They walked along together,
Or I should say he walked…the dog lingered
In areas where the scents were just too intriguing.
And the sun-kissed morning that was so pleasant
Beckoned the dog to dawdle.

“C’mon, C’mon, boy!”, he would exhort.
The dog heard but did not listen,
Digging in all the more.
“You’re dilly-dallying. C’mon!”
He’d keep exhorting the dog.

“Let’s go! Let’s go home!”
This spot, that pole, a bush, wet with urine…
All of these beckoned the dog,
Too precious to pass by.
Carrying too much dog information to gloss over.

“I’ve got a bag of shit in my hand!”
He said, falling on deaf ears.
The dog added his organics to a post
That, from the look of it,
Was a favorite of dogs who’d passed by earlier.

Sort of like the dog would hit “Like”
On a Facebook post he’d fancied, if that was a thing for dogs.
He pulled, he tugged.
Finally, as accorded by the dog’s schedule,
The dog lumbered on beside his master, home.


© Richard A. Martin, Jr MD CPC, 2016


Friends on Belvidere


Friends On Belvidere

There we were, all together again.
Some there we had not seen for decades.
There was still a recognition,
But the gray hair, the bent postures,
The weight gain, the heavy jowls…

But when we were all together,
On that glorious Summer evening
Backyard bar-b-q, drinks, dinner conversation,
That’s when the magic happened.
We were suddenly transported back in time!

It was 1978 all over again.
The house on Puget Sound.
The upstairs apartment in the subdivided house.
Alice in her Bo Peep costume
And Alpha, the unshorn poodle, her sheep.

Or the big house at 3708 41st Ave SW
Full of people in that wonderful kitchen.
Drinks in hand, passing the pipe.
Speakers blaring and Da Fish
Spinning the tunes.

Or the double-wide in Rochester,
The place where everybody was told
To just drive down the pock-marked dirt road
Until they were sure they were lost,
And then go 100 ft farther and they were there.

Or on the island with a pirate, a rainbow, Peter Pan…
Standing in the room next to the big loom.
Venturing out to the Sound
Whose depth we knew was deep
But a ways out toward Southworth.

There, in the backyard on Belvidere
It was like time travel.
The decades melted away completely.
We were right back where we had been
The last time we were together.

That seems to me to be the magic
Of good friendships.
That time machine of feelings.
And we were certainly good friends, that.
All growing while not changing one bit.

And, still, as tight-knit as we were,
There was room for new husbands,
Neighbors, babies-in-arms.
Assimilation and elevation to full status
So that, next time, these newcomers would be old friends, too.

Almost like the borg on Star Trek!


© Richard A. Martin, Jr. MD, CPC 2016

John 8

John 8
John 8

John 8

Many people get confused by topics of Divine Grace and Mercy.
Whenever I am confused
(Which is often…)
I re-read the eighth chapter of the Gospel of St. John
(Who the Mormons believe was actually alive when Joseph Smith had his revelation…interesting fact?)

It’s the story of the woman who was caught in adultery.
Many of us have heard the story…
“Let those among you who are without sin
Cast the first stone…”
Is the famous line we may be familiar with.

So, OK…that line has almost been turned into a cliché
Which is a bit dangerous
As it doesn’t allow
An “unpacking” of the truer and deeper
Meaning within the story, as I see it.

So, allow me to unpack it in my way.
As Christians, we’re asked to believe that
Jesus was consubstantial
With God, right?
Let’s start with that premise.

In our day and age,
Adultery is kind of tacitly accepted
As an ugly fact of our modern lives.
But what about those men standing there
With their stones in hand?

What was adultery like to them?
It was on the top ten list
Of things NOT to do.
Along with killing, covetousness, not honoring one’s parents…
And the Law that Moses says he got from God punishes all those by death.

So, that rabble,
Standing, waiting on the edges of the pit
Staring down upon the woman caught in adultery
Were as incensed as we were
About Bundy, McVeigh, Tsarnaev. So, hold that thought for a moment…

For them,
Adultery was that big a deal.
Maybe even more, as, in that era, women did not enjoy the same position
In society as men did…
So…a dirty, rotten, inexcusable sinner…AND a woman.

There they were, in that frame of mind.
Jesus, consubstantial with the Father that made all those rules
As well as the punishment
Associated with this infraction,
Taught this lesson…

“Let those among you who are without sin
Cast the first stone…”
And then, after shaming every man there
Poised to hurl their deadly rocks…
Well, they all left, one-by-one, eldest first.

But there was still one more lesson to teach.
After everyone had left
Leaving only this gravely sinful woman and this consubstantial man
He asks, “Where is everyone? Isn’t anyone left to accuse you?”
“No sir,” says this Bundy, McVeigh, Tsarnaev-like creature.

Then this man, consubstantial with God…
Therefore, God…algebraically…
Says, “I am not going to accuse you either.
You may go. But, don’t sin anymore.”

The consubstantial being to the One who made the “rules”
And, according to Moses, the punishments,
That entity just up and forgave her?
Is this how it’s supposed to work?
Is this, then, the lesson?

It seems pretty clear to me. I wonder what so many are missing?

©Richard A. Martin, Jr. MD, CPC 2016

The Sanctuary


The Sanctuary

It’s so still here.
Supplications can make no noise, I guess.

For me, I’m most in the asking mood
When there’s a need needing fulfillment.

Gratitude seems to wash over me
Like a wave. Not leaving a mark…just moisture.

We’re told that the spirit of God is everywhere
But I feel it most acutely right here.

I guess there’s less distraction
Here in this Sanctuary.

I mean…that’s the purpose.
At least for me…

© Richard A. Martin, Jr. MD CPC, 2016




I was smart for 6 – I could do this…Cursive.

I sat with the example in front of me
And studied it.
With a bit of trepidation I began.

“A” and “a”, I wrote,
Carefully copying from the example.
It looked OK. Pleased, I felt my confidence growing.
After all, I was only in first grade – cursive wasn’t on the curriculum until second.
But I had always been precocious – I could read Ferdinand the Bull at age 3.

I went to “B”…then “C” and on,
Copying capital and lower case.
By the time I got to “T”, I was on a tear, copying letters with ease.

After I finished, I surveyed my work. It was lovely.
I was so proud.

Since I loved critique –
Actually praise –
I immediately decided to show my work to Mrs. Renzema,
My first grade teacher.
She had been with me since kindergarten – we didn’t even move classrooms.
Just a pack of five and six-year olds
Crammed into the same room.

I boldly went up to show her,
Fully expecting her to lavish praise on me.
What I got instead was a scolding!
“Rickey, this isn’t first grade work!
You must not do that!”

I was crestfallen. And confused.
Here I had excelled past my level,
And all I received was chiding.
This had NEVER happened to me before!
I had come to expect praise for advanced work.
I wasn’t quite sure how to process this.

By sixth grade,
I received an “F” in penmanship!

© Richard A. Martin, Jr. MD CPC, 2016





We first met
When I wasn’t looking to meet anyone.
Just by random chance
Among ALL the others.
So unlikely was our relationship.

Him, thousands of miles away.
He and I were living our own lives in seclusion,
Though both of us had someone in our lives at the time.
Non-important people…
People we cohabited with yet did not really know.

It began ever so slowly.
We were both so very wounded, it turned out.
But in one another, we found a zest for life.
Electronically connected
Over an entire nation – apart, yet, together.

When we set upon the plan to be together,
He boarded a Greyhound and set out
On a journey of three grueling days
Robbed, buffeted, bored…
He seemed to want this meeting to take place.

When he stepped off that bus down on Stuart Street,
He looked as if he’d been drowned.
Nothing but the clothes on his back.
It was very tentative at first – those first few months.
So tentative that he felt the need to escape again just a few months later.

I remember his return after his retreat.
We were both much more resolved after our break.
We had done the hard work during our first few months,
So everything was still in place.
Meds, registrations, attestations to…

His surgery was our first big test.
I saw in him what would become my most precious gift from him –
He almost totally dispensed with denial, bargaining, anger, depression.
He’d go straight to acceptance.

I noticed how much easier his life worked due to that straightforward path.
I tried it out…little things first, then bigger and bigger.
And…it worked!
I had provided him with my undying love
And he gave that back, as well as acceptance of things unchangeable.

He suffered so much with that surgery,
Constantly accepting and moving forward.
Afterwords he could walk again. What a miracle!
He’d be hospitalized again for something unrelated but just as serious.
He lost his gait then, three years later, but accepted still.

Now, after ten glorious years
We are side-by-side.
Bonded so close. We rely on one another.
If you knew me, you’d know just what an accomplishment that is.
I’m no easy nut to crack.

We have our fractured family…
Him, me, the dog, a distant son…we love them all.
It is so nice to have that experience of wholeness and completeness.
Often we re-visit our cyber world where we first met…
Our first date.

Some would call our lives unnatural, forbidden.
But, I’ve lived in those “natural” lives that those some talk about.
I can tell you emphatically, THIS…this that I have now…
This is natural.
After sixty-four years – this…

My deepest prayers are of thanksgiving for this naturality.
Finally…after all the searching…all the pain and heartache…
I have this.
And I don’t feel cheated at all.
Only blessed, abundantly.

Not cheated…blessed.

© Richard A. Martin, Jr. MD CPC, 2016

Serenity (For Debbi)

Serenity (for Debbi)
Serenity (for Debbi)

(for Debbi)


I am a lucky man;
Last week I dined with a goddess.
She was serene.
That serenity poured out to all…

I ate the Country Fried Steak.
The waitress laughed at the snappy banter,
We all were in the moment…safe and well…happy and focused.
That serenity poured out to all…

We looked at the bookstore,
Dawdled over Cranberry muffins and strong, rich Starbucks coffee,
Pulling ourselves from each other, but confident in our personal control over time.
That serenity poured out to all…

So, now – now that tomorrow has come and gone, leaving me behind,
Now that the sky cries and the moon is cut to a shred.
What now of serenity? Where is it? Has it left me empty and alone?
Where is…that serenity pouring out to all?

Beautiful angel…you ARE the Golden Eternity to me.
The knowledge that you and your soul mate occupy the same plane,
The peace to know, unequivocally, that this mortal coil has no more threat to you…
That serenity pours out to all…

And my hot tears run like water, when I’m alone, washing the sting of my selfish loss from my puny soul.
Fly on angel…steal a kiss for me…I see your tattoo

I see you in my mind’s eye…your hair is

© Richard A. Martin, Jr., MD, 1996




Across the miles
A man moves in space
To reunite with his link…
To the future.

The child struggles against the specter of sleep.
He feels the excitement of being reunited, almost succumbing to the dark cloak of slumber…
He makes it, tho.

The father, with a curious combination scent of sweat, Lagerfeld, smoke and fabric softener
Enters the room.

The child, eyelids heavier than lead,
Rushes forward.
He grabs his DNA link
At the knees…hugging hard…hugging long.

“I love you Dad”, his tiny voice said.
“I stayed up late just to see you!”
The father grabbed him by the armpits,
And pressed the child’s face against his wiry beard.

And a kiss sealed the transaction.
A pure and essential show of love…
A love that transcends all love…
The love between this father and son…
And the child slept the sleep of peace.

© Richard A. Martin, Jr. MD CPC, 1996

We Went On The Boat

We Went On The Boat
    We Went on the Boat



It was our pride and joy, that boat.

We’d go to Key West every Fall.

We made our pact there as we both suffered from the plague.


Now I’m here next to David’s cold body – pale blue masque on.

He made the leap; he had escaped.


I sold that boat…


© Richard A. Martin, Jr., 2016

Set Sail For the Heart of the Sun (For David)

Set Sail For The Heart of the Sun (for David)
Set Sail For the Heart of the Sun (for David)

Set Sail For the Heart of the
Sun (for David)

Oh, Captain…
On our trip to the Island
We talked about many things.

We smoked Marlboros, ate sandwiches,
Did sailing things, talked through the tequila.
It was fun when the boat passed so close by, with the “horny” sailors…
Sharing with us the secret contents of their pants.

The talk that followed was so natural, to me.
It was about the most sensitive of issues,
But our discussion was as natural as my motion tonight.


The call came at evening.
I had to go to confirm his death…
That was my job.

When I saw him, I recognized that he was in that place-
The place we discussed on the boat.
My charge would have to be one of protection for him
As he tried to die.

He had already lived his life when he decided to let go.
We talked about his perception that life had become more of a hassle,
I argued successfully, for a few times, that it had not…
but the topic came up more and more,
Better argued each time.

I could see by his bony frame and mottled skin this was going to be my last visit.
His body felt so cold, so distant…not like living flesh…more like the best of impostors
His jaw slacking so…just severe enough to turn his face into a masque,
Unreal…but real enough…actually, as real as it gets.


I have served my Captain as valiantly as I could.
I have no such servant…my route is up to me, alone,
Searching the grimy walls of backrooms and johns in bars
They promise to show you a way to paradise…
But more often, they cannot deliver their promises
Unless there is someone as connected as we were…

Now *I* is all alone.

© Richard A. Martin, Jr., MD, 1996