Sunday, April 25, 2021



The opposite of death isn’t just life.

It’s a hovering hummingbird’s elastic nest

Tethered together with spider silk threads.

It’s rowing until I’m out of breath,

Pulling and reaching, pulling and reaching

When all I have to do is stop.

It’s the sponginess of a lawn

After an April deluge and the winter melt.

It’s like walking over thin ice

While pretending you’re weightless,

Each step a hesitant trespass

Onto an expanse of cloudy glass.

It’s never stopping, continuous motion

The illusion of the blur of wings

Filling in all the empty spaces,

Making circles of light in the darkness

With our Fourth of July sparklers.  

The opposite of death

Is just the moment you catch your breath

While the opposite of life is that stack

Of unread New Yorkers rising from my desk.

It’s running out of time,

It’s forgetting to pick up flowers,

Forgetting to email you back.

It’s chalking up your loneliness 

To the whims of being misunderstood.

It’s a stop-action photo 

Of a hummingbird in mid flight,

The Great White who succumbs

To stillness just before it sinks.

The opposite of life is everything 

That doesn’t happen but should.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021


Half Moon II, variation

I have a tendency to ignore

The caution yellow glow of half moon,

Instinctively peering around the corner of the arc

To see the cratered dark side gloom.

I see the whole even when the half is enough.

All the things you want to hide:

The wrinkles, the pimples,

The broccoli caught in your teeth,

The lint in your ears,

The flecks of flour in your hair,

The scars and asymmetric dents,

The weight of years that drags at flesh,

The weaknesses, the soft spots,

The moles, the blemishes,

Deep rueful regrets etched 

Into a face that once 

Had a chance to say yes,

The quirks and carelessnesses,

All the elisions and evasions.

I know I am strange but not unique.

There are others like me,

Overly critical and sometimes mean

Who quickly mark the unmentionable,

The not quite concealable things.

So I stash the few things I like

About myself over there in the

Gloaming of my moon’s vaults.

I’m hoping some freak, someone like me,

Might stumble upon them

When they’re rooting around in the night,

Trespassing, invading my privacy,

Sifting through all my faults. 


I want to surprise her when it happens.

I want her to be the one

Who brings them into the light.



Poem #23

The mistake we make

With some of our poems

Is thinking we can package

The lightning flash of a life

Into a compact series of lines,

That it’s just a matter of choosing well;

Words, faces, scenes,

Glimpses into the sublime

Or the surreal,

Even the anodyne

When circumstances call.

Look, I’ve bundled a bouquet

Of wild flowers and you’re 

Already reaching for the vase.

You’re across the room

While everyone is chattering

But I’ve already caught your eyes.

Poems aren’t just lies

That capture the truths

Of everyday life.

The big poem is perpetually ongoing. 

It never tires or stops to rest.

It never had a beginning

And the stanzas keep coming

From us, as life demands.

Sure, we forget our words,

Miss a chance to make a rhyme

And maybe lose the rhythm

From time to time.

This one here, for example,

Is starting to wrap itself up.

I’ve done all I can to keep it alive

Verse after desperate verse.

I’m not ready for it to end 

But I’ve run out of words

And lost the cadence.

So I pass the page to you

And let you borrow my pen.

It’s up to you to keep it going

Or be the one who writes, the end.


Sunday, April 18, 2021



I’ve always been a scavenger. And I suppose that’s the problem. Welded together out of scraps.  An empty tin shell of armor. Can’t hurt me if there’s nothing there.  Fire away.  Nary a scratch. A long abandoned hollow where a heart used to beat. Rap on the chest of the knight in the museum. That long slow-fading dong.  Sounds are just waves. Disturbances in the air. Just because you stop hearing it doesn’t mean it’s gone. The rest of life drowns it out. The sound that continues past the perceptible is the sound that reverberates after your own heart stops. It joins a wave.  It’s part of a hurricane that ravages your shore.  That last beat, it comes back in spades. That rock you chuck into the water from the bridge.  It keeps expanding in ever widening circles. Ripples radiating out from you, the stone that sinks. Shipwrecks scattering the ocean floor. There’s treasure down there. There’s you, and more.  


Thursday, April 15, 2021


 Doom Scroll

Water just flows, wherever the land will take it.  Carves out a canyon. Leaves the dust behind.  The flowers just bloom.  Soon there’s a field of them in a meadow, wobbling in the summer winds.  Squirrels scramble up and down trees. Little claws clutching into the bark. The sound of an old sailor carving his name into a block of wood.  He dutifully occupies his remaining time.  We people watch. We doom scroll.  We stare into space.  Wondering what she really meant to say.  Our heart rates flutter around an un-concerning mean.  We drink and feel the urge to void. I breathe. My lips are not blue.  Everything is working rather well.  But what are we doing? I don’t want to leave behind a hole, a jagged, scraped out rut. Scars in the flesh of the earth.  I want to be the rushing river that catches the rousing sun just right. I want to be the caught glint of light that leans out over the edge of the glistening black rock. Everything goes white and then a slurry of orange and red. I can hear the raucous crash down below.  I want to be the last moment just before the fall.  


Sunday, April 11, 2021



She said I’m becoming a young lady

When I asked her if she understood what was 

Happening to her body and such.

She said it with a mixture of pride

And embarrassment, a twinkle in her still-a-kid eye,

A pink flush in the same cheeks

I used to pinch at bath time.  

Which prompted the unsolicited apprehension

That I was becoming an older man

Myself, which I sort of relished 

With my own ad hoc mixture 

Of accomplishment and foreboding.  

Visions appeared of when I was twelve;

Wisps of pubic hairs, scrawny thighs

A pimple boring into my back like an awl

And I envied her relative self possession.

The first flash of a woman just dawning.

Becoming happens whether we know

Where we’re going or when we’ve arrived.

Beginning-less and destination-less,

The doggedness of un-belonging.

I know I won’t be around to hear her sigh

And whisper into a mirror the old lament---

I have become an old lady---

Some desultory grayed Tuesday morning

Which makes me want to cry

And I cry too much for a grown man

Though I'm known as even-keeled and cold.

I want to tell her about crying,

How deep and complex it is,

Beyond just cuts and nicks and mother’s deaths.

That we can cry when we love so deeply---

This child, this life, this morning song---

That crying is the only linguistic refuge

Available when we can't find the words.

Like how we must breathe 

When the air runs out

And find we’ve dived too deep.

Love inosculates itself with grief

As spring commingles with fall.

We forget to laugh with the daffodils

While mournlessly ignoring

The descent of the last leaf.

It all runs around together:

Gains and losses,

Things we cling to,

Piles of discarded rubbish,

Coming and going, this way or that,

It’s easy to lose track.

Love can surprisingly sting in the

Same sense that sadness

Can descend as welcome relief.  

I won’t tell her yet

About the old men who weep

For all the time they’ve lost

To gain this one moment of bliss,

How love and loss become two sides

Of the same coin that we flip

And call heads or tails and

Wait for it to never come down.



Tuesday, April 6, 2021



I’m not ready for this to end.  I like my mask, my half hidden face.  I never liked my warped smile.  I’ll delete every picture you take.  I can tell you everything I know with a glance and an arched brow.  I’m a natural at social distancing.  Six feet under is never enough.  I go deeper.  As long as there’s a wall of dirt I won’t stop clawing.  Until I fall through the bottom.  I imagine it pure and quiet and gray.  The light is like the sun through the petals of white Dahlias.  Gauzy and antiseptic. I can’t get sick here. There’s nothing to catch.  I’m safe and uncontagious.  I can forget up from down.  I can learn to throw a ball with my left.  I can forget.  I’m writing about digging.  I’m covering my mouth when I cough.  Some habits are hard to break.  It’s the easiest way to do no harm.  I forgot how to love. And now I can't spell the curve of your hips. The only thing I feel is the dull ache in my arm. I stay busy. Keep my mind both occupied and clear. I forget to look up, to catch the one who chooses to follow me here.  


Saturday, April 3, 2021



I've felt it like a splinter in the foot, for years. Learned how to lean to keep the weight off it. Only sleep on my left side. Like how I learned to half smile to hide the gap where my front tooth got knocked out.  More of a dull ache, a gnawing itch than a sharp pain.  2/10 on the scale. Or a flat line face, neither a frown or a smile. Feigned phlegmatic indifference. It never goes away.  It’s always there and if you catch it just right I’m on the floor. Reflexive flinches and self defensive retreats.  Why do we let the sharpest burrs burrow so deep?  Why do we assume the body will just heal, that the scars will layer it like blankets so you can’t feel the pea.  We always bury the things we ought to free.  I’m ready to cut it out now.  Have gathered all my tools.  Close the door please.  Don’t be alarmed when you hear me scream.  The festering core has made a home of me.  Extracting it always stings.