21 February 2015

Plenty Of Stone

Stark and therefore more beautiful 
So beautiful that it calls out

Its striking plainness
The lack of verdant lushness

Low grasses and weeds
Clusters of thorned shrubbery
Sweetened dust and pungent myrrh

Soil is at a premium here

From shapeless rock
An amphitheatre was chiselled
To glorify important lawmakers perhaps
Or to appease a thunderous oracle

Such a long time ago it was
The rain owns it now
Veils of time cover it
Snow and wind and sunlight

Orators, spectators, their substance altered
Who were they?  But they were, once
As you and I were once

You called out to me 

I could have touched your heart 
But for the stone

13 February 2015


“He’s dead,” she said.

“Yes, he died of cancer;
I heard about it.
Did you know him?”

“I knew of him, mostly.”       

He was not her sort
Therefore she tried to recall
All she could
This was intrigue to her

Three at the kitchen table 
In the cupboard across
The cherished wedding china displayed
Green scrollwork on white background
This visitor next to me
Had an air of elegance
But which elegance?
Trait or pretence?

She continued:
“Once in a while
I’d run into him at a coffee shop.”
 “What did you think of him?”
She narrowed her eyelids,

“He was somewhat of a rascal.
I considered him a reprobate
He cursed a lot, tough guy slang.”
“I don’t remember 
Cursing or slang,” I said.

“How could you remember? 
 You were so young!”
This from our hostess
As she poured coffee into porcelain cups
Green scrollwork on white background

“He had a mistress,
She was young,  
He bought her a car
They say he paid her rent, also.”

Our hostess poured cream offered sugar
“Sounds as though he kept her,” she said.
An old friend
She guessed why my curiosity

“What did his wife think?”
I asked.
“Nothing to think. She put up with it.”

“What happened to the girls?”

I always worried about those
Two daughters of his
Worried for their safety
They took the entrance exams
The son of a bitch
Wanted them to attend
My school

Did he still carry a knife?
I didn’t ask

I was happy to hear
What the visitor said
Even with limited information
I felt avenged 
It showed, his nature
He was a

It’s been almost half a century
Have I lived that long?

When I think of
Those late afternoons
During childhood
His presence hovering 
My state of confusion 
Hands smothering panic

I start to believe
I’ve lived long enough

Hang it up, hang it up
Filthy shard of an old
China cup
Spectral memories
Coil in the background
Hang it up they hiss

The three of us had coffee
Hot, strong
Late June
Late afternoon
The cool Sunday breeze
Inviting after
Saturday’s wedding
And we guests tired
From the night before

I live in the margins of life 
Those nightmares
What did I survive them for?

11 February 2015

Safely Hidden

The act of living
The reliving
Softly an ending 
A mournful sonata

Time paused
Broken strings

This one snapped during practice
This one? 
I can’t remember why this string died

I hold on 
To broken things

Safe in its hiding place
My white embroidered cardigan
A gift once best-loved
Now out of vogue
Its pockets 
Filled with broken violin strings

04 February 2015

february poem


from my window

spreading steadily ahead

a soft plunge on water 
unfrozen crystal blossoms

my cloak made of snow
the finest stark-white plaid

buried with snow
warmth is

overtop bullies masque as seekers
they reeducate 
their reeducated

I’m thirsty

these sermonizing automatons


winter has played me out
each week lasting a decade

a whisper
made me happy
and I leaned back into it

their silence

a faith for spring
for bleeding hearts to carve the floor
rising in bloom


when I disrobe

into the flame
blaze visible
your beach

our first swim

which was perfection

a genesis for


sugar maple
rock maple maple tree
the orange red in fall
I embraced
your pulse over me

maple syrup moonbeams
sugar maple syrup — mine