A Special Talent (Written September 29, 2013)

A Special Talent


He had a special talent for affability.

In his youth, when his friends

Drank too much and became loud


And abusive, he remained silent,

Not to excuse them but too proud

To tell them what they


Thought they wanted to hear.

Later, when he lost his own way,

With the death of his father,


He seemed to suffer one piece

Of misfortune after another.

A brother died of dementia.


The woman he married left him.

His daughter, in absentia,

Made it clear she blamed


Him. Troubles dogged him,

But he kept his smile and the same

Ease in being with people, to the end.

A Man of No Consequence (Written September 27, 2013)

A Man of No Consequence


Where the windows look out on the night,

Where the moon drifts among clouds,

Where the owl hoots and the cat screams,


Where the sun never rises,

A man of no consequence dreams

He is late, but for what – is not clear.


A meeting that will determine

His fate. He has nothing to fear,

He tells himself, while his hands


Shake and sweat pours from his face.

As far as the eye can see, these lands

Belong to him, as it’s written


In the book for anyone who cares

To look. He’s hopelessly smitten

And will do whatever it takes.

Various Rhythms (Written September 26, 2013)

Various Rhythms


People walk in various

Rhythms, some on the grass,

Some on the street,


All going in the same direction,

With no sense of panic, only

A need to find a place


Where they can feel safe.

Behind them, a dust cloud

Drags at their feet, like


Tangled strands of kelp

In the shallows of  the sea.

A woman in a wheelchair,


At the end of her endurance,

Cries softly to herself.

A man leans down


And offers to help, but

She waves him away.

He is ash gray.

A Beautiful Lie (Written September 25, 2013)

A Beautiful Lie


While the tide keeps going out

And the mud flats grow wide

And the fog, like the footfall


Of a vaporous mountain, rolls

Into the mouth of the bay, the tall

Man, rising up out of the water,


Approaches the circle of revelers

Gathered around his daughter

As around a fire. For years


She’s been on the run, and now,

If he sees her at all, it is with tears

In his eyes, an ache in his heart


And no joy. What comfort can he

Find in her return? To him,

It feels like a beautiful lie.

As Real, As Solid (Written September 24, 2013)

As Real, As Solid


I wanted to get the tears

Out of the way and act

As I always do with you,


As if nothing from those

Early days, before we met,

Remains. As if nothing,


Not a shadow, plays

Across the fields and

The trees that surround


And protect this house

That we call home, where

We’ve found just enough


Of what we feel, what

We think, what we believe,

To become as real, as


Solid, as anything that has

Gone before. But sometimes,

When I least expect it,


I hear her name, the door

Opens, and I step out,

Into the void.

Dark Age Ahead (Written September 23, 2013)

Dark Age Ahead


Nobody understood what was happening.

What sounded like the whistle

Of a train, on the other side of town,


Grew more and more faint,

Then we heard footsteps coming down

The back stairway, and a man’s voice


Raised in anger. An article

In the paper said there was a choice

Of fresh produce at the market,


But shipments of meat had been blocked.

Oranges were in short supply. Target

Populations could come to the Coliseum,


Though nothing was guaranteed.

Specimens were on display at the museum,

Stuffed and mounted, suitable for viewing.

Will It Sell? (Written September 22, 2013)

Will It Sell?


Is that all you’ve got to say?

Rarely have I seen you at such

A loss for words. Is it something


About the way I told the story

That bothers you, that doesn’t ring

True? Well listen, I’m not averse


To taking some other point of view,

Yours for example, there could be worse

Fates, though I can’t think


Of any at the moment. I’d have to get

Inside your skin, and let myself sink

Into the mush that is your mind,


With its obsession with markets,

Awards, first splashes, that kind

Of thing. Will it sell? Fuck


That, I’d rather do it myself,

The alternative being to suck

At the public tit, that’s a bit much.

Jumper (Written September 21, 2013)



What if something makes her want

To jump? A movie that haunts her,

About the way cattle are slaughtered,


Or a friend (she thought) who habitually

Cuts her off in mid-sentence,

Or the long, sleepless nights that fail


To heal the cuts and bruises

Of the still longer days, or the sense

That she has nothing left to say,


That even though she was once

The brightest of them all, now

She is duller and weaker, useless,


Worse than useless, like an old car

With a rusted-out body,

And an engine that won’t run.

It’s a Game (Written September 20, 2013)

It’s a Game


Thick, gray clouds all day,

But no rain. The young couple

Next door in a heated exchange.


Then they are gone, and the street

Is quiet again, though still within range

Of the usual disturbances: cars and trucks


On the road above, the heat pump

At number eighty, the way the wind sucks

At the chimes on the back porch,


The lonely cedar waxwing that wails

The live-long day, the scorched

Pot that sets off the smoke alarm,


The plane to Montreal, high overhead,

That drowns out, with no harm

Done, the sound of my own breathing,


The clock that ticks ticks ticks

And keeps me on edge, because

Both hands are the same


And I can’t tell if it’s ten past twelve

Or two o’clock on the dot. It’s a game

That only those can play who are supple.

Little Bird (Written September 19, 2013)

Little Bird


Why do you go on crying,

Little green-bellied bird?

Are you calling for your mate,


Or are you one of the newly

Hatched, unsure of your fate,

Feeling lost and alone,


Wondering where everyone has gone,

While you cling to the only home

You’ve ever known? Tiny head,


So full of purpose, with never

A second thought, instead

Of such fidelity, why not, I suggest,


Take flight, venture forth,

Go as far as you can, digest

The new reality, and have no fear.