Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Little Star

Abandoned shopping cart
in a creek,
twinkle twinkle.

Rainy season; plastic tarps
rumble in the wind, blankets
become roofs.

Our homegrown homeless get
headlines when cops clear
the campground.

The war they're running from
is quieter than Syria,
the battlefield of what if…

Away in a manger,
a motel for the night,

any question where He'd be born

again this Christmas?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sound Bite

chamomile yellows low to the shifting
ground, another boot is keeping toes
from knowing what grows below.

the rain is washing blood
the sun wasting time on fresh graves
the wind is way ahead of soundless music.

sirens, bulletins, bullets;
new vocabulary words
at the kindergarten.

smiling through scars
shared meals prepare
to heal survivors

families break bread
stones break windows

poems break into silence.

Friday, November 13, 2015

All Punched Out

Orion's belt unbuckles
above the on ramp
I take home from the night job.

The star warrior and the wage earner
change lanes;  raised club and turn signal
flashing bright.

The black ocean peeks through passing trees.
I don't see what's constant as I drive
home from overtime.

The hero wonders when he can put his arm down
and ride the waves in the mythical moonlight
of California.

My exit's coming up. I'll be home soon,
boots off, legs on the couch.

No need to set the alarm, I'm already ready.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

All That Flitters

follow the finch up seeded branches
the gold flitters in and out the green
it's a day's work eating your weight in the sky

my office window opens to a world too wide
the square peg of punched in time
separated by a pane of glass from the whole

a hummingbird came close to pecking
my workspace color, I nearly tasted
the break neck nectar in his wings

the daydream is my hourly wage
when the New Jerusalem settles down

these bird notes will fill my resume`

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Water Line

Raindrops connect us to the clouds,
sometimes in whisper, sometimes
in a bullhorn from the balcony,
getting wet is getting the message.

Like love, at the border of a family,
there's always never enough to go around
unless we stand in it, faces up,
hands outstretched like pails and a chalice.

It's up there, what we need down here.
Balloons, kites, and prayers know this;
the falling down, the coming to terms,
is the simple miracle of our blue planet.

Wet back, dry throat,
the clouds migrate across oceans of sand.
A cup of water to the least of these

is grace breaking open the damned.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Set the roof right before rain,
simple plan, booted crew high as trees,
shovels toss the old tar paper,
hammers tack the dry hope in place.

Intelligence prepares,
noon sun bolts through the gathering clouds,
a green circle of thermos rests at an impossible angle
to the ground.

A length of ladder equals someone's prayer,
we reach for heaven sensing safety
is just above our sight line.

It starts from the ground up,
this work of walking tall,
where it ends, depends
on the hours we put in,


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cusp Runneth Over

She caught the last of summer
by the sleeve, granddaughter born
two days before the Fall change.
Easy to predict strawberries
and melons, both parents are gardeners,
the dirt will turn up.

Newest human I ever met
forty five minutes in,
pounds, ounces, inches, stretch our hearts.

The light in her eyes
lights the room, lighting

the world, starts tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Lunar Tick Tock

The moon, patrolling a sky
to itself, silenced the highway
dwarfing our house and the hidden
ocean, waves through an open window.

A white light on the white cosmos
moth still and breathing the sea
arcs the flower petals with that same
moon singing like a still bird
-an anti-rooster.

These dark as a lark hours flash
stuck numerals as the power comes
and goes through the kitchen clock.
Two nights now I've danced like a stick, not a conductor's baton,
just wood remembering wild.

Sleep spells it one way, a waking dream quite another, this time
of fingers talking and some letters
fitting like buttons, while others, like loons indifferent, ride the reflective surf.

There's a kiss in all of this,
a night curl, a heat to the cool
pillow, a thing cats know across
a shadowed floor. There's so much
we miss when we miss each other.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Baby Blanket

   The dream fogs forward.
   We're weeks away
    from grand baby to be,
    plums barely clinging to the branch.

    The ocean, a little further than
    the next door rooster, breaks on the beach
    morning after morning, anticipating footsteps
    as our family strolls.

    The math of compassion adding up,
    the little ones make us larger.
    Passing down humor, songs,
    and curls, decades away from going grey.

    God has no grandchildren, the one thing
    we can pity. The smallest finger
    He'll ever feel in His hand

    is ours.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Banked Notes

I listen to the greats as rent ticks by
unpaid another week,
this elasticity of time and money an uneasy hat
fitting too well from use.

it's mostly jazz; the border music
of trombones, and hours black
as smoked mirrors, that I prefer to the sound
of slagging commissions bouncing on the down turned beat.

my shadow career tails me,
the trail of time cards littering an alley
like song sheets blown from a briefcase
minutes before a concert.

an instrument of His peace
holds time still for a stanza;
we whistle, work,
while sane people play their dues.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tale Bone

sat still, rocking chair,
the clock un-phased
by chirrups.

neck roll
too many days gripped

to slide easy, bones
the best of my 

rain gutter
the minutes in

the mercy seat,
the God head,
the foot cramp.

monk make note to monkey;
muck out whatever stalls
the makeover.

list to the side,
listen to the roaring chorus,

passing for quiet.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Flowers & Arrows

William wore a hair shirt
somewhere around Italy,
shows you what I know about saints.

Little picture cards litter
the chaplain's desk,
flowers and arrows pierce the heart.

A yard and B yard assemblies,
melting pot of hot heads
and maimed spirits.

We gather to pray here,
two or more
the math of heaven.

Just a closer walk;
the forgiven getting up,
time after time, doing time.

We leave one chair open
for who went before,
and who comes after.

Each lost sheep
makes a sound only
the Shepherd can hear.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Silk Inheritance

Cuff links and a wrapped chocolate
lay on my desk like shells
from a sea as long gone
as my Pa.

I wore his tie to prison,
in and out, just visiting.

Guys abandoned to the streets
get a kick out of the fat double Windsor
bouncing on my Adam's Apple
when I sing Amazing Grace.

I used to wonder how
such a noble soul
could have such an atrocious wardrobe.

Now I know, disguise
the limit.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Costa Coconuts

Green, the thing
to save a mountain
from slipping.

Coconuts planted
knee deep in the howling
monkey rain.

A roadside taller
than stars slanting
through trees.

Work crew, machete,
shovel, bag of seeds
the size of bowling balls.

Erosion, a soul disease,
the first day with no kneeling
washes out.

Gloves, peeled wet
from the forest,
stay folded in prayer.

One of the things
equal at the equator is
the root of love holding soil.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Rash Decision

Picking green as vengeance
against a late life strawberry rash.

My backyard crop, a
political substitute for water sucking lawn,
off limits.

The alternative is to wash and bag
each ripe berry as a gift.

Fruitless, or fruitful,

each in my hand.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Knee Stain

Drops swell at branch tip
to catch bubble light and, glass like,
wink to the waiting grass.

Even with scrubbing
the new dirt of the strawberry hill
paves the crease in my finger skin.

Between pig pen, and prodigal proof,
I garden with the angel of Eden,
hoping to keep a foot in the gate.

Put down roots, pull up weeds
hoping for another hand
on the wheelbarrow.

Father and Son team,
such a threat to the devil,
such a joy in the spring wet mud.

Monday, March 16, 2015

temperature tutorial

Lake cold is bluer than veins
snaking up ankles, hoping brain
will hop back to beach hot 
and leave the body surfing to braver souls
with seal thick skins.

There's no boards or language for it,
Great Lake breakers
only waist high, chest cold,
jump just right, swell feeling the sand bar
on belly and loose trunks balloon with water
and flap flag flat like so much
mis-named seaweed.

The shiver delicious in summer,
numb and colored lips smiling in towels
too thin, jawbone creaking as if the ice
set in, and way out in the waves,
without a chance of toe tip on the bottom
Pa swims arm over arm as if last night's stars

could follow him against the tide.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tag You're It

When license plates expire
every black and white
is a cop or a skunk.

I slow to hug a truck's front
to hide my tags,
faith and hope
beading beneath the brim
of my baseball cap.

Criminal activity;
ignoring calendars,
fudging checkbooks,
skimping on the cheese
in a work day sandwich.

I insert the receipts for poems
rendered into the ATM,
blank looks from the screen.

C.S. Lewis says other worldly rewards
rhyme with brother, not

Monday, February 2, 2015


The woodpile come indoors,
all memory of tree cured by chain
and a year's dry stacking.

The orange eye fire
draws the cat close,
and then back to purring range.

The mid winter night
doesn't quite require heat,
the glow is more for peace of mind.

Away from the hearth,
addicted kids
into parents sleep.

Stare at the flame from the couch
and hope, like a moth
draws their hearts to home.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


On the day of diagnosis
I looked at my nails, bit past the quick
and the point of stopping,
as a cloud spoke to the sun
and said, "Now we will see
the Hand of God."

From an empty beach bench
I watch low mountains of grey waves 
circle the crab fisher's rocks
in swirls of creamed light.
Any and all un-netted disease cast
far from the glistening shore.

If it were my faith, un-weaved
and un-woven, the sky
would settle on the sea a stranger
and the sparse wind let balloons escape
their strings, but timely mother hurries to the hospital bed
with painted flowers, whispering hope,
un-faded and unfazed.

The wake up call
is not for God never slumbering,
nor for blood cells efficient,
serene, and rightly numerous.
It is for the promise maker,
the singer of songs,
the vigilante stirring home fire,
pressing candles, daring
to smile in the antiseptic mask.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Moccasin Man

Mowed the lawn in moccasins
to make a point about January
being different in the great
and generous Northwest.

My Daddy, frostbit, from chopping ice
off the walk a few decades
and states east of here, would marvel
at anything so green close to his birthday.

Late in life, we might just miss
the things our children notice,
like an upstart of daffodils closer
to the curb than the wild.

Over at the cemetery
the sun shines equal
when it does come out.
Night rain on the graveyard don't
bother residents, however temporary
the stones.

The shut down engine and smell of simple labor
whispers what God thought
when He said, "Well that's enough mountains
for now."

One long string of soft steps,
makes everything we climb, puny.