Tuesday, July 14, 2020

poem

Chaff 

Let’s learn to make jam
Spend the day picking berries
Laughing at our blue stained hands

Let’s learn to make flour
Thresh our wheat from the chaff
Grind the seeds with a coffee mill

Let’s learn to make soap
Wear aprons and goggles
And boil our lavender lilac oils

Let’s choose a way
To frame our days 
As a series of attempted tasks

Let’s pretend we don’t care
About what happens in the end

We’ll start with a winking irony
While all the time

Earnestly hoping
Our warm biscuits

Loaded with sweet jam
Taste utterly delicious

Lick our fingers and
Forget to wash our hands.

7/14/20

poem

Song Of America

I obey the klaxon
Of metal against metal
Sharp against skin
The crunch of dry bone
Walls red speckled
Sirens too close home
Lock-down drill, get in,
Get under the desks
Just move, don’t think
Rhythm and melody
Rhythm or beat
Bright light klink
Of bullet into tin pan
Dark alleys unlit
Play hit after hit after
Hit

7/14/20

Thursday, July 9, 2020

poem

Superpowers

Given a choice of superpowers
I would opt for teleportation:
To be way the hell over there,
Time warp tripping,
Snap my fingers, someplace else,
The realm of pure imagination.
No reason, no rhyme,
Beyond the bounds of space or time,
Limited only by the whims of desire.

But all superheroes have a weakness.
My particular Kryptonite
Would be a humble acceptance,
A nostalgia for the known and near,
A sense that everything I needed
Was always just 
Right
Here.

7/9/20


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

poem

Cemeteries

Symbols that have meaning:
Words,
Numbers,
Etchings in stone.
Scars,
Whistling winds,
Stacked bones.
Scatterings of dandelion seeds,
Parachuting to new homes.

7/6/20

Sunday, July 5, 2020

poem

Comet

I once thought that true love
Was when someone saw your real face,
The way you saw yourself
When you liked yourself,
Which was a Halley’s comet event.
Ha, that’s not true;
You've always exaggerated your discontent.

What if what she loves is like this poem:
A trifling splurge
Of rhythmic words 
And heartfelt momentary truth?

What if all she sees is the once in a lifetime
Flash of your phosphorescent tail
Just before your core of dust and ice
Rounds the corner on its ellipse
Through the vast darkness of space?

What if the actual truth is she sees
Only a shimmering of earth-bound fireflies
In the stillness of midnight skies,
The polished void of black glass,
While the universe flows
And your real face
Is long long passed.

7/5/20

Friday, July 3, 2020

poem

Vantage Point

We are all just a vantage point,
Random pull-over panoramic lookouts
Off Shenandoah’s Skyline Drive,
Dusty detours to desert sunset vistas
Along scorching southwestern highways.
Shattered mirrors, scattered
Shards of rhomboid glass
Reflecting views
Of a world desperate
To see itself.


7/2/20

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Poem

Lockdown

In a lockdown
There’s not enough room
For a showdown.
We retreat to quiet homes
After sundown.
Stare at screens
Press your hands
Against opposite walls.
Pace the narrow halls
While the sound 
Of an unwatched TV
Haunts the next room.
I want to strip down
And wander the night alone,
Step on sharp stones,
Let the thorns slash my skin,
Come what may.
Let me be the prey
Of the hunters
Of the wood.
I hear everything.
The moon strikes silver.
The smell of fear.
It’s good.
It’s good
To 
Be 
Here

6/28/20

Poem

Make the Bed

The city sleeps way past dawn
During the enforced lock down.
These morning gray clouds look blanketed,
Heaped up, fluffed, unruly.
I get that anxious feeling of seeing my unmade bed.
A deep itch prompts an obsessional reach
For the sky to find the edges.
Then I’m tugging at the corners
Snapping down the sides
Tucking them in tight.
The hollows in the billows
Of the duvet are just shadows
But I smooth them down all the same.


The sun lurks, bursting white through gaps.
By noon the clouds will have moved on
Dispersed by spring winds,
Burned off by the heat of day.
For the sun can be structurally ruinous.
What remains--- this clearness, the sun and this blueness, then the moon and the stars so luminous,
It’s almost too much,
Enough to ruin us.
For the time allotted to prepare always seems too brief
When the natural world drops its veil and bares its teeth.

At night, even the heavens gets cold and weary
And need to bundle up for a good night's rest.
I can hear the groaning lurch of clouds moving in
As I turn down the bedding and brush my teeth.
It’s time to slide into my squared off cocoon
Of blankets and pillows and sheets.
Set the alarm, count the sheep.

But the drift into sleep is an untightening.
The tenets of a delusional order fall away;
Pillows find their way to the floor
Sheets are bunched in a ball by my feet
And the blankets are nowhere to be found.
I always wake up shivering
Exposed pale legs,
Goose-bumped arms,
The scream without a sound,
Falling asleep without a shirt.
Wake up!
The sun burnt skin is only half the hurt

6/28/20




Friday, June 19, 2020

poem

Contrecoup


Def: a form of traumatic brain injury that occurs on the opposite side of the head from which the impact occurred.  

The old man approached gamely
But they jacked him backward,
Awkward stumble, skull cracked
Against urban gray cement.
He lay supine motionless
As black booted cops
High stepped over his fallen
Form in helmeted nonchalance
As blood seeped into the streets
And now we’re in the streets
Holding signs, chanting
Kneeling in pious rage
While American blood seeps
Into our scraped knees,
Breaking windows, breaking chains.
The brain floats in fluid,
Suspended untethered, glides
Like the bubble in a tilted level
The more you know the position
The less certain you are of its speed
Of change, which can be measured
But once you look down it’s gone.
You roll your eyes,
Chalk it up to signaling virtue
But you had the first whack
And by the logic of the contrecoup
The decent and the good will gather
And momentum always strikes back.

6/19/20


Sunday, June 7, 2020

poem

Short Version

This is the short version
Of something I’ve been trying to say.
I won't waste words,
There’s not enough time in the day.
The longer version meanders through forests,
Spirals around the rings of cross cut trunks,
Up and down geological strata,
Soil samples to be analyzed in the lab.
The long version is always too much data,
All the open ended whys and wherefores.
I just want to belt out the catchy chorus
On endless loop until you get the point.

Here’s the gist:
I don’t have time to read you the full article
But I’ve abstracted what is essential.
Some things you can’t overthink.
Just find the theme
Or at least a recurring motif.
It’s better when we try to be brief.
You can know this tree well enough
By pulling down just one leaf.

6/7/20