Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Poems of Age


She lay like old laundry in a dark room.
Tossed and unfolded upon the nearest rest,
Soaked with the pain and depths of gloom,
Throbbing colors and flashing lights.
Her head bloody split from fore to aft.
Her life all drained and seeped away.
“Don’t bother with the empty skin,
Just let me die, just let me lie.”

They roll on waves without warning,
Tsunamis, crushing currents, these migraines,
Which are assassins of the lowest form
Whose knives tear and stab and maim.
All her willingness to exist at all
Has left her useless, limp and drained.
“I cannot reach you with my love,
I’ve tried, I'm tired and I’ve strained.”

Photo by the author.

My Lot

I played in this lot when it was still wild
Next to our cornfield where all the autos stop,
Lined in even rows, a growing bumper crop,
High as my head, you couldn’t see over top.

We got lost in the maze crossing over time
With the herds in the Loft and Pottery Barn,
Behind the back forty and now the front nine
Where we planted in spring and harvested the fall.

We drove our tractors here before the backhoes
Tore through the fences and built another mall
And paved in this lot where I was a child.

Photo by the author

Beginning of Summer

The onslaught of summer brings winter fore.
Do I think self follows some calendar?
My roses bloom in May and my hair grays
In October with the changing of leaf?

A birthday falls as my beginning year
When the summer solstice is on its turn.
When I feel the heat of sun upon skin
I also feel age give my bones new grief.

My June does not mark a new season start,
But checks off another year from my heart.
And by my count my summer’s long been done
And the winter of my life just begun.

When we see temperatures rise to hot
And talk of lazy, laid-back days of summer;
I shiver in the chill of my winter
Counting off the Junes before I slumber.

Photo: Self-portrait – Alapocas Run State Park, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thank You For the Trip

We come down paths; we walk up trails.
We meet on the way fellow travelers
To our special places.
But all roads end somewhere. Do we
Have quite enough words for goodbye?
We do, just not the spaces.

Each week on Sunday the Monkey Man gave a challenge to write a poem in only 160 characters. Like writing a tweet – it takes some doing to convey thought in so few words. It has come to the end of that journey and this is my thank you to him for the trip.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


What an ugly thing.

This? It is but a little string.
It can’t harm you.

Avert your eyes
And before you realize
The little strings become the net
You cannot escape.

Each week on Sunday the Monkey Man gives a challenge to write a poem in only 160 characters. Like writing a tweet – it takes some doing to convey thought in so few words. Come join the fun! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011



Grrroom, grrrooom goes some Harley down the street.
Never had a motor; had a playing card in the spokes,
And that sounded neat, like a put-put-put,
And had a siren, oh it was loud and illegal
But my grandfather found it, bought it, got it
And it was a police bike siren from the 1800s.
Recycled on a Schwinn and it really did squeal.

But that was long ago, back in my childhood.
How the years cycle by like flip cards
In a peepshow nickelodeon.
I can see us as scrawny little urchins
Plopping coins saved from gathering pop bottles
Off the street to recycle at the grocers,
Buying us some creamsicles and fudge pops
Out of a cooler inside an Atlantic gas station.
Or was it Esso then?

A lot of things are gone that’ll never cycle back.
Sinatra sang of cycles
But ol’ Blue Eyes is a long time dead.
The seasons come and seasons go
And we watch the bloom and blossom
And the frosting on the pumpkin
And the falling leaf and snow,
The ever churning changes of the
Same old same old cycles.

Life is like a washer, so much on automatic.
We’re awash in wishes
As we spin our way through time,
Then a rattle and a clatter,
Our cycle out of balance,
Reminds us that our dreams
Have changed from grandiose
To mundane
And now we only recycle memories.

Posting her for The Gooseberry Poetry Picnic Week 13, Childhood Dreams.

Mirror Image


A woman passed some mirrored glass
And paused to see her image there,
The face was fair
That stared back at her.
And her hair,
Her hair was dark and luxurious.
She patted it and smiled a bit.

A woman stood ‘fore mirrored glass,
And saw an image standing there.
It was not fat,
But slim waist and sleek
Her body,
Her figure was full and curvaceous.
She turned to have a look at it.

A woman gazed in mirrored glass,
Much taken with the image there
That must be her.
Whom else would she see?
Her legs
Her limbs, oh how long and muscular
She flexed a calf and felt so fit.

But the clouds shifted in the sky
And the sun shined upon the glass
And it was only
Windowpane she saw,
No more.
The image of the woman not there
If there’d ever been one at all.

As It Is Today


I could speak of the cosmos,
The destinations of God.

But that thing is broken
And that one not running well.

The wallet on my dresser
Is like a brown and fat Thanksgiving bird,
Stuffed full with crumbs of plastic
And varied business cards,
With very little nourishment
For the bellies of our lives.
What we can call empty calories
In the parlance of the times.
Its appearance may look heavy,
But in subsistence it is lean.

I cannot fix the broken thing,
What if the other fails?

There is a foundation
Long poured and set in stone.
We cannot change the footings,
We can only trim the home.

I leave what went before
To the history it is made of
And hope the present situation
Doesn’t shake my destinies with God.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


On Our Snow Storm Of October 29, 2011

Howling wind, falling leaf,
Chilling draft as motif;
Ghostly sheets the only white
To haunt day and night.
Not sleet and snow that fell,
Like a Winter Witch’s spell.

Each week on Sunday the Monkey Man gives a challenge to write a poem in only 160 characters. Like writing a tweet – it takes some doing to convey thought in so few words. Come join the fun! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Friendship, Akin-ship,
There’s been a lot of been-ship.
A lot of shipmates sailing together
Until the waves broke vessels down
And carried us through different sounds.

How many wrecks upon the shoals
Of opportunity and goals?
Once anchor-bound by a tether
Until this wave crashed, that one rose.
Ah, the different seas we chose.

Ahoy there, mate, crossing the bar,
We parted in the ports flung far;
At many harbors and much bad weather,
Washed ashore by ambition or pride,
It’s on such rocks old friendships died.

Now this old sailor home from the sea
Is grounded by age and apathy
Without a gull of matching feather.
We were too focused on our fishing trips
And missed the lighthouse to true friendships

Photo: “Crossing the Bar” by the author, 1969

Monday, October 3, 2011

Late that morning...

…she picked up the tray and carried it
(Breakfast time now well gone)
To the kitchen from the bed.
She scraped the plate with the clean fork
And left all in the sink
While she made a brief, brief call.

Walking down her lovely garden path,
She sat in the dirt in dressing gown,
To snip some flowers growing there.
In the distance the phone had rung,
But this task was enough for now.
They would too soon be here.

She heard them come, she heard them go,
She didn’t know just where she stood,
Dizzy in the whirl of the last day.
Holding Gladiolas in her hand,
Thinking she should make lunch perhaps;
But at the stroke of one the tears broke.

Something of a History of English Poetry from the Dark Ages to Today

We think of poetry as rhyme,
Similarity ending every line,
As if this was the will of God.
Yes, it’s true I see you nod.

But no it is not in the history of our talk.
Early erudite scribers did not end English
Verse with varied vocabulary
Of sounds of similarity

It probably was not from purity.
Spelling Old English was enough a task.
At some point some poet arrived
Who took a stab and rhyming tried,
But like here resulted in feeble rime
And left it ‘til Chaucer shuffled by.

Yes, similar syllables he did not eschew
Ah, Chaucer knew his way around a rime or two,
Perhaps his forms were his own and new,
As he spread his rhymes through and through
In complex patterns that ring true
To ears raised on the Romantic lines
From Byron, Keats and Shelley’s times.

Though I came to poetry through the proclivities of Poe,
Embracing the spacing of rhythm and rhyme
I’ve watched the full circle back to non-ringing ends,
Probably owing some knowing of Walt Whitman
And the blue-collar
Bellow and blast of Sandburg,
the dropping of propriety proper by cummings
Or the Howls of the Beats, Bukowski and such,
And a love of it all. In my life I have gathered,
If it communicated, rhyme or not hasn’t mattered.

World is Disconnected

Shakespeare said it first, but what the heck,
‘Tis commonly remembered from Steinbeck.
Still our very own winter of discontent
Has fell cold on our world of disconnect.
Yet under the ice this lava seethes,
Across the fields, across the heaths,
And I fear this hidden broiling froth
Will surely burst forth like boiling broth
And when it does we’ll all be burned.
For one thing certain man has never learned
To temper his greed or undeserved pride,
And on that fact many truths have died.