Who you are not seldom rises
beyond midnight’s

sum: one strand thrown over
another, looped through

and pulled taut, achieving
tension and a sour taste

at the back of your throat.
Everyone believes this

doesn’t bleed. I lock the
windows, draw the shades,

twist the cord. Even distracted,
nothing comes undone.

modern light MGD©

Huazi Ridge (After Wang Wei)


Huazi Ridge

Limitless birds merging
with the autumn-colored hills
all along Huazi Ridge
this sadness, too, without end

Another adaptation. I hope that I’ve not strayed too far from the original’s tone.

The transliteration on offers:

Fly bird go no limit
Join mountain again autumn colour
Up down Huazi Ridge
Melancholy feeling what extreme

This version of “Huazi Ridge” first appeared in June, 2014.


In the Place of Cold Doors

cold doors

In the Place of Cold Doors

We have a word for everything,
or seven for nothing. Soon

you’ll enter and I’ll talk
on the other side,

watch for signs in every
dropped crumb,

every nailhead and
embedded phrase remembered

in another’s voice. The light
will dim and I’ll look for rain and

go on speaking. My words will wander
unnoticed. You hear only yesterday.


“In the Place of Cold Doors” first appeared in Gossamer: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry, published by Kindle Magazine in Kolkata, India. I was thrilled to have several poems included in the anthology.


Bone Music


Bone Music

But how to reconcile the difference? Consider
drag force, velocity at impact, position,
surface tension. Gravity. I drink more wine
and drift, trying to recall that last conversation,
those few sentences revised in the moment,
exhaled and consumed in passing. It’s
likely that fractured ribs lacerated the heart and
lungs, or severed major arteries. Sometimes
words evaporate, leaving behind only the faintest
residue. Or they might absorb the ocean’s power,
the beauty, the blackness of the deepest
nocturnal canyon or the weight of a dying
high mass star’s core, crushing any deliberation,
any attribution, with remorse. Sky above,
the earth below, silvered leaves. A shared moon.
This fluttering from great heights. The outward
thrust. The shearing. A fluttering within. Each
morning I acknowledge pain and fear, refleshing
the night’s bones phrase by delicate phrase into
numinous forms greater than their divisible
parts, their intractable sums, into bodies and
shapes extracted through a moment’s glimpse,
brief afterthoughts groaned across the opening
blue, saying I was right, I admit inaction, I
confess it all, water, water, I knew too little.

“Bone Music” first appeared in Gossamer: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry, published by Kindle Magazine in Kolkata, India. I was thrilled to have several poems included in the anthology.


With These Nine Figures

zero sign

With These Nine Figures

   … and with the sign 0…any number may be written.

                                                                 Leonardo of Pisa (Fibonacci)

We attain from emptiness and the Sanskrit shoonya, from safira and sifr, zero.
As in unoccupied, as in void, as in what brims the homeland of null.
I once counted thirty-four black vultures orbiting my neighbor’s hill.
Despite appearing in Mayan codices, they neither sing nor cipher.
Fibonacci’s Book of the Abacus introduced the decimal system to Europe.
Regarding the tyranny of mathematics, is nothing something?
From alterity to belonging, its provenance assumes an absence of being.
Which is not to suggest xenophobia or superiority in order.
Whether depicted by empty space, wedges, or hooks, it held place.
Representation not of the object, but of its purpose, its path.
Black vultures do not smell carrion, but pillage from those that can.
Obliterative in the west wind, subtractive, unbound, they spiral.
Are the circlers in the sky symptomatic or merely symbolic?
Comparing negative infinity to its positive sister, I observe their way.

“With These Nine Figures” originally appeared, with a companion recording, in Clade Song in summer, 2013. I had asked a friend for five or six words to use in a poem. She provided tyranny, emptiness, xenophobia, pillage and at least one other that I’ve forgotten. But it wasn’t nothing.


Poem Featured at Algebra of Owls


The editor of Algebra of Owls has seen pit, er fit, to publish my poem “Your Armpits Smell Like Heaven.” The poem was written last August as one of my offerings to the Tupelo Press 30-30 challenge and fund-raiser; the title was sponsored and provided by Plain Jane.

Fellow poets might consider submitting poetry for consideration. Algebra of Owls is a new publication, and I believe their interests extend beyond body parts.

Letter to a Ghost


Letter to a Ghost

Had I not dreamed your death, I would have praised this day.
Your name rests in a wooden box on a desk

in a room far away and twice as old as we were then.
My penance in this phase: to continue.

I gather words close and refrain from admissions.
The clock on the wall seldom chimes,

like one whose vows circumvent convenience, or
a shade allowing the barest sliver of light

through the window. That tock preceding
a long silence. Snow blanketing the mounded earth.

Your scent never lingers past sleep, where you remain.
At last I no longer covet those sheets you’ve shared.

Your name rests in a box. I gather words and refrain.