Sunday, July 10, 2011


Folded and stuffed into wallets,
Lopped off with saws and piled,

Verdant, lively, fresh, and young,
By Nature, illness, or envy stung,

Lime, forest, sea, pea, grey, Granny Smith—
This Irish hue, environmentally aware,

Color of my mother-in-law’s oldest cars,
Oklahoma skies on spring afternoons,

Yellow and blue locked in an embrace,
The woody god’s vined, knotted face—

Oh, jolly giant, gather your newest fruits.

Early Morning at Kaw Lake

High above, a hawk hovers,
Scanning the morning waves
For bright flashes of breaking fins.

The water wanders under the wind’s
Cool hands, the sun’s eye
Peeking through oak branches.

In such a setting the sick mind
Thinks irresistibly of magic,
Imagines fantastic fossils on the floor,

Dark shadows in the din of trees.
What are these moments of beauty
But memories of dim should-have-beens?

Listening, the trees lean closer.
The sun climbs behind a cloud.
The wind winds down, and so do you.

Two Poems: "Childhood" and "Middle Age"


The long slide glistens in sunlight, 
A chute from Heaven to sand.
On the way down, eternity passes.
From the top, you can see the ocean,
Filled with flipping white dolphins,
Above them the cobalt sky.
The marbles are still in your pocket,
A Cat’s Eye amongst them.
You push away slowly, and slowly fall.

Middle Age

The sidewalk shivers, February chill
And the coldness of concrete converge.
You walk up, from your usual station,
Images fleeing the edges of your eyes.
Among those left behind—your father,
Scarved against his own savage winter,
Trudging through the calf-deep snow.
The house key’s in your small pocket—
Open the door to a home you’ve never seen.


How did guacamole come to be? 
Perhaps some careless caveman
Rolled his long-sought wheel
Over a helpless avocado
And found the results pleasing—
A finger in the good green goo.
Who knew to add the lemon juice
To keep the verde in the dip?
Did they try milk initially,
Or fermented honey or beer?
Perhaps they salted the mess,
Or tried to dry it out over a fire.
The point is—it was an experiment,
Humans acting upon Nature,
Same as a strip mall, or an atomic bomb,
Only with a bright face and a funny name
Which my stoner friend Terry
(now an investment banker)
Could never recall when we’d haul
Ourselves to Taco Hut on a munchie run,
And he’s always ask for “that green shit,”
His eyes slitted, tomato-red,
And when the bemused clerk asked, “Guacamole?”
Terry would grow grave and thoughtful.
“Is that the green shit?” he’d ask,
And so it was, and so—no matter
Its origins—it shall ever be.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

One of Those Days

There are people who mean us harm.
There are people who wish us well.
Sometimes, they are the same people.
But because their teeth are so white,
We never notice the jaggedness.

It’s just like my dear old Mama said:
“We’ll all die if we live long enough.”
This thought has comforted me
Through many a slack, sleepless night
Under the aimless, distant stars.

Something’s in the water, the sky,
Deep inside my densest bones.
We dare not speak its bastard name,
But go about our petty business,
Rotting in our very normalcy.

They’re coming to take me away, ha-ha,
But they’ll never, never find me.
I’m hiding in the corners of your eyes.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


When you don’t know the meaning
Of each moment anymore,
Of the words that are leaning

Away from your lips, so sore
From the efforts of speech, vain
As grace sometimes seems to be,

All that remains of the pain
The faintest twinge, a ruby
Buried so far beneath stone,

Layers of boredom, of rage
Mute as a desert-bleached bone—
White letters on a black page.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Black Dog Circles Once, Then Settles

The clouds cling to the horizon,
their fingers clutching like love
the sharp edge of the new day.
They mean to do us harm.

The female cardinal, dun and wan,
perches alone on the high wire line.
Across the alley, the bright male
twitters blindly through the sycamore.

Which way does the water
circle the drain? Where am I?
Could this lancing ache in my leg
be that sudden and very last throb?

Whatever gods ignore our prayers
shuffle through their eternities,
ancient mouths wrinkled and red
with the blood of vain praise.