Tuesday, October 18, 2016


She rode the night

High above the maple

That was slowly

Removing her gown

In that easy

Seductive dance

Of autumn.

She gained the advantage

Shaking loose

Her starry locks

Brushing them

Across my eyes

And those of the old

Barn owl

Patrolling the softly lit


Newly harvested.

She would remain with me

All the night

Taking me into the mystery

Of her marred features

Her throaty hum

Measuring the passion

She shared with me

And any other

Willing to stay long enough

To dance the dark

And kiss away

The shadows and the freeze.

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Certain Place*

I thought I’d be there
Where the lines converged.
All my expectations were thus.
Even my baggage
And mail
Were forwarded
To that bright
And certain place.

Imagine my dismay
To find
I’d been left behind
In the shadows
Among the cobwebs
And dim memories
Reduced by time
And its affiliates.

*In memory of a child lost over battles not of my choosing. 


She said
My shoes needed shinned
Missing completely
My smile
My eyes
Even my hand
Against her cheek
All trying to tell her
I loved her.

I nodded
And walked away.

A Cowboy

If sweaty cowboy hats
Wrinkled pearl button shirts
And old boots
Makes a man a
I am one.

If being dragged an acre
Through East Texas dirt
Wearing gravel like a smile
And standing up
To those
Who would stare me down
Makes a man a
I am one.

If clinging to the reins
And wind-blown mane
Of a charging mustang
And riding
Hell for leather
Down forested hills
Across rain-swollen streams
Makes a man a
I am one.

If eating unrecognizable chow
In a steady drizzle
After sleeping the night
On cold
Hard earth
And dreaming of a girl
With a narrow mind
And wide hips
Makes a man a cowboy
I am one.

But if a
Is that dandy
With a five hundred dollar
And a thousand dollar grin...
Then, I aint.

The Pull of Gravity

As a younger man
And a dreamer
Before the world changed
I would go the airport
And sit at a random gate
To watch people scurry
For their flights
Talking hurriedly
Saying goodbyes
In anticipation of hellos.

Beyond the sheets
Of plate glass
Behemoths waited
Their wings wide
Ready for speed
And thin air.

I would sit and wonder
At the lives that would
Soon board
And the fragile tubes
That would carry them away
Imagining I were
Awaiting that flight
Inventing for myself
An alternate life
In San Francisco
Or even Toledo.

This I did for a few hours
Until the weight and
Pull of gravity
Returned me to Chicago
And its grim boulevards
And gritty alleyways
And a wife who saw
And wanted
Especially from me.


You may not remember
That I was on fire
When we met.

Flames leapt from my hair
And I was fully consumed.

You looked at me
Not comprehending
My desperate state.

It was embarrassing
To be in such alarming

I should have apologized
But it seemed
My throat had become
A smokestack
And I was incapable
Of uttering a word.

I have not seen you
In a long while.

But, I am still
A smoldering ruin.

Last Request

A hot cup of coffee
And sweet apple pie
That’s all I’ll ask
Before I die.

You can stand me up
Against a wall
And I reckon
I won’t mind at all.

I don’t much care
If I’m to be shot
So long as there’s pie
And the coffee is hot.

Just cut me a slice
And pour me a cup
I won’t even fight
I’ll give myself up!


Caught in the Open

Once upon a time
I was caught in the open.
Three rounds passed
So close
I felt their heat
Upon my cheek.

Caught in a crossfire
I fell to the ground
Willing myself to dig
A refuge
A place of safety.

The man in front of me was
And fell silently
To the soil.

The man behind me
Bullets tracing his path.

And then it was over.
Suddenly over.

But to this day
When I find myself
Caught in the open
I look for a place to fall
Wondering if the soil
Is soft enough to yield
To my desperate
Clawing fingers.

Dead Eyes

Grandpa shot a crow
From the tree
Outside my room.

It steals the food
Of other birds and animals
And has an annoying caw
Grandpa said.

It lay dead in the grass
Under the tree
Its black eyes open
I bent over it
Mesmerized by its

That was sixty years ago
And I still see those

I have seen scores of

But the first
I ever saw
Were a crow’s.

That dead crow
Is still taking things…
My shock over

Maybe grandpa knew
Others were coming
So I needed to get used
To seeing so, so many


I shutter my life
With vented panels
To allow a little light
But no exterior vision.

Some light is necessary.
It tells the approximate
Time of day
And where I placed
Those damned cufflinks
I never wear.

But I need no vision
Beyond my room
Else I may see her
Strolling the street
And I explode from my door
Chasing her
Begging her
Come back to me
Or I die.