Ode to the Unwitting

The ode to the unwitting
Rings out and
Hits too close to home
So much gets done
But no difference made
The click ticks and
You're on the other side
Cold in here
Now too warm
A blade of grass pushes up
Squints at the sun
Eaten by a dog
Is it really too late for
Meaningful change?



Is it really a ridiculous idea
That change is easy or attainable?
That a door closes and stays closed
And there's no need to turn around
No temptation or relapse
Why go through it anyway?
Where is the balance if you can't
Turn off the switch
Or if there's something to take its place
At that moment
What do you do at that moment
The moment
And never being able to get enough of
Whatever it is
More is never the answer
A very convincing emotion
Strive for chemical balance
Feel-good chemicals
Quick, access the pleasure center
Or close the door
And lock it


Musical Chairs

They change seats after each course
New perspective on the meal
Segmenting it into sessions
Seeing the room, the tastes, the service from a
Different point of view
Please don't mind us
We've been doing this forever
Or at least since this appetizer


Watching Shadows

I need to know the time but don't want to be rude. Must pay attention. This is important. Things on the line. Watch glancing is in poor form. What are the ways of checking my watch without looking as if I'm checking my watch? Sneak a look? Too obvious. Stuck watching shadows.



I ask the driver what kind of music he likes. Says he grew up listening to classical music. Play some, I say, not asking please. He pushes a button on the radio and ushers in a deep mournful Bach cello solo into the car. We head into New York, the buildings bright against the clear dark March sky, then into the Holland Tunnel, the cello pushing faster, climbing scales through rising static, the composer and artist pining for lost loves as we are delivered to humanity.



Unfinished book rests
Waiting on a shelf
A file deep inside a computer
Tethered to nothing
Addressed only in passing
Returned to now and again
Like an occasional illness of
Stillborn proportions
Its potential is unlimited and
Something or nothing
Unfinished, unadorned, unloved


Blue Car

Blue car in front of me
Tasking me with snailness
I stab at thee with your slow idiocy
Oh, you blue car
You bring death to my eyes
You slow piece of gum
You devil in metal
You mechanized spike
My life drains away at you
Staying close to the speed limit
May you rust in hell


The Onion Man

The onion man
Walks the countryside
Searching for children
Who need to be sautéed
Made savory
The onion man
Takes no prisoners
Disrobes to reveal
Fresh skin
Come with me
Let's cook


Hidden Microphone

Three generations ride in the car
A long absent Russian
Voice deep from cigarettes, frozen, ironic
Knowing, but forgetting
Herded by his angelic wife
Gentle, small, kept, kind as the sun
Both of them discussing the rainstorm
Getting lost
And not risking a glance at show tickets, lest they get wet
With them, cajoling, their oldest son
Ever single, hat maker, piano man
Pushing their voices toward a hidden microphone
Ready with questions to capture answers
Unaware his will be as cherished
We listen to them through bands time
Years brought forth
The last of the clan contemplative
As ready as he will ever be
Focusing on sound quality rather than spirit
Lonely, generous, loving
Wallet proudly in front pocket
Happy with leftovers for tomorrow's dinner
I drive them over worked roads
Aware of the moment's significance
Basking in its myth
Joining them, slowly
Marching shoulder to shoulder into time


Thinking About Thinking About You

I want to start this poem saying
The last time I saw you
But I've already started a poem that way
But those words stick in my brain
Like a song that won't go away
If only I knew who you are or were
Who is the you in you?
And when was the last time I saw you?
It would certainly be good to know
Provide context
Instead, my mind latches on to the last time I saw you
And so it goes
Thinking about you
Thinking about thinking about you
Someone I may or not know
But somewhere, I do
Somewhere, I'm thinking about the last time I saw you
It's memorable
Over and over
Obsessed by it
Or so I'm told


Where Time Forms Its Own Time

The lights come down
Slammed into a screen
Grabbed by the throat
A man floats over traffic
Another begs for justice
Images of the city tell a story
A bomb in a car waits to explode
We're pulled into other worlds
Fantastic realms where
Time stands still
Or time forms its own time
We suspend belief
Learn about ourselves


One Moment

Let something go right today
As right as rain
As sweet and hopeful as a fresh slice of pumpkin pie
Just one thing
Not asking for much
Just one sweet gentle little moment
Savor it
Digest it
Make love to it
An exquisite expression
Lean on it
Hold it
Put it in a pocket
Take it to the bank
Let's have one of those please


Tabak Especial Corona Dulce

There is a moment when smoking a fine, moist cigar, and falling five minutes into the smoke, the stick still new and firm, and a hush falls over the universe, a quiet of immense proportions, bringing with it a wistfulness of gorgeous colors, renewing life and sprinkling reflection.



I put you on my arm
Our love peaking
Fat dark outlines
Crimson ink
Your name wrapped in
Barbed wire
Circles and arrows
Exploding hearts
Now, dismissed
Thankfully out of my life
But bicep remains enamored


Who Walks Who

My dog tells me he wants to go for a walk
With pleading, inquisitive eyes
Let's go
He sits squarely at my feet, patient
Ever ready
Watching if I put shoes on
For him


A Hair Cut

Which hair to trim
At a haircut
The one peaking over an ear?
The shiny white one betraying age?
The one grieving, bending away from the others?
Take them all up
A solution elegant in simplicity
But unfair for those behaving


Tempted by Trappings

Pope Francis
Appears to be humble
But alone
In his sacred Vatican apartment
He binges on Doritos
And looks at forbidden websites
He caresses his cross
Unadorned with gold and jewels
Reconsiders his piety
Tempted by trappings
And his lust for simplicity



He said:
The difference between you and me
Is like the difference between an rabbit and hare
As if there is a difference
I'm not splitting hairs
Does it really matter?
Is it worth arguing the point?
Now our differences are greater
Thanks for that



The turtle tips his nose above the water
Sniffs for danger
Opens eyes
Paddles to the edge of the creek
Looks for tired flies
Wonders if cold days are done
Thinks about his girlfriend



Poems that rhyme don't come easily to me.  They don't come to me, period.  Such creations seem forced, more like exercises than art, relics from an era that never really existed.  Instead, phrases and thoughts cascade, presenting themselves as frozen moments, tiny sculptures waiting to be discovered, shared, thrown down steps to shatter.


Adam and Eve

Some say
We become our parents
Grow into them
Inhabit their bodies
Say the same things
Act similar
That we marry our parents
Find a spouse that fits with what we know
As if that's what we want
As if that's a good thing
As if it's unavoidable
Repeated back through time
So that's who Adam and Eve were


Finding Grace

If there is a gentler way out of this
Let me find it
Allow me to discover grace
Compassion for them, me, those I barely know
Let it not be so oblique
Simplicity is out there somewhere
I know it is
Pray for that
But, oh, how fulfilling it would be to
Fight back
To say, what a prick!
To be wide eyed with thunder and rage and violent intensity
Provide a schoolyard lesson
Say all the clever things
To take immense satisfaction in
Doing the wrong thing
And be left smaller for it
It's out there somewhere
I know it is
Let me find it
In all its beauty


Broken Cracker

He breaks the cracker in half
Fits the pieces together again
Ensuring they match
Applying enough pressure to conceal the seam
Holding it like a sacrifice for inspection
Where's the line?
It's a good one
The cracker looks whole, perfect
Edges are inspected for evidence
We smile
Eyes sparkle
A moment of love exchanged



The old man finds himself at the end of his life and lands upon astonishment.  So this is what it's like.  He figures out what all the fuss has been about, where the puzzle pieces go, how the mistakes he made were the right ones all along. Listen to me, he says, will you just listen to me for a second?  He has a conversation with himself and feels good about it, then he closes his eyes and thinks about what he'll do tomorrow.



A portrait must stand in a corner of your attic
Growing dusty, dark
A plump face peering from the canvas
Skin roiling with boils
Oozing, blistered
Emitting a putrid odor
Echoing inane laughter
Its doppelganger oblivious of inflicted pain
And high opinion



The scorpion stings the frog because it's his nature, but that doesn't change things for the frog who feels the poison seize his limbs, sinking, bubbles escaping its mouth as drowning commences.  The frog asks why but barely hears the scorpion's lament as the current carries them down, careening into rocks and submerged branches that welcome them to eternity.


Elevator Shoes

Four-foot man wears elevator shoes
Now he's four-foot-two and feels tall
On top if the world
His self-esteem bursting
Look at me, he thinks
Notice how I can nearly breathe the same air as you
Am I not virile now?



Everything falls
Apples, meteors, hearts
They break at stems, orbits, staleness
Charting trajectories of chaos and blood
Landing, they crash and splash
Echoing through time and heartache
Like frogs upon untethered water lilies
Quiet, and you can hear it
The sound of things falling apart



Someone once said that our lives turn on an axis of endless repeating cycles, duplicate periods of time that fold in among each other, singing familiar themes, overtures that hint at specific action, so there is no longer surprise, only the same things happening over and over and over again until they melt into the sun and encourage us to break the mold and howl at unseen planets.



We once had friends
Now we have Friends
We used to like each other
Now we're urged to Like
Thumbs up
Or abandon Friends by
People we don't know ask to be our Friend
They blur into a single mass of


Men in Red

Each man in red wonders if he will be chosen
I'm worthy, they think, looking in the mirror at age
I can wear the ring
But they know this is false
Aware of their standing
Envious of those with profile
Who among them hasn't done the bad deed, anyway?
And who will tell?
So they fold their hands and hold their beads
Kiss the cross
Consider how their vote will elevate them closer to god