The Dead Man Dies

May 24, 2016

They’d always thought that the dead man
was deaf. They never noticed how a baby’s cry
would set off his own tears, how a
smoke alarm would bring a panic, how he could
always hear the lunch truck when it pulled
into the parking lot. The call of hunger.
The miracle of ruby red lips.
They’d missed it all; too bad; they had to.
Sometimes it was like a second sight.
But he was always “the deaf man”.
He couldn’t hear them when
they talked about him behind his back.
Oh, why don’t you drop dead?
He couldn’t read lips, couldn’t see their faces.
No need to whisper; he was a little ‘slow’ anyway.
He couldn’t even hear the prayers
they said when he died. So suddenly.
On the wing of silence.
Remember the dead man, they’d said.
He couldn’t hear. Not a drop.

The Tower

May 12, 2016

How like a child who seems to climb each day
To higher floors. How like a new sunrise,
Something off to the west, something gay
To warm the mountain’s shadows in your eyes…
Save that for later; climb up these old steps.
The tower is ready now; your mission is
Accomplished; go to sleep. All your projects
Have borne the fruit of day; your gifts are his.
Surprise! As the snow melts, you stare and stare,
For words that loved the world are words you hear,
But cannot see. The tower cries beware.
The child inside you flees. You were his fear.
You’d like to save every house you ever owned.
Tower, ranch house, Tudor, now dethroned.

A Different End to Daylight

May 5, 2016

There’s bones among the thorns tonight—
the treetops brush the wind,
and clover and grasses quiver and glow.
—Why, even the chipmunks sit up to listen.
All nature seems to pause over
my quiet colloquy as best it can.
I sit in the rocking chair that I built myself,
oh, maybe twenty-five, thirty years ago,
a knockoff of a Maloof chair, for sure—
but a pretty good one none the less—
and talk to a person I no longer believe in,
someone who still concentrates all
the consecrated ground in a blessing
to things that feed in the distant sky—
while a rainbow fades into the sunset.
No pot of gold again tonight, folks.
Just the baronial wings of bats
as the air fills with their filial faith,
and ends in a different end to daylight.


May 3, 2016



May 1, 2016


The Botanist Tzu

April 29, 2016

For her want of tears, the woman runs
across the courtyard and into the arms
of the botanist Tzu. The songs in her head
are not unlike the songs in her heart.
Maybe they come from a deep seed planted
in soil far more fecund than rain can bear.
Maybe the spring monsters will surround them.
Maybe they come from a deep seated distrust
of all our visions. Perhaps collapse,
thinks the botanist Tzu. Perhaps failure.
But the woman clings to his sleeves in silence.
Her breath weaves in and out of a narrow cage.
Perhaps she is unlike the other one, he thinks.
With no bird singing, the garden is yet more full.[1]




[1] Adapted from an epigram to Thomas Merton’s Zen and the Birds of Appetite. Thomas Merton attributes it to a ‘Zen saying’.  Merton’s version says this: With no bird singing/ The mountain is yet more still.

Grammar check reminds that my last line should read ‘fuller’


April 28, 2016


The Sandman

April 18, 2016

It could just be a tree stump
or a rock pile, or a goat
that was poised to amble down
the cliff face, not a man at all.
Until his face flashes in your face,
becomes your face,
and fades into the sea.
There is no sound, no Icarus-like cry—
nothing… until the cat calls,
until the sea begins to speak
in an ancient voice—
or at least it murmurs
—as the door creaks open—
above a threshold of silence.


April 16, 2016

FullSizeRender (4)

Milk by Morning

April 14, 2016

It’s nighttime on the farm.
What has this to do with bees buzzing?
With meadows moaning?
With truth bubbling up in sentences
from ponds delighted to be here at all?
Even the silence grows dense.
The cows nod sagely as they dream.
All this will be milk by morning.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 174 other followers