the hands and feet

Mark we this day and waiting brave
That He arose mans soul to save
And so to all my kindred say
"He comes again, prepare the way!"

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Palm Sunday

On a colt, the foal of a donkey
The King removed the veil
So tell ye the daughter of Sion
He comes, prepare the way.
Then laid upon the road there
Were garments, palms and faith
Hosanna in the highest
The King reveals his face

The multitude told the city
Of Galilee they say
From Nazareth by the sea side
He comes, prepare the way.
Then laid upon the road there
Were garments, palms and faith
Hosanna in the highest
The King reveals his face

Then went the King to the Temple
And wept he for the fate
T'was carried upon his shoulders
He comes, prepare the way.
Then laid upon the road there
Were garments, palms and faith
Hosanna in the highest
The King reveals his face

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Death of Justice

Fitzgerald! Fitzgerald! your fearful trial is done;
The lie has weathered every rack, the scalp you sought soon won;
The jurys out, though they're in doubt, the kossacks are exulting,
While follow all the comic tale of Wilson, grim and daring.
But O Karl! Karl! Karl!
O the swelled and manxome head!
Now mocking truth, justice lies
Fallen cold and dead.

II.
O jury! dear Jury! rise up and take the bait;
Rise up! For you the shite is flung, for you the kossacks wait:
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths, for Scooters scalp a'bringing:
For you they wait, the seething mob, their eager faces turning.
Here Jury! dear jury!
It's Rove that's in your head;
It is some dream and woven web,
Fitz prays your logic's dead.

III.
The Fitzmas did not snag him, his lips are pale and thin;
He's free to walk and talk the talk that Nancy's off her ken;
The case is finished safe and sound, its cozen closed and done;
From hoax and tripe and closing's shite awaits the object won!
Exult, O Times, and gull, O Post!
But I with mournful dread,
Walk the rue where justice lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

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My families came to Texas when It still belonged to Spain.

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