Shakuhachi Blues

 

Shakuhachi Blues

That waver,
like the end of a long

dream flickering to wakefulness,
or an origami crane

unfolding between whiskey
poured and the tale of deceit

and a good woman done wrong.
Air flutters through this bamboo

tube, and it seems I control
nothing. Inhaling, I try again.

 

A simple instrument that will take a lifetime to learn…

Aleppo

 

 

Aleppo

A father sings to his son,
dead two days,
and the platitudes persist.
Widow of night. Lantern’s trick.
What trace, you wonder,
exists of humanity in these etched
walls? Light bleeds through a crack
like rules unheeded and scattered.
Another sheer looming of hours.
The song, continued.

 

“Aleppo” was first published in Vox Populi in August 2018. I am grateful to editor Michael Simms for his continuing support of my work.

 

 

The Question is Never

 

The Question is Never

Who will lock the door
or leap in front of the jacketed

bullet. Nor is it four words
born in lust and camouflaged

with piety. No one cares
if you blink or continue

breathing. No one knows
what you think. Nothing

matters. Not the pen
in her hand or your finger

on the trigger. Not the crying
and the dead and the stains

in the hallway, the man
in the street hiding behind

himself. The question
is no question, but an answer

struggling to emerge. Never
formed, never truly complete.

 

“The Question is Never” first appeared on Vox Populi in June 2018.

 

 

 

Take Another Piece of My Heart

 

Take Another Piece of My Heart

Perhaps the left ventricle, or the anterior descending
vein. No matter which you grab, I’ll not survive
the seizure, but is that not the point?  And which coin
will you place in my mouth to ease the passage across
the river Acheron? Or will I remain on the banks,
neutral and overlooked, forgotten. If this river is woe,
I serve its pride. I wear its banner. Do you recall the
butcher’s bill from that last flight? Sixty innocents,
including children. How many more must we tally
before admitting to the futility of perpetual war?
An acquaintance on the ground that day saw the
flash and immediately thought there are no mistakes,
just as I, from my box in Nevada, admitted, too, that
no mistakes occur, a synchronicity joined in death
and its production. I no longer employ euphemism.
When my coworker’s eyes crinkle and he laughs
about weeding the lawn of fun-sized terrorists,
I see bloody children, mangled flesh, smoke and
flame. I kill from comfort and afar. This is my life.

 

 

* * *

“Take Another Piece of My Heart” was published in Ligeia’s Winter 2019 edition.  Many thanks to poetry editor Ashley Wagner for taking this poem. I’m also grateful to Tami Wright for providing the title and sponsoring “Take Another Piece of My Heart” in the August 2016 Tupelo Press 30-30 fundraiser.

 

Moonwalker

 

Moonwalker

The night’s face, pocked with stars.

In the stellar wind, we soar.
From this pale light,

acknowledge insignificance, watch
the blue spinning so far away, so close.

I am that finite point

of nowhere, of nothing, wondering
when the sun will truly darken,

if I will see tomorrow, today.

 

* * *

“Moonwalker” first appeared in Ligeia’s Winter 2019 edition.  Many thanks to poetry editor Ashley Wagner for taking this poem.

Mockingbird III

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Mockingbird III

Songs, returned
to their space

within the sphere of
movement, the patterns inscribed
as if to touch the face of every

wind: here one moment, then
gone. This quickness delights us.
How, then, do we so often forget

those things we share? Night
comes and goes to another’s
phrase, yet each note is so precisely

placed, so carefully rendered
that we hear only the voice, not its source.

 

* * *

Another piece from the 80s. This first appeared here in March 2015, and would likely be a much longer poem if I were to write it today.

 

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Mockingbird

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Mockingbird

Withdrawn, it unfolds
to another
voice, like that

of a child lost in the wind.
Or, lonely, it rises from its place

and sings, only
to return and start again.
The pleasure we accept derives from

the knowledge that we are not alone.
Each morning we walk out and sit
by the stones, hoping to observe some

new patterns in his life. What we
see is an answer. What we hear is no song.

 

* * *

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“Mockingbird” made its first appearance here in January 2015. It was written
in the 1980s, probably around 1987-1989.

 

A Word Bathing in Moonlight (with recording)

mind

 

A Word Bathing in Moonlight

You understand solitude,
the function of water,
how stones breathe
and the unbearable weight
of love. Give up, the voice says.
Trust only yourself.
Wrapped in light, you
turn outward. Burst forth.

 

 

“A Word Bathing in Moonlight” first appeared in Eclectica in July 2017.

moonlight

“Thinking Music” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/