Alone of His Ilk (Written November 9)

Alone of His Ilk


If he starts running at this point

He will only draw attention

To himself. Better, he thinks,


To walk slowly, like the others,

With head down, so no one links

Him to what is about to transpire.


He could not have foreseen

How badly things would misfire.

But it’s all the same.


Whatever happens,

Happens. His name

Will be remembered with scorn.


He did not plan it this way.

But he was not born

To remain, alone of his ilk, in the shadows.

On the Run (Written November 8)

On the Run


In the off hours, they would escape together.

They had their favorite hiding place,

Where they could not be found.


They’d build a fire, pull up a log,

And huddle close to the ground.

A train would pass by, overhead.


They’d smoke, laugh, and cry

Into the wee hours, before bed.

What the hell did it matter!


Sometimes another girl, or a couple

Of boys would show, then they’d scatter

Like bowling pins. Some creep


Was always looking for a fight.

Like scared rabbits, they’d go deep

Into the woods, leaving no trace.

Murder On My Mind (Written November 7)

Murder On My Mind


My legs got soft under me.

I was running as fast as I could,

But falling further and further


Behind. I had nothing left

To draw on but my rage. Murder

Was on my mind. He’d


Come out of the blue

And clubbed me on the head,

For no apparent reason. Christ!


I yelled. It was not so much

The force of the blow, but the surprise

That sent me crashing to the ground.


He was far ahead of me,

But I gave chase, and found

Where he’d vanished, in the wood.

My Old Friends (Written November 6)

My Old Friends


How I miss my old friends!

Some have died. Others, living

Far away, in ill health, I know


I’ll never see again. How sad,

Not to be able to blow

Another kiss or speak


Another word to someone

You love and admire. To seek

And to find, a true friend


Is that rarest of beings, with whom

You can sit for hours on end,

Talking about anything at all,


Or not talking, silent, at ease,

With no demands, no wall

Between the two of you.


Always respectful, always

Civil, passionate too,

But never angry. Giving.

Kidnapped (Written November 5)



Through a window, thick with iron bars,

She watches the rain come down,

And the wind in the trees. Puddles


Form in the gravel below the window.

In a corner of the room a child cuddles

A doll. A car stops behind the house,


And a man gets out. He shouts

An angry word, in order to rouse

The master. She can almost touch


Him as he passes by the window,

But she is too afraid to chance such

Bold action. She ponders, in her gloom,


The likelihood that she, with the child,

Will remain locked in this room,

Never, for years, to be found.

Incorrigible Maverick (Written November 4)

Incorrigible Maverick


Watching her as she goes about her work,

Creating order where there was havoc,

Turning a ramshackle house into something


Livable, not pausing for anything,

Not even a sip of water, able to bring

Her entire focus to the task at hand,


Finding ways to fix the unfixable,

Moving with the ease of a dancer,

The suppleness of a highwire


Artist, gracious in assigning work

To this man or that woman, entirely

In control but not controlling,


I can easily imagine her a hundred

Years ago, as a pioneer, rolling

West, an incorrigible maverick.

Jake (Written November 3)



It make very much when you cook,

The mother said. You take home.

I thanked her and followed Jake


Down the stairs. Don’t mind her,

He said. All she ever talk is make

Or break. I like her very much,


I assured him. We sat together

On the couch. Nobody touch

The tip of her little finger, he burn


In hell. He put an old audio tape

Into the machine. It was my turn,

He said, to show him what I had,


But I wanted to see him first.

You want blink, he said, nothing bad

Happen to son who never roam.

So Unlike His Father (Written November 2)

So Unlike His Father


The way his father was with the men

Was not the way he was with him.

He stood quietly by, with bowed


Head, as if he were somewhere else,

Listening from a distance to a loud,

Heated, and possibly violent argument.


Something made him smile, and the men,

Mollified, moved apart, content

For the moment, until they stood


Facing  each other, with his father

In the middle. What would

I do, he wondered. So unlike


His father, he laid a hand

On one man’s shoulder, lightly,

Like a feather, then on the shoulder


Of the other man, who, startled,

Fell back. Wiser and older,

He answered to no one but him.

Only a Wild and Sincere Grief (Written November 1)

Only a Wild and Sincere Grief


Once I am dead, there will be no lack

Of kind words, as I stagger toward

Oblivion. Only a wild and sincere grief,


One that is all consuming, will allow me

A glimpse of the afterlife, however brief.

Who among you gathered here can plumb


Such depths? Pull the blinds closed,

Turn off the iPhone and the iPad, dumb

Down your own raging desires.


All I ask is one day, one hour,

To hold me in your heart, like a fire

That you tend with all your being.


Let the thought of me penetrate

Your senses, and help me to see,

Through the dark, the way forward.

No Time to Talk (Written October 31)

No Time to Talk


That part I really didn’t like.

There was no time to talk,

Barely time to say hello.


You noticed the sculpture

Under the lilac bush, and the yellow

Hosta leaves, limp and faded.


Imagine, leaving a Carol Taylor

Outdoors, you said, as if you’d waded

Through a bog to arrive – nowhere.


The house was a mess, otherwise

I’d have invited you in for a beer.

You went back down the stairs,


And I followed you, like a dog,

To your car. Anyway, who cares,

I said, nothing lasts forever.