Featured

As He Peered over his Glasses

She spoke without preface,

as if sh knew him:

each sentence a non-sequitar

even to itself; no beginning

no end, no predicate

to bend into an open heart.

Askew to his position,

she formed a fulcrum

with no place to stand

like surf far out to sea

crashing against itself.

Until in a froth of inaction,

he drowned, swallowing his words,

as if they mattered.

(August 21, 2019)

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In the Blood

The lie of my truth

visors the angle

of my descent.

I have no face,

but reflection,

a mirror

to lace assumption’s

discordance.

My flesh contains

shattered selves—

a prismatic array,

where each shard

bends an image

of itself into another.

This truth lies

along an edge

of broken glass;

it slices the air

with ribbons of light,

like tall grass

cuts children’s legs

as they flee through

the last summer fields.

(August 15, 2019)

Featured

Almost

I received a rejection email from a lit magazine for a set of poems this morning. It was the standard, “does not fit our needs at this time” rejection. However, the magazine also told me that my poems made it to the final round of selections, before being rejected, and I should feel free (with a small reading fee) to submit more of my work in the future. It was as if I was told that my poems were almost good enough. But not being a hand grenade, nor a game of horseshoes.. almost is almost an insult. I know that it was supposed to be read as a compliment: my poetry was better than the outright rejections, yet still was found lacking. I laughed; It was funny. I am not bothered by rejection letters. They are just part of the game of submissions. A couple of years ago, I received a rejection from a magazine that had previously published a couple of my poems. In the rejection letter, the editor, I imagine in an attempt to be helpful, commented on what I could do to improve my writing, citing both positive and negative examples. I found this more troubling than the almost-good-enough rejection. The commentary was the sort one gets in undergraduate writing workshops. In other words, not really useful, or germane to what I was doing in the poem. I did not ask for feedback; I have been doing this awhile, I know what I am doing. I feel that if you did not select my writing for your publication, a simple polite no is good enough. I do not have to see your reasoning. I do not think, in the stereotypical manner, that the publisher did not “get” my writing. I just figure as the statement in most rejections pronounces: they do not fit, or they are not what we are looking for at this time. Or it is not the type/style of poetry the editor likes.  I write what I write. I stopped a long time ago trying to write what I think some specific magazine, or editor will like. I don’t need a gold star, or the affirmation of someone else.  I send out my work, because I would like it to be read; but, not to the degree that I will change the way I write. I am not trying to be arrogant, in fact, I see it more as humility.  I write my poems, and they are poems, not experiments, or assignments. If you don’t care for my style, or what I say, that is okay. If you do like what I wrote: cool. I send my writing out sporadically. Normally, I will send out to several magazines at the same time. Not simultaneous submissions, for I write all the time and have a large backlog of poems. After my flurry of submissions, I continue writing; I forget who I sent poems to, then they slowly come back to me with rejections, and the occasional acceptance, which is always a thrill. I have never been one to see POETRY as a career, where I have to get published all the time, in all the BEST magazines. I don’t think one can be a professional poet.  I do take poetry seriously: I read it all the time, I write it all the time. I even teach poetry, and conduct poetry workshops with my students.  I send some out every now and then. Some get rejected; some get accepted. 

Featured

Beneath an Unrelenting Sun

“knowing less than drugged beasts”

–Ezra Pound, Canto XLVII

As we cower

beneath an array of bullets,

there is no forgiveness

for not knowing

the shades within shades

of evil. Yet, in this land

without shade, neither knowing

nothing, nor how to sail, nor

to have a sea to set forth upon,

even if a boat were here

in this desolate land

of sated men, and drugged beasts:

knowing nothing is cherished

as a privileged pleasure;

and so, I raise my voice

without delay, and sing

as if I could sow with my voice

in the cracked earth

some salvation from the sun.

(August 8, 2019)

Featured

Light Erases Shadow

The sun sits still, yet moves

perpetually to a new horizon,

a new dawn; this world

moves with us, always here.

Inevitably, moment to moment,

color extracts from shadow,

as morning, refuses definition,

and pushes back night’s advances.

A prismatic god unfolds

around us as you speak; words

divide to nuance and variant, 

until blinded, we turn away.

Too much light erases shadow;

we’re defined by what we are not.

(August 4, 2019)

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Agoraphobia

Outside,

the trees and bushes seem

to vibrate in the bright heat;

as if any moment, they’ll collapse

into their own shade, exhausted.

*

Inside,

they are framed in the window.

I watch them from across the room

from the chair I’m sitting in.

I am cold in the conditioned air.

*

August

has begun. Soon, I’ll be back

at work, teaching my students

to find meaning in the mundane

details which often overwhelm us.

(August 3, 2019)

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Patchwork

I find a narrative,

as I age, hard

to patch together.

I cannot mend

all that I have

rendered, all

I have misplaced

in anger, and neglect.

I have no prologue

to explain succinctly

each switchback

I have turned along.

It’s easier to see

a moment without a past;

easier to mind the flower

as a petal first falls.

What scars I have

are well hid; no

stars to weave

a pattern in the sky.

(July 31, 2019)

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stucco

like pressed flowers

found in an old book

the world grows flat

long passages of white

on white– white sand

below a white sky

holding a white sun

a black line defines

the horizon like a closed eye

there’s no sleep in this noise

no rest from the silent mundane

oozing across a glass pane

the snail’s slow slime

becomes the air we traverse

connecting the featureless day

to the homogeneous night

clouds press low like stones

(July 24, 2019)

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The Commute Between Day and Dream

Lost amid the accusations

and misappropriations

in bars and vague hallways,

he wakes into his troubles

unable to disaggregate

his shadows from the dawn.

Behind him, they trail ribbons

of smoke, curling about his feet

like cats hunting rats,

whenever he stops to think.

From frozen puddles, old friends

and loves rise toward him;

their faces blurred beneath ice.

They then sink away, as quickly,

leaving him to shuffle his fingers

uncomfortably across the steering wheel

as he waits for the light to change.

(July 24, 2019)

Featured

Before Completion

from “Rendition of Change,” a work in progress

The old tortoise-shell cat slips

cautiously through the grass

as the storm approaches.

This-too-shall-pass provides

small comfort in the moment’s

chaos and fear. Lightning strikes

often and nearby. As rain

starts to fall, the cat watches,

motionless, from the stair.

(July 3, 2019)

Featured

Confession as a Form of Explanation

My story is true in so far

as it is my story. The lines

I must maintain for my belief

to be justified are many.

I fear questions lest it all falls

like a child’s tower of blocks falls,

tumbled across unstable ground.

Although I know that the truth lies

for I formed each one on my own,

turning them over and over

like rosary beads until smooth,

they still allow me to believe

each stone lies firmly on the next.

With no one to doubt what I say,

the facade I have built is real

I explain to myself myself:

I live forms of happies

As long as the ever after,

and the hero is always me.

(June 30, 2019)

Featured

One’s End’s Ambiguous

The labyrinth

bends into itself:

one thought feeds

bits of fear to the next;

until, teeth crack

on broken bone,

and it ends

without a beginning

to begin again.

One’s end’s ambiguous

as one’s beginning.

Indecisive and vague,

the end’s no different

than any contingent.

The end ends

with a flailing

of the mind

through a stark

unawareness

of where we are,

where we have been,

and without a why

to justify

the confusion

of the scattered pages

across the floor,

and the ash in the air.

(May 12, 2019)