Month: April 2018

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


Watching the ocean
I had a place to be.

I wanted so very.
I wanted completely.

Ride, whitecaps,

Wind, decorate

The wind has been completely crazy today. While the sun shone so very warm, and I wanted to wear shorts and a tee-shirt for my bike ride. But the ocean wind cut through the trees, tossing leaves and eucalyptus bark everywhere. Since half of my ride is downhill, I have to make sure I’m windproof. But uphill, I don’t want to roast. I found a nice medium place to be, had a lovely ride, and am now watching the whitecaps decorate the ocean.


Black Sunday, April 14, 1935

This a true story.

We know it is true for two reasons:
My mother never lied.
And all the stories across that choked rolling plain are the same
about that day.

While out on a drive with her beau (who was not my daddy)
(but I often wondered if the two of them’d been off necking somewhere, but
she says not, so I believe her, because see reason #1 above)
Ahem to get back to the story:

Whilst out on a drive with her beau
on a day no one identified as sunny or not before the event
(and my mama never really said *exactly* what they were doing, but
it appears the car was stopped even before they saw the cloud coming,
so I thought maybe they were parking, but she says not, so see reason #1 above)
but I digress:

They saw the cloud coming and quickly rolled up the windows
(because it was spring in Western Oklahoma and the weather was probably
really nice and warm and you know, springlike, because every day of the dustbowl
wasn’t a miserable nightmare, you know about spring and the goat-footed balloonman
and they were 17 and I’m pretty sure he must’ve at least stolen a kiss but my mom says not, and reason #1)
so to continue:

The wind shook the car and the fine dust sifted in
through the closed windows and doors
and the world outside
was dark with it, like midnight, when a beau
would under normal circumstances kiss his girl

unless she happened to be my mother. Which she was.

So he didn’t.

I wonder what story his kids tell.



Begin Life in a moment
End Life in a day
A moment in a lifetime
Where no clocks come to play

A statue in the hallway
A hallway in the door
The blood-brain barrier
’twixt now and nevermore

The room where Life is ended
Is the room where it began
Did you see yourself by looking
Or by holding out your hand?

Begin Life not with breathing
End Life with waking up
See the world you have been given
As a shattered crystal cup

Swim on waves of gravity
Through nurseries of night
Amniotic oceans
Umbilicus of light

Amniotic oceans
Umbilicus of light

Amniotic oceans
Umbilicus of light


This was a song written for a musical version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. A group of very creative friends stages “Musical Emergencies” based on movies, fables, and other source material a couple of times a year. This one was staged by me and my partner (mostly my partner, who saw the movie 10 times in the theater at age 11).

Imagine a slow, contemplative song, minor key, only four chord changes, played on organ as accompaniment.



There is no innocence in this boy-god.
His eyes have seen death and depravity
for the sake of love.
His arrows do not care what blood is drawn:
deep blood of cruel dreams, locked rooms,
denied desires.

His smile is too smirking by half, as he knows
desires denied
can bring down kingdoms
begin and end wars
and can make music a mere accompaniment
of lust.

His child-man body
His lustrous wings erect
His tiny, proud penis —
it is clear, your desire
is not his.

is to shoot an arrow to the center of you

and bring clanging down
your armor and your crown.



I am pinned to the places I have been, mapped
and logged and archived;
even some dreamplaces I revisit, where I am known and
even somewhat famous.

But there is a bench, a beach,
and a line of peaks
engraved in my book,
though my lungs have not drawn
that rarified salt air.

These islands
and their thousand shades of grey and blue
are a chain that pulls me in,
partly DNA
mostly fernweh;
a place so strange and so familiar
that I can feel the lichen soft on my feet
hear the corncrake’s green rattle
smell the whisky-smoke.

I believe I shall find my initials
engraved on a bench
on the Isle of Harris,
and I’ll sit homebound there
til the wind blows me yon.


Photo: Willem Eelsing