Monday, April 25, 2016


The snake has swallowed its tail.
The discussion of what to do next
drags on into the night. Several options,
that were available before,
are no longer on the table.
In fact, the table itself
is no longer an option. We crouch
in the shadows trying
not to be noticed by the guards.
Reports come in that the army
is on our side, but
there is no way to verify the claim.
Injuries mount. The darkness grows
more permanent with each
passing minute. Even sleep
it seems has been taken away from us.
Until someone nudges you
and tells you to roll over,
you're snoring too loud
and the snake has disappeared.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Variations on 100 poems (#50)

For you, I gave up
childish things and the child
in me wants to grow old
with you.

Variations on 10 poems (#49)

Guards tend the fires
at the imperial gate all night:
my love for you.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Variations on 100 poems (#48)

The waves shatter into a thousand pieces
when they hit the rocks by the shore.
I am a thousand pieces
of a man, thinking about
what I could have been.

Variations on 100 poems (#47)

When I was lonely
the trees and leaves
hid my mountain home.
But now it is fall
my solitude is deeper
because every passerby
is a friend not coming to visit.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Variations on 100 poems (#46)

Like sailing across Osaka bay
in the dark, rudder gone —
who knows where love will lead us?

Variations on 100 poems (#45)

No one knows the words
I would say  to describe losing you. 
They are mute. They could fit
between the pages of a book.
They are so small
they make no noise
even when I am yelling.

Variations on 100 poems (#44)

If we never meet again
I will not complain.
My heart tells me
she and I will never be alone.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Variations on 100 poems (#43)

I never loved before
I met you. I never heard music
until I heard your name.
The sun was a cold, dead thing
until it woke me to your smile.
These words will be repeated
by hundreds of poets
in the future. But I swear
I mean everything I say
now, in your presence
and forever.

Variations on 100 poems (#42)

What good are tears
when the waves rush past
the last pine-covered hill
in Tagajo, Miyagi?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Variations on 100 poems (#41)

Is it true? Love
is a rumor. The world
knows it. People I never met
know it. I think I heard it
calling my name.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Variatons on 100 poems (#40)

It sounds like a country & western song:
 I tried to hide my love for you
by turning my face away
but you saw through my simple lies
and asked if I'd be true.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Variations on 100 poems (#39)

Bamboo grows
among the reeds
like love. Hidden,
to uproot.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Variations on 100 poems (#38)

He promised,
he promised,
he promised. I love the man
he claims to be, but refuse to speak
to the evil puppet
who stands before me.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Variations on 100 poems (#37)

The wind is always around, talking
about what it saw on TV,
who said what to whom,
and where it is going on vacation
next. Go out of here!
You're scaring away all the leaves!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Variations on 100 poems (#36)

It is always almost evening
late into the night. Until dawn
is almost evening in reverse.
The clouds come and go
whispering about the moon.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Variations on 100 poems (#35)

I'm not sure. Is the human heart
unknowable? If so
why does the plum blossom smell
the same year after year?

Variations on 100 poems (#34)

Who is still alive that I can call friend
at my age?  Even the pine trees
are too young to remember
or too old to offer comfort.

Variations on 100 poems (#33)

The sun shines. The snow is gone
and the days start to warm up. So
where are the cherry blossoms going
in such a hurry?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Variations on 100 poems (#32)

The stream collects
whatever comes
down the mountain:
leaves, acorns, blades of grass
driven by wind, touched by water
that form bridges and dams
that hold, that give way
in the world of the wren,
in the world of the snail and ant.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Variations on 100 poems (#31)

Dawn and the remnants
of moonlight. Yoshino sleeping
under a blanket of snow.
Nothing lasts. Everything
is memory.

Variations on 100 poems (#30)

What is the moon doing
up so late? Doesn't it know
we have to get up soon?
As cold as the first water
drawn from the well in the morning.
So cold, we must break the ice
to wash our faces in its pitiless reflection.