Four Friends


My leaves are dropping after the Summer solstice
I’m hungry
The Sun was too generous with his gifts
I had no place to put them
No way to take them
No way to thank him

My roots are shriveling after the Fall solstice
I’m thirsty
The Earth had blown her topsoil away
Left me alone with my dreams
No way to ask her
No way to tell her

My bark is falling after the Winter solstice
I’m cold
The Moon visited sometimes
Other times it was dark and I had no dreams
No way to wave at it
No way to love it

My branches are breaking after the Spring solstice
I’m dying
The Farmer looked at me each day
I gave him many apples since he was a seedling
No way to feed him
No way to touch him

The Poet


The poet waits for an inspiration

Thunder as word sounds crash into each other
Lightning as rubbing visions causes sparks and ignition
Earthquakes shift bedrock perceptions
Volcanoes spew understanding too hot to ignore

Time stands still as the process unfolds
Until the last words are recorded
And the brow is wiped dry
   so that time resumes

     drink some juice

     walk to get a bag of groceries

The poet sits, pen in hand
Two or three images in mind
Flowing, mixing, ending here, starting there
How might it connect?
Not a puzzle, more than telling a story

Experiences accelerating and intertwining in the imagination
   create a world that never was, but that could have been

Ideas collide
Emotions friction and flow
Straightening edges, untying knots, perfecting the shape of thought

The poet’s hand paints the ink onto paper
Oil marks on dried wood pulp scored with lines that do not guide
Letters written at odd angles compose words ripped from an arm’s muscles
   driven by a brain telling a tale to friends and strangers

The poet compresses the core of reality
   to focus the energies of creation onto a single point

And then,
   from almost nothing,

A new universe inflates with power that cannot be measured by physics

Allowing deep understanding for all who reach in to
   touch the pure annealed crystal of a poem reading

      the experience of which catalyzes our souls,

         so as to change them,


Broken Circles

The sounds carried across the valleys
Infinite silence followed
Left,     right,     left,     right
Rippling the emptiness

Dark quiet disturbs the sleep

Black sky, cloudless night
Eyes closed
Heart ripped
Midnight silent rage
Hands clenched, turn over

There are so many lonely stars up just beyond reach

We need to dull the sharp angles
Gather around
Neighbors and friends
Open our hands
Silently share sorrow

We need to mend the broken circles

Fix the church roof
Dig a community well
Remove the stumbling blocks
Bake loaves of bread
Reach out

We are a village

Slowly, slowly
Roots grow down
Supporting our weight
Drink in the rain
Drink in the dew

The hours pass

Slowly, slowly
Leaves grow up
Building a canopy
Drink in the Sun
Drink in the stars

The days pass



And again

And again

Rainbows and Rain

It was a day of rainbows and rain
This morning, he is at peace for the first time
She has a future, though she does not know her present

The sudden call at six am
Driving through the drizzle
Holding back grief
Phone calls, conferences, cleaning, finding
Piecing her life together after so many years

On the drive back
Very bright rainbows
One after another
And then a double rainbow
Large and near

It was a day of rainbows and rain
We stop for a sandwich on the way
A right, a left, there they are
Water falling from above as we prepare to place earth onto his casket

Silence, prayers, words, deeds
We are to cover him
Two shovels, two lines of people
Dirt falling onto sanded pine, hollow echoes
Someone places one shovelful, another moves nine
Each at work, focused, a job to do, he is on their mind
The tree above me is soaked and can no longer protect us
Steam rises from the dark hot footpaths
No thunder or lightning

How do we remember him?
How can we remember him?
Did we really know him?
Could anyone?

Silence, prayers, words, a sense
Rain falling on asphalt, grass, tombstones, dirt
Each making their own sound as the droplets bounce

On the drive back
A full rainbow
All across the sky, left, above, right
We want to pass under it, but it recedes as we drive
Through it we see the green of the mountain
The blue of the sky
The white of the clouds
Illuminating the thoughts of these days
And the path ahead

Step by step

By step

Long Time

It has been a long time since my last post. I have been very busy during these first months of 2012. I did find time to write some poems for publication. No luck. I also wrote a couple of science fiction short stories. They remain somewhat unfinished. One is actually pretty close to the ‘final’ edit, though sometimes every edit feels like the final edit.

It is a rare day lately that I find myself with something to write. Late 2011 through early 2012 was an exceptional period for me, starting to write in my mid-50’s when my son showed me Reddit, writing short stories there, discovering Twitter, pounding out a dozen three-line poems a day several days a week, discovering WordPress, republishing short stories and tweets, finding pictures for possible poems, writing the poems, discovering Duotrope, creating poems and stories for publication, sending them out, waiting, collecting rejection slips, trying again, and then moving my focus on to other aspects of my life.

On Wednesday, my wife’s father passed on. He was a difficult man who was hard to love, yet many people did. My wife’s mother has dementia, and we are setting up arrangements for her.

Wednesday and Thursday were very intense days. On both days, driving home in the rain with my son, I saw rainbow after rainbow, larger, brighter, and closer than any others that I’ve ever seen in my life.

On Friday morning, I woke up with the phrase ‘Rainbows and Rain’ in my head, so I sat down to write a poem. After I wrote it and went through the usual ten drafts, I looked up the phrase on Google and found a book with that title published in 2005. It is about mourning and grief. I don’t know anything about the book, but it was interesting that someone else thought of the same connection.

This is not a poem that I want to send out to seven markets and wait 120 days for an answer, which in most cases (all so far for me) is ‘no’. This poem has me feeling closer to how I felt in 2011, when I sent out so many three line poems on Twitter and rapidly read the work of other poets, my poems taking on aspects of others, their poems sometimes taking angles of mine, and watching my best work re-tweeted to ever larger audiences. Experiencing the dynamic of poets creating, absorbing, and recreating, in fast real-time, was one of the high points of my life. Perhaps someday I’ll go back to that when the time is right, when life is simpler and I again hear the call.

Today, I need to talk. Sometimes, you just want to have someone listen for a while. Then it is their turn. But today, it is my turn.

New York Hoofing

New York sense
Truck fumes and noise
Taxi cabs, diesel buses, overhead trains
Hot dog vendors, street festivals, Central Park
Penn Station, Port Authority, handbag hawkers, three card monte

New York working in the streets
Pulling my weight plus the load on the road
My boss is on my back again
Seven days a week
Go twenty blocks
Earn my pay
Day after day

New York rhythm
Seven a week
Get me there now
Beat, beat, walking

Go twenty blocks
Away from here
Day after day
Beat, beat, walking

Left foot right foot
Earning my pay
Day after day
Beat, beat, walking

Born and die in
New York City

Born and die in
New York City

Straight to the park
Riding me there
Not really fair
Beat, beat, walking

Left foot right foot
Nothing to say
Earning my pay
Beat, beat, walking

Go twenty blocks
Day after day
Eating my hay
Beat, beat, walking
Beat, beat, walking