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”

How Soon the Sound

How soon the sound turns to gibberish, the
way form follows meaning into blind alleys. Listen:

I just got through playing Bach suites on
the wrong instrument for them, the wrong way,
most likely, but as it was it was meaningful,
as it was.


Written in response to a dVerse prompt: write a quadrille, using the word sound.

Ulysses S. Grant

I rise only to say that I do not intend to say anything.
– Ulysses S. Grant

I wrote as I did
in a spare craftsman style
knowing men died
the entire time I wrote
the entire time they read.

A man could be shot
while hacking though
the thicket of words
created by some generals
and die before he could act.

Knowing, then,
I wrote to dying men
and sometimes sent my dispatches
back to the living world
I demanded clarity of myself.

Sonnet: The View from the False Door

There is little to be
seen outside my door
which doesn’t open. I see
a shrub, wooden fence, and four

houses ranged close, paranoid
in their huddled, gap-toothed
yards with their backs avoid-
ing contact with me. Truth

to tell, we all avoid this backyard
meeting. Privacy fences are tall
sentries against each other’s hard
gazes from kitchen blinds that fall.

We meet each other in the way
we wave politely at the end of day.

Not my best effort, but it is an English sonnet, and I wrote it in response to this dVerse prompt.


for the woman I saw this morning on the sidewalk outside a Planet Fitness, wearing jorts, drinking coffee out of a to-go cup, and smoking a cigarette.

I’ll begin by admitting
that my entire train of thought this morning
as I worked my way through elliptical,
lower body, and arms
which is where I saw you,
as I was resting between sets
seated at a machine
which is a clear violation of protocol
at all the many gyms I’ve been a member of

may be based on fallacy. You may
have looked through the glass at us
and thought haha losers in which case
you are philosophically miles ahead
of this chautauqua

Continue reading “Entanglement”

After a Year of Drought

We went to my friend’s lake house
hoping the water was still up to the dock.
It was, but mud ran alongside the pilings,
made it look like a construction site,
with bottles, cans, and one boot
of a sort fashionable among young girls
in 2003.

Or as if the land was creeping back
to reclaim its own, after
the Hydroelectric Act of 1939
or whatever thing the legislature enacted
between dime-cigar bets and happy girls

flooded the land between two counties
mocking that part of creation where
dry land divided the waters and it was good

but it was also good to get out
on a boat and see the pine trees whizz by
like a flooded out interstate,
or Venice writ large and southern-style.

My friend pointed out trees
hanging on to dry land
roots leached out of the water
like receding gums,
or an uprising.

written in response to a dVerse prompt.

The Dream of Tartness

Often after a trauma
there is the mundane revery
if I could only
mine was a dream of an unbearable tartness
in a drink of volcanic coldness
I sipped metallic hospital crushed ice water
tried not to vomit up the simplest of soups

normally there is the gift of not desiring
the smell of nausea clings to things
that can’t be kept down but

I conjured up something like limeade
as a nuclear bomb is something like a firecracker
while the tubes of lukewarm glucose, morphine
and hot piss kept me alive.

written in response to a dVerse prompt

Conductors and Composers

My worst experience had to be in high school playing Duke of Earl on the flute at football games, I’ll never get those precious hours back. Why do conductors and composers torture musicians? Were they inspired to become parasites and see if another family would claim them as their own?
Anna Montgomery

We like it better when the composer is dead.
– The wag that sits third row in every second violin section in every orchestra, ever.

For A.M.

Conductors extrovert their will on the wanna-be.
Composers sit alone, some scheme in mind
some puzzle without the parts
until those pieces forge themselves on the framework
of theory problems that arose along the way.

Continue reading “Conductors and Composers”

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