Monday, February 28, 2022



Your truth is everything

Wrapped inside the lies

We’re the ones dawdling 

In the foyer of a festive house 

Holding hats and heavy coats

Waiting for someone

To kindly take them away 

We shouldn't have worn coats.

We’ll drink too much wine

And forget these comforting lies

When it's time to go home 

And the wind will remind us

It's always been better

To wrap ourselves in layers

When we finally arrive

At the place where it feels safe

I’ll strip you down

To your raw pink until you’re

Trembling in the soft gray

Light of a true half moon

But you don’t get to undress me.

My socks stay on

No matter what

And you’ll never pry

This shirt from my back 

I won’t get peeled like an onion 

These threads won't unspool

What will you do

If it’s just lies all the way through,

If beneath the lies

Is something neither false nor true

Like an axiom propped up by relativity

Or the noble lie that helped me survive?

Whatever it is

I hope it’s you

Who finds the way in 

And conjures a way

To kindly tell me

The truth  


Monday, February 21, 2022



Everything gets forgotten. Not just you and me.  I forgot my keys.  Forgot the meaning of the word misbegotten.  Forgot the name of the poet who wrote that love is the original light that disperses into all colors. Forgot the name of the one who said a self portrait always gets painted in its original color.  We all get forgotten.  The best you can do is to become a name like Thomas Jefferson, like Marlowe, like Epictetus.  Nobody remembers them. Every history is a myth.  Every poem a kindly lie.  Every essay a sheepish apologia. All light emerges from darkness. And to darkness does it return. It’s best to be forgotten.  Our only hope is that the last person who remembers us finally dies.  Then you’re a poem.  Tucked between the covers of a book you hope some kid will someday read.  This is the art of life.


Saturday, February 12, 2022


 A Name

If all you are is a name 

You can be disappeared.

Ask someone you love

To say your name

Over and over and over

Until it becomes

Just a meaningless word 



 Moral of the Story

I’m in the phase of life when the moral kicks in

Most of the relevant antagonists and foils

Have already been introduced

And a general adversarial tone has been established

If there was a turning point I missed it

All that’s left now is anti-climax

And a long scudding denouement

Now it’s just lesson after lesson

Smacking me upside the head

All the hard truths bursting forth like crocuses

Eager to be looked at and watered  

All that build-up and exposition for this?

I’m the hare getting whipped by a tortoise

The unreachable grape just before it spoils


Wednesday, February 9, 2022


The Gravity of Water

Glaciers are just heavy rivers

Flowing at deliberate rates

Swollen beyond their banks

Rain and snow are also kinds of river—

Which is water in its most natural state,

Feeling the slant and flowing downhill,

Falling until finding a level plain.

But even here it isn’t done,

Dissolving the very earth

That would cradle its final fall.

All rivers are handmaidens to gravity,

Invisible Circe whispering

Runes from eager seashores.

Man himself is 70% water

And we too are always trending downhill.

I can’t help it if I’m just 

Water flowing through you,

Following the laws of nature

Finding the cracks

In this fragile rock

Seeking a level place to pool

Before the ground gives way

I’d like to be the clear mountain spring 

Somewhere deep in your catacombs,

A holy place of respite,

Your secret place of retreat
When lips and tongue are dry.

Come kneel on my soft

Verdant bank as much as you like.

Cup your hands together and sip

Whenever it seems all the water

Has run clear out of you.



 Parts of Speech

What kind of word is love?

Is it a noun, something we point 

To like a tree or a bird,

The first cresting of a winter sunrise?

Or is it just a sterile abstraction

Summing mysteries we couldn’t describe otherwise?

There are those who say love is action

That it must be understood as a verb.

Holding your hand in the dark

Lashing you with wet spaghetti 

When you’re trying to stir the sauce 

A glass of bourbon waiting for when you get home

After the boss forgot to give you a break.

It’s showing up, every single day. 

Bringing you coffee

Flowers at work 

Belting out Sweet Caroline in the shower

But substituting your name.

Being there at the finish line 

Noticing when you bloom

Never looking through you

Always having time  

A series of acts that becomes a way of life

And near the end it stops moving so much

As everything else slows down.

Less is needed, less is done.

As things stop happening, a world takes shape. 

It becomes a noun again, a proper noun

With a capital L

Like a person with a name

That can only approximate the totality

Of all the things done

Of everything we have touched 

Of all we have left.

It isn’t close to being enough.

But I can whisper your name

As you snooze against my chest.

Some things must be named to be known

No matter how paltry the parts of speech.

We do the best we can.

We wait for the sun to pause its dawn ascent

For the clocks to momentarily stop

For a world rife with too many verbs and nouns

To dissolve into a wordless here and now 

And in the space before our next collective breath,

I whisper your name, the Love of my life


Tuesday, February 8, 2022



The earth does what it can to heal itself

It has its own bag of tricks 

An assortment of medicinal potions

That used to always work.

Atmospheric ice crystals eventually

Glom together into thick fluttering flakes

That coalesce into warm cottony blankets

For a trembling world gone frail and meatless

Nothing but skin and bones down here,

Old boy, god help us all,

Stripped down towns, liens and defaulted loans

Rusted out stamping plants with vast 

Empty parking lots stubbled with tufts of grass.

Disappointed mothers, defeated fathers, 

Angry offspring who never visit or call

We’ve got high deductible health care plans

Car's in the shop again 

Bitten down fingernails

Alcohol and pain pills,

Pantries stacked with tin cans of tuna 

Mass death, mass delusion

Everyone on their very last nerve

A bankruptcy of decency

And so it snows.

Falling down

In layers covering

Bare trees shivering in the wind like ribs

Arching over the wan tepid heart of the world.

A white salve to the yellow brown scabs 

Pocking a land gone sallow and cachectic

With widely metastatic disease

Of an unknown origin.

But the snow is a transient balm

The snow never lasts 

When the spring comes

And the snowpack melts 

The ravenous world wakes,

Hungry enough to eat what’s left of itself


Sunday, February 6, 2022


 Three Chances

I’m incapable of forgiving anyone twice.

What did you expect?

The everlasting Christ?

My grace is the avoidance of strife

And so my mind vibrates between

A vague idiotic contentment

And the certainty that I’m

Making the biggest mistake of my life.

A father can leave once.

He can flood the earth with deluge

But he has to come back and

Arch an rainbow for an obdurate son.

He can't do it again, though.

It’s that second departure,

That buggers everything up.

Only one son ever claimed infinite mercy.

I’m too deep in my own shit,

Scrambling around, making amends

For a litany of predictable failures and

Unnecessary emotional contractures

To even notice the familiar old man

Kneeling in penitent supplication

On the cracked driveway out front,

Quietly pleading for yet another chance.

He's not really there, though,

It's all just a dream.

But I check all the time.

I'm watching from the window now.


Thursday, February 3, 2022


Soft Landing

Yesterday’s snow fell sharp and fast

Like the snapped off tips

Of a thousand hypodermic needles

Hurtling earthward in a rush to land.

It made the sound of sand

Sifting through an hourglass,

Each grain a piercing wound

Passing through the narrowest waist.

Ice lashed my numbed face

Like a blast of birdshot

From close range welting

Flesh already blotched and frozen.

Today, it slowly wafts down in 

Beautifully complex flakes,

Flitting in slow leisurely waltzes

Toward a landing certain to be soft.