Thursday, July 11, 2013


I played,
with army men.
Bags of them.
Sniper on ground.
Sniper kneeling.
Hand grenade always pending.
Ksshew. Ksshew.
There were never battles.
Only sound effects.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Mirror Test

A mynah turns sideways to see his reflection.
One eye cocked, then a hop and pirouette.
Yes. That’s not a competitor. That’s me.
He opens his beak and displays his tongue:
I'm myself though I've mimicked every note I've sung.

So, when I pass the mirror on the way to pee
At night, with just the night light on, who will bet
That old man and the man I’ve never met are one?

A kind of "stout Cortez" error. Apparently for
years, I've confused mynah birds and magpies. Magpies
pass the mirror test. Mynahs are the ones in cartoons.
I like this one. It just slipped out.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Empty Bazaar

A shuttered stall, a man with a beard like ice,
And a question from The National Geographic
Which puzzles him. And so he stammers on
And on, relying on God to fill out his words.
He fidgets with some bread, and feeds his birds,
But really, he’s angry at the Question.
Words are trails of crumbs. Knowledge is a trick.
A bird tucks its gaudy head and gnaws on lice.

I sometimes wonder what makes poetry
poetry. For me that "And on" at the beginning of line 4
is the best bit of "poetry" in this.

Monday, February 11, 2013

White Smoke

I wish I could resign like Benedict.
Plead the obvious: age, infirmity.
Spend my days in warm piazza light,
Eat simple meals, and wear clean clothes.
At night, when the dutiful aide goes,
Tell a loving, forgiving God "good night,"
And sleep in a place called the Holy See
Where peace evades the dark, and tradition's strict.

Monday, February 4, 2013

On Top of the World

Starlings on the line by the parking garage
Sway in the cold and hunger to the point of rage:
Side by side, and sullen in the wind and gray.
They forage for flinty seeds by day,
And grab the telephone wire by the winter moon.
Spring, gooey and supple, can’t come too soon.
Hunger and cold are kin and each is like a fist.
Ask a bird: irony just does not exist.