Fraiku: Thunderstorm

Heavy humid heat
Scraped from exhausted leaves
Summer thunderstorm

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The sun’s no hotter

The sun’s no hotter

It’s just the atmosphere
soaking it all in
like a pasty beach body
with no SPF


We slept too long
skin red as a tornado
on doppler or a lobster
boiling in a pot

This is the inheritance
of my angry children—
blisters and pain
in a world inflamed

Written to this week’s Living Poetry Prompt: Heirloom and Go Dog Go Cafe’s Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge which provided the picture.


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Sonnet composed while waiting for Anaphylaxis

Sonnet composed while waiting for Anaphylaxis

I couldn’t be certain
I wasn’t already sick
and just not snuffling
so I wore my mask.

Every day I took my temperature
to see if it had raised
into the triple-digits
but I remained stubbornly cool.

Today a second dose of mRNA
was injected into my arm
so I will no longer fear
the contaminated air.

Tomorrow I want to feel sick in solidarity
with all you who built your antibodies the hard way.

(Besides the obvious real-life inspiration, this was also for to this week’s Living Poetry Prompt to write a poem containing the words “air”, “certain” and “raise”.)


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Old Bunhill Fields Burial Ground Published!

I am pleased to announce that a poem I wrote back in 2018, while I was wandering around London, titled Old Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, has been published in the Friends Journal. This one draws heavily upon my Quaker upbringing so it’s not the most accessible. Friends Journal is one of the few publications where it’ll be read by people who’ll get the references.

When my contributor copies arrived in the mail earlier this week, I got more than a little flutter in my belly as I saw my words framed so beautifully in this magazine that I was holding in my hands, still smelling of fresh ink.

Thank yous to the Friends Journal for publishing, to all my workshop poets for helping me revise and to my parents and their parents and all my grandparents before them, no matter how great, for making me who I am.

Posted in London 2018, Poetry | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Remedy Haiku

A walk in the woods
is enough to remedy
an honest day’s work

(From this week’s Living Poetry Prompt.)

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Sonnet: Though we live in different worlds…

Though we live in different worlds,
let me be the moonlight glittering
your hair while you dream

and the voice of that tenor
on the radio filling an opera house
as he sings for his new bride.

Let me be the aroma of bread
baking in your oven
on a winter’s day

and the bath water warmth
surrounding your toes, feet
and legs as you slide

into the pure poetry
of a sensuous life.

Continue reading

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Poet Interview – Bartholomew Barker

Susi Bocks of the I Write Her blog has posted an interview we did to promote her anthology, The Sound of Brilliance: The Short of It, which features a couple of my poems. We talk about stripclubs, Ohio, trauma and The Truth for about half an hour then I read a poem.

I Write Her

Grab a beverage of your choice and come spend some time with Bartholomew and Susi! You’ll learn more about the anthology and get to know Bartholomew a little better too.

If you are interested in getting your copy of The Sound of Brilliance anthology, click below!

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Posted in Ephemera | 21 Comments

So long since I last heard our songs

Happy May the Fourth! I’ll be reading this at the Carrboro (NC) Poet’s Open Mic Night tonight via Zoom which starts at 7pm EDT (2300UTC) and usually lasts about an hour. Connect up and share your poetry too!

So long since I last heard our songs

I miss the sounds of my language
the beckoning song of a silken woman
the yips of children playing in the trees
even Malla’s nagging would be welcome

Recordings and transmissions from home
can’t convey the breadth of tone
or inflection we use everyday
from bowcaster ads to poetry

I love my friends though pale and sickly
they appear but I speak like a simpleton
so they can understand— the subtleties
of Shyriiwook are lost on fur-less ears

Take me back to Kashyyyk— I want to hear
my wife say my name— my true name— once again

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Happy May Day!

May Days are have become doubly celebratory for me in the past decade since it also marks the end of National Poetry Month and the Poem-A-Day Challenge. For the first day in over a month, I will neither write nor post a poem. However, I have neglected some opportunities for shameless self-promotion.

First, the Sound of Brilliance has been published on Amazon, featuring two of my poems. Susi Bocks of the I Write Her blog has done a wonderful job putting this together and I’m proud to be included with so many other excellent poets, writing beautiful short poetry.

Second, North of Oxford has published their Spring 2021 Pandemic issue which includes another two of my poems. Scroll down. Mine are at the bottom.

And finally I want to highlight my fellow Living Poet, JeanMarie Olivieri, who did of remix of my poems from this April, like I tried on Wednesday, and did a much better job of it. I’m honored that she stole my mediocre lines and crafted them into something brilliant.

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Farewell To Stromness

For today’s prompt from Robert Lee Brewer’s Write Better Poetry blog, write a goodbye poem. Whether leaving for a holiday or going to get groceries, many people find themselves in positions of saying goodbye to each other. So this feels like an appropriate way to close out this year’s challenge…until we meet again.

Farewell To Stromness

The wind blew into Stromness from Hoy Sound
as if urging me to stay. From the deck,
I watched a gull hover over the ferry.
She’d twitch a feather here, a muscle there,
no exertion, no panic, as if suspended
in a mobile over the cradle of a fisherman’s child.

Instead of recalling my time at Skara Brae
or the Ring of Brodgar, I was hypnotized
by this bird’s deft demonstration of unthinking.
She swam in a relentless river of air
without plan or concern, unlike me—
checking clocks and worrying timetables.

As the boat coughed out into the roiling quicksilver
of the North Sea, I looked back at the stones
of Stromness and realized some part of me remained.

Inspired by Peter Maxwell DaviesFarewell to Stromness and my trip to the Orkney Islands near the end of the 20th century. Thanks for reading my poems-a-day this year. Let’s do it again in eleven months.

Posted in Poetry, Scotland 2016 | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments