Thursday, June 11, 2009

Poets Need Muzzles

Poets need to find a way
past their watchdogs
you know the ones--
the mouthy mutts who yap
in your mind's ear as you write

not good enough
you have captured nothing but dust motes
you need to take a nap
a powder
a long walk off a short pier
this is not good enough
you're not good enough
to be spending your time scratching
on this page
leave the scratching to us
we're dogs and we're good at it

Poets need to build strong kennels
with dog runs constructed
away from their hearts

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Missing the First Day of School

Missing the First Day of School

A corner bobbing with backpacks
and parents standing sentinel
a brood of not-quite babies
bounces aboard the yellow school bus

Mothers and Fathers,
cross-armed, lips pressed,
walk in a pageant of pride
and tears back to their homes

In six primary hours
the children will return
hungry, tired, talking
of teachers and crayons
new friends and lunchbox
treats: home again
safe and sound

In a different town
another mother
hides behind drawn curtains
sits with a cold cup of coffee
imagines her missing boy
how tall he might be now
and, somewhere, another father
takes the route that doesn't pass by
his missing daughter's school
he cannot bear to see her classmates
stepping with joy into
new books, shiny hallways
the treacherous fraud of tomorrows

The missing children play only
in their parents' nightmares
in a schoolyard of vacant slides
and sad swings that sway
into the forever empty future

If Love Were a Bead

If Love Were a Bead

Index finger
tap, tap, tapping
on an urgent knee
over a swinging foot
oncology waiting room

My brother, bald, in silhouette
against the setting sun
outside the window on 6-West
My father,
beside the wheelchair
holding his son's head erect

They stare
toward the horizon

Backlit in fiery orange
suspended in glowing gold cloud
each the wing of an insect
captured forever in a teardrop of amber

If love were a bead
I'd wear them always around my neck

January 5PM: Central Time

January 5 PM: Central Time

Between the worlds
of daylight and dusk
there is a sudden stop
a dot of time
when Hope
tenderly tending the fluid silver light
pulls herself up short
to ask:

Is it too late?
Am I dying with the fading sun?

The question shivers my soul.

Brilliant disk drops
pearly yellow
behind the darkening shadows of woods.

My fearful heart reaches toward the horizon
declares itself in a leap of Faith
surrenders to the clarity of winter night
and moonrise.



For the soldiers

Because I read
the soldiers
cannot carry enough water
to slake their thirst
I stand at my tap
thinking of them
under poundage of kevlar and metal

and me here
in cotton nightgown
barefoot at the sink
palming a moist glass

beyond my kitchen window
watchful yellow eyes
of raccoons huddle
beneath the bird feeder

desert ghosts glide
their dry tongues go begging
under the cool, white moon

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Midnight Walk Back to the Cabin

Midnight Walk Back to the Cabin

Tree shadows
dark lean ink strokes
on a smooth blue canvas
under the icy Yule Moon

Meteorites streak
across the smudge of Milky Way
December's diamonds
flung from Diana's ears

Cornstalks stand
curled brittle poised
a frieze of wind-dancers
in the drift sheltered field