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Stones

The stories that we tell one another are stones buried deep in the ground. We need only unearth them, wrench them from the moist clutching soil with pry bar and shovel, muddy our hands with the travail of protagonist and heroine.   Sometimes the stone, once lifted, reveals hidden creatures that scurry from the light, threads of a story yet untold. Other times the stone is just the stone, clean and complete. And we raise it proudly above our head like Moses on Sinai, shouting to all who will listen.   And then there are stones we do not share with others. We just place them quietly into a wall with all the others, then look out proudly across the meadow of our life as our stories roll away into ...

The Moon is Dead

Everyone says so. Just a lifeless floating orphan, adrift on gravity’s tide, clad in gray regolith dust, barren and bereft.   And yet we keep looking. Staring intently across the centuries, as though there may yet be something poised there, waiting to surprise and excite the senses, perhaps offer hope in a place where there can be none.   The light, they say, is a mirage, an illusion stolen from another, nothing but a reflection of what we imagine we see, a harsh and cold chimera ripped from us eons ago, thrust away, only never quite gone, always circling circling, gazing down in envy, or perhaps pity, at what we have ...

The Freedom of Ignorance

Peristalsis is the heart and soul of this poem. If you know what that means, the poem conveys one thing to you, and one thing only. If you don’t know what it means, then the poem’s intent could be anything at all. A flower or a disease. A cat or exotic foreign recipe. The possibilities are endless, bounded only by your imagination.   Far be it from me to ruin that blissful freedom by revealing what the word means. Best you swallow your pride, embrace the uncertainty, and make it be whatever you want it to be. Which will mean that, in the end, we’ve really written the poem Me the words. You the ...

I Want to Kill the Ice Cream M ...

It’s that damned cloying song again, rising slowly in the distance as his boxy white truck approaches. The tune itself varies from place to place. For me – Turkey in the Straw, but only four measures, four gut-wrenching measures repeating endlessly, repeating endlessly. Like someone pounding the blunt end of a xylophone into the side of my head with a five-pound sledgehammer.   And as that satanic vehicle wends its cursed way through my neighborhood, the insipid melody waxes and wanes in tortuous doppler-shifted tones that lead relentlessly to my house, the vile cacophony building to a crescendo that makes my eyes bulge— my head throb.   It’s all I can do to feign a smile as my neighbor’s seven-year-old peers up at the ...

The Fall

On the faintest of breezes the glowing white cherry blossom in my backyard garden, final flower of spring, quivers and breaks free, twirls a time or two descending on currents unseen. It is perfect only in that moment, its ephemeral fall, set free from the nurturing branch, It lights upon the grass where already the tips begin to curl and brown, soon to become the ground, the tree, then the branch, and finally, once more, next season’s ...

Overthinking

Damn it, I am going to sit down and I am going to write this poem if it kills me.   It will have subtle rhymes, vital images, and visceral rhythm. I will employ nuance and texture, and just a touch of irony in exactly the right spot. If I really put my mind to it, I may conjure a metaphor or allegory that uses big obscure words. And, for the finishing touch, a gratuitous out-of-context foreign epigraph that makes dubious sense, but looks impressive when italicized.   I’m certain I have what it takes. I only need to stop procrastinating, and make it happen.   Instead, I sit hunched over the blank page, chew my pencil to sawdust, and stare at the eraser, which stares back as if to say, go ahead, write something, I dare ...

Heaven

Heaven is beneath your mother’s feet. A friend said this to me, and though I smiled, I did not understand. It means many things, she said. Many things to many people. It means what you want it to mean. What you need it to mean. But there is beauty as well in the simple melodious words. They speak to me, paint a picture in my mind. And though I cannot describe it to you, I see it clear as morning sun. I feel it in my bones. I hear it in the breathing of the trees. As close to a genuine truth as I have encountered in this life. Perhaps as close as I will ever ...

Moonlight

The dogs stand at the window and bark at the deer outside. Two a.m. and this is what I wake to. Every night. Since I am up now, I kneel with them at the window, look out into the garden, see the nighttime deer eating the flowers. I cannot make the dogs stop barking. They cannot make the deer stop eating. And the deer … Well, the deer eat flowers in the moonlight at two a.m., which is actually kind of beautiful in its way, except for the whole two a.m. wake-up call thing. And the fact that they’re my flowers. So I go back to bed. The dogs lie on the floor whining pitifully. The deer eat flowers in my garden by the light of the moon. And the world turns, just like ...

Found Poem

and not a moment too soon, let me tell you. The trenchant and tremulous words and images that gave so freely of themselves to be a part of this poem had all begun to give up hope, locked away for so long, festering, growing old in the bottom of some dark dank drawer, wedged in between the poet’s 1986 federal tax return and the paperwork that came with that Gremlin he thought was such a great idea.   It is a glorious thing to at long last bask in the sunshine of relevance, to be read, heard, debated, discussed. Even to be hated and vilified is to at least be regarded as something worthy of opinion. And, really, that’s all any poem asks.   Read me, hear me, consider me, give me my due. Judge me if you must. But please ...

The Night the Mountain Moved

Deep in the throes of moonless sleep, the beat of cicadas syncopate with the sough of midnight wind. From far down in the well of my dream vibrations rise up, and, like anyone, I weave those first few tremors into the fabric of my dream story. It is only the sway of a lover’s dance, the tremble of a restless herd.   But it is a sound that awakens me at last, the shriek of my brother’s daughter. She who sleeps so fitfully on even the most silent night, she of the night terrors, who this night saves us all with her waking cry. It is the night her oft imagined horrors are become real, for this is no dream.   It is our mountain sprung to life, dancing, cavorting, tossing us about like playthings. By the mercy of Allah, ...