Lost Keys


Lost Keys

I always find my keys
in the next to last
place I look.

I keep searching
just in case there’s something
better between the couch cushions
or in the crisper,

maybe a set that unlocks
a faster car,
a bigger house,
a better life,
hidden under the coffee table.


(From the weekly Living Poetry prompt.)

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The Fire Sermon


The Fire Sermon

I write by candlelight
because everything’s burning

My body is smouldering
like a midnight log
nearly exhausted

My mind flickering
nightmares sputtering
phantoms of a wasted muse

Our planet boiling
hollowed by desire
thunder speaks to water

those words these thoughts
all less substantial
than this little flame


(from this week’s Living Poetry Prompt based on T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land)

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August in Ohio


August in Ohio

Deafened by cicadas,
I spend my summer
in the vibrant woods
south of Lytle Creek.

The train tracks beckon
from the other side.
There’s a penny in my pocket
that needs to be smeared
across the iron.

After staying out past twilight,
I lie in bed, windows open,
hoping to hear the steam whistle,

like the howl of a wolf
alone in the night.


(Another poem which was started during the Germination Workshop two weeks ago whose prompt I reprised this morning.)


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returned from painting
naked south seas women
to tend his friend
Van Gogh.

The painting turned out better
than his ministrations.
Perhaps our present crisis
will propel us to a better future

of worldwide topless
tropical beauty.
A mango in every pot.
Coconut water from the tap.

No stress. No fear.
No tan lines.


(From Paul Gauguin’s “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?” currently in the Museum of Fine Art Boston via Living Poetry’s February Visual Poetry Prompt. Note: the bit about Gauguin and Van Gogh is mostly poetic license.)

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(Yesterday, I hosted a Germination Workshop where seven poets wrote to nine prompts over two hours. The final prompt was a round robin poem on demand where I wrote to the word “Chromatic” provided by the poet on my right and I offered the prompt “French Fries” to the poet on my left.)



Color is too distracting:
green leaves in the bright sun,
the Italian blue of mid-morning
or a ruddy setting sun
turning under the clouds
into rusty orange hills.

Give me a winter of white snow,
gray slush and the black night.
The red of Betelgeuse
and the blue of Sirius
are about all the color
I can handle.

(I also turned this into today’s Living Poetry Prompt.)

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Snow Day


Snow Day
“Put on your coat. It’s freezing out there.”
– My mother

I woke to the ticker-tack of sleet
on my bedroom window
in the middle of a school night
after the weatherman had predicted
several inches.

How could I sleep on this snowday eve,
more magical that Christmas?

Even in the dim dawn
there was doubt, despite
the unblemished layer of white
outside. Radio on.

Anticipation builds
like my Boo Berry cereal
floating in the milk,
as I listened to boring news.

This was Ohio in the good ole days
when weather was never the lead
and they wouldn’t cancel for just any storm.

Wilmington City Schools are closed.

I leapt from the kitchen table
knocking over my chair
thinking only of snow forts
and sled races while my mother
struggled to bundle me up.

Then bolt through the front door
and leave my coat crumpled on the ground
to be lost under still falling snow.

(Written from this month’s Visual Poetry Prompt.)


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rainy new year


rainy new year

let’s sleep in tomorrow,
a nice rainy january first,
ease into the new year,
groggy and dim.

let the rain fall
like expectations,
drenching the land
puddling the world.

let the flood wash
away our past,
clean the way
for a cloudless sky,

later. I’m not yet ready
to face the sun.

(Happy New Year? This poem came from the weekly Living Poetry Prompt.)

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Celestial Musings

20181223_205558I am proud to announce that two of my astronomy inspired poems were included in the Celestial Musings anthology just released. While it may be too late for a holiday present, poetry is always timeless and the proceeds for this book benefit the Charles W. Brown Planetarium at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, in the heart of my ancestral flatlands where I first fell in love with the night sky.


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The Pudding on the Cake


Last night I hosted my annual Holiday Chocolate Open Mic at Matthew’s Chocolates in festive downtown Hillsborough. It was an intimate crowd of poets and an appreciative audience sharing wine and chocolate on a chilling evening. So, in that spirit, here’s my latest chocolate poem.

The Pudding On The Cake

The nuance of your fingers
wandering through my hair
is the pudding on the cake
of your kisses to my lips.

Yes, pudding.

I misheard the idiom as a boy
but I stand by the image,
a gentle chocolate pudding,
instead of that boring
melange of sugar and milk,
better describes the sensation
of your fingertips on my cheek
poured over the sexy dark cake
of your tongue in my mouth.

I imagine the avarice in your eyes
while I lick sweet deep cocoa
smeared on your forehead
and you nibble the soft ambrosial
crumbs stuck in my beard.

Oh, my bittersweet muse,
this is going to get messy.

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Lady Hawk on Wolff Poetry

Lady-Hawk-Poem-by-Bartholomew-BarkerOne of my favorite poems is being featured on one of my favorite poetry blogs, Wolff Poetry. Check it out!

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