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.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Lamp

Where is one thing,
One thought
One feeling
When I look in the mirror?

Asking this at once
I enter my purpose.
I look and discover
Who I am.

‎March ‎25, ‎2016 11:49 AM

Monday, March 21, 2016

Chess On The Street - A Magpie Tale

Chess On The Street

I'd like to leave you
over your never ending
chess play - obsession
is what our friends call
it - and then this girl shows up
and gives you fish eyes
while you sit and think
about how you might set up
mate within three moves.
Now I think I will
just sweep the board clean of you
and offer her sweets.

‎March ‎21, ‎2016 8:52 AM

See the Magpie Tales contributor list for other stuff to read using this photo prompt.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Feral Goddess

One time Coyote
clamped down on me hard as nails,
crusty teeth biting,
crushing my chain mail,
bruising me beneath, leaving
marks of links behind
for me to ponder,
to consider on my own,
wonder what comes next.

June 2, 2011 2:56 PM

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Spell Of Protection

I have spun the staff
faster than dream and stronger
than the hope of spring
and bloom in this place,
this one spot, holding my ring,
defying you all.
I see you all fade
from my memory like smoke,
leaving me standing
untouched by lost love,
by the entreaties you left
fading on the air.

May 30, 2011 9:57 AM

Monday, March 7, 2016

The State Of Affairs - A Magpie Tale

The State Of Affairs

I would have sent you
one more letter but I get
no replies from you.
My buddy Tom says
he sees you at the letter
box holding something
like you're sending up
a prayer all too often
but you back away.
He says he sees you
pocket whatever it is
and shuffle on home.

‎March ‎7, ‎2016 5:55 PM

Go to Magpie Tales to see the contributor list.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Sad Tennis

All this back and forth
is sad tennis and strikes me
like service faults past
the outer white stripe,
me on the sidelines ducking
the next sharp return
only I don't want
to play the game one more time,
not today, my love.

May 26, 2011 8:04 AM

Thursday, March 3, 2016

In The Back Yard - Three Word Wednesday

A Barred Pymouth Rock Hen

Using the words Thom posted yesterday on Three Word Wednesday


I am finding it harder and harder to keep up with things even though I have simplified my life beyond all reasonable measure.

In The Back Yard

I want you naked,
an adjective I approve
in your case, sweetheart,
but you don't obey.

Just so typical, my love.

Your piercing presence
leaves holes in my craw
as I squawk out chicken sounds.

Then I peck for scraps.

‎March ‎3, ‎2016 5:04 PM

My friend Francesca decided she wants chickens in the back yard. She brought home two adult Barred Plymouth Rocks, one named Wrong Way and one named Glitter Pie. Wrong way promptly left the yard and has shown up a couple houses down where she continues to live as they want her too. Glitter Pie is happy here.

The Barred Plymouth Rock
was widely adopted and spread around the world. Through World War II, the Barred Plymouth Rock was the most common farm chicken in the United States and called by some “the Hereford of the poultry world.”

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Flaccid-A Magpie Tale


The last time I posed
for you I was besotted
with inflated dreams.
I wanted more than
you could give and more than words
will give me ever.

That you would stand there
nude and with gentler sight lines
than I might deserve
causes me to ponder,
to consider, to chew on
things like old doorjambs
and tree stumps awash
in the flood of long long time
now that I am fat
and old.

‎February ‎28, ‎2016 2:40 PM

Hmmm. It's been awhile since I wrote a poem. It's been a while for other stuff too.


Oh and go here for the list of contributors.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

In Our Garden

In Our Garden

I know you watch me
as I dig in our moist earth
searching for worm holes
and the rich castings
found in the passage of time.

My broad muscled dream,
best dream of my life
rises to the heat of you,
your demanding care.
I have planted you
deep in me as if I were
woman to you and love
itself the member.

May 25, 2011 9:38 AM

It's been a while since I posted.  I assume I am losing readers.  This has been happening for quite a while now.  Makes me sad, but on the other hand, it doesn't really matter.  I am not in this game to make a splash.

Friday, February 12, 2016


Just so you know, I am a bit under the weather and not keeping up with the posts right now.

Friday, January 29, 2016

After The Fall

I wear you as skin
or as the crust of the wound
and the wound itches.
It is almost healed,
at the surface of my skin
now, this long after
the storm crashed by.

I saw you bring all the rain
down on us, on time
itself as if queen
of the eternal cloaked in
the rightness of things.

May 25, 2011 8:37 AM

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Dental Appointment

So I went to the dentist and I sat there listening the whining of the tools and to after hours comings and goings with the kids and stuff while my mouth was full of tools and hands and noise. I thought, "That's different." The dentist is a woman. It was obvious she thought this work routine and nothing for me to fret about. My anesthetic was abnormally effective so it was true. I sit now without pain many hours later but there is a constant inflammatory reminder that new work is in place. As good as it gets, I think when real work is done...

The Dental Appointment

All gals is liars,
and that's the truth. You said it.
I could tell from stains
on your teeth how you
were using all of you to
say this thing to me.

Oddly I thought of
some gal folk singer right then.

Next you said your heart
feels like your hope does
right after a tough dental
appointment when you
have to go back soon.
I mean it's going to get
worse and you know it.
After that, maybe
it gets better, maybe not.

And that woman lies...
at least, lies to you
and that's the damn truth of it.
Case closed, Sylvester.

Next appointment, next
Thursday afternoon at 3 -
chew on that for now.
This work could be just
good enough this time around-
a wee little throb.

‎January ‎28, ‎2016 12:05 AM

C'mon... Lighten up... This is supposed to be funny.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Price Of Green - Three Word Wednesday

California's East Bay Hills for a few weeks in spring.

Written for Thom's Three Word Wednesday... This week the words are

The Price Of Green

Harrowing, like fields
plowed under dry and too soon
dusty in outcome
and parched, imperfect
as if ten lame kangaroos
tumbled past our camp
in the west outback -
or the east California
hills growl at us all -
and they wonder why
I moved in seventy-three
to Oregon's rain.

‎January ‎15, ‎2016 5:28 PM

California's East Bay Hills the rest of the year

I truly couldn't stand watching those hills dry out and die every year, easily the most depressing thing about living in San Jose for me. This is my answer to anyone who might ask why I would leave California. To me the rain of the northern reach of Oregon's Willamette Valley is a small price to pay. And I write this at the end of a positively sodden January day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

On Taking This Shot - A Magpie Tale

Photo by Ed Ross

Offered by Tess for this week's Magpie Tales: Mag 301. Find the contributor list on her website.

Ed Ross works with both a half-plate box style and bellows style camera and makes use of period lenses from the 1800s for an aesthetic that is altogether authentic and transformative. He makes tintypes, and says that he distrusts and dislikes computer and digitally produced art.

On Taking This Shot

No wonder I've stood
you up right here in the back
lot under the shade -
or is it the fog?

I forget some things these days.

And your dog whimpers
believing her time
is soon to follow after.

I have a good nose
for attar of rose
and an eye for your likeness
and the feel of you
under my fingers
is of the silk you wear on
your flushing pink skin.

Solitude leaks like
smoke through my stained caps, the gaps
in my tintype wash.

‎January ‎12, ‎2016 7:15 PM

Postscript: I don't know who put the lower blackout square into the picture, discreetly covering the model's nipple. It's hard to believe Ed Ross did, but possibly.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Scribed On The Wall

The Gower Memorial to William Shakespeare at Stratford Upon Avon. Wiki says of this, "A statue was created in 1888, the work of Lord Ronald Gower. This is situated in Stratford's Bancroft Gardens. The monument shows Shakespeare seated on a pedestal, surrounded, at ground level, by statues of Hamlet, Lady Macbeth, Prince Hal, and Falstaff. These characters were intended to be emblematic of Shakespeare's creative versatility: representing Philosophy, Tragedy, History, and Comedy."

In the photo above, Hamlet is seen from his back to the right of Shakespeare on the pedestal. In the photo below, Hamlet is seen from another angle.

Scribed On The Shit-house Wall

"Tale for sale" consists
of three torn rooster feathers
in a gallon sized
baggie, stuffed in there
and tangled, with bits of stuff
still attached, a kit
designed for a rat
to take away and ponder
like that guy pondered
(Alas, poor Yorick's
skull) the shape of ends passing
and those still to come.

‎May ‎10, ‎2011 12:49 AM

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