Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bird's Eye View

The wren wonders at outdoor
Christmas lights,
not much there for nesting,
the wires make poor worms,
the bulbs, sharp white on green leaves,
confuse with slight shadows
and heat.

To a bird's eye, this
seven dollar string of electric
adornment, is supernatural, and to us,
on this holiday of heaven come to earth,
the Light of the World hanging from eaves
and roof gutters, sparkles in the eyes
of the children His birth makes us all.

Angels and doves top
the indoor trees, visitors
and families, all wise,
bask in glowing hearts, the Gift
of never ending love swaddle wrapped,
like Santa's cookies on a plate, to be shared.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


The wind isn't bluffing.

Gulls dart down
like folded arrows
to secret rock grips,
the buoys tip top
side to side in the whipped
wash slamming the harbor.

Over an inch an hour
for the best part of dark noon
drench, the bluster
might dent the drought
as it floods the valley bottom.
Reeling rivers poised for headlines
and photos of roof top boats.

The tent and tarp folks,
tucked tight in the gullies, got to climb
socially. A sheltered promise
of soup and a cot bring Bethlehem
to bear wet witness. The Child is borne,
by a Samaritan's smile,
in the storm.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Repent House Suite

Pick basil over battles,
lowing the blood, Sugar, gives rise
to offense; good fences test
flying horses, flying handles
dull the blade.

Hush, not shush,
listening has the in road.
The high road, grown green,
sways arm in arm out of harm's
wayward words.

Under a microscope,
over a cup of coffee,
study the steady answer,
bones hear in a heart beat
what lips conceal.

Step toeing hold, old
opinions fold
in the reveal:
Apology, is the apogee
of heal.


Monday, November 17, 2014

The Palm Before the Storm

Open hope in your hand
like ripe pomegranate
juice jewels,
open hope in your hand
like a cloth bound edition
with crisp dollars
between each ancient page.

Open hope in your hand
like the first bird's twitter
after a long night's rain,
open hope in your hand
like burst bean coffee scent, freshly ground
on a Saturday with no chores.

Open hope in your hand
like the buttons on a work shirt
after your shift,
open hope in your hand
like a door that takes both arms
against the wind.

Hope, is always in our hands.
Fists can't feel it.           

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Stick Stuck

The walking stick, my brother
carved, fits my palm
and thumb.

The hole, in the sole
of my cowboy boot,
is the size of the silver dollar
I sent my grandson.

The bathroom door, after
three years of shaves and showers,
locked from the inside.

I have a prison date.
The gate is one thing,
the heart quiet,
quite another.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hydro Low

Water and worry leak
to the lowest level,
a fool's pool
spiraling the spirit
to depths
beneath the necessary steps.

It takes hydro-logic
to lift water
higher than clouded despair.
To rise as steam,
we admit wet
as requisite.

Our Engineer's faith;
part bending knee,
part pouring cups
to the least of these,
cuts across current fashion,
chiding the waves to be still.

There is a Living Water
and there is a stagnant well.
One can't flow forward
by going back.
The well worn path is reasonable,
but making sense of resistance, is mist.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Dawn at the Klamath,
a twelve point elk struts among deer mossed stumps
as the Yurok's golden bear guards the new bridge,
already under repair.

After practicing my chaplain ID smile
in the rearview mirror,
I  receive the nod of the flagmen 
and renew my drive to prison.

In a few miles, the forest,
and the mountains too,
will give way to thousands
of cement blocks,
and light, not the yellow sun streaming through
redwoods and firs, will blink
florescent as the state budget allows.

Its the most natural thing in the world, poetically,
politically, to ignore caged humans in these parts
and laud wild animals,
but quit the ignition, and listen at the gate;
all creation groans
for the re-birth of our sons doing time.

Lend an ear to the wilderness crying
from a housing unit
never meant to be called home.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Thumbs Up

Angels hitchhike
on the truck side of lonely.
Lovely weeds bend in the flying dust
of wheels stopping to start again.

The driver might chatter football,
the radio Gospel, or tripe.
This part of the Damascus road
is between homes, jobs, baths.

The Son of Man
has no where the lay His head.
Transients, the easy victims
of innocence and dumpster diseases.

The next Samaritan binds
the next wounds.
Our daily bread buttered,
one side at a time.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Milk Case

A Saturday sun wastes hours on
on car hoods and roofs.Thistles
finger up the wire fence,
Ginsberg's sunflower long harvested
for a milk case vase. Dogs
and cardboard circle the alley, house
numbers a cramped checklist
of sideways bicycles and smokers
drifting from the tilted mailbox
to the porch divan.

Repainted recycling sign, open
and old as Jesus when He went,
gives preference to metal;
artists welcome.  Hub caps and hip cats
still cranking lawn sculptures
to connect the wealthier
to hand me down living, the free box not
being without cost.

When the tumble comes,
and all is inverted,
the wall of old Maytags
and Wurlitzers in the barn
will speak of the trouble we took
to separate colors and dance
to age appropriate genres,
everything in common
held at arm's length, lest, like crickets, we
rub elbows the wrong way
at temperature's change.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Sept. Set

slow house flies getting dumber,
window box peas just a brown
string strung along an open door with no screen.

Beyond the fence
a foghorn taunts the end
of summer, last squeals before school
trill the beach.

Our bluff curls the blue bay, harbor town houses
honeycomb the cliff, the slightly northern sunset
a gem for their windows, the reflection,
an odd gold for the just passing by.

Tourists and townies,
gulls and cormorants,
at night buoys, boats, and God
the only ones catching the breaking

What you find in the sand
comes home in pant cuffs,
what you leave on the beach,
makes for loon tunes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

No Joke

You know that time of morning
when the fog begins to lift,
you see your breath trail streaming
and you know that it's a gift.

Once constant pains and worries
are loose paddles in the drift,
early birds and nightingales
toss Charlie Parker riffs.

When we hear of someone's passing
into the great beyond
and we wish that we could tell them
that their live will carry on.

Our heartbeat  keeps repeating
not believing they are gone
a signal uncompleted
unsure notes to start a song.

Friday, May 30, 2014


God opened the morning
on tiptoe,
pinning laundry to an aluminum web,
spinning the wind into strings of breeze,
as a hanging apron
with a boutonniere rose,
awaits the shift change.

There are special clocks for this,
when a tight wound spring breaks free,
the lost moments gathered back
by a second chance hand,
time treasured by the grand
child's crayon circle
come full.

What can be read,
into a situation,
had to be there in blue, or purple,
before black and white
patterned the dance partner's feet across
a tiled floor.

When the poet stops selecting commas,
to indicate a pause for breath,
then the last line becomes
each of us,
taking a turn.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


The dove skull our cat
left on the lawn
crackled under my morning slipper,
not so much tribute
as startle to the weight
of lifeless bird breasts.

I bagged the carcass
with the morning pet scat
and returned to make coffee,
"Did you wash your hands?"

Surgeons, too, must slice their days
like this: so much for art, commerce,
maybe comedy, conundrum,
or commonplace communion.

The convenience of lightning
striking us down to prayer
not as reliable as a tame tabby
baring fangs and claw.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Keys

My attention span
is five fingers long.

I can hardly riff beyond a seventh chord.

Arpeggios start on the odd thumb
and end where my hand lifts
to fall.

I tease the middle black buttons
like roley poley bugs, aiming for the edge
of the garden, and pounce, lion loud,
on the family of flattened thirds.

My parents sold the upright,
augmented with the bicycle chains, knowing
it would come to this anyway;

dancing in one pant leg before church,
trying to make the change fit
the times. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Order Up

Cut bread straight,
my morning art,
jelly boy
gracing the plate
with melting butter.

Apart from the Vine
we can do nothing.
This thing,
this petite dejeuner
this host,
of toast, I do in hope
of the beginning times.

Blueberries with us still,
each dawn surprise.