I read a book on spiritual discipline
sitting in the cigar store
but I didn’t inhale.

Going home the pleasing aroma
was a whiff of tomorrow’s day-old
sacrificial stench. I showered,

practiced a song about
relationships that need to end,
proud of hitting the right strings,

Continue reading “Bedeviled”

Pantoum: Taking Leave by Slack

for T.S.

I really want to keep in touch with you.
Congratulations on your new role.
Let me know your personal address.
Your contributions did not go unnoticed.

Congratulations on your new role.
The time you brought in the big hitters,
your contribution did not go unnoticed.
I liked how we seemed like a team.

The time you brought in the big hitters,
we brought in food and they observed
how we seemed like a team.
You said to say “yes and”, not “yes but”

Continue reading “Pantoum: Taking Leave by Slack”


The beauty of the evening shade is what
we make of it; the sound of water flowing
down a stream that we cannot see, even
though we peer into a night that has

a moon; a full and round thing shining in
the distance over water towers that we
saw with younger eyes; we told each other
that the cold would never reach our love.

Memorial Day

I sat yesterday at the scene of a previous poem,
listening to a unctuous woman recite M. L.
Greenwood’s God Bless the USA,
cringing at how poorly she scanned it.

Poetry is often the refuge of people stuck
between an old truth and a new expression.
and I respect what they’re grasping for, and I’m proud
to be an American

So I played marches with the band,
sitting under a tent in a parking lot
and listened to a recording of I Am the Flag
the high school JROTC played through speakers
connected to someone’s iPhone, while they
passed a folded flag to anyone
who wanted to touch it.

The ritual would not have been diminished by
Quaker silence, an undeclared question.

He played taps again under the tree,
a sweet, sad, eternal bugle call.

There is something I used to get

There is something I used to get
out of writing poems for no one, or not many
that I seem to get better out of writing
social media comments, replies
to great influencers

The feeling of bending something in the airwaves
the morse code static
a slight influence in the real world

but it’s not the same
not aspirational
it’s not occurring in a different, better room than the rest of my life.

No Idea About My Past

I look at file dates and think
that was four years ago
and wonder what’s happening to my mind,
my perspective
what keeps happening
the accelerating rate
things keep changing

The Dream of Going Through Boxes of my Dead Friend’s Stuff

for B.W.

My primordial mind has transposed you
with my father’s preacher friend
who died about ten years younger than you
on a bike, wearing no helmet
so it eventually dawns on me that the
helmets, ranging from an ’80s  Vetta Italy
to a Giro Prolight with the Roc Loc retention system
and the Shimano cycling shoes, with Look-compatible cleats
(with the patented 9 degrees of float)

are yours; I think (I am very close to waking)
of the short story Content of the Dead Man’s Pockets
by Jack Finney, and I think that your pockets
are garages, the fourth bedroom,
and perhaps the third.

Continue reading “The Dream of Going Through Boxes of my Dead Friend’s Stuff”

You Never Had It So Good (#11, State Fair, Act I)

There are performers,
Acting as singers and dancers in an Iowa State Fair.
In the original they were singers and dancers
In a Broadway musical, and perhaps
obliged to act like they weren’t as good as they were.
Tonight’s performance is in a community theatre
which perhaps simplifies the process.

There is an audience on the stage
watching the performers
who are performing the act
of watching; they comment on the show
at the fair they’re not part of.

Continue reading “You Never Had It So Good (#11, State Fair, Act I)”

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