Friday, November 27, 2009


the top hat,
a rabbit nibbled greens:
the man tipped his hat away to show
the rabbit, still, with long-toothed
grin, as mean
as hell.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Birds Flew from His Mouth

flew from
his mouth – larks,
sparrows, swallows and black –
they fluttered forth in strange formations
scribing wild story-land
his great

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Poem for an Autumn Day

Everyone Knows

On an Autumn day,
the path open,
and the leaves
like a whirling orb,
he said,
“I’m going to walk a way
down the trail.”
Shoulders bent, back bent,
just to clear his mind,
he went.
She watched him go
and put soup in a pot
for his return.
“I’ll be back,”
she heard him say
before he closed the door.
He went that way
of his own design
with a stick for a third leg
and a brown scarf he liked.
She loved to see
the trees sway
in the Autumn sky,
their leaves in flight
and scattered on the ground,
sometimes swirling in circles,
a golden tunnel down the trail
inside the trees,
a spear of sunlight
through the middle
with a tip of hurt
that traveled to her heart.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Reading Poetry

at night,
past midnight,
the fan’s hum sporadic
overhead: red wine tastes of wood: thoughts
fade into emptiness
as I read
one last

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Going to the Tenth Continent

Air –
peaks cut through
thick fog banks: black clouds shaped
like mountain peaks drift above: a glimpse
of fabled continents:
Immortals go there:
the other
shore: a hidden island:
the rippling wind breaks off the quiet
sand: wave after wave: they
roll away:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Response to Rilke

The following poem responds to Rainer Maria Rilke's poem from A Book for the Hours of Prayer titled "I have many brothers."

Response to Rilke

I, too, have brothers in the South –
they pray inside a frame, these men
from the high hills, with leather skin,
who set themselves against the world
and are a world unto themselves,

and I have brothers in the West
with stone cold churches
built for the ages to communicate
the ageless truth of their belief,
which they believe more than they know,

and I have brothers in the East
with wisdom held in books
for the common person’s good,
but the words can’t be understood
unless one can stand without words.

Yet, no matter how far I go
on my inward journey, my power
is neither light nor dark,
but clear and cold as a winter
night, as broad and deep as space,

and though my soul does drink as roots
of trees with need, it doesn’t claim much,
but joins as drops do to water -
with affinity - so I come to return
to that early hour, clear and clean as dew.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Commemorating Columbus Day

Christopher Columbus

came in the Santana Maria – the Pinto and the Nono
not far behind. He stepped ashore the island, Lucayos,
and immediately announced, “I have taken possession
of this land for the King and Queen, (Queen Isabella of
the big hips and weird collar): they hid a financial under-
standing, the two of them, under the cloak of adventure
and discovery. Next thing he knew, Columbus was torturing
the natives for knowledge of the whereabouts of the gold.
“But we have no gold,” the naked men protested while
their fingers were twisted and broken, their lying faces
beaten. A goodly sum of the Guanahani was slaughtered.
Later, the native chief was discovered hiding in a pit.
No gold at hand, Columbus put them to work exploitatively
and thus the “Day of Discovery” brought us the new world
and established the first principles of foreign relations.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Kreativ Blogging Award

Award winning painter, Rosemary Sexton, awarded me the Kreativ Blogging Award. It's nice to have someone let you know that you have inspired them or brought a little art into their life. Thanks, Rosemary.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Poem for John

188th Street

I remember well
the kid with polio
who hid in the bushes
and flung rocks
with his good arm, his body skeletal,
covered with pale flesh:
who, in his rage and loneliness,
with his corpse-like visage,
scared me to a hollow gut.
You came with me
the next Sunday morning:
I could tell that you were scared, too,
but took up the older brother’s
duty to be brave
and charged in blindly
then punched him away.
When you saw and turned,
and I saw, too, what was done
in the name of fear,
we were ashamed
to be so dumb
and never spoke of it again.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

By the Tuckaseegee River

look on fire
this morning: mist drifts up
high in rough ranges of smokiness:
my old friend, gone away,
would have loved
this grand
glories twirl
up around the corn stalks:
pink and purple flared horns: the yellow
corn leaves curl down edges
turning brown:
damp ground.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blue Dusk Poem

This painting by Sylvia Williams is one of my favorites's the poem.

Hot Sky

Blood runs in the wood.
Sweet beauty
doesn't want to tell the world about that feeling
for which there are no words,
sweet beauty that draws tremor and pain
like a wire through the body’s arches,
through the brain,
up and down the spine.
I see your picture, your time.
Winter black branches
draw geographical designs in space,
delta networks
bleeding with the hot bay
of twilight blues -- a chorus behind,
waiting for the wintry moon:
a chanting silence --
beauty and sadness,
sadness and beauty.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Observing Nature

trident leaves,
yellow edges, borders brown,
passion flower failed to bloom this year,
no fruit to seed anew,
fading life
mantis wife -
lacking, taken within by instinct,
does eat her spouse's head:
would she not,
he would.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Yow! My Chapbook For Sale

You can now purchase your very own copy of "Deep Fried Do What and the Jesus Fish."
Only $3.00 plus postage. Contact me here or at
Here's a sample:
(from "Three Days of Winter on the Tallapoosa."
We have lost the church to the liars
and the pastor rolls in the briars
like a cat in summer
scratching its back:
and God has gone to the moon,
where he lives in an Airstream trailer,
the shiny tin shines
on the craters around
creating a skyline of diamonds,
and the moon makes a home for his failure,
a home for his brooding days,
a night for his sky
pinned with tin badges.
He sits on a chair and looks out
on a ridge of tin like a jagged blade --
a mountain scape,
a crater scape,
around the neighborhood of God’s trailer.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Here's at cha' Appalachia

of Muslim
extremists exhorted
by their leader made me realize
that Jihad, when shouted,
sounds much like
twang twang,
dress up nice,
twangey twang twang, yeeehahh!:
Well, stomp my feet and bow my fiddle
Give me a girl that likes
To diddle,
hee hah hah
yeehah, yeehah
hee hah, yeehah, yeehah, oh, do what?
Do what? Do what? Do what?
Ahhh, yeeeehahh!
I heard

Monday, August 31, 2009

Green and White

damp from an early rain:
the sky like a white dome: a good day
to simmer the string beans:
no time left
to look

the way
to Asheville
we stopped for a picnic.
At wood’s edge, I noticed a flower
I’d never seen before:
Fly Poison –


Friday, August 21, 2009

Three Blues Diamonds

old rag
and bottle
men down in New Orleans
would play cheap tin horns, making blue notes
that brought the children out
for candy
and small

my youth,
the showmen
each had a style, a hat,
a handkerchief, a worn overcoat,
and voices that knew time:
the real

bent notes
of the blues
come from the depths: they turn
that piercing sliver of cool sweet sound
that makes your soul shiver:
their women
loved that


Thursday, August 13, 2009

A beautiful still life by Rosemary Sexton's friend Zena.
Who could resist such a painting.

Zena's Truth

I am the plum
inside the apple-plum confection.

I am the word unspoken.

I am the glow beneath
the white rose petal, above its shadow.

I am the sound
between the black and white keys

where the painters live

who paint koi
in the flow of cool water.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Favorite Creatures

rays glide through
the sea with ease: rippling
wings propel them: do they dream walk
on dry ground as I dream
of floating
for hippopotamus
to gape her mouth: a vast pink chasm:
blunt bone teeth: bulk under
water: those

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pink Hat


Here's another abstract painting by Sylvia, which is great fun to look at. It has a Japanese quality to it - I imagine if Hokusai were to have made abstract prints they would look like this.
My poem takes off from the image and goes to places I didn't expect.

Pink Hat

ignored as a child, drew fantastical pictures
of creatures in unnatural crayon colors.
Now, she wears bright cotton dresses
in lemon and orange, ruby and sapphire, and
a pink picture hat. Dressed such a way,
she paints to please the child inside.

The hat transports her to other places in other
times – once to the Paris of Breton and Eluard,
where she rode a balloon with a small man
in plaid: he touched her knee: she didn’t mind:
once to Ireland where ghosts appeared
from passage tombs to greet her
with voices like soft summer breezes.
In Africa, a dangerous man in khaki
and rifle put a pink diamond in her hand
and told her to run – which she did.
“Hold on to your hat,” he had shouted.

Then she vanished. No one knew how –
or why. She had traveled to her own childhood
and decided she loved this girl she used to be:
she would become the imaginary friend
she once had imagined and guide the girl’s
growth and when she ripened into bright colors
she would give her the pink hat of her dreams.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer Meadow/ Remote Benevolence

This painting by Silvia Williams seems to be in motion -- The sky slanting down toward the flowers; the flowers leaning toward the sky. Wouldn't it be nice to step into this meadow?
Remote Benevolence

Across the day's page
...................... the sun script slants the lavender reaches:
the blood of the ground
............................ pulses inside rusty racemes.
Hunger for light -
.......can we grasp its must?
................What does the flower tell
the sun as it swallows?
.............The sun tells no one
what it knows:
The one who is most absent
is most present.

Out in the World

is the world’s
work: you are told to be
what the world wants: even what you want
is what you are told you
want: you can’t
fell upon
the group as I walked past
with my dogs: I could feel the tension
in the air: those people
with giant

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Blue Kettle

This painting is by Rosemary Sexton. It reminded me of my visit to the Acoma Pueblo and the beautiful pottery the people there made. The painting has the earthy tones of the southwest. It is very pleasant and calming to look at it. Here is a poem inspired by this painting.
Blue Kettle Tea my Blessed Daughter

The eastern sky
stands blue behind the Sandia Mountains,
but in the west a thunderhead approaches.
Teresa Chino comes down
from the mesa
to dig fresh clay for her pottery.
After the day’s work,
tired from the carry and the walk,
she climbs the sandstone stairs to Sky City,
ancient Acoma pueblo.
She looks forward to her daughter’s tea
made in the blue kettle:
they eat bread baked in a clay oven,
and strips of elk cooked all day
with carrots, potatoes, and wild onions.
In the evening, in sand by the door,
they draw designs
lit by moonlight and firelight,
their eyes in shadow, their hearts free.
The next morning,
they grind the stone.
In the weeks ahead,
she will teach her daughter
the secrets of pottery.
Teresa prays to the sun and the stars –
May her temper give her making strength
and the hard will of the Acoma way.
May her spirit give her making beauty.
In the evening, as we listen to the kee kee yah
of hawk coaxing black rabbit,
may you guide me in my lessons.
May we have rain and a cool wind tomorrow.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dark Diamonds

eat dog
paws sitting
around a round table:
the dogs limp painfully, hunting scraps
in long lamp-lit alleys,
with white teeth
smoked all day,
sometimes lighting one off
the last one in a nervous frenzy:
emphysema killed her:
she said she
could not

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This is a painting by my friend, Sylvia Williams, titled "Memories of the Sea." It's an evocative image and inspired the poem below.

An aerial view of a blue lagoon:
I’m diving down through layers of air,
soon descending, swallowed by depths,
stroked by cold water,
the almost perfect pleasure,
seeing the submerged view,
holding my breath with splendor
as the air bubbles rush past.
Then, turn, pull upward and rise,
the burst amidst wide water petals,
the smell of Bougainvillea,
the mechanical saw of the katydids,
the too sweet cry of the chickadee,
the life of the air.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

On Writing Poems

I want
to make each
line a line poetic,
so you may hold them in your hand,
so they may stand alone,
each round word
a stone.
I think
when I walk with the dogs,
repeating the lines that seem telling:
remembering in this way, I send a message
to my deeper self where the lines go
fishing in the dark flows
that exist

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Surreal Moments

lemons: naked landscapes
disintegrating into lilies
interspersed with thorny
pods: alien
wasps float
in the gloom:
arcs of reflected white,
triangular, highlight the black bulbs:
the curved stings, like scythes,
swing down fast

Monday, June 29, 2009

Two Garden Poems

poem shines
with no knowledge, the words
empty of meaning, without any
usefulness, a dogwood
blossom the
light breeze
lilies’ curved
yellow horns, the pink-tinged
yarrow, the rich red of the Asian
lilies -- I pick the plump
in their

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Daoist Poem

First Movement

Follow Dao
Look for Dao in every situation
In the writing of this poem
In the selection of words
Words that travel
From my mind to your mind
Like migrating geese
Leaves floating on streams
Passengers in flight
From one city to another

To realize Dao
Remove the obstacles
Even your mind

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Birthday Poem

birthday, wife:
simply stated, I know:
our love grows stronger yearly: kindness
knows kindness: what matters
more than that,
you know?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Now and Then

can be known:
watch children at school: watch
what they do: the future that forms them
they will form: they become
the future
When her
hearing aid
squeals, I recall tuning
the frequencies on old radios:
I wonder what she hears --
what sweet songs
she knows.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Damn Spot

those of us
who understand the need
for informed, open-minded leaders
think you should stay away
from public

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flag Day Birthday

on Flag Day,
I never understood
the reason for displaying the flag.
To celebrate life well
one must fly

the dead
march the streets
on Flag Day to protest
this nation’s rape by the greedy men
who bury their millions?
The dead roam
this lost

the flag
from a pole,
from your porch, from morning
until the moon makes it wave goodbye:
hang it upside down, too:
drape it all

Monday, June 8, 2009

Orange Alert
call Glinda,
please: we need a new Oz.
The munchkins have gotten out of hand.
They gutted the old Oz
then ate what

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Three Diamond Poems

does not fall;
it creeps into the sky
like ink clouds thickening in water
seeping down from behind
the global

gathers light
inward to a center,
a holographic concentration
that traps a tiny star
inside its

The blues
bring me down
to that place where I can’t
do nothin’ but smoke and drink black rum:
a bird on the railing
turns his eye:
winds swirl.
On the Diamond Form
The diamond form (diamante form) has been used most recently by schoolteachers to encourage children to enjoy the idea of writing a poem. The rules the teachers supply encourage a listing of words and apply extensive controls to the creative process. They go overboard to provide a structure the children can easily follow at the cost of constricting the natural flow of energy, feeling, and thought that enlivens a poem.
Here are the typical instructions: Line 1: A noun, Line 2: Two adjectives describing the noun on line one, Line 3: Three verbs ending in –ing (they tell what the noun in line one does), Line 4: Four nouns that go with the noun in line one, Line 5: Three verbs ending with –ing (they tell what the noun(s) in line 4 do(es), Line 6: Two adjectives describing the noun in line seven, and Line 7: A noun that means the same as line one. As you might imagine, the severe limitations of the format seriously reduce the creative potential of the poem.
I feel that the diamond form can offer the English language poet (including children), and perhaps poets writing in different languages, a sensibility, range, and effect similar to the Japanese traditional forms: Haiku, Senryu, or Tanka. While the diamond form should provide a similar set of rules regarding construction, in keeping with Western notions of freedom within structure, they shouldn’t be limited to poems concerning nature with a clear seasonal reference (Haiku), or about the foibles and follies of human nature (Senryu). Tanka employ a wider range of techniques including puns, homophones, wordplay, and commentary on spiritual, lyrical, and natural themes and, therefore, provide the best comparison for the variable possibilities of the diamond form.
As far as I know, a useful, simple, and generous set of rules that would allow the diamond form to blossom with myriad possibilities doesn’t exist. To this end, I offer the following rules for creating a poem in diamond form. The diamond form proposed should always contain a syllabic line count at its center that scans: 3,6,9,6,3. The syllabic count for the start (before the core lines) may be 1, or 2, or 1,2 (in two lines) and must be repeated in reverse at the finish. However, the poet may simply write the core lines to make the entire poem. This results in an overall syllabic count between 27 and 33 – nicely condensed, but ample for the English language poet.
The first line or two lines stand in for the title (though a title might be added). Given its symmetrical structure, the poet may want to amplify the upper portion when developing the lower portion or switch to a surprising counterpoint in the lower portion. There is no need to be rigid regarding the point at which such a shift might occur. It might be in the third line or after the first line, it might be exactly mid-point, or it might wait until the last line or the last word. However, the use of symmetry in this way isn’t required. The poem may simply offer an interesting image, idea, or rendition of an event.
While the diamond form appears to belong within the level of typographical poetry, the pictorial structure it displays isn’t necessarily a reflection of the topic of the poem. Diamond poems aren’t about diamonds. Only in the sense that the poet should strive to produce a polished gem of a poem does the name of the form apply to its creation. Its affinity to Haiku, Senryu, and Tanka, with regard to innovation within a structure, condensation, artistic sensibility, and opportunity for internal interplay, suggest the diamond form has the potential to become established as a rich and rewarding short form of poetry.
This diamond form offers the Western poet the opportunity for the same sort of focus and subtle use of words that has established the popularity, power, and magnificence of the Japanese traditional forms of poetry I’ve mentioned and, at the same time, releases the poet to a wider range of tone, ideation, and imagery than the traditional Japanese forms. Whether creating conceptual, naturalistic, narrative, romantic, impressionistic, or surreal art in the diamond form, the poet should strive to present a fresh perspective and engaging thought or imagery that evoke experience in an interesting and arresting manner.
Perhaps, poets who read this description of the proposed diamond form will see its potential, take a serious interest in the formal challenge (stick to the rules), and try it out for themselves. I hope the diamond poems included herein provide a worthy sample that will inspire poets to bring the diamond poem into the mainstream of poetry. After a few creations, I think those who make the effort will be pleased to find that it engages their creativity in a positive and rewarding manner.