Dark Watches

I know not how to tell thee who I am.
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,
Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene 2

Screaming in whispers, weeping
in the dark watches of the night,
while everyone sleeps.

October snow broke the branches.

The power just went out again.
Fuck. Third time this week.
What’m I supposed to do now?

Baby Please Don’t Go

–For Tachi

When longing and loss
prey upon my mind
I grab a Bb harp
and sing Big Joe Williams’ words  in F.

“Oh Baby Please Don’t Go,”

I  imagine standing on a levy
along a forlorn stretch of the Mississippi
on a hot summer day.
The heat slows everything

“Oh Baby Please Don’t Go,”

down to a slow-motion crawl.
The lazy brown water
carries troubles and mirth
down to the sea.

“Baby please don’t go down to New Orleans,
You know I love you so.”

Take comfort in knowing
the water flows endlessly
though it’s never the same river twice.

Blue Nikes

No Blue Nikes were harmed in the writing of this little ditty.

The TV went dark. “She shoulda paid the electric bill. What’m I gonna do now?  Two words. Blue Nikes.” It’s so dark he can’t see his hand in front of his face. “Basement apartment. She’s gotta get a better place.”

He gingerly slides off the bed and lands on his knees.  Socks in the dark. Sticky underwear. “Pants, pants, pants. He reaches under the bed. Dust bunnies cling to his fingers. He shakes his hands. Clots of hair cling to his skin.

On the other side of the bed. Russian hands and Roman fingers find a pair of crumpled panties, which he reflexively lifts to his nose. His pulse quickens momentarily as a chthonic olfactory wake parts the waters of his chi.

“Blue Nikes.” His mantra brings him back to the task at hand. His fingers go slack and the panties fall to the carpet.

She heaves a sigh followed by a stifled whimper. A teacher once told him dream utterances flow up from the unconscious. He holds his breath to listen for somebody else’s name. Her breathing resumes its autonomic rhythm. No deep insights tonight.

He crawls across a deep pile tundra and aims in the direction of the unseen door. Blue Nikes keep him going forward. A smile brushes his lips.  The suede tickles his fingertips as he caresses the swoosh. “Upside down Pumas.”  Click. The door closes behind him as he slips into the night just ahead of Young Dawn’s fingertips of rose. His Blue Nikes squeak on the marble floor.


Containers for meaning
distractions by the hour
TV shows, anxiety, fear
Nob Creek on the rocks
three fingers
back to the words
never to be heard
I guess saying
them counts for something.

Daddy Do You Love Me?

–Early May 2001

One quarter pound
of top round
piled lovingly
upon a bed of
wheat and rye.
Mustard applied
from crust to
crunchy crust
–the spicy kind.
All goes unnoticed
until the first bite.
Daddy can
I have some.
Crestfallen I
take blade to
an edge knowing
full well that
the gesture will
be rebuffed.
Blood dried, bread
went stale.
One bite missing.
How I relished
each bite until
she plead.

Dark Shoals

In the midst of a stream,
as it flows from mountain
spring to tidal pool, those
who travel its waters
sometimes find themselves
driven upon dark shoals.
Rushing water will quicken
at the approach of jagged rocks.
At intervals, the bottom rises
the banks widen; and, smoothed
by years of gentle caress, the rocks
turn round and regular.
Here in such a backwater
while foundering upon
dark shoals, I unexpectedly
found a thing of beauty
lying unattended as if
waiting for that very moment
for me to pass so that it
might brighten the moment
and provide succor on
the journey to the shining sea.

Little Drops of Water

for Bobbi

Her pink dress ruffles in the wind
exposing the lacy white underwear beneath

Sauntering, skipping singing laughing desultorily
where the undulating layers of water wash the beach

–translucent-in-between-green wave
now regarding now running

her wispy-baby-fine-blonde hair (fastened with a pink bow)
blows haphazardly in the rush of the off-shore breeze

she halts scoops some sand and holds her hand high
the mischievous smile fades to concentration
the cold foamy water tickles her feet
she claps her hands with delight
and bounds off with a start

Sauntering, skipping singing laughing desultorily
where the undulating layers of water wash the beach

Valentines Day 2010

I bought this card a long time ago
Planning for a time
When life might get in the way
Of a special occasion.
It’s a practice you taught me.
The planning doesn’t stop
Because life got in the way,
Neither does hope diminish,
Nor the optimism cease.
It’s a practice life teaches us.
Soon I will buy a new card
Planning for a time
When grief gives way to happiness
And optimism replaces despair
And life gets in the way
It’s a practice I hope to teach you.

two simple circles

two simple circles,
like magnets forever attracted
no beginning, no end
lying side by side
stacked one upon the other
tossed far apart,
between the space always moving
infinitesimally small
or as great as space
like magnets forever attracted
no beginning, no end
two simple circles touching

Easter Poem

My dearest, here’s An Easter Poem
Today I wish you Happy Easter.
Nothing less, nothing more
The feelings well up
from a reservoir
a life time
a laser
as can be,
light focused
from a moment
as recent as today
from energy that took
many lifetimes to create
Today I wish you a Happy Easter