Monday, April 10, 2017

While Waiting at the Honda Dealership a Customer Reflects on His Dream

water crashes and lunges
down a cliff-face.

flotsam suitcases gleam
in sunshine, their travelers
long gone.

as mystery unravels,
a flood-storm chaos
once plunging, now quiet.

the wind whispers one question--

'what's left after wildness?'

this old heart dances its answer--

"puddles that shimmer,
that thrum."

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pledging Allegiance

We baptized her 'Bullfrog' because she lacked much of a throat,
although I imagine the nuns and Father Griffin who presided
over our stuccoed-gray school addressed our third grade teacher
as 'Mrs Bowman' whenever Monsignor Campbell neglected
his pastoral duties cruising alone in a black Lincoln Continental
along the orange and crimson streets of Portland, fat bejeweled fingers
coldly gripping the steering wheel, and it was during that Autumn
of learning the rigors of long division and how Mr Zingeser,
janitor and father of ten little Zingesers who lived
across the street, could skillfully clean up an 8 year old's vomit,
after a breakfast of oatmeal, canned peaches and cocoa,
with sawdust a silver shovel and push broom in one smelly fell swoop
while 40 children in navy blue sweaters tried to ignore his mottled
task. We birthed every school morning with a nondescript prayer
and then the ceremonial salute to the nation's flag dutifully reciting
the Pledge of Allegiance in stentorian semi-unison. It was a crisp
October day right on cue "...and to the republic for which it stands..."
as I, standing patriotically erect behind Karen Younck,
the tallest girl and therefore kid in Bullfrog's class, felt
a sudden cellular surging in my throbbing proud flagpole,
a sense of power that grabbed my total loyalty,
and I knew then in my bones this brown haired girl
towering before me had mysteriously initiated a miracle
of unfurling, and furthermore that she and her fellow sister
citizens would own my unwavering allegiance into the far

Bullfrog surprisingly seemed unawares of this threshold
crossing, this lightning flash lesson in prepubescent civics,
and not a croak was heard from her lily pad under the stars
and stripes at the front of our classroom, although I was sure
even the Zingesers in their rambling house across from school
must have flushed pink the moment my salt and pepper cords
expanded in joy like a sapling on steroids. Two years' later
I stopped believing in God and relinquished a possible career as a priest,
(those strange men who smelled of tobacco, musky incense and starch
and seemed to have found a way to ignore both flagpoles and girls),
about the time Monsignor Campbell snarling, cursed at me
after serving Mass and soon after when both Susan Delaney's
and Mary Burn's blooming tits, skin like Asian silk, and throats
of elegant swans enticing as a smooth pond where debonair frogs cavort
and young men lazing, happily fishing with stiff bamboo poles were tempted,
crossed borders poorly guarded within navy blue sweaters and ironed
white blouses to infiltrate and allure the brains and bodies
of fifth grade boys where a more complicated nation-building
project had begun, only partially undercover, in this republic
under which we now stood pledging our thirst for fledgling goddesses,
plunging wildly, half blinded, surrendering towards an unknown god.

Friday, March 3, 2017


Rain slinks on soft paws,
hunts us down tonight

we're underneath thick trees
trusting we'll be safe.

Like one hungy lioness
thirsting an end
to drought,

first, her three

now us
all sodden,

taken suddenly
by storm.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March First, Rain  (a revision of a poem written March 1, 2015)

March pours. Through a leafy threshold :
a sodden lioness rains out muffled roars.
Tired eyes search everywhere, 
she aches aloud for three cubs
left wandering.

They thirst for mother's breast, her smell their home.

A mass of matted fur like woolen amber,
she roams alone. Close to earth, she
flows so still, drenched thick
in tatted whiskers, her silence longs
for this clumsy trio.

Her cat-heart's instinct to protect 
streams from a well of love clear down,
deep within dangerous feline bones.

She slinks through bush,
purrs sky-music,
and measures breaths
of lyrics that sing and soak 
Springtime's orphans clean.

Her treasures, they, March's
weathered children.

Listen, can you hear maternal paws
rip through your back door screen
as four creatures bring the family
storm straight home?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March First, Rain

March pours through the threshold.
She's a roaring, sodden lioness....
tired eyes searching everywhere,
aching for three wandering cubs.

A mass of matted fur like woolen amber,
she roams alone. In stillness she flows
close to ground, exposed and drenched
in motherly love for her clumsy trio.

Her willingness to replenish and protect streams
from a well of clear water deep within dangerous
feline bones. Single-mindedness her sky-music,

her attuned clarity, measured breaths sing treasured
lyrics that soak and nourish the earth clean.

Listen, can you hear these padded paws stepping
powerfully as she serenely splashes through
your back door screen?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

One Day

The lake sings in ripples, 
murmurs apples 
of juicy delight.

I cannot hear its supple sweet music,

not quite, 

yet know it's beautiful, 
fruitful, and true.

Twelve gulls burst bright
in wild play, dazzling bells 
of white feathers, scintillas 

of light, ring across a stage
of welcoming sky.

Their melodic flight dapples
and glistens my ears. My hair's 
kissed and teased 
by a rolling wind, 

my skin pleased by sunshine 
hovering where everything 


whispers fruition.

I stand in stillness, in mud and tall grass
to give thanks for this shimmering
surprise, these breezes of calm

and colored chaos resplendent,
this sensuous background tune.

My eyes now replenished
turn to the long hill beyond
where I shall ease too soon
on the path clear 

to my doorway
and home.

Thursday, February 9, 2017