Wednesday, June 1, 2016


   my morning surprise-
wandering through the berries
  red lips on black bear 


Flowers bleed up
through the dirt,
colored mirrors
not done reflecting.

Old homes and lonely gardens,
not even one stick of wood left
to mark their faithful service.

A crumbled concrete step here or there,
bricks and couples of laundry line posts
left to rust away, feet first.

Random bulbed blossoms
chant old address numbers
over and over to each other
each spring and fall.

This was where you lived

Her Room

Presbyterians and others have drunk toasts
in Monica's old corn-yellow bedroom.
Mom too slept there the first night we moved in;
dad would have howled had he known.

The walls fell and as we changed its spots and stripes.
Now eating breakfast there most mornings,
watching squirrels out side the windows.

We inherited her dreamland
with glass doorknobs and emptied closets.
The room and we testified that she awoke
where I now sit drinking my morning coffee.


West of Driggs, just out of Wyoming's reach
we passed the staggered
chewing fleet of harvesters

Stretched across the wheated hills
The metal locust crawl along
Stripping the stalks of
Golden sunshine, sewed in graceful
Topographic corduroy rows

Woody too, sang of golden hills,
he must have have watched this
show long before

Pyres of dust spiral skyward
Each lumbering machine moved
In synchronized choreography
hungry small train chugging
Along so heavy laden and ready

The Tetons watched, in wait for snow
As another harvest ended

Seated Then Buried

Headstones mark
the resting place
where the buried Lazboys
lye back and hold those
that had sat and watched

Now each had their own
remote control, just no reception.
Focused on a small dark screen
that had first went all jagged-like,
followed by a test pattern,

then forever black.

Northwestern Sunlight

High above Oregon's mist
lounges a pale orb
coy or maybe just bashful

She lies stretched out on her cloudy davenport
like a lazy stretching cat

Lolling in the sky
writing love notes and swirls
to rhododendrons and monkey puzzle trees

Hanging there with downcast eyes
knowing her timid glances will go
unreturned until

Raindrops fall through the mist
punching little holes with their
constant whispers of devotion

followed momentarily by tiny threads
of falling light

Beached Sun

Today's  sparkle is almost done
Running barefoot through the waves
With sand between my toes
warm thoughts
behind my eyes


My salary is for work

but when I capture the right words

That is the golden pay

Ocean Springs

The plane touched the earth again in Orleans Parish
walking , I breathed in the heavy southern air

that spoke of river, and mud, and gulf, and heat,
and swamp lands, in one long-congested breath.

Then off barreling down the concrete highway 

toward Ocean Springs
and catfish and family I go.

The black clouds draped in curdled skin
eyed us, and the wind stirred them slow.

The thunderheads hung heavy and green, 
all hail-stone full.

Rolling across the sky's dark bowl,
blackened from edge to edge
with but a single shining slit lying low to the East.
A sleeping crescent moon lain to nap.

I drug the chair from my motel room
and resumed a seat not sat in years,
upon my soon-to-be stormed on porch.

The slow start of fat drops hitting
dust with a sloppy, full sound.
The rumbled humidity recedes for a few minutes.
My ears savored that old sweet song,
every word and verse.

Lunch Lessons

It was just past Thanksgiving, 
Dallas, Texas, 1968.

She made my lunch and sent me off to school.
It was a short stroll away;
a few kids picked butter cups at the cross walk.

Then noontime neared and
I arrived in another new lunchroom.

A hawk-faced teacher named Fitzgerald watched
for talkers and horse-play, with remedies aplenty.

My seat was next to some now-forgotten
new chum from 6B,
in a stiff chair at a  long narrow cream-colored table.
Everything seemed familiar but the faces and names

A lesson lay offered to me, hidden,
in the simple phrase,
"Let's trade sandwiches"

With no understanding of bravery or foolhardiness,
I heard him say to me, "I've got bologna, how 'bout yours?"
"Cow tongue," jumped from my smiled reply,
But my words splattered him like epithets.

His eyes went wide
I went home wiser.

His seat stayed empty
for so many weeks to come.


As I read the pages
of a forgotten journal
each line becomes
an ax
     that grows
         and chops the
world away from tight around me.

My thoughts had stayed
dormant for so long
in the ice of the past

Now one hand up over the other
rising to my wet feet
the numbing slush reluctantly lets go.
Thoughts and dreams
and monsters and
the long dead loved ones
all climb back out
from the forgotten abyss
No longer banished to that place beyond
and out of reach.
I stand there straining
and peering into that deep chasm.
There, a single wiggling light
at the bottom far below
drawn to that reflection and a me
that was then.

We lock eyes

and we're off.


Wo, to all you clever creepers,
That do not know my sleepless eyes
watch and lie in wait

Your steps across the floors are heard
And hidden goings-on surely seen

My enacted stories fill your ears,
Your curtain-climbing's told

Standing there upon legs full of bones,
My grasp can count them, every one

Think before you answer my riddles
giggling like mindless honyocks

for each you young kit's, I rassle and josh in play
are forever my dear smart-foxes.

Urban Body

These days I am
a traffic jam of stuff

Topside, somewhere under brown and silver hair, sits my brain
Inside it's own congruent bungalow, with a couple of windows for light
Dutifully manned by my own personal Lily Tomlin, 

sitting in a old wooden swivel chair, here legs hugging like twins.
Laboriously plugging and unplugging crisscrossed phone lines ,
playfully fidgeting with the neck of her blouse and batting her eyes.
Doing her utmost to keep up with the ever coming calls.

Nervy Autobahns are bumper to bumper with shocks of pain, panic 

cold or fear.

I see the hairs on my arm rise erect in the cold Autumn breeze, then
it's, "Cross legs; sweat lightly behind the knees; 
now salivate and chew.
Sneeze, sneeze again, now sigh"

Veins and arteries each run in their one-way directions
and see my pumping heart in an aged Grand Central Station
with groined vaults and corridors slathered in cream tinted subway tiles.
Inbound and outbound trains heralded

from old cone-shaped loud speakers in crackly-muffled voice.
My sign boards buzz with flipping letters

spelling out new destinations after each burst of steam and departure.

Dinner arrives, dumped right there on the freight platform, for all to see.
The firemen shovel and feed it towards the fire below, 

through caverns too dark to see a hand in front of your face.
Ah, yes. Someone needs to take out the trash. 

OK, let me get my slippers.