Why I Hate Mowing the Lawn

lawnmower

Why I Hate Mowing the Lawn

The unmowed green reveals its secrets
blade by blade, shadowed and fresh.
Don’t look, it says, whisper deep
into my chlorophyll. Save this blue.
It unveils other nuances, confiding in
contrast and symmetry, employing
your eyes and their measures. The quiet,
all-encompassing and subtle. So true.

* * *

“Why I Hate Mowing the Lawn” was first published at Buddhist Poetry Review.Thank you, Jason Barber, for taking this poem.

Drawer of Possibilities

 

Drawer of Possibilities

In the drawer of possibilities
you find stasis, the lure of the unknown.
To what should this hinged orb
be subservient? Or that wrinkled blade?
An egg, the bald potato. The sacrificial
carrot? To everything its purpose.
Like that light in the crook of the
altered frame, attracting the winged
beings. You, of course, serve nothing.

 

 

“Drawer of Possibilities” first appeared in The New Reader in March 2018.

 

RO

Ro

When this note fades
will it join you in that place
above the sky
or below the waves
of the earth’s plump
body? Or will it
circle back, returning to
my lips and this
hollow day
to aspire again?

 

 

Note: Ro designates the fingering required to produce a particular note on the shakuhachi, the traditional Japanese bamboo flute. In this case, closing all holes.

 

Bamboo Flute

 

Bamboo Flute

I am studying simplicity
in the way a rattlesnake
watches a field mouse,

which means of course
that I am doing it all wrong
and making this much more

difficult. Today’s lesson
is humility: I achieve no
tone from this damn bamboo

flute, no matter how I adjust
my mouth and wind. Go
watch football
, the voices

say. Instead I go to the grocery,
buy my wife’s favorite
wine, and later pour her

a glass and offer Irish cheddar
with rice crackers and a few
grapes. I sip beer, pick up

the flute, and sound a
wavering D followed by a goose
fart and spitting hamsters.

Progress, at last! Now
back to the lesson. Relax.
I’m nailing this simplicity thing.

 

* * *

“Bamboo Flute” first appeared in The Larger Geometry: poems for peace, available at Amazon. This anthology of poems that “uplift, encourage and inspire,” features poets from five countries and three continents. Published by the interfaith peaceCENTER of San Antonio, Texas, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All proceeds from the sale of this anthology go to benefit the peaceCENTER.

I’m pleased to have had a small role in selecting the poems.

Contributing poets include Lynne Burnett, Charlotte Hamrick, Daryl Muranaka, Stephanie L. Harper, Sudhanshu Chopra, Texas Poet Laureate Carol Coffee Reposa, Michael Vecchio, Rebecca Raphael and others.

I Live in My Winter


I Live in My Winter

Removed from the junipers’
fragrance, separated from
prickly pears gracing
the hill, limestone slabs
jutting from thin soil,
and smoke drifting from
a well laid fire on a cold
night. Old, today, I
call the clouds my
birthright, want only
to merge with them
and rain through
another black coffee
in this unfamiliar place,
this new home,
this welcome peace.

Cardinal

 

Cardinal

Question: what is air if not
the means by which we

see and feel? Sound creates only
itself, another version of the original

sense. I move from shadows to a deeper
darkness, hoping to find that point where absence
ends. But there is no end, only

continuation, a cry for those
who offer their hands in ambiguity. Sometimes
a cardinal’s call fills our

morning with questions. So
little of all we touch
is felt. We are the air. The air is.

 

 

Another poem from the 80s. I was obsessed with birds even back then…

In This Shack a Cold Wind Blows

 

In This Shack a Cold Wind Blows

In this shack a cold wind blows,
shuffling papers and ideas before settling

on the floor. Leaves rustling. Tea,
cooling. You recall the peace of near

death, fear circling the drain,
giving in to breath, labored but certain,

one exiting another and again,
then laughing at the improbability: you

are nothing. You were nothing.
Nothing will come of you. You say

yesterday, and think tomorrow. Today.

 

* * *

“In This Shack a Cold Wind Blows” was first published in April 2019 by The Elixir Magazine out of Yemen.

 

 

Maps

 

Maps

If we fold the map just so, the journey’s path
shrinks considerably. Sacramento enters the Hudson
Valley, Toronto meets Santa Fe, and Lee County,
Mississippi merges with Tupelo, Texas, joining music
to fruitcakes in a celebratory feast.  Stroll down one
road and find a lost car. Exit a theater to enter bliss
or a good bar with craft beer on tap, where no one
discusses mileage and you may eavesdrop on
conversations about ancient nautical battles, the
history of chili, and radiation. Unfold the map
twice to find yourself in Swamp Angel, Kansas,
named after a Civil War field gun and not a spiritual
being, and wander to the next intersection near
Barstow, where Joshua trees tickle the sky’s belly
and I ate the best chili dog in my young life’s
experience in 1968. Look to the edges, where the
best places crowd and nowhere lives in a corner.
Jump from Busan to Venice, drive to Perth and
beyond. Slowly crease the page. Do this again.
Point blindly. There. Your destination waits.

 

 

My poem “Maps” iwas publishedin February 2019 at Riggwelter. Thank you, Amy Kinsman, for taking this piece, which was originally drafted during the August 2016 Tupelo Press 30-30 Challenge. I owe its existence to Ken Gierke, who sponsored the poem and provided the title (which I changed) that sparked this piece.

 

 

Wind

blossoms

Wind

That it shudders through
and presages an untimely end,

that it transforms the night’s
body and leaves us

breathless and wanting,
petals strewn about,

messenger and message in one,
corporeal hosts entwined,

that it moves, that it blends,
that it withdraws and returns without

remorse, without forethought, that it
increases, expands, subtracts,

renders, imposes and releases
in one quick breath, saying

I cannot feel but I touch,
I cannot feel

* * *

“Wind” first appeared in Blue Hour Magazine and is included in my first chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform.

tree

Wasp

wasp

Wasp

Outward, the quest for
space and the wings’

hunger to unfold and
shed this home of dark
flesh and encompassing desire.

And each thing remembered, the broken
sheath, the flowering desert’s return,

reflects the notion of being, of intent
in action and its corollary,

the gift of living through death.

* * *

“Wasp” last appeared here in November 2018.

flowers-in-the-desert