In Praise of Darkness



In Praise of Darkness

Night falls, but day
breaks. A raw deal,

no doubt, but fairness
applies itself unevenly. Who

chooses weeds over
lies, flowers over truth?

Last night’s rain fell, too,
but didn’t crack the drought.

Again, we think injustice!
Again, we consider falls.



“In Praise of Darkness” last appeared here in March, 2016, and is included in my chapbook If Your Matter Could Reform. 






For one who moves in uncertainty, this
flower, the petals of which

gently fade, as if reason
is found in the decline of beauty
and its comforts.

But all you touch remains
touched. If silence reveals the body

of music, what can be said of darkness? Words
appear motionless until they blossom, a
pattern seldom seen yet carried to us in

all manner of conveyance. Listen,
for there is no purer voice.

Let the earth speak.



“Patterns” first appeared here in March, 2015, and again in June 2016. I wrote it 30-some years ago, placed it in a folder and promptly forgot it.





within the parameters set
by form

save motion

the lone branch
brought to the fore
and in the distance

stock ponds collecting rain

the word is
forget, as in the imperative
as in function, as in

you must have


This first appeared here in December 2014.




We’ve seen some version of the nail
curled over, the head angled at 90 degrees
or parallel to its body, just above

the penetration point. Three years ago
a tornado powered a single straw stem
through the oak’s bark and into its trunk,

illustrating the Old English beonet, for
“stiff grass,” and sadly conjuring the image
of a blade affixed to a firearm’s muzzle, the

etymology of which lies elsewhere, in Gascony.
And when we consider mental inclination,
signifying deflected, turned, or not straight,

we might also include an earlier past participle
meaning “directed in course.” But even the
tree’s armor could not deter the twister’s

wrath, and the hammer, no matter my aim
or purpose, seems intent upon glancing off
the nail, twisting it, leaving us, again, bent.


“Bent” first appeared in the print publication Ristau: A Journal of Being in January 2018.



Don't Say That jar, collecting coins for bad words



What greater doubt
than if

preceding only,
or hope cascading through the withheld
unspoken phrase?

Or the conditional, as it slows to place
an obstacle in its very own
path. If only I could

I would deny its existence,
but the conjunctive

bears blame as well,
though nothing’s put before

the preposition (which one
would certainly never end with).


* * *

“Epiphanies” first appeared here in April 2015.




Musing on My New Chapbook (3)

The pre-publication order period for I Have a Bird to Whistle ends on February 24. I believe that there will be a small increase in price after that.


From where do these poems come?

The third poem in the chapbook, (soubasse, plenum, leaf), started with an interest in the sounds trees make when suffering from drought, and moved on to etymology, politics, questions of measurement and, as always, perception. The definitions of “plenum” were particularly illuminating, as were the origins of various units of measure, as were those sounds we sense but don’t hear, those feelings tugging at us, perhaps without our knowledge.

The book is available here to U.S. residents for $7.50, shipping included.

Non-U.S. purchasers can order it directly from me by emailing


Musing on My New Chapbook (2)

From where do these poems come?

The second poem in the chapbook, (serpent, door, eye), grew from a snake-eviction experience one Friday evening, and questions about perception. I marveled at the strength the snake’s body evinced as it wrapped itself around my wrist. What does it see, I wondered. How does it sense? What sequence of events has brought me to this place, now, standing in the grass with a snake in my hands, the sun hovering just over the horizon, cicadas thrumming all around?

And of course the poem rumbled around in my subconscious for months after the incident. What took me back to that time and place? Who can say? Perhaps a flash of light through the oak’s branches, rain dripping from the metal roof, or the fragrance of burning juniper. I never know, but it slid out, somehow, onto the page.

The book is available here to U.S. residents for $7.50, shipping included.

Non-U.S. purchasers can order it directly from me by emailing