Courage Under Fire

Courage Under Fire

War could not remove

her smile,

her face, shining,


In spite of mortars exploding,

we embrace.

Machine gun fire over our heads,

Rocket launchers, grenades,

Johns Hopkins.

They said she needed a transplant,

I once saw 3 people,

from the best hospital in the world,

take 45 minutes to get a line started,

in her hand. Puncture wounds everywhere,


Holding each other, we keep standing,

my heart breaks, and falls on the floor.

I will never forget the artillery,

the lady two rooms down – died.

We fight on, up the hill,

Dark night.

Suiting up with gown, gloves, and mask,

to visit her.

Chemo is next, we use our flame throwers,

screaming for help

we cross the river, fall in the trench,

hand to hand combat, side by side.

Air support, reinforcements.

Battle raging…

and then smoke… but calm.

Dawn on the horizon,

she puts on a mask, N95 by 3M,

no hair, skin peeling,

we walk out of the hospital,

for healing, we kiss.

And now…

She turns to look at me –

and sends healing my way.

I see new skin, not much hair,

but I am stunned by how beautiful she is,

she radiates,

we embrace again, and more…

I love her skin, her lips, her smile.


from the Garden of Eden.



© Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree




The 2 inch plastic soldiers died,

terrible deaths, off the back porch,

or by being crushed with rocks.

Some medieval knights perished too,

on a regular basis.

Throwing my baseball against a wall,

and through the neighbor’s window,

is about the worst thing I ever did.

Row after row of houses, hopeful,

strong with brick, working hard.

Foundations. Italians and Poles,

and everybody else,

so close you could smell the sausages,

cooking on Sunday.

Mrs. Di Paulo cooking with limburger

cheese again.

I ride by on my bike in the alley,

Norman Wells playing Johnny Cash,

over and over again, A Boy Named Sue,

Folsum Prison,

somewhere Janis Joplin

singing her heart out,

at least she was alive then.

I never knew Jimi Hendrix

until later. It was the 1960’s.



© Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree


Sometimes small towns can captivate us. They can have the right combination of history, art, shops, and people. This about a small town in Pennsylvania, that my wife and I enjoy.


I like Lititz.

Hand crafted chocolate,

red caboose museum,

no shops with pick pockets

reaching for you money.

A small, classy hotel,

a café.

Pizza and subs down the street,

a barber shop,

people without plastic,

they seem real instead.

Ducks in the fountain and crosswalks,

faithful bricks,

large church in the middle.

I can still hear the history,

of fireplaces crackling,

with sincerity and truth,

and community.

I pray the flame never goes out.

I like Lititz.


© Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

Love Poem

Love Poem

We went shopping for an iron

that day, and bought a ring.

Two lost souls,

looking at each other eye to eye,

rubbing noses together.

Blankets and a kitchen,

cars with high mileage now,

and yet, she still rubs my back,

and I melt.

I give her treasure from the deep blue sea.

She rubs her fingers through my hair,

and blinds me – with herself,

I run into walls just looking at her.

30 years later the store is still there,

selling irons.

And we are still rubbing noses together.



© Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

The Smell of the Earth

The Smell of the Earth

Today my daughter replanted

an African Violet, hands a mess,

smile on her face.

She said she loved the smell of dirt.

It’s true, the smell is intoxicating.

In the city there is potting soil,

the burbs have top soil,

but the earth I really like,

is the freshly plowed field of a farm,

especially after a light rain.

If you ever have a chance,

take a deep breath of this earth,

enjoy the richness,

until you are drunk.

It will do your soul good.


© Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

Talking with an Eagle

Talking with an Eagle

I was on the top of the mountain,

enjoying the air, and the view,

houses the size of ants,

and with problems so small.

I saw him coming, from the right

out of the corner of my eye,

then in front of me, soaring, looking at me

wearily, he said: “Not another tourist!”

I got angry, and shook my fist at him,

I said, “I heard that!”

He continued soaring to my left,

and screeched some unintelligible words.

Flying behind me,

to the other side of the mountain.

I sat down on a rock, undaunted,

until he came around again,


he said: “Go back!”

“Go back to your nice warm house”

It was snowing then,

soaring towards the left he added,

“and to your people!”

I yelled back, “I can live here too!”

I knew it was dumb, as soon as I said it.

Then he was gone – around, behind me,

to the other side of the mountain.

I sat back, against a rock, perplexed,

flakes on my nose, and parka.

He came around again from the right,

This time he landed silently on a tree limb,

brown with white, and looked at me.

I stood up and crossed my arms. And waited,

my hat becoming white.

He presented his argument,

he brought up some good points.

I just stood there and then –  I let go,

“Alright”, I said, not really meaning it.

I started back down the trail, stomping,

back to this messed up world,

and back to my people,

thousands of feet,

thousands of steps,

thousands of problems,

grumping the whole time,

slipping on a white rock.

When I got to the base of the mountain,

I looked up and there he was, soaring, and gloating,

as if to say, “I can fly and you cannot”.

I made my way back to the car,

anger melting the snow,

and started the engine. Heater on.

I realized in my heart though

he was right.

So I put the car in drive

and headed back to this messed up world,

and back to my people.

The snow was coming down heavy then.







© Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

The Billy Goat Trail

The Billy Goat Trail

Sharp and jagged rocks,

imbedded in the trail, hard to walk,

easily bruised.

Sprained ankles,


Circling round to the river,

resting, and eating.

Drinking in the air,

People leave quickly though

and say, “back to the trail”.

Using the river like caffeine,

no thanks – no more for me,

sprained ankles…moving on,

face down.

The trail is not my path,

I need to be here –

where water is in the air,

with sounds of the rocks

being washed,

and peace, living here

where there are no bruises.

The people are yelling at me…

“C’mon, we need to go…”

I tell them go without me,

all I need is 5 more hours….

maybe longer…

of being washed by the river.



© Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree