We’re all just particles of music
vibrating alone in the cosmos
searching for harmony



(Image by Mandy Myers)

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The Short of It


I’m proud to announce that three of my poems have been posted on Susi Bocks’ marvelous blog The Short of It. These haven’t been read before except by Ms. Bocks, those few fellow poets who improved them in workshops and my muses.

Gratitude to all of the above.

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Pelé and Poets


The email flirts from my inbox unread.
A reply from a journal I submitted
my best to many months ago.

It bats it’s eyelashes and winks,
beckoning, begging for my attention,
“Open me. I’ll show you everything.”

But like a lottery ticket, I know the odds
are against me so I hang on the hope,
resist temptation for as long as possible.

Sipping my second glass of courage,
I succumb, double-clicking my doom,
preparing to sink deeper into my chair.

My eyes scan, not really reading until,
“We would like to publish your poem…”
and my fist clenches punching the air.

I do a touchdown dance in my bathrobe
then run around the apartment,
arms outstretched like wings,

celebrating as only
Pelé and poets do.


(From this week’s Living Poetry Prompt, Elated.)


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Last Astronaut


Last Astronaut

Past midnight
on the great plains
desolate street light
hangs over a gas station

The faded sign creaks
in the wind
peeling paint
corroded pump
stark fluorescence
casting shadows
on hard packed dirt

I am a fallen astronaut
surveying this relic
the last outpost
on the edge of suicide

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Angry Summer Sonnet


Angry Summer Sonnet

Do not put your fist
through drywall or glass.
Do not screech frustration
behind shuttered windows.

Knock on neighbor’s door.
Anger leads to action
and action to change.
Bring everyone you know.

Punch the sky.
Let the summer boil.
Make lightning fear
the thunder of our voices.

Raise those fists in defiance
and hit the streets!


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Our Virus


Our Virus

We must eradicate this virus
infecting our nation.
It is dangerous, pervasive
and has killed far too many.

We know how to fight
but intentional ignorance
and tribal chest pounding
has prevented progress.

Science can lead but will we follow?
Like an alcoholic, we need to admit
we have a problem and detoxify
because there’s no vaccine for racism.

We are the antibodies. We must overcome
before the patient, our country, dies.

Happy Juneteenth!

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I taught my wife chess
too well. She countered
all my moves with ease.

“Chinese or pizza tonight?”
I don’t care.
“Pick one.”
Okay— Chinese.
“Let’s get pizza.”

There were also good times—
long talks on hikes with dogs,
laughs over sushi and sake
but just enough rejection
that I felt like failure.

I suggested bike rides,
nights at the theater,
dinners with friends—
all declined.

As the refusals accumulated
I stopped trying,
conceded the game
as though I’d been mated.

It was long after the match
that I realized I’d learned too well.
I should have practiced forgetting
because sometimes “no” means “not now”
and that her caprice, while maddening,
meant I could have always made another move.


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Haiku: A bad apple spoils the bunch


A bad apple spoils the bunch

Some proverbs ring true
Claiming there are just a few bad apples
Confirms the bunch is rotten

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I’ve traced my ancestry, my family,
through courthouses and cemeteries
and no more than one-sixty-fourth

owned other men and only in the jaded
view of the law— my shameful heritage,
like many of my southern neighbors.

How could my slave holding grandfather
truly feel like he owned another man?
How could my family possess another family?

If we trace our grandmothers’ grandmothers’
back far enough, we’ll find we’re all cousins,
distant maybe, but cousins none the less— blood.

Don’t fault them for their lack of imagination,
pity them instead. You and I know our differences
are literally skin-deep. We’re all family.

(From this week’s Living Poetry Prompt: Kinfolk and current events. The photo is from my family archives.)

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Law and Order


Law and Order

I’m supposed to fear
those in the streets
demanding reforms
and when glass is broken
and tear gas clouds
our vision, it is scary.

But I’m more afraid
of sycophants in suits
ignoring subpoenas,
welcoming bribes,
trading loyalties
for pardons.

Those youngsters with fists
in the air, angry and defiant,
are fighting for me,
for all of us,
who aren’t willing
to lick the boots

of the next petty tantrum
to get a badge or a sash
then spew the platitude
no man is above the law
while wiping shit from his sole
with our Constitution.

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