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The Collected Chaff

The Collected Chaff:  Version 1.0 

"In the cool dawn
you showed me
just how high to
toss the contents
of the full baskets.
And there was a lot of chaff."

 -from "At A Time Of Having Too Much."

This book is the result of more than two decades of writing and revising.  The fifty poems in this collection are reflective, emotionally charged, and grounded in the beauty and tragedy of everyday experiences.


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Personalized/Autographed Print Edition ($20.00 - allow three weeks for shipping):

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       Carney Lentz
       65 N Union St
       Mauston, WI 53948
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Table of Contents
I am in the process of compiling and revising my poetry.  The goal is to create an eBook collection titled The Collected Chaff.  This is only...[read complete introduction]

(Mostly) True Stories

"...Mom said,
"Now you have
only to do
what Carney wants.
You have to
figure out what
you really want." 
Wisdom mixed with
love, sadness, anticipation..."
"I remember the pain of
the soap in my eyes
as much
"You would rage
and yell
at the radio,
beating your
fists against
the wheel,
pickup truck
defender of:
the unborn,
the persecuted
the misunderstood
"...changing your life
only took a strong
gust of wind to
move the
lines a little."
"When I was young, you were my sun.
Now you are a distant star, seen seldom,
never heard from, and moving even farther away;
I cannot even see the red shift."
        on the verge of turning sixteen...
remind us the world is an awesome place
        while proving that the universe is unfair."
"You sketched her in your notepad:
Ink on paper,
the shape of her neck and shoulders
and her draping pink coat." 
"On the highway doing 70,
radio volume set at 30,
screaming along with
Peter, Paul, and Mary."
"Did anyone see the darkness he hid
behind his childlike eyes?"
"If I congratulate her, would
her smile fade or broaden?"
"I left him
sipping the last of his beer,
contemplating the attraction of
the water and how
anonymous the
ducks are
floating on the
wide river."
"I killed 
in retaliation for 
the bite my mother received;
I killed 
to keep others from suffering."
"I rise up
and run the stairs,
pausing  to lock the
door behind me;
the bell has rung."
"Tell us all what
it means to fail
miserably even when you
are doing the best
you can every moment
and where the will
to keep moving hides."
"This ritual, as all, is comforting:
place the glass pieces very carefully,
unwrap the ceramic (keep the paper),
group the snow globes with the Christmas decor,

knickknacks and chotckies go on that table,
hang the "fancy" clothes then refold the rest,
put out signs, and make sure to get change.  One
never knows what will actually sell."


Merely Wet
"You watch from the
         safe side.
The tops of your toes
       the damnable enemy of lifelong love,
       crawls from ceiling to floor."
Before You
"Before you
is me, in awe of your
strength, love, and compassion."
"The eagles are filling the sky
again with their whistle screech,
and we have found each other."
When I Tell You
"What we will never
have has to be
replaced by contentment."
"Woven between my fingers,
your essence, your power. 
You are the warp;
I am the weft."
Valentines Day 2006
"There is something beyond love
(greater than love, other than
love) that is so vital.
Why can't we name it?"
"Colleen was the most unanticipated person
in my life...
I often just wanted to watch her because
            she was so graceful and deliberate."  
The Last Time
"The last time ever I saw your face,      
I thought the world would come to an end.
        And the days and nights that have come since then
are unfair without you here, my love."
Care Givers
"When I cried out with her last breath
you were there to comfort me. 
You joined me 
in sadness."
"The world continues,
so I have to change, and you
remain the same; I have lost my
co-pilot and
the world has
a friend.

I seek out reasons to
be grateful for life."
"For years my list
remained unchanged:  I fear
the dark of night,
hide from the burning

sun, and hate our mean fate."
 "...Our dog is
always near me and the cats
rush to climb on me when
 I come home; I am only
a substitute for you."
am never handsome
but I believed;
all that mattered
was what you
"Worse, however,
is catching myself fidgeting,
still without a hand

The Darkness
"On the ground
in Shady Pines
near your stone,
hillside, I sit
alone with you
in my mind."
"...a series of nervous moments
in which past pain
becomes part of a
present fear..."
Flying Away in Pieces
"The birds do their work
in seconds and fly away...
The only witness
is the white sea bird."
"Hugging the black stone
she prays to a personal saint
hoping for a sign, a message of
love and hope from beyond."
"Products of bleak times;
the only answer left
for us is despair." 
"For I                          cannot begin to                        love myself.  They

won't appreciate me,           feel my pain -                          won't hurt me?"
"I reach for my goal;
It is the sun.
The light pulls me up."
"Life is the clump and
echo of solitary
feet in a dark hall"
"Tomorrow I will wake up confronted with
reminders of the past..."
Inspired By...
"When Icarus falls today
we ask if it
was a terrorist, which
mechanic screwed it up,
or when will they
ground those faulty planes." 
"This is clear as the orange moon light. Still
it is no less difficult for me;
I live in the place between the twin hills."
"As a young man,
the child went to
those books for comfort;
The words had been
rubbed away, made empty."
                                    "Cloud becomes

                    fish, fish

                                                            becomes bird
                     by exchange

                                                            as normal,
                                     all organic."

The Light  

At A Time Of Having Too Much
"In the cool dawn
you showed me
just how high to
toss the contents
of the full baskets.

And there was a lot of chaff."
-This poem is the source for the title of my blog.  Originally this piece was written for the teacher who mentored me in my student teaching experience, Lavon Court.  Since then, it has taken on much more meaning to me and has gone through a few revisions.

"On the battlefield, on
the playing field, the
dead have more to give.

Pick that man up,
dust him off, and
send him out again."
"At the end of
The walk; the curb
overlooks a pond
unable to flow
through rusted teeth
clogged by rotting leaves."
"Right and wrong are
small concerns with
open ears and eyes
informing an engaged
mind regulated by..."
Thank You All
"Your pain, courage, and prosperity are lessons on my wall.
I will know for all the time I am waking
You have given me the courage to stand tall."

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