Under the Tree in the City


Stopping for gas in little Chenango,
while speeding my way to Charleston,
I caught an October surprise.
The town’s Christmas holiday decorations
already flew like tethered reindeer
and it wasn’t even Columbus Day.

Back in Albany, the City waits until
November to hang festive banners
and sparkly wreaths from the street lights.
Here, people sometimes don’t notice
the decorations anyway.
We probably move too fast or our hearts
hibernate in those tall buildings
hovering over those street lights.

Some of us stand above the jingling joy
like impatient parents over their children
who lie down on the floor watching
the electric train circling under
the lights beneath the Christmas tree.
The kids want just one more time,
and one more, and one more, hypnotized
by the flash and miniaturization
of the Holiday’s crystallization
of moments they may someday forget.

I think it was that day in Chenango
I decided to flop on the floor of my life
and enjoy the trains’ lights and whistles
like a little kid in Albany
as they whizzed and circled each
remaining year, on our way
to another Christmas here in the city.

Sunrise Again


Photo by Joseph Hesch

I’ve missed you, day-pioneer,
first-light blazer of time-trails.
We’ve not met since our friend
left me holding her in final-sigh.

I confess, during this cold earth-rest
I dreamed to join the forever-sleepers
beneath the far, flat margin
of life-light and eternal-dark.

Today you were waiting there for me,
golden-greeter, life-illuminator,
encouraging one more cast
into the eastern sea of tomorrows.

I felt the leash-tug forward,
telling me look not back
at the long, black, only-me
lying at my feet.

Taking a tentative step, I sensed you,
warm upon my face, she,
warm against my leg, and we,
sharing soul-sunrise again.

My Swedish friend Björn Rudberg has asked that we try to write poems with Scandinavian style phrases called kennings. A kenning is a very brief metaphoric phrase or compound word that means “to know” (derived from Icelandic, but exist in many other languages like Swedish and German). It was used extensively in Old Norse (later Icelandic) and Anglo-Saxon poetry to add both color and better meter to the skaldic songs. For instance “whale-road” was used as a kenning for the sea in Beowulf, and “wave-stead” replaced ship in Glymdrápa.

Readers know I make up a lot of compound metaphors because sometimes words don’t exactly exist for my feelings I express that even I don’t understand. This is another 100-word poem, and I think a poor effort, at using kennings to express my emerging from a long winter–of the body and soul. But that photo up there is the sunrise that inspired this piece, and it wouldn’t be denied.

Shadow Play

Behind the pink scrim, shadow play performers gesture about the stage in indistinct silhouette to woodwind accompaniment and the plucked bass string of my pulse.

Here and there, flashes of halos bounce against the screen, but instead of blinking I open the curtains.

Before me I see lakeside willows waving and the glaring pitter-pat of the Star’s face upon that shattered mirror of water.

It falls warm upon my cheek like your touch, and I can’t help but close my eyes again.

“What are you smiling at,” you say, as I lean back, humming the score of Nature’s Ombre chinoise.

Here is a 100-word, Five Sentence Fiction drabble prose poem that I am sharing with Lillie McFerrin’s troops (Prompt: SUNSHINE) and with my friend Victoria C. Slotto’s call at dVerse today for and Object Poem, where we look at something quite ordinary, but in a different way. Hope I haven’t jumped too far from their requests…these pain meds and all.

But Don’t Touch ~ An Erasure Poem

Albany Nights

Albany Nights (Photo credit: HckySo)

I lived in one of the tenements,
so loud and confused, the neighborhood
stretched out, scared, skinny,
squinting payback when I creaked open the door.
I just sit in the back now
and we never talk much of today.

I discovered the dark outside,
its hands covering another lie
when I closed my eyes.

I chase all its changing,
kicked in the gut, blood on my chin.
How could I go back?
I closed myself from me.
The feeling of eyes leaning against the inner door,
it’s my way now. A one-way street. Alone

I didn’t feel anything.

This is a first attempt at an Erasure Poem, as prompted by my friend Anna Montgomery over at dVerse Poets Pub. It has been concocted from snippets of my own (somewhat gritty) short story, But Don’t Touch.