2nd Poem for Bonnie Mcclellan’s International Poetry Month


My poem, “Window Open, Closed” is the February 28th offering on Bonnie Mcclellan’s International Poetry Month celebration:



DRAFT: Ode to A


I’m attending a Tupelo Press Writing Conference this weekend, and thought it would be fun to share the piece I’ve written in response to an assignment. Participants will be exploring Pablo Neruda’s work, and have been charged with producing an ode in the style of Neruda.

Ode to A

I praise your curves
and angles, your
the lift and heft,
those borrowed traces
sprouting from
an ox head
in fetid Egypt,
the dung trails
alive with beetles
rolling their wares
across rutted paths,
under the hooves
of the blind
mouthless cow in
Sinai, morphing
to the early
Phoenician aleph,
its horns
lowered sideways
in a pasture
far from the docks,
as if asking
what next,
where to,
and not in anger
or fear
or sheer bullness,
but with purpose,
like a harrowed field
or cool drink
at the end
of a hot afternoon.

And centuries
later, the horns
lifted again,
but only halfway,
as if in greeting
the man with the
goods-laden cart,
saying welcome,
welcome to my
humble home,
please share
my bread
and soft cheese,
these grapes,
this wine, too.

But how alone
my tongue feels
in singing your name,
never touching lip
or roof of mouth,
the apex of your rich
furrow, forever
plowing forward,
yet failing,
fallow at every turn.

And I have
not yet mentioned
your lower
kneeling and
well rounded,
a bud, a tender
shoot bridging
two stones
in a dry
plot: oh, to be
that tongue
and palate,
those lips
surrounding you,
to be your
in a field of vowels.

Hungarian cattle, Lajosmizse, Hungary

Mole (Pipian)


Mole (Pipian)

Always the search beneath texture,
layers captured in subsidence,
the drift to interpretation: a mixture, meaning

sauce, and its journey from seed to mouth,
the careful blend of herb and fire,

dismembered chiles,
the crushed and scorched fruit
rendered to preserve for consumption
the most tender qualities

and their enhancement towards art.

This is of course not about the mammal with the subterranean lifestyle, but rather a version of the Mexican sauce, pronounced “mo-lay,” which includes, as a main ingredient, pumpkin seeds. It takes a while to put together, but is well worth the effort.





The patience of stone, whose surface belies calm.
Neither warm nor cold, but unfeeling.

It digresses and turns inward, a vessel reversed
in course, in body, in function, the

outward notion separate but inclusive,
darkness expanding, the moist

earth crumbling yet holding its form:
acceptance of fate become

another’s mouth,
the means to closure and affirmation

driven not by lust nor fear
but through involuntary will.

Neither warm nor cold, but unfeeling.
The patience of stone.





That it begins.
And like a wave which appears
only to lose itself

in dispersal, rising whole again
yet incomplete in all but
form, it returns.

Music. The true magic.

Each day the sun passes over the river,
bringing warmth to it. Such

devotion inspires movement: a cello in the
darkness, the passage of sparrows. Sighs.

The currents are of our own
making. If we listen do we also

hear? These bodies. These silent voices.


The Language of Birds


The Language of Birds
(for Lydia)

Something thrown beyond
light: a stone,

words. The language of birds
evades us but for the simplest

measure. And how can we comprehend
those who live with the

wind when our own
bodies seem far away? In the darkness

certain sounds come clearer, as if in

absence one finds strength, the evidence
gathered with every breath. Speech is,
of course, not the answer. We release

what we must, and in turn are released.

Another oldie dug out of a folder. I wrote it for my niece perhaps twenty-five years ago, and don’t believe it was ever published. It feels good to finally release it to the light and air.


My Chapbook is Forthcoming from Dink Press


My chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform, is scheduled for release in April as Dink Press’s initial publication in its National Poetry Month Series.


I’m very pleased, as you might imagine. Many thanks to Kristopher Taylor for accepting the manuscript. Let the celebration begin!


Aubade (Inca Dove)


Aubade (Inca Dove)

Such delicacy
evokes the evolution of hand
and wing, a growth

which reflects all that one
comes to know. Two doves

sit on the fence, cold wind ruffling
their feathers. What brings them
to this place of no

shelter, of wind and rain
and clarity defied? Fingers

often remember what the mind
cannot. Silence
complicates our mornings.

Originally published in The Balcones Review in 1987, I found this in a folder earlier today. Seems I was enthralled with birds back then, too…