Thursday, January 13, 2022

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Bone Man Haiku

Bone Man's eye-socket
stabbed with a silver needle
bleeds ink for my pen

Books Available
The Day of My First Driving Lesson
Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare's Stable
High-Voltage Lines
Knocking from Inside

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Coffee

came to me on a white-tailed horse
like all the light on a sunless morning.

We rode away on the road to Samarkand
with my Muse side-saddle behind.

Coffee rolls out the red carpet
wherever I’m on the awards list,

held my hand for the COVID shot.
Never jealous when I’m out late

drinking Rev. Nat’s good cider; coffee
is always my first thing in the morning.

Biggest locomotive on the Revelation Trail,
my private F6 tornado, my Richter 8 quake,

coffee was born in montane Ethiopia and
carried in the horns of dancing goats

across every ocean, the Horse Latitudes
and the Doldrums. Coffee destroyed the Doldrums.

Coffee kick-started the Gulf Stream. It’s a black horse
with a white tail. Coffee is the great grey owl

glimpsed in the headlights after midnight
on Thanksgiving. It’s the widest gap between

any two stars in the Milky Way. It’s the eclipse
of the moon and the solar storm.

Coffee can re-freeze the Thwaite Glacier,
put out the fires in Mount Semeru. You know

what I’m saying? Coffee can save the world.

Books Available
The Day of My First Driving Lesson
Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare's Stable
High-Voltage Lines
Knocking from Inside

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Winter Migrants

The sun was out and everyone
was wearing red green yellow knit caps,
orange blue white striped mittens—
Jen and Alex were playing with icicles
and calling them light-sabers, Jen said
she was the Jedi because her scarf was brown.

Then we heard the chk, chk, chk of
a hummingbird in distress and
the ginger tabby came stalking through the snow,
drops of blood falling from his mouth
like single feathers while his prey’s mate
dive-bombed him and all he did
was lay his ears back and crunch the little bones.

We caught him and made him let go
but of course it was too late and Jen
cried and said if she was a real Jedi
she could have saved the bird but Alex said
no, it was always too late and too cold
and hummingbirds are too small for the world.

Books Available
The Day of My First Driving Lesson
Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare's Stable
High-Voltage Lines
Knocking from Inside

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Red Tide

We were watching
a tide of red shadow
creep over the moon’s face
darkening the land

when a breaking wave spilled
blue fire on the sand,
the dark gleaming sand
then another and another—

lines of sapphire glitter
lifting from shadowed water
tiny creatures, like stars
the moon would have drowned out

earthbound auroras
flashing at our feet
don’t touch, it’s toxic
you said, but my hands

were already cupped full of red tide
fingers dripping with blue light.

Books Available
The Day of My First Driving Lesson
Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare's Stable
High-Voltage Lines
Knocking from Inside

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Classes of Curves

“The straight line is simple and unique; the classes of curves are indefinitely many.” – Pierre de Fermat, Introduction aux Lieux Plans et Solides, translated by Joseph Seidlin

Mother’s hip, floodplain meander,
fountain fall, clock-face, Greek vase,
femur’s condyle, skull-socket rim,
cat claw, lathe-turned chair-shank spindle,

dune in desert light, wave breaking white,
white crescent beach or moon, comet path,
octopus arms, nautilus chambers,
water-worn stone, water-born pearl,

coil of a cobra, conch-trumpet spiral,
road over hill, rainbow over sea,
journey over waterscape, horizon shape,
wind-flared sail, dew-weighted strand of silk,

kite string curving up to a heart in flight,
every heart-string leading straight to God’s hand.

Books Available
The Day of My First Driving Lesson
Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare's Stable
High-Voltage Lines
Knocking from Inside

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Brancalonian Knights

Our keep is collapsing, our donjon is dusty
The portcullis gapes like a grandmother’s grin
Our surcoats are shabby, our armor is rusty
Our swords like our morals are hammered from tin.

But we’ll have no equals at racetrack or tables
Our steeds are as swift as a bailiff’s pursuit
They graze on the common, we can’t afford stables
They’re shod with the last of our ill-gotten loot.

Our fortune is low but our fame is enduring
We’re back-alley blackguards, we’re no chevaliers
We’ve earned reputations at drinking and whoring
We’re always for hire and never too dear.

No castle will have us, no prison can keep us
We’re the best of the worst and the worst of the fair
If you’re strapped for money, we’re always the cheapest
Just don’t give our names to your condottiere.

Yes, we’ll have no equals at riding and rambling
We’re the worst of the best and the best of the worst
We’ll come to your city for wenching and gambling
And stay till we’ve quenched every one of our thirsts!

Books Available
The Day of My First Driving Lesson
Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare's Stable
High-Voltage Lines
Knocking from Inside

Sunday, December 05, 2021

Camellias: Then and Now

Camellias— 2008

This morning's sun is not the honey light
of summer, thick with golden dust and slow
as syrup pouring from a jug. It's bright,
but thin and cold, and slanted steep and low
across the hillsides. Frost is blooming white,
these flowers forced by icy winds that blow
as hard this morning as they blew all night.
Too cold for rain, but far too dry for snow.

And I am restless, pacing to and fro
enduring winter's grip, that holds us tight.
But my camellias, which somehow know
what weather to expect— they're always right—
have broken bud. Now scarlet petals glow
outside the window where I sit and write.


Camellias— 2021

That was then. Now the blooms appear
in late November, doomed to die in frost.
I haven’t closed the calendar. The year
unturned, unlaid the summer’s ghosts:
camellias, what are you thinking here?
I trusted you to know our weather, most
accurate of forecasts. Now I fear

this springtime promise that I held so dear
this blaze of red, this shouting floral boast
in winter’s depth, that winter’s end was near
has turned to doubt. Another hidden cost
of climate change; another frozen tear
upon my cheek; another anchor, lost.

Books Available
The Day of My First Driving Lesson
Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare's Stable
High-Voltage Lines
Knocking from Inside

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Circdian Arrhythmia

The leaves are down. We have not seen the snow.
Time is a looped tape of light and dark.

Days of rain fade seamless into night:
sunless midday, grey afternoon, blue dusk.

Sunset is marked only by the sudden blink
of streetlights, dawn by the electric buzz

of alarm clocks. I wake in the dark, adrift—
what time is it? Should I get up?

Time is a run-on sentence with no punctuation.
Time is a wheel that turns but doesn’t roll.

This morning I tore a picture-page off the calendar.
Shreds of dawn-colored paper blew from my hands

into the sky.

Books Available
The Day of My First Driving Lesson
Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare's Stable
High-Voltage Lines
Knocking from Inside

Monday, November 29, 2021

Spell for a Drought-Free Summer

Snow, I summon you, I invoke each flake and flurry.
Bring down blast and blizzard,
gift-wrap the world in white. Drift deep.
Layer sleeping fish under frozen lakes,
eyes wide and glassy as sheet-ice.
Bed down the brown bear in snowbound woods
held close to hunger until the thaw.
Cover the earth with white-cotton quilts.

Snow, break drought’s iron teeth
on your hailstone fists. Glacier-top my mountains
and stroke their flanks with avalanche.
I will gladly shovel, plow, sledge,
drive dogpacks over pack ice and permafrost
break trail over every ogive, cirque, crevasse.
Snow, bleed onto blade-edged icicles.
Let the thirsty earth capture each drop.

Books Available
The Day of My First Driving Lesson
Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare's Stable
High-Voltage Lines
Knocking from Inside

Friday, November 26, 2021

Recollecting Kiswahili

These are the names of rivers: Ruvu. Wami. Rufiji.
Ruaha, Ruvuma.

Amani: a region where tea grows on limestone mountains
Amboni: the deep and lightless caves underneath.

The g is hard in ngoma, drum or dance
soft in ng’ombe, cow
hard twice in Ngorongoro Create: vast stone ampitheatre
ringed by lush highlands, Karatu.
Looking down on the jungles that frame Lake Manyara
with its beaches of white alkali and flocks of flamingoes
tinting the sky with sunrise at midday.


G is hard in Oldonyo Lengai, sacred mountain
overlooking the gorge of Olduvai that cradles the bones
of all our ancestors.

Ny is a soft sound, like Nyerere
father of his country, peaceful revolutionary.

Nyama means meat. Mnyama, an animal. Wanyama, animals.
Mtu, a person; watu, people.
Mountains are milima. One mountain, mlima or kilima.

Moshi means smoke – the name of a town
overlooked by Kilimanjaro, the mountain of fire.

Books Available
The Day of My First Driving Lesson
Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare's Stable
High-Voltage Lines
Knocking from Inside

Saturday, November 06, 2021

November 2021

Today the Ooligan wears a cloak of grey mist
edged with yellow: the maples are turning
and green: dark dripping firs.
Today the Ooligan is full to the brim.
Alders stand with their feet submerged
and lift grateful arms.
I too am grateful
for the breaking of drought.
For the quickening of life: careful crowds
on the streets of my neighborhood.
For a glimpse of rainbow over the cliffs.

Today the Ooligan wears a cloak of silver rain
edged with gold and garnet: vine maple,
Oregon grape, elderberry.
Today the Ooligan smiles at the sky.

Books Available
The Day of My First Driving Lesson
Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare's Stable
High-Voltage Lines
Knocking from Inside

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Drought Stares Back

Drought is a broken clay cup,
unglazed orange clay, with all the names of hunger written around the rim.

Drought is a rusted-out old bucket
that smells of rotten metal and death.

Drought is the handmaid of Famine and the herald of Fire.

Drought is a mob of windup metal woodpeckers
that hammer the trees and bleed the weaker ones to death.

Drought is a mouthful of brown stumps
chewing through a tangle of bleached grass and dead ivy.

Someone left a cracked porcelain sink on the sidewalk.
Drought is the holes that stare from the basin.

Books Available
The Day of My First Driving Lesson
Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare's Stable
High-Voltage Lines
Knocking from Inside