You Find a Poem You Wrote Years Ago

It’s like seeing old pictures of yourself

long after the camera’s cold click. You

have a sense of familiarity,

a recognition that your were once there

in that moment, but not of the moment

before, or after. The lines have taken

on depth as their specificity blurred,

the colors clarity fading through time

into generalized gestures, and

you stop short, stunned at your oblivious youth,

the clear lack of fear, the unacknowledged

audacity that spoke with more wisdom

then, than you ever knew you had, and have

since lost like someone waking from a dream.

(October 21, 2021)

Blatantly Obvious as Well, to Answer Your Question (119)

another story’s offered

as talisman against

the last day’s horror

i’ve listen to for years


and despite the slow

unfolding I understood

sentences ago i wait

for the last syllable to fall


grace allows misunderstanding

to slip away like ash

from ember as easily as

truth falls to lies


so yes i understood you

each and every time

(February 7, 2021)

Thanksgiving

When my mother died,

I did not get another—

one being 

more than enough

for a lifetime.

(November 20, 2020)

heal thyself (87)

all I have are dull words

to bludgeon my tongue

into submission

but if i strop the blade

the leather’s length

until the edge gleams

as with sliced ribbons of light

then I might excise

the shadows from my heart

without a trace of blood

to mark my disillusions

(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) 

What I Imagine When Someone Explains my Poetry to Me

He stands on a small rock

in the middle of a river;

the water rushes past

an obvious metaphor.

He ignores the danger,

and leaps the gap to land

on the next wet stone

barely within his compass;


And there, as he teeters,

searching for his balance,

he hears the falls hunger,

then is neither here, nor there,


but lost in the churning froth

of some other’s creation.

(September 6, 2020)

nostalgia’s a desire for the present

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (64)

what he remembers now

is different than what

he remembered then

.

now he is old

and does not remember

as well what happened

.

then he was young

and foolish and remembered

trivial things

.

of little use then

even less so

now

.

as he holds 

his aspects together

between fragile hands

.

facets of the past

spin off light

for a moment

.

and he sees her eyes

that first night

they almost kissed

(June 16, 2020)

fog

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey”(59)

of course it’s never either or

a yes a no one path or some other

no matter how far you attempt to see

before it bends in the brush

or how detailed the pro con list

you lay out with little checks

primly contained in tightly drawn boxes

your life is always cluttered

with could haves would haves buts

yets and never-minds

all the vaguely grey spaces

where it’s troublesome to see

as if your smudged glasses were removed

in order to clean the day’s detritus

away and what blurred clarity

you possessed expands and smears

toward an ever-darkening horizon

(May 2, 2020)

spectacles

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (55)

to see clearly I look

through lenses

made and adjusted

over time as my vision

grew worse

I understand to see

I must cast off

all perceptions

accumulated

within my cliches

like now as i remove

my glasses

and rub

my dim eyes

(April 19, 2020)

one

from a work-in-progress: process, not a journey (40)

for years years ago

I thought about amoebas

.

how I wanted a metaphor

which would work well

.

with the amoeba image

to surround and absorb

.

until there was no difference

to contrast a comparison

.

no space between to slip

a prosaic definition

.

where on wanders safely

through dusted hallways

.

and life’s sharp ambiguity

blends into one

(March 16, 2020)