Sunday, December 9, 2018

You Are Welcome

Existing begins with being
born of intent or circumstance.

Established, produced, conjured
from the infinite vacuum
of nonexistence. To be
or not

has been decided
for you, without your knowledge
or consent.

Now, hop to it.

The responsibility
is yours.


"You Are Welcome" is published in the 2018 Winter Issue (#9of Light, an independent, reader-supported, quarterly journal of fine art photography and poetry. The theme of Issue 9 is "Begin." 

In the winter of 2018, my poem, "Fifteen Seconds," was included in Light's fifth issue.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Kicking and Screaming

It's always a mad dash,
at the absolute last minute.

But, with your flip-flopped foot
a brick and a half down

on the pedal, you make it there
in record time, again,

driving with the focus of a mother
whose cub is going to be late

for his cello lesson. He is
strapped in the back seat, kicking

and screaming, because he
really wants to be at the park

with his friends, and he
wanted to play the guitar.


My poem, "Kicking and Screaming," is published iIssue 26 (September 2018) of Shot Glass Journalan on-line journal devoted to short poetry published by Muse-Pie Press. You should check out the entire issue, but my poem is found here

This is my second appearance in Shot Glass Journal; my poem "Another Bartender Love Affair" was iIssue 21 (January 2017). 


Friday, January 5, 2018

Identity Crisis, Not the Dregs

Identity Crisis

I’m growing my hair long again,
because I’m a beatnik.
I’m a hippie.

I’m going to be late for work.
I have a meeting.

I’m smoking pot
and playing jazz
on my roller-disco boom box.

I am writing poetry,
instead of brushing my teeth.

I’m wearing all black.
I have a soul patch
and dark sunglasses.

My coffee is getting cold.
My dress socks don’t match.

I am wearing tie-dye
and twisting daisies into dreadlocks.
I wear bell-bottom blue jeans.

I have lost my monkey suit.
I have lost my monkey.

I’m a steampunk unicorn.
I’m a hipster butterfly.


Not the Dregs

I scrape the bottom of the barrel,
after the top-shelf choices are gone,
to get to the sweet stuff—
            not the dregs, the molasses.

And umami—
            the oh-so savory leftovers
scavenged from midlife’s
3 a.m. breakfast buffet.

Even the salty crumbs
at the bottom of the potato chip bag
set saliva aflutter,
            à la Pavlov’s K9.

The good stuff separates
and falls like flakes of pure gold
in a San Francisco saloon—
the debris, the essence.


I am pleased that "Identity Crisis" and "Not the Dregs" are published in the Fall 2017 Issue (#31) of Poetry QuarterlyThis is my second sojourn with PQ. My poem "No Longer" was in the 2012 Prize Winner Issue (#11).


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Fifteen Seconds

is all I can spare
to smell the wilted rose petals

now drying
in a bowl on a shelf
in the foyer

as I pass on my way to the door.

The petals
were swept from the bed
in the morning

after they adhered
to the sweat
on our bodies

as we said goodbye.

I don’t have time
for coffee,

and I didn’t want to
wake you.


"Fifteen Seconds" is published in the 2017 Winter Issue (#5of Light, an independent, reader-supported, quarterly journal of fine art photography and poetry in its second year of publication. The theme of Issue 5 is "Reflection."


Friday, December 1, 2017

Indiana Memories

           Indiana pizzeria finds itself at the center of 'religious freedom' debate.
                        –Ed Payne, CNN, April 3, 2015

Jesus would not refuse
to serve a stranger pizza.
He would
make the stranger an extra-large,
stuffed-crust pizza,
with all the toppings
and extra cheese.
He would
sit the stranger in a vinyl booth
right up front
by the pane-glass window,
and wash the stranger’s feet.
He would
invite His twelve best friends
to dine
with the stranger,
He would
make them pizza too.
He would
take five anchovy pizzas
and two orders of bread sticks
to the patio
and feed five thousand
diverse attendees
at a gay wedding.
He would
do unto others
as He would have them
do unto Him . . .
and turn water
into wine,
because that is what He does
at weddings.


An incomplete version of "Indina Memories" is included in Issue 16 (Fall 2017) of local Dayton, Ohio journal Mock Turtle Zine. 

Past issues of Mock Turtle can be viewed online.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Bay is Crisp

An open window lets the air in,
lets in the brackish air. It is early,
just before dawn.

Boats still moored
bob languidly,

and those departing
are loath to make wake,
even a ripple.
Fishermen (and fisher
women too) seek out a living,

eke out a life,
dredging from the deep
to frame a feast for someone.

The nip in the air
wakes one faster than coffee.

Profit by the pound,
but only on a good day, only
if the weather behaves—

a day just like today,
we hope and pray.

"The Bay is Crisp" won 3rd place in the Ohio Poetry Day 2017 poetry contest #3, Evelyn Barker Award: “In Praise of Traditional Values,” and was published in the contest compilation chapbook, Ohio Poetry Day: Best of 2017

Friday, March 3, 2017

From the Far Hills

Ars Domestica

I should be making pesto,
because you will be home soon,
and you will want to get started.

I have been alone
in the house (for a change),
and all I have done

is wash the morning dishes,
sweep the floor,
and do laundry.

I took all three dogs for a walk,
one at a time,
because . . . well , you know,

and I managed to shower and shave.
I changed the bed sheets.
Now, I am writing a poem.


Poem in My Pocket

The poem in my pocket is a little gray mouse.
I found it early this morning, wandering
casually around the house.

It jumped into my pocket sans warning
and whispered in my ear,
Take me with you.

I did not know it was “poem-in-your-pocket”
or “take-your-mouse-to-work” day.

Of course, it may have just looked like a mouse.
It could have been a miniature
miniature Chihuahua
named Brutus, or Cesar Romero,
or Spot.

Out, damned spot! Out, I say!
But it does not heed my Shakespearean plea—
the mousy Chihuahua stays.


Early versions of "Ars Domestica" and "Poem in My Pocket" are published in Poems From the Far Hills, the second chapbook of work by the Wright Library Poets, compiled and edited by Elizabeth C. Schmidt, made possible by the Wright Memorial Public Library in Oakwood, Ohio.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Another Bartender Love Affair

Maybe, it’s simply because
            they provide all necessities of life,
smiling and calling us “honey”—
            whatever’s on tap.

Mere presence is life affirming,
            a semblance of social construct we all need
as we drink ourselves to death—
            a look in the mirror.

Tomorrow, we re-belly up,
            another round of affirmation,
a double whiskey back—
            one more . . . and the check.


My poem, "Another Bartender Love Affair," is included in Issue 21 (January 2017) of Shot Glass Journalan on-line journal devoted to short poetry published by Muse-Pie Press. You should treat yourself to the jewels contained in the entire issue, but here is a direct link to my poem.


(Featured Post 03/18)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Needle and Spoon

            for Buster

This is how we . . .
envelop in our arms, smother
with smooches and nuzzle.

Pull loose skin from endoskeleton,
stick the steel spike in.
Stay still
while the saline bag

Watch darting eyes
succumb to numbness, until
the slow

Throw a ball. He
jumps and growls. We
laugh and smile

for as long as he has energy
or until it’s time to feed him.

Fickle, like an infant,
he must be coaxed with airplane noises,

plying tiny spoonful
after hopeful tiny spoonful,
until he
will no longer eat.

This is how we cope, our
addiction, since cancer has claimed
appetite and vigor.


I am honored to have "Needle and Spoon" included in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue (#19) of Touch: The Journal of Healing. Touch is publish semiannually with a lot of love and care by The Lives You Touch PublicationsYou should treat yourself to the entire issue, but here is a direct link to my poem.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Garden Economics

            The beautiful landscape as we know it
            belongs to those who are like it.
                        —Muso Soseki

Capitalism is               a beautiful weed.
It grows most striking without constraint
and prospers    for a while
            in fertile soil,
until it chokes
on coiled roots and unrestrained vines,
laissez faire foliage.

A mindful gardener
prunes flora     held so fair
with care,
            with incisiveness,
lest compelled to axe
and spade.

Don’t go all Edward Scissorhands on it,
but snip, snip,
manipulate,      cultivate.

Capitalism is               a beautiful weed,
a living, growing thing,
not a delicate thing.

Trim, tend, cultivate
axe, spade.


"Garden Economics" was included in Issue 13 (Spring 2016) of local Dayton journal Mock Turtle Zine. 

Past issues of Mock Turtle can be viewed online.