For Cheyenne

Always remember
how good the words feel as they
swim wriggle flow start and stutter
halt back up zoom forward flutter.

You and they are long past locking up.

Fashion your words into a knife
long and crystalline, transparent and
sharper than sliced sunlight;
and show that knife to your enemy
with a hand untrembling and strong.

I can hardly wait to see what designs
you will make as you play that knife upon
the page of your further life.

Here’s a small piece of me
to pin on that page.

Icarus, Blind


I made wings from a frame of
broken promises, covered in
sticky, black glue of disappointment, and, finally,
feathers of long-extinct lovebirds.

The day approached to fly, fly
and each morning I looked into to the sun,
imagining how it would feel to be
in air not suffused with guilt
and expectation.

But I looked into the sun
one too many times.

The day arrived to fly, fly
and I —
blind —
could find my way through the sky
only by the warmth on my back.

And it felt so good
after all that cold
to be so warmed
that I scarcely noticed
the small splash I made.

And I sank,
knowing the touch of wind
and freedom
was enough, enough.

What I Mean When I Say Heartbreak


There are many kinds of hammers.

A jewelry hammer is small and precise,
fits the hand like a pen or paintbrush,
and gives a short shock to break or flatten.

A ball-peen hammer handles jobs
of many sizes, two ends
to crush or pound.

A claw hammer can drive in a point
and draw it out
over and over and over.

A sledge hammer is brutish, imprecise,
final and very messy.

A hammer doesn’t have to be
sharp or fine-edged.
It merely has to be swung
with strength,
but not intent.

Perhaps it wasn’t meant for you.

You were just the finger
beside the nail.

Blaine Street Jail Courtyard

Here is a square of redwood duff and shrubbery
shaded by graceful trees and an iron fence.

The clouds skitter across a constrained sky.
The breeze lifts our hair.
One of a million trillion stars warms our skin.

The birds don’t care why you’re in,
nor the bees give a damn what you said or did.

Time serves,
time is served,
time is better spent outside
than in.

The Northern Lands


564C8F95-C450-4075-831B-8F8E98710F26This evening I thought there would be little to see until the sun was close to setting, in another 45 minutes. It was grey and rainy all day. Then, without warning, the clouds parted and distributed god-rays over the ocean, and all surfaces, on water and land, are sparkling.

This part of N. Wales is a patchwork of stone-walled fields, a crazy quilt dotted with the cottonball sheep that are ubiquitous in the region. There are crazy rugged mountains to the east, and a vast ocean to the west. This time of year, the weather can change quickly, but benevolently, and as the clouds have risen from the sea to meet the sinking sun, I can see by the layers and textures it will be a stunning sunset. The wonder of it is, I’m watching from my cottage kitchen, situated in an old train station in a small village called Llwyngwril on the west coast of Snowdonia National Park.

Why Snowdonia? I have a good friend from Prestatyn, up near the northeastern border of the park. Through our mutual Facebook entries, I saw some photographs of the area, and was stunned. I had never heard of this place! So over the last five or six year, I’ve been paying a little attention to the area.

When my sweet Mama died in October last year, I decided to use part of my inheritance (that she and my daddy worked so hard to nestegg for their kids) on a mid-life solo walkabout. My very first thought was Snowdonia and Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Not an obvious choice, perhaps — I live in a place of mountains and ocean and forests and great natural beauty. Why not an ancient European city, or the Indonesian islands of Bali? Or the stark glacial landscape of Iceland? Or any one of a hundred places I want to see?

All I can say is, I decided, I acted quickly, I planned for months, and here I am on the second leg of my many-part journey. And as I try to think of an iconic photograph that represents my journey thus far, I can’t decide if it’s the sweeping mountainous vistas, the Bronze Age burial site, the 13th Century castle, the drooping bluebells, or the endless green fields and their charming ovine denizens. My feet lapped by the waters of a different ocean seems somehow appropriate.

I will be writing more in the days to come to celebrate this amazing, friendly, ancient country. I am honored to be here, blessed and lucky beyond measure, and thrilled that my intuition of the trip I needed landed me here.

Night Stand

How can I sleep at night
with so many nouns nearby?

eye-drops lip-balm cough-drops
phone tums book

I am distracted by the phone charger
Annoyed by the dictionary
Dismayed by the sleeping pills
Thirsty for the water.

and now to wrangle the nouns of dreams
with verbs out of my control.




in my dream
I fumble for my keys.

Some danger is close behind,
unclear whether man or beast.

At the last second I hear the
tumblers in the lock
but of course
it’s too late.

Do I wake?

I ask my partner, did I
mumble or scream?

I know I stared
down a gun-barrel
and saw a spiraling metal beetle
fly toward my third eye.

I wake.

Stumble to the bathroom,
still fumbling for the keys.

Asleep in the Back Seat


We left the grandparents late,
late for a 6-hour drive, anyway.

My dad, stern in his horn-rimmed glasses, driving
through the failing light;
My mom, her foot perpetually pressed
hard on the imaginary brake.

I could only ride in the backseat at night
after the ocean-waves of prairie
could no longer be seen from the car window.

And as we neared the highway turn-off
toward the country roads of our home.
The street lights flashed through my closed eyelids





and half-awake I folded myself smaller
in the backseat,

happy to be near home
sad to leave the speeding capsule
that held us in a separate time and space.

Catch-up Haikus 4/20-26

o you sweet rebel
i call you out for cheating
show me your crib notes

narcissist girlfriend
i’m tired of your excuses
put up or shut up

the room in the sphere
had no comfortable bed
nor hiding places

sounds clash and clang
i’m just trying to sleep here
jeezus christ don’t yell

you died in your time
and you let us know you were
we waited with love

if you touch this poem
it may electrocute you
so stand back buster

see red hear laughter
smell memory touch softer
taste your saltiness