Unsightly, with bunions,
they lost their shape, she says, because of poor-fitting
hand-me-down shoes she wore as a child. How many games
of Kick the Can added to their width I can only guess,
not to speak of the runaway genes of her mother, no sylph.
If the tiny, bound feet of Tang Dynasty ladies seemed lovely,
hers fattened on the sidewalks of Bradhurst Avenue,
one toe poking out of a hole in her sister's sneaker.
Walking to school, she taught rowdy boys to crumple
when their fists missed her and their balls caught her boot.
Now that she's come down with a new bout of cancer,
she says she's just out of breath. She gave up cigarettes,
booze and Unitarianism, as well as the ham-handed
surgeons who sewed her up twice. She'll rid herself of this
old sidekick cancer, this tumor the shape of a soccer ball. . . .
Her voice trails off on delicate, hesitant feet.
I am thankful
for waking another sunrise
to be better than yesterday
accepting that I am who I need to be
I send to the top
of an ancient oak
where the wind gathers
and carries it
further and further
from my heart
but no less felt
beyond the sun
moon stars or by the earth
and oceans of tides and seasons
forgiving winter's indiscretions
a spring rain greens the grass
on both sides of the forsythia hedge
its flowers as brilliant as they need to be
Can you look at Georgia O'Keeffe's
oriental poppies without seeing
those blossoms as flares? Her bursts
of orange in a cobalt sky suddenly
become fire squirted into black night,
giant explosions rocketed above
our dark fields and stacked city
geometrics, their razzle shattering
our small hopes, dazzling any
(Published in Bellowing Ark,
also in The Oak and Gray Squirrel,
and The Storyteller)
a truck passes on the highway
a whistling humming
like lonesome in the pines
or the wind through canyons
a sound that burrows deep
into the heart and soul
that urges you to move
to head out somewhere new
to leave the safety and comfort
the boring day to day life
the sound that led men
out of the jungle
onto the prairie and farms
across the mountains
that no matter how civilized
finds the raw nerve of unrest
makes you think
Over the years we've met in many a cafe to discuss The Project(s).
You were motivated by my passion for writing so much about the subject.
We laughed and shared stories of childhood commonalities,
Though you were from Scranton and I am from Chicago, which are two totally
You were very focused with your interviewing technique and you really wanted
to know why I chose to write so prolifically,
About Cabrini Green and who I was dedicating my story to so you could convey
the feeling specifically.
Together we pored over so many poems
Then you asked me which one I liked the most,
You told me that you really enjoyed 'Ghetto Teachers...I Will Remember You'
so with those words in mind that is what I will post:
I will always remember your thoughtfulness and kindness,
I will remember your creativeness.
Your open mindedness.
Your sense of humor.
I will always remember when you met my teenaged son and tried to find him a mentor.
I will remember the way you spoke about meeting the
dance troupe from Washington, DC.
You were enlightened and fascinated.
I will remember the food drive you started for patrons of 'The Project(s) to
bring canned goods to help support St. Mathews food pantry in Cabrini.
I will always remember how you stopped in the park to pitch a tent for the
members of a Cabrini Green reunion.
I will always remember seeing the intense Project(s) rehearsal.
I will always remember how you approached the residents of Cabrini with such
humility and not like inanimate objects.
I will always remember the way you looked on the opening night of The Project(s).
I will always remember you, PJ.
I wish you a peaceful journey.
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you;
My father's love was a lion's paw—
Protecting me from harm.
My father's strong arms caressed and lifted me.
His grizzled cheeks brushed me.
His calm mien commanded with
A stalwart face. He made me feel secure
And soothed. Always watchful,
He drew me closer.
I touched his mane and sensed his fatherly love.
Whoa unto thee
Oh knight of the realm
with your polished armor
and your crafted helm
For you face a foe
who will not yield
to your sharpened sword
or your bulwark shield
The enemy you face
not an armored rival
or ferocious dragon
threatening your survival
No, the enemy you face
lurks beneath your reflection
unseen by others
it escapes their detection
Yes, the enemy you face
the one which draws your ire
Is your own putrid heart
and its evil desire
A fallen tree in the background,
a log of a passing era
where the Continental Army gathered
to fight the war, not on some foreign soil,
but in our own backyards, amongst our families.
Charlestown quickly fell to Cornwallis,
as did many other towns.
So many dead,
yet we are committed to independence.
Threading through the innocent and unbiased trees,
the backdrop for the unfurling drama,
reloading our muskets, killing each other,
as the sunlight shines through the yellow leaves.
We march to the drums and flutes.
The beat carries us forward into battle,
masking our insecurities, our fears.
The French and Militias strategize in the immutable trees.
At night, fog is apparent in the candlelight,
a welcomed protective cover.
I sit by the fire melting the liquid soldiers for musket balls
left behind by my dead son.
I pray for strength to continue
amidst the blue streaks of fear in the night
disguised as courage.
In the morning, muskets blasting.
The dawning of a new day.
Hope for a new world,
yet Militia, Army shrink in number.
Sunlight streaks through the yellow leaves and
lights the dismal scene.
Smoke from burning churches,
from burning bodies strewn amidst the ashes,
fans the building hatred.
More leaves shudder to the ground.
The yellow trees are bare, in stasis, not touching,
but feeling, seeing, knowing the horrors,
logging their tales throughout time.
The yellow leafed ground receives the blood
of her innocent
and of her guilty.
The soil turns red with their sacrifice.
Militias return to camp from burying their dead.
Why do men feel they can justify death?
Before the storm comes, ride proudly.
Stay the course, more determined.
One last lead soldier melted over the fire,
tamped down in my musket with a renewed focus,
aimed toward hatred,
toward the Red Coat who killed my son.
At home, the yellow leaves are scattered.
The sunlight narrows on the blood-stained lawn.
Women wait for news, and men.
Women howl in grief and pain.
Their sons will not return.
Yellow leaves sputter to the hardened ground.
Freedom from tyranny
was won before the battle for it,
but still this battle in men's hearts,
this grief in women's.
The yellow trees in sunlight have witnessed
centuries of bloodshed, grief, and sorrow.
They are immutable, they stand strong.
Against the storms of life, they survive.
In the concrete hollows of the city
thirty-three steps down,
the water taxi
bellies up to the landing
long enough to swallow me
and a dozen more.
Alone in the bow,
I stand a speck of flesh and bone
beneath high-rise pillars
of iron and steel.
I am the figurehead
of the pint-sized vessel,
flirting with the river.
(Published by Highland Park Poetry
Poetry That Moves)
(An Etheree inspired by the Calendar Art of Colleen Eubanks)
hooves. This fresh, high grass,
cool to the cuds of cows,
awaits its transformation
to new milk every day while the
Antique Barn awaits customers
who will buy an old wheel or an old churn.
Quiet comes every time I pass
the blue gym mat
where you sat watching videos
not the kind that stilled the air
as we read Goodnight Moon,
not the kind loaded
for the school bus and your hugs
not the quiet comfort
cuddled in my arms.
It is the quiet that blooms to silence,
a voice lost that packs the house
tight with emptiness.
For this anniversary I planned to bring you flowers:
a bouquet of favorite red roses to cascade
over our names, carved side by side above our wedding date
and flanked by digits of beginnings, endings—
my birth date followed by a tentative dash.
Yours, by finality.
But this year I bought no saddle of silks
to ride on the time-galloping back of black polished granite.
Instead I drifted from flower shop to dress shop,
where I bought this red sheath, hung incongruently now
with a row of jeans—an anniversary dress to decorate my closet,
a remembrance of your whispered words:
I knew I was in love with you when you were eighteen.
I saw you sitting on the swing,
waiting for me, wearing a red dress.
raisins don't melt,
i am the raisin to your heart
i shrink within the confines of your love
i dry up in the illusion of you
a box of hopeful longing
and i become smaller than my wisdom
a tiny bite of reason
and you are the reason,
wishing i could melt away from you
i am the raisin in the sun
and you are the rays
i long to be under
no matter my state of mind.
You tell me the heads
are draped in gauze at first,
face down, for easier entry of student blades
into the backs of those they'll love
before the whole thing's over. What begins
as terror cloaked in banter, ends in gratitude,
the intimate gift of the open body.
You tell me how you'll return the favor at death,
your body a lesson beneath somebody's pry.
Your hand below my shoulder blade
you trace a right angle: the first cut,
you quip, a flap of the skin's tenting
into the human soliloquy.
Cadavers are oily to touch.
Once you left the lab for lunch
and ordered Italian beef;
formaldehyde stench on your hands,
the sandwich damp and gray—you couldn't choke it down.
Each day at the lab you wore the same clothes,
stink so persistent you torched them at year's end.
You joke, you'll tattoo your chest NO CODE,
and on your back a dotted line, CUT HERE.
Here, for the skin of your back, a tattoo,
indigo bio-script wreathed in trumpet vine:
I treated the poor and the old,
sat at the silent deathbeds
of penniless women,
listened to veterans
exhume childhood grief.
Taught my daughter
to drive in bad weather.
Grew orchids, shot targets, made lists, stacked books.
I hated to be interrupted. I was a warm kisser.
I once looked into a patient's throat.
Surprised at what grew there I said, Oh shit.
Dear Reader, I'm your text now,
your legend, cover to cover.
When the head is at last unwrapped from its gauze
and the face appears, the skull waits for the saw.
But worse than the face, you say, the hand,
that cut a shard from the ball of a foot,
or poured cheap vodka down;
its fingers curled around a thigh
or fisted in rage. The corporeal totem
of the hand, angelic, monstrous.
If not proof of the body's Soul,
then proof the Body's obstinate grist might do.
So they will search you,
muscle, nerve, artery, ligament, bone,
not knowing how you
slept beneath these three thin blankets,
your hand at the base of my head,
my hand at your spine's low arcing,
how we drowsed, dream-moving
to the ceiling fan's whir,
Death at the window on its dogged watch.
Beneath our hands,
blood and breath rendering time.
1st Place Poetry SCOPE Magazine (2008) (revised)
no window is big enough
to hold the panoramic views
of the world
so smart human beings
convert all sceneries
into virtual images
on the streets
at the beaches
on the mountains
in the wilderness
the only scenery that remains —
all stare at the tiny windows
in their hands
I saw everything with the strange
new sight that had come to me.
Water was the first word,
melting through my hands
until ice broke free from my mind.
A casement unsealed in my endless
night and opened another's soul,
released me to what I imagine
light to be, something pure and clear,
the scent of sun-dried grass,
a squeeze of orange on my tongue.
Words tumble into my fingers.
I hold them like a shower of shells,
like mint leaves, smooth stones,
the startle of snowflakes;
each has its own feel
as it breathes against my skin.
Questions touch their way
down ancient corridors; every crack
and crumble tells its own story.
My hand is sweet clover, trails
of peach, a soft-feathered bird
lifting me through the opened window,
where the scent of clematis
and smilax climbs the stone
wall of the house and transports me
across thousands of miles
and all the years I have lived
as I fly from this unspoken tunnel
At the local burger joint tonight,
we make a feast: fries, kosher pickles
and guilt, drink the local brew and argue
over a film I liked, you didn't.
We note that the huge banks of snow
haven't yet melted from this nightmare
of a winter, and talk of a friend
with dementia, just placed "in care"
by an exhausted husband.
The world weaves itself around us,
over the stained mulberry carpet,
through the beery smell drifting in
from the bar, around our fragmented talk,
our trademark yes-no-yes-no.
In an hour, with a bitter wind at our faces
after the hearth's deep assurances,
we will head for the car in the gathering
gloom, thinking of perhaps
a movie to watch at home tonight.
Suddenly you reach across the table
to smooth my hair.
I ask--Static electricity?
No, I just wanted
to touch your hair.
(First published in Common Ground Review)
Why did you put a man on the moon?
To let him escape from a cozy cocoon?
Under moonlight, girls in love swoon,
though we know love ends too soon.
Did the moon god grant you a boon
to let you watch them from the lune?
A woman bends for shells in the early light,
the ample tenderness of her curved back
a soft charcoal outline Degas might have
rubbed, making summer out of pastel and canvas.
Across her bare feet, a song of morning swooshes
pale green against the rounded, still form.
Small children inch into the surf,
their flowered hats blooming like water lilies.
The woman's spine, bent like a fishing rod,
bows to the sea's abundance, a connection
of give and take generosity.
Finding her treasure, she rises, the shell
cradled in her cupped hands. She smiles,
pleased with the beauty she holds as the children
draw near to see. Up above gulls wing in the sheeted sky,
their looped script black and silver.
The sun shifts, the shell gatherer, and memory nests:
curved line inside the woman, inside the observer,
inside the poem. In the ongoing present
nothing is ever lost.
I stand erect next to my comrades.
Smaller than the others, I have seen more action
than they have to this point.
Who knows who will be next? And when?
Our capabilities are finite, but
our purpose is pure:
to influence the world where we're directed,
infusing duty and discipline with distinction.
We stand in a dark enclosure
as we await the next advance.
I sense movement, light. We tumble, we rumble,
we fall, we roll to our sides. We wait.
I'm picked! Up I go! I'm pink with pleasure!
Poised, I await my assignment.
When directed, I drive down
to the sector where I am to do my work.
I advance along the textured land
that rasps against me,
to make my curved and straight movements
alongside and over and around my neighbor's remains.
When my work, bold and delicate, is done after a time,
I'm removed from my assigned space.
I'm lifted, carried, injected, twisted, honed and toned
until I'm fit for duty again.
Given a rest while compatriots do their duty,
I take pride in my participation,
knowing that together, with our commander,
we'll reach the point of it all:
a magnificent colored pencil drawing.
Perhaps the suppressed laughter
of the flowers out there in the garden,
the red tulips, nodding their rouged cheeks
in the spring breeze, I mean,
perhaps their laughter mocks the marigolds
still in small pots, awaiting the security
of warm weather, fearful of freezing,
unwilling to wed themselves to icy soil,
scared of snowflakes falling again.
Or perhaps it is just small jokes
the tulips share, nodding to acknowledge
how much humor adds to the atmosphere,
predicting how soon rowdy sunflowers
will break into raucous laughter.
(This poem was first published in the
anthology, Petals in the Pan, ed. by
A. J. Huffman and April Salzano.)
And nothing changed,
And nothing's ever changed-
We are just living the same chain,
We are just living the same change-
We say "hullo!"- we are alive,
We do not greet – "I don't know you!",
We do, what's good, what is now due,
But changing are a few.
Ideas pour onto the heads
With very same, too wet, raindrops
Looking at crowds from our tops,
As aviation OPPS.
And, after rains, there comes the sun,
The judging star to let us be,
To let us call "I, you and we",
Not paying any fee.
After sunrays, there comes a cold,
Less than two-fold,
More than three days,
Enlacing with the ice the bays
And polishing, with frost, the ways,
Whatever could be our case.
We smile the sun,
We stare the storm,
We lose, what's done,
We die, when born,
We mend the ruined and the torn,
We hate in hide, and we adorn,
We fry the meat steaks from the corn,
We drink the wines from pure dew,
We work, we study, but a few.
We pray, announce and declare,
What always seems to be so fair,
But some priest, really, does dare
Accusing others of the share
Of the dirt dust of the dirt war,
As he was doing that before,
Before there came the dirty war,
Against and for, against and for,
Against the peace, for the hostile-
Let them be killing for a while,
Let them be singing "thanks to God!",
With songs a-hiding the young's lot
Praying a lot. Till a new not.
I am grasping at your memory.
It's so hard for me to understand
When I think back I remember you
falling asleep in your leather chair
with The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
falling again, open on your lap,
How did I get my love of reading
when all I know you handed down was
It must have come from your dreams for me
to have all the things you never had
a love of books, the time to read them,
fond memoirs of your sacrifices.
Sunlight cascades through the window of old,
the hands of a girl reach up towards the glow.
She's five today, one finger for each year.
Her heart is so happy, her day full of cheer.
The day will be filled with wishes and treats.
How wonderful five is, how fast it retreats.
Those same little hands have quickly grown old,
the fingers are twisted, the knuckles are worn.
That same little girl, her soul is still five
but her body and hands are barely alive.
Today that girl would be 100 and five,
her hands long gone, but her spirit soars high.
There are many different paths to find spirituality, but not all roads
lead to Rome. In a recent article in the paper, a love-struck man
longing for his deceased lover went to a New York psychic, hoping
to contact his dead lover. The psychic responded by cheating him
out of more money than has ever been done in history.
She created all kinds of delusions, including a fake time machine,
a reincarnation portal, and he bought it hook, line, and sinker.
I mean, I may read my horoscope as a joke, because it's free,
but I don't take it seriously. The amount of money she swindled
was so astronomical that they had to put her in prison for fraud.
Or another instance where a young lady dated an old man, and
swindled him out of an astronomical amount of money. She too,
is going to prison. Although, what was the octogenarian expecting?
Either way, it could've resulted in a cardiac arrest.
So as far as magic tricks, or con jobs, anything can be turned into
a con job. Supposedly the man who made the posters for Obama
to promote hope in his campaign changed his views and labeled
him a con man.
However, I find that it's easy for me to look at someone like a
politician and use them as a scapegoat, as if all my problems
are somehow their fault. I would not describe myself as a
democrat or a republican.
However, a recent article about Joe Biden gave me a chance to
accept him as a human being. A photo showed him grieving
with his family at the funeral of his son, who was also a politician.
This was not what they call a photo-op, where a politician poses
in front of a camera in some sort of self-serving selfie.
You cannot fake grief and mourning.
A writer in the article states that a younger age, when Joe Biden
had a different tragedy happen to him, losing other family members,
the young writer wrote a hand-written card of sympathy and snail
mailed it to him to console him. Joe Biden wrote back a handwritten
letter with expressions of gratitude for his concern. Nobody hardly
writes letters anymore. They don't even teach penmanship in school
As much as I complain about politicians or the state of the world,
I will not mock someone in a state of grief such as this. I've been
there before myself, and eventually it happens to us all.
The hour glass runs dry. Flashes
of satellites and planets color my nights,
brighter and brighter, closer now. They
pry open my eyes as I lie on my bed.
My clodhopper uncle, Dennis, says it's simply
a thirty year cycle, whatever that means.
"The rogue light eruptions scour the universe
in random spirals. No cause to panic."
Yet I see the sands of all time slip ever
quicker down the smooth glass surface;
counting, grain by grain, our years,
our days, our minutes,
fueled by uncertainty, insane wars,
covert invasions of undetected foes,
creeping waste, corruption, greed,
His hour glass may be stuck at snail
speed. Dennis, the clodhopper, is dead
wrong. The heavens peel open the night sky
till black slides aside in small clumps…
…and my glass reads "ten till."
Don't think of me as old and saggy
just because my face is craggy
I'm still hip and love to rap
advancing age no handicap
My stream of consciousness pours out
from some internal wordy spout
I intersperse four-letter words
to scandalize adoring herds
I boldly spew out gosh and darn
These edgy words spice up my yarn
Word master broadcaster
I prowl a mean suburban street
prepared for anything I meet
A gang sign turns me ghostly pale
Oh wait it's just one more yard sale
It's true I often blow some weed
A well-trimmed lawn demands this deed
A bland routine as business owner
makes me seek a new persona
Play the role as fiercest Viking
pillage stuff that's to my liking
Embrace a gritty world that's tense
display my rage as I dispense
a down and dirty street-cred rap
I'll finish it after my nap
White. Some Upright:
Chest Out, Best Breast Forward.
Wrapped in morrocan skin-wrap
Under wraps: see-through, price-tagged.
Price? I pay the price.
(Pine for chicken paucity.)
I'm falling into
General chicken declension –
Descending to a fried
Or finger-lickin' denouement.
Words stick – sticky, itchy.
Internal ichthy – Ichthyosis? No.
Can't scratch. Scratch?
Scratch out living. Living?
Poultry, paltry living: Lean. Fevered.
Pox! Threat. Curse or Worse!
Must sort it out.
Beginning? Where begin?
Ovum. Egg. Chicken?
(Sunny-side or Coq d'Or?)
Tired and Scrambled!
Chicken Little, sky falling... Is this
Onward! Into the valley... Oh no!
Cock calls. Blasted rooster!
Must be quiet: Sleep. Perchance to...
Paawk, Paawk, Paawk, Paaawk!!
The brood: Up at the crack.
That's it! Had enough!! "Squaaawk!!!"
(Appeared in William And Mary Review)
Her view skewed, wandering
A black and white world
Not right or wrong
The ocean cold, the wind brisk
A subway, chariot
To the underworld
Buildings but no people
Small town, foggy night
a single street light haloed
Empty, tuneless, lonely
What I know of Spain is espadrilles,
tapas, rainbow-colored tiles, its
chronicles of civil war and religious
purges – a place where voices
curl upward from café chatter
toward my unshuttered window
and the ghosts of Cervantes, Lorca,
Jimémez whisper their poetry
under a full moon competing
with clacking bells from
hallowed churches on narrow
cobbled streets squeezed
between stone buildings
with hanging marigolds
and bird cages amid neatly
pinned laundry two floors above.
I also know of Miró's quest
for perfection with the fewest
brush strokes, Goya's
flamenco's clap, stomp and strum,
ripening oranges scenting
the Mezquita of Córdoba,
Barcelona's salt air
and seduction of rioja tinto
sipped in twelfth-century walled
cities like Hondarribia or Granada,
where the Alhambra looms
over the Albayzin, its dark rooms
weaving into more rooms with corners
of intrigue and hidden spaces,
inscrutable like my dreams.
It's nine degrees and too quiet.
Smoke from a power plant six miles off
hangs like a purple wound,
jagged chase in the soft skin of sky
and it seems the cold has smothered too,
any audible sounds of labor.
Far down the tracks a Mo-Pac engine
throbs in dieseled cadence.
Above on the load-out platform
workers bunch along yellow-painted railing.
I climb the steel treads,
kick through piles of powdery coal dust,
across checkerplated flooring
where rusted boxcars pass below,
hoppers poised to belch dark cataracts,
the shards glistening, gathering as
the burden of mind, culled and channeled
to the headchute's Blackwall hitch.
Steam rises from metal thermoses.
Men talk among themselves,
their breath like spirit deserting flesh.
I join them at the railing,
look down to see a dead man
at the bottom of car number fifty-three,
chest-high snow like a blanket,
a stubborn barnacle the paramedics
later break loose with a washdown hose.
"Second one this year," the superintendent says,
dribbling tobacco juice into a styrofoam cup.
"Now get your asses back to work."
(Previously published in the book American Chicken)
I was following the smoke of the Rose burning incense
To what my dream come in my supernatural sense,
The smoke lead me out of my front portal to a garden
As the full Moon illuminated the night shadows in pardon,
A beautiful lady walked up to me from nowhere in my
Mind's eye was this lovely Poltergeist I greeted in a sigh,
She looked like a elderly woman dressed in modern clothes
Also wearing golden spectacles that shimmered on her nose,
Consisting of a light pant suit that was waving in the wind
The lady's hair was long and gray like snow flowing end to end,
I heard an innermost voice say, "your not alone and remember
I've always been with you and I'm your mother now so tender,
"I help you find your car in huge parking by the large image
on car's back window also I'm the feeling of a secure page,
Of your mind's book of going to hear the nocturnal whippoorwill
To see a Cardinal flying over the waters of the Ohio river be still,
The night descended and the Fireflies appeared blinking off and on
At which you as a child would run after to grab their tiny neon,
Remember when you was a little boy you'd run your fingers over
The tops of the leaves the plants you had nurtured to discover,
The Garden of Southern Illinois I know you like to go back and live
You turned into a rolling stone and your walked among your fellow men
By serving your God and country I am the Virgin Mary here in this glen,"
I visited you, Amsterdam,
Many moons ago
And I still remember
Van Gogh Museum
Of eye-catching works of art
The spectacular view
Of your traditional windmills
Your remarkable outdoor markets
Fabulous diamond factories
Bikes in abundance everywhere
Awesome small cafes
And creamy cappuccinos
Street musicians playing
Saxophone and accordion
Their sounds of melodies
Deeply touching the travelers
Misty winds from the beach
Walking down your streets
The picturesque Amstel River
And a boat ride
The charming skinny
Magere Brug Bridge
Indeed you are
The Venice of the North
Where the land and river
Live in total harmony
Maybe one day they'll learn
And gain wisdom and stature;
Everyday I seek and yearn
To understand the world's departure
From common decency
And good old family values—
Drowning in an immoral sea
Of rebels without clues.
Are the order of the day—
Crackheads and stoners—
Idols: straight, bi and gay.
They worship materialism
And Hollywood's defiled—
Secularism and liberalism—
Sodom and Gomorrah gone wild.
Maybe some day I'll break free
And be different from the rest;
I don't want their devilry
Within me to manifest.
Maybe today you'll learn
That we've conditioned our human nature
To set fire and burn
The virtues bestowed by our Creator.
Someone must have stood, watching, in this
Masterpiece of many windows, someone
One floor above. One like us,
maybe, as we would have been then,
Before texting saved our lives,
Before TV taught reality.
There—in the off-sight shadow,
Cast by a window's shade. Believe it.
A face, featureless as a window's frame,
Comely, well formed, but background
To things of greater beauty.
A watcher who saw different things:
Turned backs, faces lost in periphery,
A counter's clean expanse.
An inviting space. Many hear that call,
Many hope a chosen time has come.
Between the shade and the window,
Before the beveled glass,
There is a street, timelessly
Washed in the dawn-like light
That comes with the closing of a day.
There could have been a watcher,
There could have been a door.
Someone watching, a place empty
As a hotel's bureau drawer.
"More than one word a night?! "
"I play a whole game a day with others! Don't let the moss grow."
Smile-spat about electric letters is big as play,
if love is considered.
Engage in game—that's vital.
Particular words weigh less.
Which threads spread from "mom"?
"Mother" grants more chances, expanses,
more triple beefy scores.
Depends of course on effortless letters that pop (little kiss)
like scilla or daffs
after this record April rain.
Anyway, assume FNOBURS and blank screen, clean slate.
Just MOTHER centered—crux of our lives, our hurricane's eye.
Play: MOB, SNOB, FERNS—that's it, I sigh?
Short, ordinary trifles,
a hint of brag in the double B (come on! that's 8—you should play more).
Surround mom with right words.
Electric board rewards no-risk fakes,
but I don't want that game.
is jolting too, you know.
Surface skimming cuts volts but energy, too.
But trust, too.
Double-words but no double-talk.
Triple-letters but no tripping.
Rather, trip but recover.
Let 'er rip: once, twice, thrice feel,
then words—single, double, triple—may score
lasting gifts to Mom galore.
What is this you and I?
this division, separateness
struggling for supremacy
—hostile & mistrustful
fight-faced, fists raised,
one against the other,
discordant & destructive?
When really there
is only one—
the we of us, of all of us
our mystic core
into cosmic divine
Let's unlearn this way of war.
(First appeared in Numinous)
Melancholy needs a walk,
so out I carry it at 11 p.m.
to study two universes,
out and in.
Our neighborhood is dotted with
random porch and yard lamps
lighting the way for nobody
An hour above setting in the west,
our less-than-first-quarter moon
smiles inscrutably like a queen
Gliding through the trees, she
offers only used rays to my heart,
but light being now difficult to find,
With far-away stars shining only because
they must, above a neighborhood where
yard lamps are glowing, thanks to
a breath now washes through my chest
inviting me to turn my melancholy
over to night's infinite matrix of Beings
I do, and return home with lungs full
of light from outer and inner space,
and from yard lamps left on for all
(From Fireflies Don't Bite)
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