Thursday, February 26, 2015

Through Arizona

Mountains rising, drifting snow
Falling on the trees in Arizona.
We don't see tarantulas
Walk in giant herds across the barren
Ground. My uncle gave me one
For a friend. The friendly lizards, Gila
Monsters, beady skin in pink,
Mottled black, are sitting, poised for biting
With their poison teeth. They're gone.
Gone, too, in the sun-soaked snow, the flowers
Waited on the cacti. All
Arizona seemed so lost and empty.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


When I was a boy I walked in fields
And woods behind my house,
Enjoying the solitude of the trees.
I would lie and watch
The water bugs, larvae, tiny tadpoles
Swim in streams and pools.
Jewel weeds with orange- and yellow-spotted
Cornucopia flowers hanging down
From thin stems under leaves on plants
Spread in large patches, crowding out
The poison ivy. May apples, thick
Stems with umbrella leaves,
Some split to allow a simple white flower
That swells to a yellow fruit --
More like a lemon than an apple --
But who'd enjoy the sound
Of May lemon over May apple
Or even want to try a taste?
The rest of the woods was dead leaves
Or tiny trees trying
To catch up with their parents.

Then one year, the farmer
Who owned the woods behind my house
Cleared the tiny trees and brush,
Leaving only open space
Between the taller trees.
I was angry when I saw it.

Then, that summer, I took a walk.
The streams, the jewel weed, the May apples --
All were gone.
But in the open space,
With all the extra light,
Bright blue lobelias and hot pink bearded orchids
Spread throughout the woods.
One set of beauty could not help
But soon replace the other.

A rarer beauty had taken over.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mother's Records

My mother taught me how to live
By standing on a stepladder
In the hall closet
Hiding her vinyl records
As I handed them up to her.
"Don't tell your father," she said
As she covered her records with a blanket
"We'll bring them back out
When your father gets over this latest fad."
We knew
When our church stopped preaching hard
Against all rock-n-roll that he'd forget
And mom could then retrieve
Her records. Elvis would
Fill up the air again.

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Winter Centerpiece

The moon is a bowl full of baby’s breath,
The tiniest sprays of pale white.
It sits on a shelf of the winter-bare trees
While shedding the barest of light.

The clouds move in, misty and cold, a haze,
They lead in the King of the North –
They hearken the winter, the ice and the snow
And call for warm coats to come forth.

The chill in the air is a spur to sight –
My mind is now crystallized, sharp.
The flowers are blooming across the night sky,
The darkness brought forth its faint harp.

I melt these distinctions that we insist
Upon, and the sky and the cold
Engrave on the mind all the changes I see –
The flowers and bowls that unfold.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Where's Momma Gonna Go Tonight?

The bar is closed and she's alone again
No one took her home tonight
I haven't seen her since I was ten
Where's momma gonna go tonight?

When momma left she never said a word
I never hear ma and papa fight.
It seems she took off just like a bird --
Where's momma gonna go tonight?

When I was a boy momma left me behind
When I was a boy my daddy he declined
To ever say why my momma took off on me --
I reckon my momma just thought to be free.

I'll slow down -- should I stop my truck?
Will momma know that it is me?
She looks real sad, down on her luck --
Just a decade's gone, but she looks three.


A Caddy pulls up, my momma leans down
Where's she gonna go tonight?
I wonder: does she live in this town?
Where's momma gonna go tonight?

She gets in and rides off, 'til she's outta my sight
Oh where's momma gonna go tonight?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Intense World

I cannot live an anesthetic life --
I feel my senses much too much, My skin
At every touch crawls with tarantula
Feet. In my ears is a deafening din
With every noise reverberating time.
I savor food and drink -- each taste not light,
But bright as the sun high above the cave
The philosopher rises from. Each bright
Color refreshes vision to a clear
Delight in nature as in art. My nose
Can open subtle, dark, and delicate
Scents. And with you each of my senses grows
Into a synesthesia too intense --
I need you today and today, perhaps
Today again. I feel a much, such deeper,
Intense feeling -- each puff of wind, it slaps
Me, ripples on my skin. Imagination,
My mind (it's body too), both only add
To all I feel and all I feel and sense --
A life that's unprotected, driven mad.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cranes' Wisdom

Green plains that stretch and tough embracing hills
Set softly on a sunset sky display
The marsh below where I  observe a pair
A courtship pair of dancing cranes
Their feathers high I look away my eye
That entertains a tear of envy yes
A tear of envy at a pair of birds
Who know far more than I who feel far more
Than I will ever feel about this earth
And marsh they drop their heads I drop my head
But I can't lift again like them I hurt
I'm broken oh what could or should I do
Then suddenly I realize these birds
Will understand more than I ever will

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Friends and Lovers

Alone, each life walked through the fire
Each knew but knew not of the other
Each intertwined with others' lives
Their hearts knew nothing of desire
Each settled out of loneliness
But as each wandered through the fire
Each blindly ran into the other
Then both their eyes they filled with wonder
And wondered how they'd missed the other
Each saw with opened hearts and eyes
Like age-old friends in new-found light
And letting go grabbed to each other
Then both flew from the flames together
To soar on love's wings ever higher

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sea Birds

Seabirds singing, sailing over waves,
Wandering where wings and winds take them,
White wings all too often.
Gulls and terns, white against the sky,
White against the waves.
Do they hide in the sky in their white wings
From fierce fish,
Sharks' sharp teeth snatching them from the sky?
Is this really a fear for the albatross
Soaring over open oceans,
Delicately dipping down for fish and squids
Swimming near the surface?
And what of brown skuas or black,
Bright-beaked puffins?
Puffins perched on northern rocks, peering out,
Watching eider ducks swim between waves
Disappear, wondering
Where they went, sometimes vanishing
Completely beneath the waves,
Searching for fish.
Eiders, too, are white
With but a bit more color
On their beaks and heads.
They must have less to hide
Than the gulls soaring overhead,
Though the eiders sit in silence
While the gulls gab incessantly.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sonnets of Autumn and Spring

1. Autumn

I spent the Summer writing sonnets, rhyme
Replacing her who never loved, then left.
My heartbeat is now rhythms keeping time
To cover the fact that it's lost by theft.

So now I'm free when freedom was the last
Of my desires. And so I take on form,
A prison that, a traitor, set the mast
With sail and set me free in rhythm's storm.

The sting of losing her turned to a need
For art, for beauty to fill up the void,
The rhyme and rhythms trying now to feed
The rhythms she and I had once enjoyed.

But where will all my lovely poems go
When love's replaced this seed, my Summer's woe?

2. Spring

It's Spring and I'm in love and she loves me --
I love and know I never loved before.
And look -- my rhymes and rhythms still are free
To let me key imagination's door.

The bounds of love, of her true love, expose
The workings that unleash the best that I
Can do or be. With everything I chose,
 I came to her, her love, and learned to fly.

But can she understand that I must love
My pain, my past, the things that brought me here
And shaped me so that I could fit her glove,
That to know her I must know ancient fear?

I've been to where the poem flowers bloom --
Now let me grow them in your loving womb.

Friday, February 13, 2015


Tapdancing bumblebees
Flitting, flying, fourishing
Far from the fantastic
Mediocre sky.
Diving deep into the sea
To ski the mountains'
Flowing pillow lava
Erupting down into the rocky caves.
Stone temples rising
Triumphantly crumbling
Out of sight,
Down the cliffs,
Whistling over rocks
that break into twos and threes and fours.
No longer seen,
Dropping headlong before the fall.
Black and white reality
Lying in strength before, beyond, beside,
Tangibly intangible.
Shining smirking crossing faces
That cannot be discerned,
Wheezing helpessly
As they travel to the moon.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Waves -- we all are spacetime waves,
Complex waves of information --
We speak our culture into existence
And speak each child into humanity.
We are negentropic skies.
Waves of sound, waves of light,
Waves of chemicals fill the world
And inform it, forming it.
Bees see ultraviolet landing strips
On the flowers they feed on
To make the honey we feast on
At our festivals of life. We
See only white daisies.
They decorate our hair and fields
In waves of white and yellow light.
Waves of chemicals fill our nostrils --
The sweet smell brings us pleasure-waves,
Attracts us as we are repulsed
With the threat of stinging bees.
The sweet complexity of choice waves
Us on or away, and home.
The sun shines in the sky,
The stars sparkle clear night skies,
And particle-waves observe each other
And us into material existence --
As we inform our children into
Human levels of complexity, and keep
The universe growing and emerging.
We stand in the doorway and wave --
We wave "hello," "goodbye."

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Trinity River

Your father is in a Red River bluff,
You slowly flow across the southern plain
To father cities -- forests not enough.

You are the son of this dry land, you reign
To give us Dallas and Fort Worth, the son
Of your slow flow, your urbanizing vein.

Your spirit reigns -- see all that we have done
To bring you back to life -- you are the stuff
Of Calatrava's dreams -- you'll make us one.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Time Unfolding

The universe unfolds in petals, flower
Of life encircling in golden means
And fractal leaves -- a universe of power
Laws which self-organize to all life's genes.

The future speaks in metaphors to those
With minds fine-tuned to listen to its voice.
And with that voice a handful truly grows
To move the world toward a better choice.

Across and through all time and space within,
Without, and linking everything in rhyme
And rhythm, poets bring the present din
The quiet joy that's found in complex time.

The past and future sing to bring to me
An insight to the present, makes it free.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Prophet in the Kitchen

The man who dreamed the dream of martyrdom
Lived in a time when nothing mattered much
And life bombarded you 'til you went numb.
He lived in myth, a hero out of touch.

His friends would laugh as he read myths of men
Who gave their lives, their everything for Christ --
He's certain of his end, that he'd have been
A martyr who refused to be enticed

By promises of wealth and power, sure
That he'd be true to Christ up to the end --
Pull out his nails and salt them -- he'd be pure
And die -- he'd never lose his savior, bend.

He knew the communists would never break
Him when he faced them in his fairytales
He told himself. He swore he'd not forsake
His friends or justice for true evil's veils.

His friends laughed as he washed the dishes at
The restaurant -- the story that he told
Was all the universities had spat
On his ideas because they were too bold.

They laughed because they thought him arrogant --
But little did they know the myth was true,
No more than he, the truth far less distant
Than either new, as myth is truth askew.

The people nodded but would not believe
His tortured tales of tragic martyrdom
As he would slowly roll up his white sleeve
To wash, and scrape off hard food with his thumb.

No one believed that they could ever live
In times that mean so much that lives could be
So meaningful that anyone could give
Their lives -- such times were gone, and thankfully.

But he knew better. He would be prepared.
He'd take a stand, do what no one had dared --
The villain would show up one day, he knew,
And then he'd stand for what was Good and True.

No one believed him, so nobody cared
About his life he lived so lyrically.
They lived in more prosaic times and dared
To challenge nothing big, historically.

Or so his laughing friends, co-workers hoped --
Such certainty of boredom's how they coped.
They thought it best that he should be dismissed
Than dare accept the truth, that he'd been kissed

By prophesy's true, blinding, too-bright sight --
Yes, best dismiss him as insane, a fright,
And pull the shades on despotism's creep --
But which one's dreaming, and which one's asleep?

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Crocodile Lover

"Melina's such a girly-girl,"
Her grandfather says. She's his dear pearl
Who loves to dress in dresses, wear
"Glass slippers," Jewelry, dress with flair.

Her mom and dad, though, know that she
Is also much more secretly
A crocodile-lover too --
Though alligators also do.

She has a tiny plastic one
She uses to attack for fun
the bellies of her parents' friends --
With it so many met their ends.

She had an alligator book,
And when her parents one day took
Her down to the aquarium
She hopes that she would soon see some.

It was far better than she thought
That it could be, for when they sought
The crocodiles, they were told
That there were babies to behold.

She saw the babies in a tank,
She looked up to her parents. "Thank
You, mom and dad," she said and ran
Up to the tank, a happy fan.

"I love the little chomp-chomps, dad!"
And as they left she said she had
To have a crocodile of
Her own that she could hug and love.

Her parents told her uncle this
And the next day Melina's bliss
Was overwhelming when hs brought
A pillow crocodile he'd bought.

She loved to sleep with her new friend
And slept well knowing he'd defend
Her from bad monsters and bad dreams --
For her he gave up swamps and streams.

And when they took her to the zoo
She said the crocodile's blue
Because he had not seen her yet,
But he'd be happy once they'd met.

She posed and made her parents take
Her picture sitting with the lake
And slowly floating crocodile.
She said, "You see, I made him smile!"

But when Melina's father tells
His dad how her heart always swells
When she sees alligators, he
Just cannot see how that could be.

"Melina's such a girly-girl,"
Her grandpa says. He sees her curl
And princess dress and happy smiles.
"There's no way she loves crocodiles."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

To the True Cultural Conservatives

Life interferes my thoughts. So what? Shall I
Now theorize in strange Cloudcuckoolands,
Dance in a wicker basket in the clouds,
Condemn this life because of its demands?

I have to eat, and so did every man --
There is no need to whine about my lot
Because the world won't bow before my feet
And Cornish hens don't fly to my mouth, hot.

This time of wealth allows us luxuries,
Like poor men writing books and making art
Like wealthy men did once in times of kings,
When girls could choose a nun, or wife, or tart.

Romantics look back on that time and sigh --
Naive, they think those better times for those
Who live the life of mind, though they would be
Then whores or thieves or planters of wheat rows.

Their backs would ache, their twenty children scream --
At least, the five who would survive to die
An early death of hunger, overwork,
White pus from blackened wounds, too weak to cry.

The worst you've seen of life was when you chose
A Master's in a field without a chance
Of work -- and then you blame the life-wise for
The fact that, running, you fell on your lance.

A coward whines that his mistakes are caused
By others who know nothing that he's done --
A person's brave when they live with each choice
They made -- if poor, this person still has won.

The only thing that I regret is that
I'm sensitive to idiots that flee
From life, responsibility, and so
Produce from me didactic poetry.

The spirit of the times thus speaks through me,
As filtered through my readings and my life --
I cannot help the lines that spill from both --
Though better would be love songs for my wife.

Yes, better men would spring from love by lines
they read of how my zoftig love, in bed,
Is beautiful by moonlight as she sleeps
Than reading about intellects of lead.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Where do my obligations lie?
My family must come first, and then my work --
I hope my actions don't deny
This order, or I show myself a jerk

Who selfishly pursues his art
At the expense of children and my wife --
A Wallace Stevens does his part;
Picasso thought of art as wife and life.

But can I spend life in a bank?
I cannot be Picasso any more
Than I can work in some dark, dank
And sterile office, shut behind a door.

I love my obligations, they're
My life and source of inspirations in
The things I do. My soul's laid bare
By all my loves, my wife, created kin.

How do I reconcile the things
I love, that makes me want to breathe and live?
A singer lives for what he sings --
A husband lives for everything he'll give

His wife -- a father, for his kids.
And what of me, a husband, father, man
Who must create, do what art bids,
Explain the world and always live God's plan?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Thankless Jobs

It must sound arrogant for me to say
That labor or a service job is such
A waste of time for me. A solid day
Of sweaty labor, products dripping such

That people's lives are much improved by it;
A room to spend the night in, groceries bought
From service works work and serve to knit
Society together. All that's bought

Is necessary for the life that you
And I enjoy -- I love those who would do
Such work and bring my life such ease. Subdue
Such thoughts that I disparage those who do

Such everyday heroic works. But I,
When I don't write a poem or a play,
When I don't write my essays, what can die
Are possibilities from my mind's play.

It's not a job that all can do, just like
Not all can run a business or can build
A house or skyscraper or dare to strike
Out on their own to see what they can build.

But it's a job that no one pays because
It's not as valued as its value is
And no one seems to know just what it does
And so I waste my time. such time that is

Not spent on creativity is lost
And no one seems to know just what it costs
When labor, service jobs lay down their frost
That kills my mental life, ignoring costs.

Monday, February 2, 2015


I have to work two part-time and one full
Time jobs to live. I haven't seen my wife,
I haven't seen my children now for days.
I sleep when they're awake and work when they're
Asleep. I do this all for them I do
Not see, much like a tithe to God I trust
Is there. And when I see my wife I see
What used to be a joke, excuse of each
And every daytime talk show cheater: "You
Are never home. You always work." She's true,
But sad and lost. My daughter won't let go
The hours that I see her. She is growing --
I missed it. Here I went to school so I
Could educate myself into a better
Life, more fulfilling job; instead I just
Have debt and colleagues who say what we do
Is valueless. They kill my life in their
Warm, tenured safety, arrogant to life.
It's death they love, and death they've given me,
For when their deaths all come the place they each
Once had will disappear with them. Why must
I struggle because beauty's hated, joy
Destroyed? What justice is there when I lose
My loves to keep them housed and clothed and fed?

Friday, January 30, 2015

My Love

I wish I had a fortune for my love --
I wish I had a flower for my love.

I wish I had the money so that I
Could spend each waking moment with my love.

I wish I had a farm of sheep and goats,
Alpacas, rabbits, chickens for my love.

I wish that I could fill our home with fresh-
Cut flowers full of fragrance for my love.

I wish that I could populate the world
With children I created with my love.

I wish to fill the world with Anna's songs --
I, Troy, will always sing of you, my love.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

O Karl Marx

O Karl Marx! O Karl Marx!
How stupid is your theory?
O Karl Marx! O Karl Marx!
Dealing with you gets weary!

I don't know who'd believe in you
When nothing that you said was true.

O Karl Marx! O Karl Marx!
Your hate of life's so dreary!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dragon of the Night

The moon's a half-closed dragon's eye. It stares
At me, surrounded by white scales all ringed
With palest red. The rest is hidden, bares
This one bright eye, I'm certain it is winged

As I am certain that it breathes this cloud
Surrounding it and spreading out the dark.
Perhaps he is the reason I'm allowed
These January shorts. He stares down, stark

Against the night, against the creeping cold
Caressing my new-shaven cheeks. I walk
A pace as brisk as this cool air. I'm bold
Before this dragon I now choose to stalk.

Orion aims, his arm drawn back. He'll hit
The target if he should let fly -- but I
Don't need his arrows -- they don't need to split
The scales. This victory he won't deny

Me on this night. I'll face the dragon down,
I'll tear him from the sky. This victory
Is mine alone. I'll take his flame and drown
It, make him bow his massive head to me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

This Is For You

These purple crayon drawings I have made
I made for you. I made it just this year.
I made it so you know I love you. Grade
It on a curve. Please take it lest I fear

I've lost, I'll lose your love. This poem sings
Its song for you. I made it just for you.
Like flowers in the spring, I hope it brings
You happiness to know my love is true.

Forgive these faded old cliches. The same
Old words for love that's daily new when I
Look at or think or dream of you are lame.
I made this just for you. I'll always try

To do a little better. Do you see
The tree of orange and green that I have drawn
To make you smile? Happy now? Agree
To love this crayon picture of the dawn,

These words that try too hard to say. I look
Upon our daughter, with the gifts she makes
For me, and I have realized the book
Of poetry I want to write, it takes

The form of what my daughter does with each
Improving picture that she makes. I made
All this for you. For you I'll always reach
Up higher so I'll never be afraid.

Monday, January 26, 2015


A golden eagle sit upon the fencepost --
It stares, it watches, following the car
That pulls into the truck stop. Gravel crunches
Beneath the tires. It is the first sound
These women heard besides the engine's whir
Since entering the West Virginia mountains.
Not even the bull grazing in the pasture.
Wants to disturb the silence. Car doors slam.
The women both get out, approach the truck
Stop door, starting at the ding! of the front
Door bell. A man looks up, a lion's mane
Of auburn hair cascading down his back.
He watches as the angels, children-faced,
Cross to the bar. He wonders what they ask,
Where they are going. Does he have a change
Of joining them? Informed, they leave, and one
Stops, pausing just outside the door to pluck
The trumpet flower lily near the door.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Guardians

Behold the army marching down the street –
They march in steady rhythm to the beat
Of drums and people cheering. Colored flags
Precede these warriors, proud as autumn stags.

Their leaders, politicians, lead the crowd
With rhythmic chants, a promise they’re endowed
With virtue, knowledge, wisdom – shepherds who
Will lead the people, give them what they’re due.

Police parade along the bulging edge
The crowd creates – a sniper’s on the ledge
To scope the crowd, a crowd who’d praise the man
If they’d known he was there, and praise the plan.

The President steps forth, the crowd goes wild –
Each man and woman feels themselves a child –
“These guardians before you will protect
You all, we members of the few, select.”

The crowd, they swore their love to men who made
Their path through loving power and who’d wade
Through bodies if they had to just to rule –
But votes are a more cost-effective tool.

So long as humans love strong leaders, force
To get their way, and lies they can endorse
Because they tell them to themselves, each hill
Will find a flock to bend to someone’s will.

And they’ll lead the parade, the army aft,
As politicians steer this human raft
Who trust that they’ll get everything they crave
While marching to their lime-lines self-dug grave.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lost Messengers

Where have all the angels gone? The messengers
Seem to speak no more to us -- and those who fell
Speak too much -- we hear their cries like Icarus
Falling to the sea. It's wingless angles' songs,
Keyless and atonal, belching dark gray ash,
Pyroclastic flows that gray the sea and sky,
Hide the sun away, the hope that we forget.
Flying high on wings, the other angels soar,
Clear away the ask, and bring a hopeful song.
They know judgment melts your wings, but love and joy
Grow them long and broad so updrafts of warm air
Carry those with wings in an effortless ring,
Spiral, helixing up through the fractal clouds.
These, the angels bringing life and hope, oh where
Have these angels gone? Our messengers, come
Back, we need to hear from you again, your wings
Lifting us into the skies, up from the mud
Sea and ask together mix in alchemy
Never giving gold. The gold bursts forth on peaks
Angel wings can read only on upward drafts --
Gold we need to prosper and invest to be
Fully human once again -- it's only wings,
Angel wings that can lift us, so we can see,
Hear and taste and smell and feel again like them,
Arists of ourselves again so we can gain
Wings we used to have and now can grow again.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

America in Autumn


The Texas summer doesn't end in late
September. Mississippi steams into
The winter. White camellias bloom. The gate
Of winter opens at a later date.

If only we could hold off winter through
This land -- but hatred brings a frigid cold
And threatens all we think and love and do.
The problems are not them; it's always you.

The real news always lies beneath the fold,
And Hollywood proclaims the moral law,
And truth is truth when everyone is polled,
And money is not worth its weight in gold.

I traveled north, avoiding hatred's claw
To find hawks spread their wings and soar the sky
To make a prey of other birds and draw
Us to a leader, to our ancient flaw.

The hawks of hatred in this land deny
That they're the same as southern eagles which
Destroy and kill, believing their own lie
That they're benevolent. They watch us die.

I do not understand why I should hitch
A ride with either one. The lowly crow
Is cleverer by far, creates a niche
So all may live and grow, rise from the ditch.

When winter comes, the birds all head below
To lands they know, which comfort them. The heat
Is comforting, the sun plankets a glow
That tells us all we really want to know.

But justice does not separate, deleete
The differences or, lying, say they stand
With the oppressed but want to stay elite --
Thus virtue crashes wingless in defeat.

I do not want a world the same and bland,
Where seasons never come and every bird
Is of a feather, hawk and dove both land
Together on the feeder by command.

For far too long the best we get's absurd,
Defeathered chickens thrown up to be man.
No one believes in the truth of the word,
And sell as art a can that hold a turd.

Without our foundations in art we can
Not find our way out of deep poverty --
Our death is masked by a false feather fan.
When you make hatred, you don't have to ban.

We cannot soar without our liberty --
we cannot live a true life without fate --
We live by trimming branches off the tree
Of time, our lives -- we sing this to be free.


I left my teaching job, disgusted at
Such arrogance and ignorance combined
With laziness, indiscipline. They're fat
And revel in disease, each one a brat.

I'd love to teach each one to be refined,
I'd love to cast off all their ignorance --
But that would mean they all would have to mind
And discipline will get you fired or fined.

Instead of having ego temperance,
Each thinks themselves a phoenix, each unique,
With every word a drop of gold, no sense
Has chance to charm a skull so dense.

Each one's a baby bird with open beak,
Complaining of the food that's brought to them --
They do not care for virtue, truth to seek
And crumble under each tiny critique.

Our students have a French disdain to hem
Their thoughts by generative, freeing rules,
Rejecting logic, knowledge, virtue, gem
Of beauty, making sense fall off its stem.

But what do we expect when ruled by fools
Like Richard Rorty, careless Stanley Fish,
The demagogue Paul Krugman with his tools
That change with who so rules -- they're mental ghouls.

This rampant anti-intellectualish
Elitist narcissism feathers out
Into the unformed mind, the empty dish
To destroy hope and every honest wish.

The state of education makes me doubt
The future will have more than cuckoos in
The nests, and vultures ruling them. This route
To foolish ignorance leaves no way out.

Perhaps I'm driven by the endorphin,
Perhaps I want to fly before I cry,
Perhaps I cannot stand to be worn thin,
Perhaps to leave right now would be a sin.

A sin? It is a sin to dare deny
The best and brightest knowledge so they'll grow,
To clip their wings so none of them can fly
So we won't have to hear the lowest sigh.

So I must leave -- to live, I have to go.
I cannot parrot ignorance and bear
A life of honor, virtue -- I must know
That I am more than fiery indigo.

I'm leaving teaching now because I care
And, caring's tearing feathers out of me
Until I'm singed and done. I do not dare
Remain -- I have to wander . . . anywhere.

I want to show the world's deep density
And show the world exactly where it's at --
But knowledge, wisdom brings complexity
And it's that beauty that will make us free.


 My Asian friends all say this country's vast
And empty -- yes, but that's the freeway view --
The towns, the people have all been bypassed,
Ignored, on all of them long shadows cast.

The minor roads will show me what is new
To city-dusty eyes. A wide, wired land,
Endensified by satellites and through
Long cables, light where lonely birds once flew.

I walk away so I can take a stand
And trust that with my single flapping wing
I'll raise a hurricane, each windy band
Of ocean-clouds deep-churning up the sand.

I rent a storage space so everything
I own will have a place to stay. I pay
The next two years and hope the months will bring
The hope and wisdom that I need to sing.

I pay my last two months of rent. I'll stay
With who I can. Perhaps, when I return,
I'll find a mindless job without delay
And be a sandy ostrich each weekday.

I get into my Skylark and I turn
Onto the road. Escaping Dallas -- more,
Escaping all that I have learned to spurn --
I'll travel north. I must escape this urn.

I've shut and locked the ancient wooden door --
I have enough to grant me liberty --
I have no ties, no love that I adore,
Just visions of a syphilitic whore.

What choice have I with no prosperity?
With such a life relationships won't last.
I've made a choice of homeless poverty
In hopes that I will learn now to be free.


The grackles rise into the Texas sky
In crashless patterns that emerge to show
That we can move together, unmoved by
Some master that will only make us die.

The scissor-tailed flycatchers show they know
With every ribbon-dance looped in the air
That life is really constant overflow,
That beauty is the life we need to grow.

The asphalt crumbles out before me, spare
Of paint and signs. Wood fences fence the grass
And stones and trees and fruiting prickley pear,
Perhaps to stop them wandering off somewhere.

I glance at birds and bushes as they pass --
To drive one contemplates but passing time --
A faster time than time spent fishing bass,
More timely than a universe of gas.

I slow my speed -- I won't commit the crime
Of blurring life with my blinders on,
Ignoring, ignorant that every clime
Has beauty in ts fullness, health and grime.

Distinct, distinguished, seen before it's gone --
That's what each subject wants, what each deserves --
To find the hidden shape of dabbled fawn,
To never treat a person as a pawn.

 The present comes in potholes, all my swerves
Avoiding them and rabbits darting out
Onto the road that only slowly curves,
Distracting me from all this culture's pervs.

Perverse! That's what this culture is! Don't doubt
The pornographic impulse to erase
The individual person and to route
All beauty out -- that's what it's all about.

We've damned from life all elegance and grace --
Resentment, hatred we have deified,
Destroying what is sacred everyplace
And mutilating beauty's every face.

I've left but, leaving, I still cannot hide
The reason that I left -- I bring along
The emptiness, the pain with which I cried --
But had I stayed, I surely would have died.

How can external things become so strong?
But what's external to a social ape?
External, internal -- they both belong
In tensions telling us what's right and wrong.

The sun shadows my car, a hidden shape
Beneath a cloudless noon. Bird shadows dart
Across the road. I'll take this concrete tape
To northern fields of corn and wheat and rape.

A town appears -- it's small and white, a part
Of all the gravel dust all cars encloud
As they turn in to town. A broken cart
Invites me to part next to it to start.

A restaurant, a place without a crowd --
It's small and local, promises of home.
I'm certain that the people here are proud --
When I walk in, I feel I'm not allowed.

Three men, a pair of women crack the tome
Of innocence as they all stare me down:
Well, who are you? We don't like those who roam
And wander, detached from the sandy loam.

I try to smile at them to face the frown
That links their faces int one. I wait,
A waitress frowns, the same as all the town,
And sits me down, attends me like a clown.

An educated Southerner, I hate
To hate -- I've learned to love the other and
Refused to let my kin be second-rate --
And now both are entwined to make my fate.

The waitress, older than her years and bland
In dress and walk and speech, asks what I'll take
To drink. To drink! My tongue is dry, thick sand.
"Y'all got some lemonade?" displays my brand.

The menu. Heat, the stares -- I want to break
Out in a sweat. My body's getting wet.
I breathe behind the menu, calm the quake:
I order up a burger, fries, and cake.

The menu gone, I've nowhere else to get
Away from all the hostile stares. I lean
Back in my chair. I look until I've met
Each eye. I won't leave here with that regret.

Regret, regret -- I will not live so mean
A life, but choose the golden mean, where strife
Enstrengthens me and makes me hard and lean,
Since weakness grows up in a world too clean.

I get my food and ketchup, fork and knife
And drink, and then I'm on my paltry feast.
The hamburger is not exactly rife
With flavor, glutamate, thus lacking life.

I pay and leave, illusions now decreased
By having met the people on the earth
They never shared with me. Were I deceased
Not one would care about it in the least.

Among the people of this town my worth
Is less than the old homeless dogs that flee
Each passing car and give each man a berth --
I'm glad to leave this town that's lacking mirth.

I almost leave this town in ecstasy --
And as I leave I hear a grackle cry --
Not lack of money, but souls' poverty
Is what will grind us down so we're not free.


I need to challenge my utopia --
Romantic nothing, nowhere, never -- where
Can fair truth really be? Its formula
Remains unknown to all the media.

The mother grizzly is not teddy bear,
The bobcat is no fuzzy kitty cat,
And keeping people different by a hair
Will never make a world that's good and fair.

Faux-generous treat all the world as flat
But cannot stand the people that they give
So many others' money to. Each brat
Just calls them (privately) all stupid, fat.

The cuckoo parasites so it can live
And fools the working birds to raise its young.
The cuckoo takes and takes, will never give --
And if you do not give, you get the shiv.

The people that I met, they work the dung
Into the earth to grow the food we eat --
But does that make them good, their being hung
By all elitists on the lowest rung?

The same race, still I felt I had to beat
The sun if I were to be safe. The day
Protected me, I know. I won't repeat
This sad mistake -- I will admit defeat.

Yes, my perception's a mistake -- the clay
That penetrates their feet has driven me
To understand that only those who pray
Together love together, do not stray.

I had to learn that reciprocity
Among the ones we love bring us to a
Place where we first had lived within the tree
Where we evolved, and came down to be free.


How did I end up here, on 40? West
At almost 80. Vultures circling
Are all the life I see. A lonely breast
Of land slow-rises high above the rest.

I could not hear if anything should sing
With all this roaring wind that swirls my head
Into a dizziness that eddies bring,
And order that I am now coveting.

I drive along this road with growing dread
That I made a mistake in leaving home --
I drive until the sun before me's red
And only stop when I find evening's bread.

I spend the night alone again, the foam
That holds my head the only lap to lay
Down on. I reflect on the tall lamp's chrome:
The solitary wanderer should roam.

I'm on the road again at break of day --
Before the break, when Venus rises high --
I must drive West, drive West without delay --
Delayed for what, I really cannot say.

I feel an itch that's creeping up my thigh --
But I have chosen this, a life alone --
So love and lust I must myself deny --
Confirmed with a coyote's lonesome cry.

I think I must get off this road -- I groan
At all of these thoughts -- God, they're so cliched.
But there's no place in this landscape of stone
For me to stop and write and, thus, atone.

I find a side road -- for too long I've strayed
By being on the highway with the crowd --
But I'm the only one I have betrayed
Because my time alone has been delayed.

And there upon the side road, my head bowed,
I wondered where my life was going to go --
There's no one, friend or family, I'd endowed
With knowledge of my goals. None I'd allowed.

I bypassed cows and horses, sheep, a crow.
I bypassed horses, ranches, fields and farms
I bypassed all I ever chose to know --
And then I saw a sign for Mexico.

I wondered about all its modest charms --
I wondered if the place was right for me --
But nothing set off my call-off alarms
And so I drove and stiffened up my arms.

I had a feeling I would find a sea
Of flowers waiting there and all life's harms
Would vanish. I will find a sprawling tree
And under it I finally will be free.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Creation Myth

The nothing opened into information
Which gave birth to the energy that birthed
Electrons, photons, quarks. Then up and down
Each mated in threes which gave birth
To neutrons, protons, which then married each
With the electrons to give birth to atoms,
Named Hydrogen and Helium and even
To Lithium. They gathered into cities
And multiplied to form the other atoms,
Their Love for one another giving birth
To chemicals of many names, among
Them carbon chemicals whose love gave birth
To Life on Earth, who had been born out of
The Love of Metals born in the great Supernovae.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Calypso's Lament

Why did I let you go? Why did I set you free?
Why did I let you set out on the sea?
Odysseus, I had you here, right here with me.
Upon my island, here most faithfully

I kept you, love. My love, I love you still --
Why did I let you go? I know, I could go kill
That wife that calls you home. I'd have my fill
Of blood and vengeance. Sitting here upon this hill

I see the ocean waves that took my love away
From me. I live in sorrow he'd not stay
With me, and now each day will be today. Today
My life came to an end. I'll just decay

Here on this rock for all eternity,
Lamenting love's loss, lingering in poverty --
My wealth of time and power render me
A shadow of that vile wench Penelope.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Right Now

The roofs all team with Mexicans who sweat
To raise the roofs, celebrate, pay each debt.
The cold Pacific waves chill children's toes;
Along the boardwalk, spandex-covered hos
Make money for their pimps; moms look away.
The Congress passed a health care bill today.
A man sells children heroin at home.
A biker on his Harley revs to roam
The highways filled by semis lines like train
Cars, belching sulfur. Look, it smells like rain.
A man steps up to put his order in:
"Hamburger, fries, a scratch-off -- Did I win?"
A large committee, self-appointed, votes
To try to get a ban on coats of stoats
And goats, for fur is death and cats are slaves.
A surfing couple ride Hawaii's waves.
White steam erupts out of the nuclear
Volcano sending out its kitten purr
That hides the violence controlled within.
The Baptist preacher yells, "Repent your sin!"
A student dusts away the dirt to show
Tyrannosaurus bones, a fossil toe.
Talking on his new cell phone in the sun,
The father tries to get a tow; his son
Is getting sued by his coworker who
Became offended at a joke she blew
Off when she had a crush on him a week
Before, before he turned away his cheek.
Supporters of the President ask him
To pardon them their crimes -- but it looks grim.
Protesters fill the streets, demand tax cuts.
A man stands back, checks out the women's butts.
A woman left alone at a hotel
Calls up her boyfriend, wondering what she'll tell
Him since she can't get home. The clerks both laugh.
The skin of a man's eaten up by staph.
Some children play on monkey bars at school;
The saddest kid there always plays the fool.
The shift change idles car production not
A bit in Ford's new factory, the bot
Production line is moving fine; the men
And women working there are making ten
Time what the retail worker makes who stands
As long and has to deal iwth dumb demands.
The college students sit in silence, hope
The teacher asks them nothing; they can't grope
For answers out of what they haven't read.
The mayor's mistress just slipped out of bed.
The T.V.'s showing hockey, basketball
On CNN, whose painted, dressed-up doll
Delivers all the news in mere gabfests
That no one listens to, just watch her breasts.
A school commissioner has moved some cash
Into his bank account, strokes his mustache.
A pregnant twelve year old is visiting
Her baby's daddy, twenty-eight, their fling
Encouraged by her mother in the car.
An alcoholic stumbles from a bar.
A woman goes out for her interview
In miniskirt and tube top, though she knew
She'd never get a secretary job.
Some testing teens in town form a flash mob.
Police find pot they planted in a car.
A preteen dreams he'll be a football star.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Gift of Usury

The wealth of nations can't exist
Without the gift of usury
The enemies of life resist
The timeful gift of usury

The most important things in life hold interest --
Without it we just flit about, no hold
On our attention made to last.

Oh, look! A shiny coin! A bubble!

We risk too much without an interest --
Without it we grow much too bold,
There's only present, without future, past.

We need the gift of usury.

I have ideas, but not the cash.
He has ideas, but not the dough.
We understand you have a stash --
Each of us want to have it, though.

I'll take it and I'll pay you back
The same amount that you gave me.
You say that he'll add to your stack,
So why should you give it for free?

I'll pay you more; he'll pay you more --
And on and on and on it goes.
He's reaches the end, you've shut the door
And now toward me the money flows.

He wouldn't take the risk that I
Would take, he lacked the confidence
To buy the time to even try,
But I bought it at mere percents.

And my return is greater than
The loan, and wealth has slowly grown
Because his loan made maybe can
Instead of lying like a stone.

I had the gift of usury.

Complex new orders come about
When energy is borrowed from
The universe, paid back in entropy.

And thus no life can come about
Without the interest of the world --
No growth without the gift of usury.

The enemies of life despise
Those with the gift of usury.
Destruction is the only prize
Without the gift of usury.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Portly woman, baggy clothes,
Shaven head and covered nose,
Covered by a light blue scarf
Tied behind her shaven head.
Walking, smoking. Looks of dread
Fill the faces of the few
Daring, daring not to glance,
Glancing nonetheless, a dance.
Wishing, wanting, desperate
It is cancer? Or the lip?
Of the nose? Or of the hip?
(Oh, but you do not fool me!)
Worry, wonder fill the eyes.
Bound feet, sandals, baggy thighs.
Cancer, that is what it must
Be, poor woman, look at her.
Look, yes, look, yes, look at her.

Ah, she says, yes, look at me!

Sitting in the coffee shop,
Her she comes (I knew she'd stop),
Scarf around her shoulders now,
Nothing wrong (Just as I knew).

Look at me! she cries inside.

Now you've seen a soul that's died. 

Monday, January 12, 2015


I walk across the birch log beam
With paper bark in white and cream
And feel the dancing drops of steam
That rise form that volcanic stream
That winds as a transparent seam
Down through this land. I make a ream
Of birch bark in this forest dream
To write this certain into seem
And make a symbol you can deem
Links writer, reader in a team
To understand my flowing theme
And transform it into a meme.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Poet's Plea for Clarity

A poem's to communicate the past
So people want to hear it, make it last.

The future speaks in lines of poetry --
Interpret all most metaphorically.

And often human truth will bless and curse
Us only in the truest lines of verse.

But no good person would declare a war
In symbols or a complex metaphor.

Five hundred years to understand Shakespeare,
But not to learn he said, "You want a beer?"

Poetic ambiguity is fine,
But not to ask on what I want to dine.

So please don't think I'm being all that brash
When I ask please say just "Take out the trash."

Thursday, January 8, 2015


You sit there, cold and bitter, tempting me
To taste your bitterness. Each rancid drop
Spreads sharp across my tongue. It's savory
And wet yet can't and won't make my thirst stop.

I won't have milk or sweetness moderate
The bitterness I love to taste each day.
I've grown accustomed to what I should hate --
Our tastes are shown to be such plastic clay.

But if I did not have this in my life
I'd lie in listless pools of laziness
And feel across my scalp a razor, strife --
And so this rancid bitterness I bless.

Without it I would have a life that's mean --
And thus I praise the washoff of a bean. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Does armor mean I don't have flesh? Perhaps
I donned this armor so I could protect
Myself. You don't think every hard word saps
My strength. You deny or do not detect
That I am deeply sensitive, sharp nerves
That die to fire with all my mind observes.

My love for you is like an iron plate
Across my chest, emboldening me
Against my fear of failing. I berate
Myself for failing yet to make you free
To do the things you wish to do. I chide
Myself because I work yet can't provide.

I have to steel myself against the thought
That every moment that I work on my
True work it's stolen and not truly bought.
I feel I steal my family blind; I'd die
To learn that it was true. There's no delight
In failing as your family's fearless knight.

My armor seems to strengthen me, but rusts
Inside -- I fear it will collapse, expose
The part that has to create art, that lusts
To make and make and make, a drive that grows
And always threatens me and those I love --
My hand should be clad in a workman's glove.

I want to be your noble knight, and I
Will make the sacrifices that I need
To make. An iron knight must always try
To do what's right, to do the noble deed.
I shake in fear that I will show some fear
And show that I am not what I appear.

Oh, rusty armor, can I count on you?
My wife, my life, my shield, I have to count
On you. I am too delicate, I have to count
On you. I am too delicate, it's true.
I fear I ride on Sancho Panza's mount
And not a noble steed. I've orchids on
My crest. Am I a knight or just a pawn?

I wonder, are my battles just? Or am
I just bullheaded? Do I sacrifice
The right or wrong things? Is my life a sham?
I fear my training is a joke. I'll slice
Myself to pieces, not an enemy.
What kind of knight have I turned out to be?

But, mounted on a donkey, rusted mail,
I have to fight to keep my family safe.
At least, I must allow myself to fail.
This rusty armor's tight -- I feel it chafe,
But know I have to keep it on so I
Ensure they live, though I may have to die.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Last Snow of Spring

When winter snows encrust the ground you are
The golden daffodil that brings the spring.
I have no hope without your golden promise --
Without you I fear what my life would bring.

Without you I would live in winter, cold
And unprotected, ignorant that I
Was even cold. How did I live so frigid
A life? How did I live without your gold?

My spring is here in you -- I see the birds
Returning in the sky. A robin lands
In one small patch of grass. I see a bee
Perch on your cup, give in to life's demands.

I need your warmth, your golden nectar sweet
Upon my tongue. I need the promise of
Warm summers yet to come with you, the flowers
You seed in me are watered by your love.