Fighting the Current

English: Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis...

English: Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) catching salmon at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, Alaska. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sunless trail turns left
and breaks through into
the sterile clearing and its carpet
of rank smelling gloom.
All around rings with the cicada song
of air-conditioning and mini-fridge,
and Bear alone disturbs the ripple
of this eddy in the shallow stream
of sound.

What passes for dawn here beams blue
from the flat-screen sun burning
not his pallid face, only his retinas.
Old flashing words fight the current,
and the silvertip grizz wades in,
plucking them from the air to feed
his need before the other beasts
lumber in to scare them back
to the depths.

It is sunrise in Cubicle 200-A.

Interview with Poet Emmett Wheatfall

Emmett WheatfallThis week, I had the honor of being interviewed by Oregon poet and recording artist Emmett Wheatfall for his ‪‎tumblr‬ site.
Emmett asked me some questions I never really stopped and pondered before, like, “What’s your definition of poetry?” Nope, never thought about it before. I guess that’s indicative of my “seat-of-the-pants” approach to being a poet.
Once again, my deepest thanks to Emmett for this opportunity, exposure and friendship.

The Third Degree


Sun (Photo credit: DBduo Photography)

The sun is still asleep
over the foot-end of my bed,
no sign yet of its tousled rays,
while I am cooing with
the mourning doves.
Who, who! they say
in definitive reply to
question unspoken, unheard.
Who, who? I ask,
with no one but me
here to hear an answer.
As I lie back now, resting
from this interrogation,
Sun glows bright in my face,
giving me the third degree,
asking burning questions
about my day, this life,
for which I’m still
searching in this dark
for answers.

The Murder

English: Crows in flight This field is close t...

English: Crows in flight This field is close to the junction of Nottingham Road and Loughborough Road in Leicestershire. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Black pen-nib crows write sure,
harsh and profane above me, all
flourishes, loops and T-crossing,
shouting outbursts of joy
in their own creativity. And I stand
here watching them, feeling guilty
that I’m not flying across some page,
envious of that abandon and their
bumptious “F-you” to those of us cursed
with too much of our own gravity.

Groundbound, I drop my spirit
and my eyes, and fold back my wings.

Now I sit here and curse you all,
crows and men, envious I’ve yet
to test my wings in the open sky,
feeling guilty for listening to
your caws for your own cause.
I stand and give a little jump, write
my little “F-you” to all those flyers,
real and imagined, and curse this
murderous might-be fear and
my own already accursed gravity.

On the Far Side

The rain tapped cold on my shoulder,
waking my arms and neck, helping me
discover there’s bare skin worn through
the hair on the back of my head.
The surprise isn’t that I feel the rain there
at the Grownup Table of my skull,
but rather that I feel my fingers there,
unencumbered by what had always been
a black – now silver – jungle, turned savannah,
and now sub-Saharan anti-oasis.

The fingertips wander, kitten-like
through the tiny wasteland tonsure,
exploring its still-hirsute boundaries.
We marvel at the softness of the skin
stretching over this hardest of heads…
the one that washes and shaves in darkness
of unlit morning, when any manner of showers
never really awakened me to such secrets
as on this once so very far side of my life.

August Nights

English: Hollywood Drive In on Route 66 in Ave...

English: Hollywood Drive In on Route 66 in Averill Park, New York, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Above the falsetto chirps of toads or frogs or
whatever finny-footed Frankie Vallis pitched woo
to their polliwoggy groupies, we laid there
in the back of my brother’s F-150
seeing nothing but stars and hearing naught
but our breaths twined in Summer love.
August heat draped over us like
that old Army blanket we made
cumbersome love beneath, while
Warren Beatty’s tinny words washed
over us from curly-corded drive-in speakers.

I recall we watched Bonnie and Clyde and
we thought ourselves real cinema bandits
on the way home, tossing $3.87 in coins
to the pimply kid in the drive-through
and hauling ass out of there while he tried
counting them up to pay our $5.59 bill.
“We rob burger joints,” you laughed
like my own Faye Dunaway, stealing
my heart for the fourth time our Junior year.
But looking back from this lonely porch
on this August evening, recalling all our
other days and nights now done,
who’s counting?


Blue Jay

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blue Jay always perches alone,
though sometimes he alights
upon the grass, scattering sparrows,
because he is Blue Jay and
alone and loud is who he is.

But even Jaybird can tire of his
solitary life of Blue after a while,
and will pitch his scratchy verse
into the air hoping it might
find the ear of another like him.

When Blue meets Blue, the hue
and cry takes on a frantic courtship
of feathered blue-flame fire—
and then it’s over, because
Blue Jay can only be loud Blue Jay.

And he perches alone.