For my eldest…

Watching her face glow.
Captain Marvel stands up as
She smiles with a tear.
Oh Thanos, you're in for it:
My daughter will have no less.

Kevin Feige, I’m not a DC guy. I grew up with the X-Men, Spiderman, and Iron Man, but I can learn if you disappoint my daughters!

Preparing to Help

Frost covers a world
In need of kind and warm grace.
Are you called to act?
Ice over living water
Is often broken by love.

“Ice and Love” by The Distracted Pastor. 2019

Today we awoke to a house surrounded by ice. Ice is a wonderful gift in the middle of a hot summer day in a cold drink. In the middle of winter, ice can often be a challenge more than a slight inconvenience.

For the past few hours I have been working at deicing the church parking lot in anticipation of upcoming events at the church. I have made little headway and our local radio station is predicting further ice tonight.

While broadcasting salt across the ice this morning I thought back to the times in my life when I worked with the homeless, especially during my college years. I thought about the challenges faced by folks who want to the right thing to help someone, but do not know what to do. If you give someone money, will it be used wisely? If you give them a flashlight, will they trade it for something else?

One of the first lessons I learned is that you cannot control what others do. If you bless someone with a flashlight, they might trade it for something else. If you offer them a blanket, they might exchange it for a drink of something untoward. You cannot control what other people do, but that does not mean that there are not concrete things you can do to help others.

Here are a few of things I would suggest:

  • Blanket Blessing
  • Hot meal
  • Handwarmers
  • Gift Certificate

Keep a blanket blessing in your trunk. I suggest a warm blanket that is not large or bulky. Roll that blanket up with two pairs of new thick, warm socks, a knit cap, and a pair of gloves. The time to make these blessing blankets is not now. If you wait until end of season sales, stock up on the gloves, hats, and winter socks when they’re on clearance. Set a limit to what you want to do next winter (e.g., one set, five sets, ten sets) and store them with your winter snow brush. Put them in your trunk when you put your snow brush back in your car next fall.

Offer to buy someone a meal instead of giving them money. If they are hungry, ask them if you can buy them something to eat and then follow through. If you do not have time to sit with them, offer to bring them drive-thru or takeout. Offer to get them a hot drink with the food. The heat goes a long way. Note: Some people will say no to your offer or try and convince you to just give them the money. Use your best judgment, but I would suggest you offer the food and hot drink.

Instead of offering people money, buy a box of those chemical hand warmers at the end of the season. Offer them to people who are out in the cold. It is a simple gift. As a caution, check the expiration date if you’re buying for the next season. Unlike the blanket blessing, they expire.

If you live in a semi-rural location or in a location with more local businesses than chain restaurants, talk with a local restauranteur. Ask if you can buy a certificate for a “meal” complete with warm drink, food, and the tip included. If you talk with a small business owner and explain what you are doing, they may help you out. This may be something that ends up being traded, but if you are concerned it is still better than giving money.

Treasure Somonka

This somonka is meant to be read as conversation between two lovers (alternating between bold and regular type) until the third voice enters in (in italics). What treasure awaits when these lovers are united?

I rest here alone
I wait where few find the way
I wait in the cold
Nobody finds the still path
no one turns my rusty key

I come my lovely!
I seek you across the miles.
You alone I seek.
No one will still my sore feet
Until you rest in my arms!

Come find me quickly!
I grow weary of this place
Where no one sees me.
I keep something just for you–
Deep inside with my desires.


No one can stop me!
Here I am after so long.
Did you wait for me?
Let me draw you close and sigh
As I smile and end my quest

Turn my key my love!
Open the way to my heart!
Twist and turn and pull!
Pull open that which binds me!
Come and find your heart's desire!


I will, my sweet one!
Here I come to seek inside
Places I long sought...
Oh bliss, can it be? My love...
My chest of old comic books!

Honey, are you there?
Your mom says dinner is soon.
What is that you have?
Seriously? More comics?
No, they're not graphic novels


Hold me close, my love.
Touch me with your gentle hands.
Carry me back home!
She will never understand!
She's just like your mom once was...

Treasure Somonka, The Distracted Pastor. 2019

Written in response to the Creativity Contest “We’re Going Treasure Hunting” by Peregrin Arc! This poem is dedicated to Art, Russ, Tim, Michael, Ben, and all of the other comic book lovers I have known over the years. Keep being yourselves and call your graphic novels whatever you’d like!

“Epiphany Tanka”

Before I even share my poem, a Merry Christmas Eve to all of the Orthodox folks out there who will celebrate Christmas tomorrow. May God bless you and your celebration!

Snow falls through dark sky
Shifting past still planter hooks.
Light will brim at dawn
On lands awaiting the thaw
After Jack Frost settles abed.
My poetry journal. Yes, I did have several composition books bound together…