Sunday, December 17, 2006

Team Poetry: Arts Police

There once was said at the Tiki:
"Come on let's get freaky freaky"
But it wasn't so nice
When Frank slipped on some ice
And yelled for another beer weakly.


There once was a very old hermit
Whose skin was a fuzzy as kermit's
He drank from a pan
And would only eat flan
And he said, "Here's a flag; let's burn it!"


Doc and Flannery

Sunday, December 10, 2006

If For Moment...

I’ve been jockeying the counter at the bakery of a local store for a few months now, and there is this lull, at about the same time every evening for me. It falls at suppertime. Most folks are eating, and the things I need to do, I can’t start until later.

So I stand at the counter and watch, as the people go by. I have the opportunity to help each one find what their looking for, and move on to the rest of their shopping with little or no fuss. I stand, with a smile, like a circus barker and hawk my wares as they come past.

I know the ones I can tempt. I’ve been selling the white stuff for a while now. (Sugar)

I can tell by the contents of their cart where they have been. The beer drinkers want doughnuts and the wine drinkers want cheesecake or tiramisu.

A lady came by this evening. She was small, dark haired and dark eyed, sweater and slacks, mid forties, with no cart or basket. She had nothing in her hands.

“What can I get you?” I asked.

And in one quick flush of honesty she said, ”A new life.”

“Well,” I responded, “we don’t sell that back in the bakery.”

“Oh come on,” she kidded, “you could put my head in the oven.”

I didn’t know how to respond. To be honest, I was in such shock, that I don’t remember what I said next. It was something calm and friendly. I gave it a reassuring tone. Something to the effect of “There must be something here I can offer you to cheer you up?”

I wish, in my heart of hearts, that I could remember what I said.

I don’t.

“Well, I’m going to be good and only get one thing,” and to add emphasis, she gestured with her index finger, like she was laying down the law.

“What about one of these tea cookies?” she asked.

I started to reach for a bag behind me, but stopped and spun on my heel. I couldn't charge her.

I smiled, and grabbed a tissue and pulled the cookie from the case. The ones with the chocolate and sprinkles, not the cheap ones we give out to the kids.

“We give these to good girls, and thank them for coming to {Store Name}”. I smiled.

She took the cookie from my hands slowly. She nodded her head and curtseyed. She stood for a split second and looked at the cookie.

“I feel like I should buy something now,” she said.

“No,” I said firmly, “just smile, and remember that tomorrow is going to be a better day”.

She stood stock-still and thought about it, then rounded the dairy case and was gone, smiling.

The whole exchange lasted less time than it takes to recover from two good, healthy sneezes.

There is no way of knowing if this was all a joke to her, or she genuinely was considering taking her own life. In the sixty odd seconds that our lives crossed paths, I felt like she was reaching out to me, grasping at the slim straw of vague human kindness.

I gave her a cookie, and in some very small way, touched a life, when maybe it needed it the most.

At least I'd like to think so.

I’d like to think that perhaps I was doing the Lord’s work and helped someone, but regardless of what happens, I’ll be looking for that lady, and wherever she is tonight, I hope she enjoyed that cookie and is still smiling, ‘cause I still am, and I will never forget her, as long as I live.


Saturday, December 09, 2006


I pulled back the sheet from the bed
and tossed it into the wash

I suddenly remembered back
to our 6 months in a leaking boat
living with my in-laws
and how they HAD to have our bed made
every day
and how much I HATE making beds.

MY parents were the same way
as if a neat, made bed was the only thing
holding Western Civilization together.
...had they lived until 2006
they might have said:
"if you don't make your bed,
you're letting the terrorists win!!"

I'm all grown up now,
I DON'T make my goddamned bed!
I also don't fold my underwear or match my socks.

I take long, hot showers and empty the water heater,
I sleep in the nude
I sometimes drink beer for breakfast
and eat French toast for dinner

I turn out the lights and watch TV in the dark
and sometimes I leave lights on in rooms
where no one is.

I eat Corn Pops and Honeycomb and Sugar Smacks
and sometimes I eat Cool-Whip right out of the tub
with a spoon
and declare THAT a meal worth having

I go outside in the cold without shoes
and wear holes in my socks
and don't replace my shoddy tennis shoes
when the sole begins to come off

I swear sometimes, too, and curse
and take guilty pleasure in crying out
"well, goddamn!"
"Oh, Jesus Pumpkin Pie Christ!"
which I first learned from a Stephen King novel

On the whole, being a grownup
ain't all that damned bad.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Preacher won't you preach to me,
I need a pint of philosophy.
I'm hurt and thirsty, set me on my way.

Mondays come and Mondays go,
But this one seems to be sort of slow.
Can you tell me sir, when will there come a change?

I'm the one who's last at the table,
I'm the one who never gets the gold.
You're the one who says I'm able,
But you turn your words with lies and fables...
Lies and fables...

---Ellis Paul

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I awoke today to the smell of poop
it was 4 AM and it knocked me for a loop

my children, a veritiable troupe
had filled thier pants up with poop

I rose from bed and let out a whoop
for the DOG had left a pile of poop!


I put Styx on the CD player (my favorite musical group)
and set about to clean up all this poop

I swished clothing the basketball hoop
of the toilet to remove the big chunks of poop

and though the smell was so bad it made my moustache droop
I knew I had to be rid of all this poop

I used shopping bags like a makeshift scoop
to pick up all that poop

and though it was gross and very goop(y)
I ne'er shunned to clean up the poop(y)

Monday, November 06, 2006

3 years ago at this time
my eldest daughter flew down for a visit

we were driving over the St. John's River
listening to America's Don't Cross the River

"fitting, don't you think?" I asked
as the sparkling water flowed below us

"Why did she have a broken heart?" she asked
making a connection to the little girl of the song

"why, indeed?" I asked back
"what would give YOU a broken heart
and cause you to lie out on your own?"

she looked out at the passing water
feeling the wind in her hair
(a luxury not afforded to her backhome in PA
at this time of year)

"could you play that again?" she asked.
I did
and we sang with gusto

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I discovered yesterday morning that

the DVD player
my computer
my flashlight batteries
my cell phone
the batteries to my
itty-bitty-not-so-shitty-grab-my-titty-ain't-I-witty? booklight

were all dead.

I wondered if that MEANT something or not.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


yes yes I know I know
I talk too damned much
but I'm in good company

I have 10 radio buttons in my van
none of them play music in the morning
just babbletalk blah-blah-blah

I didn't go to work today
I went to a workshop

when I got there they had an icebreaker.
I fucking HATE icebreakers.
I wanted to practice taciturnity.
I didn't want to get up and ask anyone
if they took out their recycleables to the curb
or visited the Rain Forest
or had an uncle from Bolivia.

I wanted to sit and be still
and say nothing
be a minimalist with my words
still my voice
contribute no sound to the noise of the room.

I found a great deal of inner peace
inside that silence.
I also turned slightly invisible.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


when Dirty said that her chosen super power
would be to turn invisible
(and hence be naked most of the time
[which is her preferred way of being])
a vision splended sprang to mind

I spied her from behind
(this time *I* was invisible)
obsessively washing her dishes
in her birthday suit.

I spied no tan lines

Saturday, September 30, 2006


Quoth Ray Bradbury,

"The October country.
That country where it is always turning late in the year.
That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist.
Where noons go quickly,
dusks and twilights linger,
and midnights stay.

That country composed in the main of cellars,
sub-cellars, coal bins, closets, attics
and pantries faced away from the sun.

That country who’s people are Autumn People,
thinking only Autumn thoughts,
who’s people passing at night
on the empty walks sound like rain."

I am Autumn People, born early this month
I feel the thinning of the worlds
between life and death

I delight in the creak of bones
the howl of wind
the flickering orange of candle light
from within a carved pumpkin.

I step forward in the gloaming,
a child of twilight
walking with my own children of twilight
down the silent sidewalk.

We are quiet,
thinking our own Autumn thoughts
faced away from the sun
our footsteps like rain

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

To The States

Some Walt Whitman that made me decide that I need a tattoo.

To The States

To the States or any of them, or any city of the States,
Resist much, obey little,
Once unquestionong obedience, once fully enslaved,
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth,
ever afterward resumes its liberty.


Sunday, September 24, 2006


yet another installment from the series of 80 haiku I wrote in 1.5 hours while teaching up North in Cleveland. Some silly, some serious.

I must grade these papers
The pile grows ever higher
Maybe I’ll burn them…

When can I go home?
I am tired of this place.
I want my own bed

Washing the chalkboards
The water soon turns milky
Must go dump bucket

Standards based lessons
They all need five elements,
Anyone know them?

In the math classroom
Students try to stretch their minds
Can you smell the smoke?

I’m teaching English--
My students can’t write at all
How did I get them??

“come to class prepared!
“I do not give out pencils!
Go buy them yourself!”

I find her gorgeous
She is so pretty to me
Though she is so old

Wrinkles on his hands
Shows the history of his life
And the work he’s done

My grandmothers face
Will come to me in my dreams
Though she is long gone

Friday, September 22, 2006

Here again, I don't bring my own work to the table but a good friend has reminded me how much I love a good poem, and with this in mind, I present this piece.

When Last In The Dooryard Bloom'd

1When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd,
2And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,
3I mourn'd, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
4Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
5Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
6And thought of him I love.
7O powerful western fallen star!
8O shades of night -- O moody, tearful night!
9O great star disappear'd -- O the black murk that hides the star!
10O cruel hands that hold me powerless -- O helpless soul of me!
11O harsh surrounding cloud that will not free my soul.
12In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash'd palings,
13Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
14With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
15 With every leaf a miracle -- and from this bush in the dooryard,
16With delicate-color'd blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
17A sprig with its flower I break.
18In the swamp in secluded recesses,
19A shy and hidden bird is warbling a song.
20Solitary the thrush,
21The hermit withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements,
22Sings by himself a song.
23Song of the bleeding throat,
24Death's outlet song of life, (for well dear brother I know,
25If thou wast not granted to sing thou would'st surely die.)
26Over the breast of the spring, the land, amid cities,
27Amid lanes and through old woods, where lately the violets peep'd from the ground, spotting the gray debris,
28Amid the grass in the fields each side of the lanes, passing the endless grass,
29Passing the yellow-spear'd wheat, every grain from its shroud in the dark-brown fields uprisen,
30Passing the apple-tree blows of white and pink in the orchards,
31Carrying a corpse to where it shall rest in the grave,
32Night and day journeys a coffin.
33Coffin that passes through lanes and streets,
34Through day and night with the great cloud darkening the land,
35With the pomp of the inloop'd flags with the cities draped in black,
36With the show of the States themselves as of crape-veil'd women standing,
37With processions long and winding and the flambeaus of the night,
38With the countless torches lit, with the silent sea of faces and the unbared heads,
39With the waiting depot, the arriving coffin, and the sombre faces,
40With dirges through the night, with the thousand voices rising strong and solemn,
41With all the mournful voices of the dirges pour'd around the coffin,
42The dim-lit churches and the shuddering organs -- where amid these you journey,
43With the tolling tolling bells' perpetual clang,
44Here, coffin that slowly passes,
45I give you my sprig of lilac.
46(Nor for you, for one alone,
47Blossoms and branches green to coffins all I bring,
48For fresh as the morning, thus would I chant a song for you O sane and sacred death.
49All over bouquets of roses,
50O death, I cover you over with roses and early lilies,
51But mostly and now the lilac that blooms the first,
52Copious I break, I break the sprigs from the bushes,
53With loaded arms I come, pouring for you,
54For you and the coffins all of you O death.)
55O western orb sailing the heaven,
56Now I know what you must have meant as a month since I walk'd,
57As I walk'd in silence the transparent shadowy night,
58As I saw you had something to tell as you bent to me night after night,
59As you droop'd from the sky low down as if to my side, (while the other stars all look'd on,)
60As we wander'd together the solemn night, (for something I know not what kept me from sleep,)
61As the night advanced, and I saw on the rim of the west how full you were of woe,
62As I stood on the rising ground in the breeze in the cool transparent night,
63As I watch'd where you pass'd and was lost in the netherward black of the night,
64As my soul in its trouble dissatisfied sank, as where you sad orb,
65Concluded, dropt in the night, and was gone.
66Sing on there in the swamp,
67O singer bashful and tender, I hear your notes, I hear your call,
68I hear, I come presently, I understand you,
69But a moment I linger, for the lustrous star has detain'd me,
70The star my departing comrade holds and detains me.
71O how shall I warble myself for the dead one there I loved?
72And how shall I deck my song for the large sweet soul that has gone?
73And what shall my perfume be for the grave of him I love?
74Sea-winds blown from east and west,
75Blown from the Eastern sea and blown from the Western sea, till there on the prairies meeting,
76These and with these and the breath of my chant,
77I'll perfume the grave of him I love.
78O what shall I hang on the chamber walls?
79And what shall the pictures be that I hang on the walls,
80To adorn the burial-house of him I love?
81Pictures of growing spring and farms and homes,
82With the Fourth-month eve at sundown, and the gray smoke lucid and bright,
83With floods of the yellow gold of the gorgeous, indolent, sinking sun, burning, expanding the air,
84With the fresh sweet herbage under foot, and the pale green leaves of the trees prolific,
85In the distance the flowing glaze, the breast of the river, with a wind-dapple here and there,
86With ranging hills on the banks, with many a line against the sky, and shadows,
87And the city at hand with dwellings so dense, and stacks of chimneys,
88And all the scenes of life and the workshops, and the workmen homeward returning.
89Lo, body and soul -- this land,
90My own Manhattan with spires, and the sparkling and hurrying tides, and the ships,
91The varied and ample land, the South and the North in the light, Ohio's shores and flashing Missouri,
92And ever the far-spreading prairies cover'd with grass and corn.
93Lo, the most excellent sun so calm and haughty,
94The violet and purple morn with just-felt breezes,
95The gentle soft-born measureless light,
96The miracle spreading bathing all, the fulfill'd noon,
97The coming eve delicious, the welcome night and the stars,
98Over my cities shining all, enveloping man and land.
99Sing on, sing on you gray-brown bird,
100Sing from the swamps, the recesses, pour your chant from the bushes,
101Limitless out of the dusk, out of the cedars and pines.
102Sing on dearest brother, warble your reedy song,
103Loud human song, with voice of uttermost woe.
104O liquid and free and tender!
105O wild and loose to my soul -- O wondrous singer!
106You only I hear -- yet the star holds me, (but will soon depart,)
107Yet the lilac with mastering odor holds me.
108Now while I sat in the day and look'd forth,
109In the close of the day with its light and the fields of spring, and the farmers preparing their crops,
110In the large unconscious scenery of my land with its lakes and forests,
111In the heavenly aerial beauty, (after the perturb'd winds and the storms,)
112Under the arching heavens of the afternoon swift passing, and the voices of children and women,
113The many-moving sea-tides, and I saw the ships how they sail'd,
114And the summer approaching with richness, and the fields all busy with labor,
115And the infinite separate houses, how they all went on, each with its meals and minutia of daily usages,
116And the streets how their throbbings throbb'd, and the cities pent -- lo, then and there,
117Falling upon them all and among them all, enveloping me with the rest,
118Appear'd the cloud, appear'd the long black trail,
119And I knew death, its thought, and the sacred knowledge of death.
120Then with the knowledge of death as walking one side of me,
121And the thought of death close-walking the other side of me,
122And I in the middle as with companions, and as holding the hands of companions,
123I fled forth to the hiding receiving night that talks not,
124Down to the shores of the water, the path by the swamp in the dimness,
125To the solemn shadowy cedars and ghostly pines so still.
126And the singer so shy to the rest receiv'd me,
127The gray-brown bird I know receiv'd us comrades three,
128And he sang the carol of death, and a verse for him I love.
129From deep secluded recesses,
130From the fragrant cedars and the ghostly pines so still,
131Came the carol of the bird.
132And the charm of the carol rapt me,
133As I held as if by their hands my comrades in the night,
134And the voice of my spirit tallied the song of the bird.
135Come lovely and soothing death,
136Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
137In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
138Sooner or later delicate death.
139Prais'd be the fathomless universe,
140For life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious,
141And for love, sweet love -- but praise! praise! praise!
142For the sure-enwinding arms of cool-enfolding death.
143Dark mother always gliding near with soft feet,
144Have none chanted for thee a chant of fullest welcome?
145Then I chant it for thee, I glorify thee above all,
146I bring thee a song that when thou must indeed come, come unfalteringly.
147Approach strong deliveress,
148When it is so, when thou hast taken them I joyously sing the dead,
149Lost in the loving floating ocean of thee,
150Laved in the flood of thy bliss O death.
151From me to thee glad serenades,
152Dances for thee I propose saluting thee, adornments and feastings for thee,
153And the sights of the open landscape and the high-spread sky are fitting,
154And life and the fields, and the huge and thoughtful night.
155The night in silence under many a star,
156The ocean shore and the husky whispering wave whose voice I know,
157And the soul turning to thee O vast and well-veil'd death,
158And the body gratefully nestling close to thee.
159Over the tree-tops I float thee a song,
160Over the rising and sinking waves, over the myriad fields and the prairies wide,
161Over the dense-pack'd cities all and the teeming wharves and ways,
162I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee O death.
163To the tally of my soul,
164Loud and strong kept up the gray-brown bird,
165With pure deliberate notes spreading filling the night.
166Loud in the pines and cedars dim,
167Clear in the freshness moist and the swamp-perfume,
168And I with my comrades there in the night.
169While my sight that was bound in my eyes unclosed,
170As to long panoramas of visions.
171And I saw askant the armies,
172I saw as in noiseless dreams hundreds of battle-flags,
173Borne through the smoke of the battles and pierc'd with missiles I saw them,
174And carried hither and yon through the smoke, and torn and bloody,
175And at last but a few shreds left on the staffs, (and all in silence,)
176And the staffs all splinter'd and broken.
177I saw battle-corpses, myriads of them,
178And the white skeletons of young men, I saw them,
179I saw the debris and debris of all the slain soldiers of the war,
180But I saw they were not as was thought,
181They themselves were fully at rest, they suffer'd not,
182The living remain'd and suffer'd, the mother suffer'd,
183And the wife and the child and the musing comrade suffer'd,
184And the armies that remain'd suffer'd.
185Passing the visions, passing the night,
186Passing, unloosing the hold of my comrades' hands,
187Passing the song of the hermit bird and the tallying song of my soul,
188Victorious song, death's outlet song, yet varying ever-altering song,
189As low and wailing, yet clear the notes, rising and falling, flooding the night,
190Sadly sinking and fainting, as warning and warning, and yet again bursting with joy,
191Covering the earth and filling the spread of the heaven,
192As that powerful psalm in the night I heard from recesses,
193Passing, I leave thee lilac with heart-shaped leaves,
194I leave thee there in the door-yard, blooming, returning with spring.
195I cease from my song for thee,
196From my gaze on thee in the west, fronting the west, communing with thee,
197O comrade lustrous with silver face in the night.
198Yet each to keep and all, retrievements out of the night,
199The song, the wondrous chant of the gray-brown bird,
200And the tallying chant, the echo arous'd in my soul,
201With the lustrous and drooping star with the countenance full of woe,
202With the holders holding my hand nearing the call of the bird,
203Comrades mine and I in the midst, and their memory ever to keep, for the dead I loved so well,
204For the sweetest, wisest soul of all my days and lands -- and this for his dear sake,
205Lilac and star and bird twined with the chant of my soul,
206There in the fragrant pines and the cedars dusk and dim.

I'm sorry for the length and the line numbers and all, but I just can't type that much. I only use two fingers. Walt, like President Lincoln that he is writing about, mean alot to me.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Nonsense Song

It has been quite some time since I have contributed to this site, and for that I am ashamed. I really need some high powered inspiration to let me write poems, and frankly, I have been running a little shy as of late, but to rectify that somewhat I would like to share with you, not a work of my own, but some of the poetry that I have been reading. The poem is by an englishman named W. H. Auden. Perhaps some of you have heard of him. I had not, until recently. Without further ado....

Nonsense Song

My love is like a red red rose
Or concerts for the blind,
She's like a mutton-chop before
And a rifle range behind.

Her hair is like a looking-glass,
Her brow is like a bog,
Her eyes are like a flock of sheep
Seen through a London fog.

Her nose is like an Irish jig,
Her mouth is like a 'bus,
Her chin is like a bowl of soup
Shared between all of us.

Her form divine is like a map
Of the United States,
Her foot is like a motor-car
Without its number-plates.

No steeple-jack shall part us now
Nor fireman in a frock;
True love could sink a Channel boat
Or knit a baby's sock.

(I just love the line about her rifle range behind.)


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

my eyes are always open

(this is a poem that I wrote in high school. I have no idea what it means or what I was thinking. It just goes to show you how much you change over the years)

my eyes are open yet I am tired
everything fades away into the clear blue darkness that they call dreams
I could live there forever for it is here that I am safe
everyone has their own guardian angel here
everything slowly fades away into the eye of a good friend
and we dressed alike today
I start to cry and my tears begin to shatter into grains of glass that my angel needs to walk on
next thing you know, she is crying too
I wish to reach out and give her a hug but it's too late
she is already out dancing on her wounded feet yet having a good time
I envy her for her courage and try to become more like her
he walks up to her and she quickly walks away without looking back
because that would be cheating
we all have flaws here
the darkness begins to fade into light
yet my eyes are still open
and I hate it here too

Monday, September 18, 2006


Today has GARFIELD written all over it. only one thing to do-- sing a few choruses of Flogging Molly:

Well I know, I miss more than hit
With a face that was launched to sink
An’ I seldom feel, the bright relief
It’s been the Worst Day Since Yesterday

If there’s one thing I have said
Is that the dreams I once had, now lay in bed
As the four winds blow, my wits through the door
It’s been the Worst Day Since Yesterday

Fallin’ down to you sweet ground
Where the flowers they bloom
It’s there I’ll be found
Hurry back to me, my wild calling
It’s been the Worst Day Since Yesterday

Though these wounds have seen no wars
Except for the scars I have ignored
And this endless crutch, well it’s never enough
It’s been the Worst Day Since Yesterday

Hell says hello, well it’s time to I should go
To pastures green, that I’ve yet to see
Hurry back to me, my wild calling
It’s been the Worst Day Since Yesterday
It's been the Worst Day Since Yesterday
It's been the Worst Day Since Yesterday

Welcome Haiku

Welcome to Dirty
The new telepath on staff
Who'll help sift moments.

My African Queen

A wise woman said,
"If you don't love your work,
Move aside and make room
For that someone
Who does loves it,
So that they may soar
And you can too."

But what if you find yourself
Up a quagmired career path,
Like Charlie and Rosie
Fighting the reeds
On the African Queen?

There is no turning back,
There is no easy path forward,
And no chance of jumping ship.

So what is a girl to do?
Keep slogging, rowing.
Focus on sinking the Louisa,
Prepare to be hung.

Love something hateful
For the sake of sanity, stability.
Perservere, pray, and redouble
The focus, the energy, the faith.

Overcome the pain when
Stinging insults
Cling like leeches
To the heart

And when the breeze
Finds you and the sun shines,
Lean back on the rudder
And soak it up.

Friday, September 08, 2006


sitting on the couch with my wife
and a plate of baked french fries
the gloaming coming on and the room darkening
I remember I'm a Thursday's Child and have "far to go."

Damnit, i've gone far enough already.
to my wife I say, while taking a fry from the blue plate
"I think when the kids grow up
and can take care of themselves
we should become barflies in the Keys."

there is a pause while we dip into ketchup
"we could go on the public dole" says I
"fuck all our education. We'll sleep under piers
get wrinkled from the sun,
like a pair of apple dolls."

she takes a fry, chews silently.
Bob the Builder rides Muck to Farmer Pickles field
to fix something-or-other on TV.

time passes.

"I think Hawaii has nicer beaches", she says.

I agree.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


when first I heard "Pussywillows, Cat-tails" by Gordon Lightfoot
I was taken from this place and transported back to the Summer of the Witch.

It was the fall when I was dating Phoenix the witchy-woman
and lived closer to the earth
between the ground and the Goddess

and we went to a Medieval Fayre as the leaves began to turn gold
and we strolled in the electric blue of the afternoon
sunbright but not hot

We walked barefoot and came upon another witchy-woman
selling magic items and I bought a blue crystal sphere from her
carged with her energy; I could feel it vibrate in my hands

We walked, we were amongst like kind, we stared into each other's eyes
there in the woods we felt Home in a way I'd not felt in years.

It all came back when I heard Gordon's dulcet tones
and I wished I could go back for the afternoon to that place
just one more time.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


When came the last day of summer
I found I had no more time to write
only time to prepare for students.

Now a fortnight has passed since the beginning of the year.
Instead of working 20 hours of unpaid labor
I think I shall start writing more

Monday, August 07, 2006

Well, I Tried

I walked over to the poetry store off of Mass Ave in Cambridge.
I thought it would inspire a poem in me.
It was closed and I was released from all obligations.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Music grows in the rose,
The rock and the rain and the blowin’ snowstorm
Everything seems to sing, everywhere I go
I say 1, 2, play-me-doo,
Let me sound as sweet as you
Play me wide, play me long,
Let me be your song…

Lay me down on the ground
Song comes singin’ from the midnight places
Raise me high in the sky
Song comes driftin’ through
I say 1, 2, play-me-doo,
Let me sound as sweet as you
Play me wide, play me long,
Let me be your song…

Play me high, play me low
Play me where the wind winds blowin’
Play me wide me, play me long, play me for your song
I say 1, 2, play-me-doo,
Let me sound as sweet as you
Play me wide, play me long,
Let me be your song…

---Cantus and the Minstrels (Murray, Brio, Brool and Balsam)
"Fraggle Rock"

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Wish

I sat alone,
The room was dark.
My feelings raw.
Reality stark.

I cried salt tears,
I screamed aloud.
The silence boomed,
My cries were drowned.

I cried that night,
For all things lost.
To end the pain,
For time forgot.

The man stood near,
His bone hand shone,
One more wish, said he;
And I was gone.

I saw his sheath,
His skull grimace,
Death here had come,
And given grace.

I shook my head,
Fresh tears down gushed.
I gasped with fear.
My feelings rushed

And filled my soul,
My heart near broke.
I wished to LIVE…

…Then I awoke.

I crossed the floor,
The sun shone through,
The window there,
World washed, anew.

I walked outside,
I felt the air.
I took deep breaths,
Melted my cares.

Life was there,
And nearly took,
Stood near the edge,
My soul forsook.

I thanked the Lord,
I cried fresh tears.
He showed the way,
Revealed my fears.

No problem great,
No trial too strong,
No worry test,
No grievous wrong

Could make death come,
Upon my wish,
And thus I walked:
Life force. A fresh.
~ Written recently by my good friend Alice Collison, from Kidderminster, Worcestershire, United Kingdom, and published here with her full permission. I think she's an exceptional poet, though she strangely doesn't know it. - Jas...

Thursday, July 27, 2006


the last 2 are some o' my favs...

Teacher inservice
Feel my life slipping away
Can’t wait to go home.

Soda pop and chips
That’s all I have for dinner.
Must go to the store.

Turn off that TV!
Shut down! Read a book instead!
Stretch out with your mind!

You gave me something.
What do I do with this thing?
It confuses me…

The baby grows fast
Swimmer in the secret sea
We must get ready

You are quite pregnant
And you throw up every day
I hope it’s worth it…

I forgot my pills
The little pink one I take
To keep myself calm

I think she is cute
I should say something witty
So that she’s impressed.

What’s that he’s eating?
It’s bright blue and small and square
I’m not sure it’s food.

I should do some work,
Be responsible…
What’s on the TV?

Sunday, July 23, 2006


You can't order a poem like you order a taco.
Walk up to the counter, say, "I'll take two"
and expect it to be handed back to you
on a shiny plate.

Still, I like your spirit.
Anyone who says, "Here's my address,
write me a poem," deserves something in reply.
So I'll tell you a secret instead:
poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.

Once I knew a man who gave his wife
two skunks for a valentine.
He couldn't understand why she was crying.
"I thought they had such beautiful eyes."
And he was serious. He was a serious man
who lived in a serious way. Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so. He really
liked those skunks. So, he re-invented them
as valentines and they became beautiful.
At least, to him. And the poems that had been hiding
in the eyes of skunks for centuries
crawled out and curled up at his feet.

Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give us
we find poems. Check your garage, the odd sock
in your drawer, the person you almost like, but not quite.
And let me know.

---Naomi Shihab Nye

Saturday, July 22, 2006


back in 2001 I was teaching English/Language Arts at an urban middle school. We were studying poetry, specifically the haiku. I assigned students to go home and write four haiku for homework. They grumbled like hell and I said it wasn't THAT hard-- I could write 40 haikus over nite. They doubted me, and I penned 4 pages worth of haikus--about 80 in all-- in a little over 2 hours while still at school. 80 haikus are waaaay too much to sift thru in 1 post, so I'll break 'em up for ya. Here's the first session, many are school related:

Soft rains fall tonight
I hear it splash on windows
It lulls me to sleep

Sitting on the roof
I see the bright stars come out
I feel the wind blow

Winter blows cold winds
The blood rises to my face
I soon head indoors

My students are cool
Even though they talk all day.
I hope they’ll all pass…

I hate broccoli!
Their loathsome green flower-heads!
Throw it all away!

See the fuzzy peach.
Soft hair grows from it’s surface
The fruit needs a shave.

Yo’ momma be phat!
I say she be on rye bread!
How can you stand it?

I’m on a diet.
Eating up celery stalks
I dream chocolate.

Sitting in meetings
I feel my butt go numb.
My brain will follow.

Rubrics all around
District gives huge piles of them
All to change next year.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Job Security Blues

This week's been busy
No sense in lyin'.
I feel like Neo
defending ol' Zion.

In with the bad,
out with the fixed.
I'm running rapidly
out of computer tech tricks.

I think the planets
are aligned just so
that many a wrench
in the gears are bestowed!

And yet, here I am
without worry or fret
that my job won't be here
tomorrow I'll bet!

For 'long as I receive
computers so broken.
I'll have food on the table
and that nice brass token.

In the mean time I'll
stop my job bitchin',
throwin' a fit,
and shoulder from twitchin'.


Saturday, July 15, 2006


All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places
Worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going no where
Going no where

Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression
No expression
Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrow
No tomorrow
No tomorrow

And I find it kind of funny I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very very
Mad world
Mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy birthday
Happy birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen
Sit and listen

Went to school and I was very nervous

No one knew me
No one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson
Look right through me
Look right through me

And I find it kind of funny I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very very
Mad world
Mad world
Enlarging your world
Mad world

---Gary Jules
Donny Darko soundtrack

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Twelve Little Girls and a Ballerina

Twelve little girls and a ballerina
Holding hands in a circle
Skipping on their toes
Around and around.

I choke up and laugh
My daughter among them.
Her first dance class
Full of sweetness.

The other mothers and I
Gather in the hall,
Craning our necks to watch
Our baby girls learn to leap.

We take turns standing
In the spot with the best view;
The unspoken rotation
Moving like clockwork.

We laugh as our rookies
Fall, or walk instead of march,
Or look at themselves in the mirror
Instead of at Miss Jeanie.

We hope they behave.
We hope they excel.
We hope they are nice to each other.
We hope find peace in the movement of their bodies.

When they are done
They exit the dance floor
Into a mob of grace,
Of hopeful mothers,
Of seasoned young dancers.

And these baby girls
Devour their lollipops
Unmoved by the power
Of their own gifts.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Flannery's Blue Imp comes south every Monday.
He arrives between 3 and 3:15 AM each and every Monday
to pinch and poke and prod the sleeping Eggman
and cause him to awake in misery or delight
to cry, laugh, scream or jump for 3 solid hours.

This has been
going on for months
and I think there's only so much more I can take
before I leave for the Keys and become a barfly.

I'll grow a beard and wear cheap $2 sunglasses
I'll have a ratty ol' white linen suitcoat
and no shoes.
They'll call me "El Greco" and ask where I'm from
and I'll say, "oh, here n' there."

I'll sleep on piers and work for a few bucks a day when the mood hits
helping fishing boats or handing out tourist pamphlets
and often dream of drowning myself in the ocean.

But at least I'll be able to get more than 4 hours of sleep
on any given Monday.

Friday, July 07, 2006


my sunglasses have no bows
my laptop doesn't close properly
my stove is missing a knob
the printer will only accept 1 sheet at a time

Now the children are both sick
burning up with 103 fevers
the doc wants lots of $$$ before he'll see 'em
when did my life turn into a Dickens novel?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Jingle-poems Brought to you by the Ketchup Advisory Board:

These are the good years
Grilling 4th of July weenies
Sunshine and swimming
In your Star-Spangled bikinis…
Life is flowing, like Ketchup on zucchinis…

Ketchup. For the Good Life.

These are the good years
Independence day is here
M-80’s exploding
Stick your fingers in your ears
Life is flowing, like Ketchup in your beer…

Ketchup. For the Good Life.

These are the good years
On the 4th of July
Fireworks exploding
Way up in the sky
Life is flowing, like Ketchup on apple pie…

Ketchup. For the Good Life.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


You may need to click on that to enlarge it. I felt it was not my place to merely put the text in, as the illustration was clearly intended to be part of the poem.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I was poking through the larder the other day on the sixth Noels.
I was thinking Christmassy thoughts, trying to keep the Season alive within me,
At the opposite side of the year.

It wasn’t easy; the heat without was oppressive
High summer
Humidity enough to flood the lungs, like breathing underwater

When dressed at all that day we were in swimsuits
Thumb over the end of the hose
Misting ourselves down on the porch
The wood hot enough to cook eggs
Metal surfaces too hot to even look comfortably at,
Nevermind touch.

Coming inside I scouted for food

Found a surprise.

There were four of them left
precious like curved scepters in a jeweled box I took one out
carefully peeled back the cellophane Intending to enjoy it myself, I found the need to break it in half when The Eggman entered the room his memory for such Christmas treats as long as mine

We stood at the window watching light play on the Otter Pond
It TASTED like Christmas
Tasted like a hundred happy memories
Like song and family and warm fires and colored lights
It tasted like Home.

We stood at the window, The Eggman and I
Tasting the cool of Christmastide
In the furnace of Summer.

My Haiku's Are So Aggressive

Let's meet at the line
Of scrimmage, mate, face to face
A battle pending.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Lil' Miss Sunshine and I were playing on the deck
spraying water with the hose in the Florida sun

a roach headed for the back door
intent on exploring the wasteland beneath our fridge

I sprayed it with water and blasted it to the edge
I thought I'd be Zen and not stomp it to death

from it's back it righted itself and headed again towards the door
I blasted it again, off the edge of the deck

The bug spotted the neighbors door and headed that way
a grey toad jumped out of a crack behind it and swallowed the roach whole

There's a lesson in there, I know
but I don't yet know what it is.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Vogon Fight Song

Small minds, small ideas, rules
Scorn them not, you maverick!
Hail the status quo!
Hail bureaucracy!
These things, these systems you abhor
As fussy, boring, and didactic
May save you someday.
It is true, they may prevent
The launch of an idea that will change the world
For the good of all humankind,
It is also then true that
They have the power to halt the march of crazy.
And for that, you should be jubilant.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

As I Sit on the Deck

As I sit on the deck of our new home
I see the geese fly and the animals roam

As I sit on the deck watching the sun go down
I see the breeze make the water on the lake go round

As I sit on the deck I hear the distance sounds
Of airplanes, cars and trains abound

As I sit on the deck I am filled with peace
Knowing my three little ones are fast asleep

As I sit on the deck my mind can mend
From the long day that has finally come to an end


When your cupboards are filled with the ghosts of food
and you can't get to the store
and you can't make a boxed cake because you're out of eggs

Buttered noodles shall never abandon you

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Precious memories, unseen angels
sent from somewhere to my soul
how they linger ever near me
and the sacred scenes unfold

precious memories, how they linger
how they ever flood my soul
in the stillness of the midnight
precious, sacred scenes unfold

precious father, loving mother
fly across the moonlit years
and those home scenes of my childhood
in fond memories appear

precious memories, how they linger
how they ever flood my soul
in the stillness of the midnight
precious, sacred scenes unfold

as I travel on life's pathways
I know not what years may hold
as I wonder hopes grow fonder
precious memories flood my soul

precious memories, how they linger
how they ever flood my soul
in the stillness of the midnight
precious, sacred scenes unfold

precious memories, how they linger
how they ever flood my soul
in the stillness of the midnight
precious, sacred scenes unfold

---Old Crow Medicine Show

Thursday, June 15, 2006


My eldest daughter brought down a small collection of poems that she'd written and illustrated for school. though this is not the first in the book she wrote, this is one of my most favorites:


Mine goodwife, Goldberry, ripped this one off last nite after reading my
poem about Morning Coffee

There once was girl from Erie
Who's outlook was said to be dreary
she would sit around and mope,
she just couldn't cope
the Dr. said Asperger's was the theory

(it's been a tuff week for our Sunny-flower, folks: there was that tropical storm what's-his-name... Al or something... that buggered her trip to Florry-Daah, and we've been too broke to go anywhere...)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


My 12 y.o. daughter is a coffee drinker.
Granted, she takes hers foofy
Creamer, milk, hot chocolate mix
Stirred (not shaken)
Served in a glass beer mug--
HAPPY ST. PATS! 1992--
But her old man didn’t become a Java Man
Until he was 16.

She sits in her PJ’s at the laptop
Feeding her NeoPets
Checking her email
Drinking her coffee
Her brother runs up to check in
And give her arm a tight squeeze
Before running off

Our Missing Piece is back with us
And we’re sharing morning coffee.


It's so much easier to face the day
When I'm not the only one working for pay.
The drive seems shorter.
The work easier.
And the bills not so scary to pay.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Goodbye to my Mama, my uncles and aunts
One after they went to lie down
In the green pastures besides the still water
And made no sound

Their arms that had held me for so many years
Their beautiful voices, no longer I hear,
They’re in Jesus’ arms and He’s talking to them
In the rapturous New Jerusalem

And I know they’re at peace in a land of delight
But I miss my Mama tonight…

Goodbye Eleanor and aunt Frannie and Jo
Goodbye Uncle Jim and Elsie and Dot
Goodbye to my Mama who went to lie down
And now is gone…

Who’s hands are these all rough and hard?
Nails are torn with toil and care
Who cleaned the house and swept the yard?
Touched my cheek and stroked my hair?

Thank you Mama, the Lord give you peace
Bless your voice and the songs you sung
Bless your arms and your hands and your knees
How you loved us when we were young

The Lord’s my Shepard, I’ll not want
I have my Mama, my uncles and aunts
Water so still and pastures so green
Goodness and mercy following me
Goodness and mercy following me

---Garrision Keillor, Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin
“A Prarie Home Companion”

Thursday, June 08, 2006


when I watch her sleep
I see the future shadows
of who she'll become

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Applejuice is positively sinful...

I've tried before
but can't ignore
the taste of applejuice.

Where once was just
hardly a lust
now gives my tongue a goose!

Truly feeling life
is somewhat rife
with tons of sensations.

While there is quite
a just delight
we also feel chagrin.

And what better way
to thus display
my point that life's a treat?

Than take a drink
and really think
how applejuce tastes so sweet!

~written when the author dropped the cocoon of emotional protection and decided to live life to the fullest for the first time just weeks ago, and tried Applejuice for the first time (though he'd had it lots of times before) and discovered just how sinful it was!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy Birthday, Aaron!

This haiku goes out to my cousin on his 32nd birthday...

Aaron is my cuz.
I think he is great even
Though he's miles away.


Wrote this this AM still stewing about the friggin moron who called the cops 'cuz they spied our toddler standing nude at our back window...

A person incredibly rude
Called the cops ‘cuz they saw my son nude
But the officer said that night
It was Sol’s God-given right
And the callers right to be a prude

The cops also said, apparently
That the caller had also spied a nude me
But if you squint through my patio glass
And you spy my naked white ass
Then that’s what you get for invading my privacy

So this morning when we descended the stairs
We made sure that we came down quite bares
We all shook our bums
And jiggled our tums
In a celebration of letting down our hairs.

Besides, it’s Florida! It’s much to hot
To go around wearing a lot
So we wear garments quite teeny
Like an itty-bitty string bikini
And strut around in all that we got

The whole thing is so incredibly silly
To have the cops run ‘round willy-nilly
When there is terrible, REAL crime
Going on all the time
But instead they’re dealing with a 3 year old’s willy

And so my friends, to this suggestion abide
If you’re examining your neighbors house on the inside
You may spy someone’s tits
Or their partner’s naughty bits
And it’s best to just to turn your gaze to the side

So let me close on this thought for the day--
You can interpret it just as you may--
If God wanted us to be nude,
‘cuz He don’t think it’s rude,
Then we would all be BORN that way!!

Monday, June 05, 2006


There are pictures on the piano, pictures of the family
Mostly my kids but there’s no picture of your and me
You were 5 and I was 6 in 1952
That was 40 years ago, how could it be true?

We were sitting outside the drawing at a table meant for cards
And it must have been in autumn, falling leaves in the front yard
With a shoebox full of crayons, full of colors oh so bright
In a picture in a plastic frame, a snapshot, black and white

You were looking at my paper, watching what I drew
It was natural I was older, 13 months more than you
A brother and a sister, a little boy and girl
And whoever took that picture, they captured our whole world

Now a brother needs a sister to watch what he can do
To protect and to torture, to boss around, it’s true
But a brother will defend her, for a sister’s love is pure
Because she thinks he’s wonderful, even when he’s not so sure

In the picture there’s a fender of our old Chevrolet
Or a Pontiac, our dad would know-- surely he could say
But dad is dead and we grow old, it’s true the time flies by
And in 40 years the world is changed, as well as you and I…

---Lauden Wainright
Sung by Sally Dworski on Prarie Home Companion, 6/3/06

Sunday, June 04, 2006


our 3 year old son
can strip nude in 10 seconds
we know, we timed him

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Reading Peanuts strips
Christmas nineteen fifty-six
snow on Snoopy's house

it brought it all back
waking in late December
fresh, crystaline snow

snow perched on branches
sparkling in the morning sun
greets me when I wake

I decend the stairs
to find the Christmas tree lit
sparkling like the snow

I pause, hold my breath
light filters through the windows...
Close my eyes... I'm there

Friday, June 02, 2006


This is a good'un for the first Friday in Joon:
Every day the world begins again
sunny skies or rain
come and follow me...

every sunrise shows me more and more
so much to explore
come and follow me...

Every morning, every day
every evening, calling me away...

While the sun goes 'round I'll still be found
following the sound
somethings calling me

when the world goes drifting back to bed
memories in my head
wonders follow me...

every morning, every day
every evening, calling me away...

every morning, every day
every evening, calling me away...

---Uncle "Traveling" Matt and Nephew Gobo
"Meet the Fraggles"

Thursday, June 01, 2006


the day dawned and the light streamed in.
I awoke before my sleeping son and laid there in bed reading delightful morning thoughts
and listening to him breathe

when he awoke he was all smiles and hugs, happy to see me home on a weekday
we played peek a boo and hold-hands in the comforter until it was time to go downstairs

morning milk, but nothing to eat, we awaited the arising of mine goodwife

kids in the car, we fought the heat of early noon to the store to stock up on food

home, we unpacked and gobbled frozen waffles, a favorite

suits on, we besmeared ourselves with SPF 40 and headed to the water
where the kids squealed and split their faces wide with grins of pure joy to be in the water

pinky-red and dripping we return to the dark, cool dark of the apartment
drink limeaid, a favorite summer-only drink from my childhood
my children smack their lips at the tartness and hold cups aloft for more

naptime for mom and baby while the Eggman plays with blocks and I write
endless text rolling around my head, pressing outwards like fluff bursting from milkweed pods

it's summer and I change the wallpaper of my school laptop to Dink's Ass, something unthinkable on school time and I laugh loud with schoolboy glee when I press the OK button
("and who's tushie-can is THAT?" asks my wife
"my new girlfriend's" I quip back
"Uh-huh..." says she, then a pause
"it IS a good looking ass, though...")

tho' it be the beginning of summer, we made a giant pot of comfort food and ate it until we were weighted to the spot

As the sun sat, the Eggman began looking out longingly at the ripples on the pool and wished to go and dip his toes again

though it was approaching 9 PM, why NOT go swimming?
Why not stay awake until 2 AM reading Twain on the balcony?
'Tis June the First
'Tis summer; nothing else is required of me

Flea Bag Motel

The old TV's broke.
The promised cable service
A deep, profound lie.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Found this and love it bunches. Tis a good'un for "hump day."

We praise the colorectal surgeon
Misunderstood and much maligned
Slaving away in the heart of darkness
Working where the sun don't shine

Respect the colorectal surgeon
It's a calling few would crave
Lift up your hands and join us
Let's all do the finger wave

When it comes to spreading joy
There are many techniques
Some spread joy to the world
And others just spread cheeks
Some may think the cardiologist
Is their best friend
But the colorectal surgeon knows...
He'll get you in the end!

Why be a colorectal surgeon?
It's one of those mysterious things.
Is it because in that profession
There are always openings?

When I first met a colorectal surgeon
He did not quite understand;
I said, "Hey nice to meet you
But do you mind? We don't shake hands."

He sailed right through medical school
Because he was a whiz
Oh but he never thought of psychology
Though he read passages.
A doctor he wanted to be
For golf he loved to play,
But this is not quite what he meant...
By eighteen holes a day!

Praise the colorectal surgeon
Misunderstood and much maligned
Slaving away in the heart of darkness
Working where the sun don't shine!

--George Bowser and Ricky Blue

( to HEAR the song as an MP3, go HERE)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Ode to a bitchy customer...

I remember there being
and quite disagreeing
with a lonely and bitter old hag.

T’was a moment in my life
that cut like a sharp knife
as she stood clutching her grocery bag.

Never seen her before
while working at that store.
Said yesterday I kept an eye,

followed her ‘bout the aisles,
like she was on trial.
And making her just want to cry.

Like a good little boy
I let her enjoy
eating on my minimum wage ass.

What I’d like to have done
was take her by the bun,
And throw her through our store’s front plate glass!



I thought this would be good for a Monday AM...

People believe what their heart tells their eyes
So when you can’t get it all together—improvise!!
When you can’t get it all together, improvise!

You can’t tell a rose is a rose
If you keep it away from your nose
It might be made out of papier-mâché
But it’s a rose if you want it to be that way!

People believe what their heart tells their eyes
So when you can’t get it all together—improvise!!
When you can’t get it all together, improvise!

So give Easter eggs on the Fourth of July
Put bananas in your apple pie!
On Halloween give your girl a valentine
Instead of going out, take her in! Any day is fine!

People believe what their heart tells their eyes
So when you can’t get it all together—improvise!!
When you can’t get it all together, improvise!

---Antoine the French Caterpillar
“Here Comes Peter Cottontail”

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Stormy Weather

Time to slip away, I thought, as I grabbed my keys
And made for the door, quietly, stealthily.
Just a quick errand to seize the missing piece
For the puzzle I spent the better part of the day on.

In the garage on the top step I turned
And pressed the button to clear the last obstacle
Between me and the Jeep
And began to walk towards the world.

I froze in my forward paces,
Gobsmacked by the drama happening
As the curtain made of aluminum and steel
Rose to reveal nature's passion and rage.

Rain pounded the ground
As only a May thunderstorm
In my hometown can,
Furious, unyeilding, relentless

Raindrops flew from the hood of the Jeep
Like sweat from a boxer's brow
As he takes an uppercut from the Champ
And begins to stagger.

All thoughts of flight flew from my mind
As I stood, amazed, humbled, and wary,
I marveled at the glimpse of Nature's power
So rarely seen in this temperate territory.

A knock at the door interrupted my reverie
And I turned to see another storm brewing
In my daughters face as she realized
I was going to the store without her.

Chagrined, I explained I would be back soon
I gave her a hug as my love put an arm around her
And led her away to other distractions
I braced myself for the soaking and departed.


The Eggman began tossing and turning
When the green light of the clock read 7:50

A dark, calm night free from nightmare or hacking cough
I could see the sunlight filtering through the blinds
Through my eyelids, turning the world a bickish red

Going down to the first floor
The Eggman beside me, holding my hand down the stairs
I smiled to myself knowing that it was Sunday

A long weekend
The first weekend of summer vacation
A day in which there was nothing to do
Except whatever we wanted

No car (wife has it)
No phone (died, can’t find charge cord)
No school (it’s over)
No worries.

I pull aside the broken blinds
And I see an old man by the pool

He sits in sunlight at a green plastic table
His coffee is in a silver travel mug
His Sunday paper is in front of him
His shirt hangs off the back of his chair
The water’s surface is smooth as glass in all directions

I come to see that he and I are brothers
We have nothing that needs to be done
(nothing that can’t wait a good hour or two while we enjoy the rising of the sun)
We are freed today from the tyranny of work
And we both know it

Friday, May 26, 2006


With all due respect to Jackson Browne, I submit the following end-of-year variation on a theme:

Now the desks are all empty
Let the teachers take the stage
Pack the books and tear the posters down
We’re the first to come and the last to leave
Working for that state-minimum wage
We’ll set it up in another room

This year the students were so fine
They all stood so neatly in line
And when they got up to read their work it made the show

And that was sweet--
But I can hear the sound
of closing doors and moving desks
And that’s a sound they’ll never know

Now roll out them tables and lift them lamps
Haul the filing cabinets down the wheelchair ramps
cuz when it comes to moving classrooms
all the teachers are the champs
but when the last report card’s been packed away
You know I still want to stay
So I’ll just sit here for a moment, though
Before I go home for the summer, oh...

But the custodians need the keys
They’re waiting for us to go
They’ve got floors to strip and polish and make glow

Sometimes I just don’t know
I’ve taught for so many years in a row
And these classrooms all look the same
We’ll just pass the time in the teacher’s lounge
And wander ‘round our new rooms
Till those lights come up and we hear that crowd
And we remember why we came

Now we got math and science to teach our kids
Reading and writing skills and all the stuff they need to know
We’ll make rural scenes from cut up magazines
We’ve got the office ladies on the intercom-CB
We’ve got Bill Nye the Science Guy on the video

We got time to think of the ones we love
While we fill out the paperwork for speech
But the only time that seems too short
Is the time that we get to teach

Lawmakers you’ve got the power over what we do
You can sit there and wait Or you can pull us through
Come along, sing the song
You know most of what you’ve legislated is wrong
cause when that morning sun comes beating down
You're going to wake up in your town
But well be scheduled to appear
to teach our students both far and near...

Thursday, May 25, 2006


no one can tear the heart and wrench a tear from the eye like the Irish. If you think the words are sad, you should hear the song they come from...

In Norwa there sits a maid
"Byloo, my baby," she begins
"little know I my child's father
for if land or sea he's living in."

Then there arose at her bed feet
a grumbly guest, I'm sure it was he
saying "here am I, thy child's father
although I am not comely

"I am a man upon the land
I am a selchie in the sea
and when I am in my own country
my dwelling is in Suleskerry."

Then he had taken a purse of gold
and he hath put it upon her knee
saying, "Give to me my little wee son
and take thee up thy nurse's fee

"it shall come to pass on a summer's day
when sun shines hot on every stone
that I shall take my wee son
and teach him for to swim in the foam

"you will marry a gunner good
and a proud good gunner I'm sure he will be
but he'll go out on a May morning
and kill both my wee son and me."

Loath she did marry a gunner good
and a proud good gunner, I'm sure it was he
the very first shot that he did shoot
he killed the son and the gray selchie

In Norwa there sits a maid
"Byloo, my baby" she begins,
"Little know I my child's father
for if land or sea he's living in."

In Norwa there sits a maid...

---trad. Scottish, performed by Solas

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Wind Chimes...

When the wind chime tings.
I find I cannot recall every sound it makes.
For that is not its purpose.
The sound it just made is not my concern.
Every sound it makes is new.
And therein lies the beauty of all things.



WHEN I found my mother's old electric typewriter in our storage unit
I was transported back in time 20 or more years in a moment.

I saw her sitting at our kitchen table, 1/2 glasses in purple frames perched on her nose
hands dancing over keys
looking not at the platen nor at the keys
but off to the left at an organic chemistry test she was copying

A great feat, everyday magic, it was
to see her fingers fly and dance and make the keys hammer words onto the white page

Mom liked silence when she worked
no radio, no television
so the music of the tiny hammers building grand architecture
filled the house

When she would pause to think
leaning back and crossing her arms waiting for a word or concept or good test question to surface
the silence was palpable and loud

when she leaned forward to resume
the hammerpound of the keys would again fill the air
a unique melody not oft heard in the world anymore

"Stop by Office Depot, please" says I to mine goodwife
as we motor around town
"What do you need there?" she asks, knowing school is almost over
"I'm looking for typewriter ribbon," says I
"I need to play an old, familiar song."

Friday, May 19, 2006


When the power went out at 5 AM The Eggman crawled into bed with me.

The world was devoid of light in a way
Plunged into inky darkness

No nightlight
No soft filtering of the floods by the pool
Coming thru the slats of the blinds

What were we to do?
No light to crawl forth from bed
No TV to watch
No microwave, oven or toaster to make food with
Best not to open the freezer

We lay in the dark staring at the still ceiling fan
Listening to the dead silence
Watching shadows splay along the wall from a passing car
Like an alien floodlight passing through
Looking for someone to study

We lay there together
The Eggman Velcro’d to me against the dark
Thinking our twilight thoughts
Waiting for the coming of the light.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Standing My Ground

I am a stone wall
Silence my only weapon
You can't climb over

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


while I work on my newest poem, here's something to tide you over. One of my all-time fav songs by The Call.
Here's to the babies in a brand new world
Here's to the beauty of the stars
Here's to the travelers on the open road
Here's to the dreamers in the bars

Here's to the teachers in the crowded rooms
Here's to the workers in the field
Here's to the preachers of the sacred words
Here's to the drivers at the wheel

Here's to you my little loves, with blessings from above
now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves, with blessings from above
now let the day begin, let the day begin

Here's to the winners of the human race
Here's to the losers in the game
Here's to the soldiers of the bitter war
Here's to the wall that bears their name

Here's to you my little loves, with blessings from above
now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves, with blessings from above
now let the day begin, let the day begin, let the day start

Here's to the doctors and their healing work
here's to the loved ones in their care
here's to the stangers on the streets tonight
here's to the lonely everywhere

here's to the wisdom from the mouths of babes
here's to the lions in their cage
here's to struggles of the silent war
here's to the closing of the age.

Here's to you my little loves, with blessings from above
now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves, with blessings from above
now let the day begin

Here's to you my little loves, with blessings from above
now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves, with blessings from above
now let the day begin, let the day start

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ode to Picking Flowers...

At the office building
where I profess to work,
I happen to fell witness
to quite an irksome quirk.

I noticed earlier on
when I walked to the door
that all the flower beds
were bare down to the core.

Where yesterday were flowers
and plants all strong and pert,
all that then there stood
were giant squares of dirt.

What happened? Weren’t they pretty?
Did they not look sublime?
They were just pulled too damn quickly
‘fore they reached their prime!

And then I saw this afternoon
a big white flatbed truck.
“We Care” was printed on the doors,
but they don’t give a schmuck!

Four men leapt out and with them came
Some pallets of fresh flowers.
Chrysanthemums, perennials…
But they’ll be gone in hours.

Why bother? And why take the time
to think about it much?
This is why I think big business
is so out of touch.

To scoop away those healthy plants
in all their flourish glory
without a thought of creating
a blossom’s worst sob story!


Monday, May 15, 2006


My mom did not believe in double-jeopardy for her coffee mugs.

If a favorite mug jumped from the shelf
Crashing to the floor
And survived with only chips or missing fragments
That could be glued back in
(What might be called ceramic surgery)
It was placed on the shelf with

That's your favorite mug, mom
I'd say.
It's repaired, why not use it again?

It's a mug, son, not a soldier
She'd say
Once it's seen combat it's not fair to send it back in
For then it may not be just chipped or broken
It may be destroyed completely
And then I shan't have it at all.
Touchstones should not be allowed to be destroyed.

Tho' young, I understood instinctively her
Attachments to objects.

When my youngest picked up my favorite coffee mug
Made 5 years ago by my oldest
Pretended to drink and with a flourish
Threw it back over her head
I calmed my anger
And picked up the pieces.

It went back together like a puzzle
And then went on the shelf.

What's Sunflower's mug doing up there?
Asked mine goodwife...

Friday, May 12, 2006


"[he was] not famous to Henry Perowne, who read no poetry in adult life, even after he aquired a poet father-in-law. Of course he began as soon as he discovered he'd fathered a poet himself. But it cost him an effort on unaccustomed sort. Even a first line can produce a tightness behind his eyes. Novels and movies, being restlessly modern, propel you forward or backwards through time, through days, years or even generations. But to do it notice and judging, poetry balances itself on the pinprick of the moment. Slowing down, stopping yourself completely to read and understand a poem is like trying to aquire an old fashioned skill, like dry-stone walling or trout tickling."

---Ian McEwan

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Taken by Surprise

I had to share this because I was taken by surprise on this one. My son and daughter were drawing pictures for me. My husband thought it was cute and started chanting:

Two, four, six, eight
Who do we love to aggrivate

I laughed so hard because it seems so true. I think that's going to be my Mother's Day poem this year.

Karmic Retribution, in C Minor...

It cracks me up
when I doth drive
on past the police station.

And by the way,
I mean no harm
of sex discrimination!

But half the city’s
pretty girls
are there, just sitting stale.

For pretty girls
seem to fancy bad boys,
and bad boys fancy jail!


(Written whilst the author was driving through downtown on the way home from work, who then, being of sound mind and physique, took his usual convenient shortcut to the freeway past the police station where he continues to this day to bear witness to ten, sometimes twenty different women who stir his blood, sitting on the railing and benches, bored, and most likely awaiting their bad boy-boyfriend’s or bad boy-husbands’ release from the clinker… and he wonders why they aren’t modeling for some glossy magazine and making thirty times the money they probably were making as it was instead of sitting there, bored, waiting to take their bad boy-men home, the same men who probably abuse them physically because they’re bad boys. Written also from the context that the author is and always has been a nerd of sorts who has always been a jealous second to the bad boys when growing up in school and looking for girls to date, yet finding none, but who also knows that Karma is doing its job.)


When I was 10
I fell in love with a girl that didn't exist
I was in Waldenbooks and I discovered
Faeries by Brian Froud
I loved the world he had painted and drawn
creatures dangerous and mischevious
ugly and sublime
all living amongst us but just beyond the range of human perception
it was 1978, long before the US Army accepted Wicca as a religion
and before people spoke in the common tongue of such things
as faerie and the fay folk,
of Mother Earth and Father Sky and the magic around and between
(it was also before the time of the Internet and the search for old, dirty men
seeking out the affections of young children
which explains why you may feel a bit odd when you borrow the book
and see who I soon fell in love with
[remember I was ten
and this was before the world moved on])
I fell first in love with the art
the charcoal line and transparent swath of watercolor
that made my own drawings look absurd, childish and embarassing
(indeed, I stopped drawing altogether for nearly 10 years
not realizing that Froud was a trained artist
with much, MUCH time to create)
Then, under Faerie Fauna, under Primrose, I found HER

even at ten it was her eyes that got me

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


So there I was last evening
my checkbook in my hand.
My favorite pen a’weaving
big numbers as I’d planned.

First the rent and then the gas,
then ‘lectricity.
Credit cards have left me scarred
but they’re so cute and pretty!

Next comes cable, hardly stable,
phone and internet,
cell phones, daycare, laundry, loans!
My brow begins to sweat.

With all my paycheck spent now
I might start mowing lawns.
Unless we get more money
I’ll be clippin’ coupons!


Monday, May 08, 2006


WHEN the surf came to play with the three little mermaids
it tickled first their toes
and attempted, in it's zeal, to take them back
The three little mermaids merely laughed
and let the sea splash over them
for they would decide for themselves when to return
and how long they would feel cool sand beneath them

Saturday, May 06, 2006


This is a poem about when things get out of hand.

Our principal is Mrs, Kite
(we all think she’s quite alright!)

One beautiful April day
She walked into our café
And her eyes opened in dismay!

There was food everywhere!
Pizza was flying through the air!
A blob of mustard landed in her hair!
She was ready to curse and swear!

She yelled, “what on Earth is going on in here?!”
As mashed potatoes landed in her ear
and her jacket turned brown from thrown root beer
and someone who was sitting very near
splashed her water (it didn’t stain, it was clear)

No one heard a word she said!
They kept throwing the food on which they fed!
Someone poured brown gravy on a first grader’s head
And someone tossed a big yellow glob of Cheez Whiz spread!
Mrs. Kite was hit by flying garlic bread
And her shoes were now stained cherry red!!

Food was stuck to the ceiling and the walls and floor
Mrs. Kite yelled but everyone did ignore
Everything she said and they grabbed for more
Food to throw and drinks to pour
Until Mrs. Kite let out a mighty roar

(she wiped chocolate pudding off her right eyebrow)

Everyone stopped and looked at the mess they made.
The horrible disaster from this joke they played
It looked like someone let loose a food hand grenade.

“have fun cleaning this mess up”, she said, “you may need to use a hose”
And she went back home to change her clothes.

(she spent the rest of the day calling parents!)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Why I’m a redneck, and I don’t hunt.

Quail hunting in my days of youth
the higher grasses my boot doth tramps.
Coveys take flight so loud it spooks,
would always make me piss my pants.

See, quail don’t disperse alone.
They always burst forth from the brush
in greater numbers. They doth hone
their shotgun takeoff. What a rush!

There was a time when I was seven
hunting rabbits with my dad.
I sent a hare to Bunny Heaven,
but not too soon. My aim was bad.

Armed with just a pellet rifle,
ammo bag across my hide,
the bunny got a lead filled eyeful.
Squealing while I stood and cried.

From that day on, I gave up short,
no longer dressed in camouflage.
I see no cause to hunt for sport,
no bed for me at the ol’ lodge!

So here I am, an odd cliché,
a warrior less a hunting vest.
But I can think of other ways
to have a manly piss contest!


Wednesday, May 03, 2006


This concludes my musings about disgusting, phlegm-like animals people put into their mouths.

"He turns the corner into Paddington Street and stoops in front of an open air display of fish on a steeply raked slab of marble. He sees at a glance that everything he needs is here; such abundance from the emptying seas. On the floor by the doorway piled in two wooden crates like rusting industrial rejects are the crabs and lobsters, and in the tangle of warlike body parts, there is discernable movement. On their pincers they’re wearing funerarial black bands. It’s fortunate for the fishmonger and his customers that sea creatures are not adapted to make use of sound waves and have no voice, otherwise there’d be howling from those crates. Even the silence among the softly stirring crowd is troubling. He turns his gaze away towards the bloodless white flesh and eviscerated silver forms with their unaccusing stare, and the deep sea fish arranged in handy, overlapping steaks of innocent pink like cardboard pages of a baby’s first book.

"Naturally Perowne the fly fisher has seen the recent literature. Scores of polymodal nosesceptor sites just like ours in the head and neck of rainbow trout. It was once convenient to think Biblically, to believe that we’re surrounded for our benefit by edible automata on land and sea. Now it turns out that even fish feel pain. This is the growing complication of the modern condition, the expanding circle of moral sympathy. Not only distant peoples are our brothers and sisters but foxes too, and laboratory mice, and now the fish. Perowne goes on catching and eating them and though he’d never drop a lobster into boiling water he’s prepared to order one in a restaurant. The trick, as always, the key to human domination, is to be selective in your mercies."

---Ian McEwan