Monday, October 31, 2011


The slate sky lies in cold repose.
Since Halloween the Tilt-A-Whirl
Has been covered with a stiff gray tarp
Faded by rain's pelting
and the sun's melting of frost,
All is silent except for the cawing
of circling crows
and the flapping of canvas
Against poles of gaudy candy colors.
Dismembered with their chairs
Removed and strewn about on the ground,
The skeletons of Ferris wheels
And bones of roller-coasters
Hang against the diffuse light of winter
Like the damned
Left too long upon the gallows.

December 1979 (87 words, 18 lines)

A Waltz Wave: Winter Locusts

all gone
to winter
to the trees
are pale husks of
their summer
selves, soon
be filled
with ice and
breeze of

written October 2009

A Waltz Wave: Tulips Die

by petal
while on
lips last words
lie fevered. His
boy friend moves
near to
“This world
is pain, but
wait till
see what's

written November 2009

A Waltz Wave: Midas Touch of Dawn

of dawn
spangles the
underfoot - we
have found the
Gold! El
was here
the time,

 written November 2009

A Waltz Wave: Inland We Wait

land we
for rain
here on the
Caprock, while the
search the
sky, and
watch for the
sun they

An Abused Child's Prayer

Thank you, Lord for another day.
Please hide the bruise, I'm so ashamed.
The beating wasn't bad today.
And forgive me for all I'm blamed.

Please hide the bruise, I'm so ashamed.
Don't let her kill me while I sleep.
And forgive me for all I'm blamed.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

Don't let her kill me while I sleep.
Her fist was open, my eyes were shut.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Her words were worse. O, how they cut!

Her fist was open, my eyes were shut.
The beating wasn't bad today.
Her words were worse. O, how they cut!
Thank you, Lord for another day.

written February 2011, finished May 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How I Break Free of Depression and Find Poetry Again

To begin again
I awaken and pray.
I stretch and breathe.
I walk in sunlight,
And dance in rain;
Watch the stars for signs;
Read the trees wisely.

I will let hunger guide my eating;
I will bathe in living waters.
Now I let go of all old injuries,
Forgive old wrongs,
Forgive myself.

written May 2009

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Puente 1: snow erases

all scents
from icy air
but for pine and smoke

~snow erases~

all hues
from a landscape
but one cardinal...

Puente of the city

the glass towers tell
the city back to itself
in cold images
of concrete,

~steel and emptiness~

echo noise,
reflecting blank expressions
yet with the rising
sun they burn golden

written February 2010

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dance of the Spirit

When I am alone moving from room to room,
There is a muttering in the walls but no distinct words;
A restlessness in the corners of my vision,
But no flutter or jerk when I look squarely there.
I turn my head toward it.
My skin cringes and hair bristles as it does
With chalk shrieking on slate or a cold draft passing by.
I try to find the source of the muffled sound:
Did static crackle as I brushed against the drapes or bed?
I retrace my steps: was it door hinges or floorboards creaking?
Perhaps it is the Shechinah, the indwelling 
Of the Sacred in this world,
Like a dancer rustling her skirts for my attention.
They say she is the “still small voice within”
But they don't mention that sometimes
She is around not inside us; and sometimes she is mute,
Only communicating in faint groans and gestures.
Perhaps it stifles her voice when so many words are used
To make excuses for what I know is wrong.
Now how to learn this kinesic code?
Luckily it is a language the heart understands.
Still when I try to put that fragile whisper in my poetry
It has escaped every time.
No combination of sounds and breath 
Can capture that surd undertone,
Like trawling the riverbed with nets designed to catch sole
But trying instead to ensnare those quicksilver slivers of minnows,
The Divine slips through an “o” and an “a” every time.

written Dec 1979, edited March 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Senior Moments

Just like that old saying,
"I don't care what you call me,
Just don't call me late for supper."
Sometimes you don't call me by my name.
When you scold me,
You use your children's names.
When we argue harshly,
You call me by the name
Of that woman you last had an affair with.
But I take no offense
Because when you make love to me
You always get it right.

written January 2010 (13 lines, 67 words)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Whoops of the Whippoorwill

The whippoorwill whoops
In the deep woods of Appalachian  hollers
From dusk to dawn
Drowned out near daylight
By the bellows and moans
Of our lovemaking
As we reach a crescendo
And by my baby's whimpers
In the next room
That escalate to hollers and howls
If ignored. I steal into her room
And still her with my breast.
She suckles in muted slurps
And falls back to sleep,
Swooning under the spell
Of milk and the whippoorwill's trills.

started March 1988, finished August 2010

Friday, October 14, 2011


Summer heat creates puddles that aren't there.
Now you see them, now you don't.
In my childhood I would run
Barefoot through the shimmers
Looking wet and cool at a distance
But blistering feet as I slapped down
Bare plantar pads on the bone-dry griddle of sidewalk –
It's some kind of magic, that I was sure of.
I thought of it as a mirage – an illusion of need –
Very close to wishful thinking

When I wanted to find true moisture
In that dry Texas Panhandle
(Semi-arid I heard 'em call it,
But I didn't find anything semi about it.)
I watched for where the gnats were swarming.
And close there abouts I'd find some mud,
Dig into it with my toes,
Thrill in the thick ooze,
Chill in the cool primordial goo,
Only the swatting away of midges
Detracted from the pleasure.

written March 2011, published in "Houston Poetry Fest 2011 Anthology"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Soaring High

Falling is a way to die
from the high bridges and planes
some tempted fate, others tried
suicide, escaped their pains.

Dying is a way to fall;
To God's call our soul replies
and heads home, while flesh and bone
in graves thrown can never rise.

Falling is a way to fly:
soaring high kites look like gulls
but grounded by a strong string.
Though winds bring it high, earth pulls.

written May, 2011

death caps and milk caps

woods toadstools
over unmarked graves
push through decay: white shiny

humus from last year's garden
the mushrooms emerge:
baby's head

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cloud Enshrouded

High on mountain tops
Amid the clouds I wished to wander.
What do those billows feel like on the skin?
Is it smooth as polished cotton?
As silky as satin sheets?
Or is it textured like polka dots or bubble wrap?

At last I reach the cloud-enshrouded summit
And wade into the moist gathering
As if I were passing among spirits:
Reverently my hand moves through the strands of haze
With less pressure, less presence than water
But more dense and damp than fog,
My face and fingers feel lightly lapped
By many invisible tongues.

started February 2010, finished July 2010

Leaving Rose Hips

The last of summer gardening ends.
Hoe and trowel, knee pad and sunbonnet
Hang in the shed with the shears.
The final petals of the rose have fallen,
Leaving rose hips,
Like tiny crab-apples
With a crown of rumpled hair
And calyx now dry and stiff
As a starched collar
Trying to hide the crimson berry
That stands erect upon the high
Seat of the peduncle.

I gather these petals for a sachet pillow,
And press them in books
To mark the poems I love
With summer's fingerprints.
Then make my tea with those rose hip
Berries and honey,
The last taste of the season.

Written October 2009

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Breathing as One

[dedicated to John, August-September, 2010
"That which dreams in you /Dreams in me." Anonymous. An unknown friend left that with a few other lines in a college notebook many years ago. Someone told me it was a loose translation of a line from Pablo Neruda's Sonnet LXXXI :"Already you are mine. Rest with your dream inside my dream." Ya eras mia. Reposa con tu sueno en mi sueno."]

That which breathes in you,
Breathes in me.
For every exhale as you doze
I inhale the images from your fantasy,
And I hear the music from your trance
Echo in my dark sleep
Where we dance to that melody and share
Our song of love.
You see we are joined at the heart,
As mystics have long believed:
A soul has two halves --
Male and female in equal parts --
As they imagined God to be.
Then at birth the soul splits
Only to be reunited if once grown
That pair finds each other
In the world and weds.
So we share a common space;
We commune in one spirit.
For every kiss there are two halves
Just as there are two sets of lips
And on each side the nerves
Of touch excite both skins;
The nerves of hunger
Delve into this feast,
As we feed each other
Mouthfuls of sweet liquid and tongues.
The nerves of sound
Resound with our moans,
Our cries of joy.

And later after the heavenly soaring
We nestle into each other,
Purring with deep snores
That seep into this bicameral soul.
"And that which dreams in you
Dreams in me."

written August-September, 2010

Monday, October 3, 2011

Children of Grief

  A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on.”
Carl Sandburg
In the days after 9/11
All over New York City,
Babies were born, some came weeks early.
Even across the country the birth rate hiccuped a little.
People began calling them
“Children of grief” and “children of fear”
From all the stress and anxiety
Those mothers went through,
no matter if they lost someone close to them or not.
But surely God wished to comfort us
For all those gathered to paradise in their prime.
The streets of heaven were crowded
That day with heroes and accountants,
Firemen and secretaries, soldiers and lawyers.
Perhaps some souls had to leave God's side
To make room for all the new occupants.

And is it not said,
“Every child brings into the world
Their own blessing, ”
Yes, we need that grace in the worst way.
So it rained babies.
And from New York it went out
Across the land.
As the light from the top of the towers
Went out forever,
A beacon of hope in our hearts
Took its place and each
Infant carried a spark. 

Written January, 2010