31 August 2012

Time: Love/Hate

sometimes i
wanted time
to go by

days and hours
just slow cars
to hurry

traffic jams
to work a-
round to Fri-
day night

where Mary
waits don’t be
late the star's
dark light

and at other times, breezing
across the rink’s blistering

we’re begging and we’re pleading
o time, won’t you pretty please

as we jetpack yet closer
to that jaggedy jet-black

and we hear, it’s not a dream,
the night nurse's grippy shoes
squeaking in the hall

Skirting Frozen Pond

30 August 2012

Three Umbrellas Six Chairs Nine Minutes

it's the last week at the shore
and nobody else has even noticed
that the gent from number three
and that the dame from number six

have been missing for nine minutes
except for me, but that's my business
i'm sure number five will pay for pix
and maybe even number four

29 August 2012

Grey Hairstreak

                  grey butterfly
                  on silver hood
                  junk sailing on
                  south china sea

28 August 2012

Fairy Tale

met a moose who
disappeared into
the mist with
hands above
his head in
velvet gloves
wands upon a pine

27 August 2012

26 August 2012

Sunday Sonnet: Chariots of Fire

The Sunday night movie is Chariots
of Fire
and the room is filling up with
walkers (that is, the aluminum kind),
with wheelchairs, and with warriors who still
walk on their own, at least some of the time.

I check in on Paul who took a fall this
morning. He was there on his side as I
emerged from the stairwell onto the third
floor, more embarrassed than injured. I helped
him into a chair and then fetched a nurse.

The movie room was full tonight and we
softly applauded as actors ran on
blue beaches and the surviving daughter
of Bobby van Epps asked me how to get home.


Bobby van Epps was the piano player
for the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra.

25 August 2012

Tone 1:9

There was enough light from the great window for me to see Tone’s lips moving as I glanced over. He was mouthing the names of the constellations as he plucked them out of the milky wash of the other stars. This was just an internal test. A game. Proving himself to himself. He had nothing to prove to anybody else. I could also faintly hear him, as he pronounced Lyra… Cygnus… Aquila… Hercules… He was in his own private swirl, dealing with the incessant burden of his brilliance.

I turned back toward the great window, and waited. The woman with the orange hair would finish up with the bride and we would ride home in a Mustang convertible, and I would try to catch a glimpse of the great burning window-furnace in the rear view mirror when we first headed home.

24 August 2012

Jarabe Tapatio

your dress
like two

made of
crêpe paper

your lips
just grazed
my nose

Hat Dance

tu vestido
se arremolinaba
como dos

arcos iris
hecho de
papel crepé

tus labios
acaba rozó
mi nariz

23 August 2012

Half Mast

what was at half mast
now ripples at finial
and the starling gone

22 August 2012

Diplomacy: Wire Story




21 August 2012

Bubble Dancer's Dowery

she blooms her arms move
her toddlers loom to leave
spent balloons
in her hair

she copes the crib with
castoff chiffon to dis-
till the harm
in the air

20 August 2012

Lost and Found

I found a green bike abandoned
in a deeper dark greener wood.
Do I take it myself to give away
or find the current Robin Hood?

19 August 2012

Sunday Sonnet: Charles Descending a Staircase

Sunday morning. The elevator is
not functioning. There’s a punctual man
on the landing. With both of his frail hands
on one railing, he begins to descend

the long staircase. Sliding hand to hand but
not crossing them, and foot to foot before
dropping one daringly over the edge
of each box step. Charles in crimson slippers,
with dancer’s hands on diagonal barre,
our very own Nureyev at ninety-four.

The pall bearers pass the casket into
the idling hearse, the long mahogany
handles smoothly through their white-gloved hands.
But that’s another mourning,
another landing.
In spite of the power outage, Charles was determined to get to the church service on the first floor - and he was determined to get there on time.

18 August 2012

A Cold Kiss

après une cuillerée
de la crème glacée

je cueille
un bise froid

qu'est-ce qui s'était
mal passée?

Un Bise Froid

after a spoonful
of ice cream

i steal
a cold kiss

what had
gone wrong?

Note on Tone

Dear Readers,
Tone 1:9 will be posted in the next few days, deo volante.
Stay tuned.
Catch up on previous installments here: Tone.

17 August 2012

Storm at Sea

THEY go down
to the sea
in their slips

waiting for
their husbands
their lovers

for some of
them it is
the same man

and some just
want to watch
the dark storm

as they make
their way down
to the sea

the spasms
of the light-
-house breaking

first across
their bare feet
and then their
scared faces

Image based on "Bell Rock light house during a storm from the North East."
Drawn by J.M.W. Turner. Engraved by J. Horsburgh. 1824.

16 August 2012

Red Shoes

the light has turned green
her shoes have always been red
she wears no helmet
her dogs hide from the thunder
but they chase after loud cars

What is a tanka?

15 August 2012


you moved
    legs as long
through the
    as a lifted
dawn garden
    damp gown

14 August 2012

Reynard and The Wolf

my good wolf or
is it rector
would you heed your

so-called calling
if you were called
to preach and pray

without housing
or pay

mon bon loup ou
est-ce le recteur
écouteriez-vous de votre

soi-disant vocation sacré
si vous avez été appelé
à prêcher à prier

sans presbytère
sans titre exalté
sans salaire

13 August 2012

Everything Falls Down

un poème ne peut pas nous sauvent
un pomme n'est pas le savant

tout tombe à terre,
à nuit
nous calcul l'allure,
le bruit

a poem cannot save us
an apple is not the scientist

at night,
everything falls down
we calculate the speed,
the sound

12 August 2012

Seven Sovereigns Before the Cross

Monday lays down his blue cheese moon
alongside Tuesday’s juiced grey goose

Wednesday lays down its wedding gown
spun in silver from Thursday’s thunder

Friday lays down her spinning wheel
inside Saturday’s hula hoop

Sunday lays down its worn out worship
seven lie down in wonder

11 August 2012

Tone 1:8

Question. Can you have a lost weekend in the middle of the week? Sure you can. If you’re an over-achiever. Like me. So maybe you’re not trying hard enough.

It was Friday already and I had been in and out of a haze for three days. Sorta like a very slow flight in a very small plane, in and out of various types of clouds and low-hanging fogs and the smoke from leaf and brush fires set by idiot neighbors who shouldn’t be burning fires in the middle of summer anyway. For some of these maneuvers you don’t even need alcohol. You just pitch and roll and yaw.

10 August 2012

Three Things: World History

there are three things
a king requires
a castle high-towered
an army un-cowered
and a chapel well-choired

L'histoire du Monde
il ya trois choses
un roi exige
un château haut-tours
une armée non-recroquevillé
et une chapelle bien-chœur

09 August 2012

Three Birds in Flight (x, y, z)

between us two
we have six feet
but none are landing gear

my dog pulls me
into the scent
beneath the buzzing wire

its feathered beads
they all grow wings
the abacus explodes

most all go west
into the sun
but three, they go alone

three black birds three black flags
a semaphore
unflown before

three cards black ace jack jack
three card monte
against the sky

three black balls much smaller
now the juggler
most true and sure

finally, three vertices
unstudied trig-

08 August 2012

Reynard: Prelude

ceci est mon ami, le renard
son pelage est une flamme étrange
nourrit par le pointu pluie
éteint par un soleil d'ennui

this is my friend, the fox
his coat is a strange flame
nourished by the sharp rain
extinguished by a dull sun

07 August 2012

Teaching Children to Spell

iss Erato embraces the open fourth grade
speller and offers the young scholars an eleventh hour
pneumatic [sic] device
        remember there’s an ear
        in your heart
flushed i pounce on the lapse

chaste as the nose of a kitten the eraser
creping the paper
ripping it
i smooth back the pleated wound
to write on what her
discretion allowed

she stood still stands still
behind the roof of her book her breastbreathing
waiting while
i rub out
and blow away in pink debris
an absurd hart started against a rib

Robert Hughes: 1938~2012

Lost Paradise

T o close the gap
between you
and everything
that is not you
it's not something
committees can do

06 August 2012


y brother
could palm
a wet watermelon

found him
with his
skull split open

now he
dusts the
waters the gym

I con
tucks his chin

05 August 2012

Upstaged. A Drop. Down. Poem.

So now what? That strange fellow still accosts
you from his pinned-down perch upon a cross.
It’s uncanny. Impossible even.

It reminds you of that burlesque gag where
the target girl is pinned down through her blouse
with the first blade and when the knife thrower
turns his back to pick up the next, she Houdinis
herself out and kicks him in the rear
end. She then wiggles back into her blouse,
sorta. He doesn’t notice. Anything.

And when the final knife is thrown and he turns to the crowd
for his applause, she slips out again, tiptoes toward the pit,
points to her exquisite downstage bottom, and mouths
“Kiss it.”

04 August 2012


S es paumes sur
mes yeux-lèvres
morceaux de sucre
pour mon cauchemar


H er palms on
my eye-lips
sugar lumps
for my nightmare

Note on Tone

Dear Readers,
Tone will return next week, deo volante.

03 August 2012

My Favourite Port

T his is my favourite port
show me she says
desiring something more

so i touch
the tiny valley
above her upper lip
this is not it

so i touch
the bone-lit valley
along her lower back
this is not it

so i touch (don’t tickle)
the aqueduct-
arch of her water-bearing foot
this is not it

and since i am
the hollow man
devoted to depressions
lover of concavities

the falling star-struck parts
the smoothly cupped curved
and catching shallow valleys
soft trough kneeling-in-clay parts

the whirling wolf paddy-pawed
bedding-down places
the stepping-wear of ancient stairs
cathedral niches for hummingbird pairs

the incurved indented in-grooved engraved —
but not etched — softly
bluntly spoonly palmly places
the windward side of the sail,

i finally touch
that hollow between her clavicles
the sternal notch it’s called among
other things

where perspiration pools
i place
a whispered pointer
there there, this is it

a thimble portion formed in darkness
with far less pressure
than a criminal’s thumb
(assisted, of course, by

the arresting officer) on the inkpad sponge
and i get to follow
follow follow follow follow
the culpable finger of God

02 August 2012

Local News

H er face is far away
and darker than the dust
the fallow dust that covers it
like the chaulk on a bell of chocolate
tears slowly doze
doze down her high cheekbones
they break upon diamonds
those soft brown diamonds embossed in her skin

the captioned reporter
nibbles white words from a blue field
a spangled field that remembers
that considers my red eyes and covers
the nudes the news
this is su dan
yesterday she had five children (sic)
today she has four
tomorrow we’ll have more
from this drought-stricken and barren land

the camera zooms in and stoops
she could have entertained the troops
raise her in heels and a lime swimsuit
shoo the flies dancing by
drinking from
washing on
wringing in the wadi of
the parting of her lips

i wad up the silver foil
from a milk-chocked kiss and toss
it into the fire to watch
its fuse (the blue on white sash of some
bathing beauty/virguled virgin)
ignite in the orange coals
it’s after
i extinguish the news by remote control

Chocolate bloom

01 August 2012

SIght: A Parable

Y ou were shooting
the crow
on the rickety roof
but when you blow up
the shot
you can see the jet
the crow could see
but you could not