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.

The Passing of a Poet

Mourning the Passing of a Poet

You distilled life to a poem
Knew what to hold
What to let go.
Like a poet only you knew
Each word you left out.

Absence carves niches in my heart
For the absent.
Memories cast light
On what I cannot see.
I mark your passing as I write.

I read back lyrics
Milled from memories
By my split heart.
I grieve with and without words.


Remember, echo is to laughter 
as bronze is to sculptor,
reflection can only recall a face.

Remember the echo grows mute,
all traces erased in time.
Unlike sun full gold upon your face
memory of sun leaves you cold.

I remember: A memory drawn
from grey matter
like ink up a quill, wicking
up neurons, seeping down limbs,
leaping pen’s synapse with paper,
becoming this poem.

So much in time
is remembered far too little
and too late in time.



These days are not grey
as I will remember.
Days of low fresco skies
watercolor apples
life, still life.

These nights not empty
as I will remember
of silver moons
cinnamon leaf-light.

So much depends on forgetting.
But one promise
I will remember
every day
each jewel of light
grinds down to cool darkness.



Ghazal: A Life

Ghazal: A Life

Name one life not filled with light.
Even a cold heart melts in light.

Fog no longer blankets the canyon.
Hear the warbling wren in flight.

Recall the lessons November taught.
After summer fades, fill its void with light.

Hear the day’s internal rhyme.
A soft chorus calls twilight.

This life is not the final draft.
No life is cursed with delight.

Restore stars and the sun to your heart.
My friend, let there live lyric and light.

The Old Man

The Old Man

The old man paused on the bridge
a favorite stop
upstream of the lazy oxbow

where a boy once watched
the milky gold
of evening sunlight

spill through the alders
into empty space
over still water

its silent weight
filled the air

suspended dragonflies
patrolling the cattails


as if they knew
the lateness of the hour.