Stirring Up


Tiny silver spiders stretched
white filaments crisscross
across the blue cup of my morning –
each representing a volume
of travelers’ tales. Others already
had spun their histories,
turned to stringy clouds,
the winds of today yet
to erase them.

I wondered if, among all those
views of down here by people up there,
was there one that pondered
something other than the pale
quilt of forest, farm and suburb.
Did he wonder if there’s a guy
in that house by the trees, staring up,
stirring his morning coffee,
boiling all heaven and earth
into a dreamy spoonful, too?

Going, off-script, rogue, relying on my own imagination and ideas for Day 17 of my Poem-A-Day April 2014. Maybe I’ll use one of those online nudges later. But when I saw all those airliner contrails out my front door this morning, each representing hundreds of passengers, each of them with their own stories and impressions, I had to explore my own thoughts…in one hundred words.

The Tracks I Leave


contrails (Photo credit: Hope For Gorilla)

Their airborne travels are marked
by the cloudy tracks they leave.
Though birds travel the same roads,
they leave barely an echo behind
for us to ponder their paths.
Yet we remember those songs
like scars upon our skin.
And ponder I do, these cool mornings,
when the sky travelers’ prints course
across that field of blue.

I see the east, west, or southerly routes
they took before the sun finished
its own hidden path to morning,
when we can see all. For now.
But the winds aloft and day’s progress
disperse the records of their passing,
just as this old man’s memory
will lose these tracks I here leave,
ethereal poems of here to there.

Please keep them safe for me.

West Wind at My Back

Gray on gray

(Photo by Joseph Hesch)

Wind shushes the wrens’ chatter with
a whoosh and branches’ clatter.
The breeze aloft paints clouds
left-to-right across day’s white
canvas sky in swift strokes of gray.

That’s the same direction
these words run, whispering
their questions, wondering at
mysteries this windy hand of man
doesn’t understand from arm’s-length.

The ah-ha hazy answers I leave for those
discerning, far-away cloud readers,
once I exhale onto this white page
these black marks, which, from afar,
look gray, neither-and-nor.

Like those clouds, these sentence strands
scud east always toward open space,
resolute in searching for discoveries,
all the while realizing that dawn’s
only someone else’s yesterday.

With special thanks for the creative exhilaration and happiness rays shipped east by my friend Catherine Mitchell Dudley.

Shared with the gang at dVerse Poets Pub for Open Link Night.

Red, White and Blues

DawnAt 5:30 this morning, outside my
snow-dusted front door, the eastern sky
resembled a sullen teen grudgingly crawling
out of bed the same time I did.
Instead of the circle of darkness
that’s surrounded me for months,
a baleful dove-gray face with a brow
of black-shadowed clouds opened its eye
above a quilt of motley-shingled rooflines.
Behind me, beside me, cardinals
perched in the dim after hours club
spotlight of dim dawn, trading
call-and-response riffs
of harmony and dominance like
old bluesmen on an all-night bender.
And I wondered if I had reached
the ice-solid watershed of winter.
Had I survived the worst part of
another season of natural
and human melancholy? I whistled
my thick-tongued cardinal call
and a ready-for-anything red badass
responded with his own lick,
“Yeah, dude, du-du-dude.”


Toenail Clipping

Toenail Clipping (Photo credit: MightyBoyBrian)

This early morning’s fish hook moon,
streaming those glowing pink clouds,
looked like it was a trout fly cast
by some grand ethereal angler
to catch the sun-kissed silver-
bellied US Airways flight out of
Albany International Airport.

I’ve snagged orange-dappled, Florida-bound
Southwest 737 bass in that pond.
And once I baited my barbed shank
with a little dull gray commuter minnow
to catch a trophy Air Canada muskie
from Toronto to London, where I was
angling for a publisher.

Which brings me back to those
salmon-pink hackles and that
excuse-me sliver of moon trolling
the peachy southern sky this morning.
The USAir flight was one that got away
from that airborne bait. But, son of a gun,
if it didn’t hook me something fierce.

Sky Blue Pudding

It always looked so smooth and soft
when I watched others enjoying it,
that sky blue pudding with whipped cream clouds.
I would stare at it up there on the tall counter,
my arms never long enough to find if it
was as sweet as it looked.
I climbed on chairs, scaled open cabinet drawers,
dipped my finger into bowls, sampled them,
found nothing sweeter…and always fell hard to the floor.
Even when I finally got a bowl, I lost my grasp,
dropping it to shatter all over creation.
I had gotten lost in it, cloud-bound, blind,
bumping into shards of Oreo mountaintops and
jagged pieces of others’ skinned-over sky blue pudding.

Why did mine become so hard, separated
into runny messes of azure bark and spoiled whey?
Didn’t I deserve the good stuff?
Then you came along, inviting me to your kitchen,
offering your recipe for my longed-for prize.
Now I feast on it, sneak into your fridge at night
and steal some (even though you said
I could have it anytime I wished), and
get all sticky lipped and happy.
You’ve even let me lick the spoon and bowl
while we make our own batch every day,
with whipped cream clouds but no Oreos.
It really is smooth, soft, sweet and sky blue.
It’s heaven, don’t you agree?

I sure wish I knew where this poem and its motif came from. Because I don’t. But I’m pretty sure I know where it went. I hooked it up with dVerse Poets open link night.

This Silent Night

Standing on the back porch,
11:39 PM on the 24th.
I’m cold and the chill air frosts
my nose and glasses.
This is nothing new 

for a late December night,
but something’s different.
The wind chimes dingle-ding
just as they do in August.
The trees sway and creak

as they did last month
and the months before that.
Perception stretching beyond

fading frame of consciousness,
maybe to snare hoped-for revelation,
I realize it isn’t what I’m sensing
that’s off. It’s what I’m not.

Over behind the big trees,
and the red-brick suburban bedsteads
lightly snoring smoke into the sky,
the normal hum and howl of
late-night on the Interstate
is absent.
I realize it’s because this is
That Night and travelers are safe

with their own, I hope.
And I want to stay here,
not travel another step,
to breathe in all this cold and quiet,
and breathe out crystaline clouds,
silent hymns of joy.
To be one with
this Silent Night.

Here’s a little Christmas Eve poem that was inspired by standing on the same back step as my summer poem, “Illuminati.” It’s a true response I had to standing there waiting for my golden-haired semi-muse Mollie to do her thing (What else is new?) the late evening of December 24, 2009. Consider it my Christmas card to you, in thanks for the support you’ve given me in this first year of blogging poetry. I’ve linked “This Silent Night” up to dVerse Poets Pub for the crew’s Open Link Night.