Friday, November 1, 2013

Open Season

That wood splitting thud,
November bright, a dove weighs
on the crossroad wire, all saints
enjoy coffee in bed, some alone,
some not.

The calendar blank as a cat.
Trash haul racket another reason
to close curtains, the news today--
a cake from scratch, and a candle
posing for pictures.

Marigolds ring the fence in morning bell balls,
the dog, finally out, sniffs pumpkins
still whole on the porch. Your birthday
makes the year come true; a gift,
a wish, the sky an open singing card,
signed by God.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


The exposed root of tooth, yanked,
now dried of blood, upturned
as a desk ornament, is part palm
raised in blessing,
part antler of a disappearing buck.

My carbon kiss print,
washed by waves,
made small by dental surgery,
sticks to my lips, a remembered smile
of your voice on the phone.

I hope whoever pries
finds my checkbook balanced,
my baseballs dusted on their wine
bottle perch and my coffee cup
saving a swallow for your return.

My scripture today reads, "As a deer
pants for water..."  so might it be
a geography of brothers holding flutes
at opposite sunsets, the beach
taking the prow of a canoe,
right on the chin.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Read It and Weave

If the sun on my back
had fingernails,
if the wind whistled in the Dorian mode,
if the kindness of paper to my pen
could sing, then
my good foot would climb goat sure
the rock wall and my garden ticket, creased
and thumbed, allow the guards
to open the gates
of Pelican Bay State Prison.

But the hunger strike, these fifty days,
avoids light, masks the iron shadow
and confines all to a windowless
warp of the soul.

"No one lights a lamp
and sets it under a basket...'
but if you lift even a lip of the woven stories
there is light enough,
to read.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Getting Directions

A string of naked ladies,
the pink flower,
face away the ridge road.

Orange sunset spent
on the odd nude

The ocean, not a mile away,
but the hill parched
for August.

Our blanket catches shooting stars,
nameless steaks
scorch the night.

Their Father, our Father, knows them,
but for us it's just point at heaven
and awe.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Grocery Beads

I hobble sane as the whiskey
crowd, same grey sweatshirt, same
ankle, steady as a bent spoke
on a balloon tired Schwinn.

The maritime fog factors
in and out of our bones.
What's common is hand rolled
and set in folding chairs.
If you manage a dog and a cane,
you manage well.
Solitude is less than

I talk to a level head
in a grease cap, glossing over
the trailer park and untied slippers,
maybe there's a papa praying
behind the paper window
curtains, maybe not,
wives not always promised,
or kept.

A commerce
of counting bottle pennies
off a wizened and brittle palm
puts my hand in the stake
of inebriation, the grace of God
ought to do more than put
another pint on the tab.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spell Checker

New rule.
You are what you hear;
bottle nosed whale slide blues,
mint and fern whipping the air,

to turn your head

the voice of the Shepherd
whistling through His teeth.

Facts and faith, a jumble
of Scrabble letters face down,
we need to spell ourselves.

It's possible to have the Christ
in ways unbelievable to believers,
but to believe He has us,
that's worth baking bread.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Frequent Flyer

When I say I use tools,
I mean toothpicks
and spoons,
a cashmere shoulder
is all I hold of Manhattan. 

Kicking from the deep end
I pool svelte talent
blink, when
eye contact
stabs the heart.

What if the lonely lied
and it's better this way;
whispering on a bus line,
watching napkins float on the river,
retrieving songs the park birds scatter?

Somewhere the Christ
is cornering the market
on cardboard mansions,
and I make my living
handing out flyers
for the tour.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Egg Hunt

a grave refuses

Wide eyed lily
to a blind world.

Mothers tell us,
"Wipe the sleep from your eyes."
O, it's been wiped, mother,
it's been wiped.

Now the blood spilled
is the blood pumped
deep as a welling up
of forgiveness.

Spared despair, we crack eggs
in a bowl and wait,
as our not-a-ghost Guest takes
another minute
to wash the family's feet.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Enough

Hammer a nail
into your hand
at the table.

Bend a rose stem again
and again
around your head.

Taste a thirst for justice
on vinegar and rot gut.

A Friday good enough
to crack our grave opinion,
blackens at noon.

"This is My Body
broken for you" without
breaking a promise or a bone.

From the hanging tree,
the never dead again Son said
"This is your mother," to every boy born.

and "This is your son,"
to every lady in waiting
on the Lamp at her feet.

Hammer time played on a clay
pot; mud, spit in our eye,
see our way clear.

Blood pulsed into a chalice
from a torn skin

to the last drop,
this Friday
we thank God.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Host Card

The Jesus of my Catholic youth
bid me come 
as a little child.

The finger pointing Sacred Heart
like a passing billboard
"You're Name Could Be Here."

I read brilliant smoking atheists
and wonder whose name they'll cough
up final in blood spit.

I read monks, who never knew stamps,
writing letters
of eternal consequence, by candle and quill.

I stick my knuckles out
for the nuns to rap, but only the Lord answers,
perfecting the Harlem shake.

Charity all
after cure and care
are settled alike.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Baying geese beat alarm clock
to spring ahead Monday.

Grey sleeves, sky and scarves,
the warmest ground turned by moles,
coffee bitter.

Found pennies say trust,
the lost hour of sleep jams a foot
in the office door.

Service, with a mile of beach
in the rear view mirror.

Always thus, this, or that
jumbling like laundry.

or neglect to shoulder
the road. Damascus waits
for lunch.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


When the war drove you home,
in a green Ford,
I jumped like a fawn.

Teenaged brother to a wounded vet
I didn't yet know bullet whistles, white phosphorous,
or any heroes in heroin terrors.

I learned lightning strikes orchards,
rain drains the living room,
and rolling thunder is what shut eyes see.

The family's Thanksgiving Day smile camouflaged
a poker face of one-eyed jack rabbits ducking fire.
You mentioned the Chaplain's collar cross gleaming

as you chucked fate into a fox hole,
I draw some shine from that, from that
and the sun, dripping tender.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Teeth of God

I clipped daffodils,
those little teeth of God,
the day your grandson died.

The rain bent them low
yellow bells heavy
face down.

Like spears in a vase
the cut stems still
take water.

The window light,
filtered by glass,
frames life.

Two weeks on the planet,
we're too weak, to stand

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mud Pi

Thrill my eyes with mud fresh path,
tree fallen,
daffodil known to slug banana
and branch light golden.

Spear my ears with surf pound, new
creek gargle and cormorant squawk.

Let my feet find mint folds
and flat beach when the rocks spill.

Lungs suck spray gulls play shadow wheels
between fish gulps.

My desk abandoned,
phone face dark,
nearer my God to Thee
not more possible

but still, 
the effort to love, 
easier, with breeze.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Celestial Sandbox

     A stand alone God,
     not alone,
     caws us to sing.

     Music in orbit, 
     heart beats
     the point pounded home.

     Life in light years,
     closer than stars apart.

     Celestial tryouts boom
     behind planets,
     a child in the sand box,

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Grandma Posts a Picture

Noise is
other than
you singing a
grandson song.

Hands fan, flying
smile joins a new tooth
to the sky

Rubber legs jangle.
Half sized slippers
grip the tumble not

Fascinating fingers
in the mouth 
treasured. The mind opens,
as wide as these eyes.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hip Hope

I asked the inkster
if Chinese rock stars
get the ABC's
tattooed on their neck. 

Scripture scrawled
on my bicep
set up
preaching to  pierced
hearts and sugar plum dragons.

We had to abbreviate Matthew 10:38
to accomodate my skinny arm.

Should've went for Luke 14:27,
but I don't like to read ahead.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Doe Eyed Decimal System

Flirting in libraries
we thought whispers

Just a page, turning slowly,
was enough to unbind

A note, folded
close as a boat,
sails the table.

The guardian angel eyes
of comings, and goings,
deep as the marked aisles.

Our love of books
at the ready, in case
romance is only a category.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sound Reason

The surf trolling,
a foghorn, slight off season

Children yip across a stone wall
as an engine whipples downhill.
My wife's crisp
pages in the sun. Even a crow.

If that pink cloud,
just before dinner,
is real,
the one next to it, is not.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Stir Sir

In kitchen butterfly,
unusual any season,
but January, the twenty first?

We moved lettuce
and lemon tree inside
to frustrate frost,
the night poet.

I stirred onions from a chair,
book opened to steamed glasses,
yellow tinged wings
opened over the salt bowl.

Happy birthday father,
dead, just short of one hundred years.

Every wish comes true,
when it flits by

Monday, January 14, 2013

Song Bark

Wintered leaves rattle
at apple branch end,
the lone music makers
in the life of the tree.

Delayed rendevous
gives me glimpse
of a natural chorus

Jesus said, "The very stones
will cry out..."

Bus stop arbor
doing its best.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Beast of Eden

Quails startle
and fan to the roof,
even without the dog
I'm a terror to the locals.

Defending broccoli
it's me versus the cabbage beetle,
St. George and the dragon.

Any fight I manage is habit 
against prescribed preference,
the stuff of New Year's.

Circumstance and luck,
false Fahrenheits,
the progress of surrender
is light lengthening days.

What God wants,
God gives.

What I take,
is time
to face returning.