My reading at Florence Poets:
Here I have several poems for you to enjoy:
Eulogy for the Costa Rican Ghosts*
Remember the reservoir? A glass
glistening surface stretching from verdant
island to brown stone shore.
Strands of algae and water lilies. Our
paddles dipping and slicing streams of
gliding water and reed pulls.
A sly white egret flies
indifferent to our chatter
without caw or concern.
Soft swims in clear water to
abey the sweat on
heat-stroked arms and legs.
Aching abs bathing in the sun
pulling to the next beach,
our prows high on the sand.
Late afternoon we rest,
sitting close on shore,
quiet now from the day’s labors.
How many summers of paddling
holds our alliance together?
Waters rise from the dam’s release.
*Published Avocet Summer 2011
3 blind mice
5 de mayo
6 degrees of separation
7 wonders of the world
10 little indians
12 days of christmas
50 ways to leave your lover
67 beans in the jar
99 bottles of beer on the wall
101 arabian nights
568 suicide bombers
1700 dead in Iraq
*Published in Potomac Review 2012
For J.M.W. Turner
For J.M.W. Turner
You screwed your countrymen
by giving your watercolours
to the museum in Dublin.
Your ironic laughter
can be heard every
In January the show
occurs in lowest light.
Your implausible colors
live anew as I write my
verses and try to
follow the path
you opened in your canvases.
The words, like watercolours,
As a word bricklayer,
I spread my pages on the floor
eyeing them from the distance.
I wait for them to spring
up like Rockets and Blue Lights.
Instead of sparkle and poof.
my lines of type take on a life
and trail up the sheet
unpredictably from the floor,
choking me in hues of
blue and brunett until I cannot
breathe. I hear your guffawing
in the space between the lines,
posturing the distance to the page
On Michael’s Being 15 in England
On Michael’s Being 15 in England*
I wanted to show my son England.
A different way of being, seeing.
Like when he plays his stringed instruments,
Or bounds two miles without stopping on his bike.
At 15, my father in a Black and Tan prison, not far,
enduring unspeakable atrocities.
So I showed him the antediluvian ruins.
And the reeds trailing in the current of the Avon.
And the fireplace’s warmth after riding through the downpour,
And the cadence from the lutes and flutes
That made the dancers skip.
And the sky during the eclipse from the wall
of the ancient city.
And the sheep that laid down because they thought it was night.
We cycled the Wiltshire countryside,
as if the circling of the wheels could make the world a better place.
*The Blind Man’s Rainbow, Volume VI, Issue 3.
The ornate darkness of the shrouded statues by candelight
The lullaby of hushed conversations
the infallible voice of the priest
the comforting sound of the congregation in unison
the rich songs of the choir the sweet smell of frankincense.
To stay in the proximity of this heaven one had to
be impossible the bride of christ
a virgin before, during and after birth –
pure, passive, submissive.
Secretly preferring the forbidden Eve, the temptress,
the destroyer of paradise, the one with
knowledge, choice, sexuality and power.
Forgive me father, for I have defined my own truth.
*Published in Pitch Fork
I think maybe it wasn’t
a horrific way to goA saline drip gone awry,
no angst, no lingering pain.
Assured by the doctors
you would teach, your love,
the following weekend –
falling asleep looking forward.
I just never thought
you would die in the nightjust leave without an adieu.
I expect to see you
at your typewriter
reading your latest poem
or ruminating your memoir
or railing against the 6’clock news.
Death isn’t rest but empty space –
I prize what you wrote
And meet you in what I write
The world is less without you.
Unsolicited come my words
in June’s dazzle sunbugs carrying leaves
without consideration, uphill.
Phrases skulking scumslops next to bed stand
dregs of climbing walks
keyboard letter vomit.
Bad, bad only bad
they prance back and back
they take wing unguent.
I brush them aside
and howl frustration.
Still they revisit steady rain my poems
come a Costariccense afternoon.
Your door was ajar when I came-
welcoming my mislaid soul,
a cup of hot coffee in hand,
in this light, many-windowed house with the
Steinway that holds the promise
of corresponding notes.
Your lissome fingers on the ivories and black keys,
melancholy music midflight in your rose of Sharon garden-
a striking minuet balancing the newfound words on my keyboard.
This air still in our early morning September encounter
as if the world of care outside had stopped
to acknowledge our friendship.
How easily our alliance is formed
over scrambled eggs and hot-buttered toast.
I form an unseen poem around you
to seal our bond from today.
The ghost of your architect -lover hovering
after his solo crash into a cement wall-
gone too soon for either of you to accept.
The Existence of God
The Existence of God
In Costa Rica, rain falls on one side