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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A New Green

The Drabble (Online) October 2016

He hears on the news that they’ve discovered a new shade of green.

He can’t remember, later, whether the newscaster said “discovered” or “invented,” but he wonders how such a thing is possible, and what such a color would be called.

Maybe it’s puked-up-broccoli-or-split-pea-soup green or first-shoots-of-early-tomato-plant green.

Maybe it’s last-gasp-of-the-tamarack-in-autumn green, or green-only-a-dying-parrot-can-see green.

He looks around him to see if he can spot it.

He hopes it’s black-rock-that-only-turns-green-in-the-early-April-rain green because, newly discovered or not, that’s always been his favorite.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


The Drabble (Online) October 2016

The crow, apparently ravenous for the unrecognizable splat of highway carrion, does not budge from its feast, despite the near passage of a barreling fourteen-wheeler in the adjacent lane. The truck’s driver barely notices the banquet as he flashes by, his mind on his destination, his eyes scanning for radar cops or construction cones. The truck itself, intent on only its task of hauling weight and displacing the air it moves through, has no sentience; cares neither for the beast it carries nor the beasts it passes. It’s June, at last, and everything beside the highway’s grey is green.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Killing That Bitch Again

Your One Phone Call (Online) October 2016

Last night in the arcane landscape
of darkness, while my actual body
remained in the safe soft confines
of headboard and fitted sheet,
I drove some wild dirt back road
at 80, dust everywhere, radio loud

her beside me on hot red leather
all at once terrible and terrifying.
I knew it would be her again.
I couldn’t see her face but I knew,
when we found ourselves naked,
later, the musty room, sun-slatted,

it would be her again, urging me
to pay the voodoo priestess, drink
deep from the proffered chalice,
let the ravens circle in and dive,
dive. I knew it would be her again.
When I raised the knife, I knew.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Time Machine

Poetry Breakfast (Online) July 2016

I remember how cigarette smoke
curling up after almost midnight
mingled with incense and music
spilled out through open curtains
from one private space to another
all night long all along the boulevard
all that long long summer long.

A Note, Tabled

Poetry Breakfast (Online) July 2016

Thank you for leaving
the light on. Thank you
for not staying up or
waking up; thanks for
not making me tell you
all about it just as soon
as I got home, it being
very late and all, and
I would just as soon
take it to bed and see
if it affects my dreams,
see if it leaves me
anything I might be
thankful for tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Current Events

In Between Hangovers (Online) July 2016

Fwim ted de mommiefish,
fwim if oo tan…

but it was too late,
too late. Her many silver
children, sadly unschooled, netted
only death, provided only
one small unsatisfying meal
for the insatiable clattering
leviathan, working its way
along the shallows, swallowing.

Daily the nightly news blared and
all the careless cavefish, distant,
buried their heads in sandbars, blindly
reading only the sports page, the
market report, the alleged comics.

Lured into compliance, lulled
by the infomercials and the
ever-present sitcoms, caught up
in the water over the dam,
everyone went with the flow.
No one was laughing now.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

All The Phones At Positive Pie

In Between Hangovers (Online) June 2016

All the babes at Positive Pie have
phones that go unanswered, phones
that bleep and glurg incessantly;
insistent phones that flash and flash
and stab their heedless owners’ eyes
and ears and only add to the general
beer-filled boisterous brouhaha, add
to the overall overkill of noisiness
to no avail:
                    all the babes at Positive Pie
ignore their phones. The more they ring
the more they get ignored.
                                          The old man
at the end of the bar, at the bitter end
of his working Wednesday, watching,
has seen the babes ignore their phones
before, has heard the glurg and buzz
and, buzzed, he works to find the words
to turn it into certain verse, to turn the
worst of sounds around, to make the
endless ringing sing a song.
                                             He thinks.
He finds, at last, the ink. He sings along.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

The Kindness of Strangers

*82 Review
(Print & Online) June 2016

He was already at the bookstore’s cafĂ©, trying to imagine something to write about when he saw them walk in. She was holding his hand like any young girl might hold her father’s hand, though it was obvious that she was the mother and he the son, clearly in his forties or maybe early fifties. They chose a table adjacent to his own, and the son helped her off with her coat, pulled out her chair, and settled her in, rearranging the napkins and the sugar dispenser so that the table was clear before her.

“Oh, this is nice,” she said. “Have we been here before?”
“I come here sometimes, but I don’t think I ever brought you. I’ll get you some tea,” he said. “Would you like a muffin? Or how about a scone?”
“Yes, please,” she said, smiling up at him, not recognizing that a choice had been offered.
“I’ll be right back,” he said, adding in as playful a tone as he could muster, “Now don’t you wander off on me again.”
“I won’t,” she said. “I’ll be right here when you come back for me.”

She looked over at the adjacent table.
“Is that a television?” she asked.
“No. It’s a little laptop.” he said. He turned it around so she could see the keyboard. “Is it okay if I write about you?”
“Is it getting dark yet?”
“No, Ma’am. It’s Saturday morning”
“I’m waiting for my tea, I think.”

The son returned to the table with two small dishes and both a blueberry muffin and a scone on a single serving plate. She seemed baffled as to what should happen next. He started to sit down across from her, but had a second thought and pulled out the chair next to her. He broke both treats in half, placing them on her plate. She looked at him lovingly, looked down at the food, and sat still with her hands in her lap. Half a minute later the barista brought a pot of tea. He poured. She only stared.

“Go ahead, Ma,” he said.
She reached for the spoon and stirred the tea. He put some sugar in it and she stirred it again. He broke off a piece of the muffin with his fork and fed it to her. She smiled as if it were chocolate melting in her mouth.
“Don’t forget to chew,” he said, adding, “remember last time.”
She put her hand on the teacup, but did not raise it to her lips.
“It’s okay. It’s cool enough now.”
“I said it’s cool enough now. You can have a sip.”
“A sip?” she asked.
“The tea, Ma.” He lifted her cup and handed it to her. She sipped. She sighed and smiled, placing it down on the table beside its saucer.
She reached over and broke off a corner of the half-scone, looking at it quizzically.
“Is this the french fries?” she asked.
“No, Ma. It’s a scone. You love them. Taste it.”
She raised it, touched it to her lips, then lowered it and dropped it into her tea. He pulled the cup over in front of him, sliding his own to where hers had been.

“Is your wife coming to join us’” she asked.
No, Ma. I’m not married anymore. You remember?”
“Is she dead?”
“No, Ma. She’s just gone. She got married again.”
“So she’s still alive, then?”
“Yes, Ma. She’s just married to someone else.”

She looked toward her tea.
“Go ahead,” he said. “Have a sip.”
“The tea. Have a sip of tea.”
She looked at the muffin, then at the scone. She put her hands in her lap.

“I remember your wedding,” she said, smiling.
“You do?”
“Oh yes,” she said. The movie was clearly running somewhere deep inside her. “It was hotter than hell. There were lots of flowers. They were lovely. It was in Hartford. Everyone was there. She had one of those umbrella things she carried down the aisle with her. What do you call them, again?”
“A parasol.”
“Yeah. A parasol. She had a parasol, right?”
“No, Ma. That was your wedding.”
“Yes, Ma. That was your wedding. Remember?”
“It was a long time ago,” she said. “But I’m still in love with you, even after all these years.”
“I love you, too, Ma.”

“Do you think we should go now?” she asked.
“It’s up to you,” he said. “Whatever you want.”
“Oh, let’s stay a while. This is my favorite place. Everyone’s always so nice.”

Friday, May 13, 2016

"...some sort of gun."

See Into The Dark (Slim Volume, Print Anthology #4) May, 2016

I’d like to think
I might have found more to say
had it been me lying there
.............instead of him.

Friday, April 08, 2016


One Sentence Poems (Online) April 2016

It’s both, they tell him,
particle and wave

and under the sub-zero
winter solstice moon

he brushes off the photons
and swims to work.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

How It Happens

Poetry Breakfast (Online) April 2016

Just before I wake up it’s Friday
and a child I’ve never met
living in my old house by the river
takes a walk to the dark bank
withdraws a gold nugget
small as his infant sister’s eyeball
bigger than all the false gold
he’d ever found there before—
but this time it’s the real thing
and the kid looks astonished
has no idea what will happen next
and I’m a little startled too
I wake up thinking liquid
liquidity, liquefaction.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

(Mr.) Metamorphosis

Red Wolf Journal (Online) March 2016
Song Of Myself (RWJ Anthology) August 2016

Call me Looneyman Coffeeslut.
When you find me in the morning
long before the sun comes up,
(as if there’s likely to be sun)
when you find me at the keyboard,
half a man half asleep, call me
Fingerdreams Hopeful, call me
Renovated Crashburn.
Yesterday I was Flabbergast
Downheart , but all my friends
(as if I’d had a friend)
loved me as I was, called me
Sameold Goodold when they
met me on the street, gave me
everything, I guess, they thought
a man like Hankernot Renunciation
might ever need. Still, though, need
followed me everywhere, hunger
dogged me secretly. Tomorrow
(as if there’s any other day)
is another day. Tomorrow
you can call me Smiley Nirvana;
tomorrow I’ll be Karmic Bailout.

Friday, March 25, 2016


Red Wolf Journal (Online) March 2016
Song Of Myself (RWJ Anthology) August 2016

The mirror these days
when it sees me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hard Going

Poetry Breakfast (Online) March 2016

I had considerable trouble leaving you.
It was car trouble, mostly: I wasn’t really
used to the standard, then, and it was
hard to find reverse; or hard to find it
fast enough anyway. Getting out of town
was no picnic either, with all that snow
piled up for blocks around the house,
the storm localized around the cold front
generated by your occluded heart.
I had to start running the red lights
because every time I stopped
people kept coming up to the car
asking me what took so long.
I have to admit this much, though:
when I finally got to the border,
even though I was running on empty,
I considered giving up and driving back.
But I only considered it briefly.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Front Porch Review (Online) January 2016

While you are away, I go out
into the sunless morning.
The door that closes behind me
closes forever.  The house is an echo
and the silent windows reflect
only the vacant, untended garden.
I have nowhere to go
but I get into the car and drive.

All the signs are stop signs.
People in the village stop, stare
as I pass, seeing only half of me.

Saturday, November 07, 2015


Amygdala (Online) November 2015

Nearly dawn
near the border:
Seconal, Valium, booze.
No one expected
the slow opening of eyes,
least of all
the man among the ferns, dismayed.
This was to be the longest sleep,
the rest, at last, so well-deserved.
Imagine his surprise:
dew-soaked, a slug
across the bridge of his nose,
no shoes or recollection.

Friday, August 07, 2015


Deep Water Literary Journal (Online)  August 2015

She goes to that dark land
of her own free will
and far too often.
She blames it on snakebites:
something inside writhes, closes.
Below, something opens
invites her in,  insists;
she does not resist.
In the morning, dazed,
she rises, stares
burning in the day’s light
she barely sees
then turns again,
I am no Orpheus
to follow her there.
I let her fall.

Friday, July 17, 2015


Your One Phone Call  (Online) July 2015

There is neither edge nor precipice;
nor slide, nor knowable fall.
There is only bottom.
Lack makes itself known
abruptly, not losing or loss.
There is only nothing, suddenly.

There is neither flight nor flying
nor slipping away into airlessness;
there is no drag or drain, no
low warning, no looming alarm.
There is only bottom and nothing

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Revisiting Venus

Objects in the Rear View Mirror (Print Anthology) July 2015
Kind Of A Hurricane Press

               He leaves the hospital for the last time, unable to forget her face.

Half the country was locked in an arctic vortex that night, wind chill readings in the dozens of degrees below-zero, but he’d driven home—an hour’s drive over The Heights—with the window fully open, his hands frozen on the wheel, his eyes blinded, the radio blaring some almost incomprehensible ‘60s tune about love and a forever he can only just barely recall.

When he reached the top of The Heights he remembered how he’d once stopped at the pull-off on a mid-summer night, sat quietly for an hour staring up at Venus, and written a poem about a homesick Canadian dying to get home, flying across the median, sailing over the ditch, and crashing in flames into the granite embankment. After all the years of reading and reciting the poem, it had ceased to be a fiction. He never crossed The Heights without recalling it.

Now, years and years and half a year later, flying home, frozen, he forces himself to decelerate when the headstone grey granite, harder than mere rock, looms, beckoning.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Icarus, These Days

Anthology: Greek Fire (print) July 2015)
Lost Tower Publications

Morning: Icarus pursues a correlation
between a red hawk, gliding,
silent on a far dark horizon
and the first slash of sunrise,
dull fire before the day’s flames.
But everything intervenes:
meetings that haven’t
happened, that won’t happen
until after it's light, until after
it’s almost dark again;
the coffee that spills,
the words that don’t;
the pills and calls
and all the deadly needy
people, ready to be served,
waiting to be saved.

He’s an unwilling subject:
a wing he cannot grasp, an
image of small flame spread out
across a wide and empty air,
lifts him from sleep but leaves him,
breathless and parched, unable
to speak; drops him, speechless,
down among the boulders
of another desperate day.

Thursday, July 02, 2015


Your One Phone Call (Online) July 2015

When you find me, here,
try to imagine me whole:

52 year-old meat, hairy,
leaning on my last leg,

grizzly, unbearable;
a spectacled sight. Behold

before you the aftermath
of a half-century of breath;

half a million hours, wasted,
spent like small change

on small changes. These days,
if you seek me here, here

you will find me, such as I am:
crutched and unbalanced, blinking,

a teetering relic, nakedly unearthed,
recently given to fits, recently,

when exposed to sunlight, stunned.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Your One Phone Call (online)  June 2015

I had to rescue my older brother once.
He called me after two years of no contact,

begged me to drive to his house, ask his wife
for the spare car keys, meet him downtown

in a bar’s parking lot.  He said he might be
passed out in the back seat.  I told him

I didn’t remember what his car looked like
but he hung up on me before I could ask.

Sure enough: passed out in the back seat
and not a single syllable of thanks.  It still

ticks me off, almost half a century later.
And I have this younger brother, keeps

looking in those same old bottles, looking
for something I know he’ll never find.

My older brother is his older brother, too;
everything I’ve ever seen, he’s seen.

You’d think he’d get the message.  No.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Red As A Bell

Local Nomad (Online) April 2015

Red as a bell
he thought
Red as a wagon
     redder than anger
     & wet
Thicker than water

Something buzzed
     startled by shadows
Particles of dust
centuries old
would not settle there

He turned the corner
in a glint of final steel
     foreign faces followed
There was a feeling
no one knew what to think
any more

Horizons away
Hollywood imagined it differently
Horizons away    
Mars was half swung round    
          in the midnight sky

The world was half asleep

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Whistler's Annunciation

Red Wolf Journal (Online) March 2015

Mister Whistler looms
down the gloomy street,
hoping to meet the morning
but limps himself back home
before dawn.
                        When the sun
comes scrambling up at last
over the staring and eggy town,
sleepy in its early kitchens,
all the yellow curtains
in all the yellow windows
burst into Sunday flames
and fall, burning the countertops
and leaving their feeble yellow ash
on Mister Whistler’s sad and
unswept morning floors.

Friday, March 06, 2015


Red Wolf Journal (Online) March 2015

The old man scoops another
thin scrape of riverbank, dips
the rim to drown the till,
swirls the pan. Part of the dig
slips over the edge with every
circle. The murky water clears.
Sandy granite. Schist. A glint
of mica. The man looks up.
The sun is gold in a blue sky.
The man sits still, resigned.
He sighs; scoops; swirls; spills.
He wills himself to wait.

Thursday, March 05, 2015


Red Wolf Journal (Online) March 2015

She thinks about how she looks,
about how she looks in a sundress;
puts it on and steps on out
onto Main Street, pushes her stroller
down past the Creemee stand
where the hunks hang out,
admiring each other’s tattoos
and planning their romantic assaults
on the wide-eyed waitress at the Valley House,
making bets on who among them is
most likely to get to second base first.

She knows she doesn’t stand a chance
of catching their full attention
or holding it very long, but she’s
hoping there’s enough breeze
to flutter her sundress,
lure at least one of them
into a second look, hold his eyes long enough
so that her red hair and lipstick
sends him a green light, tempts him to
come on over and chat her up.

But the stroller’s working against all that.
Sundress or no, lipstick or not,
she knows she’s made her bed;
she just doesn’t want to lie in it alone.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


One Sentence Poems (Online) February 2015

I saw my father cry
like a baby

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

How Billy Writes A Play

Red Wolf Journal (Online) December 2014
Anthologized (Theme: Play) January 2015

He chooses a theme and a pen.
The nib is crucial, especially
by the time he hits the third act
when he makes a fine point
on a dozen or so pencils for back-up.
He exposes the characters by stages,
methodically spilling ink on the script
here, blood in the storyline there, and
—as their hearts resolve themselves
from paper into flesh—he beats
them into submission, his manuscript
their master, his work their play.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Landscape Triptych

Canary (Online) December 2014
--Part 1 previously published (April 00) at New Works Review--


Wheeled glossy-wing'd and black
Corvus Cornix, Corvus Corax
to Home in golden Tamarack
this cold day in space & sad
when the sun goes down these hills

Merge here wood & water
inland, hillbound streams
dreaming driftwood beaches
along the forested seaboard;
merge green & grey the conifer
and elm stands, gazing, down
where fine white waterlace
fans flat rockface & falls

               Melancholy in this mist land
               The Raven and The Crow


               Two days back in Time
               Birds, massing:

Put wing to Northland air you riveted,
strung out & Against the sky:
pull Winter in behind you

Like a vacuum:
going, and nowhere.
Somewhere trees reach, waiting.

Cornfields standing, left, amazed—
frost light'ning stalks & leaves
(where air has touched with ice
the leathered scarecrow's fame)
the stillness of the moment

Flight Flight


               Pinpoint: the Northern Star a sky away:
               Winter on these hills

Where the eye looks
upward, nothing moves—
above the landscape
nothing is moving through
still air

Bare these treelimbs in extreme
starlight, frostbitten in air.
What sun there is
is cold

Still this greatcoated space
under white inches of muffle

Empty these skies

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Step Right Up

Red River Review (Online) August 2014

My Uncle Del, my father always said, could sell
an icecube to an Eskimo, a dozen pairs of shoes
to unwary legless vets; could sell, without a beat,
Beelzebub himself a heater and a book of matches
and insurance, too, just in case of fire.
                                                                My father
said my Uncle Del had paid his way through school
by getting fools to waste their time and lose their
thin and bottom dimes on crooked games of chance
they had no chance of winning.
                                                   And I don’t know
if all that’s true, or if my dad was selling me a bill
of goods about a relative I’d never met, and yet
it seems it might be true:
                                         When I was young, if
I had run to circus tents, if I were offered choice,
I knew what kind of circus work I’d choose. I’d use
my voice to rope the luckless suckers in; I’d stand
outside the tent and sing in praise of freaks. I’d get
the rent and every other cent the dopes could spend
to see the geeks and flipperkids, the tiny Raisin Boy,
the swallower of lengthy swords, the Fishface Twins,
then send them out to borrow more, if only just
to see the show again.
                                    I’d bark them in again, alright.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Valentine's Day

Blue Skirt  (Online) August 2014

Valentine’s Day               
(KFL  2/14/27 — 1/24/01)

No one goes there now.
For days the smooth snow,
unbroken to the treeline,
lifted there by wind
along the ridge, settles
at last among the stones.
At night, stars, high,
hiss an inaudible static,
dance for the dead.

In the morning,
if there is sun,
it washes down
between the stones,
lights but does not warm.
Cold reigns,
and I stand in the drift,
nearly ash among the ashes.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Seeing Margot

Deep Water Literary Journal (Online) August 2014

I see Margot two or three times a month,
tell her about my fear of being hunted,

being rounded up for running out of pills
in the middle of the night. Mostly, she

waits patiently while I caress my lies or
opt, instead, to spend my time describing

the things I find lying on the frozen lawn.
Sometimes when we talk I think about how

I left the other doctor high and dry, owing
him thousands of dollars, and I remember

saying goodbye to Trudy back on the ward,
watching me go and asking if I'd gotten the cure.

Yesterday I let my watch read 11:50 all day long.
Late in the morning, something like snow came

spitting down, overwhelming my wipers.
Crossing Main near midnight, I saw Margot

through the windshield. I wanted to get out
and tell her that I've lived before, tell her

that the exterminators are coming around
to gather us up, that I need to see her now

for an hour or so, need to have some coffee,
need to get and take my pills, go home,

scrape the baby off the frozen grass.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Clapboard House (3 Pieces)
(Online) July 2014
Danny B. initials the dust
of the librarys basement window
makes his mark inside a heart with
his favorite girlfriends initials, pierces
his full and dusty heart with an arrow,
with angled feathers and a very serious
point; and despite all the books and
periodicals the institution offers, nothing
means more than these four letters
because Danny knows that tonight
after the slow dance, walking her home
in the dark under the feeble streetlight
he can stop and point to the window,
point to his dusty handiwork and hope
she overlooks the crack in the glass
and the fact that several other windows
all bear similar artifacts: his name
in dust in identically shafted hearts,
and his former girlfriends initials.
The girls not blind, she sees it all
but doesnt care; she doesnt care
the windows cracked, doesnt care
that half a quivers love is spent
on half a dozen other dusty panes.
She lets him make a pass, lets him
kiss her under the blazing streetlight,
and when the dust has settled she
goes back home, cracks a notebook,
fills a dozen empty pages with
Mrs Dan, Mrs Daniel, Mrs Danny B.


Thank you, father, for all that hash when I was
just a high schoolboy;  and for all those girls,
their cute little pink feet and silver toe rings
up on the dashboard, Stones on the radio,
calico dresses in the wind, tanned legs, hot
nights, warm flesh, and all those summer
sunstruck mornings waking up with no idea
whose house I was in, whose bed,
and not a seconds thought about how its
only Tuesday, smoky and unknowable.
Thanks for the moon reflected in windshield
raindrops, and for midnight mushrooms,
Day-Glo under blacklight, mescaline boogie,
acid rock,  and acid.  But mostly thank you
for 68: Danny Riley and his floral necktie
finishing up his student teaching,
smiling and handing me books, saying
Oh man, you should read some Ginsberg, or 
Brautigan, maybe.  No; here, I got it.
For you, Ferlinghetti.

Wrong Hands

He doesnt know how he let his hands
do the things his hands had done:
casually thrown away a wedding ring,
made a fist and used it, ransacked a
complete strangers home, plunged
a needle, pulled a trigger.
                                        Its like they
were someone elses hands; like theyd
never opened a book, never taken an
oath, never tucked a little girl into bed,
or stroked her hair.
                              Now, everything
had slipped away from him, left him
predictably alone, completely

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Haiku Stupid

High Coupe (Online) June 2014
Subsequently Anthologized: Storm Cycle (Kind Of A Hurricane Press) August 2015


sixteen chickens cross
I curse the road for its width
stupid slowpoke birds


they roll themselves down
stupid Pakistani socks
blame it on wal-mart


stupid galaxy
we have nowhere else to go
stay home in the pits


deadly golden arch
America malnourished
stupid plastic food


turn the damned thing off
stupid reality shows
big ol’ bunch of dopes


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Soon, Green

One Sentence Poems (Online) May 2014

Today in the notch, despite the mere scrim
of a mid-April snow, rainy flakes barely frozen,
falling, liquefied, through an early morning
mountain air, even the casual eye could catch
(captured in a momentary parting of fog)
the small grey buds of the red maple,
the low spark, purple flame of crocus.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

All Things Considered

The Liberal Media Made Me Do It!
(Print Anthology April 2014)

Three soon-to-be grads from Harvard
or Sarah Lawrence opine on the morning
news how their Senior classes seem
simultaneously base and baseless
in light of their last three years abroad,
considering how, after all, once you’ve seen
morning in Jalalabad, everything golden
in the heart of the desert, everything wan
and wavering in the high desert heat,
everything else pales by comparison.
Or so they say, three young women
taking their last few classes, studying
The Modern Islamic Middle East, The History
Of Moorish Art, The Economics and Politics
Of Oil Producing Emirates As Reported In
The Western Press, Such As It Is.
One of them has perfect parents in
Prague, will go to live with them as soon as
the mortarboard is tossed in the air;
one of them is hoping for a career in
diplomacy, if she survives a military stint
and a battle for the civil servant’s desk.
The third is planning a family
just outside The Beltway, her most
immediate goal a gallery, small showings
on alternate Tuesdays, her house
only a mile or two away, jogging
distance, close enough to push a stroller
or walk a border collie, far enough away
to kid herself she’s got a life that matters.


Monday, March 03, 2014

Death Is Like The Floor

Right Hand Pointing (Online) March 2014

Death is like the floor
in a hotel’s tiled men’s room:
the one-by-one inch squares
that no one ever notices,
the hard repeated pattern
that no one ever notices
until a tile is missing
and it’s you.

Friday, February 14, 2014


red wolf journal (online) February 2014

All the water we needed was
well below the glacial till.
Twelve gallons a minute, four
hundred feet down. Charlie
and his boys had to keep
changing the bit, making sure
the mud went down smooth, the
flush and cuttings came up
like they should.
blistering days went by
before they hit anything
vaguely resembling bedrock;
three days of a grumbling crew,
the chaser truck shuttling
back and forth for pipe,
for Cokes and smokes and
general store hoagies, hotter
than sweltering hell and only
the middle of May.
two Mays later, I’m out on
the deck, an icy gin and tonic
reminds me it’s almost summer
again, Venus smiles down, farmboys
off in the distance, probably
drunk, have themselves a little
impromptu fireworks display,
either because they just got back
from Toronto, or because they’re
too whopping drunk to know it’s
not quite the Fourth.
                                Either way,
I’m waiting for you here
beside the well tonight, enjoying
the show from a distance; happy
as man lately lost in the desert
come in at last for something cool
to drink.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cold Snap

Front Porch Review (Online) January 2014
--Originally appeared in Feb 2006 at Crescent Moon Journal

Outside for obligatory photographs:
ubiquitous head-shot, profile,
three-quarter profile, bust.
I stand between the battered, rusty
plow, lost in a stand of spruce,
and the house’s winter windows,
nearly buried by blizzard. I squint
and I will be squinting forever
standing, frozen by the shutters.

When I see myself, inside, later,
at first only pixels, then paper thin,
I am several hundred pounds of meat
none of it lean, leaning on a cane,
a lame spectacle trapped by
reflex and bifocality, with snow
at the temple of my thinning hair.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

How To Know For Sure

egg (online) December 2013

3:47 AM
and still you can’t
without her there, sleeping,

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Company For Dinner

Bohemia (Online / Print) October 2013

Who could resist those gumdrop
eaves, those icing gutters, pink
wafer shutters and doors, shrubs
of spun sugar, those licorice windows
and that delicate black cracker chimney?
Who indeed. No one. Everyone
who stopped, even if only to visit,
however briefly, wished they could
call it home, wanted to possess
such a finely sprinkled chocolate lawn.
But sooner or later, sweetness fades:
inside, there’s only a blazing stove,
a blazing iron oven and a wicked and
starving witch, wishing she wasn’t
so always alone, wasn’t always so lost
in the deep and darkening woods,
far from her cat and her coven,
trying in vain to fill her emptiness
with a couple of wayward children
fattening in cages in the corner.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thought For The Day

The Comstock Review (Print) October 2013

Although he did not have the time
to write it down or tell his friends
his thought for the day was this:
Nothing is ever where you expect
to find it.

                 He had this thought
as he balanced on the bed’s edge,
his feet sweeping circles in the dark
in search of his grey sweats, when
the massive clot dislodged, ran
its short course to the ventricle
and suddenly the room at 4AM
was bathed in beautiful light.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Song Of The Crystal

Northern Cardinal Review (Online) September 2013

Safe the harbor here
        where hardwoods creak
             in wind
        along the water’s edge
to kiss and mix
        their shadows;
to measure air
and mark the water’s reach.

Safe the haven here
        where streamlets, muttering,
           murmur secret histories
           of millrace, of millpond,
and of slightly shifted stone.

Safe safe safe
        where water falls:
        below the cliffstone
beneath a tree, beside a brook.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hemlock, Sandalwood, Sage

Northern Cardinal Review (Online) Sept 2013

Today it’s hemlock smoke, or
cedar and, under thin clouds
and the huge blue, I’m on a
hillside, high, dreaming about
what summer used to be like,
how all the beautiful women
walked up and down the beach,
their brown eyes no darker
than their deep tans, the sun
not much brighter than their
               And I remember that
once I could smell sandalwood
—or maybe it was sage—burning
in the distance on an autumn
afternoon; could hear the chant
of soft wind through sycamore,
the burble of a mid-day brook,
and I realize
                        I’ve been here
before, been here in all seasons:
when the sun baked the drying
grass; when the snow drifted
into the hollows between the
hills; when the first leaves
greened, or the last of them,
reddened, sailed earthward
on autumn-scented air.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Watch And Wait

Untitled, with Passengers (Online) September 2013
**Audio Link On Page**
A homesick Canadian, northbound,
approaching eighty-five or ninety
blasted past me in a thick fog
up on The Heights, swerved
across the breakdown lane, sailed
the ditch and collided with granite;
everything within seconds was aflame.
Nothing could be done. I could only
Even the ambulance, useless,
red strobes flashing near midnight,
arriving before the useless state police,
long before the merciful fire truck
lumbered up, could do exactly
Almost a week went by.
I told and retold the story; told and
almost wept with each telling, each
detail etched clear as an August sky
lit by flame and stars: the streak of
tail lights diminishing, death in the air,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Got Yer "Grumpy" Right Here, Pal

Anthologized in Ekphrastia Gone Wild from Ain't Got No Press, (Aug. 2013)
(Originally published in And/Or (Inaugural Issue, November 2010)

I guess you’d be pretty grumpy, too
if you shared a crackerbox cottage
with six other chirpy little bastards,
up every day at the crack of dawn
with a merry Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho on their
lips, off to work after nothing but 
a meager bowl of gruel, carrying
pickaxes and a box of dynamite,
leaving behind such a rare beauty,
a fair-skinned brown-eyed princess 
to sweep up after them, make up
their beds, wash out their nasty
sheets, no one keeping her company
but a bunch of dopey bluebirds.
What a waste. 
                         And speaking of 
dopey, let me just say a few words
about a couple of the schmucks
I work with:
                       I busted a thumb
about a month ago and found out
Doc’s not much of a real doc; and 
I don’t know what it is that keeps
that nitwit Sleepy nodding all day
or Happy so friggin happy, but
sooner or later there’s bound to be
a cave-in and, frankly, I’ll be glad
for the time off.
                         Maybe then I’d 
get to hang around the house, 
see if the princess comes across 
with a little TLC. Now, that might 
improve my attitude some, eh? 

Go away now, you’re buggin me.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Persistence Of Vision

The Rapid Eye  (Online/Defunct) (Aug 2013)

She opens the fish,
finds her daughter's fingers inside;
every fish the same explosion.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wordland (2 pieces)

Issue 3  (Online)  Apr 2013


Gimme that she said, reaching for
her daughter’s wrist; the goddamn thing
cost seven bucks.Let me just…
But it was too late. The string had slipped
and the little girl was already afloat,
helium and Mylar in a perfectly clear April.

While You're Away, A Meteor Shower

Twice yesterday and overnight last night,
snow squalls and wind.This morning
the lawn was white.Hell of an April.
All day today, though, I imagined you
wherever you are (somewhere beside
water, I think you said) staring up at
the same clearing sky, the same blue as
the cold, distant ocean that called you
          Tonight it’s clear: I’m alone and
the sky’s a dark crystal. Only a few stars
mar the dim silence; I’m standing here
staring up at the Lyrids (fine silver rain
of sparkle and flash from somewhere
halfway across the universe) thinking
only of you.
                   It’s already almost midnight
and the moon won’t show for at least
an hour, no sun rises until you return.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Farsi Love Song

litbomb (Online) April 2013

After a while, even though they’re singing in Arabic or Farsi, he swears he can tell what they’re singing about; swears this song’s about what it’s like when their lips meet in the dark, how it feels watching him walk out the door, off to join the army, not knowing how he’ll get by without her.

He’s had this same experience before, watching an Italian couple arguing in Italian in an Italian subway station: she was telling him he’s a dog—has always been a dog—and she knows there’s going to be some slut at the end of the line, waiting to meet him and let him take her home to her chintzy and flowered walk-up, let him kiss her on the balcony under the April drizzle, then take him inside, let him prove just how much of a dog he truly is.

All of this he understood clearly without a single word of English. Translation, he thought, was unnecessary, superfluous.

Now he sits and listens to the Farsi love song, laments the pace that others set for themselves, a pace that keeeps them from hearing the heartbreak, feeling the loss, sharing the shattered moment we all have to live through, sooner or later, in any language.

Monday, April 08, 2013


Northern Cardinal Review (Online) April 2013

Everything under the sun
is lag-bolt and pressure-treated lumber;
everything else is outside, beyond far.
It does not reach.
Here, only the movement of grasses.
Here trees, breathing, rustle and whisper
openly secret secrets
only to nuthatch and thrush.