Monday, June 27, 2016

I Will Give You Salt

Salar De Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni (or Salar de Tunupa) is the world's largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 sq mi). It is located in the Daniel Campos Province in Potosí in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes and is at an altitude of 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above sea level.

The Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average altitude variations within one meter over the entire area of the Salar. The crust serves as a source of salt and covers a pool of brine, which is exceptionally rich in lithium. It contains 50 to 70% of the world's lithium reserves.

I Will Give You Salt

Stings of betrayal,
the pepper on our anguish:
this is how we bond.

This is bittersweet.

We dare the overt
ache of reunion because
we have to or die.

Oh my beauty, my true love,

I shall be the fire
red of blood, the honey cut
on your tongue.

I will give you salt.

July 15, 2011 12:28 PM

Friday, June 24, 2016

Stage Right

Written At The Desk, Stage Right

Oh then Tweedledum
and Tweedlefiddledeedee
were discovered on
the sly and slinking
off stage left as if they would
be better doing
more prosaic work
than one more damn poetry
reading, acting out
metaphors as if
at the commands we laid down -
the daily orders,
the unending drone
of authority smearing out
any possible

I gave them at
request, both a nom de guerre,
and even if Lou
chops off my fingers
one by one, I will never
reveal when or where
or who the Tweedles
really are, or who Lou is
for all that matters.

‎June ‎24, ‎2016 2:22:22 PM

In case you don't know...the image above shows you an actual desk at stage right. Stage right and stage left are always oriented to the performer facing the audience.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Sky Is Falling - Reprise

One Too Many Words

It was no idle
time and she wasn't nagging
either. I had just
picked my poem's pace
and sallied forth in adverbs,
in nouns and round verbs
building two five lines
and one seven in order,
some kind of order.
That's how I do things
these days, waiting for the ball
to drop, the sky to

January 2, 2013 6:44 PM

This poem was written and posted originally on the same date. If you think about it, the title's meaning is obvious. You can find the original in the archive listed by date down the right side of my blog page.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Jack Rabbit - Three Word Wednesday

Today is Three Word Wednesday, run by my friend Thom.
This week's words:

Taboo, noun: prohibition, proscription, veto, interdiction, interdict, ban, restriction; adjective: forbidden, prohibited, banned, proscribed, interdicted, outlawed, illegal, illicit, unlawful, restricted, off limits; unmentionable, unspeakable, unutterable, unsayable, ineffable; rude, impolite.

Taut, adjective: tight, stretched, rigid, fraught, strained, stressed, tense, flexed, tense, hard, solid, firm, rigid, stiff.

Tattered, adjective: old and torn; in poor condition.

The Jack Rabbit

They whisper taboo
and my old sinews are taut,
too much for my bones
to hold with due ease.

I was once a jack rabbit
in a former life.

At least that seems true.
I remember bald eagles
aiming at my thews
and me jacking back
and away of a sudden
so they missed, cussing
me out as only
eagles can - me in
full on run to ground and down
with tattered gray fur
to my hole for one.

‎June ‎22, ‎2016   8:07 PM

Go to Three Word Wednesday for the contributor list linking to their creative writing sites.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Things Didn't Work Out - A Magpie Tale

You have jacked me up
with promises like tar sands
stretching to the sea,
leaving stained foam to
mark the water's curdled edge.

I am all confused
and can feel my pulse
behind my open sockets.

You have grabbed my wires
in your black crow form
and gone to roost in the pines
at the edge of things.

I'm still gathering
my oaths and incantations.
I will call you down.
You can count on it.

‎June ‎19, ‎2016 11:54 AM

Here is what I imagine. We went on vacation to Costa Rica and hiked to this spot, close to the coast. Just out of the picture we made camp and then bathed in the pool at day's end, using the waterfall as a shower. The jungle treated us very well, and I said so. You kissed me good night as if nothing was up and we slept. I woke once to find you lying beside me peacefully. We stayed fully clothed because of the insects. In the morning when I woke you were gone. Your gear was gone and where you set it seemed hardly disturbed. I found no note and no sign of foul play. I was sure you left me of your own choice, and I knew where you might have gone. I can still remember the Pacific the way it whispered in the distance.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Highest Shelves

The Highest Shelves

The dangers of you
run hot in my blood
and I shall kiss this red heat
amid the red rills
and runnels of scent
you offer me after nights
like those stars we keep
in the troves, in silk,
crimson silken canisters
lining the highest
shelves in our cottage.

July 12, 2011 5:53 PM

Thursday, June 16, 2016

In Honor Of The Magpie - A Magpie Tale

In Honor Of The Magpie

This pain has savor,
a dark bittersweet flavor
like fine chocolate.

I wish you were here.

I have been splurging lately
and I've also worked
my light boned fingers,
honing my picking skill set:
no pocket is safe.

I need your taming
as only you know how to
reach as deep as souls.

Well, I might fib some,
Exaggerate my sad case
just a little bit...

but I do miss you.

‎June ‎15, ‎2016 8:49 PM

Tess is not gone, not lost... She currently hangs out in Manchester, England, immersed in other matters, safe with friends and is happily international... and sharing the world with Mr. Robingo Snall as far as I understand it. This however, is just my strong and smokey impression, so do not quote me. Ask her. Or him.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A While Back

A While Back

On those Saturdays
when I was seven years old
I'd go to Kenny's
house and watch TV.
Quicksand was a big scary
bog and someone was
always sinking down
horribly sucked in and doomed.
I tried my hand at
making small puddles
and succeeded at it once
when the muck was right
and the water flowed
as it must. Later I grew
out of my love for
the studio set
and the storied contortions,
the red scare fifties.

‎June ‎14, ‎2016 10:54 AM

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Jazz Singer

Billie Holiday At Her Last Recording Session

The Jazz Singer
Sings The Blues

I'm too sick to stand
steady and y'all expect me
to sing out for you -
to stay in front of
the band and belt this damn tune.
My friend Mick said, "Get
the picture?" and by
God, I really got it sure.
I really got it.
Sure I do, Sweetie.
So here goes nothin', you guys-
Here I go for you.

‎June ‎11, ‎2016 4:48 AM

(Introducing the last song of the last set, four months before dropping dead.)

*Written in remembrance of Ms. Billie Holiday of whom Wiki writes:

"By early 1959 Holiday had [severe symptoms of ] cirrhosis of the liver. She stopped drinking on doctor's orders, but soon relapsed. By May she had lost 20 pounds (9 kg). Friends, jazz critic Leonard Feather, her manager Joe Glaser, and photojournalist and editor Allan Morrison unsuccessfully tried to get her to a hospital.

"On May 31, 1959, Holiday was taken to Metropolitan Hospital in New York for treatment of liver and heart disease. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics, under the order of Harry J. Anslinger, had been targeting Holiday since at least 1939. She was arrested and handcuffed for drug possession as she lay dying, and her hospital room was raided and she was placed under police guard. On July 15, she received the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church, and died two days later on July 17, 1959 at 3:10 a.m. from pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis of the liver."

One final note: The poem is comprised of my own words and images and not really directly anything Ms. Holiday may have heard, seen or said herself. I am alone as has been my early morning habit nearly all my life. This poem represents my own journey if anyone's. Mostly, I compose my poetry as tiny short stories and not about my own life so much.

While at this moment, I am not at all conflicted, I too have felt the curse of the artist's yearning. I have been a singer, chiefly in groups, and a musician on guitar and keyboard, a long time poet, and a bad drunk as well. I sobered up in 1983. To my knowledge, I do not have cirrhosis, but I have diabetes, atrial fibrillation, edema and risk heart failure and stroke. I have made it to my seventies. Ms. Holiday died at 44.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

It's Hard To Remember - Three Word Wednesday

It's Hard To Remember
My Original Intention

What an outlandish
notion you have written on
the skin of my soul.

I am perplexed at
what to do about it all.
The alligator
has now awakened
with hollows in bad places,
yellow angry eyes,
and teeth unsuited
for a wee nibble or two.

Instead she rips me
out of your swamp's edge
and rolls me over, under,
and again, again.

‎June ‎8, ‎2016 2:22 PM

Thom posted the following three words for Three Word Wednesday


His site contains the contributor list. Each name gives you access to their postings too.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Village Guard

Oh please love me now,
you pushing past the native
walls of woven thorn
we use to keep out
the big cats, the hyenas,
while I walk my post
in full paint, with stone
tools I chipped myself, long time
past this swollen day.

July 7, 2011 7:10 PM

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Edge Of The World

I cannot show you
this shore, these breakers thrashing
the sandy chaos,
roiling far more than
buried life can bear for long,
the rocks upthrust, sharp,
with small damp caverns
and craters where wild things grow.
The edge of the world
is damp and salty,
like dilute new blood, pale light
like early morning.

July 7, 2011 9:30 AM

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Waiting For Berry Pie - Prompt 157

Irene has put out another post soliciting poetry. Here is my response.

Waiting For Berry Pie

You said, "Let us pray."
I said, "Can't you see the past -
the shade of this day?"

It's true the garden
is filled with noon's bright green light.
Here my cat twitches.

Meanwhile, the berry
arbor grows green slender spines
and threatens to fruit.

‎June ‎1, ‎2016 9:07 AM

Click on the link above to connect with prompt 157. This poem is about a real part of the garden. Several years ago we bought pressure treated 4x4s and set the four verticals in concrete in the open space just outside my basement door. We tied them all together with 4x4s as mid and top rails, to make a box. Francie planted four patches, one at each corner post. Two patches are Marionberry and two are Boysenberry. The berry vines are wrapped around and tied to the arbor. Alongside this arbor to the east is planted a row of Raspberry canes.

In the bright of the Oregon spring and summer days, I am swamped by green light through the open door when I go to this part of the basement as I frequently do.

I recall going one year to our auto mechanic's farm at his invitation. There we picked all the blueberries we wanted from his blueberry patch. Oregon weather is perfect for growing berries.

Friday, May 27, 2016


Found in the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina
Beleived to be a Holocaust Lampshade
Made from human skin

In my former life
the capstone was when
they took my hide,
tanned it and used it
for Hitler's lampshade.

Giving my hide
was my last act
in Europe.
After the war
I was born
in America.

May 27, 2016 9:15 PM

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Opinions - Three Word Wednesday

Opinions Are Like...

She has considerred
me happy-go-lucky for
the last time, I bet
after the latest trick
I pulled on her. Ignorant,
a vapid, shallow
joyous infantile
heap of smelly meat - something
like that, I guess is
now closer to her new
opinion of me.
Ask me if I care.

‎May ‎25, ‎2016 7:21 PM

In re the title... in this neck of the woods people will note that
"Opinions are like assholes. Everybody's got one."
I apologize if I have gotten too earthy. Wait. No I don't. Because opinions are like...

Written for Three Word Wednesday using the words


Use the link to reach this week's contributor list. Thank you, Thom for continuing to post prompts so consistently for all these years. I for one wind up writing poems I never would have in any other process. Of course it is not for me to judge if that is really a Good Thing.

Monday, May 23, 2016

I'm Older Now

Behind me I pull up
stakes or weeds or my insights
as I go - I wish
I knew how to hold
it all just like then when I
wished, wished I knew you.

Wishing that I knew
how to hold it all, thinking
then about now, what
now would be like when
I'd finally know.

July 5, 2011 5:03 AM

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Water Lily

The way you stretch through
from the pond shine to muddy
root and back again
to splay out bright signs
demanding touch by fertile
motes who gladly dive
toward your sweet heart,
the way you show me your light
strips me to my joy.

‎June ‎29, ‎2011 7:18 PM

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Muddy Path

A Reminder

I stumble along.
It's a muddy day.
In the mud are shards of grief,
sharp and gray at once,
set points up for me
to find with my bare skinned feet
so's I remember
what the hell happened
when I looked the other way.

June 22, 2011 6:04 PM

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Last Chance

What hangs from your neck,
she asked, what is that, old man?
I, blushing silent
bowed my head and shrugged.
So she turned from me again,
said this is the last
chance you have, old man.

She floated off while the sun
turned to a setting
hue and the dog went
in and the cat left as well,
and I sat there, stunned
thinking how I should
have said and how I could have
had the last damn words.

‎May ‎2, ‎2016 7:38 PM

Friday, April 29, 2016

Oh My Queen

Oh My Queen

They took you away
in the back of a low car,
then in drafty trains,
you stuffed among them
in the effluvia they left
for you to swallow.

I did nothing then
nor can I do anything
in the time I have
left to me. My God,
I shall dive into the hole
left in my own heart.

‎June ‎18, ‎2011 3:32 PM

Images of The Rape of Persephone by Bernini.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Feather Pitch

All about the words,
you said, flicking your blonde tress.

I shall wander still
among the finches
as they call for sunflowers,
for seeds, the wild swoop
onto one good perch.

You've held out your long finger.
Perhaps they'll light there.

June 15, 2011 8:01 PM

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Waking Up Alone

Uluru, or Ayers Rock

In the growing dawn
I'm haunted by dead cold flames.
Gravid stones call out
from my ebbing dream.
I pray my friend comes sooner
than the rising sun.

Oh spin me the yarns
only you can safely twist
off the likes of me.

June 3, 2011 10:44 PM
modified, April 16, 2016

Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a massive sandstone monolith in the heart of the Northern Territory’s Red Centre desert, 450km from the nearest large town, Alice Springs. It’s sacred to indigenous Australians and believed to be about 700 million years old. It’s within Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which also encompasses the 36 red-rock domes of the Kata Tjuta (colloquially “The Olgas”) formation.

Monday, April 11, 2016

It's All Blown Up

You gave up, leaving
all defenses in my hands
while the pyroclasts
approach, spewing gas
and glowing things all around.

I'm turning tail too.

So much for your trust,
toots. I'm headed for higher
ground if my hot feet
permit. As for you
guys, I recommend you all
book it, toot damn sweet.

‎April ‎11, ‎2016 2:33 PM

Pyroclasts (or " tephra ') are any volcanic fragments that were hurled through the air by volcanic activity. A pyroclastic eruption is one in which the great majority of activity involves fountaining or explosions.

Book it: Fairly common slang for at least the last sixty years meaning as used here: to get out, run!

Toot-sweet: This word pair is a corruption of the French 'tout de suite', which literally means 'all at once'.

Thus the whole phrase is another way to say, "Run! Right now, Damn it!"

This would seem to be a bit melodramatic to some but I live in the vicinity of Mt. St. Helens and pyroclastic flows were not that far away. When we moved into the house we bought, I had to go on the roof and clean volcanic ash out of the gutters. We were grateful in those days that the weather flow in this area tends to come from the southwest to the northeast, more or less. That's how we missed most of the grit.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

At Least You Left A Note

Bang! Big explosion!
Supernova fries my brain
and frags my liver.

Your note has to do
since too much fermentation
has eaten my hope
for it to be worth
even one thin dime.

It was
a poor chance, no doubt,
that drove me to this
pass in the coastal rises
west of the valley
where we used to live.

‎April ‎10, ‎2016 6:53 PM

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Disturbing The Dead

-Takashi Murakami
"Gagosian in the Land of the Dead,
Stepping on the Tale of a Rainbow."

Disturbing The Dead

You have asked of me
an utterly frank discourse
about the small ghosts
who clutter my curd.

What am I most afraid of?
you ask, punching holes
in my skin, bloodless
and swollen like insect bites.

Staring you down won't
work. I know because
I tried that aeons before
now in burial
grounds so ancient rhyme
was not yet an invention
and men did not write.

‎April ‎9, ‎2016 11:30 AM

Hoddminir picture stone from Gotland (Sweden)

Friday, April 8, 2016

In Mid-Voyage

In Mid-Voyage

On the far islands
under cirulean skies,
beneath the northern
stars in the later
hours of my dusty chapped heart,
I trudge square onto
the wall of ancient
stones left each on top aligned
with others grinding
beneath summer's wind
storms and rain sheets all sideways
to the lay of souls.
This place fares much worse
in the deep of winter's ice
and its servitude.

‎April ‎8, ‎2016 7:28 PM

While the poem is about a mythical place, perhaps, the two photos are of the Faroe Islands.

Written to the mention of the Faroe Islands in Irene's Red Wolf Journal prompt here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ekphrastic Remarks

Rivera Remarks Ekphrastically

Oh Frida, dear, again
you have cut yourself, this time
breast high squarely on
and down your torso,
a rectangular gash we
can see through to one
of all the three breasts
emerging from sand and sea
and rock and so to
the vine and your brow
and your darkness worn like hair
as you lie staring
like a toppled rock
never would but, hey, this is
expressionism, no?

Maybe you're naive
but as you say, you are not
ever surreal.

‎April ‎6, ‎2016 8:28 AM

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, ca. 1930

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I Didn't Plan This

Back in the day, I read C.S. Lewis. He wrote among many things, fiction about space travel and fantasy. One of his visions of the world, more than half serious on his part, was that this place we live in is an asylum for sick souls. There is a kind of quarantine and we are here gathered from many other places in the universe as unsettled and unsavory creatures who cannot fit in with the peace and tranquility to be found everywhere else. That vision haunts me. My Poem, "I Didn't Plan This," is written in that spirit.

I Didn't Plan This

And God said, I want!
He said, You! Then I went, Me?
He said not one word
after that, confusing.

But I was there, I was there
when He rolled round stones
from His own eyes, then
rolled His eyes as if troubled
with the way things go.

June 2, 2011 7:43 PM

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Feathers In Your Hair - A Magpie Tale

Feathers In Your Hair

Something has happened.
It shows on you like feathers
in your tangled hair.

I wish to devour
your soul salted and peppered,
braised to medium
rare and sliced thin on
a garden salad with lime.

I hope you take this
dream in morning's light
as I fondle you awake
and raise your heart to
full maturity
in the long sweep of all things
possible and true.

‎April ‎3, ‎2016 1:38 PM

Written to Tess Kincaid's Magpie Tale image of this date. Tess counts this one the 311th posting for the writing community she has gathered around her. Because I can compose at the drop of a farthing and am so very fond of Tess (I am you know, dear), and because I approve of her leaving Ohio for Manchester, here is my latest oddity offered up on the altar of Magpie Tales.

The link will carry you through to her site where you can find the list of contributors and join up if you choose to write something. It doesn't have to be a poem. It can be a musing or a story or a tall tale or recount some memory that fits like feathers in your hair. If you point and click on any name you will find what the others wrote.

And Tess, darling, in some other once and future life I hope to ravish you with the devotion of a true knight, should we ever be well placed on the moors under some summer's moon.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Coyote Grief, Reprise

"Coyotes are incredibly adaptable," Gary San Julian reports. "They can switch from eating small mammals, including mice and voles, to dining on melons and apples and berries. They eat garbage. Some prey on domestic dogs and house cats. Coyotes are comfortable hunting on their own—catching small rodents in newly cut hayfields, for instance—and they also cooperate with each other to take larger prey, like deer."

The basic unit is a family group: an adult male and female, plus any grown offspring that have not yet dispersed into territories of their own. "Coyotes don't form large packs the way that wolves do," says San Julian. "A typical family group may number four of five individuals."

Coyotes have no problem coping with suburban sprawl…

exerpt of an article written by Charles Fergus based on his interviews with Gary San Julian, Ph.D., a professor of wildlife resources and an extension wildlife specialist in the College of Agriculture at Penn State.

Coyote Grief
(How I Became A Poet)

In the long ago, before this new world overran the stories, I would run with coyotes beneath the stars that hung much closer then. I had power then, I could fly. So could they. There were paths of light on which we loped, paralleling our brothers the wolves. For me the wolves were too serious, and I stayed with coyotes for the laughter. Sometimes when the light was right and the moon hung closest of all, in those days, in the deep dark of the nights of those days, we would gather and sing among ourselves all the old stories we knew. Those stories were fresh and new then. Time itself is different now.

Sometimes the night stills,
hardens, and the tight stars choke
and fall to flat earth,
dead embers. The sky
is no longer black, dim gray.

It was far away that it happened, in a drier land than here though of many rivers from nearby mountains. We gathered on the plateau to watch the world we knew die. I still don’t understand it. The earth shook and our hearts shattered. I stood and sang one last time in the way I could then, deep throated and free, not only bass but up through the tenor range, pure and open.

Coyote's sadness
is deeper than hope.

The sky fell. I don’t know what this means, but that’s what it did. I noticed her then standing in the circle, magnificent, of a different shape and color, and singing with higher notes than I can. She took my last song and my last breath. I have not sung those songs since and she howled beyond belief while my shattered heart turned to dust in my demise. The others wandered off to the ends of the world. She remained there solitary in her grief, breathing the stale air of that old, dead world.

She snuffs at dead stars amazed,
confused, wants to put
them back, cannot reach
that high, to the dim flat sky.
They won't burn again.

Me, I can never go back to the place where I died, to the land with no stars and that dead sun. I dare not if I could. Coyote, she holds vigil there, unable to go, unable to die, unable now even to sing. She tries to sing, but she has no voice any more. Her voice faded with the stars that fell to earth. As for me, my power is inside now, in my reborn heart. My power is no longer visible. So are my new words found inside me, though they are evoked, called forth by the things of this young world. They come rapidly lately from the mystery inside me and I write them down faithfully as fast as I can. Time is short. However, the music that we sang is still lost to me and to them too. That is why though the coyotes still howl, that howl is no longer a song but now more like a yodel.

This prose is from September of 2010. The poem was written in February, 2009. If you count syllables you will see, as with most of my recent poetry, that I use Haiku syllable counts for my lines, 5-7-5, repeat.

Get Your Own Visitor Map!