Sunday, January 20, 2013


This is something I wrote several years ago. I'm reposting it for Poets United. I've always loved concrete poetry.

'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all    

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

in memory

you stand

an abstraction

of sensuous delight


reverie out

of all proportion

with grim reality

does not withstand

a detailed scrutiny

i write to invent

not re-create


i must




a matter

of perspective


Friday, January 18, 2013

Joshua Tree

I tried once to write about a Joshua Tree,
How it scrubs the desert air with many arms,
But I who live among the Oak and Maple,
Beside the Poplar, alongside Willow sweeps,
With Fir and under reaching Pine,
Who watch the Tamarack coat the earth
With tiny golden combs, who wait
For Redbud signs of spring,
Whose Serviceberry, Apple, Pear, and Plum
Make drunk the bees, sate the birds,
Then drowse in lazy autumn,
I could not find the term for that
Flintstone desert plant.
I could perhaps try crayon,
Pale yellow, black, some green,
Not this pack of forty-eight,
Not these fat words I wrap my hands around,
Not Sweetgum. Cottonwood. Persimmon.
Not Deciduous. Majestic. Not this ever ever green.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I have carved you on my palm,
Burned you on my breast,
Crossed my heart with golden crosses,
Carved you deep into my palm.
I bleed to bear your losses,
Shed my skin for all the rest,
I have carved my palm with you, love,
I have burned you on my breast.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Yellow Cat Story

Yellow Cat Story

Every morning, before the house awakes,
I sit in the dark with my coffee
In my favorite cup that reminds me
Of other rooms and other doors.
I sit in the dark, save for the light
Of the screen on which I peck out my words,
One finger moving through my mind,
Stirring thought like swirling cream
In a Parisian cup. Anyway, I digress.
I usually do. This is a poem about my cat,
The missing one, the nameless Mister, Mister,
Whose missing name I never said without a lisp.
Mithter, mithter, cat talk, baby talk
For a cat I swore would outlive me,
For a cat now gone by years, not days.
Again. This is a poem about a cat. Not Mister
But the damn big yellow cat that Poppy says
Killed him. We found him under the mountain laurel,
Looking caved in and small, Mister I mean. Buried him
Near the creek in some approximation to Lady.
(Someday I expect to see their bird thin bones
Wash away in a flood.)
This is a poem about that damn yellow cat
That killed Mister and --
Every morning as I sit here
In the dark, me and my screen, mining memory,
That damn yellow cat comes up on the deck,
Causing the motion sensor light to turn on,
So the morning dark, which envelopes me and
Makes me feel like some explorer hunched
Around her fire, the motion sensor light come on,
The morning dark disappears
And that damn yellow cat comes slinking to the door.
Every morning he -- he couldn't be a she, could he?
Every morning for three years straight,
He comes in the dark to my door,
Turns on the light outside, and turns that big
Yellow satisfied face to me.

Sunday, January 6, 2013



I'm a keeper of things
that would be lost,
that would, if they could,
disappear into thick fog
like the back of a ship
closed over by a mist so dense
it soaks a sailor's eyes
and gathers as tears on his lash.
Unblindled by the damp,
I hold tight the mast,
lash myself to packets
others throw away.
Overboard lightens someone's load
but doesn't help a ship sail true.
It doesn't pull me under,
that which would be lost;
it doesn't weigh me down.
The opposite of to be lost
is to be kept, not to be found.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Criminal Admits Her Guilt

Happy New Year, All! I wanted to write a New Year's poem and found myself falling into my natural way of writing, which I am certain grates on most modern readers' sensibilities. So, borrowing a form from Robert Herrick, who would die again if he knew it, and blaming Real Toads for the inspiration, here's my first poem, er apology, of 2013:

Criminal Admits Her Guilt
Vain Attempt to Write a New Year's Poem

The days, they fall away like dust,
Like stardust from my hand
That stains my palm with fiery ash,
Then scatters o'er the land...

No, wait;
I've nothing new to say,
The same tired image, meter, rhyme...

I write the way I must;
The words, they fail? This is my crime.