Monthly Archives: October 2014


“Poetry is the most difficult, the most solitary, the most life affirming thing that one can do in the world.”

–Stanley Kunitz

Jimi Kiss the Sky

“I am electric religion” — Jimi Hendrix

A tall glass of ice
purple infused essence
a hotel room where the windows
are painted with street riots
you collapsed worlds
spraying them with
day glo on sonic walls
It hurt to look away from you

You grew the blues up more
sexy, ugly, wild and beautiful
than your time could hold
leaving a mark
leaving more for us
than we thought
we could handle

Van Gogh of street sounds
Blake with a Stratocaster
Jimi we hardly knew you


waking up
rising through
many hundred feet of water

in the night’s
well blooded wine
and flint skinned memory

is where
we become
parents to our dead

Getting in the Game

For days he watched
the water taxis
come and go
across the shallow bay

Life was like chess
he thought. Each possibility
precluded many others
until few options remained

Finally, he set out
In his own leaky vessel
Landing on the far shore
and finding the trains not running

he spent his days walking the streets
buying art in back alleys, eating like
a high caste mandarin and watching
Chinese lap dances for the dead

Apples From a Very Old Orchard

When fall comes, I sometimes walk a long ways
to gather apples in the old orchard by the fort.
Windfall apples from that orchard
taste different somehow.

Older varieties, sure, but there is something else.
They taste of days when everyone drank fermented cider
from a barrel by the door
and swung the wagon wide around boulders in the trail
they called “bosses” or worse, “niggerheads.”

They taste of Esther and Tillie
and homespun and blackstrap molasses
and winter nights when dried apples
were brought up from the cellar
and soaked to make pan dowdy and Christmas pudding.

Dangling in trees pruned so many times
they look like old men
in lumpy sweaters nursing hangovers,
those apples have something quiet to say.
It is something we may need again someday.

To Raymond Carver

There is too much blue
in the world.

You taught us to mix
other colors into it.

Things are still very blue,
but now more interestingly so.

You taught us to stuff
our bathrobe pockets with notes

and to trust, to believe
they would fall out in useful places,

even if the place were dark
and love was a dream deferred.


You came and the world got better.
You came and irony went away.
You came and icicles sang.
You came and walruses sat up straighter.
You came and church steeples tilted in to listen.
You came and sheets felt softer.
You came and a hundred projects felt less important.
You came and relatives who never speak
talked about little things with their knees close together.
You came and smiles came down off the upper shelf.
You came and the world breathed a little easier.