Saturday, November 23, 2019



Alarms are going off.
The lights are all strobing. 
Municipal sirens wailing,
A skein of geese is honking
As they fly low over my back deck.
The warnings are all around us;
It’s a widespread global panic.

That time the engines went out on my plane
Halfway over the North Atlantic.
The flames flickering from the port side wing,
The sudden thousand foot drop,
Stewards collapsed crying in the galley
As we looped around back to Gander
With the sea rising to meet us

Icebergs and not enough dinghies,
It’s hard to get the count just right.
A vast underestimation 
Of the effects of gravity,
Of the full steam ahead on the Titanic.
Shovel another heap of coal onto the fires.
Burn the whole pile of black earth..

The trains are arriving in the east,
Screeching iron on iron,
The women to the right, men to the left.
The gander strut and stick out their chests.
The geese get no rest.
The migration south is now unending.
Too many people go about their business
without a care, without proper sense of tragedy.

I can't see the geese;
Haunted warnings from behind the low gray clouds,
Or perhaps plumes of acrid smoke,
you cant tell sometimes.
The blackened hillside of charred trees,
The shadows thin and pitiful.

Above, the sky looks clawed,
the fading white contrails of attacking planes,
the leaves turning, falling.
October feels like summer.
It's getting warmer and warmer.
The birds don't even have to leave.


Monday, November 18, 2019



Between cases I looked out the great highway-facing windows
To the see my swaying grasses again
In the swale by the overpass.

But there was a stillness instead.
The wind had died.
The world was out of breath.
All this churn and struggle,
The constant motion to and fro.

Lone leafless tree erupting from the ground like a claw
Clutching the exceptional nothingness.
You want to fill its branches with blossoms and nests.

I place a mirror before my face to see it fog.
I check to see if my chest still rises and falls.
It rises and falls,
Yes, it rises and falls.


Saturday, November 16, 2019


The Hernia

How did I get it doc, they always ask.
What did I do wrong?
Hard to know I always say.
Maybe you coughed.
That log you lifted.
Blame the foreman, blame your father.
More likely it wasn't your fault.
The ultimate etiology remains in ambiguity
Because it really isn’t anything at all.
It’s just a hole, a gap in your continuity,
An absence that becomes a weakness
Ripe for attack.
Your empty spaces always get filled
Some how, some way.
Sometimes with the things we don’t need,
The things that can hurt.



Poem #8

You always make a note of the benchmarks and milestones
Anniversaries, first date, first kiss
The first time I spent the night.
Dates and times
Places, major events
Your lodestars and handholds
Recorded for your own private posterity.
You write things down,
Make marks on calendars.
I recall them too, with prompting
(I’m not some daft ass)
But you have to remind me. 
You have to tell me the details,
The color of the carpet,
The Cabernet or Merlot,
The broken up guy in the untucked button down
He’s too old to be out with those kids.
The amber glint of light in your hair
In this heretofore shadowed place.
How the corners of your eyes
Crack like struck glass
When you lose yourself in a true laugh.
The purple napkin on a beige table.
The mismatched sock.
The concave shape of the hotel soap.
The faux brass of an airport bar.
You think I'm not paying attention
But I'm drinking in all of that,
The lost trifles, the peripheral filler
The unseen, the unheard.
That’s where all the poetry is,
That's what brings it all back to life.
All those throwaway details and lines
Are the ones I’m always trying to catch.



Still Life

You can be the guy who stares at the walls,
Lights dimmed
Ceiling fan spins
Counting down the visions of wrong decisions,
Who cranks up the AC in summer
With a blanket wrapped around his shoulders,
Looks out the window and waits for the fall.

Orange leaves
Oranges in a bowl
Cezanne still life
Frozen in time
Unmoved by pain or strife.
The only thing that changes is the light
Which changes everything
Morning, noon and night
The frosting of dust
On the domes of softening fruit.

You can be the guy who waits for the shadows
To wrap around the orbs
Drag them into the pits of hell
Like demons.
The guy who stares at the walls
And counts to himself
The missed chances,
Fluttering lips.
1:16 pm, November 13th
Won’t come round again
Not ineluctably like this,
Spinning around this predictably elliptical path.
You are the guy who is here for this.


Sunday, November 10, 2019



The leaves sure know how to die.
They got it figured out all right.
Lighting themselves on fire
In a last-gasp mass immolation,
a conflagration of orange red yellow
splashed across the barren browns of autumn.
The flickering embers of dying fires
Everyone thinks it’s a final flourish,
A man in full near the end.
He found his way
After so many twists and turns 
He found his way
After so many wrong turns

But they’ve been choking for weeks,
Siphoned of life by the trees
When the chlorophyll gets cut off.
They’ve already extracted all the fuel they need
To survive the long winter.
Enough in nature is always enough.

And so they just let go and fall;
Gentle swaying downward de-lofting
Meandering as the wind blows
Quilting the quiescent lawns below.
It’s nice for a while
But everyone soon turns to go
Back inside to their TV's and screens.
The lawn service will come next week
To dispose of the browning nuisance.
The leaves wait until then to decay.
The leaves have some couth.
The leaves know how to die.
Curled like rheumatoid fists
Off stage, when no one is looking,
Desiccated thin potato crisps
Crunching under your boots, beneath the snow.

Fall gave way to winter and now no one cares.
We got what we wanted out of them:
Oxygen, removal of carbon dioxide,
One sublime ride through the rural hillside.
Look kids, I am showing you beauty.
Look at them closely, all you damn kids
Pay attention to the messages they leave.
I still have an orange leaf in a box in the attic
Pressed between laminated sheets,
Second grade science.
Veined lines like ancient
Glyphs on scrolls and parchments
Rosetta stones of our own time
We each get a leaf etched with our own name.
That’s the leaf you have to find.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Poem, dumb

...welcome to the meta world

I'm operating in order to operate
I'm speaking in order to speak
Typing  in order to form words
speak speak, it's just another form of form
of words that can be heard or read
eat, sleep sex work sex norm
i am living a life that is normal
as a person who feels abnormal
this is normal ok?
I am telling myself to tell myself that
this is normal ok?  ok?
as I think about thinking about
how far I fall short
of normal or sane
as I look back on this life lived as I am living it
as i check box scores
check my ratings
my self assessments
my satisfaction scores
I am no good
not as good as i hoped to be
i am defining the good
and the good is beyond the words
beyond the forms of the words to be
beyond the re-measurables
the sharpness of the blade
the tensile strength
the finitude the wins above average
the counting and the grouping of numbers
it all hinges on that
it's a constant battle, a lifelong WAR
i have tried and trued and this is no good
and this is all there is

the villains steal the
money and get away with it
I have stolen a life
once, whisper whisper, don't tell
I show up and show up and showed up
i will show up
and make amends
and make it all right
I will be present
every day for rounds for work
for the next case, the person in a room
the place that some would call a room
while others would say it's just a place that is called a room
where i am
i am there to be there
i am here to be there to have been there
I am looking in a mirror
and seeing myself in that room
in this place
and this becomes the narrative
the recurring motif
with this person in a bed
seeing myself looking in a mirror seeing myself
seeing a person grimacing
myself, this person in a bed
my friend
trying my best to be
this good friend
this good form
a good man
who was a friend
trying to be good
who was a man
who looked for a friend
who saw a man who was himself