Monday, December 28, 2015

Seeking Dreams

I'm keeping it surreal. Not dripping clocks
Or walking rocks hard fast upon your heal.
The dream will seem to come in cream that tops
The milk can poets lift among the crops.
The crops are fruiting stop signs in long lines
To harvest in the winter when designs
Descend delightfully in dimpled flocks
That not even the Spring would dare repeal.

I'm sure this network field will yield, or merge
With plastic prairies sprouting poppies pure
As coal. Our only goal should be to toll
The walkers and the bells upon the knoll
Until we cannot hear the snowflakes grow
Upon the wind. We've surely sinned to know
And overflow with every mental urge
Until by seeking we become unsure.

The future fades to fact in foamy dreams
Where certainty is certain to succeed --
Poetic lies of pies and plums and pain
That won't refrain -- the dreams of the insane
Bewildering the present to present
A present of the prescient who all went
To where the certainty has turned to seems
And all the dreams are realized in deeds.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Krampus!

The jingle bells will tinkle
To let you know he's here
To feast upon your naughty children's fear

On Christmas Eve the Krampus
Will come and get your kid
And put him in a cage and shut the lid

The jingle bells will tinkle
As cruelly he will laugh
As he pokes at you with his wooden staff

On Christmas Eve the Krampus
Who knows of all your tricks
Will beat upon your backside with his sticks

The jingle bells will tinkle
And he'll say with a grin,
"Be good or I'll come back for you again!"

On Christmas morning Krampus
Drops off the girls and boys
Who needed discipline instead of toys

Monday, December 21, 2015

Santa Claus and Krampus

As Santa sleighs across the sky, the snow
Clouds drifting in, the Krampus trails along
To punish all the children who don't know
How to be good, and for them sings this song:

I come tonight collecting boys
And girls who are bad
They're put in bags and beat with sticks
I'll beat them mad or sad

And Santa sings along as well -- he sings
A song of joy that echoes out above
The towns as soft as smooth angelic wings --
To everyone he sings this song of love:

I come tonight, deliver toys
To children who are good
I bring my bag of presents which
Bring joy to those I should

And thus the Krampus travels through the air --
A long-tongued, dark-hair trail of Santa's sleigh --
The two together ensure life is fair --
The bad are punished, good allowed to play.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Pigeon in the Park

I love to watch the pigeon bob her head,
The sun refracting off her neck to shine
In purple-free, deep colors rich as wine.
She stops to fill her breast with my white bread
I broke to bring her here to keep her fed
So she can make a milk that is divine
That only in her breast can she refine
And feed to those who languish in her bed.

She stands upon the concrete corner, cool
And cautious, ready any time to fly --
She always wonders if this is a trick.
She bobs her head. Is she a feathered fool?
And yet, her stomach's full, she can't deny--
And so if there's a blow, she hopes its quick.

Monday, December 7, 2015

In the Magical Land of Ohio

I want to run away one day
To fields and fields of corn
Perhaps a city's where I'll stay
Where factories adorn
A land in winter covered in snow
The magical land of Ohio

I want to go where cities rise
Like weeds among the fields
I know that I will find my prize
Where all the flat land yields
Such fruited grains, where everything grows
The magical land of Ohio

I want to discover myself
Under a cloudy sky
I want to get off of this shelf
And no one can deny
There's no place like this place I don't know
The magical land of Ohio

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ode to the Loris

The loris lies along the limb, each leaf
A light and limber living love of brief
And fleeting things, for each will fall and float
From limb to litter, acting as a coat
Of green to brown so death does not bring grief.

Can one adorabled by wide eyes, round
In round head, have a reputation found
Among the sloths and serpents? You know "slow"
Is in his name. Some say a venom flow
Ought to be feared from every bite inbound.

Our cousin doesn't deserve such cold shade
Beyond that given by his trees that braid
A home, protection, food, and place to sleep.
He only wants to live and slowly creep
To food and love and where his bed is laid.

These loris lies do not deserve the least
Attention -- just believe your eyes, the feast
Of traits that make a mother of us all --
And in the evenings you can hear them call --
Their whistles fill the woods in the far East.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mature Love

Hispanic lass
Upon my bed
This silver glass
Shows youth has fled

And in its place
This beauty lies
Within your face
And to your thighs

In middle age
Your bud has bloomed
My hormones rage
They're not entombed

Each year that goes
My love just grows

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Love's Chakras

Beloved, you're a spirit of renown
That sprouts my wings and makes me dare to fly --
You tempt me with your spirit's filmy gown
And blind me with the diamonds of your crown.

You're always on my mind -- I can't deny
Electric flows and all that they denote,
Cliche or otherwise. You bring me high,
And I just have to look you in the eye.

The words I speak, the loving words I wrote
Since you embraced me have made up my art,
Are for your ears, are meant to gently float
From mind to mind and heart to heart from throat.

But if you were to make a map or chart
Of who I am through every when and what,
Then you would find there in the central part
A home for you in my warm, woken heart.

My instincts are to touch and love you, shut
You off from all and keep you in my noose
Of warmth, my very navel. I would cut
Off all for you -- I feel it in my gut.

The depth of creativity's let loose
When I am gazing on you. I'm no brute --
You turn on my love, art, poetic juice --
Because you make me want to reproduce.

My love transcends and dives below my boot --
I love your gold and red and gray and brown --
I want to be your sacred magic flute,
And each of us can be the other's root.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

To Frederick Turner

To Frederick Turner, Homer of our time,
The man who taught me rhythm, form, and rhyme
Belong to poetry at any stage
And age, there's few whom I would love engage
On any topic, every topic -- wise
Man that you are, to read you is a prize --
Philosopher and poet, you transcend
Them both, and both you therefore do defend.
My praise for you, I ask, do not dismiss --
You helped to bring me up from the abyss,
My mentor, mage and sage, my wedding guest
And Muse -- because of you my life is blessed
With wisdom and with poetry, with plays
In verse. Though nothing that you taught me pays
In one economy, you've helped me see
The profit other orders make. I'm free
Because you grounded me in time and verse --
There's no way I could ever reimburse
You for your leading me up from the cave
And seeing that all life should not be grave,
Or just a place where we should, sadly, cope,
But rather is a place of joy and hope.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Oedipus Tyrannus

With care I limp along in blindness sight --
Oh, too much sight! -- developed in my soul.
This limp was given to me by my father,
These children given to me by my mother,
These empty sockets given to myself.
I leave behind the pestilence I brought
Because I sought to seek a pathway home
Away from my mistaken home, to flee
Into my mother's arms, away from mom
And dad, protecting them, I thought. I ought
To wander in a circle -- circles sought
Me out to bring me home from home, womb
To womb, and now near Athens is my tomb.
This cane, my curse -- it gave me sight to step
Before the Sphinx, her wings outstretched, her tail
Twitching, her lion legs low, crouched, her breasts
Wet-streaked in blood from victims she had killed
That very day, her face as beautiful
As it was awful, and answer her words,
Her riddle I in doubleness could answer.
I saw her fury press her wings down tight
Onto her body right before she threw
Herself onto the craggy stones to die.
I saw her simply lie. In triumph I
Marched into my new torture I mistook
For pleasure gardens and my just rewards.
I knew I knew and, knowing, knew I knew
How to be king -- appointed if not born --
How to be ruler over man. A wise
And sober king -- with brightness I would blind
Myself -- in too much light I could not see
The plague in front of me, that I had made
Because my virtue was a shade to hide
The outcomes of my choices. I had bound
All those I loved, who perished by my fate.
The weakest of my line is all who'd live,
My brother-in-law uncle left alone
To rule an empty city, empty home.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Running in the Park

Stroller and mom rollerblading
Behind the wide as pie eyed child
Never having gone so fast
Cool air through his hair tuft
Matted plaited ratted on his head
A child's mess
Mom's best success
Now having gone awry
He watches pass green leafed sky
And never wonders why
It's not textured green
Now flatted blue and white
When feathered movement catches his eye
For but a moment before
His mom and speed
Send it out of sight
To sudden forgetfulness
Mother turns a sudden curve
Sharper than she has in past
He feels it lean
Then straighten out
And continue his rush
Down the broken regular sidewalk
The rhythmic ticking
Sending him to sleep
Despite the joy of speed

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Attack on Paris

The great Enlightenment began in France --
It's there that liberalism took its stance
Against the darkness, let the spirit dance.

There ignorance gave way to seek the true
And every man would one day get his due --
The mind of man would rise up to the blue.

Our path to liberty was given light --
We'd know the way and know that it was right
And virtue would turn every soul to white.

These ideals far too many learned to dread --
Nazis, communists, haters came instead --
They lost, as will those who turned Paris red!

Demon Worship

Descending from their paper tower
The coldest monsters hug their power
They love it when it's feeding hour
It's their own souls that they devour
They hate you but it's they'll decide your fate
And you will beg them, Don't deny
My every want, my every sigh
I'll swallow up your every lie
Declare your truth is not up for debate
And you will worship everything
They say, demand they be your king
Then cut your throat so they'll enjoy their hate

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Tale of Two Prophets

The tribe surrounds him, listens to his words.

I hear the voices, voices of the birds --
The gods have sent their messengers to me --
They spread their wings and sat upon my knee.
     The spirits up above
     They send their love
     And say that you must live
     Your life to give.
The gods are angry at our wives
Whose thighs are cold and tongues are knives.
At husbands god is angry, too --
The do not love, give what is due.
You leaders, power's not for you to take --
     Don't be a fake,
     Live for our sake --
All this commands the spirit of the lake.
The fruits will  rot before they're ripe
And worms will wriggle from your tripe.
     If you do not obey
     Beginning now, today.

The tribe beheld this holy man and trembled --
His words commanded all who had assembled.
 The crowd walks past him, each ignores his words.

The voice of God is speaking to the herds
That He is coming soon to punish all
Who built around their hearts a concrete wall.
     The angels up above
     Say God is love
     And therefore you should give
     Your life to live.
Our God is angry at you wives
Whose thighs are not for men at dives.
At husbands God is furious --
They cheat and lie, are cruel and cuss.
You leaders seek in power evil deeds,
     Like noxious weeds
     You spread your seeds
Of wicked envy for your needs.
The institutions that you made
Will crush you all before you fade
     If you do not confess
     Your sins so God can bless.

The crowd ignored him -- all but one, whose call
Brought men to silence him behind a wall.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


The sun fades into the forest top, trapped
Among the leaves that entangle the rays
And keep the sun around just that little
Bit longer when they really shorten days.

My legs strengthen walking through the open
Fields and woods, as I climb the mountain, rocks
Scuffing my skin thicker. My brain is clear
As this air from busyness, stress, and clocks.

The meadow lark is giving way to owls
And whip-poor-wills -- the bullfrogs lose to crickets --
I lose nothing in this transition -- night
Brings the milky way -- no city light thicket

Blocks out the vast majority of stars
Out here so only Orion stands out
As he hunts. No, he is joined by others --
Out here the gods exist -- there is no doubt.

Of course, the land I walk here in this dream
Must be paid for over and over -- tax
Is always due -- I'd have to keep the money
Flowing in -- they'd never let me relax.

I might as well stay here in this office
And continue living in the suburbs
And chase my tail here in my others life
And make sure that my life never disturbs.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Four Displays

The sweat trickles down his neck nearly lost
In muscles he is building with each rep --
He builds them with each drunk man he has tossed --
He crafts his body, careful with each step.

His suit and Lamborghini  both were made
By hand in Italy -- he made his wealth
Himself, and every debt is always paid --
He's generous and in financial health.

His words are worshiped, musical and light,
Complex and deep, reflects his spirit, mind --
He'll take a bird, reflect his own delight --
The web he weaves are words you will unwind.

The peacock lifts his eyes and spreads them wide --
His demonstrations are the peahen's guide.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Zorba the Zebra

Zorba the zebra of Zanadu
Looked out on the plains
Then ran right on through
Then tiptoeing tantalizingly
With nothing to do
He lay on the beach
And slept on a shoe

And as he was sleeping
Lorenda the lion he sat
And wondered while looking
At where he was at
Then he looked at his belly
No longer was fat
So he stood on his head
And cried like a brat

Lorenda the Lion lay lazy around
Then out on  the beach
Was Zorba he found
Then licking his chops
He knew he was bound
To soon have his dinner
If he made not a sound

But Zorba awoke
He was never asleep
He never did dream
He was never that deep
So he ran from Lorinda
Without even a peep
And Lorenda thought Zorba
Was really a creep

Friday, November 6, 2015


Electromagnetism flies through space --
The sun releases it and it reflects
Off objects when it's certain waves, which grace
Our eyes -- though some of it each eye deflects.

The light provides electrons energy
And reconfigures retinol whose change
Creates cascades of electricity
Down neural pathways sight will rearrange.

And yet we see what we anticipate --
We mostly just confirm -- our brains construct
The world from fragments that they can relate
To instincts, concepts, what they can deduct.

Blue morpho butterflies, electric blue
And black, glisten in the sunlight and dew.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Important Things

I've left behind the crimes and Congress, stock
Exchange, the daily news -- they're all the same,
They do not change from year to year, yet lock
Our minds to them as to a tiny flame.

I've left behind the petty things -- the crimes
Of governments remain the same, the words
We speak repeat, and history still rhymes.
I'd rather hear the call of speckled birds --

I'd rather hear the ocean sing and see
The painted bunting flit between the leaves --
I'd rather feel the granite scrape my knee --
I'd rather taste the air as my chest heaves.

I'd rather smell your hair and tink our rings --
For these are all the most important things.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Time's Writing

There written on the leaves is all the pain
The Summer brings, the drought, the death-dry heat,
The tears and bruises, where the worms remain
To bite around the vein, keep fresh the meat.

The flower rises, it's the plant's last stand
Against the dying. Its potential seeds
The soil, its future toil, demand,
And hope fulfilling all its desperate needs.

The Autumn, Winter comes and plants deep death
Across the earth -- we lose all worth and wail
That we won't last -- and so we cast our breath
To tell our seeming senseless untongued tale.

The Spring deluge expands the seed to sprout,
And thus the future dissipates our doubt.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ends and Means

The time of flames has come to make us burn --
The poet speaks, we understand. We turn
Our words to ends, we must philosophize
We know their meanings when they're means -- we're wise
Until we seek to know beyond the time
The wood is used, reduced to beat or rhyme
From which arise the means to mean, a song
Upon the score to satisfy the throng.
And thus we speak the truth and safely shock --
We reap rewards and rarely taste hemlock.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Homo Narrans

We spend a lifetime listening to others' dreams
And fears and joys and sorrows, sweet defeats
And wearying desires -- all are treats
For fallow ears -- we wish for all that speaks and seems.

We're storytellers every day -- we spend our nights
Telling our stories to ourselves -- each day
We tell each other stories and we play
With narrative and language to our ears' delight.

We gossip and we tell our tales -- each fairy tale
And novel, poem, epic, film, and verse
Contributes to our humanness and nurse
Us as it covers and withdraws its silky veil.

I am afraid that that is all we are, we men
And women, cultures and societies --
Afraid? No! Joy is what you ought to seize
When you agree that life comes off of tongue and pen.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Philosophers and Poets

In Hades the philosophers are blind
They wander unaware of their own kind
As each one's contemplating his own mind
Each one a monster that no one can find
Each one believing all he left behind
Are shadows and the sun has merely shined
Too bright and that their eyesight will unwind
And everyone will love what they've divined
And they release them from the chains that bind
Each person to the wall they're sure they've dined
Upon the flesh of truth they merely grind
Their teeth on nothingness that they've defined

With people places things the poets leaven
The truth and that is why they sing in heaven

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Culture of Children

I've tried to find adults, but they all fled
From college, work, and high schools -- they're all dead,
Much like the gods of old --
I find but puppy days, demands, and dread--
There's no one left who's bold.

We need to take our sons at age thirteen
Into the terror forests where we'll wean
Them from the sweatened milk
And drum them into men with virtue's mean,
Away from vice's silk.

A ritual for daughters, too, to bring
Them into womanhood -- we need to sing
Of love and due respect,
Responsibility that brings the Spring
Of wisdom to reflect.

And once we've brought adulthood back, we'll find
Behavior problems fade like mist, the mind
Now cosmopolitan
No longer child-deaf and child-blind
Our lives can now begin.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

On Self-Control

You can't control yourself without a self --
It's cybernetic self-control -- no elf
Within the brain required, desired, or found --
Emergent network feedback is the ground --
So courage lets you face your fears, stand cool --
A person unafraid shows he's a fool,
As vicious as a coward, both of whom
Will lead the mirror masses to their tomb.

Behold the virtues, products of your choice,
Made possible by your emergent mind
Affecting neural pulses and their flow --
Behold your freedom, love it and rejoice
That you create yourself, unless you find
You don't believe, for freedom means you know.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Present of Happiness

"We hardly ever are; but we were and we shall be." -- Paul Valery

Depression pulls and pares us from the now
Into the haunted mansions of our past,
The rotten wood, the shades of dead don't last,
Yet they seem always first to mind somehow

Anxiety, our future fear, will bow
Us down beneath its weight and slowly cast
Its shadow -- its cold darkness makes you fast,
To death and drink your sweat from off your brow.

The present must present itself in you
For joyfulness and happiness to live --
Revise your past and future both, rewrite
Your life and author only what is true,
Erasing bends and breaks -- you have to give
Yourself permission to find hope, delight.

Monday, October 26, 2015


Oh, shallow-rooted flower, I can see
Why you have grown so delicate! A life
Of being told that you don't have to learn,
That you should live in cotton, free from strife --

Collapsing at the slightest hint that you
Have failed to make the greatest thing on earth,
You fail at life, you fail to grow, you fail
And fail to make a single thing of worth --

But on your shelf you have your trophy -- dead
Of meaning, representing nothing. Death
Will wipe your worthless work away and we
Won't have to hear your worthless whining breath.

Friday, October 23, 2015

To the Humans

There's little human in the way I think --
You see the superficial me, the me
You've made me show as you forced me to shrink
And grow more you and greater, lesser, free.

I really see an oddity when I
Am watching each of you -- you seem to me
An oddly acting ape -- I don't deny
That I seem that to you -- we're neither free.

We must project ourselves to socialize --
But I'm mistaking you, and you of me --
It took a son, and years, to realize
Our foreignness -- that shock has set me free.

But you've mistaken me for you, but worse
In thought and speech and action -- look at me
And you see you, and that is where the curse
Has always lain and will not set me free.

I am an alien to how you act
And think -- I hear you speak nonsense to me
In petty gibberish -- I have no tact,
But speak my mind -- you censor, I am free.

I fault you for not loving only truth --
But I embarrass you, you censor me,
And I become withdrawn -- I'm not uncouth,
Just different socially -- and you're not free.

You stare; I will not look -- you do not care
About too much; obsessions filling me
Drive all my actions -- I will rarely spare
Your feelings; censorship, though, sets you free.

My social awkwardness belongs to you --
I'm fine just as I am -- let me be me
And not a poorer you -- let me be true
And that will help us both improve, be free.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Wandering Goddess

The temples fell, and Venus wanders, worn,
Across the earth in search of worshipers --
Her clothes are torn, neglected -- she endures
By those few who find love in life they've borne.
Her neck and chest, what pearls should adorn,
Are bare and bruised -- she's treated like a curse,
As too much madness is -- the joy that's hers
To give is gone, and we are left forlorn.

But we can bring her joyful madness home,
Back to our hearts, its quickened rhythmic beat
That flush our flesh with blood. Dear Venus gives
If we would just receive. Dig up your loam
And plant her seed and harvest all her wheat --
We and she are starving; joined, though, love lives.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Depth of Culture

The way you act, your music, dress, and speech --
Our cultures matter most to us -- they cut
Into our cores, what others to us teach --
We're certain culture reaches to our gut

Excuses from a superficial sheet
We wrap our universals in -- you can unlearn
Bad habits, antisocial acts -- repeat,
You can unlearn what decent people spurn

And yet we writhe and make such deep defense
Of petty differences and vile vice --
We to go war because we take offense
Over if our tea's served warm or full of ice

And yet we will defend a vile act
As just a difference of culture -- judge
A clitorectomy as evil, backed
By science -- trust that I will bear no grudge

So do not tell me when you act a jerk
That you were raised that way, you can't be blamed
For what your culture wrought -- it will not work --
You act an ass and you should be ashamed

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Eminent Domain

I work, but what I earn I do not own --
I have a house that I can always lose --
I live the lie that I can always choose --
I cannot feed my family what I've grown.

I am a serf, work for my vassal lord --
A sharecropper who's working for the man --
The government will take all that it can --
Enough so it won't fall beneath the sword.

Our lords have changed their names, and that is all --
The gods have changed into democracy --
The atheists and anarchists both flee
While we blame them we stand against the wall.

Police and armies march and they restrain
Our troublesome -- society deprives
The thinkers, dreamers, livers of new lives --
Our lives belong to eminent domain.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Dragon Fear

The dragon Fear will keep you in your place --
He'll stare you down with his green eyes
He'll make you feel death is a prize
And make you kneel and feel you're  a disgrace --
He'll make you feel his heat before he flies.

A sometimes glance of sunlight seems to wane
One's hope -- why should light ever raze
One's hope? -- and yet, it cannot raise
You off our knees so you can face your pain,
And promise will not put you in a daze.

And in the dark you cannot see the gold
That piles around you in the cave --
You seem intent to stay a slave
And punish anyone who dares be bold --
You'll torch and torture him into his grave.

And then the dragon Fear will grin at you
And compliment you on your sin
And tell you that you're going to win
The prize of loyalty: belief that's true,
But venomous as what drips off his chin.

And you will lash out blindly at your loves
And you will take the steel-tipped spear
And stab the one who is most near --
And you will think your shackles velvet gloves,
And you will cower in the dark in fear.

And then the dragon Fear will cruelly laugh
That you, his captive, killed his foe,
And did it knowing what you know
Since you'd been handed the two-helixed staff --
You joined with fear, and now nothing will grow.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Divine Knowledge

Where Shelley's atheism would find faith
Today, no theist verse would find a home
Outside religious magazines -- a wraith
Of narrowmindedness erects a dome
To make sure spirit-feeling will not roam.

The nyads, dryads do not have a place
To dwell -- we cannot find the spirits' land --
Our poets, editors would find disgrace
Among their peers if life should not be bland
Upon the page as atheists demand.

Heroic gods could scarcely grace the page
In anything but reference, irony -
To dare be earnest, that would but enrage
The village atheist -- he'll make you flee
From his harangues, his every empty plea.

And God the Father, God the King won't reign
Much more than human kings or emperors --
And why would any atheist dare deign
To deem a theme on him should open doors
When they have existential verse on whores?

The fuzzy deist God, the cosmos' voice
That sparked existence just to step aside
Is still too much -- in Him you can't rejoice
Without sly ridicule -- they won't abide
Until you have confessed that God has died.

And that now leaves us with the blankest verse
Of petty observations, with our eyes
Cast down upon the ground to see what's worse
In life and humankind, that but denies
That we are anything but food for flies.

But if you dare to lift your eyes, the glow
Will blind you right before you see the sun,
And seeing beauty you will finally know
What virtue needs, and all the damage done
By failing to aim high to reach the one.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Welcome to Adulthood

You think you're getting freedom from the rules
When you join the adults, that field of fools
Who lie to you and to themselves -- but worse,
The adult rules oppress until the hearse.

We're training you for bosses, to obey
An aristocracy -- no time to play --
You have to pay your bills and all your debts --
They'll tax away all but your last regrets.

They'll tax your patience, tax away your love
Until you lash out -- then the rules descend
And you will feel your bosses' iron glove --
And you will break if you refuse to bend.

But if you break, you have a chance to win,
And that's when your adulthood will begin.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sick Unto Death

If leisure's culture's basis, culture's dead --
We murdered it as it lay sick in bed --
We don't have leisure time -- it's not a perk
That's granted by the places where we work.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Serious Poet

The Serious Poet has come to town!
He is a man of much renown --
Frivolity will get his frown --
If it's not his, he'll put it down --
The Serious Poet has come to town.

He will declare there's nothing worse
Than any that is not his verse --
"What silliness!" he'll say with terse
And scowling frowns, his voice a hearse
In which true poems must immerse.

His greatness stretches back and back
And since there's nothing he should lack
He knows that he must stay on track
And never let influence crack
The poems of this boring hack.

"Your poem rhymes? Then that should date
It back to sixteen eighty-eight --
We all know Serious Poems state
In anti-rhythms -- no debate.
And this is fun, and we should hate
All fun -- only the dull is great."

The Serious Poet will thus proclaim
That unless you bow to his fame
And make all your work just the same --
All serious, sad, and very tame --
That all you'll ever write is lame.

The Serious Poet has come to town!
He is a man of much renown --
Frivolity will get his frown --
If it's not his, he'll put it down --
The Serious Poet has come to town.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Prelude to Revolution

What power and what holiness he must
Command -- can he strike down men with a breath?
Or with a wave of his high hand? -- I trust
Offending him is sure and certain death.

How else can he stand there before the crowd
That cowers, silent, shuffling, looking down?
Ten thousand to his one, they have allowed
His rule with purple robes and mere renown.

They follow to his clanging bell -- he herds
Them with the sternest looks, the warmest smiles,
And with the eloquence of his harsh words --
All ignorant and dark to his dark wiles.

And yet he doesn't see the one who stands --
Refusing to salute, obey commands.

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Prince Without Letters

"A Prince without Letters is a Pilot without eyes. All his Government is groping." Ben Jonson

No President admits to reading Pope --
No Senator is sensitive to Swift --
No Congressperson could point out a trope --
These ignorant Fools are on the seas adrift.

The Iliad ignored, the Odyssey
Is not obeyed -- no Cato, Seneca
Or Catullus -- their wisdom we all flee --
And liberalism dies, America.

And who now reads the secret legislators,
And who knows who invented human nature?
It's not your narrow-minded Senators --
There is no wisdom in your legislature.

The anti-intellectual Left and Right
Are on our social systems but a blight.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

On Patronage

The patrons are the poet's audience --
To please them is his pleasure -- he is poor
Without them -- words won't come his way -- and hence
He writes with them in mind -- they make him more.

Your audience determines what's your song --
You sing the song of government to pay
Your bills if they would pay -- or you belong
A partisan of people -- they're your clay.

Yet there are those who think they must refuse
To have an audience for whom to write --
They say their art is sullied if they bend
To any will but theirs -- they seek a Muse
Of solitude -- they don't care to delight --
But people die when they cannot depend.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Way that Can Be Spoken

The poet is a Proteus who flows
Up from the sea into a quaking tree
And from a tree into a snake, a rose,
A person and a stone, a tiny flea.

I am these things -- I speak their language, hear
Their thoughts and sighs -- I delve into their time
And space to tell you what they most revere,
Each dream and virtue, every lust and crime.

And thus you cannot hold me down, proclaim
You know my mind -- I am the voice of each
And every being which emerges, same
And different -- these are what I come to teach.

I am a lion -- try to grasp my mane
And I will like a fountain flow away
Between your fingers -- get a cup, it's vain,
For I'll become a golden ass and bray.

I am the atom and the stone, the stars
And firmament -- I am the flowers, fruit
Upon the branch, strong horses and old cars --
I am the leopard and earth-bound newt.

I'm man and woman, sane and lunatic,
I'm mortal and divine -- and in this strife
Where all I speak is true and but a trick
You'll find uncovered consciousness and life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Nature's Sacrifices

The oil slicks across the sea, the black
Refracting rainbows. Death for fish and birds
Who get caught up and wrapped in oiled waves.

It's easy to forget this oil means
The great wise whales aren't hunted near to loss
For oil that they carry on their flesh.

The sea gulls whisper that they welcome life
Made by their sacrifice when, rare, it's asked.
The sardine schools are surfaced in great thanks.

Around the windmill generators birds
Are sacrificing selves to keep the seas
Clean of the oil. Feathered bodies pile up.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Home Cooking

I grew up in Kentucky with a mother
Who was a picky eater. Spices rare --
Just seasoned salt -- we dared not have another --
The cupboard for the spices was most bare.

A little Southern (for my dad), a bit
More Northern (mom, who cooked), we ate Ragu
Spaghetti, chili bland of chilies, flit
From biscuits sopped in sausage gravy, stew

With carrots and potatoes to fried eggs
And toast, corn and mashed potatoes with cream
Gravy, fried chicken (breasts, but not the legs)
All filled the kitchen table, curling steam.

I learned to cook with spices when I went
To college. There I tried cuisines that I
Had never had the change to even scent --
To Chinese, Mexican I had to try.

And now, a marriage later, on most days
I'm making tacos, enchiladas, corn
Tortillas wrapping chicken, spicy trays
Of food, hot peppers used like I was born

In Mexico -- or Texas at the least.
My mom would find it odd I feed my brood
Such meals -- but honestly we do not feast
On Mexican: we only call it "food."

Friday, October 2, 2015


A name is magical, a spell --
A name converts a verb to noun,
Turns constant change to being -- cell
To truth, it fools you like a crown.

Your name is your illusion you
Are who you were and who you'll be --
When you are not, are never true,
But always changing what we see.

And yet a tiger names a thing
With stripes, sharp teeth and claws, and death
Will follow your dismissal, bring
You down to being without breath.

Becoming turns to being -- worn
Upon its feedback, being's born.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Our poetry is missing monsters -- delve
Into the mind to find the rind of thought
And you will soon divine the synthesis
Of all with awe to thaw each thought we sought.

The serpent, lion, eagle, flame emerge
To fearsome dragons, awesome concepts drawn
To sum our fears, to tame our tears, to bring
Us courage through the breaking of the dawn.

The dawn divinified as exposed breasts,
The sun a chariot drawn by a god,
The stones are spirit-filled and fairies, sprites
Are found in trees and nights as our eyes nod.

The tree of life, great Odin's horse, the tree
Of knowledge of what's good and evil, grapes
And pomegranates, sacred groves once filled
The forest of our minds, once-great landscapes.

We think our minds are open and are free,
But they cannot contain the multitude
Of monsters that our minds once loved and grew --
Our minds now merely make a sickly brood. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Leaves of Absence

The grass is crimson as the sun's curve dips
Below the  Earth's -- the crimson purpling
An instant after the sun falls, the drops
Of light enough to see the shadows spring
Into a fading black. The cardinal ships
Its final song to cue the crickets sing.

The wind whistles the grass -- you cannot see
The waves of regularity that sweep
Across the surface our eyes make, agree
Is there, although it's only what we reap
From flowers, leaves that move independently
Beneath the wind that grows as dark grows deep.

The old forest fades black in the new moon --
It disappears before the prairie lands --
And we are left with sounds -- a fat racoon
That chirps and rustles, dips its little hands
Into the stream, a tiny splash -- a loon
Disturbs the night -- the frogs call their demands.

And all of this will fade as our eyes hide
Behind their lids and our brains close each ear
As we fall into rhythmic breathing, slide
Into a consciousness too many fear
To bring into the sun. They will reside
In darkness, fearing it will reappear.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

To the Demons

Our Master asked for me to write this note
That we should concentrate on those who gloat
That they are wiser than all men and so
Deserve to lord it over others. Grow
Their power, let them feed the envious
And fill their bellies with that poison puss
So they will gladly give their powers over
While cursing what would feed the divine clover.
We must empower parasites who feed
The envious -- together they'll indeed
Destroy the good that grows on Earth. A plus
If you convince them hate is virtuous,
So long as envy is the driver. Hate
Is always what we aim to make -- debate
Replaced by accusations and the lie
Each honest disagreement would deny
You of your dignity, your right to what
You've chosen to believe is true. The cut
Of challenge we'll make look so deep, they'll fear
The slightest disagreement -- they'll give ear
To none who would correct what's wrong in life --
Or even little things -- they'll feel such strife
At any challenge, they'll demand that all,
Including they themselves, be made to fall
In line with those they deep their betters. Ditch
Descending on the pastors, priests -- no, switch
To lifting demagogues who preach that sin
Is virtue, theft is giving -- all to win
A vote. Yes, do take note that power grants
Us ease in what we do. Prudes drop their pants
In lust when power comes their way. Let's trust
That power does corrupt, that all men lust
For power to corrupt their souls to Hell
And we will surely see our numbers swell.
Just have our preachers preach that coveting
Is virtue, wealth is stolen -- that will bring
The world to us, and Hell will dwell on Earth.
Persuade men that a gang of thieves is worth
Their love and worship -- men of demon stock
Should be considered as the solid rock
On which society should build itself.
Now, do not think that we are going to shelf
The great reforms we made with Screwtape. No!
Those petty things are genius! Although slow,
The little things will eat away with time --
We do not have to concentrate on crime
To lure a person far from God. We tease
And make it so there's nothing that can please,
No matter how good they may have it. Lust
For more and covet, envy, lose all trust,
And slowly break the bonds that make men good --
Help them destroy their culture, neighborhood,
Society by making them mistake
These things for government -- for goodness' sake! --
It is pathetic how these can
Go wrong, be led astray since time began
For them. I think with this we found a god
For them -- a god of men to whom they'll nod
And bow before. They'll think they have a Father --
They will -- who rapes then treats them as a bother.
Do this and it's our Master you'll most please.
Sincerely yours, sirs, Mephistopheles.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Sociopath

He's charming, arrogant, and thinks
The rules do not apply to him, denies
Authority. And so each woman drinks
The soullessness that lies behind his eyes.

He could have been a C.E.O. and crashed
His corporation since his superficial
Charms could have lifted him until he cashed
His winnings and was paid for his dismissal.

He could have been a politician, ran
For Congress, won persuading everyone
He wanted what was best for them, he'd ban
For power for himself and just for fun.

Instead, he raped and murdered in each state --
That this was different is up for debate.

Friday, September 25, 2015

To the Prospective Poet

I want you to learn how to say
What can't be said,
The things that linger night and stay
Within your head
And will not turn themselves to words,
those can't-be-caged translucent birds
You deeply dread.

I promise you there's nothing worse
Than looking deep
To sing a song, to make a verse --
You'll want to weep
As you drag words out of your well,
Ascending out of your own Hell,
Whose steps are steep.

But here's a promise: when you're done
And you have made
A poem, you will find you're one
With your deep shade
And your bright sun. The poet's tree
Can help you make yourself free
And never fade.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fruit Bats

They flit up to their mother, mouths agape,
These little brothers begging for their treat
Then running off -- a game they play with grape
Or apple, peach or pear -- the fruit they eat
A favored sweet they beg for every hour --
Today they yell, "It's watermelon power!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Work-a-day Lives

You wake up at five-thirty, pee and walk the dog,
You're barely dressed, you wonder if it's going to rain,
Your neighborhood and mind and wife are in a fog,
Then shower, kids to schools, wife to work, you to train.
Three hours' prep for work before you start your work,
Then constant deadlines, constant rush that keeps your mind
From higher things (and lower things) -- you ask the clerk
If you have days, but you have used them up. The grind
Of what they rightly call this life that's not a life,
When all you want is to get kids in bed and sleep
To do it all again. Your weekends free for strife
That built all week. You always sow, but never reap.
So that you can give up the life of being crawlers,
Sometimes the only thing you need's a billion dollars.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Love Song for Anna

If I fell into your arms now
And fell for all your charms now
Would you love me til I die?
I could live well with the knowledge
That you cannot get in college
That you'll love me til I die.

If I cuddled you for hours
And danced with you in showers
Would you love me til I die?
I'm so happy that we're married
We're each other's til we're buried
Cause I'll love you til I die.

If I gave into your kisses
And gave you all your wishes
Would you love me til I die?
You're my beautiful, sweet lover --
Let me meet you under cover --
Let me love you til I die.

Monday, September 21, 2015


I must rebel! I want to make a Hell
Of anything you've got! No, don't demand
I ever stand for anything -- don't tell
Me how I must rebel. That will not stand!
I will rebel for ignorance, I will
Demand to never know. And wisdom can
All go to Hell. And beauty is just swill.
I will refuse to ever be a man!

Conformist! Rebels do not deign
To reject riches of the mind -- they find
Their purpose there -- they want to breathe the air
Of freedom education makes, to reign
Over themselves, unfasten every bind
Of ignorance whose weight they cannot bear!

Friday, September 18, 2015


I'm sitting here with no distractions
While thinking of the world in fractions
It's constant flowy wavy actions
Emerging into many factions
Made from and making all reactions
The only thing that's not? Inactions
I give you this with no retractions

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Poet at Work

I have permission to be bored
And thus the visions flow
Imagine the imaginings
Of images that grow
When these constructal thoughts are loose
And flow at different speeds
So turbulence emerges hence
To different mental deeds

A poem here a story there
A dripping dew of thought
The strength of flowing moves a stone
Is giving when it ought
Connecting facts to new ideas
In fractal novelty
The lone controller at the helm
A cybernetic flea

Beloved I can think of you
The censor has gone home
Now butterflies with shimmer scales
The cosmos in my dome
Discovers ways to link and think
Enjoys the subtle sounds
It makes and takes the rhythmic strings
To force its boundless bounds

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Madison's Moralists

The crowd
In the cloud
Felt they were endowed
With virtue to deem what's allowed
Hypocrisy hacked them showed none had lived as they'd vowed

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Do Not


Monday, September 14, 2015

Daniel's Name

His name is Daniel, don't call him Dan
He is a baby, he's not a man
His pretty mommy's his biggest fan
His name is Daniel, don't call him Dan

His name is Jesus with a strong Hey
Don't call him Jesus with a strong Jay
He likes to eat and he likes to play
His name is Jesus with a strong Hey

His name is Camplin -- and that's Camp and Lin --
It's never Campbell or Gamblin --
To make this mistake's a sonic sin --
He name is Camplin -- that's Camp and Lin

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Proposition On the Battlefield

I hate to have to be so blunt,
But hidden, you have what I want --
You know I'll find it if I hunt
In cover like an army grunt.

Perhaps the military brass
Would frown upon my being crass,
But I know, hidden, in your grass
I'll find the place where I must pass.

I think you know that this is best --
And no, it's not how you are dressed --
But rather I feel very blessed
That I have found someplace to rest.

Perhaps you'll even get a kick
From me -- perhaps you'll even stick
With me. Now let me light this wick
To clearly see my lucky pick.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Dream of Order

The trees reflected in the window seem
To move more quickly than the trees in front of me.
The distance drives perspective to a stream
That flows in chaos under this slow dream.

There's nothing -- no one nowhere knows the fee
For what it takes to learn there's little that we need --
But who will referee reality
And understand the dreams that make us free?

Our minds are made of neurons' dreams -- each scene
They're imaging is their imagining. They leave
Imagined leaves upon their branches, clean
Of chaos, making everything to mean.

The cell's the dreams some molecules will weave,
Like jazz emerging from musicians' common beat,
Discovered in the fragments they retrieve --
Whatever's left behind, they won't bereave.

The train's sharp jerk makes reverie retreat
and I'll remember only what my mind will deem
Worth writing the neurons so this meat
I am can dream until I am complete.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


(For the 10 anniversary of my asking Anna to marry me.)

With this diamond, simple sparkling crystal,
Glance at linear eternity,
Bound upon this metal ring, its circle
Endless in its curve -- both making growth,
Growth of love as they bind you to me,
Flesh to flesh -- this shows the love that binds.
With this ring I ask that you please rob
Me of all my liberty, and let
Me take  all your liberty as well,
So we each can live and love with greater
Freedom than we each of us know.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My Son's School Bean

The plastic planter
Grows a bean -- three leaves, three months
Of drought -- life persists

Monday, September 7, 2015


Should I oppress myself and live in chains,
Shackled to walls worn slick with drip and slime?
Why should my soul be slipped into the stocks,
And why should I cut out my tongue and mime?

And why should you insist to keep the key
That keeps me in the dungeon, safe away
From proper people and good company?
Why take the whip to me, begin to flay?

The red upon the metal cuffs are stains
Of rust and blood. My struggles are as clocks,
As regular and circular as time --
It's up to you if I should ever flee.

What kind of love would keep their love at bay
And never let their being out to play?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Prima Nocta

A crescent of blood sitting low in the sky
Alone in the darkness, too dim to deny
That the evening is heating the darkness tonight
So the demons are rising and death can take flight.

You demons are coming, I knew all along
that death was as certain as your lies were strong.
And the earth will now shatter in popular fear
So the people will crumble from what they revere.

The lies that they love are now living from lust
That greens our insides and soon molds all our trust
So we covet the good until we make it rot
In the fear that there's someone who has what we've not.

You demons are dreaming, but we'll make it real --
We'll murder and rape until we all reveal
That we do not need demons, that you are all dead.
Your last blood is now trickling off of our bed.

You lunatics promise the night will be day --
You promise that evil is tamed, it will play
And bring joy to the weakest and justice to all.
It's the promise the serpent made once -- in the Fall.

Our God is our Devil, we've merged them into
Utopian visions where virtue's run through
And left bleeding beside the night road to be found
By the good to revive and provide a new ground.

The sun will soon rise and we'll seek out new shade,
Where truth is then hidden -- the light that it's made
Will illuminate all of the grasslands. We'll see
That the farms all enslave and the natural makes free.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Watching the Window Washers

The window washers white against the gold
Skyscraper, twenty stories up, the sun
At morning hides behind the skyline. Cold
Is months away -- the heat has just begun.

The ropes are bending in the breeze that builds
Between the buildings, building energy
In complex bottlenecks. They're making tildes
Above the Spanish spoken silently

To those of us who walk the sidewalks, heads
Down, looking at our cell phones, brisk to work
In offices. What delicate long threads
For lives to need -- for cleaner, boss, or clerk.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Will to Beauty

The weakest like to exercise their power --
Abusers all lash out from lack of power.

The artist makes the world anew, makes life
Worth its experience -- that is his power.

Amoebas stretch their pseudopods to move
And eat -- a feat of their own will to power.

Beloved, I will always love you -- feel
My love in touch and kindness, love's true power.

Behold the rose's slow-unfolding flower --
Become entranced by its strong fragrant power.

Your brain is rhythmed by this poem's rhythm
And rhyme -- such patterns are a poem's power.

My readers get my best in lines like these --
It's here where I, Troy Camplin, find my power.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Blessed Rage for Orders

The human mind must always seek out orders
 In which to live and men bark out their orders.

The shells are lined up, all by size and colors
So that they make a set of spiraled orders.

You cannot love the government and hate
Police whose jobs are following those orders.

The hurricanes transform the skies from seas
Into their awful, dissipative orders.

Sweet tragedy performs sublimity
To show the transformation of all orders.

Behold the lines that Troy has crafted -- I,
The poet of sublime emergent orders.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Love and Loyalty

It seems there's nothing I know how to say
To you so you can fully understand
How true my love and loyalty shall stay.

I try to speak, and yet you look so gray --
A cloud has darkened all your fertile land --
It seems there's nothing I know how to say.

And yet I cannot seem to bring the day
With syllables -- should I sign with my hand
How true my love and loyalty shall stay?

The rain is streaming down -- we can't delay --
Although the flood is making its demand,
It seems there's nothing I know how to say.

I feel I'm without keel and washed away --
I yell and hope you hear across the sand
How true my love and loyalty shall stay.

It seems what I can say will not betray
My feelings for you, even words I've planned --
It seems there's nothing I know how to say
How true my love and loyalty shall stay.

Friday, August 28, 2015


Shall we commemorate the Trail of Tears
With Andrew Jackson statues marking miles?
Perhaps we should commemorate the years
Of General William Howe -- will that bring smiles
To all Americans, remembering
His role in history? We surely must
Embrace who made our history and sing
Of all they did. Our love is only just.
The Stars and Bars were raised for slavery
And raised again against blacks' civil rights.
Commemorate the foes of liberty
And those who brought us to our darkest nights?
Some things we should not raise; some we should raze --
Some things do not deserve a nation's praise.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Constructal Trees

I love the branching form of dicot trees --
Order, chaos, criticality please
The eye with expectation and a tease
Of difference. The bald cypresses have knees
That clear the water. Mangroves border seas
And branch above and below their trunks. Breeze
Brings movements to branches as their leaves seize
The air. A few have flowers, attract bees
And bats and birds and butterflies. Decrees
Are sung from their branches. We feel disease
If we're too far away from their firm lees
And their shadow darkening a few degrees
From the heat. And what other guarantees
Our air, ensuring that we do not wheeze
Through life? (Unless their pollen makes us sneeze.)
Complex beauty belongs to all of these --
We thus must always be our trees' trustees.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Spiders on the Playground

With every day the children play
The spider webs are torn,
And every evening, they don't grieve --
A new orb web is born.

The corner space will make a place
The spotted, colored sphere 
Makes triangle with spiral, pulls
A network insects fear.

They'll make each moth into a broth
Drunk from a silken cup,
Then toss each husk throughout the dusk --
Morn, all the kids wake up.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

As I Listen

I, loving, listen to your talk --
I'm quiet, cautious, worrying
While gazing across through meadow saffron,
Vase pushed aside so I can be
Lost in white eyes' brilliance,
Wishing now to languish long
In lacteal cherry springs --
Among the frangrant clouds
Whose misty rains will fall forever
In forests on the mountain side,
Our freedom, caritas, dreams, and things
Made real among the shrouds
Of crinaline whose shiver,
Brought about by breezes quiver,
Cannot hide your heart from mine,
The truth transmitted through your eyes,
Your tone, your voice, your very sighs.
So then I'll ask for you to be
The only one there is for me,
To fill you full of love and trust
By bringing back blue butterflies
To new beloved life --
By bringing back the hope we need
Within each others' eyes.

Monday, August 24, 2015


The social world norms
To which I fail to acclimate
And failing them unleashes storms
That I don't know how to abate

And so I have to set up rules
To travel through the simple things
As though I am the king of fools
And every move makes jinglings

And so I greet you at the door
And ask you if your day went right
I ask you write down every chore
And say "I love you" every night

Please do not think because I must
Make rules so I can do my share
That I am cold -- I hope you trust
It means I truly deeply care

Friday, August 21, 2015

Church Music

A bird whistles in the church,
A high-wooden whistle, a whistle
Full of life, sending joy to restless feet.
Strings sing under boughs
Of summer leaves in summer greens,
Providing perch and cover
For the little birds. Such lively colors
Flitting in the air,
In and out the open doors,
their colors mix with colors
Which dance along the church's floor,
Sun through branches, then through glass
Of kaleidoscopic colors.
The wind creates the dance
Decorating the floor,
Dancing to the whistle and the strings.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Indecisive's Proposal

With many freckles and blonde hair,
He must be careful lest he err in
Finding out what and which and wherein
They may be made a pair.

He did not wish for a mistake
Lest he should find himself forsaken
Or even found she soon was taken,
For then his heart would ache.

He did not want to be too brash --
He knew for sure his soul'd be ashen
And lose its love of life, compassion
Lost, gone within the crash.

He hoped he'd not mistook her cue --
He hoped her love would soon be true in
Giving a "yes" -- a one from two in
What was his truest coup.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

An Ode to My Grandfather (Virgil Inman)

Although he couldn't tell a joke,
He took too long, and timing's everything,
I took more pleasure in his life
Than any other man's
For attention given to a curious mind
Whose interests shadowed his own.
A writer who encouraged writing,
A thinker who encouraged thought,
A naturalist who encouraged science,
Greatness encouraging greatness that he saw,
A hidden strength he could hide no more
When the first strike against his mind
Became the stroke that changed his life
From one who loved birds, raccoons, and moths
To one who found one with desire,
Strength no one thought he'd had.
With every stroke that struck him down
He fought back with an inner power,
Slowly forced to give up his loves
So he could fight for life,
A battle of will against fierce time,
Blood vessels determined to pop,
He fought for years,
No matter his fears,
No matter the bad news he got,
New stroke, new seizures, fainting spells,
Whose awful onslaught soon would end,
Despite the strength of the fight.
Death's relentless fortitude
Would finally bring on time's last stroke.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Visiting Grandpa

South Bend uncle, friends, and grandparents,
Vacation haven throughout my youth
Two-week sleepovers or Christmas week,
Thanksgiving four-day weekends,
A quickday cleaning of grandma's house,
Visitation with all our firends,
Nature with my grandfather.
Curtains hung in moth cocoons,
Hatching giant polyphemus and dark red-brown cecropias,
Laying eggs for us to raise.
Monarchs raised and chrysalis hatched,
Covering the house in moth and butterfly beauty.
Racoon raised, a rambunctious ruffian,
Playing, destroying, adorable fun,
Tiny screech owls kept in the basement,
Raise and care for the little one.
On every visit, search for birds,
Upland sandpipers my grandpa's find,
Nesting, wings protecting little ones
Beneath man's wings landing overhead.
A winter showing newfound hybrid duck
On Saint Jo river, swimming calm,
Part merganser, part goldeneye,
Lovely in its mixed-up features.
Christmas birdcounts taken out
To do our job for Audubon
I find I have a knack
For finding things no one's seen before,
Perhaps a birding young child's luck
Or inherent from a birding grandpa
Who found hybrid ducks and nesting sandpipers
That none had seen before.
We'd go for daily walks,
Walks wandering through the backstreet fields
Where I first and lastly saw
Hummingbird moths feeding at flowers,
Quickbeat wings' invisible hummings
Fascinating, remarkable joy to life
In bright sunlight flower fields
now vanished under houses' floors.
Into Michigan to introduce
"The Orchid Lady" to a youthful orchid lover,
Then off to show a norther boggy marsh
Filled with hungry pitcher plants scattered with their blooms
And there, close by the edge,
Wild orchids, hot pink glory,
Frilly sun-touched lips of tiny rose pagonias
Among the dark green moss.

Monday, August 17, 2015


We sit upon the couch -- the television
Is on. You stare at your cell phone, a vision
Indifferent, it seems, to me. You stare
And will not talk. And I? I will not dare.

My words are cotton in my mouth, they dry
My tongue. Why weight you down with each concern
And make you worry more? Should I deny
You sounds and syllables you'll only spurn?

We sit upon the couch -- the advertisements
Are on. I look at you. Are your resentements
Too much to overcome? Your every tone
Has turned sarcastic. Put down that damn phone!

I want to say I'm sorry for the fact
That I'm the man I am. I cannot help
That I'm obsessed and don't have normal tact.
I'm simmering. One day you'll hear my yelp!

We sit upon the couch -- the television
Is off. You stare down at your phone. Division
Is our relationship. You simply stare
And I conclude that you no longer care.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Nightmare

He mustn't fear for fear is loss
Of his dreams
His dreams to see her
To be with her
Not in the lonely crowds where they talk
Though they arrive separately
But in a place they chose together

Fear is a loss of happiness
He could potentially find
Though it causes him distress
She could misconstrue his mind
In wanting to see more of her
More than just a rendevous
Or friendship
But a relation redefined

Could he kill his fear
Of women
Of wanting women
Wanting her
Of longing for her love he could not seem to have
No matter what he could have of her
As he'd had her
And would again

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Gift

He stood before the gloomy council, stood
As none would stand or ever stood before,
So proud of his achievement, of his gift --
The gift to them, to man, to all he bore.

Then in a booming voice the man proclaimed,
"The man you see before you, I have tamed
The thing that to this point had only maimed
Or killed men on the fields the storms enflamed."

He showed it then to their unseeing eyes --
They could not know what visions lay in store.
They all leapt back in awful, abject fear
And each man trembled, cowards at their core.

It flickered there before them, shedding light --
The fire shown forth, ever, ever bright.
They were the first such men to see the light --
It made them cringe in awful, freezing fright.

"What have you done!" he heard the council scream.
"We will be tortured by it ever more!"
"If that man tamed the demon we call fire,
Then he's the Devil -- hear his awesome roar!"

He stood amazed and trusted not his ear.
He brought a gift -- it's nothing they should fear.
A gift for man to hold and cherish, dear.
He never had expected what he'd hear.

"How dare you think that you could bring to us
The demon fire, bring it through our door.
You dare to tell us that the demon's tamed,
That somehow you are man's new savior?"

They then moved forward as he backed away.
He could have, with his gift, kept them at bay --
Instead, he dropped the fire onto the clay
Floor of the cave the lived in on that day.

The council took him, bound his hands and feet
And left him lying there upon the floor.
They left to then decide upon his fate --
He feared whatever these men had in store.

That day he stood, tied proudly to the pyre.
His gift would lift his people from the mire.
And as they lit the stake, his chin grew higher
And died surrounded by his gift of fire.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Tale of Two Men

He shouted out for all who'd hear
How great the house was he had made
That crumbled slowly at his feet.

He shouted loud for all to hear
How great the railroad was he made
As metal splintered, people died.

He shouted shrill for all to hear
How great his plan would be to save them all
When all were dying as a herd.

In silence built the other man --
The house stood great and strong
And shouted with its strength for all who'd see.

In silence built the other man
A railroad which networked a nation
To create wealth for all who'd see.

In silence built the other man
A business that would profit from his mind
And house and clothe and feed all those who worked for him.

The shouter saw the silent man --
He saw the threat he was to him and set out to destroy
But died instead from his intended sin.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


It must be better because it's old
they said forever of the old house,
Its usefulness has vanished from our sight --
Our eyes see rot and pale, chipped paint,
Cracked ceilings and dull floors.
It must be better because it's old
They said to keep the new house down.
Its beauty would be too much,
It makes our house look like a dump.
The dear old shack makes ours look fine.
The new house will destroy our homes,
And its design is such a fright.
It doesn't look much like a home,
It is a mansion to our eyes.
And so they fought to keep the new house down
So they could keep the old around.
And so their lives turned ever-poorer
As the depraved old house was praised --
And everyone ensured the new
Was murdered well before it could be born.

Monday, August 10, 2015


Is silence such a sin? Must melodies
And beats breathe fire in our ears each day
And moment? Must the television stay
On? Must the talking fill up every breeze?
Must noises flood us from the street and freeze
Our hearts to solitude? Must we delay
To death the day the silent solar ray
Enlightens us and lifts us from our knees?

The breeze batters light leaf on leaf, the stream
Crystals the air, a warble and a peep
Of tree frogs answering the sparrow's call --
These are the silences I seek. I dream
Of dew drops drumming as the lilies leap --
I want to hear the silence of it all.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Harming Others

Gulls gather, hanging in the air
as if from invisible strings, hanging
above the waves rolling in, tiny
whitecaps on tiny waves. The sand
swirls up under each incoming wave,
disturbing it, renewing it, building it
from sand it took from other shores.
A crab scampers in scattered sunlight
across the sand, then down, gone
in a puff of sand.
I must be careful where I step
For fear of crushing him, though I know
there are unseen others lurking
under the wave-loose sand
that I cannot worry about, lest
I fear to step anywhere and remain
standing, stationary in the waves,
unwilling to move,
unwilling to return
to the shore, the sun-hot sand
that burns my sole
with each quick step
as I dash toward my car.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Kamper Park

Tadpoles scatter from the shallow
pool stagnant off the side
of the creeping stream.
It's almost dusk, the sky
pale blue-gray. I wonder
how they know that I was there.
No shadow fell. Maybe
vibrations from the shore
as my foot fell inches
from the water's edge.
Frogs splash ripples
as minnows dart in such a hurry
they create a flurry of waves
and water splashing inches
from where the rocks give way
to flat, smooth concrete.
A bottle sits in the center
of the stream, neck
only visible above the water.
The rock where I sit was placed here,
covered in concrete
to make it permanent.
Children and peacock cry
from nearby, the park
and zoo ready to close
and closed.
It's getting too dark to see.

Under the Stars

I often sit for hours under the stars,
Wondering what other see in them that is not there.
What lives, what men have walked
Under these stars, across these fields,
Once plains, now tilled and broken up?
There is a certain melancholy in those who
Look to the government for everything,
Giving up their autonomy and self-worth
For a false security --
Not a security found in man, in each individual spirit,
But the security of guns, easily turned on you
When the power changes hands.
When fathers, bringing sons into fields, once plains,
To show them the stars and make them men,
Are replaced by guns, why should we be surprised
When our sons use them to prove their manhood?
I want my son with me,
Under the stars,
Learning to see in them a source of light. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

On Knowledge and Idealism

I wonder what things, what colors, what shapes
Fill the things that matter in my eyes --
My eyes see eyes of blue and brown and green
And what what they've seen
That I have failed to see, no matter the difficulty
They've found in seeing. I try so hard
To become clear, to sprout, to bloom
In prismatic colors shining in moonlight spread
Loose on the morning horizon
As soft, bustle, silent warnings.
I must be careful as I stare
At the subtle sheen shining off the water's surface,
Barely broken by waves, small, serene,
From a wind that I cannot even feel
Blowing through my hair or on my face
Or even see up in the trees, rustling leaves.
I wonder what the others have seen and wonder
Whether they have seen all I have seen
And f they even see at all or even if
I am the one who cannot see,
Staring into such strong flames they melt
My ability to see at all,
Leaving me to wonder where that leaves me
With my eyes
And all I've seen and seem to know.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My Protest Poem (for Rainer Maria Rilke and Wallace Stevens)

This poem could be about Bill Clinton
and his signing the Defense of Marriage Act,
or how he could have harmed this country
had he ever passed his health care plan.

This poem could be about  George W. Bush
and the wars he started and the civil rights destroyed
or how he harmed this country
with regulations leading to collapse.

This poem could be about Barack Obama
and the recession he made worse
or how he has harmed his country
since he passed his health care plan.

This poem could be about the far Right
and the bombing of the building in Oklahoma City,
or the terror acts of Eric Rudoplph
or the racist terrorism perpetrated on black churches in the South.

This poem could be about the far Left
and the good men killed by Ted Kaczynsky,
or the attempts on researchers' lives by the Animal Liberation Front
or the 70s terrorists silently assimilated into our society.

This poem could be about guns --
How our children shoot up schools,
How our police shoot minorities in their neighborhoods,
How the Second Amendment is not for deer but for politicians.

This poem could be about legislation
Creating most unfairness and inequality,
And I could tell you to throw rocks at cops
Whose rubber bullets will run out very soon.

This poem could be about wars and famines,
Taxes and subsidies and other violations
Of our basic human rights, even those
We never considered violations

This poem could be about any one
Of these external things, such things
As pass away one day, but sometimes only
Once things get worse, but it is not.
Instead, this poem is about important things --
The changes that we've made,
The changes that we ought to make
Inside ourselves, the way that we evolve.

This poem is about the way that you and I
Must learn to change, must learn to grow,
Mature, become who we most truly are, with pride.
Then, when we are better, the world will be repaired.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Some Didactic Verse on Writing Poetry When No One Cares and There's Never Time to Contemplate Anyway

This is no place to meditate --
An empty classroom on my break.
Hall-echoed voices are my fate --
I need a languid, lapping lake.

What thoughts are these? Are these the best
That thunder round and round my crest?
A dropping mental metronome
Because I have no place to roam?

I have no pleasure or delight,
And no one cares about my plight --
They fear what poets can incite,
So insight is kept in the night.

I fucking lost all of my words --
I'm left with nothing but brown birds.
I did not even want that rhyme -
Perhaps it's "curd" some other time.

These stupid, stupid, stupid words
That people want as bad as turds
Or as a bowl of month-warm curds
Should fly away like lice-plucked birds.

I told you curds would find a place
Here in this verse, poem's disgrace.

Friday, July 31, 2015


I slice my scythe in circles through the wheat
As sweat slides down my chest and down by back,
Refracting rainbows from the sun. I clear
Away this golden grass with which we feed

The world, will one day feed the world once wheat
Is owned by each who owns the land. One day
The farmers will not need my back, and few
Will feed the many. Then we will be freed

To work in what we want instead of what
We need to do. Until that time, I slice
The wheat within my fields so I can feed
My family with flour through the snows.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Walls of ugly light blue,
Floors of false-wood tan.
The waitresses are all alike --
They look the same, they're all the same age,
Whether thirty or fifty -- all thin and fifty,
Uncaring whether they get a tip,
But hoping.
Older customers treated with love
From years of sitting,
Sharing their past
Together, drinking their coffee.
Nothing would taste right here
Except coffee or Dr. Pepper,
Apple of pecan pie for desert.
Nothing, no one else, belongs.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Working at Days Inn

I wait behind the desk for customers,
A line of people checking in their rooms.
I never learn a thing of them, from them.
They need more towels, more soap, more batteries
For their remotes, and still there's nothing learned.
I want to learn their stories, histories,
And lives. I know I never will. They don't
Have time or care to tell a man like me.
I'm never worth their time or words. They think.
Who knows what they (or I) could learn from words
They heard or shared. But they will never share.
And I will only wait behind the desk.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

On Hardy Street

A coffee shop in an old theater,
a cacophony of voices discussing
the nature of thoughts, the concept of time,
why they like the word "fuck" so much,
muses by muses with spiked or orange hair
while we listen to music so alternative
it's almost noise with voice-overs.
How can we be here without smoke, dim lights
making writing difficult? I'll smell of smoke
and coffee when I leave. But now's the time
To read my poems, share my verse, no worse
Than any I have heard so far. These words
I've written here do not belong this time --
I'll bring them back when I'm away
From this cafe, the lack of light, dull din.
I'll bring them back when I have learned to live
With all the words which I have written here.

Monday, July 27, 2015


By the road I once saw a dead deer --
It was swollen and writhing -- my fear
That the maggots would burst
After slaking their thirst
Came to life -- are those flies that I hear?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Woman Dressing Her Hair

A grotesque, heavy thigh
lies supporting her fat body,
right breast hanging
under her arm,
left breast thrust upward,
exposing dark-lined ribs.
Her hands reach behind her head,
twisting her hair. Her nose is skewed,
thrown almost off her face, away
from her mouth.
Eyes as orange slices
pulled down at the sides,
One wonders why
she sits in her green-walled box,
blue floor under her legs
heavy feet
pushed out at us.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Girl Before a Mirror -- 1932

A woman stands,
arm outstretched --
caressing her reflection.
Her face is yellow, orange,
warm from front,
her profile pink and cool
as her breasts, made
as circles, her belly full in front.
She gazes at a face,
dark in orange and purple,
breasts and belly jaundiced,
striped in green,
blue and purple hair
hanging loose,
in contrast with her true
blonde hair
flowing gently from her head.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Project for a Monument to Guillaume Apollinaire -- 1962

A drawing
made of steel rods,
filling space.
A small circle, eyes,
nose as dots.
Oval sketched body,
bisected triangle arms
extend to hands as arcs
grasping space.
Apollinaire stands,
in six-legged tricycle stance,
two infront,
two on either side,
a rust-painted sketch
seen from all sides.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Head of a Sleeping Woman -- 1907

A head, light
almond-shaped and colored,
long nose over small mouth.
Wide almond eye
lids, brow prominent
above the left.
Hatchmarcked forehead,
lined cheeks, as walrus
whiskers. Arm held high
above her read. A blue
drapery to her
left. Lines in blue
And tan. A painting
of lines and arcs
like an African mask.

Monday, July 20, 2015

To America's Immigrants

Please do not come into our country just
To act like us. We have enough rude people
And idiots who hate to learn and work.
We have jackasses stacked up to the steeple --
We do not need another kind of jerk --
Please do not come here if you plan to rust.

Please bring our country habits that are good,
Good attitudes -- please teach us to respect
Each other, be polite. I'm certain you
Do not throw epithets that I suspect
Would've never come to mind. Instead, be true
Because our leaky ship could use your wood.

Please come if you are tired and you're poor --
We're home for homeless, those who would breathe free --
Contribute, and you'll find with us a place --
Good habits aren't the things you ought to flee --
Don't come here and become us, a disgrace
In attitude, beating down every door.

Please leave the things you flee in your homeland --
Corruption, anti-market attitudes,
Your racism and your religious laws --
But bring your culture, honor, and your foods,
Contribute with your virtues to our cause --
I welcome you with my extended hand.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Free Lunch

A valley-girl hippie nerd -- black, thick-
Rimmed glasses, pointed at the outside corner
Top -- orange skirt, too thin to walk in, covered
In five-inch rainbow pansies, white-crepe blouse,
Embroidered all along the edge, with scalloped
White flowers along her thin chest and shoulders.
She's far too thin for such a face, so plump
Above her anorexic arms and neck, red hair
Tied up, her nasal voice is squeaking "Like"
With leftist language, saying Christians shouldn't
Require sermons in return for food
They give the hungry, acting like she wouldn't
Expect a thing from them herself if she
Should feed them meals. The payment she demands?
Their gratitude for all her food and pity.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

American Women

The women at the cafe seemed to young
To him - all still in high school? -- all the men
Were older, early to mid-twenties, fourties
For one, at least, and all were flirting. Girls --
All hairless, shapeless, flat, too-thin -- perhaps,
He thought, they could be women -- too-young dress
On women bringing pedophiles joy.
There's nothing for him here, no full, mature,
Well-rounded women, no grown-ups to converse
With here to fill his mind. Just children, lust,
And animal desires -- children's toys
To keep the mind distracted, without hope.
There was no place for him to go to find
A mature woman with a mature mind.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Friends and Lovers

Alone, their lives walked through the fire --
Each knew, but knew not of the other,
Entertwined each with others' lives,
Though their hearts knew nothing of desire,
Each settled to keep loneliness
At bay. But as they 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.
They saw with opened hearts and eyes
New friends, new lovers, their new lights,
And letting go grabbed to each other,
Then flew out of the flames together
To soar on love's wings ever higher.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Horse's Milk

Mongolian bride weaves wraps on plain's edge,
Attentive to each warp and woof,
Horse milk in her clay pot,
Brought in to feed her children, her husband
Lies bruised black from a fierce hoof kick.
He has broken ribs, she's sure.
She brings him the mare's milk, its sweet strengh
Will surely bring him back to working health.
The north wind whispers that he brings his brides,
They gallop from the north, deliver milk
That's death unless the mare's milk does its work
Upon the man who groans beneath
The rainbow blanket she wove on their wedding day.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Your Fate

The morning wants to sigh
She sees the roses die
The frost that came too late
Has sadly sealed their fate

The sun has turned eclipse
We barely see his lips
The shadow of his mate
Has sadly sealed his fate

The worm ate at the root
He's crushed beneath my boot
The worm's choice what it ate
Has sadly sealed its fate

The visage of the moon
Will not be present soon
The lock upon the gate
Has sadly sealed her fate

The rot has settled in
Much like your darkest sin
The Devil dealt your date
Has sadly sealed your fate

Friday, July 10, 2015

Hurricane Season

Spring is the time for love
To disintegrate, the passions
To prevail, the passions pushing
Feelings farther than they should
Until something breaks. Marriages
Called off (not postponed), women
Leaving, tempers tapping into hidden undertows
Discovered only when you're pulled below.
A hurricane is forming between couples,
Friends, colleagues, acquaintances, the clouds
Arcing across the sky in heavy bands of gray.
The wind disorients us, making us wonder
What is happening, when hurricanes
Are Summer, Fall phenomena.
Perhaps we'll try to keep, embrace
What little we have left, perhaps we'll try
To forge anew with what was left behind.
Perhaps we'll settle for the peace
That only lies within the eye
And only lasts a season.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

At the Corner Table

He should go home and be alone
And not be lonely at a bar --
He knows his presence just appears
To create loneliness unfelt
When he's at home, alone. A thin,
Attractive waitress, long, dark hair,
Approaches, says, "Are you alright?"
He answers, "Lonely." Her smile
Is lacking in all sympathy.
He raises up his glass and says,
"But besides that, I think I'm good."
Her thin legs, thrusting from her black
Required miniskirt, just stork
Her off to other customers
Who promise they will be far less
Honest to her pre-scripted subtext.
He looked about the bar. The people,
They all moved in Brownian motion,
Their movements each affected by
The motions of the others, never
In straight lines, impossible here
In a bar so full. Everyone
Tonight in semi-dress, the men
Were looking nice for women wearing
Their tight-and-easy-to-removes,
The frozen margaritas, gins,
And something red with cranberry
Juice -- all were trying very hard
To help the man forget and give
Him hope and courage. Yet his hope
For meeting someone new had walked
Out earlier. He really knew
He'd random walk back home alone
Instead of doing what he ought,
Like standing at the table next
To his where three attractive women
Were talking to each other. Fear
That they would turn him down. Or not.
He never did expect the "not,"
So he refused to speak to them
Or anyone. Instead, he sat
Alone, again, and lyrically
Lamented to himself on scraps
Of paper, words preventing him
From action and from action words
To dissipate his loneliness.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Nighthawk

I wonder where the wary whip-poor-will
Is sitting, singing -- I can clearly hear
It calling through the humid night -- I fear
Its song that creeps in past the window sill.
Across my skin I'm feeling a slight chill --
I pull the blanket up -- must I appear
As I am not on such a night, so clear
That I can hear a bird sing on that hill?

I've grown to love the whip-poor will's dark moan --
It's lonely in the woods -- it wants to find
Companionship, a love and warm delight.
I chose to take its song, make it my own --
And, using it, I found that I could bind
Myself to you, and finally take flight.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Swim

I swim out to the open sea, but find
That I am carried back with each new wave.
I wonder why the waves won't let me die
Alone here in the endless sea, why each
Insists on bringing me back to the shore
To die a slower death. Why must they bring
Me to the light that's spread upon the sea
In reddish light the darkened, eclipsed moon,
Red face reflected on the foam that may
Yet drown me here, just inches from the shore,
Sands swirling at my knees and washing west
The pale blue jellyfish surrounding me
And stinging, bringing me awareness, life
In painful flesh. How can I die in waves
Of living pain? I float now with the kelp
And jellyfish and uneclipsing hope.

Monday, July 6, 2015

That Day I Didn't Do Anything

I woke and fed the boys their cereal,
Bananas, milk, and juice. I made my coffee
And, hungry after having been awake
Two hours, finally could drink some coffee.

I have to answer questions, stop the fighting
And dry the tears. Perhaps a bite to eat?
Last night's clean dishes in the cupboard,
The dirty dishes now I must defeat.

I have to write a paper, write my book,
And meet my obligations I have made --
I've research, reading, a review to write --
The kids are eating all the food I made.

A load of laundry, fold the towels and put
Them all away. I have to wash the boys
And get them dressed -- the bus will come at noon --
I get one on the bus, one plays with toys.

Banana and more milk and P.B.S.
Is always on. I can't write poetry
With noise and boys and toys and constant mess
And stress -- no plays, just tiny poetry.

The bus arrives and time to see his work
And give him snack, perhaps prepare for dinner.
Then you come home. Another kid. A kiss
and hug hello -- and now to make the dinner.

I fix the food -- demands for drinks -- I stop
To meet demands -- and dinner takes two hours
To make -- and then at last we sit to eat.
With luck on luck the evening will be ours.

And now I put the boys to bed. I dress
And change them, tuck them in, give hug and kiss.
Then go sit down, then right back up to quiet
The boys so they will sleep. It's you I miss.

At last the kids are all asleep and I
have plenty more to do, but won't. My stay
Is short. You come complain, "You really ought
To work like me. What did you do all day?"

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Limits of Our Language

There is a chasm which cannot be crossed,
No bridge, no path below then leading up,
No links, connections, any place to touch.
It seems that things are different over there --
Not necessarily better, just different --
Yet there's a longing just to catch a glimpse,
To see the other side, explore this place
That's new to us, kept separate by space,
Deep drop preventing passage. Yet we see
Old bridges and false starts along the lip --
But somehow something seemed to always keep
Attempts at bay so no one ever finished.
Some even stretch out quite a ways, then stop
There in the air like arms that had their hands
Cut off, just teasing us with promises
Of true connections they left unfulfilled.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


I cannot see you with my open eyes,
Although my vision's clear. Your eyes are blind
As mine, and yet you tell me what you see.
We know it's nonsense -- you have shown you know
My mere appearance, nothing of the truths
I've offered you. Perhaps I've done the same.
Where can we go? We started nowhere, based
On mere illusions we created, lies
We tell ourselves before we told each other.
Perhaps we cannot ever show our truth
And shine it through the fictions we prefer.
Perhaps we're always nothing but facades.
And while we think we're clever with our sell,
We do not differ in the lies we tell.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Like everyone he wants to emulate,
He's dressed in black, his shoes are black with gray,
"Blacktops" in white across the sides to break
The solid blackness. Shoestrings tied in knots
Where they had broken. He slides in his feet.
Clad all in black, from shirt to shoes, he grabs
His black jacket and matching black umbrella
And leaves to walk the city in the rain.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


The field is full of clover flowering
To feed the bees that with their buzzing sing
Across the grasses trading water held
By them for nitrogen the clovers bring

The soil -- a fertilizer from roots swelled
Out to protect bacteria who've dwelled
There in their homes they're paying for by trade --
The field is flourishing from what's expelled.

The hive arrives to what they have surveyed
To take the nectar and the pollen, paid
By pollinating all the clovers, red
And white above the field of trefoil jade.

In nature all increase is made widespread
By trade, and every species thus is wed
By root and flower, water, wind, and wing --
And from this networked system all are fed.

Monday, June 29, 2015

To Wash in the Light

I hate to watch as people will not learn,
To watch as people bathe in ignorance,
Ignore the putrid stench and in turn spurn
The jasmine joy I offer as a rinse.

Does knowledge, beauty, insight bring them pain?
Are they afraid their prejudices will
Soon fall away? Will they let others reign
Because they will not climb the slightest hill?

And yet I understand my love's unique,
That love of knowledge, wisdom, beauty are
Not found in most. Rare is the one who'll seek --
More common are those who would quench his star.

I shine the light -- it's you who will not see.
You want to learn? You'll have to come to me.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Conversing With Asperger's

I cannot turn off background sounds
I cannot help but hear
The chatter that is out of bounds
To every normal ear

To hear you I must first ignore
The fact that you are there
Pretend the rest out on the floor
Speak words I want to wear

I promise that I'm listening
To every word you speak
I look away to hear you sing
And warble from your beak

Don't turn away I'm interested
I want to hear each word
I promise you that I am fed
I eat just like a bird

A bird you know appears to peck
And barely seems to eat
But food fills double to its neck
Your words they are my wheat

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Crazy Words

"I love you." Words he said to her he thought
Were meaningless. He said that he loved chocolate,
But was she chocolate? He said he loved walks
In nature. Was she walks in nature? Paths
Presented themselves to him, both toward
And equally away -- they circumscribed.
"I love you but I cannot say I like you."
Could he love chocolate and not like it either?
To say such syllables would be insane --
But when he told her that about herself,
She said that it made perfect sense to her.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Wrench

You went down to the coal mines every day
To give my mother her dream house and van,
To give us luxuries we never saw,
And college to your sons, as was your plan.

While putting in a bolt to hold the ceiling --
Your job was to protect the little clench
Of miners from a fall -- you did not see
The curtain slip between the bolt and wrench.

A canopy meant to protect you from small rocks
But blinded you to danger from a draft
That blew the curtain put there to protect
The  miners from gas buildup in the shaft.

The turning wrench wrapped well around your wrist
The curtain, jerked you off of your machine
And snapped your wrist so you would pull your hand
From off your arm, left in that bloody screen.

But even now, with but one arm, you go
Down to the coal mines every day -- a tool
Is where your hand once was, but you
Kept mom in house and van, and us in school.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


The gray boards of the outhouse creaked beneath
The weight of my grandmother as she stood
There on its roof, the leaves around a wreath
Of yellow, red, and orange and green and wood.

Her seven children stared between the spaces
The limbs and leaves had left; her shadow twins
Slid silently among the dappled dead
Upon the forest floor, paid for her sins.

The tears dripped down her turkey chin. Her husband
Was begging her to climb back down. And then,
She leaped, a belly-flop into the dirt
And leaves. Her husband helped her to her feet.

The pressures pushed and preyed out of proportion,
Yet failed to make my father an abortion.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Call to Poetry

What good is verse to one who won't believe
In Muses or the God who gave them birth,
When none believe in prophesy or saints
Or heroes, geniuses, lives of great worth?

Perhaps the lack of worthy subjects stains
Our poetry so no one wants to read
The doggerel we write. Who can delight
When envy, blame, and hate is all we feed?

You can't lift up by tearing down, no bridge
Is dynamited to connect the shores --
Thus we can't bridge ourselves to virtue's lands
Insisting all are syphilitic whores.

But why have poetry when there's injustice?
Frivolities just take us off the path.
But, honestly, your anger is pathetic
Compared to great Achilles' awesome wrath.

And who of you would follow justice down
To Hades and insist on justice true
To itself such as Oedipus proclaimed
And punish when the one who sinned is you?

So do not say that poetry has not
A place today -- the serious alone
Find home in verse, find lessons to be learned --
The rest of you are cowards made of stone.