White Horses

Once I lassoed a white horse
and we jumped aboard
my sun-sailed sloop, sailing south.
After leaping ashore, we cantered up
to your castle door
and saved you, whoever you were,
from a life without me.
White horses never really ran
in my streets, though, except
in the reflection
of old Esther’s store window.
Sloop was just a word I read
in a book, where the winds
always blew my imagination
from west to east and
the bright sun set
whenever I closed its covers.
Such were the heroes
who saved me, whoever I was,
from a life without them.

A new 100-word drabble poem for Day 29 of Poem-A-Day April NaPoWriMo 2014. Tells a story I think many of us can relate to. One more day. One more poem. Whew!

Failure to Grasp

Rose In Hand

We never understood one another, did we?
You were a flower, maybe a rose,
and I never caught more than a whiff,
and a pawful of thorns.

You complained about my isolation,
exiling myself on an island of Manxes,
a dog guy who never fit in
with their kind of cat.

So you sat, looking for some bee to
drop his gold dust at your gate,
or maybe an artist to pluck and
render you in forever.

I stand and watch the sea, awaiting
inspiration to express myself,
just not only to you. Maybe we have
an understanding after all.

A 100-word freewrite about writing free for Day 27 of Poem-A-Day April NaPoWriMo 2014. By the way, for the 98% of you for whom I’m too dense and tortured in my allusions and metaphors. Manxes are what you call folks from the Isle of MAN. Yeah, it’s a poet-guy thing.

The Great Raid


Photo courtesy of the National Severe Storms Laboratory.

Above the high Comancheria plains
it began gathering, gaining power
along the way, like the great chief
Buffalo Hump storming out of
the Llano Estacado on his great raid.
The first town to feel its wrath was Victoria,
where a whirlwind spun off and
swiped clean the streets and then set off
to plunder the Gulf for its riches.
It was at Linville where the alarms
and howling drove the people from their homes.
The storm tore at the buildings,
emptying the town of life and
depleting itself of its bloodlust.
And then it was over.
The high plains at Lubbock,
hill country from Kerrville to Austin
and Uvalde to San Antone,
the piney woods and the coast,
all waiting for nature’s anger
to once more knit new storms
above the llano and sweep east and south
in another great raid across Texas.

The coming storms and potential tornados building and roaring across plains and hills of the southern Midwest stirred this bit of imaginary meteorological and historical mashup. There really was a great Comanche chief named Buffalo Hump and he really did lead a great raid across Texas in 1840 from the Llano Estacado in the west all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. It was the largest raid ever mounted by Native Americans on white cities in what is now the United States. I’ve got more than a few friends who live in harm’s way out there and I was thinking of them last night when this idea struck me.

Let Sleeping Tigers Lie

Tiger-like, I once would leap with alert body and mind,
uncoiling in hair-trigger lightness from alleged sleep,
to pop the alarm clock within a second of its own awakening,
to grab the phone across the darkened room before
its first ring decayed and a second bloomed in its place.
I still swiftly swipe and silence the alarm,
chiming and flashing on the nightstand,
still jump at that first ring of incoming call, too.

But where I would mash or crash with
the aggressive audacity of an RAF fighter jock
scrambling to his Spitfire to meet incoming bogies
over The Channel, now I tickle my granddaughter’s chin
as she smiles at her granddad from the photo
on my cellphone’s lock screen.
Blitz be damned, no one wants me to leap much anymore.
Old-man moans and cracking bones disturb
the house more than alarms and ringing phones ever did.

Tell It to the Robot Operator Guy


Yes, hello, I’m….
“Welcome to…”

I’ve been down this road before, buddy.
You’re the Robo-Operator Guy who bears
a more than passing aural resemblance
to that Voice of Old Testament God
proclaiming His thou-shalt-nots at the airport.
No you can’t have the last four digits
of my Social Security number!

I used to just press “Zero” and jump
to a human to share my insurance,
health, or credit card problem with.
But nowadays, I’m a button-pushing,
Yes/No enunciating spelunker scrambling
deeper into your echoing cavern to
a Lost Civilation call center in Atlanta,
Omaha, Jersey City or Bangalore.

Click?? What was that click? Hello? Hello!!

I wish I spoke Spanish. That lady
who asks me to press “Numero dos”
sounds so much more accommodating.
I’ll bet she wouldn’t…
“Welcome to …” Yes…Yes…No…

Day 24 of Poem-A-Day April 2014. Writer’s Digest wanted a poem titled Tell It to the….(Whatever). I’ve had more than a few of these “conversations” lately, so this came in a rush. Might read that way, too.

PS: And, I swear to God, just as I was finishing this posting, I received a robo-call from an outfit I do business with about ordering new equipment!I guess this piece was…destiny. LOL

You Are Here

you are here

You are here. And so am I. I’m glad
you could find me amid all the chaos.
How’d I find this place? Not easy.
Started in my dark bedroom this morning
and bumped into the dresser. I thought
I was on the trail in the shower,
but got shampoo in my eyes
and lost the way. Once I hit the road,
I thought I’d remember the route,
as I usually do, but I was distracted
by two cars trying to occupy
the same space and time.

Thought I’d found this spot
in the parking lot,
but it was just another slot
way far from where I knew
you’d like to sit. In the office?
Nothing. So I sat down and
drew this map from foggy memory.
Slow work when your tired old mind
has lost its way again.
But here we are, right where
I’d hope we’d be. You are here.
So am I. End of the line.

Day 23 of Poem-A-Day April 2014 called for a Location poem. I may be running out of gas. Today was a difficult trip from there to here. But I’m glad you made it with me to the end of the line.

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

501I didn’t really feel it, that first time headed south on I-95 out of Fredericksburg. Pretty quickly you get distracted by the big rigs and Jersey plates flying by. And how the sun starts out blasting your left eye, but eventually becomes a blast furnace on your left thigh, by the time you reach Fayetteville.

Once you get past the relentless chain of Pedro and the hookers’ come-ons to spend your pesos South of the Border, and you take the exit east onto 501 toward Marion and Conway, the pace slows and your heartbeats get pinned to the thup-thup of tires crossing the tar strips on the road toward The Strand.

The first time we crested that rise by the ash pond and saw the hazy blue Atlantic and the not-so-distant-now sparkling spires looking like some seaside Oz, traffic got gummed to a crawl. But the pulse in the car pumped back up to sixty-five again when the little ones started bouncing in the back seat, singing Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.

I felt that.

Over at dVerse Poets Pub, my friend Shanyn Silinski is looking for work that somehow captures the rhythms of getting from here to there. Didn’t expect to be so wordy, my poems have been more commuters than world travelers these days, but this prose poem is what I felt all those years ago on our first trip to Myrtle Beach.

When the Lilacs Bloom

When the lilacs bloom, pungent and purple,
spring freshets run from my nose,
eyes and memory. I clench my face
like a fist and shake it with each sneeze
in explosive protest to the flower’s
reputed beauty and all months beginning in M.

Locked within bleared and puffy eyes,
it’s my mind sees the plaster Virgin,
a finger missing from her right hand,
enshrined in lilacs and pale blue crepe paper
in the corner of our classroom.

I can feel rosary beads in my hands,
an abacus of calculated Catholic indoctrination
for a boy longing to sin just once,
preferably with one of the alabaster virgins
pressed close to my compass points.

Funny what flowers like frothy amethysts
will do to an old man when a young man’s
fancies would turn those pubescent blossoms
of my youth to thoughts of budding lust.

Think I’m caught up now for NaPoWriMo and Poem-A-Day April. Don’t ask where this came from. I have no idea. I was free writing and I thought how close May is today.


Who are you,
I hear you calling from
the redbud trees, but I can’t
find you in this morning light.
Are you looking for a friend,
I hear lots of other’s singing
their songs, too. I don’t speak
their trilling tongue, so
I don’t know if they recognize
your poem, either.

I sing each day, too,
It’s uncertain if I’m singing to
an anyone or a flock.
Ever think we’re singing
only to ourselves?
I’m glad we talked today,
Maybe you could listen to my song
someday, too. In its own way
it goes something like yours.

A catch-up day drabble about a conversation I had this morning, Day 21 of Poem-A-Day April/NaPoWriMo 2014. They all can’t be as good as my avian brother’s poems.

Liberty Has Fallen

I knew her when I was younger,
she’d smile at me every morning
when we’d stand and talk to the flag
and the cross. She was so pretty,
adventurous and friendly,
the American Supermodel-in-training
who helped all the kids, even new ones
who transferred in.

Big boys mistook her friendliness,
twisting it into an unspoken promise
of a good ol’ time. They took her
in indulgent shows of power and possession.
When we were older, they perverted her,
trotted her around, showed her off,
gave her a new face, boobs and name.
My friend Freedom became Liberty,
and Liberty became so addled in the end,
she’d do whatever the big guys wished.

I barely recognized her in her obit.
You may have missed it, being so busy
doing whatever it is they let you do.
I’m told they laid her next to her mom,
who men used and scarred until she
was unrecognizable, too.

I wasn’t sure how I’d respond to Kellie Elmore’s prod based on a picture called “Fall of Liberty.” But, a free-write is always there for discovering what you didn’t know before you wrote it. It’s a weak metaphor, but this is what I came up with.