Just Like Deputy


We each sit in our respective spots
just out of the rain, little Deputy Dawg and I,
waiting for unknown prey to pop its head above the mud,
come slithering out from under a little bit
of landscape. There he goes, tearing ass
along his zip run, the cable sizzling
like a griddle until he reaches the end of the line,
where he tips up on his hind legs
and chews the air with yips, yaps and
a little guy’s idea of a fearsome bark.

On his way back under the porch, he dives
into a mole hole. Pushing and digging his way
into the lair of the unseeing though quite knowing,
he comes up with something indeterminate
from this poetic promontory, something
small and dark that he shakes until he’s satisfied
he’s drained the wild out of it.
Now he’s nibbling on its innards, sometimes
tossing a bit to the ground and ignoring it,
others giving it a sniff and a lick,
then putting it back with the body.

I understand this great hunt, the running headlong
into the darkness, ending up covered
in a kind of mud and blood, tipping back,
chewing the air with sounds little guys of each
our species make when we’ve spied our prey
and go in for the coup de grace. I know the feeling
of pulling something small and icky
from the muck and then tossing its best bits
into a pile for the unseen though quite knowing…
just like this…just like Deputy.

Poem #20 of Poem-a-Day NaPoWriMo 2015. This one coming on a rainy day here, watching the little Jack Russell next door do his thing (which has from time to time included nipping the poet’s writing hand). Now I’ve nipped little Deputy, myself. That’s the little devil up there in a nine-fingered photo by yours truly.


You sit and ask yourself these questions every day,
questions about self, the world and the world
within yourself. You must be relentless
in this interrogation, taking it beyond
mere Question and Answer into
Answer Known and So Why? So What? So Who?
And So Why? once more.
Sometimes the response is instantaneous,
others you must drag it from within your darkness
by a chain. The brave ones know it’s the sneaking
imminent ones, the ones beneath your tongue,
hiding in plain sight of your heart,
the YOU concealed among those look-alike boys
who eagerly cast lies on the breeze,
who provide that most difficult extraction.
And this is why sometimes you have to break
the rules of order, writing these things
under a stark, bare light, at the end of a rubber hose,
scarring yourself with worry and woe, joy and hope.
Relentless, the poet must ever pry.

Poem #15, the Ides of April halfway point of Poem-a-Day NaPoWriMo 2015. This was a call for an “adjective” poem. Maybe I succeeded and maybe I didn’t. But I at least dug within and DID.

She Loves Her Veggies

She slides into her high chair
all shiny and sweet, a perfect model
for a Gerber baby or a Christmas card.
I ask what I can feed her
and her mom grins and says,
“Try the mixed veggies. She loves ’em.
Oh, and let her have her own spoon.”
I reach into the cupboard and pull out
the little plastic tub with
the dull orangish sludge inside,
a color I don’t believe exists
on its own in Earth’s nature,
tear off its foil roof, wince
as I splash a drop of the goo
on my shoe, and ladle it into a bowl
on the tray in front her.
“We’re letting her try
to feed herself more,” mom calls
from the other room.
“I can see that,” I reply,
recoiling from the horror movie splatter
of icky carrots, peas and something elses.
“Looks like you’re learning
to dress yourself at the same time,”
I whisper to the orangey alien
with the million-dollar squeal and
billion-dollar smile wearing her lunch.
See, she loves her veggies.

Poem #5 in Poem-a-Day NaPoWriMo, based on Writers Digest’s call for a Vegetable poem.

I Made It Just for You

I have all these goodbyes,
like Christmas and birthday presents
I never gave, because I never did.
I keep them in the dark corner
of my heart’s closet, where I can
ignore them because I have so much
more life tossed in there on the floor,
like old shoes, each bearing
the scuffs of miles and miles
and the dirt and dust
of all the roads I’ve walked,
run and U-turned to get here.

I never gave you these goodbyes
because I wasn’t around when you left me.
Or maybe I just stood there
when you did, but wasn’t present.
And isn’t that word ironic?
When I leave, which I shall
one way or another, I don’t
want either of us to end up
with the clutter of misspent,
misplaced memory taking up
the corners of your heart or mine.
Here’s your goodbye, my dear ones.
Go ahead, open it.
I made it just for you.

Poem #4 in my Poem-a-Day NaPoWriMo effort.

The Secret’s Out


Photo by Johannes Jansson/norden.org via Wikipedia

You bragged about being an open book,
but you hid so much on those pages
between the title and Chapter One.
No one but you would read
those pages anyway, you said.
I kept your secrets like an overdue
library book I borrowed and never returned.
The fine has compounded the steep price
I’ve paid for thumbing through those pages
over and over, so often the type’s faded,
the illustration’s smudged, clouding
what they really mean.
Through these old eyes, though,
our story looks quite different.
You see, I comprehend your secrets better
if I hold you at arm’s length.

Poem #2 of Poem a Day April and NaPoWriMo, a 100-worder. This based on Writers Digest’s prompt, Secrets.