from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (78)
after the worst of summer’s heat
we’d sit in the grass
beneath the pecan and cottonwoods
away from the radiant streets and sidewalks
the adults spoke of friends
far away or long dead
they’d laugh and tell stories
which we were not a part of yet
we ran wild through the night
afraid of nothing
(July 18, 2020)
from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (49)
our lives changed
the first born
that summer he turned one
I read dante and the moderns
for grad school
at night I’d rock him singing
row row row your boat
until he’d drift to sleep
now he has a child
and that summer
floats away into dream
like a mountain river
we happily crossed
splashing in the sun
(April 7 2020)
from “Change,” a work in progress
Our government horrifies me,
and I feel powerless–
Each day I read and talk
with my students;
they exude such optimism
and hope, I’m humbled.
A slight breeze stirs
the oak leaves;
dawn breaks slowly
(January 25, 2019)
One does not want to find
the body on the floor,
bits of brain and blood flecked
in patterns on the walls.
After decades scribbling
these poems to the page,
reading hundreds if not
thousands of others ,
apparently, I just needed you.
So, please, tell me, my child,
what my poetry means
to an ignorance like mine.
Keeping in mind, the reader
finds what he wants to find.
(May 16, 2018)
in a few weeks it will be
forty years since we went out
for a banal movie and pizza—
forty years, college, a marriage;
three children grown,
and moved out mostly.
We are grandparents now.
Isaac toddles about the house
determinedly going where he goes,
as we follow behind bemused.
I think we worry too much
for the troubles we have. I am
aware they are there, as they are—
yet, so am I, and so are you.
(February 19, 2018)
“Behold the time of the Assassins.”
It is not that stories don’t matter, but they are not justified; the margins neatly matted. Each spring, as a child, the carnival would arrive in town for the fat stock show.
The kids in the local 4-H and F.F.A would compete, trying to win best of show and scholarships from the cows, pigs, sheep, and goats they had loving raised over the year for slaughter. We ignored the poison in our veins. Instead we spun, and flipped, and screamed tightly to each other on the carnival rides, held safe in our laughter. The horrors lurked somewhere else, some other state, some other country’s small town. Someone else’s children burned in the magazines stacked securely on the living room floor. From a blue sky, the sun shone brightly upon the cottonwoods in the back yard. As neighbors leaned on rakes talking quietly to each other, the sounds of lawn sprinklers spritzed through the evening air.
(July 8, 2016)
Gaza, summer 2014
Among the detritus flecked with sand:
opaquely polished pop bottles, wood
from worlds away, tangled plastic
fishing line, damp beach towels,
beer bottles, wet fast-food boxes,
jelly fish lying flat as if defenestrated,
all coyly draped in sea-weed strands
like bathing beauties in the sun,
unmediated beneath an infinite blue sky
streaked in fading traces of smoke.
(August 5, 2104)
before entering school as a child I would
listen to the thick sound move through water
I would hold my life’s breath at the bottom
of the pool far longer than I should have
feeling the edges of my existence
before pushing off the floor violently
breeching the surface into summer sun
gulping at the air in gigantic gasps
breathing the world like a baby’s first cry
(March 18, 2014)
July 24, 1995
Mouth slack in awe, or just
stupidity? When tired or tense
I read – – escape into words – –
Ezra and Quinn cuddle next to me
as we read “Ferdinand the Bull.”
They, too, had a hard day.
(from My Book of Changes, 1994-1995)
At home tonight I broil some salmon
and a bit of asparagus.
Over a glass of wine, we talk
of our children far away.