Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Variation on Kokin Wakashu, 4

Snow in snow.
Wind inside the wind.

The seasons follow each other
like carriages on a train.
You see the faces
of the passengers
but the train is so long
there is no way to make out
the beginning or end.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Variation on Kokin Wakashu, 3

The snow pretends to be a mountain.
The mountain pretends to be a cloud.
But the clouds are not pretending.
They are the elders of the congress of snow.
They are mountains floating

above a pretend world.

Reflections in a lake
pretending to be sky,
pretending to be the lake
it will become
when the snow stops
and admits it is a disguise
rain wears in the cold.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Found Poems

A spring day... in the middle of spring.

The smoldering water dazzle.

Snow is pretending to be a mountain of spring.

If you fold your heart and fold it, you can see the snow flowers.

The snow that will become the snow of me.

*Machine translation (Google) taken from Kokin Wakashu.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Variation on Kokin Wakashu, 1

Surprise! A spring day
in the middle of Spring.

Spring crept into the room, unannounced.
He was surprised what he found.

Thursday, December 19, 2019


What can't be said
in thirty eight words
or thirty eight years
is written on the inside
of the heart
in invisible ink
with different words
from a different language
every day
for the rest of our lives.

Thursday, November 7, 2019


The bee makes the honeycomb
from which honey is extracted
as payment by the farmer
who believes he is due
for his efforts
on the bee's behalf:
constructing wooden replicas
of hives and maintaining
orchards from which
pollen can be collected.
What hard work
the farmer does!
How happy the bee
unknowing and unknown
traipsing the leafy corridors
of their imagined home
dragging the golden 
treasure home 
on their legs
like mud

the farmer's dog
can't shake off.

Thursday, October 10, 2019


The color of what you remember
of your wedding dress.
When the mice get into the flour
the bread is lumpy for days.
The more butter you add,
the longer it takes
to rise. Kneed it
until it looks like soft fists
then cover it with a damp towel.
After it rises, score it once.
It will grow up with a scar

Stolen Haiku

Sleeping under the stars
the smallest noise wakes me:
the laughter of the rain on the leaves.

Miserable autumn!
Even the oaks cling to their leaves
an extra hour.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


The birds are causing a ruckus.
Claiming their tree,
calling out their names:
grackle, grackle, robin.
The trees, dark from a long winter
stand out, ragged
against a gray sky.
But at the end of each twig
a single cold, hard flame
of what will be
this year's leaves
flares up.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Bad Haiku

Like the old man from down the street
last night I found the moon
wandering around my garden.

Full moon.
I tossed and turned all night
in your shadow.

With a scrap of paper
the flowers light their lamps.

The doors are closed. The house is closed.
There are no metaphors.

Lost, I stopped in the street
to ask. But the pretty blue flowers
refused to say which way to go.

Impossible Haiku

The frog makes the sound of a leaf
turning over in its sleep.

I am tired of the mountains.
The ashes of dawn on the rose bush.
The old clocks.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Late Twentieth Century Traffic Jam Blues

Traffic's going no where
in a hurry

like a drunkard's favorite story
with predictable results:

people get angry.
Feelings get hurt.
Things get broken.
And eventually

everyone leaves.
Only to return
several days later.
Older, but none
the wiser.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

What to Do About the Sky

What to do about the sky?

Patch the holes with pasteboard
and duct tape.

Paint it blue again.

If you don't have blue paint,
paint it white during the day
and black at night.

Gather the rubble,
the broken glass and plaster,
put it in a bottle.
Add water
and shake.

Think of the ocean.
There is so much left to do.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Bedroom Mirror

If it is a window
it hasn't been cleaned for years.

It is difficult to make out
what is on the other side.

It looks like people
doing ordinary things:
brushing their teeth,
getting dressed,
reading a book.

Usually there are one or two.
Occasionally more.

Their voices are muffled
as if speaking
a foreign language.

Of the hundreds
that come and go,
one is there all the time.

You recognize the hair,
the way he sits, staring
off into the distance.

You think he may be
trying to talk to you,
to communicate.
But you can't make out
the words.

You wave.
He waves back.

This goes on for days.

Friday, May 17, 2019


The clouds have been torn from a notebook.

The clouds are pages torn from a notebook.

The clouds: pages torn from a notebook.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Cooking Pot

After the war
they sold their uniforms.
They hid their rifles
in the back of the wood shed.
They turned their helmets upside down,
washed off any blood,
scraped out stray hairs,
bits of flesh and brains,
and filled them with boiling water
for fifteen minutes.
When they were done
the priest said a prayer
and they started peeling
onions and potatoes
for dinner.

Monday, April 29, 2019


Is there still a tree in you,
anonymous white rectangle?
Were you once brown
with roots and leaves
and ants and squirrels
living inside you?
Hard to believe.

Hard to believe
anyone lives inside you now
unless I draw them:
poor imitations of a life
once lived in a field perhaps,
or in the front yard
of a small white house
surrounded by a picket fence
also constructed
from the shattered remains
of your ancestors.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

About your Amaryllis... (found poem)

When you follow these easy instructions
your amaryllis will bloom
in approximately four to eight weeks.
Living things have their own timetable.

Everything is included. Prepare
as per the instructions.
Stir, aerate and if necessary, drain.
Keep moist, but not wet.

Once the flowers open, move.
At the end of September,
remove the foliage.
In December, replant.

Your amaryllis will flower again.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Sharp Pointy Thing

Sharp pointy thing
meets skin and skin
gives way. Bone says
Ow! and blood
makes a mess everywhere.
Nothing serious
but we should learn
to be more careful.
Don't run. Don't carry
whatever. My body is
getting used to the noise
it makes, like a fire alarm
invented by a two-year old
which is how I behave
in my lesser moments. Alone,
hurting from whatever
physical or imagined
slight. I will be better
or at least not so loud.

Sunday, January 13, 2019


If the roof leaks, fix it.
If the barn burns, save the animals.
If the crops fail, pray to the gods.

If the roof leaks again, pray to the gods.
If the barn burns, curse the gods.
If the crops fail, forsake the gods.

If the roof leaks a third time, curse the gods.
If the barn burns, forsake the gods.
If the crops fail, realize you are the gods

you thought had abandoned you.