Friday, May 24, 2013


The place I find myself in is a net
Of works, of words, of poets which converge
On me, on every poet singing yet
More sounds to make reality emerge

Out of the Cantor dust of words and dew
Of nothingness that promises to be.
I mold the mud and make it act. A new
Man made, a poet made, much more than me.

And he will feel the flow, and he will grow
The poetry, a branch to grow, divide
And show, discovering new knowledge, so
The net can live. He wrote; the night, it died.

Day broke across the poet's face, the lace
Of curtain scattered it. He wrote: "The place . . . "

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Bill We Owe

Oh, William Shakespeare, don't you know that you
Are not as wise or relevant because
You are a dead white male -- so what you're due
Is less no matter what your writing does

To raise the soul, no matter who you are.
Perhaps the critics' brain cells have been charred
With cold political correctness: "Bar
The door, do not let in the greatest Bard!"

Are those they wish to raise so bad to read
That they must first destroy the reputation
Of you, the greatest writer, live or dead?
So great some think you must be some creation?

The critics do not pick who will survive --
The artists, readers pick those who will thrive.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A View From the Steps

She sits sideways on the bench, reading,
back bent at the same angle as the fountains
shooting water at each other, bending to a teepee
of foam. Her blonde hair, white shirt, light khaki pants
blend into the white water's triangular frame, the pale gray
concrete bench she sits on cross-legged. I wonder
what she's reading, what she's thinking --
I could go, ask. She stands, looks around, her hair flailing
out around her head, then walks away. The brick base
of the fountain creates sharp relief
between the bench and rising water.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


The sky lies transparent to the sun,
ozone refracting light to blue, scattered
so it's all that's seen. Hovering, a bird,
black, screeches in the sky, looking down,
the ground a haven harboring food, birth,
death. She flies, finding updrafts, currents of air,
used to keep her place, a bent cross pinned in the sky.
Then up, aloft, away from sight, deciding now
against the ground, leaving the sky
empty of sight, break, or sound.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Dead of Winter

I seem to have lost winter here in Hattiesburg,
camellias blooming, late November, December,
white waxy roses, thick, full, ideal, nestled
among broad evergreen leaves. January,
a tree bursts alone against the gray dead trees
surrounding into hot-pink floral flames. Four-petaled
bluets, almost too tiny to be seen, flowers millimeters
wide, navy-eyed, twin leaves on a hair-width stem --
a February full of lilliputian flowers. a thin vine
winding up a pole, hanging from a handrail, arrow leaves,
tiny orange trumpets -- I never saw it out of bloom
from August until now. I wonder what March
in Mississippi means to bring me -- azaleas,
mountain laurels, wisteria vines, unknown flowers,
white with red stamens on broadleaf evergreen bushes,
scent ascending, alluring, enticing.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Crepe Myrtle

This is the first I've seen crepe myrtle blooming
their crinkled torus blossoms all through summer,
or growing into trees. A tiny bush
grew near my childhood bedroom window wall --
I chose it for the hot pink flowers blooming
for an entire month in summer. May
to hot September here, I've yet to see
them out of bloom. Pink flowers everywhere --
along, between the roads and houses, only
the freshly planted the same size as mine
up in Kentucky, just now five years old.
The five-year-olds have grown to pink-torch trees
in Mississippi's summer heat. While mine
was one, unique and beautiful -- now, they
seem much too much. While through their commonness
I have already grown exhausted of
all the crepe myrtles that I've seen, I know,
when I go up, see mine again, the only
one growing, blooming in White Plains, I will
think it is the most beautiful of flowers.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gulfport, MS

The gulf is dark, calm, forming pools
in shallow sand as water pulls away --
it's slipping silent from my feet. Sand scampers
across them. I thought the tide would be high
on a full moon. Jellyfish, long and blue, red, oval,
with tiny tentacles caressing water by, move
slow by my feet. I can easily step away.
Black skimmers -- long red bottom bill
that breaks the water's surface, scooping fish
with its black tip -- glide silently across the sea,
unseen until only a few feet away. Everything here
is unexpected, not at all how I thought it would be --
the moon, the birds, the sea -- and me, me most of all.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day

If Marx is right, the more I work on this
One poem, as I contemplate it's rhyme
And rhythm, I will see its value kiss
The clouds as labor builds up over time.

But if I simply jot it down, without
Much thought, just following the habits wrought
From practice, then there surely is no doubt
It's worth as little as the effort bought.

And surely longer poems must be worth
More than a couplet, quatrain, or haiku
Since so much time was spent in giving birth --
It's length, not content, that makes value true?

But no one cares if I took days or weeks
Or even minutes for the lines I write --
They only want what every reader seeks:
For wisdom, knowledge, something that delights.

And so I'm not exploited if I can
Not find a reader for my epic verse,
Nor I unfairly profit if a man
Delights in sonnets more -- we can't disperse

The value fairly to the written lines.
No, you must judge alone what lines you like --
The value's only what your taste defines --
It makes no sense for me to go on strike.

On the Hills

Dark pines on low, rolling hills,
hiding those hills so slightly.
What life hides beneath their boughs,
springing up between pine needles?
Little life in such acid soils
produced by pines and oaks and magnolias.
These seem sufficient for the beauty
of these hills, a different beauty from the hills
I'm used to -- towering hills spotted with caves,
covered in oaks and maples, redbuds, dogwoods,
tulip trees in full flower, filling the forests
with whites and purples, a touch of pink. These hills
may seem more plain --
unless . . .
unless you look more closely . . .
then you can see the beauty's just as clear, only
a little different in the dark green needles.