Category Archives: SelectedPoems0

Trump’s Inaugural Address Under Erasure

Today we became the rulers
The public, rusted-out
and scattered like tombstones
American carnage
This sad depletion our country
disappeared over the horizon

America first!

The ravages, stealing and destroying
will lead to great prosperity and strength
I will never, ever let you win
Radical Islamic Terrorism
the bedrock of our politics

Total allegiance
Open your heart to patriotism
Now arrives the empty hour of action
Our soldiers will bleed
the same red blood
and be ignored again

Sex Habits of Martyrs

The sex habits
of martyrs

the two I know of
were both

and prolific

Driving to church 
doesn’t mean

you have to stay
in the slow lane

Dealey Plaza-November 22, 1963

The motorcade moves stately and slow
through the oddly intimate space

Above, in the book depository window
a nail-thin shadow

The first shot disorients the driver–
and he slows down–even more

Then the second
Then the third

Finally he zooms under the overpass

There is a copper penny taste in your mouth
and a roaring in your ears
Your arms fly up to embrace
the awful change that is coming
Your vision narrows

The bleached world begins to tilt
A magpie in the tree by the road
A song you heard your mother hum
when she walked you to church

Soon will come the caisson and the drums
But right now, just the magpie
and the humming

Long Lining the Heart

Like a deep ocean drift net
Cut loose by the mother ship
Drifting with the carcasses of tuna and hake
Twisted forever into its skeins,
Your poetry haunts me,
Anne Sexton.

The Secret Life of Words

Bagel backwards is slegab
which sounds like a town in Wales

Hearsay backwards is yasraeh
which sounds like a seminary in Israel

College backwards is egelloc
which sounds like a Klingon food

Maybe if I make words say their names backwards
they will reveal their secrets to me

like turning a talking stick upside down
and listening to the waterfall of seeds

or breaking a cottonwood twig at a joint
to see the secret star inside


In Madrid
burning like a green stick fracture
all the unemployed indignados

whose grandfathers rolled the Republican cannons
are lighting fires in the squares
to burn in absentia

the corrupt refuse cabal of bankers
and real estate development whores
who have sold their beloved country

for a toxic mess of derivative stew
and a few photo opportunities
with Javier Bardem and Selena Gomez

Spandau Prison

An entire prison in Berlin
maintained for years for one man — Rudolph Hess,
the last Nazi, founder of the luftwaffe,
the last of Hitler’s inner circle.

It drew me like a magnet
when I was young and the old man was still alive.
i walked up to it
ignoring the sign that said
anyone crossing a painted line
was in danger of being shot–
like a dumb American, really?
I thought.

The guard in the tower
waved me away wildly
until I realized how much
fear there was of this
old man.

Hess eventually hanged himself
with an electrical cord.

His work was done.


One Bone Gone

dour four
the most foul hour!

one bone gone
in the dimming tour

of griefs amour
it’s a sour pour in a sunless hour

Rules of the Road

When the desire exceeds the will
expect the journey to be disjoint

When the will exceeds the desire
expect the arrival to disappoint

Sound of Death

The sound of death fills my ears
harsh, unbending

I didn’t expect
you to cry out so

The Buddha says go toward
what you fear

This sounds like suffering
like birth

Spring Storm at the Beach

Incessant sheeting skeins of rain
Cut across the morning’s grain
A sumi ink drawing could not perfect
Their sinusoidal curtains swaying.

Through ink black trees still I detect
Deep beneath the intellect,
A whiff of joy in the rush
And twist of this storm’s great bullneck.

There!–in the full onrush
Amid the rumble and the crush
Of tumbling skies and rolling air,
The spring time cry of a hermit thrush.

Pipe Bones

Your arm felt like wood.
Lying there in your coffin,
I thought someone had stolen your bones
and put pipes in their place,
like they talk about doing —
you would have laughed at that.

The brown-green paint on your face,
and the goofy smile they gave you —
They do that for the family,
Someone said.

You did look bemused,
Like how the hell did this happen?

So it’s come down to this.
Me here looking down,
Missing you,
And you lying there with your goofy smile
And your pipe bones.

Robert Frost Under Erasure

Stopping here, little horse
The sweep of wind and evening promises

The snow, the village, the farmhouse
the woods, the frozen lake

dark harness bells, an easy wind
and miles to go

Getting Ready For Eternity

(First published by Dead Snakes.)

I see your height, I feel your weight
And watch you sew, to hew the new.
Laid in my tomb, without a comb,
This awful rouge would I gouge —
In hubris is debris.

The River Road

The chain link fence holds high the hawk,
A curlew stalks his muddy dance.
And in paling sky no telltale sign
Of death’s poor plan for concurrence.

So truckers dream your steamy miles
And fertile brides keep wide your aisle.
Accountants peck at your hideous nits
And lumbermen your woods defile.

Soon comes the day when the curtain tears,
The heavy night shall reap our fears.
Today the hawk and the curlew call,
The moment holds what death forswears.