Posts for June 29, 2018


Objects or Artifacts

“The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”  Gen. 6.13

They talked about whether a folio edition 
of Dante’s Inferno
gifted by the Lord Mayor of London
signed by Phyllis Wheatley
was an object
or an artifact
and I interrupted to point out 
you could take a shit and make an artifact,
as far as an anthropologist was concerned.
The consensus ended up being that
there was likely some distinction
along the lines of time. 
I couldn’t get anyone to commit 
to a reason why we needed to make this distinction;
I concluded it was simply
to have something to say
in this factory of having something to say.
Meanwhile, in another text
I read that
chunks of ice the size of half of Miami
were calving into the sea, causing
earthquakes that registered 6s and 7s
in parts of Greenland.

When I sit with the fireflies here,
and I am very very quiet, I know
that God lies heavy between all of us
there in that mist in that field.
I think God has always spent time there,
meandered in its simple peace,
like a vacation home or something.
But God feels different this time,
not kind and playful and terrible and huge, 
like the first year when I was simply
awed and shocked by the presence —
and vice versa, I suspect;
no, on this third occasion (for,
one year God did not stop by, or
did not let me know they were there),
it was pressing
and firm, like my mother’s hands
guiding me to a lukewarm bath
when a fever had gotten too high;
it was time to face it, this horror I’d been
flirting with, and I was too old
to run away, too old to close my eyes.
I was still allowed to cry, though.
And I did.

In 30 years, much of the coastline will be gone.
Parts of the equatorial band will be so hot
and so humid that moving around in midday for several hours
will cook you from the inside out. Famines
on scales never seen before will
scour the globe; diseases not seen for hundreds of years will be freed by the melting permafrost.
Hundreds and hundreds of millions will die within mere decades.
It will only continue to get worse. 

I struggle now to read Othello, Jane Eyre,
to talk about human creativity 
as antidote to human suffering 
with any real seriousness; does a sugarcane worker 
whose heat-induced chronic dehydration
led to untreatable kidney failure 
get anything from our collective appreciation
of Pablo Neruda? When our insides are
boiling, will we have need for
Zadie Smith? Transformation will happen
now, poems or no. The horrors
of what we will become
will simply unfold. 

I suppose that
someone, somewhere
will still tell a story,
while there is time for them to be told,
will still write a poem
even with no scholars to
dissect them and make their living sucking
the marrow from their bones.
We will simply feel them as we die, 
never stopping to wonder
will they be objects or artifacts?
these stories, these poems 
with no one left to read them.
The only conversation left
is how to save ourselves, and
it will be our last,
our direst ode.


Fishing with Doug

I am learning late in life to fish and am enchanted by all of the accoutrements.

Sorting through an old tackle box aquired when someone else was
cleaning out their ” junk”,
there was a carefully laminated fishing license –
first name only in a sprawling hand.

A quick glance at dates told me he was forever a child-
A few questions told me he was gone.

Were he my brother every sinker,
glittery crawdad and hook would have been saved.
I’ll take him with me each trip.



Blood vodka
counts your throat
while I drink
the candy perfume that you love
to use.


Demo Derby Haiku

Demo Derby Haiku

Full orange moon peering
out above the bleachers as
cars crunch and sling mud


Another Easter

Dried, brown, and dusty.
People seem to think
the resurrection fern is dead.
A good soaking rain revives
the vine to a lush green.
Once entombed in darkness,
was brought back to life.


day 29



do not disturb



          write some words


Marriage Advice and Sauvignon Blanc

Sometimes you learn from others’ misfortune;
sometimes you learn from others’ experience.
Eventually, you will know the difference.

The night comes easily, like a three-year long conversation
but familiarity can’t convert what is magical:
a baseball field stunned by lightning bugs.

And then two glasses of white wine
which gift you with fruit and easy tongues.
It’s a night you didn’t know you were waiting for,

just as you say the name you haven’t felt
comfortable breathing so often – but for now.
Experience pours out two healthy glasses

of sweetness, of rancor, of opposition,
and your mouth studies these, tasting
the fruit of struggle.


remember this

it’s easy to love
the dead

alien to love
and light

we all have you
within us must

always pretend
something among

the dying        unspoken
bond of trust and

sorrow between us  

(i spent time today reading Merwin and Jim Lally. My poem is a weaving of a few of their lines.)


Geometric Nude .01

contortionist creation
angular motion


Nebulous notions
sculpted segment, time exposed
Euclids erosion


Red River Nightmare

It was a late night in summer,
a young man could find no sleep.
He had just lost the one he loved,
climbing up a mountain steep.
She had grabbed a rock above her.
She had gripped it pretty well.
But her foot slipped on the mountain.
And she tumbled, and she fell.

When he closed his eyes she whispered,
whispered softly in his ear,
“I’m so lonely in this graveyard.
It’s so dark and quiet here.
I can hear the river rolling.
I can hear the old owl screech.
How I wish you were here with me,
like last summer at the beach.”

He sat straight up in the bed there,
threw his blanket on the floor.
“These damn dreams will drive me crazy!
I don’t want them anymore!”
Then he sobbed into his pillow,
slammed his fist into the bed.
“Why the hell am I still living?
Why the hell is she still dead?”

As he settled down a little,
silence came back to the room,
and he fell into a slumber,
and he saw her by a tomb.
“I can hear the river rolling.
I can hear the old owl screech.
How I wish you were here with me,
like last summer at the beach.”

Screaming, he reached toward the bedside,
and he grabbed hold of his phone,
and he put it in his pocket,
and he put his sneakers on.
“I can’t sit here in this bedroom.
Got to get out of this place!
So he stumbled to the bathroom
and splashed water on his face.”

When he looked up at the mirror
it was not his face he saw.
Twas his pretty little Anna,
“Honey, why’d you let me fall?
I can hear the river rolling.
I can hear the old owl screech.
How I wish you were here with me
like last summer at the beach.”

“Damn these ears of mine that hear you!
Damn these eyes that gaze in yours!
Damn your childish love of nature,
How I hate the damned outdoors!”
He picked up his keys in anger,
and he jumped into his car.
Didn’t know where he was going.
Could be near or could be far.

He was listening to baseball.
It was a late west coast game.
Driving without really thinking,
onward into a light rain.
Sleepy, he pulled to the roadside,
and he put the car in park.
He reclined and went to sleep there,
but was woken by a bark.

Radio had gone to static.
There was no dog to be found.
Then a crackle on the airwaves,
and an eery haunting sound:
“I can hear the river rolling.
I can hear the old owl screech.
How I wish you were here with me
like last summer at the beach.”

In a daze he grabbed the gear shift,
and he threw the car in drive.
“I am coming for you, honey!
Could it be that you’re alive?
After all it’s just been 3 days,
and it has happened before.
Like last summer by the ocean,
I want to hold you once more!”

So he parked down by the river.
Frantically, he looked around.
Something’s shining in the moonlight.
It’s a shovel on the ground!
“It’s as if God knew I’d come back
to dig up this still fresh grave.
It was really you I heard, dear!
And soon, dear you will be saved!”

So the man, he set to digging,
digging hard and digging fast.
Through much sweat and labored breathing,
he had reached the lid at last!
It was not without great effort,
and his face was now blood red,
but he got the casket open,
and he saw that she was dead.

He could hear the river rolling,
As the tears poured from his eyes.
And he heard an old owl screeching,
as he clutched his chest and died.
They were clinging to each other.
Finally she was in reach. 
Long at last they were together
like last summer at the beach.