Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Why do you sing in the middle of the night?

Why do you sing in the middle of the night?

My grandfather asked
“Why do you sing in the middle of the night?”
but he refused to call what we did music.
We were falling
with pots and pans.

But I took the compliment
where I could.
He called what I did singing.
Even if the hours I kept
kept him awake at night.

Not quite his age but on my way.
Old enough to think
about the birds just outside
my window at 3 AM
festively carrying on.

It is neither barely morning
or freshly night and
I wouldn’t even call it singing.
It is a joyous racket;
notes floating
of my family tree.

Sunday, October 2, 2016



                                     Three hawks are visiting from out of town.

They are unanimously
disliked by the locals.
A jittery uproar
erupts into flight
as they make their way
                  towards our home.

I do not speak bird
but I know the sound
of fear, panic, and
an invisible line
                   being crossed.

Not one of us
are brave enough
to escort them
off the premises
but who wants to stick
around with all
that racket?

                                     We exit the yard in unison.

Closed Umbrella

Closed Umbrella

This wind is too much for you.
Rain be damned.

You are a tight
fist fighting back
the only way
you know how;
stiff jointed
and leaning.

The wind has been taken from me.
I curse myself.

Without the grasp
of working hands,
I am still
middle aged
and all purpose
is lost.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bowlegged Knock Down

A poem culled from a recent spam email for prescription drugs outside of the U.S.

Organize rightness.

Flustered   nihilistic   breakers 
animalizes under steer.
Hummingbirds scalp
& takeout sheets.
Leprosy lover.  
Caustically foreign.
Gasworks exacerbation 
shoot out  keynotes.   

we suggest a
bowlegged knock down. 

Understanding Death

It was never the word coma or
the sound of artificial breathing. 
It was clinging to an ice cube 

hand on the central coast 
of Florida pressing for comfort 
as a scared child does to her mother.

I foolishly thought 
she wasn't holding onto me 
but I was mistaken. 

She was patiently waiting 
until I was out of the room 
to finally to let go. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Winternamels, 52°

I remember Pete's funeral to a degree.
Grief has a way of washing
         most of
        the detail.


         am   left

       with                     a chalk

outline        made of

  ashes          and




It was the first time I wondered if death required a dress code.
It was the first time I saw my father weep in public.
It was the first time our surviving members
held hands in the saddest of all daisy chains
accept for
Robbie who held a palm frond
                                                                                          and sat apart from us because
we all have our way of hiding
and a drunk is many things but
subtle is not one of them.

Even Jennifer was there,
the sister who "doesn't do death".
I learned that day that you could be
present but really
somewhere else
                                                                                           far away.

I choked out a memorial speech last minute
for my parents who could not,
cracking jokes as Pete would want it.
It ended with the Little Rascals hand solute;
a wave good-bye under the chin.

The service was filled with people Pete had saved.
Suicide prevention success stories
shook my hand, confused by the loss
of the hand that saved them.
We were a room full of hot hair
                                                                                            floating about
without a string to ground us.

I remember Margaret most of all.
She was as vibrant as the tiny
film canisters she painted with
winter scenes that included the
temperature of the landscape.
It was her signature left in degrees.
I can't explain why
but in the moment I LOVED THIS.
It took me somewhere else                                                   far away
closer to heaven, cool, and snow peaked.

Robin eggs blue,
her business card
hatched this morning
from the black depths
of a crowded top drawer.

In this moment
I had to look                                                                          her up.

She died
a few years after my brother
following Pete slowly
                                                                                              a tired balloon rising
from an open hand.

Fahrenheit or celsius?
Her obituary lacks how hot or cold
her resting place is
but it is 52° currently;

                                                                                              in her memory.