Posts for June 23, 2016


it isn’t what you think

years of where I used to be
a stone could sink silently
without ever being known
from mountain to sea
I could have breathed
out the rest of my life

but there was more
internal conflict
broken heart-roots
years of endless tears
moving 4,000 miles,
5 boxes, two suitcases
leaving all else behind
knowing that truth is not always comfortable
being vulnerable is often lonely
and at 53…
wondered if love mattered

until that preventable fire storm
rained bullets of sorrow in minutes
woke me with grief
49 people dead
wanting to be safe
wanting to be free
in a land where liberty means
owning a machine gun is a lot easier
than being gay like me

i raise my flag



A Small Package of Great Value

And one day, somewhere in the summer, when the seeds had turned to blooms had turned to harvest, she sent him two tomatoes the purpled red of well and truly kissed lips. Some translucent white onions, swollen baby’s fists at the base of long, sweet stems. A handful of small potatoes shining golden yellow through the earth that still swaddled them. There was no reason to. He had his own garden, well tended beneath another, equally beneficent sky. No reason, but her heart insisted there was need. 



I try to catch lightning for a friend.
But it shies away from me,
strobing just after the shutter
or veining across the sky
just out of sight.
I guess some majesties
are just too great
to be captured on a cellphone.



I grew up in the house of books and cat hair.
My bed was never made
and I cleaned my room once.
In college.
Things were sanitary,
We had a dishwasher,
clean-ish bathroom.
But neat,
or organized,
or clean,
were counties far far away
over the hills
and in another land.
Why make a bed just to sleep in it?
You can’t tidy a bookcase
when your books overflow
in large avalanches
from shelves and tables and stairs
and the floor and under the bed and
any other available surface.
Three, four, five cats, too,
do not for neatness make.
The fur of several cats ago
probably still hangs
from the underside
of something somewhere.

Now grown-up and
in a book and cat hair house of my own
I’ve got a dishwasher,
clean-ish bathroom.
I’ve fought the good fight
for the rule of law and order
of stuff,
but my victories are few,
and fleeting.
Very fleeting.
My efforts against chaos are
by cats, toddlers, husbands, gravity, time,
energy, money, interest, sleep.
I find myself hiking
or baking
or running in the backyard
or watching the moon
or watching TV
or building impressive lines of matchbox cars
or sitting,
and I will think of the stairs.
Corners of each step populated
with cat fur and sequins
from my son’s dump truck haul.
I should sweep.
I will.
At some point.
For now,
the house is clean-ish.


Embedded City

Embedded City

You never really left me, even when I left
you, Lisboa—you ancient port, you birthplace
of sailors, merchants, explorers, poets, you
city of hidden corridors, twisting, breathing
unseen musicians across cobblestoned tunnels,
 aching arches, secret jardines.  You
sleepy-eyed mornings, sunrises greeting
empty streets—not even vendors offering
cherries, fish, juice of oranges ‘til late
in western suns.  You vibrant, raucous,
no less magical nights bleeding
revelers, revelry, ginjinha, and your
different breed of vendors, pushing
something to smoke, something to snort,
something to hold close when the sun
has drowned in the salt-heavy waters
of the Tagus.  

You never really left me, even when I left
the unheimlich comforts of your unfamiliarity,
your people, your culture, your alchemy
of old world Europe, of Spain, of half a dozen
foreign nations, somehow wholly your own,
somehow drifting from the water’s edge, whispering
energy into fiery copper-bells gone-green
with centuries of patina and intangible saudade,
tolling, tolling                         
                                      Other. Other. Other.

never really left me, even when I left
and returned, and left again, and so often
nightly, some untouchable, unfathomable
addition to my system, my spirit, my blood
coursing equally mysterious paths and passageways,
inside, all around, remnant reverberations
of this meager bit of ancestry I’ve discovered
sleeps in my past, in these
sinews of the soul,
so that here, even here,
I hear
                                  Other. Other. Other.

You never really left me, even though I left
your cabs, your trains, your layered planes
of existence, every western circumstance, now,
ever singing you through my pores,
your ancient songs, your Fado chords, like
sweat and captivity, like deliverance
and bittersweet remembrance.

Even here, even now,
I am yours, Lisboa,
yours, sweet Lisboa,


You, dear city,
You, dear lover,
were you ever


Jacking off Jill

The procreation
Of procrastination
Stems from insemination
Of an idle thought

Finding inspiration
Is the seed that
Saves the bird

Jacking off Jill
Only works for the moment
At least until the pen
Begins to spill


Because You Asked about the Line Between Religion and Faith

 Books walls rules structure
Music poetry prayer
Bulwark and support
Minefields and cracked foundations
Blood and ashes on our lips  

In ancient mountains
Touch comforting newborn cry
Rain soothing dry earth
Nurturing bloom and fruit for
Nourishing spirt and flesh  

Religion a tool
Gripped to protect or destroy
Faith benevolence
A gift to lighten our load
Without faith religion fails


Messi at Copa America 2016

Poker-faced Messi
and Argentina thrashed the USA: 4-0.

The world’s best player
took time to tie his shoelaces
and contemplate possibilities
before drilling the penalty kick
that stung the back of the net.

After the loss, Klingsmann, in good sportsmanship,
hugged Messi and told an interviewer,
“In general, we had too much respect.”


Same New Day

Your mouth Is a spider cave
Holding a snake
Scared of the fish
In the lake

One worm
Two worm
Four worms
Feed five birds

We can multiply
Our bodies or our brains
But in the end,
No nerves remain.

Speak how you feel,
Or it’s never real.


Two young ladies on a sidewalk

            Poem 23, June 23    

Two young ladies on a sidewalk  

I stop & wait while they walk
down the hill toward me.  

It is not the first time
young ladies have turned my thoughts
toward Michael Hartnett who grew up
in the Maiden Street area of Newcastle West
in old County Limerick, Ireland.  

The irony of Michael’s Limerick
birthplace is that he became a poet.
The irony of his poetry to younger women
is his vents of anger
for his own mistakes,
even addressing his daughter,
while advancing his mastery of the line.  

The two young ladies
on the sidewalk and his poetry,
mostly written out of love when he was a sad,
lonely man,
have little to do with me,
unless the title of one
of his books counts for something.  

His life does not parallel mine.
The girls on the sidewalk
can never be the subject
of his poetry,
for the dead do not write
across the page & down.
I am happy when I see them behind me.
I am not lonely
and they are beautiful
to behold.