Wednesday, June 23, 2021


 Poem #24

Soundless scream

Pen that can’t write

200 pounds of muscle

In a zero gravity room

Eating without a gut

It all comes back chewed 

Bon mots

When no one around

Clean cleats of a rainout, the

Emptiness of wet dreams.

Something came 

And ransacked

An unsuspecting mind

Left nothing but

A poem behind   



 Needle Biopsy

It takes one needle stick

A couple millimeters

Just to the right

To lash an artery,

Puncture a child’s lung.

So tempting to wander off the path

Toward that forest of surly pines

Hundreds of years imbibing

From a surging river of blood

Leaching into the soil.

Current is too quick to clot.

And all you can do is pack and pack and pack

As much pressure as it takes

To plug an empty space

Flooding like water into the cabin

Of a rapidly sinking yacht.

One match 


Near a refinery

One prion clinging 

To a cutlet of beef

An uncovered cough,

That elicits a missed glance.

A stone dropped plop

Into a pond from a bridge

Ripples into tsunami

Butterfly effects 

One thing into the next 

The black ice

On the downslope

Of the hill you've

Already rolled down



The way.

I can't help but slip.

It’s not a pin prick,

Scarlet proof of life,

That you suck to stanch

It’s an impalement ,

Razor thin sharp

And just as bitter

To taste. 

It won’t clot

Until I press myself

Hard against

Lacerated flesh

And never let you go 


Sunday, June 20, 2021


 Dads and Sons

We lift our baby boys

High above our heads

When they are born

Like ancestral offerings.

It’s on us to show our sons

This holy view from on high,

The one they won't remember

Until looking down on us in bed

Days before we die.

I took my own dad’s absences

And surreptitiously hid them

In the hollows of my bones.

Bones hold their hardness

But rarely empty until

Long after we’re dead.

My boy’s bones are flush

With a seething fleshy marrow

That I’d never ask him to share.

I’m still here.

I’ve flung myself into rivers

From great arching heights,

Emptying my lungs

With long expiring howls

On the way down.

It’s my bones that

Helped me stay afloat.

I’ve tried to chart a path

But he always finds his own way,

Anxious splashing across the Chagrin

Soaking his socks and shoes

After I’d meticulously

Hopscotched across,

Stone after stone,

In order to stay dry.

But he’s the one having all the fun.

How can I be the dad

When I still feel like a son?

What view will I recall

When my old man is gone?

Maybe I’ll just pour the rest

Of what I have left into my boy,

See how it goes.

Maybe that’s how it goes,

Fullness passing into emptiness,

Voids giving rise to the robust,

Alternating, generation after generation.

One, light as air

Straining to lift

Away into the sky

Like helium balloons

But tethered by sons

Who become dads

Firmly anchored

In the ground.


Tuesday, June 15, 2021



A lot of us have some sort of impediment

Lashing us to an iron stake on shore.

We never quite launch even 

Though our ship is loaded and ready.

Every minute that goes by, our

Craft sinks deeper into sediment.

But we’re always on the verge of starting

Our speeches, our finely honed

Discourses on love or rage

Without ever saying a single word.

We make listeners uncomfortable

And we’ve learned to play it off like John Cage

But we don’t get it; it isn’t the silence

That makes our audiences

Look down at their shoes;

It’s the ineffectual efforts to break it.

I’m like a golfer with the yips,

Overthinking the simplest of things.

Right grip light, pretend you're 

Holding an infant by the hand.

Easy oscillant backswing like grandpa’s

Metronymic head shaking in derision.

Practice swing upon practice swing, 

It's the only way not to miss.

I also have this unfortunate stutter of the heart

That happens at the most inopportune times.

Like when everything melts away 

Except for the one true thing

And it's up to me

To best express it.

But just as I commence 

Something always goes awry.

In that moment when a good heart

Ought to swell before it flutters,

Mine tends to skip a few beats

And I mistake the fluency 

Of the silences for esoteric profundity.

It doesn’t hold up to scrutiny

All this self induced suffering.

But I know of no quick fixes.

There’s more in the silences

Than you can possibly hear.

You’d have to look to realize this.

If I had to depict it on the page

You’d see dashes and commas 

In the gaps between the words

And a series of periods of ellipses.


Saturday, June 12, 2021


Code Blue

When the code is finally called

Everyone is down-low relieved

All the shouting and frantic

Bustling can finally cease.

We all back slowly away from the gurney.

        Time of death, four thirty-three.

It's quite a mess.

Blood like spilt wine 

On the gray linoleum floor.

A pale bloated body exposed

Under phosphorescent lights.

Tubes jutting from orifices.

The smell of urine and shit.

        A nurse goes to get a blanket.

It isn’t like the movies or even TV

Where the dead are shocked back to life.

It generally ends like this:

Cracked ribs, split lips

The guy on chest compressions

Bent over gasping against a wall.

A newly dead body is a colorless rainbow

Arching across space in the expected pattern

But drained of all defining hues.

        Not quite white, not quite blue 

Death only seems inevitable once it’s here.

The corpse is covered.

The doors are closed

To seal the tomb

By the last person to leave.

Then the idle chatter resumes

In the spaces outside the silent room.

Monitors start beeping again.

Everything is in motion again.

EMT's usher in new arrivals

That are accepted like droplets of rain.

About the body, nothing more is said 

We've returned to the living

        And the not quite dead.


Wednesday, June 9, 2021


Letting Be

I gave up on myself

Before I learned to let it go.

You ever chase a squirrel

Or an anxious puppy

Or a backyard butterfly darting

Just out of reach?

After a while it seems hopeless

You’ll never catch it

The fun doesn't last.

You end up frustrated, breathless.

Like chasing after a love

That's right in front of your face.

Everything I have

I really shouldn’t keep.

Like this little brown toad

Cupped between my palms.

When I show it a sliver of light

It doesn’t need to be told when to leap.

But you cant let all the things go.

Some stick, like scabs 

That slough only when they’re ready.

The best is to learn to let things be.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021



It’s always been a bit of a joke

To see a surgeon wielding a stethoscope.

I wouldn’t know a murmur from a rumor

Of a cracked record's skipped beat.

I listen to my own heart

Though, when I’m alone

Or waiting at a stop light

Trying to decide which way to turn.

It’s good to know

Something inside is sure.

Doesn’t need to be told

When to race, when to cease.

I have to remind myself

To be kinder, more equable.

But the heart just beats

As fast as it needs.

I should listen more

To all the things of the world.

Like the trunk of this dying birch,

The rain drenched yard

Pushing up grass and clover,

Pulsing with surge after surge of sound.

I don't need this stethoscope to hear

The steady percussive thrum all around.