Poems

Recent Publications



Four Haiku

­absorb this silence
one cloud lodged in boundless sky
solitude my home

between lost and found
vision quest for clarity
through this savage light

there between heartbeats
a coyote’s dismal keening
miles away? within?

wind lips crevice, bluff
stone music’s random harmonics
canyon lullaby

From “Heart Breaths: Book of Contemporary Haiku”


Three Haiku

note from The Big Bend
“Rained right up to my fenceline.
Bring dust colored clothes.”

roadside descanso
baby shoe tied to pink cross
love’s honey and salt

the beat drives all things
metronome of wing and hoof
cadence of the dance

From 2016 Chaos West of the Pecos, Volume 20


2016-Texas-Poetry-CalendarGone to Texas

Born again in this Ford Ranger,
arrowing west on 10 with a squall line,
Houston morphs to Lego Land in the mirror.
Guilt, that mangy coyote, lopes alongside,
somersaults away at the Pecos.
Cut the curve onto 67 like a barrel racer.
Scatter shot sun blasts the windshield.
Stilettos staked on a cattle guard,
diamond ring flung in a bar ditch:
East Coast glitter-litter.
Desert wind scalped, drunk on distance,
I’ll trust Willie, old stoned Orpheus,
to rasp me out a ranch road,
tires firing up caliche smoke signals.
In my story, I’ll never look back.

From “Texas Poetry Calendar 2016”


2015-Gunpowder-ReviewThree Haiku

sound of a cascade
wind strips Chinquapin branches
waterfalls of leaves

Hummingbirds are gone
wind chimes are a carillon
tonight the first frost

tree rings lap outward
synergy of drought  and flood
forms cosmic circles

Appeared in the 2015 The GunPowder Review literary magazine


2015-Chaos-Vol-19Three Haiku

a scalding blue sky
desert dreams rain’s redemption
mare’s tail  angel wings

predator or prey
cutting for sign bones then tracks
final reckoning

sand scoured  adobe
crucible of the desert
sun bleached silence, peace

From 2015 Chaos West of the Pecos, Volume 19


TPC14PrelimFrontCover-thumbnail

barbed wire impaled skull
sky blasts blue through eye sockets
empty as this land

From “Texas Poetry Calendar 2014”

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cropped-loch-raven-review-spring-summer-2013-mastheadNine Haiku

camera, haiku
capture sundog, cloud fractal
interpreting light

Cottonwood shimmer
green balm in a creek hollow
promising water

cattle tank mirrors
sunset’s liquid radiance
sky in a tin cup

Blue Norther tracks moon
through shape-shifting cloud canyons
crackle glaze midnight

balanced on bright air
hawk between rising, falling
the only moment

slip away mountains
always on the horizon
haunting blue mirage

brilliant clockwork stars
wheel past Mitre Peak paced by
a pendulum moon

rain that is not rain
drifting virga, barren range
silent, distance sealed

Texas alchemy
blue mountain lupine, blue sky
as above, below

From “Loch Raven Review Spring-Summer 2013”


Chupacabra

Chupacabra Haiku

Are you beast, legend?
Elusive Chupacabra
lurking in my soul.

From “Unleash Your Inner Chupacabra”

 


 

Crossings

Crossings Cover sm— the geometer who wholly  applies
himself to measure the circle —
Dante

This leaf-stripped year’s last turning;
Streaming clouds pierced by
Random shards of pale light,
Wavering skeins of geese etch
The age-old pattern above us.

We stand beside your grave
And recall your countless journeys
Compassed by Italy, your homeland,
America, your refuge; your life,
Your work spanning the ocean between.

Bonded by your stubborn faith,
We converge from east and west
To honor your hopeful vision
And will with fierce unity
That you are circling, circling home–

Love in flight

From “Crossings”


 

High-Desert-TransitHigh Desert Transit: Three Paths

Poems from Exhibit Catalog

camera, haiku
capture sundog, cloud fractal
interpreting light

Cottonwood shimmer
green balm in a creek hollow
promising water

cattle tank mirrors
sunset’s liquid radiance
sky in a tin cup

Blue Norther tracks moon
through shape-shifting cloud canyons
crackle glaze midnight

balanced on bright air
hawk between rising, falling
the only moment


 

The-Gunpowder-Review---CoverSeamless

The pallid river is raked by a red dawn wind.
Minnows swirl through dim pilings;
small change tossed in the shallows.
Freeze-frame herons stalk breakfast,
a nutria pilots the mallard fleet.
When work boats begin grinding out to the bay,
I climb the path past your honeysuckle-swamped canoe,
trail breaks crusted with lichen.
Before hemlocks shroud the cove in green haze,
I turn to watch the inky silhouette
of your absence dissolve in glinting water.
As though you had never stood on that sun-bleached pier,
eyes cupped, charting an osprey across a summer sky.

Appeared in the 2010 Th Gunpowder Review literary magazine



Poems From My Books



 

cover AmazonFrom “Shadow Painting”

Elephant

domed head
boulder among boulders

trunk sways
ponderous rhythm

foot drums
beat a river path

mountain moved by water
sinks in the shallows

muted rumblings
echo the rapids

red furrows a low sun
plows past the ghats

in the grooves
of a granite hide

tusk arc
pale crescent moon

gilded ear fan
India

Ghats: A landing place along a river

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From “Boxing the Compass”

The Coliseum, Arles

To this ancient killing place the gypsy boys
come to conjure phantom bulls
at the edge of twilight.
They train in pairs; one wields the horns,
hooking and slicing, the other a magenta cape.
In their timeless ritual each veronica
has the hypnotic grace of hawks
gliding the thermals above the Pyrenees.

Young friends, you have no need to summon death
taunting, “Ehé, toro, ehé.”

He licks your breath that frosts the window.

Should you become matadors,
at the sorteo, he will draw lots for your bulls.
He’ll caress your holy medals, grow fat on your prayers,
march one pace behind you,
his somber suit of lights black, dull silver.
Until the day he kneels beside you in the sand
to dip his fingers in the oozing roses of your wounds.


 

The Song of What Was LostFrom “The Song of What Was Lost”

(Click here to purchase.)

Casa Grande

She lives behind timbered gates with strap-iron hinges.
The bronze knocker’s mocking mask was for horsemen,
Beyond the reach of those on foot.

She leads us along a vaulted corridor.
The echos feed on our voices.
She pushes back the clattering shutters.
Bottle green light washes into the room.
Motes swirl around the wrack of a foundered empire;
Portraits of grandees with zealot’s eyes
Burning in gaunt, El Greco faces,
A refectory table hewn from a single mahogany log,
Silver candlesticks: thick clenched fists.

Above the bed of state a cadaverous Christ
Sags in lacerated torment. Footprints
On the velvet counterpane where a tourist clambered
For a Nikon closeup of the polychrome stigmata.

We climb to the crumbling tile roof.
Beyond the abandoned dove cote
Of two hundred carrier pigeons,
A view of the gutted cathedral
And a stagnant fountain in the Plaza Real

Where Los Indios squat staring past time.

 

A Man Who Loves Women

A man who loves women
Like women love cats
Knows

The hunger sharking around his ankles,
Back humped to the pleasuring hand,
Is not commitment.

Grace in solitary revel,
Shadow dancing, curled on itself to dream,
Is heedless of homage.

The somnolent patience that crumbles mountains,
Before the birth pangs or the killing pounce,
Is finite.

Warm bellied bliss purring with the fire
Cocks an ear for the night wind’s whistle
Down the chimney.

A man who loves women
Like women love cats
Knows

A glimpse of the witch woods
Through the chink in a long green stare
Will not turn him to stone.


 

Sky PondFrom “Skypond”

(Click here to purchase.)

The Witches’ Gift

There is a house
That floats above Swantown Cover
Moored to its own reflection.
The cedar shake roof rides
The lap and wash of hemlocks.
On nights when the wind tries to kick in the door,
The dovetail joints bleed resin
Like a clinker-built longship.

This house and I fit tongue and groove.
My friends believe it “isolated.”

Had I the witches’ gift,
I’d whistle up a gale,
Send us scudding across corn stubble
To tack the alleys of prim villages.
We’d navigate their loneliness,
Each house condemned to a bell jar of light,
The silence more profound than that
Of water and stone and darkness.

Cantus Firmus

“Love is—admittedly the music”
Jessica Powers

A family of three trapped in the amber moment
When their world rose up and crushed them.
For the half-breath before his brain exploded
And her neck snapped in death’s sharp teeth,
She knelt to clutch her child to her breast
As he flung the barrier of his body over hers.

Leaning on the glass topped cases,
We strain to hear the shell trumpet’s bleat,
The clink of stone sinkers on drying fish nets,
The thud of bronze valens in a leather pouch.

But from these eloquent bones
Rises a compelling music
That floods the chambers of the ear
And of the heart.

Their petrified embrace, one note of plain song
And we rapt celebrants
Savoring this wafer on our tongues,
This sacrament, this grace.


 

The Room of MonthsFrom “The Room of Months”

(Click here to purchase)

Caffé Esperia

A steamy breeze lifts the tableskirts,
tickles the entwined legs of lovers,
fans a group of gays, who lounge
eyeing the snake-hipped waiter,
as he threads the tables or slouches
in the pout of a Donatello David,
checking his curls in his silver tray.
An old priest sucks baby spoons of gelato;
chaste reveler swimming in melted bliss.
At the bar, a man folds his paper,
snags my gaze on a raised eyebrow,
gestures to the empty chair beside me.
I smile, shake my head. He shrugs, che peccato*
soon joins another woman more foolish, or wiser, than I.

Some other night the contra dance,
the teeter-totter will you/won’t you
Tonight I’ll take my ease,
leave the love songs to the cats,
breathe the rich tang of Gauloises and oleander,
linger over this bitter-sweet Compari
and greet this ripe moon, “Sister”.

* What a pity

Festa dell’Abbondanza

We’ve bolted down roast suckling pig,
thick slabs of country bread,
emptied pitchers of Chianti,
waltzed, arms pumping like pistons,
with men who smelled of sun and dust
and sang every song as they danced.

We steal away from the riotous barn,
the shouted toasts, the wheezing accordion,
to lift hot faces to the night,
as though it were the spray of a fountain.
The villa broods in locked splendor,
backlit by a harvest moon.
We lean against a terrace wall.
Pines stir like lazy puff balls
above a vast land-sea.
Our fingers grip the balustrade,
anchoring us to this earth.
Black cypress crest the hill swells,
lights of the little towns bob;
fishing fleets trolling the valleys.

We will stroll back to the party,
become near strangers once again.
But gentled by this calm beauty,
we are two women in our middle years
guileless as children, who speak simply
of a daughter’s illness, a mother’s death.
Words intimate as the breeze
that tongues our ears.
Words older than these lichened stones.


 

Andrew-Kindle-Cover-smFrom “Andrews Animal Adventures: 24 Poems for Young People”

(Click here to purchase)

frog

Bullfrogs

Frogs dive in the pond and then they swim
Way down deep where the water’s dim.
Faster than you can blink your eye,
They flick out their tongues and catch a fly.
You can watch them sit in the mud together
Croaking a song in rainy weather.
No one cares if their feet are clean
When they jump on a lily pad trampoline.

mockingbird

Mockingbird

There’s a mockingbird in the maple tree,
And he is playing a joke on me.
He hoots like an owl in the middle of the night
Then just like a quail, he calls, “Bob White.”
Pretends he’s a redbird and says, “Cheerio,”
Chirps like a robin, caws like a crow,
Squawks like a blue jay, squeaks like a bat,
Sometimes he even meows like my cat.
His only song I’ve never heard
Is when he sings like a mockingbird.