Monthly Archives: June 2013

Side Yard

Someone saw a cougar in the parking lot of the medical school yesterday.

Today I ate a sour cherry from the tree in my side yard where there are no cougars.

The neighbor has somehow gotten
my trees to stop growing over his property without being too obvious about it.

On my lot we have trees gone wild.
On his every leaf gets picked up.

It’s like Shakespeare said, all the world is a stage and we all have our corner of it
where we strut and fret for an hour.

And pick cherries.

Hooray, Hooray These Woman Is a Killin’ Me

“The only thing a skinny-legged woman is good for is to run get a big-legged woman.”

–bluesman Sonny Terry (1911 -1986)


morning commute
two lanes jammed beak to tail
birds in tight water


The spine of my street
wakes up one house vertebrae at a time.
Here a light on, there a dog bark,
across the street at the telephone building
a gate slams and a truck
starts its day crisscrossing
the corpus of the city.

I spend the day looking for faces,
not everyone’s work face
but the ones that say,
in a moment of quick freshness,
like bread from the oven,
“this is my grandson,”
from the parking lot attendant
and “it’s nice to see you again,”
from the pie lady.

I found a dead hawk
in my street yesterday morning
lying belly up, wings spread,
already food for fellow blackbirds.
The space around it let cars
through, but in a different way,
so the hawk had time
to adjust her eyes to the new horizon
and take one last look around.

Chameleon Kid

President Obama,
Chameleon Kid,
shape shifting
constitutional scholar
who prosecutes more people
for espionage than all other
American presidents combined,

wearing your expedient reticence
like another college degree,
something you learn, like torts,
on the way to the top of the class.

You cannot blame the opposition
for your repression of whistleblowers,
your pervasive spying on us,
your murder by drone of Americans.

Even the ruthless Kennedys
ate their sorrows and quoted Aeschylus
to turn the raven on the shoulder
into the eagle of grounded hope.

When will you eat your sorrows
and become a man for our season?

An absent father does not excuse
an endless stay in the shade
of the enemy within.


In the blended street
the tails of trees
lay strewn, paying
for their mistakes by giving
up their breath
like stillborn colts.

Efficient men in trucks
put their chain saws away
hoping there would be
fish for supper, not the sticks
but the better kind,
the kind hooked on long lines
and hauled up from the deep fighting
not scooped up in a writhing mass
and ground into breaded paste.

Night came.
The boy down the street
stopped practicing his trumpet.
The night bus put its aching feet up
and the houses leaned out over the street
looking to see
if the new holes in the air
meant a hard winter
or a tighter throat at caroling time.

The New Christian Socialists

Guiding Principles

1. There is only love
2. Walk a mile in someone’s shoes before you judge
3. Silence is complicity