Sex in the Sea


(Last night Living Poetry attended the Science Cafe at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The program was called Sex and the Sea: Love Stories, for Valentine’s Day, of course. Watch the show! The poetry starts at around 46 minutes but watch the whole thing to get the marine references.)

Sex in the Sea

Take me to the aquarium.
I love the dim lighting
and subdued sounds.
If they sold wine
in the gift shop,
it’d be better
than a singles bar.

We all know sex in a bathtub
just doesn’t work.
I need somewhere more pelagic
and the oceans are filled
with gametes searching
for a home.

Imagine if we’d made a strange
natural selection in eons past—
I’d carry your eggs
in mouth or belly
or cling to your side
until I slowly dissolve
in your love.

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North of Time,
a Parliament of Stones
marks some green pushing
through the cracked concrete.

This disease tears
rock into sand,
worse than rain
and relentless wind.

The animals came
and went without notice.
Plants too will pass,
with the air and water,

leaving only stone
until immolation.

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The Dark Sire


Poetry’s not all rainbows and spring. The Dark Sire is an online literary magazine for poetry and short fiction in the fantasy, Gothic and horror genres and their Issue #2 is out and it includes one of my poems!

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Best Intentions



Best Intentions

Doc says I should eat better,
exercise more. I know.
I know.

He asks if I remember
what we talked about
last time.

I scour my crusted memory
but these exams blur
together like a field of pinwheels
in a lightning storm.

I suppose I could drink
a little less, leave the bar
before my Honda carriage
turns back into a pumpkin
but why would I want to outlive
my doctor?

We have a nice arrangement—
I visit every February,
listen to his lecture,
feign concern at numbers—
some too high, some too low,
shake hands after he’s wiped
away the Vaseline.

See you next year.

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Practice Fire in the Gyroscope Review


I’m proud to announce that my poem Practice Fire has been included in the Winter 2020 edition of the Gyroscope Review. You can download a free PDF but you’ll want to buy a paper or electronic copy because poetry.


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Online Dating Haiku


Mining for true gold
in online personal ads
all I find — pyrite

(from the Monday Living Poetry Prompt)

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Seven Steps to Writing a Poem


Seven Steps to Writing a Poem

Wait one hour after the sun sets.

Light two candles, left and right.

If your three muses are hanging around
send them home. They’ve done their job,
now they’re just a distraction.

Four mood, put on some music—
instrumental, no lyrics,
at least not in any tongue
you recognize.

Pour yourself a nice glass
of five wine, preferably red.
Contemplate each flame
reflected and refracted.

Think about six,
pour another glass.

Seven— Get to work.


(Inspired by / stolen from Dorianne Laux‘s Ten Tips for Poets: A Prose Poem from The Practicing Poet— Writing Beyond the Basics edited by Diane Lockward.)

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The Optimist’s Sonnet


The Optimist’s Sonnet

I’m thankful for this flat tire
making me late for work.
At least I have a car and two jobs
so I can keep up my payments.

I’m thankful for this headache
reminding me I’m alive and for Advil
since I can’t take time off to see a doctor
even if I could afford the co-pay.

I’m trying to stay positive
since my girlfriend’s pregnant
but I’m afraid to ask for a raise
since they busted the union.

I’m thankful that this year was so damn bad,
there’s no way next year could get any worse.


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Sixth Grade


for Raymond Keltner, 1936-1979


In the Thunderdome of twelve-year-old boys,
learning the Code of the Playground,
No Tattling, Two for Flinching,
I had my first male teacher.

He was a big guy and played the curmudgeon.
When he took attendance that first day,
butterflies turned to hurricanes in my stomach
as he mispronounced my name.

He didn’t mock my vocabulary like the bullies.
He welcomed my scale model of the solar system
with blunt praise so I didn’t get beaten up
during recess or on the long walk home.

One sunny late winter, he borrowed a cornet
from one of the band kids and serenaded
his students for the last half hour of school
his love of music vibrating in every note.

Three years later, during freshman algebra,
they announced that he’d died of a heart attack.
I remember girls from my class crying.
I wanted to but did not— having failed
his most important lesson.

(The two men in the top row of my class picture are the school principal on the left and Mr. Keltner on the right. Any guesses which kid I was?)

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Leg Man


Leg Man

Watching the subtle streaks
on the inner glass, only visible
under precise light and vintage,
I wonder who’ll appear on this blind date?

The wine is the skirt, the source
of those shapely apparitions.
Will her legs be as nice?
Her dress as purple?
Her song as delicate
as the crystal aria?

This isn’t the first glass
that’s sat beside me tonight
and I fear I’ll be too drunk
by the time she arrives.

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