My Poetry

A family of six pine trees in the backyard
three were killed in last year’s hurricane
one died this year—maybe out of sympathy.
now there are only two pine trees left and sadly,
they don’t speak to each other.

The morning rain continues
Fog shrouded mountains
I have nothing new to add

You are my ocean
Please don’t drown me

You come in and you go out
You rise and you fall
Kissing my sands
Sometimes you are lovingly warm
Other times you are ice cold

You are my ocean
Please don’t drown me

All this time
I still don’t know your depths
All your surprises
Your gentle waves I ride on
Your riptides that threaten
To pull me under

You are my ocean
Please don’t drown me

Maybe someday
I will understand you
Maybe someday

(This originally appeared in Gemini Magazine)

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I could listen to Dave Brubeck all night
and pretend I could play like him
in some dark and cool club
two blocks off of reality street
i’m old now and jaded
but that impresses me to no end
it is the ultimate of ultimates

i need a dark place
i need a glass of something cool
and some dark glasses
and a leather jacket
and a don’t give a damn attitude
but it’s probably too late for all that
I should have started sooner
Some days crawl by
Like a wounded man
On his hands and knees
Each second, a moment of agony

There are other days though
Happy days
That pass like a shooting star
And if we are lucky
Time builds no barrier
Between us
I sit in the den
Staring into a dying fire
In the old stone fireplace
Then I go to my studio
To finish my latest painting
That will be stacked up against the wall
With all the other masterpieces
That no one wants
Then I pick up a book
And read about a poet I have
Always admired
I read with great interest
Until much to my dismay
I find that he died at an age
Much younger than I am right now
And somehow he loses some of his credibility

For the aging man
The passing of days is merciless
He waits for the unsaid
One foot in the grave
And another on a patch of ice

His afternoons are slow
But time speeds past
He longs for the old days
Some of which he can’t remember
But he wants them anyway

The body is now frail
The hair gray or gone
Stranger in the mirror
Looks at him with dark eyes
Those that know what is coming
 I enjoy a cool and rainy day

Days that most others don’t

I enjoy a sunny day now and then

But I’ve always been most comfortable

in a cool damp mist

Somewhere in the overcast skies

A spirit or some such thing

Is awakened inside

Though I’m not sure that’s what it is

Or if it really exists

All I know is a kind of oneness

An extension of myself

Going out and falling among the trees

And the wet streets

That I walk

The day I did nothing
But lay in bed until five p.m.
Was the best day of work
I have ever done
The day I learned how to live
From watching the passing clouds
On a small patch of grass
On a fall day
Was of far greater value
Than all my years of learning
In a brick and mortar school
The day I gazed out the window
For hours and hours
And watched the snowflakes
Fall into their perfect resting places
Told me more than I could ever be told

One side of his family had been English
Classy, stylish
Earl Grey tea from the bone china cup
Expert gardeners, bowler hats
The other side of the family had been from Russia
Exciting, dangerous
Vodka straight from the bottle
Cossacks on horses
He himself was from American middle class suburbia
And he hated himself for it

There was the old house
With the green swirly carpet
And the big TV antenna outside
That somehow only got three channels
And then there was the house with the cerulean blue carpet
That we said was so perfect for a place in Florida
Where the rain played drums
On the metal roof of the porch

These were houses, but not home
Home was where
We had the bright red carpet in the bedroom
And in the coolness of the basement
We listened to music late at night
And pretended we were popular

Sweep, sweep, sweep, sweep, sweep
The leaves continue to fall
My broom is tired

As the snow falls
My mind falls away
Melting into the ground

Gazing at the moon
Wondering how it got there
A hot cup of tea

Raindrop on window
Reaches its destination
You have come so far

Yin is in yang
Yang is in yin
I am in pajamas

Do the stars look down?
What do they see?
What must be their dreams?
Listening to the music

Opening the blinds
On a chilly day and sitting
On the floor in the sun

I watch the dogs play
Under the sprawling old oaks
By the cemetery

On the way to work
She dreams of missing the exit
Going anywhere else

The Muse

Everyone has a muse

Some have more than one

Muses are often quite mysterious

They seem to find you more often

Than you find them

They come in a variety of flavors

There are muses for painting

Muses for sculpting I suppose

And of course there are muses

For the musically inclined

They emerge from a shadow

Or breath of wind

Filling up that crack

Or in some cases a chasm

That amusingly we believe there to be

Maybe there should be a museum

For all these muses

To honor their accomplishments

The things they have inspired

The lives they have changed

Real Poetry

Someone once told me

“Your poetry ain’t real poetry

because it don’t rhyme”

I told him

it was because

my poetry was about life

and life dosen’t always rhyme

you have blue

and you don’t always get

you or new

sometimes you get

bottle or street

i thought it was a pretty snappy answer


“She’s fake” my friend grumbled

Over his glass of Jack

As the woman with more curves

Than a mountain road strutted past

Inviting a thousand eyes

Flipping her hair as she click-clicked

Down the street in her high heels

“Women are all fake these days”

He said

I didn’t add that we are all fake

In one sense or another

And if we weren’t

We’d be killing one another in droves

I mean how many people can we truly stand?

Company Outing

It was an awkward company outing

so her and I

shared some beer

I admit I always was smitten with her

And vainly waited for her to

Make me her next flavor of the month

on a non-descript Friday night

at a bowling alley

in the seedy part of town

we got to feeling silly

alcohol has a way of doing that

even for those with admirable restraint

and for one night somehow

I looked good to her

we gazed into each

others eyes

and there was magic

it got late

and we found the inside of her car

many kisses later we said our goodnights

but by monday morning

when we saw each other at work

Robert-Houdin had left town

She looked awkward

and the whole night

was never brought up again

I always thought there was a curse

Following me around

And when I’m taking a ride in the hearse

I won’t make a sound

When something could go wrong

It always managed to

Sure things were never sure

There was nothing I could do

Last summer a drought
Now, sandbags at the front door
Yin and yang indeed

10,001 steps today
So says my Fitbit
Yet I’m no closer
To where I want to be
The doctor said I should exercise
And I told him I have been
My whole life
Has been an exercise in futility
Everything is zero to the left

My New Friends

I’m new in town
and my only friends
are the cockroaches
that crawl on the floor
and walls
of this cheap studio apartment

the already close walls
are closing in
i’m almost out of booze
and time
and i’m down to my
last few dollars
and my new friends
may carry some things
but they don’t carry cash
To Die In Paris

To die in Paris
has a romantic flair about it
as though you perished
in a higher class of death

other places are too anonymous
too un-adventureous

but to die in Paris
suggest a sort of worldliness
perhaps not found in life
but cemented in death

dying is not pleasant
I am sure
but where we surrender
can make it more palatable
and memorable

Uncle Dave

Had an uncle named Dave
nobody’s idea of an uncle
I hated going to his house
He gave us kids
carrot sticks and apple juice
when we wanted
candy bars and pepsi
always lectured us on being healthy
said he never missed a day of school
a day of work
because he was so careful
about what he ate and did

One day healthy uncle dave
was downtown
and got distracted
and stepped off a curb
and got creamed by a city bus
so much for that healthy crap

Shy Young Man

the shy young man
was as nervous
as  piece of glass
in a child’s hand
he stammered over his ad-libs
he had rehearsed earlier
she just smiled
and said  thank you
but she wasn’t interested
he exited stage left as
the vanquished knight
with a feeling in his gut
and heart
that couldn’t quite
be described

Fake Bikers

here come the fake bikers
down the interstate
pulling their machines
behind their 50 grand suv
they bought a leather jacket
and when they get down
to daytona
for bike week
they’ll go to their
four star hotels and then
they’ll pretend
like they are real bikers
riding up and down
a 1 a
but if they were
real bikers
they would have rode
their bikes down here
i’m sure the real bikers
can tell who’s who