Campfire Story

A nostalgic old man,

whose whispers adhere

to the flames’ tongue,

tells his one story again.

You are charmed.

So the chains slip

into your veins,

your heart, your lungs.

The air thickens your breath,

until every song you hear

is the only song you hear,

then you can no longer dance.

And the fire burns down,

for nothing’s left to say.

(August 6, 2021)

Metaphor’s Comfort

Flying free

through the blind night,


with their high lyric cries,


the walls around them.

(July 19, 2021)


To connect to some constellation,

we curve toward our angle of light,

intwine our limbs

across any lattice we find.

For only in reflection

are lines straight,

a simple step followed by another,

where all our lies are justified

into sclerotic prison walls.

We turn our faces to the sun

like mirrors tracking distant stars,

where there are no explanations

for our desires, where absences

appear unanticipated

like the sadness of angels

momentarily entering a room

only to leave without speaking.

How do we know

to stand before the door

knowing it will open?

How do we know

the door is there?

(June 17, 2021)

community spread (139)

when listening to someone speak

each word takes root

along the tendrils of the unsaid

a pattern emerges

branch grafted on old wood

flowers to mourn the newly dead

(May 8, 2021)

how history begins (136)

maps do not speak 

as vaguely blurred 

vowels along riverbanks 

where second cousins 

two counties removed 

slur to their mates 

nor sift for finer 

details in pap’s 

bourbon tongue 

(April 26, 2021) 

Gathering Together (Massing)

from “Renditions of Change,” a work in progress

There is no center to hold;

no story of violent gods

to tell while drunk

around a fire.

There is no fire.

Yet still, we turn

to one another

with what words

we have, and begin

again to speak.

(May 8, 2019)

Community Prayer

I need someone to tell me–

I’m okay– I can make it

through this day— unashamed,

as do we all.

I need someone to hold me

closely through this night

of terrors– calm and unafraid,

as do we all.

(May 4, 2019)

The Family (the clan)

from “Renditions of Change,” a work in progress

If what he says is said

within the bounds

of proper order–

If what he said is heard

like fire flickering the wind

toward the horizon–

If what was heard was

what he said, each circle

replicating the last–

then the world becomes home.

(March 25, 2019)

in explanations explanations

in explanations explanations 

that happens

to him to her to us

the story starts

well before this

then as now

more unfolds

within the seams

than seems

then as now

contexts inculcate

like wisps of mist

dampening fields

as god not us

speaks from silence

(February 11, 2019)

The Taming Power of the Small

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

over all.

(January 25, 2019)