Tuesday, September 30, 2008


The Butcher Grew Gladiolas

The Appraiser composed poetry,
The Butcher grew gladiolas

in their sweat
left upon page, upon land,
the salt of the earth
rubbing shoulders
with haute couture
through poesy and posy

in their charge,
flowering ancestral beds
of Pound, Buck, Gibran

The Good Earth
turning through generations

The Prophet
inspiring a fortunate son

The Cantos
continuing here and on

and in no need of further appraisal,
simply cultivated like the sword lily I brandish
in defense of Aristotle's Poetics,
pulled from the rock of ages,
Excalibur passed on through bloom and verse

Monday, September 29, 2008

... in kind

Blanket The Horses

Blanket the horses,
Abeyant in a field of frostbit heather.
In small acts of kindness
Lie the epiphanies
We have searched lifetimes
Looking for in ephemera,
Along with the Psalms
We knew were always there,
Hiding in between petals
Of blossoms' lost songs

Saturday, September 27, 2008

In Memory of James E. Adams

In Nome Del Padre

ghost of your father's faint voice
barely sonorous across telephone wires,
inspiring an impulse to listen for,
and take particular note of,

the broken keys of a piano played without sound,

talk amongst the trees and the whispering of roots,

a world away raga purifying the profane of sacred rivers,

structures of silence and the hum of suspension bridge cables,

the compressed white noise of air through an open car window,

the coda and reprise, coda and reprise of wind across water,

the scratch of a richter scale while climbing gravity,

love at last's suspire settling upon fields of forel,

the fluttered heartbeat of 8 weeks in utero,

the two syllables of your name,

the call of the cardinal,

its ghostly reminder
of a father gone
but not forgotten

photo by thomas paul goertel

Friday, September 26, 2008

church not made with hands


A delicate romance under a sheltering sky.
Fragments of the winter, of sadness, suspended in the air.
I think I know what they might be.
Stars, miniature pianos with quiet ivories,
like Buddhist sutras hovering over and holding fast
the fields of Wichita, the fields of Finlandia.

Seemingly Nordic, a Great Plain blizzard huddles us close,
a prairie prayer frozen just beyond our lips.

At once offered, at once answered.

A change in the weather and bright blue sky abides.
Almost overlooked, unspoken roses blooming in a kiss,
as we vow silently to keepsake this moment,
this momentary architecture of no longer longing.

photo by thomas paul goertel

Thursday, September 25, 2008

fire, walk with me

Memorizing Fragments Of Light As She Falls Asleep

walk on,
through this hollowland,
sleep escapes on this road
out of nowhere,
no turning back now,
deserts' certain death
becoming distant
in silvered reflections
on either side,
mirror-moves leave shadows
for exhaust,
walk on,
ghostly, emerging exhausted
mid-second act and abandoning
5 hours, 24 days, 9 months, 1 year and near a decade
along with a world too weary to spin another step

and so I stop before it can
and stand in the absolute zero of silence
watching skies turn to indian paint brush,
burning memories upon a snow-borne bonfire,
healing bones fractured under the weight of disbelief,
freeing caged birds from rolled up sleeves,
memorizing fragments of light as she falls asleep
in this hallowland

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vintage 1964

Noble Rot

beyond need, beyond want, beyond desire

beyond power, fame and fortune

one thing,
more than anything,
something as simple as,
and nothing more than,

for it will betray us all

just when
the ambrosia of melodies melts across sound to taste,
but before the tongue can wrap around
the truffle of Mozart,
the bitters of Mahler,
the confection of Satie

before the throat can swallow
the dessert wine of Debussy
with hints of oak, blackcurrant,
and even botrytis cinerea itself

a knock at the door,
the rattle at a window

lights flicker
and in their fade

the man in the mirror
staring back through grapes of wrath,
in the grips of noble rot

the malevolence of time
the benevolence of timing

where sweetness,
however short lived,
surely follows

photo by d. frechard

begin the begin

Creation Myth / The Sea Refuses No River

the end is the beginning,
seven oceans empty into me and all becomes connected

the vastness of the sea inside me freezes solid,
stolid world slips away

ice lies impatient
awaiting the upheaval
of crustal heat
from a woman with child
wandering a shore no more,
bending slowly,
a bundle in her arms,
a bundle within her
warms my frozen hands
as they command
rivers running backwards
to take leave of their beginnings,
and begin again sculpting channels
into a congruent Pangea
in congruence with

Love's hot water breaking

thawing me,
flooding me,
freeing me,

carrying my ancient oceans
to the newborn sea

Monday, September 22, 2008

In Memory of Marcel Proust

In Search Of Lost Time

potential passing by opportunities
lost to a contrary current
washing away a sense of destiny,
leaving only the silt of nostalgia

contemplating the days left behind
like debris in the wake of a flood

calculating the height from a distance of
an ever-rising watermark of years

counting the sandbagged attempts to slow
the tempest fugit of slipstream hours

for purposes uncertain
dragging a swollen river
of swift moving memories
in search of lost time:

the scent of an orange being peeled with a pocket knife

the feel of a new five dollar bill found inside an old birthday card

the splinter breaking through skin in a fall down wooden stairs

the tongue across a gumline where a tooth once rooted

the smolder of chimney smoke meeting falling snow

a flock of blackbirds alighting on a freshly harvested cornfield

a helium balloon slipping away from a little boy's hand

the weight of a sleeping child carried inside from a car

counting stars above the grand canyon

a pair of new boots bought in dallas, texas

pulled over for speeding in mexico

writing poems on maps by dashboard light

the fear of loneliness

the strength discovered while alone

the lies told to survive

the truth that lies in survival

the small black and white image of a life not yet lived

watching the river flow, by and by,
carrying away the remembrance of things past

Sunday, September 21, 2008

For Hank, The Bard of San Pedro


no curtain call for the poet
and a lifetime spent staging 'the word'

the carefully choreographed
dance upon the page

the symphonic poem
without a single note to rest upon

the three act play performed
without benefit of mise en scène

i am
a magician
pulling haiku from a top hat in white rabbits stead,
a mime
mimicking with metaphor sans the masquerade of makeup,
a matador
fighting a raging bull of a fecund imagination nay flesh

save these limbo lit platitudes of self aggrandizing plaudits,
the bard can only wander a caliginous backstage of years,
forever awaiting the roar of, "Bravo!",
only in the end to take a final lorn bow out of this world,
leaving beholden and a tergo the solitary audience of the mind

Saturday, September 20, 2008

and the beat goes on

The Rhythmatist


born to the bumps of this dirt road
and erratic journey of the heart


the metallic clap of collision courses
and the handicap of years that follow


the percussion of a concussive device
silencing birthdays, holidays, in between days


the hollow splash of wishing wells
submerging copper, drowning dreams


the pugilistic drums of time pounding
a sense of purpose into unconsciousness


the click-tap-click metronome of routine
chipping away any and all regrets


the slap and rush water birth
of a son-man-husband-father reborn


the rhythm of the saint, the sinner
beating along inside the same soul

Friday, September 19, 2008

the light at the end of the tunnel

The Passenger

there's a hellbound train
passing through my sleep

splits the dark, the dream
with steel rail rumble

shaking, waking
from station to station

where my soul waits
in shivers of cold blue light

trying to get to Heaven
and the warmth of the sun

the light at the end of the tunnel

photo by o. winston link

Thursday, September 18, 2008

violins and violence

Year Of The Gun (The Fall Of Us All)

settled here
in the warmth of low, autumnal sun moving south of the equator,
soaking in George Butterworth's Banks of Green Willow,
part idle, part poem, part song

halcyon and pastoral is this moment,
and in it a realization;
i have nearly survived this 44th year

wolves ravaging bulls on Wall Street,
little boys with bombs in Mideast markets,
new wars, old wars, cold wars heating up,
baneful winds of Eduardo, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike

the reality of 45 murders a day in America,
but rumors of my own demise greatly exaggerated

succumbing of course
to the eventual fall of us all

but for the moment, basking in the passive light of equinox,
with a predilection in my belly, a promise in hers,
the violins play on in a sweet counterpoint to the violence
in this Year Of The Gun

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

sunday morning coming down

Ether Or

lying in bed,
the bliss of the abyss,
drugged by the inhalation
of the heather nestled in your hair

near narcoleptic,
though somehow still mulling
over the day awaiting
even as it yawns aloud

so with a nod,
slip back between sheets
and breathe deep the ether
outside this window

copious, dull, tin light and cold rain
coming down, sunday morning

Monday, September 15, 2008

shelter from the storm

Harbor Me

harbor me,
safe inside your shallows,
your familiar coast
[cheek to lips to chin to neck to breast to hips]
shelters all that remains of
lost to bull's eye squall and the tumult of
equatorial-parch-throat-cry for help,
a drowned flare retort to a muted foghorn,
a bleached beacon of a lighthouse storm warning
for a sea-unworthy vessel's captain,
incapacitated and hanging tenuously
to shark cartilage supplemented sanity,
frayed by the swallow of saltwater,
weakened by the blood let of scurvy,
crushed by the bend of fathoms
weighting the sun-stung scour of skin,
collapsing watertight compartments
holding the soaken wet dreams
of a thousand savage rock sirens lying in wait,
baiting a shipwrecked will with an ebb-tide of promises,
masking the suck and drag of a riptide
siphoning this soul farther then further out to sea
where there is no sunken treasure

harbor me,
seeking shelter from the storm

Sunday, September 14, 2008

you say you want an evolution

On Land

i crawl from the amniotic sea,

gulping at air,
the cry of oxygen
screaming for release
from the drown of aqualungs

a wave of sound breaking across

spittled lips quivering
without the insulation
of ocean

their blue tremble
sucking, suckling
the damp, dank dew
of new morning

before reason
before love
before hate
before language
before locomotion
before civility
before literacy
before art
before religion
before science
before history
before puberty
before philosophy
before intoxication
before sex
before college
before war
before work
before taxes
before bureaucracy
before marriage
before children

and well before
mortality's slow creep of decay
and the discovery of


each in their own way
more embittered,
more a betrayal
than a thousand deaths

but here,
on this beach,
i am alive,
the water lapping
at feet that know
no callous

dragging myself
through the sands of time
behind me, ahead of me

with a grain of salt
taken from the sea i leave

Saturday, September 13, 2008

two hearts beat as one

Of Interest

of interest,
and historically significant

your hand
reaching through darkness,
touching mine

all sound turned vapor
all sight turned crystal

basic elements
of chemistry
altering physiology

palpitating, dialating, perspiring

seven years, still to come, exploding in a teardrop
eleven years, left behind, imploding in a sigh

science regards me,
of interest

my heart of gold,
absent a hallmark,
once assayed as stone,
found to be

inside a wom(b)an,
and once again
of interest

Friday, September 12, 2008

adam's rib

Atom and Eve

our bodies
in bed,


the stretch of my rib cage
spilling into
the small of your back

our dna
in the shed of skin

our cellular fingerprint
left on the twill of cotton

our protons,
protean, kinetic
despite the stillness of our sleep

an atom bond
originated in the repose
before the Big Bang

as close as we will ever be
to Heaven,
until we return,
to the stars above this bedroom

Thursday, September 11, 2008

for Sheila

The Trees Protect Me

all around,
the ubiquitous bark reminding,
the trees protect me

quiet sentries
standing at attention
for centuries

with you,
i am no longer afraid of the dark

within you,
your moonlight branch shadows
place tiger stripes upon my skin

intrepid now,
i stalk these woods,
a carnivore devouring
the flesh of such catholic fears

i prowl
this forest primeval

in your seasons
i have died and been reborn,
have died and been reborn,
died and been reborn
into a continuum of reincarnation
in which i am more alive than ever

a hundred different lives i've lived
in a single room,
with a window on a world of
could have, should have, would have,
watching the rain's gentle pulse upon the maples' leaf umbrellas,
my heart beating to the rhythm of spring's bud through autumn's fall,
in this artist's den of soft pine walls and hardwood floors

hand, one with brush

brush, one with palette

slow starts the sweep,
conducting a symphony of tonewood colors
across a stretch of canvas,
cornering and carving the grey light of a timber cathedral,
a sacristy sheltering the pulp of a bible, the grain of a cross

and so paint this church of trees,
my sanctuary

painting by john e. maguire

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Why Not Smile

We smile for ourselves,
Search the quietest moments Satie had to offer

Looking for a selfish reason to covet under covers pulled close,
In the middle of the night when we are not talking and wondering,

Who can hold out the longest?

I even change my name after you fall asleep,
So you won't recognize me in the morning

When you awake to a pseudonym,
A stolen identity reciting an ad-libbed version of Contamine's Les Antiques,

Because my memory is not as good as yours,

Still mad,
Smiling to myself
And wondering,

still image from joseph feltus' film 'solo duets'

Saturday, September 6, 2008

As The World Turns

Autumn Mobile

with the world still spinning,
still sleeping

morning trees

leaving their landscapes,
altering perception, perspective

rising upon a horizon
dipping to meet a blanketed and banked road

their motion
in the grey-blue light
divulging no shadows
as they settle alongside
the slow of this car's winding-wheels
churning the fog of dew point air
in congress with the restitution of perspective
to a landscape in relief
of a mind no longer wandering,
thoughts firmly rooted to the wind of a road
buffeted by a puissant wind
that spins falling foliage
into an autumn mobile

the leaves,
the world,
these wheels,

Friday, September 5, 2008

an epitaph

Book Of Days

and when my final hours are counted,
where will i be?

at this desk, jotting verse,
drinking wine?

will there be
a final sigh,
the obit won't mention,

the long ride away from my children,
the empty apartment i rented in a strange city,
eating nothing but peanuts for months on end,
losing 36 pounds in less than a year,
the solace i found in a cigarette before bed,
lying alone on a mattress,
on an uneven floor,
in a bedroom without furniture,
staring out a window with no blind,
watching the moths' unemotional devotion
to a cheap, bare bulb, courtyard light,
and thinking outloud,
"I am fucked."

it will all be there

page after page
in the lines scribed
across the loose-leaf white
of my death-calm face

seemingly lost,
forgotten chapters
of an unfinished novel
finding their way
to the other side of the wind

the book of days
they will bury me with

Cast a cold eye on Life, on Death. Horseman, pass by. --- W.B.Yeats epitaph

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

an event horizon

Around The Bend

use my imagination
to shape an elemental silhouette of you
out of the tungsten clouds periodically shifting across the horizon,
as you stand somewhere beyond an imaginary line,
in a dusky field, in an aluminum light,
at an impermanent distance,
varying with my own movement,
despite your own fixed position

out of sight, but never out of mind

comforted by the science that reminds,
it is only the curvature of the earth
that has come between us

note: the earth's surface curves at approximately 8 inches per mile

Monday, September 1, 2008

you say goodbye, i say hello

Come To Find

a hello in a smile
carried along,
tucked inside a mouth

a memory in a laugh
taken along,
tucked inside a breath

a memory in a song
carried along,
tucked inside a hum

a goodbye in a wave
taken along,
tucked inside a palm

the longing of,
"We will meet again.",
in, on, upon
the rain-weighted air

will come to find
on a wind bringing to mind
summers left behind

little legs running beneath morning's sun,
small feet standing upon midday's shadow,
tiny soles jumping above afternoon's simmer

footholds along the twilight road
where memories become a memoir
of au revoir's
waving, smiling, singing, laughing