what is what

willow branch earthward,
a brittle leaf crumples.
if the truth starts now,
what about our promises?

pretty little words born
from blood & ice cream--
how come we couldn't see
my fall would be so hard
it shattered everything?

i was born of winter and
you were violent spring.

truth is that, just true
and true is cold as ice,
no molding it with hands
to make it our newborn--

still, don't you wonder?
did you choose correctly
or are you stuck there--
dead leaf in your hands?

i wonder about that too.



the one i threw away,
tossed on the heap
of fertile memory
and decaying regret--

if i had it to do over,
i'd nurture my gift,
pruning away disease,
discarding deadwood,

never looking it in the mouth.

stone walls


She kissed him. Like a butterfly flickering on his lips, in a split second, hard, forceful, and needy. Like the end was near. Frank kissed back, his hand in her hair, at the back of her head, pulling her closer to him and taking her in. How many years had passed, stone piled upon stone, sediment forming, his walls thick and unyielding?

They had yielded. Flagpole clang and ex-fiances fading from his thoughts, he lifted her from the swing and carried her across the threshold, no swagger, no pretense. Just Frank and Marie and a lifetime of need.

(Exactly one hundred words from my novel-in-progress.)


return to dreamland

Presenting you with a compendium
of worlds unlocked, the Lor flies to the sun,
unfettered, unafraid of any boss!
You can't be stopped upon your galleon.

The Pop Star needs protection, that's your cause.
No doomer stops you, no account for loss--
Battle his soul in the arena true,
keep the universe safe for all of us!

Wormhole in the asteroid belt? Go through!
Fly high and brave as star warriors do!
Bestowed upon you, knight, a magic crown--
All galaxies and stars just wait for you.
This morning, Kerry challenged us to write a rubaiyat over at Real Toads, and my kids challenged me to write a poem about Kirby. So I wrote this for them.

citrus dreams

methodical sectioning
never fails 
to bring you to mind.
i wish i could cut grapefruit all day.


at the hospital

Hey Frank, when’s your band gonna play again?” Marie’s voice dripped with melancholy.

What?” Frank sat up quickly. “Ah. Well, Top Heavy might play at First Night again this year, but we don’t have anything else planned, not for this summer anyway. How come you ask?” Marie hadn’t attended even one of Frank’s gigs in years.

Oh, I was just thinking back to your Sex Wax days. That was fun, wasn’t it, Frank?” He was so dreamy. Marie closed her eyes, head resting on the pillow again.

Yeah, that was fun.” He kissed her forehead.

(Exactly one hundred words from my novel-in-progress.)


cortisone dreams

eschewing my wool knee socks
to stop the clock. the arid
flame resists, entreats further
than worthier souls prepared.

your sunshine burrows beneath what was dry,
lullaby anoints what might have been.



"You wanna stop in at Corky's?”

Frank hit the brakes and pulled over, throwing the shift into neutral. He looked at Marie. There she was, full of energy, beaming back at him, bouncing on the seat as if she were a college student who had stayed up all night drinking Jolt colas.

"You wanna, Frank?”

"Well, okay. We can go and check it out--” his words trailed off, betraying his apprehension. But she likes it when I get to the point. “What if he's there, Marie?”

"We'll cross that bridge if we reach it.”

(Exactly one hundred words from my novel-in-progress.)

all of it

i love you
with all the much
i can muster,
which is quite a lot.
the most, actually.

thank you for you.


metro anywhere

did you come
across all these years

   click click

who sent you
to find a blue woman
riding the slippery rails
of wounded youth

   click click

you are the antidote
to the low end of life

   click click

here's my ticket
off peak one way



*your angel here*

Somehow I got roped into creating a semi-regular music prompt over at the happiest of poetry-writing communities, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. Okay, I volunteered. I bet you could guess the subject of my first attempt without even looking. But go look anyway, and try it!
*your angel here*



if i take my mask off, you will see
my freckles, and the terrible truth
is, that is only the start. you will
be required to knock and pry
to loosen each mask, every layer
of each ever-darkening shade. when
the freckles overwhelm, you can move
to the rest of me, peeling and prodding.
in time, your naked curiosity will get
the best of you and you will rip
and tear with abandon, exposing all
of what i have hidden. you will drink
deeply of me. having your fill, satiated,
you will finish, and you will move on.



It occurred to Marie that in that moment, she had passed her anxiety to Frank; that years and years, a lifetime of stifled pain had come uncorked and now ricocheted around the room. Like a bottle of champagne, the uncorking came with considerable energy, almost violence, as the truth exploded out of her. Now, the truth was settling, bubbling peacefully, almost manageable. If she drank more, she'd feel a bit of burning, but it would subside and bubble there. The desire to drink, to imbibe and release, was overwhelming. She watched Frank, who seemed to be succumbing to her truth.

(Exactly one hundred words from my novel-in-progress.)


unsolicited advice

in order to mollify her outrage,
avoid her deep eyes as you pass through--
hostility met with patience always
loses, so don't let it get to you.


the best made plans

Frank insisted that they enjoy Sunday dinner at his house, as his cats had been mightily neglected due to recent events. “Events that leave me feeling far from neglected,” he added, with a wink. He whipped up some fresh tomato gazpacho while Marie threw together a salad.

"Tomatoes, greens, cucumbers, peppers, radishes, and carrots. You are an impressive man, Frank. I appreciate being a beneficiary of your garden's bounty all these years. And it gets better and better.”

"What's mine is yours, my love,” Frank grabbed her for a quick kiss. “Play your cards right, and you'll be rolling around in fresh vegetables all summer, every summer.”

"Play my cards right, huh? What do I have to do here? Just being me, smitten with you, isn't enough?” Marie glowered at him. Oh she is so good with the flirt, I can't believe I've been missing out on this part all these years.

"Well, all right. Truth be told, you have all the power here, Marie. But I'm not supposed to tell you that. I'm supposed to hide some of that from you, right? Isn't that what guys do?” He leaned against the sink and pulled her close.

"Frank,” Marie's tone changed, more serious now, “I value your directness. I always have. Don't you start being coy with me now that I've let you in my pants."

He guffawed. “In your pants? Hah, Marie. You've been taking your pants off, thank goodness. You're all young and spritely, I know, but I don't think I'd be up for getting in your pants at my advanced age. This thing,” he swept his arm from his head down the length of his body, “don't work like it used to.”

"It works just fine, Frank.” And with that, she reached up and kissed him hard, an earthy garden smell on her skin and her hair. Really, I must be dreaming. He hoisted her up on the counter and that was the end of their dinner plans.

(Just a little flirt of my novel-in-progress.)


breaker of the wind

this ache's like a mincing,
a slow pressing under bluestone,
stoning in the public square.

a salted wound, strangleheld
with gerrymandered allegiances,
filibustering to the bitter end.

a constant wipe and re-setting
of our humanity, our empathy,
leaving ill institutional memory.

we learn from our hurts, to hurt;
from our gains, to covet power.
who will listen to the children?



in time of words what say
thank you for every day
how will my garden grow?
like kudzu, invasive,
or steady and predictable
like the spring crocus?
words, don't fail me now--
when you go, my poppy,
snow white or ruby red,
which will you choose?
thank you for the iris,
stately fleur-de-lis
emblazoned on your coat of arms.
your words keep me warm at night.


transition too early?

pumpkin spice coffee,
set aside for wintry blend:
did this bring the snow?



what if i lose my way?
what price to pay
for wayward thoughts,
ill-advised distractions?

i may not reach my goal.
i may flounder.
i may lose it, and you.

better get this right, then.