31 July 2012

Farm Report

J ust don’t say anything until i
finish okay you know we got rained
out on friday so on saturday
we had to play a doubleheader
simpson what’s new has a gimpy arm
and praithor wasn’t ready to start

anyway al couldn’t start against
sellers and tommy was due against
grainville what i really called about
was walker are you still there don’t say
anything well in the second game
i’m sitting in the bullpen our boy

pulling his usual his baby
blues not to be denied no glasses
and he says the tar bothers his face
of course there’s not a blooming cloud in
the sky and carver hits this sinking
liner and walker stands there squinting

so he breaks late and the wrong way you
still there but first walker was frozen
like he was even frightened to move
anyway he breaks the wrong way he’s
half blinded by the sun this is
where it gets are you still listening

this is where it gets really pretty
walker changes directions like he
bounced off a wall he runs and dives and
floats a few inches above the grass
like a pelican skimming for fish
you’ve seen pelicans before i guess

well he’s gliding along like a bird
i can see this white gown washed under
him like a wave i don’t know if i
need a vacation or not so this
wave or train bears him along till he
makes the catch and the crowd goes crazy

he displays the scoop and then the fist
for the groundlings and the organist
about has an epileptic fit
i don’t know if anyone else saw
or not this guardian angel what
else you want me to call it well she

stood cool yeah it was a she so what
well she stands cool as a cucumber
her breast is stained all green while walker
brushes off his immaculate knees
she wipes her sunglasses on her hem
you gonna keep interrupting me

so walker spits in his glove like he’s
about to heal an ump of blindness
well this angel was looking pretty
amused while he adjusted his cup
we’re dead last and they’re alone on top
you still figure we should call him up?

30 July 2012

Bar Joke

Two spies walk into a bar. They are the only customers.
Bartender: What'll it be?
Double Agent #1 (motioning toward the far end of the bar): I'll have what he's having.
Bartender (calling to the opposite end of the bar): So, what's your pleasure?
Double Agent #2 (motioning back toward his nemesis): I'll have what he's having.

What should be the Bartender's last line?
Or, should the joke end after Double Agent #2?

29 July 2012

Sunday Sonnet: The Name-Bearer

T here he is. Is that him? I don't know. I don’t know
his name. I don’t know his name, but this man knows mine.
He is greater than Adam, the innocent one,
naming the creatures as they paraded in line.

But that man bestowed no catness, no idling purr,
no electric fur, no lodestone for the compass arrow.
Yes. Here comes the one who brings flesh and bone and core,
bearing brass bell on his bronze tongue, pith and marrow.

Not unlike those who would gather fire on long limbs
and trek through rain and wind from distant lightning strikes,
or those who returned with brimming pots from secret wells.

Here he comes. Yes, it's him. He knows my name, knows me.
Say it, and resurrect me, remember me once
again. Give me water, bring me thunder, break the spell.

28 July 2012

Tone 1:7

T here are two types of people. Those who can't sleep at night dreading what may happen to them the next day. And those who can't sleep at night planning how they will tear the wings off of other people the next day. Strike that. There are three types. I forgot about spectators.

I finally drug myself into work around 10:30 since I didn’t have any deliveries until 11:15, and I was type 1. It had been a long night. And no, I wasn’t hung over, just on the threshold of another failure of nerve - trying to figure out how I could come up with a good, or even lame would do, excuse for not going by to see Cadney today and dealing with the ruling. Admit it. That’s an odd word. 

26 July 2012

Child Soldier: Demobilized

W hen the recruitment bus came
          i just jumped in line
they taught me to use a gun
and to read landmines

N o one else from my village
        is left alive
and now they are stripping me
of my handmade knives

25 July 2012

A Ghazal: Sort of

i guzzle her like a beer
and i don’t even like beer  
i nuzzle the muzzle of
th’old grey mare, unbridled, bare
i’m a frozen-foot drama
between cubs and momma bear
is it morning already?
did delilah bare my beard?
i’m not really hung over
but i will take the bayer    
if the moon is made of brie
bear me, bare-faced, on the bier  
it’s chilly here, on the bier  
so chisel that stone B.R.  


How do you pronounce "ghazal"? 
More info on ghazals 

24 July 2012

Blue Trellis

after a week away in detroit
my bike’s become a blue trellis 
an arbor for unfurled hearts
strung out but unstressed

23 July 2012


we gallop up to the wall
and stop
the horrible thought
the horrendous scene

escapes like a wily
words there are none
to sic my son on the atrocities

galopamos hasta el muro
y paramos
el horrible pensamiento
la horrenda escena

escapa como un zorro
mi hijo, palabras no hay alguna
para dar caza ante atrocidades

22 July 2012

Sunday Sonnet: Gary Is Gone

his is where gary sat just outside the
dining room this is where his friend betty
sat with her cherry red walker i called
it her sports car gary shook hands like a man
every sunday for years we shook hands
and he would notice when i limped and when
my limp got better betty says “i guess
you know” and i ask “know what?” squatting down
in front of her ruby red ferrari
she says “gary went to the hospital
and he died” and i stumble out “i'm sorry”
while cupping her hands for just a twinkling
since they're swollen up with arthritis
gary is gone and his hands fold up inside us

21 July 2012

Tone: excerpt from installment #6

While I was waiting for Tone to get off the phone, I had eavesdropped on Flack. So, I selectively applied what my mom had taught me about phone courtesy – don’t hover over somebody while they’re on the phone. I didn’t hover over Tone, but I did spy, gently and really out of earshot if you want to know the truth, on Flack.  Is that really eavesdropping, if you can’t hear anything? And since Flack wasn’t saying anything, I just watched him through his half-open office door and began to strain to try to hear something from the Tone call. Wasn’t hovering though.

Flack was on the phone with one of his west coast buddies. He was standing up at his desk, the dried flowers still a good distance above his head – Renoir’s brush collection drying in the rafters. Did Flack hang the dried flowers up, or did the Flackette help? Flack had recently added a barricade of potted violets to the edge of his desk. Living plants, in dirt, beautiful expensive pots in greys and milky blues, gorgeous black crazing, overflow trays, lamps, light meters and the whole bit.  If you got really close, you would see the note tacked to his desk: “10-12k lux. Red light-bloom. Blue light-photosyn.” If nothing else, Flack was a lunatic for details. The pots made an effective screen for Flack when he sat down. You couldn’t even see him.

Read the rest of installment #6

20 July 2012

Study in Blue Silver and Green

the sky, cartoon blue
the water, molten silver
the land, old money
the boat, paid in full, in cash 
the bird feathers fall like ash

19 July 2012

Tanka: In Motor City

in motor city
cyclist in black plastic bag
rainy (bat) blur (man)
my bike is a luxury
his is a necessity 


18 July 2012

An Old Man Remembers

ans la même école
ans une chemise blanche à col 
elle était devant moi 
elle est morte devant moi 

là, elle vient, ma reine,
marilyn monroe
la mer est lin, mon roi,
et le vent n'est rien

Un vieil homme se souvient

I n the same school
n a white-collared blouse
she stood before me
she died before me

there she comes, my queen,
marilyn monroe
the sea is linen, my king,
and the wind is nothing

17 July 2012

The Cage


T he carpenter did not
so much fling open my cage
as he threw in his lot
with me and with his aged

wine and perpetual bread
his nets and fish and boats
his hammer nails and boards
the hinges just couldn’t hold

and when the world was turned
upside down rightside up
and i was free to run
he stayed put to rattle the cup

16 July 2012

Detroit Water

I t falls from the grey sky
and gathers in rivers
in great lakes and culverts
blue swales and red ditches

it's drawn into turbines
and lathes and silver drills
cooling and lubing and
cleaning and moving steel

it washes our counters
and our lady macbeths
and it beads on the hoods
of our classic corvettes

15 July 2012

Tent Meeting

T heodore before
i knew him knew
the truth whole truth
and nothing but
communion was
saltines grape juice
and dixie cups

daddy as teddy

sank in the sawdust
in his wing-tipped shoes
betty’s wink was the word
the pulpit promised
peach crates stacked up
crates found out back
the broken book as bird

some young booby

testing its span
its pages ruffled by
the whiffling of
a tired
and nodding

14 July 2012

Tone: excerpt from installment #5

Tone 1:5

W e headed back to the Econoline and I cleaned up the baby’s breath from the driver’s side. I had plucked it out at the last minute – why clutter up the magnificent roses. Flackette was a big fan of the gypsophila, but I was more in line with the English Garden school. It was indeed a “gyp,” a filler, watering down the moonshine. I palm-dozed the delicate, already starting to dry, flowers into the center of the seat - on top of the two brown cowhide oranges.

We drove back from Brookline, most of the way, in silence. It was an okay silence. Not the silence of I-wish-somebody-would-say-something silence. Nietzsche, I think, said something about a good wife was somebody you could talk to after the erotic dried up. I’ll take a wife you can sit in silence with, without undue tension. Tone was a good wife.

Read the rest of installment #5

13 July 2012

Plumb Bob's Dream

P rivileged poet plumber pete 
holding a flashlight in his teeth 
under augean sink - that’s me 

and after/if I finish this 
this labour thirteen of herculist 
kiss my knuckles and bliss me with 

yon delta, peerless, pleasure zone, 
hippolyta, my very own 
american standard making moen

12 July 2012

A Cruel Lens

W ater is a cruel lens
now, that i am cut off
now, that i have fallen

now, that i am detached
from the tree, and stricken
now, that you have fallen

and what will happen first?
will you evaporate
or will i flameless burn?

or shall we not take turns?

11 July 2012


E lle rêve. si elle dort
avec son violon
entre ses genoux.

les quatre lignes fines
sur la cuisse l'intérieur
de la matinée.

l'âme du violon.
l'âme d'éveillant.


S he dreams. if she sleeps
with her violin
between her knees.

the four fine lines
on the inside thigh
of the morning.

the soul of the violin.
the soul awakening.

10 July 2012

Daddy's Sweater

T his is my daddy’s sweater
it zips up with a bronze talon zipper
it’s an army green but never been in the army sweater

this is the patch on my daddy’s sweater
it doesn’t match, it’s a ladybug patch sewn over
the first one which was denim, which i thought was better

this is a wood-splitting, which we did, sweater
a walk in the woods, which we never took, sweater
this is a waffle woven giant hole at the wrist sweater

this is a holy sweater, since it makes me pray all year sweater
this is a walk with your daughter you fool sweater
a praying all year for cool autumn weather sweater

09 July 2012

First Tomato

I take in the first tomato today
a Better Boy™ from 

my .

                select your endings

08 July 2012

Sunday Sonnet

D doesn't care where I graduated from school
or that my best church-going shoes are hiking boots
D doesn't really care what translation I use
or that my guitar is hardly ever in tune

D doesn’t care about my Appalachian twang
or that some, if not most, of my sermons are train
wrecks, or that all of the hymns under my fingers
groan like the blues and we meet where they play bingo

D doesn’t care about my stories or my plots
or my notes on the words from the carpenter’s cross
but she is quite happy about one of the arts
that I have practiced and mastered, at least in part,
the art of holding one of her hands, not too tight,
while pushing her wheelchair, a steady pace and straight

07 July 2012

Tone: excerpt from installment #4

Tone 1:4

I hate Sundays. Especially late in the day. Bad things happen on Sunday evening. The Wonderful World of Disney really didn’t come on in colour like the advertisement said it would. Not if you have a black and white T.V. What did I know about receptors and decoders and tri-colour reproducers? Give me a break. I was 7 years old. I thought that was the wonderful thing about it– the show would ride in on a full colour horse and make your T.V. a colour T.V. for an hour. You know, just like the fairy with the wand turns the peacock. That explains a lot I guess about my childhood. I was a hopeful romantic. The guys in the Alamo would hold out. Ole Yeller wouldn’t die at the end. The horse with the broken leg wouldn’t get put down. 

Read the rest of installment #4

06 July 2012


fall fumbles on
their fading grass
winter dribbles
behind its back

spring delivers
and summer tips
his greenest pitch
her worsted cap

05 July 2012

Courtly Lubber

she's out
of my mind

she brings me
to her knees

she laughs
in my face

i walk
in her sleep

04 July 2012

Searching for Charles on July 4


i tried to find your grave today
but i could not
locate the place
so this small stone will have to do
to mark my remembering you

the sun was high at noon today
i trod alone
that barren place
the shadows clung close to their stones
like puppies to their chosen ones

03 July 2012

The Man Hunt

In Memoriam
Andrew Samuel Griffith
June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012

lways as a child
I watched and still watch
to build a manhood from black and white parts

the dandy map
with the sticky buttons
that was my map

the squad car
with antenna arc
that was my car

the guitar
on the front porch
that was my guitar

but these were just things
just props just staging
for the real building

the quiet sheriffing
the choir singing
the barney protecting

the aunt bee teasing
the opie instructing
the miss crump courting

and so the show goes on
in my own plans
to 10-4 first

and never to curse
but someday to marry
the county nurse


Special thanks to my daughter Kate who helped take notes in the car on the way home from her Zumba class!

Image: Fair use. Screen shot of "The County Nurse" from season 2, first aired March 19, 1962

02 July 2012

Passion/Pas Jeûnes

l'âme l'altiere de l'amour,
vole delà de l'eau.

le vol delà de l'eau,
apporte l'avilissement.

l'indigne de la diamant,
l'amant affamé de lundi.

l'indigne des monts,
les vieilles les monts,

les mains des jeunes
d'hommes, pas jeûnes.


Passion/Not Fasting 
the haughty soul of love,
flies across the water.

the flight across the water,
brings degradation.

unworthy of the diamond,
the lover hungry for monday.

unworthy of the mountains,
the old mountains,

the hands of young men,
not fasting.

01 July 2012

Aftermath Class

                                                                                                             L.L. Dean 2012

how she held back
hair from fountain
lips breaking up
silver vaulting

while squatting and
and fumbling at
my locker my
coldblooded mind

forsaking all
numbers i twirled
the knurled nose of
my lock and watched

four pink finger-
prints charming on
that flagrant nape
unmoved she flew

past my torn mouth
numinous and
promising as
a fervent frog’s