The Writing on the Wall

Going Out Dancing Poems

By Ric Masten

From Skinner House Books

More than 70 poems--some old favorites, others brand new. The author, Ric Masten, has challenged and inspired audiences nationwide for decades with his unique mix of musical ministry and poetry.

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if we show them at all
most of us who write our secrets down
and call it poetry
prefer to slip it under the door and run,
and if we must be present at the reading,
disguise ourselves
in sotto voice and pale monotone
but here was one
who could take us into his personal life
and show us around
as if it were a house for sale
exposing everything the way it was
and never once rushing ahead
to straighten up a room
or kick the dirty linen under the bed
how could he do it? —andwhy?
it was such private property
and we were total strangers
just in off the street — looking,
not necessarily there to buy,
but then toward the end
I realized
that there was nothing in this place
I hadn’t seen before,
and when I told him this at the door
he took me by the hand
and thanked me
for helping him feel so at home
outside as we were leaving
I saw where some street philosopher
had taken paint
and tagged a classic on the wall
“There are no strangers here,”
it read
“I know myself
I know you all.”