On the Eve of 53

Getting older pretty much sucks

Unless, life began poorly,

a dearth of necessities and nurturing

and general human hardship

improving it over time.

Like me, for instance.

I came into this world

to parents who loved me,

grandmothers who guided me,

siblings who played with me,

eggs for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch,

hamburger pie or Vince’s spaghetti

for dinner. Lots of cousins, a horse and barn,

oh, and the darn chickens and rabbits,

and even a cow at one point.

It was a pretty miserable beginning.

And then, I had to go to school—

college even. And Europe. I lived there

for awhile. Oh, and I had to parasail

once and scuba dive. It was pretty


Of course, I then had to get married,

buy a house, raise a kid, adopt a kid,

get dogs and cats, build a career

doing something I loved—see how it’s

all building up to that sucky part?

Now on the eve of 53, I still have

loving parents, a good husband, kids,

and oh, those grandkids, siblings, cousins,

fond memories of those iconic grandmothers,

friends, a bucket full of experiences

that make every day richer—

like seeing Casablanca after studying

the script for a week or cresting

Haleakala after watching the lava

spill of Kilauea.

It’s just lousy.IMG_5609


Jaybird Settin’ So Near

Jay bird, jay bird, sittin’ on a limb,
He winked at me and I winked at him.
I picked up a rock and I hit his shin,
Sez he: “You’d better not do that agin.” (Ira Ford)

Daddy went a-huntin;, Daddy shot a bear;
Shot him in the ass, and he never touched a hair. (Bayard)

Jaybird, Jaybird, sitting in the grass,
Jaybird, Jaybird, sitting in the grass,
Jaybird, Jaybird, sitting in the grass,
Wiggle-wiggle went his tail, poop went his ass.

And the song continues throughout the hours,
Reminding me of fowl and feathers’ power,
You depart, remnants of your ruckus remain.
I spy the trees through the fallin’ rain.

Come back, little bird, and sing again.
I’ll throw another rock at your shin.
I’ll be nice and you’ll just sass,
I’ll toss my bleeding heart at your ass.


Burning Built Bridges

Strip mall glass reflects
my weaknesses, displaying
my pain in public, exposing
my fallibility, my humanity.

Rivers of salty tears etch
stains into my freckled features,
my Estée Lauder wrinkles
my L’oreal auburness.

Who is it that can so turn
my strength to sadness, sapping
my good intentions by wielding
words tainted with honesty?

Was it Odysseus who heard
the siren or fought apathy
of the Lotus flower? Am I
as weak as the blinded Cyclops?

What truth will your tale
bring down? Whose words
swayed you into believing
that my words were lies?

How swollen that sense of self.
How embattled my sorrow.
No salve will remove these scars;
You cut the core of me.

So like Socrates I question:
What can I learn when next
approaches this opportunity?
Turn back across that bridge–
Become a salt pillar else.



Make room for new. For more.
Threadbare socks–tossed,
unworn blouses—donated,
pants too faded, too tight,
too juvenile, must go
to the dustbin.

But the overcoat, full length,
forest green,long and wool,
warm enough for snow storms
and early Sunday morning
Straßenbahn rides–it must go.

The scent of old town Freiburg
lines its pockets. My coming-of-age
memories whimper as I bundle them all
off to the thrift shop, two pfennig
in the front pocket.

West Berlin. 1987
West Berlin. 1987

Elapsed Lapses

Time intangible
teases the tender heart,
tricking me into believing
that feelings can be forgotten
that daggers can unstick us.

I walk the shoreline,
sand gritty on my souls.
Everywhere beauty fills me
as gulls kaw and tides rise;
I see your spectre in the
breaking waves. I search,
my eyes burning from
the vibrant sun.

And tomorrow arrives just
as yesterday did–quickly,
quietly, while my back
was turned away and I was looking
hard over the horizon
for what I thought I saw.


Growing Up

Keep walking
The path is long
Lots of things to see and do along the way.

You never know what awaits around the next corner,
when you think you have it all figured out,
the path turns into ocean or air,
the way requires different vehicles
and navigational tools.

and always patience
for the becoming you.



Marooned in my mind, ruminating
about my last encounter with you.
Advertising fills the sidebars
of the internet pages
reminding me that you left me
with no forwarding address

and I cry every time
your name appears
because you died right before
my eyes and I could not
stop the blood

words rip me wide open.
Your words that leak
through the pages
of my screen and scream
“you do not matter to me.”


The Corner Booth

Tucked behind two booths brimming
with aged dishes and doll heads,
sat a shrine to Hollywood’s Elmo.
You know, the famous Elmo Williams
who staged the battle scenes
for Tora Tora Tora.

Oh, you don’t know?
He won an Oscar for editing High Noon.
the Eastwood classic.
What? That doesn’t ring a bell.
You must be young.

Orphaned at an early age
Williams, created an impressive
resume, lived abroad
for much of his life,
really hit the big time.

Now, his biography sits
on a painted shelf
alongside some storyboard
sketches from another film.
His hat hangs lifeless

in a corner booth of the antique
store in Brookings.


The Beats Go On

When Ginsberg walked the supermarket

aisles with Whitman, and Ferlinghetti

printed Howl despite or because of Allen’s

inability to use Sunday School speak,

Poets heaved enlightened sighs

and pressed their pen to paper

with a universal squeal of freedom

that sounded something like

a profane yawp.


To the WInd

Ordinarily, I guard myself,
step squarely in the path's center,
take the worn one, avoid the vicious 
cardinal or rampaging squirrel.

Ordinarily, the pie is apple,
the side potatoes, the dressing ranch,
the drink koolaide.

Ordinarily, I take the Interstate,
not the blue highway, buy the Chevy 
not the Maserati, wear Keds not Jimmy Choo

Today, however, I am older 
by only a few minutes
and that has made all the difference.

The wind blows, and I move to speak up-
to toss caution high overhead so that 
the sun's rays, the ebullient raindrops 
bathe me in hope.

I am brimming with muse juice,
teetering on the rim of remarkable.


Upon Your Graduation

Once, in a moment of sheer boredom
I went to the movies.
An actor raced a round boulder
dodging poisoned darts as he hunted
for the lost ark.

Years later, I saw a skit staged
between two redwood trees
at a high school down the street,
and the boy lit up my life–
been laughing along the way since.

At first, I could not nail
the connection; Spielberg and Ford
were not Spielberg and Hanks.
Afterall, the boy loved Hanks,
but Spielberg, huh?

Now, at the dawn of a new
adventure, the boy is pushing ahead,
boulders will not o’rtake him.
He is good because simply because he is.
Who is Spielberg , anyway?

And the connection lies
in the passion for the work,
the desire to make the quest,
the run of purpose toward
a holy goal–joy.

David, may the screen find you
fully and often–may your visions
be creative and fulfilling, but mostly,
may your joy come from living
the life you dream for yourself.



Abundance Bounding

Blessed with Emerson’s saddle-riding things,
free to feign or fight or formulate argument,
bathed in Pacific pooling tides, I thrive.

Love-rich lives meander doubly-sided by Brownian,
not Elizabeth Barrett or Robert, but Jerry-land jive.

Oyster pearls in my life illuminate the disparity–
between good fortune, good friends, and the global village
surrounding me. A queen bee in an agitated hive.


On New Year’s Even

While no clock strikes twelve in this digital age,
the countdown still happens at a blistering pace.

The ball, pulled by gravity and cables, descends,
lights flicker, radiating the year's coming end.

"Ten" starts the chant and soon we reach five,
in seconds, fortissimo, the crowd hums like a hive.

A boy reaches out and pulls the girl near,
he plants a kiss, whispers earnestly in her ear--

"I have to go to the bathroom, but I have no clue,
Did you happen to see where they've parked the loo?"


(With the help of my granddaughter Kayla)

Stages of Joy (after Robert Bly’s “Three Kinds of Pleasure”)

Trapped beneath a sheet of ice
that froze over at sound warp speed,
the duck flapped it’s helpless wing;
and the man jumped in and saved it.

Toddler with ice blue eyes
brought a book to my rocking chair
and asked for a story
to which I obliged.

Seated at the gas station curb,
the couple had two signs
about working for food;
I gave them a twenty. They smiled.

His mother passed away
when his son was only a child;
he resolved to emulated her life
so that the boy would know her.


Must I?

A bar of soap, a box of sweets,
A Starbucks card or two or three-- 
Gifts of obligations are not gifts.

The only gift worth giving is that of time.
An hour with a bedridden person
must be worth more than a new sweater--

Unless, of course, the person were cold,
and me a bore. Ah,yes. Maybe time would 

not be so great if I were disliked, 
despised, or wanting to drag 
an unwilling soul to the theater.

That might just do a person in.
So maybe, it's not time, but empathy,
showing understanding. Nah.

That ain't it, kid.
Showing concern for someone with less
does nothing. 

Action, that's it. Pull on your
overcoat and rain boots, fill a few
sandbags for the folks in tent city.

Right. That's got to be better
than giving a five and dime Magic 8 Ball
to the niece I only met once.

If I thought about the person 
for whom the gift is intended,
I would probably not give it.

I would write a poem about Emerson's
narrator who saw that "things
are in the saddle and ride mankind."

Or, I would pull out last year's 
wrapping paper, scotch tape, and scissors,
and disguise my apathy with a candle

from the dollar store.


Paperweight Perspectives (For colleague Kevin Mount)

We on our daily paths 
circle mountain tops and trees, 
passing other travelers, who 
also journey north or south, 
from ocean shores to civilian seas.
Planets in their orbits, 
Circling round their stars,
buffeted by solar winds,
suspended within some vitreous
of a universe like ours.

Yet gazing on from afar
our often routine world,
looks peaceful, beautiful,
in fact, an artist's touch
might just reveal, a masterpiece,
unique and inspirational--
a life of infinite power.

Blessings and joy in the New Year. 



December 7

I remember this day

not because I was there

nor were any of my fore-bearers there

nor is there a song jingling in my head.

I remember this day

not because I am Japanese

nor Hawaiian nor in the Navy or Airforce

nor have I visited the sunken Arizona.

I remember this day because

back in fourth grade at the Canby 91 School,

the principal told us a story about a family

who gave up four sons to go fight the next day.

I remember this day because

I could never understand war, not really,

not the way politicians wanted us to understand it,

Because even 9/11 feels cowardly in comparison.

I remember this day because

it would be unpatriotic not to,

because loss riddles the holidays

as we smile and sing through them.


Open Dialog

I’ll start: You feed me dung beetle manure

then expect me to care while you slip

into your usual sophomore depression,

you pampered prick of a prince–

no excuses, you hijacker of hope,

you femme fatale of a man.

I no longer love you, if I ever did.

Your turn.




Looking Back

Was it the sweet or mashed potatoes
or football game or pie
that made the day so exquisite?

Was it the way everyone chipped in
to cook and clean and reminisce
about the mud bowl at the lot in 1976?

Perhaps it was the familiar scent
of sage and cinnamon drowned out
by children's squeals and chatter,

or maybe, just maybe, it was
the same old conversation about tires,
or how much people disliked Howard Cosell

even though there hasn't been a game 
called with as much vigor or vibrato
since John Lennon passed on a Monday night.

No, it must have been the thought
that even the old beagle Bosco
knew that we were thankful

for him and his sister, and the two
dreadful cats, the bills, the drought,
the high price of peanut butter.

Knowing how good we have it
amid all that is bad made me
grateful for dandelions, too.





(On the 25th Anniversary of the fall of the
Berlin Wall, November 9, 1989)

Berlin DDR with its quirky, mistaken structure,
abided by the fearful, breached by the brave,
fooled no one into believing its pretension.

And that Great Wall, from space even seen,
zigzagging and crumbling and lasting only
as a tourist attraction of national pride.

Oh, and the wailing at the Western Wall 
in Old Jerusalem, where religion and identity
clash like firing squad bullets and death.

People build these walls for security, shelter, safety,
prayer or isolation; four or more can make a house. 
Oh, but how fragile they sometimes are; how quickly they can fall.

And the wolf and three little pigs found out 
about bricks, and twigs, and straw. See, rice paper walls, 
boy, stand no chance against a gale-force world.

Like you boy-star, adorned in your prima donna barriers, 
tolerated by teachers, sneered at by peers, 
crashing your own pride around backstage, as if. 

So build it high, lay foundations deep. 
As the tide rises, the earth quakes, the masses rebel, 
watch it lilt sideways; stand forever askance.
1987. A wall of fear.
1987. The first wall of fear.



A mixture of crawling time
and heart-racing anxiety.
Trapped by obligation,
muted convictions,
penniless, stagnated imagination,
a black hole of thought
stuck will-nilly 
like a centipede in sap.

No acetone can free me 
as I pace the hallways,
unfinished work gnawing
at my cortex, imaginary
vacations teasing my temples,
injustices burning 
from the inside out,
I stare down something.

So I turn to the page,
Reminding myself of great battles,
lost and found loves,
picaresque and profound
art, and I write 
to shake it off
but mostly to forget 
that I can never write of you.


What He Said

That whole contradiction
between being and becoming.
Poor Rick, stuck in Casablanca
only to remind us that a sigh
is not a kiss, nor is having
to choose between them
a fundamental thing in life.
Time does not just go by,
it whirrs past us 
like the winds off 
a Saharan bluff.

The consistency of change
smooths our character,
polishes our personalities,
settles our psyches. 
I, like the anti-hero 
in the gin-joint of life,
want nothing more than 
to love with abandon
on a Paris balcony
or at the corner dive,
in downtown Inglewood.




Bloody Writer

(On the second eve of Robert McKee)

Stories, told and untold, 
breathe life into the shells,

Set-ups and payoffs, positive 
and negative charges ignite each

If Aristotle were to meet
me on the porch of my dreams

he would scold me for asking
such obvious questions about poetic

I have hours to write, yet time
knows not the monster that eats

as I pen them.


Winding Down

 Time stands still–
     it is a damn good thing
     it is not the earth stopping;
     I would fall right off the edge.
As it is, the painful clock
     watching of academia,
    hunger pangs mid-afternoon,
    yawns of suffocation at work,
Clock hands beat in place-
     interminable desire to move on,
     stuck as if bent tines would
     forever halt them in their rounds.
I then realize that the clock
    does not control the time,
    nor do I. Someone tell the sun
    and moon and stars.
I will do it yesterday
     and tomorrow will be important
     not to repeat itself, and someone,
    please put new batteries in the clock.


Moving from room to room,
like moving from house to house,
I wander empty like the closet
where your suits once draped
the hangers and shoes lined
the floorboards as mirrored
pairs. We, too, once reflected

in the full-length doors

framed in brass.

Vacated within a day,
loss without words.
And yet I know you are
out there meeting and greeting
connecting with others
who do not know
what they are setting
themselves up for.

You are the sea and the surf,
beguiling in your lure,
tame in your presence
yet terrible in your undertow.
To feel so alive and then so hollow
makes me wonder about
living at all.


The Biography of a (Song) Cloud (after Billy Collins)

It is actually not that difficult
to trace the origins of a song.
It is certainly easier than trying
to trace that gust of wind back

to the billows from whence it came.

Just rule out now the notion
of listening for hours and hours
to cassette tapes and eight-tracks–
even vinyl discs unstacked from garages
of octogenarians to try and place its birth.

It is, however, difficult to imagine
the circumstances of the melody.
This song, for instance, given its
baroque beginning and its staccato
delivery, must surely be decades, even
centuries old. Formed on a warm,
humid evening near London.

Of course, the knowledge of music
informs us: the meter chirps along,
four beats to a measure, and the rests
purposefully pause us after the flurry
of sixteenth notes. The fortissimo
at the chorus conjures up Popes,
or at least men in robes.

Once played for friends and family

by its composer, it finally sat listlessly

on the wooden shelf, its notes

warding off the browned, curling edges

of vellum or papyrus or twenty pound

ultrabrite from the corner stationary store.

The first musician who found
its lifeless manuscript, the brittle
skeleton of staff after staff
of black dots and dashes,
symbols recognized by trained eyes
as the melody, plucked it gingerly
on an acoustic guitar, its jittery lilt
crying out the window, whining
for another player, another chance to be heard.

As luck would have it, that musician
rolled back up the gasping song
and carried it across continents
only to abandon it in a music wasteland,
a library of an old professor, where it
impatiently hibernated.

Ordinarily, that would be the end of things.
A new song would emerge. The old composer,
the first musician, the aged professor–
forgotten. Notes never to be heard again.
Oh, sure, a common measure may appear
from time to time; enough for one to
cry from the past, “Mine,” but most

would disappear,eaten by moths and bookworms.

But not this song.
This song lives on.

It did not die, nor would it ever,
for it is the song of the lark.
Or was it the nightingale? No,
it is the addicting chant of the jay,

infinitely stored within evolutionary mind cloud.
Each morning, it caws in my ear.
Each night, I listen for its proximity.

For certain, I would go my whole life with its song

pricking at my heart, creating emotional cloudbursts

in my day, happy to know it,
to have been lured by its
movements, its cadence. In following it,
I  tuned my life and tempered my loves.

To not have laughed and mourned,
been warmed by its windy whistles

or been jarred by its jeering squawks,
would make a life half-lived.
Its song will remain in my cloud
to be uploaded and downloaded as need
arises. My heart will sing along often
knowing the melody and the lyric
will lift me even to the grave.


Polite in Trieste

If I were truthful,
I would describe his gentle fingers,
slender like rice leaves,
swirling his pen, one hand
in rhythmic motion, the other
slipping beneath the cafe table,
sliding with an easy touch
across her quivering thigh.

But no, those words cannot
be said. So instead,
“They sat across from one
another and talked
about poetry and plays
while wondering why
the latte was taking so
long but not caring
if it took all day.”


The Luck of Paul Revere and Billy Collins

I do not like poetry.
It does not like me.
Words march in lines–
the way Redcoats approached
the Old North Bridge.
And I, like the grandfather
of Emerson, sit at my window
as they fall apart,
line by line,
until reinforcements
no longer
I fall asleep
dreaming of the garden
tended by Thoreau
at the Old Manse
just this side of the
river from the first battle,
but certainly not the last
fought over words.


Bass Fishing on Lake Samish Just North of the Skagit County Line

I have never been bass fishing
that I know of–fishing, yes.
Trout, rock cod, salmon, once or twice.
Cappie–ah, those gills flapping.

The crappie, probably half a dozen,
on a stringer, flopped in the kitchen
sink–still gasping for oxygen-laden
water. Home, now miles away in some
Oregon lake or Willamette River tributary.

My six-year-old self paralyzed
by the instant loss of life.
After such a clear struggle
against nothing comprehensible–
the fish could not comprehend.

But what and if they could?
There I stood, powerful and
powerless. Six years old
and playing God on a weekend,
deciding which were too small to keep.

And they, wondering about the karma
of their lives, lost sight
of their executioner
as their eyes turn to glass
and my reflection judges me guilty.

Today, I will not go bass fishing
on Lake Skamish nor any
other lake . But you,
have your fun, eating
your tuna sandwich in the sun.

These are Dolly Varden that my daughter caught. She loves to fish with her grandpa. Only the fish think about karma these days. These are Dolly Varden that my daughter caught. She loves to fish with her grandpa. Only the fish think about karma these days.



Finding Meaning

Disappeared, it did,
that poem kernel–
an image of a hawk
or muskrat
that reminded me of some
universal truth
that greater poets would
make connection from and through.

Driving south, on the interstate,
chaos-like thoughts
pop in and through
my sunglass-filtered
mind’s eye.
Ah, perhaps it was the osprey
fishing in the Rogue.
Perhaps it meant something.



Twelve thousand a day descend
from the lower forty-eight
onto Creek Street–
former brothel row
Now prostituted by cruise industry
jewelers and plastic
totem pole makers
from who knows where
toy hawkers and doll makers

Tourists stroll, content.
They have journeyed here–to Alaska.
They have boarded their dam ship–
the Rotterdam, Fjorddam, or Gotchadam.
They have almost reached the Yukon.

They will miss, however, the Alcan
while Denali chuckles
behind her perpetual clouds.
Salmon escape the net to be counted
in the weir, and the grizzlies
await their shot
to wade out for supper
without reservations.


Chilkat Winds

Night comes; I close my eyes
Sleep steals my thought.
Even the dream-maker
has hit the rack–not one
image nor verse to spare.

How can that be–
here surrounded by majesty
Not one fresh thought
etched in the glacier smoothed
valley walls.

Tlinglet spirits rest
among cottonwoods–
houses of their dead, vacant,
decaying back to nature–
despite the mowed lawns.

I sleep through until morning
Unfazed by ghost winds
surrounding me–chanting
their spells, calling
bear and eagle upstream.




Being the first, it was not a real love–
fifth grade training wheels
for what would come in sixth grade.

And had I known then how to turn off
that ache, seventh grade would have seemed
quite comfortable, despite that clear-skinned Latino.

Patterns already developed, 9th grade
found aloha love with the Hawaiian, but by
graduation’s sunset, the world expanded.

Bronze, brown, dark chocolate,
Europeans and Asians, equal delight.
The men no different from the boys.

Stealth Native blood finally warmed mine,
Eagle feathers and turquoise tease.
No shock I love the wolf and warrior.



The path out the back door
always leads to the same place–
past the small stand of sycamores,
giant in their journey upward.

Today I shuffle down the dusty trail
eyes glazed with old tears
left over from another night
wondering how the end came so quietly

This solitary trek to familiar grounds
Where I go not to think
but to be free of thought.
Tiny heathers trill, steal sorrow.


What Happened Next

In this world of instant messaging
and this-just-happeneds,
the reaction becomes more than
the act; the crying more than the
proposal, the shock more
than the returning soldier,
the “Hallelujah” more
than the freed, net-entangled

It was not what happened first
that mattered.

It is what happened next.



A casual word–
Not one for formal occasions.
One would not use it
in a job interview
or in front of a judge.

“Dude, you surfin’ today?
“Dude, you want to catch
a movie? “Dude, did you
see that babe?”

In this day of open
transgender acceptance,
it still sounds odd
when used to address
those who certainly
are not dudes.

And no one decent would
cut to the quick using
Dude in the place of a name.
“Dude, I’m leaving,”
“Dude, don’t call me,”
“Dude, it’s over.”

Didn’t your mother
teach you anything?
Dude, you listening?


American Will

You came with pilgrims
Reinvented with each generation
Reinventing us as we grow.

Woven like aqua thread
into Navajo fabrics,
infused like apple
into Appalachian honey,
your words spring up
in our yesterdays
and todays.

As we meet Lear,
we know our neighbors;
as we meet Ophelia,
we know our daughters.
As we meet Antony, we
know our friends,
as we meet Iago,
we know our enemies.

When we meet Hamlet,
we meet ourselves–
indecisive, impractical,
cowardly to a point of courage.
Striking while the iron
glowed red with provenance,
where our stories begin.

And The Tempest in a coffee pot
As we like it here in the States
bellows out about our brave new world,
and we, like Prospero, see our
past as prologue, and you,
Good Will, our guide.


Traveling Companions

Somewhere in Norway
a small herd of goats gather
to reminisce about the encounter
with us, an American woman and her daughter.
Oh, they are laughing their little
goatees off–

And then there is the inn keeper
at the Wienerschnitzel stop
who still smells schnapps near
the corner table–a table he
no longer decorates with plastic
flowers in little pots–

Of course, Eureka has not produced
anything quite as grand as Avenue Q–
and we, those same two women,
mother and daughter, just happened
to be there to see it.
And those vortexes in Sedona? Wow.

I’m not sure Long Island was ready
for us–oh, Billy may be making
Lanyards for his mother,
but did he ever make a birthday cake,
out of bread for her? No, he is
no baker, for sure.

Rainforests of Hawaii,
Lake Tahoe’s blue depths,
Puebloan’s cliff homes of Mesa Verde,
Totem carvers of Yukon’s Teslin,
You taught me there is a yarn store
near all of these places.

But that is not all. Yes, of course,
there could be a sappy poem in here
somewhere, but it just wouldn’t be right
to pen “I love you” just-might-somehow
seem trite. So, this little witness
will just have to stand–

To travel together through life
With you as my mother, my guide,
tops all mountains we’ve crested,
all islands we’ve hopped,
all good plays–
and bad ones we’ve witnessed.

Beautiful mother, forever know
that if I could weave a potholder
or knit a sweater or paint
a porcelain dog at Petroglyphs
for you–it would not turn out very well.
So, pack your bags, let’s hit the road.

Oh, and let’s bring Siri,
shall we?


The Bore

It’s not your best work–
not your worst.
Actually, it’s rather blase–
rather like the woman I met
at the office party.
Not much to say. Oh,
a chat about a nice walk
and the last movie
we both saw but didn’t like–
I carried the conversation;
a total surprise given my
shy character and dislike
for conversations with
strangers. I yawned, and she
proved to be slightly better
than a bore, but not too much.
Then, my thoughts turned to you
and the time we flew to San Diego
on a whim.

That’s about it.
Can you write something else,
something more intriguing?
Do tell, please try.



“We must be careful about
what we pretend to be.”–Kurt Vonnegut

I came to see you
at the Sunday matinee.
Sold out, you in your
prince’s regalia
all dour with revenge
and unsurety.
Me, wrapped in the
costume of distance
and old age.

We left the theater,
walked a hundred paces
to our cars. You put on
your mask to head home,
I kept mine by my side.
It wasn’t until time
for bed that I put
my mask on, and yours
came off again.



Speak up, will you?
There must be facts that
you must share-
and cut to them quickly,
will you?
I have no time to waste.

What? The time is short
and other-worldly types
will be here to set us
straight? Posh-that
nonsense-making stuff
has simply got to stop.

Yes, yes, you must be
smart, brilliant even,
and so is the sun–
now get to work on that
story, man. Time is wasting.


One Day More

I’m hanging out in the office at school while Breanna preps for last show of Les Miserable. I’ve been thinking about why I love this show so much. Oh, not just this production, which is one of SHS’s finest, but the show in general. The French Revolution was miserable (hence the title), many of the character’s portray such dark parts of humanity; man can be cruel to his fellow beings. Ultimately, however, that final realization by Jean Valjean–“To love another person is to see the face of God,” rings so absolutely truthful to me. He sings that when reflecting on his adopted daughter. I get that. I also know that I have “adopted” many students into my heart over the years. Some have stayed close; others have moved one. Every rotten, terrible, heinous action committed by a character in this show–and in life–is no match for the magnificence of true love. I’ve never considered myself a romantic–romance is only a fleeting part of one type of love so far as I can tell. True love–the willingness to sacrifice personal happiness and the ultimate realization that happiness is what comes in return for that sacrifice seems to be the kernel of truth that resonates with me. Living is worth it for that. For love. It’s such a simple, sometimes painful, no–often painful, process and state. But feeling it, even for a brief moment is worth all of life.

Theater makes meaning of life.
Theater makes meaning of life.

We Must Not Envy Him

Little boy with black disc eyes
Circling round on trike
Exuberant in child’s play
Nudging pup to follow,
innocent to life.

Young man, tall with wavy locks
Strong in stature, sure in word
Climbing mountains in single strides
Sure of self,
calm as wind.

Ignorant of others’ woes
Walking free of empathy
He mounts his rise to power
Forgetting you,
feigning nice.