Sunday, June 28, 2020



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



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


Friday, June 19, 2020



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.


Sunday, June 7, 2020


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.


Monday, June 1, 2020


Poem #14

You say my poems are all so dark,
Devoid of light or hope or positivity.
But it's a transactional world,
Cold, cashless, stark,
At best a cool reciprocity.

Ok, I’ll try again.
I’ll remove that metaphor 
And show you my son.
Instead of a rhyme 
I’ll peel this orange
And take my damn time.

The juice that squirts you in the eye
Could have been avoided
With a much closer reading.
That citric sere is the same pain
Of looking up at a solar eclipse.

I can strip it all down,
Naked and raw and bare.
No more showing the wind
By the tremoring of leaves in the trees.
That thing you know as breeze
Is just the ever present 
Stillness that kneels for prayer.

I'm trying to soften the edges
Of directness so it doesn't hurt.
Watch yourself!
When it stops being a poem
It reverts to the original seed
That I’ll plant any damn place I please.