05 September 2015

Dog's Paw

dog's paw
distinct from star
but not by far
nor by darkness
but by spark
by maker's mark
by carpenter's scar

31 December 2013

After Advent

we would have struck
a match if we had had
a match and if we had had
a place to strike it

but there was no place
just as there was no place
in the infamous inn
but there were milky moonlets

in the frozen hoof
prints and in the frozen paw
prints: some crazy moulage
from some crazier crime

a rustling maybe
where little lambs bowed
down and doggies bowed,

31 October 2013

Dream of the Rood

I had a dream, I had a dream
I had a dream he climbed on me
The carpenter's son, he climbed on me

He had a dream, he had a dream
The angel said you better take Mary
That Joseph man, he had a dream

She had a dream, o, she had a dream
Sweet little Mary, o, she had a dream
She dreamed you'd climb on me

I had a dream, I had a dream
I had a dream, I had a dream
They cut me down and you climbed on me

I had a dream, I had dream
I had a dream he climbed on me
They cut me down and they
They cut me down and then
They cut me down and you climbed on me

11 September 2013


The cigarette of my wasted life
burning down burning down burning down
At your lips at your pretty lips
flicked away flicked away flicked away now

The cigarette of my wasted life
bad for you bad for you bad for me
The cigarette of my wasted life
burning down burning down burning down

Memory memory memory
long long gone - gone - gone gone gone
Just a smoldering wick right now
till the LORD takes me to His mouth

The cigarette of my wasted life
burning down burning down burning down
At your lips at your pretty lips
flicked away flicked away flicked away now
burning down burning down burning down

31 August 2013

Song: Enoch

Enoch walked, we're told, with God
for 300 years
I can't walk with God
for 300 seconds

Enoch walked, we're told, with God
for 300 years
I'm always straying away
into the weeds

Take me to that place
where seek is find
Take me to that place
where knock is open wide

Take me to that place
where seek is find
where weak is strong
where you're really mine

Blues in F

17 July 2013


some of us
will leave our lanes

to cover
this fire to crush

this haughty
flame yet once

again: a furnace
that still burns

us with its
pretty look

and severed

paws pouring forth
beauty like heaped-

up coals on our
ugly heads

and haunting
our slinking off

to our
abednego beds

07 July 2013

if my heart

if my heart were a beam
in abandoned barn

and if there were a loft
with standable floor

there’d be ― trust me ― patient
bees boring perfect

holes snowing powdered
sugar on the boards


30 June 2013

Aliens Among Us

no need
to reach

some far-
flung star

to see
the sites

on venus
or mars

to un-

the mights
to dis-

the heights

to seize
the halos

of un-
manned flight

25 June 2013

we just call ’im dovie ’cause he bristles at lovie

entranced with enough
dovie’s cue ball’ll walk

duly to the new
place and the waiting

cue: already scuffed
and chaulked
and armed with powder

blue kisses

19 June 2013

Volatile Bob

My heart is
pure ― rubbing

better keep

dragging those
grounding chains

My head is

nearly two-hundred proof
better stop

playing with
those matches

My hurt is
nitro ― so

better not
bump me so

hard with that
dreamt about body body body

13 June 2013

Three Things

There are three
sleeps that can
stop our mouths
their speaking:

the Big Sleep
(which plugs all
things), the Nighty-
Night (if night-

mare free),
and the Sleep
of Kiss (which
bungs our tongues,

possums our
peepers, and
relegates our

09 June 2013

OneMan’s Pack Rat is another OldLady’s Boy Scout

Because he might need
a Black Toad bottle
cap crimped at one hun-
             dred twenty degrees,
he can’t discard it,
but keeps one of six

Maybe a lady
will seek safe passage
across frozen tun-
             dra through a hoard of
malevolent Huns
and that cap might be

the only weapon
or useful disguise
(you know, used to scratch
             or worn as a patch)
that is small enough
to smuggle or that

we’re able to hide
until we most need
it ― as I replay
             it ― at the last minute
So, I can’t blindly
just throw it away

04 June 2013

Note to Self: The Bottom

Here’s the bottom
line: is your poem

of such robust
spine and buxom

embrace of such
tonic balm such

bouquet and taste
of such sonic

boom exquisite
menu and coo

that it might coax
despairing toes

off of spotlit
ledges or bowed-

down heads away
from unlit stoves?

02 June 2013

Sermon :: Matthew 6:34

BETTER let tomorrow
let tomorrow
let tomorrow

better let it take care
let it take care
care of itself.

Listen little children ―
Would I? Would you?
Would this one here?

Would we pull the covers
of tomorrow
onto our beds?

And then the day after
that? and then next
week? and next month?

All piled up. All at once.
― Y’all go on and
talk to me now ―

As if we had ’em all.
All the linen.
All the bedclothes

of a five-star hotel.
And so piled up ―
stacked up ― ceiling-

high? Wouldn’t we smother
beneath the weight
and heat of them –

tossing ourselves into
our very own
fiery furnace.

Today is hot enough.
Heavy enough.
Trouble enough.

WE’D be pinned flat down like
a butterfly
under a stack ―

a big stack of flapjacks.
That butterfly
might melt but

it’s not getting much sleep.
Y’all hearing me?
Be still my soul?

I really don’t think so.
That’s not stillness
of our sweet souls

my brothers and sisters.
We can be still.
We can be still.

Because He wasn’t still.
Jesus came down.
All the way down.

Some of you have heard this
before. Way down.
To Mary’s womb.

Hand-him-down swaddling clothes.
Pretty flimsy.
Like the lily.

Y’all got me distracted.
So where was I?
Be still. Our souls.

We might be really still.
But really grim.
And beaten down.

Our typical tossing
and turning might
stop. That’s for sure.

BUT Jesus gives us rest.
For the weary.
But not pinned down.

My Jesus was pinned down.
So we don’t need
to be pinned down.

The biggest deed is done.
All the way done.
So we can rest.

So we can sleep under
the light light sheet
of just today ―

not that weigh-me-down shroud
of days and weeks
and months and years.

There is a seven-star
hotel. We need
to go sleep there.

And you can’t afford it.
But it’s all free.
All the way paid.

Jesus says sleep under
His cool covers –
It is finished.

His pollen soft, but warm.
Lily linen.

And ev’ry. Body. Said.
Amen. Amen.
Sister Betty,

come on up and lead us:
Come Ye Sinners,
Poor and Needy

01 June 2013

Planting Beans

propping the shovel hoe and rake
spooling out twine plunging the stakes
kneeling dimpling the harrowed plot
thumbing simple tombs in the pocks
releasing the pink dusted bombs
dozing over dirt with a palm

a display of faith this arming
counting on another rising
their pearl green necks rolling
their respective stones exploding
revealing in each yawning
seed applauding

a leaf a tongue
the dumb report

31 May 2013

Bird Man

In his younger
years, when he was
bung-full of sap,
the mere shadowing
of a swallow
jetting past
would spook his wool-
gathering gaze.

But now, the blue jay’s
jeering and juking
and the mocking
bird’s mania
and the mourning
dove’s rugged flute
are all drummed up
inside his napping.

Like funneled swifts
down deep chimneys.

29 May 2013

Nurse :: Muse

flip my pillow
over baby
           and let me feel
           your shading tree
cradle my brain-
pan with one hand
           while the other
           one does the deed

rip the bandage
from my body
           change the damage
           sop up the dream
so distract me
with your singing
           that you don’t ring
           a tear from me

grip my ankles
with your let-down
           hair and phantom
           some quickening
there remember
feathered Hermes
           was fashioned in
           the shadows of

a cripple’s dancing

Hephaestus was the Greek god of craftsmen, fire, and volcanoes. His Roman counterpart was Vulcan. In addition to making the armour of Achilles, the girdle of Aphrodite, the chariot of Helios, and the bow and arrows of Eros, he also fashioned the winged sandals (talaria) and helmet (petasos) of Hermes (Mercury). He says of himself in the Odyssey, Book VIII: “I was crippled from birth” (ἐγώ γε ἠπεδανὸς γενόμην).

25 May 2013


::h:: a place
to drape your

cape folder
of bodies
molder of

laps a place
for dandling
for dancing

lion tamer’s
prop site of
chess master’s

endless loop
the brawler’s

weapon the

throne balanced
on the ledge
of heaven

the front two
legs dangling

22 May 2013


What beakable thing
will catch the builder’s

eye? a string ― a puff
of doggy down ―

yesterday’s feather ―
All are viewed

and weighed and tested
― then taken

or rejected ―
All to sketch

a hollow place
a bird’s embrace

a cup a crèche
a pivot point for two


20 May 2013

Mister D.

always with me.

He’s there, mugging
in my mirror:

tonguing his teeth,
spritzing every

perfume. Goofing off
at the market:

sampling cheeses
and juggling fruit.

AND there he is,
near my lover’s

bed ― even when
fevered fingers

are climbing my
spine ― waving

that silly scythe,
making some nice

shadows and lights
for the seeming,

but very
little breeze.

MISTER D. is always
with me.

19 May 2013

Prayer: Confession & Adoration

When I am
weak and when

am I not

When I am
wicked and when

am I not

When I am
worried and when

am I not

You are power
pure and sure.

16 May 2013

Pen Pals

FROM: Afro Sheen
of Silver Seed

TO: Dandy Lion
of Yellow Mane

14 May 2013

Plump Robin

           Plump Robin
o, you swag
so, when you fly

each down-beating
of your wings
up brings a crest

and then the trough
― when wings come up ―
         of waving sine

Your flight’s
a fancied garland
unwound from yonder

tree ― the galloping
pencil ― the scallops

of tremor's tinsel ―
a stretch of your E

           In a dream
― I shan’t say whose ―
upside down

someone dreamed
you flew
O, winsome swimmer

your lantern breast
bobbing ― a constant
         crest ―

           O, Plump Robin
o, how you flew

10 May 2013

Driving Around after the Reunion, with my Wife (the Former Cheerleader) Asleep in the Back Seat, Relishing my Rival’s Demise

She’s sleeping soundly
I’m driving roundly
all up and downly
our homely townly

O, there’s the store-y
where we adore-y
’way-laid her ringly
and out danced singly

And speaking of-ly
my sleeping lovely
and other way-lies
of ’waying laidly

Since Dirk was deadly
it could be saidly
she was finally minely
for all timely

07 May 2013

After the Annunciation: X Marks the Spot

SHE bit me on the arm
when I tried to hold her

AFTER she told me and
I didn’t believe her.

SHE didn’t draw blood but
the mark was there for days.

ANGRY didn’t quite
describe it – she was crazy.

SURE. I bit him. When I dashed
away, he captured

from behind – seizing my wrists –
then X-ing all four

of our arms across my breast.
So, I bit down. Hard.

Off to see Elizabeth.
HOPE it leaves a mark.

05 May 2013

Flight of Freighter Bird

           Plump Robin
o, you swag
so, when you fly

each down-beating
of your wings
up brings a crest

and then the trough
― when wings come up ―
         of waving sine

           O yes, your flight’s
a fancied garland
unwound from yonder

tree ― stretched out
but still
such rolling

as a string
of pinned-up tinsel
         penciled ’cross the scene

           In a dream
― I shan’t say whose ―
upside down

someone dreamed
you flew
O, winsome swimmer

your lantern breast
bobbing ― a constant
         crest ―

           O, Plump Robin
o, how you flew

30 April 2013

Riddle #3

I live in a black box
which opens
out and up

my harem of orange
hips out
toward you

but most all my perfume
slips up
the shoot

29 April 2013

11:21 P.M.

DEAD is no
it sounds like

keening dog
and it smells
like Lysol.

But it tastes
loosely like
late at night

in August heat
Four Roses,


28 April 2013

Woman at Window

The window opened on Paris
or Prague or some other sampled

city ― and your fingers ― well, two
of them ― outlined an O. Were you

smoking ― the glass was touch-dusty ―
or pinching some delicacy?

Perhaps you were signing “okay”?
The O fell back into shadow

then, oboe-like, returned. This time,
with its lowercase mate, glowing.

27 April 2013

Driving Across Ohio

Sometimes there is
a single tree
in the middle
of farmer’s field.
And you wonder

how it escaped
the blades of one
hundred winters.
But there it is
at plowing time

a shadeless lamp
amidst the brown
furrows — formed by
some Zen master
with his red rake

held out behind
an old tractor.
A stark living
room décor. But
summer will bring

the dainty things:
leaves for old trees
and a carpet
of Jubilee,

Jubilee is a variety of sweet, yellow corn.
See also Leviticus 25.

26 April 2013

He rode

HE rode with Custer. But wasn’t
Custer. And he rode with Sitting
Bull. But this one wasn’t Sitting
Bull, either. Just as dead. Just as
renown. This poem levels the field

of fame. Because. On this day. When
your dripping kerchiefs ― just dipped ― touched
their brows ― the nameless brave ― their dried
crud went pink with enough water.
History is [proverb goes here].

25 April 2013

April's Autumn

A false fall,
but faithful
spring’s first leaves

in reds and
yellows and

23 April 2013


WHY call this a crush? I guess it sounds quaint
enough, the puppy lovey ― moods of youth ― naïve
nothings. Nothing heavy or lasting here, so move
along. The only blood is blush: unpainted-

on. THERE are pens ― called crush-pens ― for cattle
and sheep, which narrow like a funnel:
at the business end is the branding iron,
glowing like the inside of a star ― or ―

so I suppose. For your ass ― it hisses,
coming back down, closer to home. Not to mention
the unbecoming ― though mysterious ― fit
of the crèche. But who’s to say it’s not serious.

UNABLE to breathe. Unable to move.
Ask any orange. Juiced. Isn’t that you?

21 April 2013

Talking at Tombs

IF I had such power,
I would put on a show:
hocus my pocus and focus my potions
with lots of hand motions
into that black hole

BUT the Carpenter simply cries
― for the sake of the crowd ― out loud:
Lazarus, come on out and play.
And the rest of you, strip him down
― down like Adam ― on Eve’s first day

20 April 2013


NOT even a full feather
but a tiny torn portion


from, I presume, my pillow
I blow at it ― keeping it


THE delayed response as it
shudders, gaining a little


as long as divinity
angles up from down below

TELL me true

how is this unlike my own
fleeting flight ― torn ― borne up ― blown

and then gone

finally fallen below
the backlighting of window

15 April 2013

Muscle Memory

SWEPT over
by the same
sequence of
weathers ― wind

and water ―
some connive
and thrive ― while
some of us

take the bend
to our souls
and twisted

we ― the wonders
of almost
broken down ―

13 April 2013


WHY are winter
sunsets so
much better —
stun guns of
orange sherbet?

Paper Kite (revised)

ITS tail was ripped from old bedclothes ― a train
of crude bow ties. And since it was cloud-sheering
windy, we made it royal-long ― almost convincing
each other she’d fly. The maiden flight was short ―
and bitter: the scatter-brained store-bought parts
looping in crazy eights ― flashing infinity signs.

NOW dangled upside down like the escape artist
in his sack, tangled by its tail in the still-
bare limbs of the old black elm, the distorted
diamond quivers and crackles ― there ― unreachable.

AND so we await the slow ― but certain ― secret curtain
of summer ― then all the stripping done by fall ―
to be unveiled there for the winter view ― no Houdini ―
just the spine and the spar of a balsam cross.

10 April 2013


For sale. Vintage taboo.
Rarely used. Call after
7 p.m. Ask for Jimbo.
Make an offer.