within this slow dismantle (86)

as familiar as the cat 

on the sill watching 

a mockingbird outside 

this melodrama’s cliché unfolds 

I pull another brick 

into my sepulcher 

another dead anger 

to crush my chest 

another tired  

misunderstanding 

another regret to haunt 

my moist graveyard 

(October 27, 2020)

No Answers (85)

As the old world swirls

in laconic siroccos of doubt

flinging sand adroitly

into a warm Mediterranean air

how do I stand still with silence

aware only of this moment’s breath

how do i ignore the nattering pedants

who brandish their wet cliches

like limp wands twined from roses

as petulant proof of their originality

how do i negotiate the spaces

i must traverse without

slagging off chunks of flesh

until the sinews abandon my bones

(October 26, 2020) 

And Then Not Here

On the floor

in a closet

curled tight

like an egg,

he dismantles

what’s left

of what remains;

he shaves  away

thin layers

until nothing

like memory

is left,

just a space

where he had stood

filled with air,

and the laughter

of distant children.

(October 1 2020)

Day’s End

If I could peel these veins

from my arms and fashion

them into a noose,

then I’d find a dead tree

to swing upon

like a tattered paper lantern

dancing in an empty breeze.

(August 30, 2020)

alone

from a work in progress: “Memory and Silence” (83)

without chatter

without books

without the day’s noise

with only gossipy mouthings

within my head

with nothing to shore against


I drown in the slurry

gasping for air

(August 2, 2020)

that was the rub the difference

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (47)

he awoke and grabbed the edge

of the bed catching himself

as he fell from the dream

into the day to day details

which grew like lace to shatter

again into falling stars

(March 30, 2020)

days proceed to the end of time

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (21)

the moon hangs on the horizon

a waterdrop waits on a leaf

we are on an edge

like acrobats along a wire or

a knife at our voiceless throats

I don’t know where we fell away

(January 30, 2020)

Sunday Morning

In downtown Baltimore

Years after he died

Lou Reed sings from the sound system

Of this corporate hotel lobby.

This is funnier

Than it should be.

I am almost sixty years old,

Attending an English teacher convention.

Back in Austin, hours later,

I casually toss herbs into the mortar,

And without thought, begin to grind:

“I don’t want to know…

All the streets you’ve crossed

Not so long ago”

(November 24, 2019)

Pentecostal

A dove descended

to peck out my tongue;

I gargled the names of god,

and spit blood flecks,

like splatters of ink,

into my broken hands.

I read without words-

the nuance in gestures,

rippled patterns on a lake.

Oblivious to the obvious 

writings on the wall, and

without hope of redemption,

I mouthed my prayers

to any statues I came near.

(October 7, 2019)

New Normal


Trouble pulses, like cicadas

along oak branches through

summer’s heat: pervasive

and cold. It permeates

my blood like a poison.

I worry the times — for nothing

can be done – How does one

take on more than one self,

yet again? Don a new mask

to project a calm certainty

when fear’s fires rage and burn?

I have no place to stand with 

surety. Answers are simple

without people’s constraints:

the constant tug and shift,

like the tight tectonic grind

as ground slips over ground.

(April 2, 2019)