Backyard in November

I should rake leaves

but I decide
to do something else

when thinking about
leaves and wind
and justice

photo by Marian Kent

Night Descent

My belly

rockets for the ceiling
as though hung by the moon

towing the rest of me
hips and shoulders limp
fingers brushing the floor

Playing with the CHERITA in the Imaginary Garden!


Any Friday Afternoon

What would happen
if I spent this hour
watching my clock
like it might sprout wings
latch on to my mousing wrist
with its desk-clock feet
and launch us both
out the sixth floor window
over the YMCA rooftop
and three tenement high-rises
to I don’t even know what’s
beyond those
beyond my imagination
far beyond my expectations
for a clock-watching Friday
at the office
wishing to fly



I confessed to tears
at news of slaughter
from my old neighborhood
but in reality didn’t cry

I stopped crying years ago

Now I store suffering
behind my eyelids
and wonder
when the storage will be full

And what will happen then

Meanwhile I realize
it would take real courage
to admit being unable to cry
or ask for help

So that’s not what I’m doing here


Satire, Truth, Life, Death

Jostled from morning dreaming
with sing-song chanting
bouncing around in my brain
charlie hebdo
charlie hebdo
bouncing through the morning
in a rhythm from the dream
jostling coffee mugs & such
charlie hebdo
charlie hebdo
cat jumps abruptly in my lap
meows her cat-breath in my face
all as if to remonstrate
charlie hebdo
charlie hebdo
against opening the daily news
bouncing bone saws in the consulate
& accidental dismemberment
charlie hebdo
but we accept your explanation
& this will all blow over soon
it’s normal & entirely credible
jamal khashoggi
jamal khashoggi
jamal khashoggi
jamal khashoggi


October Tanka

An autumn archway
of just-so bending branches
crowned with chimney smoke
rising on cold air
through star-frosted windows

Notebook poetry for Kerry in the Imaginary Garden!


The Eleventh Hour

One of my poems appears in this gorgeous volume, Silkworm 11: The Eleventh Hour. Silkworm is the annual review of my beloved Florence Poets Society. I am so proud of this book and our group, the members of which I am endlessly grateful to and inspired by, wonderful poets, each and every one. Here’s my poem from Silkworm 11
 “Just a Few Small Things I Like”
I like the way
you open windows
in any kind of weather
as if to say hello morning air
thank you for visiting

I like the way
your fingers
navigate a messy ponytail
on weekday evenings
when you let your hair down

I like the way
you say you love me
even when you’re pissed off


Skulks Amongst Us

Skulks have claimed this land of ours,
infiltrating amongst us so we cannot see
them tracking our pain to its anxious end,

as though there ever whiffed an end
to the gaudy display of our
collective skulkishness. When all we see

is today, not tomorrow, we refuse to see
the consequences of our anxiety, ending
as it will when we skulks celebrate our

pain. It will be our loss to see in the end.

Trying TRITINA in the Imaginary Garden!


The Floating World

When despair
fills your body so fully
that breathing
becomes a focal point
bringing memories
of floating near ceilings
like a quirky witch
observing reality
from relative distance
you realize
that the upside-down
is actually quite familiar
and you possess the tools
to move through even this
in power


The Building Shakes When Trains Go By

It’s hard to understand
dreams from which screaming
I must be shaken awake
but have no memory

And what about
this waking nightmare
we are all walking alongside
in broad daylight

The nights are getting longer
as horrors grow bolder
lying outright
under penalty of perjury

Shakily I wonder
when the trains start running


For Now

drape the mountain
like a blanket
us valley dwellers
who peek
with one eye open
as from under covers
relatively safe
from the incredulities
to come tomorrow

Music prompt in the Imaginary Garden: MADE FOR NOW


Contrary to Popular Belief

Blue sky is but the underbelly
of human collective darkness
a crucible within which
sinnings like cymbals crash
brightening stormclouds
cornfield drummer’s
rap rings out
like a

Trying NONET in the Imaginary Garden



three over
on urgent-gravitational
case for revolution against

For Toni's prompt in the Garden: STEP INTO THE VOID



her cannibal mouth,
dewy-fresh cheeks, a grinning fool
for love, for everything she’s lost,
    purposely avoids.


A Sketch, by Nashawannuck Pond, on a Sunday in August

My daughter
sits by the water
sketching a figure

She uses a pencil eraser
that can be pinched and shaped
to accommodate needing to remove
small details from small spaces

She is free with her pencil
confident with her lines
knows just what she wants
to go where

She sketches two women embracing

Mostly she draws them
looking at one another
or eyes closed

But these two hold on
with strong eyes
focused out of the page
against the viewer
as if
to keep one another safe
from gaze

Camera FLASH in the Imaginary Garden!


Curves Ahead

I wish
I could see this world
and especially myself
through my daughter’s eyes

She draws beautiful women
with impossibly voluptuous curves
while I feel my own
and sigh


Might As Well Jump

Almost arrogantly tall, striding light
but unaware
that epic height offers no protection,
fly without care
as those with power to envelop you
come from nowhere--
If martyrdom awaits, better to soar,
rage your warning to tomorrow’s tall child--

Forms in the Imaginary Garden: CAVATINA


Observation 8-2018

I saw a baseball cap
sporting the slogan
Make Orwell Fiction Again
and it brought a slight chuckle
but not a real laugh
because of course I recognized
terrible truth

The most dystopian feature
of new reality
is the constant background drone
of military planes
always present
in our pristine Valley sky
each always slowly banking
as though it forgot something
and had to turn around
to head back home
like it wants to get a real good
look at me

They’re circling the farm fields
even peeking through on days
heavy with thunder clouds
and they’re circling the city
of Springfield
bending in and out of view
from the tall windows
of my sixth-floor cubicle
many times each work day
banking above train tracks
and the YMCA
often in pairs

I swear one appears
from behind Mount Tom
every time I drive south
along the Connecticut River
and pass the Oxbow
always startling
seeming to brake and suspend
so still
observing until I turn right
and out of sight

You might say well
there’s an air reserve base nearby
and we’ve long had these planes
populating our skies
but I know
what it was like before
and how it is now
a marked difference
that crept up on us
like so many other losses
we didn’t see coming at first

I hate those fucking planes
and I trust my own eyes and ears
thank you very much
they are the last defense
of we fools
in what has never been