Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Truth of Love

She lives her emotions within a boundary,
invisible, but set solid as a stone wall.

“The truth of love,” she says,
“is the fire has no empathy for the material it burns.”
She states this matter-of-factly,
carefully leaning toward the campfire
to rearrange the split logs
and help more air reach the fuel.
Her reward is an exponential burst of flames.

He lives his emotions as a nomad,
wandering like wind-blown sand.

His face flickering in the firelight
he foolishly begins to speak, to argue,
gently, perhaps, but contradictory.
“The truth of love is in the consumption,” he says.
“The fire caresses and changes the very essence
and matter becomes energy.
It is not a vicarious experience. It is direct. Personal.”

His rebuttal is a shock to her or
perhaps it is the surprise that her feelings
have hurdled her invisible wall.
But her face reveals none of this,
expressionless, grey eyes staring,
focused intently on his,
as if trying to peer even into his soul.

He stammers, somewhat slightly,
“I mean, ah, I don’t mean to be flip,
facetious. I’m not just tossing off
some witty remark,” he says,
turning his eyes from the fire to hers.
“Love by its very nature embraces,
envelopes. It is the consuming fire
that becomes one with what it burns,”
he finishes, his expression pleading
across the flames.

“I am lost,” she thinks, a smile spreading
like wind blown sand.
“I am found,” he hopes, a smile building
like a wall of stone.

Note: A jigsaw poem from words given to me by my son Stu. The words are material, empathy, fire, truth, exponential, air, foolishly, vacarious, nomad, facetious.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I am in a little anthology

Please check this little publication out, available at most major booksellers.
You will note that I am a contributor

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Cyborg Gardener

“I love the herbaceous in nature,”
she thinks, plunging her trowel into the rich dark loam
with the prosthesis that clumsily moves
where her right arm once danced with precision.
“I love eloquent stems that stand proudly erect
like the crocus, heralding the end of winter,
and the tulip, announcing spring’s arrival.
You are the colorful counterpoints to my scars,
delicate reminders of the strong, but fragile limb I lost.”

She knows in her heart that her garden has become
a refuge where she can speak her mind without fear.
with no one to hear and comment in disagreement.
“My life is plebian, not aristocratic,” she muses,
“but I surround myself with the trappings
of the patrician, with gardens and pathways
ringing a beautiful fountain, fed by an artesian spring
gurgling happily through the genitals of a curly haired boy
casually relieving himself into a lily-lined bowl.”
“This,” she speaks aloud,
“is where Pegasus rent the earth with his hooves,
and the fount of Hippocrene burst forth
to water my garden, and my soul.”

Pausing to wipe her brow,
she turns her gaze to a pair of witch hazel shrubs
and ‘the bramble,’ as she lovingly calls her dog rose.
“These beauties break the pattern,” she murmurs to herself,
forgiving them their woody stalks, and the rose’s rough thorns.
“It takes a cyborg like me to prune
my wild-growing prickly beauty,” she chuckles,
“the thorns can find no purchase on my marriage
of plastic and metal with the organic.
It defeats the assaults of your daggers”
she says to the pink flowered plant,
“and your friend there with the egg shaped leaves
and slender yellow flowers hanging like straps,
makes a wonderful salve for when you do get me!”

Her day’s tasks accomplished, she stands and sighs deeply,
thinking, “my flowers don’t care about my deformities,
my scars, my twisted patchwork of repairs to God’s handiwork.
My garden is my lifeline to the natural
lest the plastic and space age alloys taint my blood, fuse with my flesh,
and I become something more artificial than human.”
A pause, and she wryly comments out loud, but truly, to herself,
“I wonder if my solitude shows it may already be too late?”

Author's Note: Another Jigsaw Poem, 10 words given by friends Margo and Dave Klang. Words are eloquent, bramble, organic, witch hazel, cybord, artesian, Pegasus, herbaceous, tulip and plebian. Still needs some work, I fear. The picture is there but ...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Triolet Trilogy

With Joy
With joy we take this chance to meet
to find a love we pray is true
and hope fate makes our lives complete.
With joy we take this chance to meet
two strangers passing on the street
about to find a love that’s new.
With joy we take this chance to meet
and find a love we pray is true.

With Doubt
With doubt our love has been denied
our faith in trust and hope betrayed
the fate that comes when truth has died.
With doubt our love has been denied
by secrets we could not abide
and games we both should not have played.
With doubt our love has been denied
our faith in trust and hope betrayed.

With Sadness
With sadness I must say goodbye
I wish that I could stay with you
But fate has sung time’s lullabye.
With sadness I must say goodbye
a searing teardrop in my eye
that shows my love for you was true.
With sadness I must say goodbye
I wish that I could stay with you.

Author's Note: A triolet is a one stanza poem of eight lines in iambic tetrameter. Its rhyme scheme is ABaAabAB. Tthe first, fourth and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines. I originally wrote With Sadness, posted earlier on this blog. I then thought it would be interesting to do a trilogy with a beginning, middle and end, following the same theme. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

With Sadness - a triolet

With sadness I must say goodbye
I wish that I could stay with you
But fate has sung time's lullabye.
With sadness I must say goodbye
a searing teardrop in my eye
that shows my love for you was true.
With sadness I must say goodbye
I wish that I could stay with you.

Every now and then it is fun to experiment with poetic form. A poet I admire very much (I have a link to the right - 'secret poems from the times literary supplement') recently posted a beautiful little triolet so I thought I'd try one. Interesting format. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


For him, love is forever.
It is not some fleeting emotion,
but an absolute, an essential,
like breathing is to existence.
From the corner barstool
he watches with his peripheral vision
as the petite brunette with a pixie haircut
leans to her conspirator’s ear,
whispering what he hopes is a secret,
something fantastic, he imagines,
an item too important to express openly
in the usual barroom banter.
He wonders if this pretty girl
who appears, to him, to be
floating like a fresh white lily
above the brackish water of the tavern floor,
understands that he is ready
to share his deep passion,
his faithfulness, his very soul.
He hesitates before approaching her table,
worrying that it is no secret she shares,
instead, the giggles and sidelong glances
reflect her disdain for his hesitation,
or even worse, disgust
at the gin blossoms growing in his cheeks.
He settles back onto his barstool,
the hastily downed whisky no remedy
for the rosacea, nor his timidity.
The wince from the sharpness of cheap bourbon
conceals the brief expression flashing across her face.
Had he seen it, he would have wondered
if it were disappointment or relief
at his retreat.
For her, love is forever.
It is not some fleeting emotion,
but an absolute, an essential,
like breathing is to existence.
She wonders why
the cute guy with the delicate brown hair
and rosy cheeks has turned his back on her
when she thought he was about to approach,
thinking he must think I’m too plain

Author's note: Another jigsaw, from words given the same night as Wedding Gift, this time by my niece, Kennedy (her fiance Ben gave me the Wedding Gift words). This time the words were "fantastic, absolute, gin blossoms, forever, remedy, lily, ready, secret, banter, essential."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wedding Gift

Age is never kind.
Reluctantly leaving the now fading dream
of vaguely disjointed memories from his long past youth,
of a bright-eyed girl in white silk
and cherry blossoms covering the lawn,
he rubbed the sticky goo from the corners of his eyes,
‘eye boogers’ is what we called them when I was kid, he thought,
wondering if they were some kind of infection of the lacrimal system
and possibly related to the bucktooth prostitute
snoring softly under the dirty bed sheet next to him.
Leaning over to rouse his companion
he pulled back, repelled by her Sunday morning whore breath,
stinking of whisky, cigarettes and semen,
muttering to himself, Ben, you retard,
it’s your Golden Anniversary,
50 years with the same faithful woman,
and here you are, lower than a deer tick
hoping a fifty dollar bill will breathe life
back into your wrinkled scrotum.
But he knew the old woman at home wouldn’t care,
had stopped caring decades ago,
when he would wander off for a Saturday night
of boozing, gambling and whoring.
He saw his life as kind of a Cajun James Joyce novel,
like one long run-on sentence
in a babbling stream-of-consciousness,
hard to understand, but rich with feeling,
filled with a monotonous sameness
accented occasionally by poor choices.
The dream whispered faintly in the back of his mind,
and he knew the girl in the white dress was his bride,
the dream the memory of a time
when her lips tasted of hummingbird nectar.
For a moment he remembered his vows
and dressed quietly in shame.

Author's Note: Another jigsaw poem, the words given to me by my niece's fiance during the 25th Anniversary Party my bride and I celebrated on the 20th of March. It was late into the night and after opening some monster (in flavor and alcohol content) brews when we discussed writing (both my niece and him are both writers), poetry and priming the creativity pump when it seems the well is dry. His words were: bucktooth, retard, cherry blossoms, deer tick, wrinkled scrotum, Golden Anniversary, hummingbird nectar, eye boogers, Sunday morning whore breath and James Joyce. Ok. Pretty strange collection of words, plus it's only supposed to be ten single words, not double words and certainly not phrases like Sunday morning whore breath (what the hell is he thinking?). Thought he would trip me up, he did, but welcome to the family Ben - you'll fit right in!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Renewal Vows for our 25th Anniversary

When we first met I was faltering, adrift, lost,
Slipping further and further into spiritual numbness,
without focus, or purpose, and losing my will to even care,
succumbing slowly, but surely, to the siren song of oblivion.

You came into my life like a thunderstorm sweeping over the desert,
Falling like rain onto my arid soul.
The brilliant light of your being chased the darkness from my heart
While the courage of your spirit and your deep, timeless wisdom
Gave me the strength to shake off the weight of despair
And brush away the clouds of disillusionment that were consuming me.

You truly saved me from destroying myself.

Now, when I look at you I rejoice in the reassuring knowledge I am loved,
Truly, completely, without reservation.
I am constantly struck with the realization that you are more beautiful to me today
Than that magical day when we first kissed,
sitting on a sun baked bench
beside a trail following the southeastern face of an ancient Sinagua Indian ruin.

I have grown incredibly comfortable and content with you,
But never complacent.
I am still filled with the passion of that first embrace.
My heart still races at the sight of you, the scent of your hair, the touch of your skin,
The sound of your voice, your laughter,
All these things drive me wild with desire
And each day I fall in love with you again,
And again, and each time feels new, each time
Reaching deeper and deeper into my soul
Until my joy overpowers me
leaving me breathless and amazed.

For me, there can be no other than you.
In you I have found true love,
The kind of love the poets have sung about
Since the dawn of time.
Endless. Everlasting. Eternal love.

I have given my life to you.
Let me give it to you again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You Need Me On Your Team!

My days off are today and tomorrow. Except I have a customer coming in this afternoon and my employer has cancelled my day off for tomorrow due to a "customer appreciation" event. Hmmmm. Hard working talented male with mad skills in writing, marketing, advertising, public relations and sales seeks employment where a personal life is permitted. Must offer competitive salary and benefits. Can start immediately.

Monday, March 1, 2010


The ground is saturated with Spring,
the old tree stump a pedestal
lifting her naked body above
the spongy moss of the forest floor.
She is an amateur at the erotic.
Her exhibitionism reflecting
overtones of nervous shyness.
Although no one is around
to see her nude pose,
the act for her is so risqué
she is covered in goosebumps,
her nipples erect
as much from the thrill
of five minutes exposed
as from the crisp chill
of a pine woods morning.
She is just a city girl,
reveling in the here and now,
her full length outstretched
arms raised, palms upward, head thrown back
revealing herself to the universe
and a camera lens,
a visual snack with the sumptuous feast
of Mother Nature as her backdrop.

A jigsaw poem - 10 words from my friend Jenni Clark, risque, mother, overtones, now, snack, five, saturated, length, stump, amateur. This photo exists (sort of), the negative buried in a file cabinet somewhere. It's from back in the day, so to speak, many, many years ago when I was a photojournalist and my practice wife and I were camping and ... you get the picture!?!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Daddy's Home

Cleaning the kitchen,
a toddler at her feet,
she dreams of escape…
her old cheap dress tattered, threadbare,
like the blank, expressionless mask
of her face, the faint memory of
her once-upon-a-time fairy tale beauty
hidden in the layers of emotional plaster
caked on from years of living with a drunkard.
Her eyes still live, though,
sparkling as she glances at the girl child
thinking, perhaps, something cheesy for dinner,
hoping, maybe, something better for her, than for me.
Her intensive cleaning becoming almost furious,
as if scrubbing the dirt off the shelves
will somehow scrape away the anguish of lost hopes.
She weaves fantasies of travel, adventure,
seeing wild herds wandering the plains of the Serengheti,
hearing the howls of odd colored monkeys
in the steamy jungles along the equator,
leaning over the railing of some luxury ship
crossing the expansive wild sameness
of a chameleon ocean,
a life without the familiarity of fear,
only wonder
and joy.
The sound of a slammed door breaks the reverie,
“Ah, poop!” she curses out loud, diluting the expletive
meant much more forcefully, but softened
for the sake of the child. She wonders,
“Is he drunk? How is his mood?”
Her wistful smile fades
and the muscles in her neck and shoulders tighten
with each ringing clump of heavy foot steps in the hallway.
‘Poop’ echoes the youngling,
running to her bedroom for the safety of dolls and stuffed toys.
“Daddy’s home.”

Author's note: The above poem is another one of those jigsaw poems I seem to like. It was at the annual Hall of Foam induction party when during a discussion with Don the topic of jigsaw poetry came up. He challenged me, I accepted. He gave me 10 words - cheap, expansive, blank, drunk, cheesy, intensive, poop, shelves, drunkard and equator. poop?!? Cheesy? We exchange poems this Friday back at our watering hole - the Wine and Beer Haus in Seaside, OR. This is mine. Poop. that was a tough one - hope you like my solution. There's another one in the wings, 10 words from Jenny Clark - Risque, mother, overtones, now, snack, five, saturated, length, stump, amateur.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rosehip Tea

Fading glow through an iced window
reminds of a day that tasted
of rosehips and sunshine,
sitting down to tea amongst the ferns,
lace, and cherry wood antiques.

A small exploration between semesters,
living on the kindness of strangers,
peanut butter and truck stops,
stopping for an afternoon
to taste a beer in a tiny bar and grill
tucked beneath giant spruce and coastal firs.

A chance meeting that led up a stone path
to a rough hewn cottage surrounded by rose bushes.

A girl. An afternoon dalliance.

A moment suspended in time,
in memory, forever rich
with the taste of rosehip tea
and winter sunshine through stained glass.

Back Again

Been silent for some time now for reasons unimportant. Hope to be posting again with some regularity (probably not daily though).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Baby Left Alone

From a Photograph by Dorothea Lange

The baby had been crying for some time
his father drunk and off somewhere,
his mother sleeping in a ragged
flea infested tent, her eyelids shuttered
and ears deafened to the inconvenient world.
A child’s eyes shine,
even when crying there is a depth,
an inward glint of immense possibilities.
This one has cried so long, so hard
its face is no longer soft.
Dimples of sorrow are creased
in his brow as he clutches
the dirty burlap curtain
hung in the truck window.
His eyes are black pools
of empty longing.
The door isn’t locked, just shut,
but his confinement is no less complete.
A face hardly more than a year old,
with the expression of an adult
beaten down by life, or fate
or choices – not choices for this one, though,
just a baby, crying, alone,
adrift in poverty, his father drunk
and his mother asleep.