In the Pick n’ Save Parking Lot

Looking over
the top of my mask
my glasses already steamed,
I meet your eyes, stranger,
and we smile.

We cannot see these smiles
but we know we are smiling.
The twinkle in the eye tells all.
We raise our hands in silent salute.

Nothing could have prepared us
for this moment, or maybe
everything did.
If only our hands could meet,
right here, we’d become a prayer.

We know we are members
of the same tribe,
fighting an insidious evil
that flourishes on the breath,
on the wind, and has run
unchecked in all the lies of now,
and in all the lies past.
Let it be unchecked no more.

In the journey towards justice,
there is just us, essential prophets
seeing beyond the mask.

published in New Verse News

Cloud Reader

Remember when you were small—
before you read words—
you taught yourself to read clouds?

You’d lie on your back
for hours and never tire
of the stories the clouds told.

There was the one about
the dragon who became
a three-legged elephant

and another about a thin, bearded man
who chased a fat lady so far across the sky
that they became a heard of buffalo

and then a fish who leaped to his last breath
from a pinky purple sea. You thought
you’d grow up to make a living at it—

reading clouds—not knowing
that cloud reading is a thankless task
left only to children and dreamers.

Good days those were,
when reading clouds
was your bread and butter.

from Fan Mail From Some Flounder


Some Facts About Poets

Poets do not grow on trees,
but they do tend to inhabit gardens.

Poets are not above the law,
but the law is of no concern to them.

Poets have a mission, which is,
generally, impossible.

They run like any other human, but
are known to sprout antlers and wings

when least expected. All poets began
as children, back before the dinosaurs.

They grew aware of sun and moon,
flying saucers, mud, and old age.

They never forget an ancient touch, taste,
or smell, but can’t tell you what was for lunch

yesterday. They are Einstein’s theory
of relativity in the flesh. They don’t

split infinitives, except under duress.
Their shirts are clean, unpressed.

Awake, they dream.
Asleep, they work.

Poets are just as rowdy or quiet
as the next guy. They love the world

and will tell you in every rhythm imaginable
and ask no wage for their tinkering.

from Fan Mail from Some Flounder


Down by the Lake

Low lying strata of clouds
press down upon the lake at dusk
in cool grey blues. Then incoming,
slow, a hot pink glow burnishes the cloud tips
as the sun sets somewhere far away
on the other side of town.

The lake is calm here,
though storm clouds huddle
on every horizon and steely
columns of rain advance
like tipsy soldiers after the battle,
coming in for a good soak.

I expect something is about to happen.
What it is, I cannot say. Could be
the rain will come, or not. I do sense
(like the gull hanging on the updraft)
that the light wind holding the lone,
brave sailboat, also holds me.

from This Particular Heaven



These days,
there are all kinds of whisperers.
Horse, dog, cat. You name it,
someone is whispering to it.
American idols, who are they?
There are politicians whispering
behind closed doors, on cell phones,
to large piles of money. Who
are these faces and what lips
can whisper such secrets
designed to hurt so many?

As for me, I am whispering
to the trees. For so long,
they have whispered to me
and now I beg them, please,
teach us to be more like you,
steadfast, but flexible.

Don’t just hug a tree.
Be a tree: root, stretch
shade, blossom. Then,
when the wind blows,
whisper, thank you.

from This Particular Heaven


Advice Dyslexic

Straighten right and up fly.
Tide high in morning,
and broke for go.

Lamp the lights
and harvest the gather.
Let no unturned go stone.

Hearth the sweep
and bread the butter.
Be neighbor to your good.

Then, let no island be a man
and avoid making molehills
out of mountains. Beware

the teapot in a tempest
and remember, people living
in glass stones should not throw houses.

Take yourself with a salt of grain,
for there is nothing sun
under the new.

Up wake and give day
for the thanks. Fandango
the dance and go peace in forth.

Tread earth over this good lightly.

from A Brief History of Mail