April 17 is William Wordsworth’s 251st birthday.


Thoughts and Prayers

I wrote this poem in response to the mass murder in Las Vegas several years ago. I am sad that I return to it again and again.


Villanelle: I Am Greater Than This Darkness


March – a poem


gold blades slice
weeping bare limbs
pierce cold earth

ice water
bright tonic

sleeping roots

February Haiku


Thin gray twilight draws
Threadbare blanket close around
Winter’s stony heart

A Second Opinion

A Second Opinion

 I won’t tell you
 these things happen for a reason
 and other cruel lies.

 I will tell you
 I’ve seen your feral cells under my microscope.
 Unlike you in every way
 their genes encode bald greed.
 One of you must go.

 I will tell you
 about tears you can’t spare.
 You will ask how terror
 restores harmony to the universe.
 A perverse counter-weight
 to immense good.
 A life lesson that takes life. 
 You will hate your new vocabulary:
 anorexia, intra-thecal, stochastic.
 You will say chance insults intelligence.

 In the end, if you still seek a reason
 I’ll hold your cool hand.
 I will tell you
 chance favors greed
 and greed serves only the greedy.
 Beautiful one,
 this life is a world apart
 from your generous heart. 


 Now comes the quiet hour.
 The sunflower bows its heavy head,
 its soft petals curl,
 drop like tears to the dry ground.
 Now the finch eats her fill.
 She sparks across the garden 
 to hungry chicks
 and sings one true ballad.
 All depends on this quiet hour,
 the faded flower, its heavy load,
 the finch's wings
 and one true ballad.

October: When to Worry

October: When to Worry

 Today you would not write lines on October
 like the musings of your youth. 
 You said the rosy sky was afire and the smoky air was sad. 
 You smelled leaf rot (deep in your soul), and so on.  
 You marveled at pearly dew sparkling in morning sunlight 
 because that’s what dew does, and that’s what a boy writes  
 the day he sees October.  
 He’s learning to write October.

 It’s time to worry when you see brown.  
 When you hear “the terminal sound 
 Of apples dropping on the dry ground.”  
 You’re going south the day you see 
 geese flee, sunlight fail, green grind down. 
 You’ve got bigger problems than gray wind and dry rose hips.  

 You’ve pulled out of your dive the day  
 brown becomes cinnamon,
 when October nods, slips into red, and Autumn creeps. 
 You’ve turned the corner the moment you see  
 Summer pause on sunlit hill, weep, and move on.


An Uneasy Accord

Dynamic Equilibrium

It does me no good; violence has changed me.
My body has grown cold like the stripped fields;
Now there is only my mind;
With the sense it is being tested.
October by Louise Glück

The moment I knew
wasn’t when my phone
logged three miles
though I had never left the basement,
my notebook crammed
with verse I didn’t write,
or the day I couldn’t make the streets talk.
I don’t know why I demand
the signs tell me where I’ve been.
It does me no good; violence has changed me.

The moment dawned with light.
How long had I been downstairs?
I might have been tinkering.
The workbench lamp, swinging yellow, white, yellow.
At my feet, a shattered mug.
I wondered why I should hate the thing,
why snails evolved such unlikely bodies,
water boils in the kettle,
every October day looks like May,
why my body has grown cold like the stripped fields.

The moment followed the clacking latch.
Between the stairs I saw slippers, one and two.
The way her ankles peeked
below her jeans, how she took coffee.
Are you down there, Hon?
I heard my voice reply
I don’t know.
The moment I knew
where once was whole body and soul
now there is only my mind, cautious and wary.

Some say they fear the unknown.
I read the dying astronomer’s
antidotes to fear of death.
Lying on her back those nights
she would swallow all of the stars
or swim to the beginning,
before space and time, before fear.
How to make such lasting peace
when I wake each day
with the sense it is being tested?



 I want heaven above shattered. 
 I want its silver splinters 
 picking my skin like leaves of grass 
 among clumps of green clover.
 Give me a taste of salt-in-the-wound sweetness.
 I want hell’s madness searing my soles 
 like summer dunes above the bay. 
 Bring the cool burn of gin, 
 kiss my sunburned skin.
 I want to know 
 what I’ll be missing.