One Dozen or So From the Archives: Episode 1

The first installment of poems still waiting in the archives to be heard is here. Finishing up loose ends.

If you want more details, here’s the Big Long Explanation. Otherwise, just read as many or few of these poems as you’d like. And thank you, as always!

From Clean Canvas, published in 2018.

Audible Range

stand aloof from the conversation
you take in the chatter
reflect nothing. No one notices.

are hard surfaced
repeating clink and clatter
the rattle of the silverware at the table
the click of heels on the tiled floor
the bounce back and forth
the never-ending returns

the one who takes in the sound
and the echo
you must be careful
of your hearing
and what
your hearing
brings into you.


Space Story

The comet got the memo
sped off
collecting swag
on course as the instructions laid out
enciphered but easily understood
if you sing the music of the spheres.

Time passed. The nuances of travel
become old news
as eons creak by
and you’re still clicking off those
light-years and yet
when the destination nears
nostalgia for the tedious
is as strong as it is for
electrifying particle flak storms and
Look out! red alert space junk ahead.

The comet made its way
through the dark
at a scheduled location
dropped off a passenger
just one
warmed up for its landing
intending to make a big splash
for its size which was
not that big.

The comet
moved on
as gone as if
it never came here

homing in on
destination planet mostly ocean
into one of which
our now meteorite neé
meteoroid via meteor
steamed up a spurt
just for show
and swam to the bottom
a thousand feet down
to settle in a brand new
nice and dark and cold and all-enveloping
just like home.


Here I Will Be and I Will Stay Here Forever

Scan the view
one solo acre
it’s all mine
except for
what still belongs to the bank
which is most of it –

I would guess
I own the front yard
plus kitchen
free and clear
Never mind. I’m staying put.
I’m home. Come see me.

(shadorma chain)

When I Get Homesick I Go Home

Stopping over at mom’s house
in time for dinner
looks like
loco potato casserole
one of her specialties
I can’t describe it
except to say
thank goodness
there is no tuna in it
she makes up for that omission
by serving wrap chocolate cake for dessert
her own idea
and very original. Everyone
eats up
it’s a belly buster kind of meal
and just the thing I miss
now that I’ve moved out on my own
I can’t get the seasonings adjusted
to match the way she does them
no matter how I try
How else will I get you to come and visit
she says
I’ve got to have something
to bring in the crowds
Now, try a bite of these charcoal yams.



The one-eyed cat
splay-legged wild-eyed
the lightning-quick laser-beam maniac glare
shooting out at me from that single eye
I shudder to think – if he had two…
He makes a straight-up-in-the-air jump
lands on stiff legs
whirls in a circle
scratches off across the carpet
takes the twelve stairs to the basement
in three thudding leaps
squeaks as he lands on his arthritic hip the third time
scrabbles his feet on the tile floor
gains traction and
I lose audio contact with him at this point
I breathe out.



I have a fine-line pen
good at details
here in my hand
It’s going to draw your portrait
on this piece of paper
as you sit across the table from me
flipping pages in a notebook
I like the head wrap you are wearing
with its intricate knot low at the back of your neck
I like your black thick-frame glasses
your expression of concentration
how you are chewing on your thumb as you think
I like how you bend over your work
numbers flowing out of your pen to the paper
as fast as you can move your hand
I like all of it

This fine-line memory
a souvenir of my short
and entirely by chance
to your life


Square the Corners

Scrub the tiles of the bathroom floor
and you have a clean
Wash the towels in hot water and detergent
and you have clean
Spray the mirror
with the pink glass cleaner
and you have a clean
reflecting your smile at returning order
to this little part of the world.


Opening Notes of the Overture

Light blue head scarf
polka-dot backpack
flower-pattern white and red long soft shirt
over tan pants

her feet in black soft-sole shoes
silver-glitter accents at the heel and instep
at my eye level
her with her back to me and stepping away
climbing the stairs. Never saw her face
in those ten steps we went along together
the introduction had been made


From Pink Chalk, published 2018.

It Begins Today

If you left home
and thought you had left home
and wanted to have left home
why is that voice
still calling up the stairs to you
to get out of bed and make something of yourself?

If you have arrived and unpacked
set the furniture and wallpaper and
pots and pans in place
why is the refrigerator
full of the same food you ate at home
and could not afford to dislike
in light of the need not to starve?

If the neighbor
who has never seen you before today
comes to your porch
introduces herself
her words of welcome formulaic but sincere
why did you apologize
for the inconvenience you’ve caused her
walking all the way from next door
with a plate of plastic-wrapped brownies?

Kill the volume on the voice
throw out the food
invite the neighbor in
Have you ever thought
Why not?


Is There Any Kind of Rule Against Whatever It Is Going on Here

Here in this office
the noun is anxiety
and the verb is
keep your head down
and the adjective is
We are a lot of smart people
we multi-task
we do paperwork file patents
code ground-breaking programs
invent languages and teach fish to speak and
at the same time
If Mr. Arrogance pads down the hall
in stocking feet
goes without saying
the floor better be the recent recipient
of a top-notch cleaning session
not in question around here
we all hop to it
or on cue
sirens sound and
our heads roll off
in a ripple effect
strangely like that of
synchronized swimmers
going off the side of the pool
one after the other
only we’re synchronized
sycophants. Never mind.
The boss is always right
in this office
no exceptions
and the paychecks get signed
on Fridays when
we all breathe a sigh of relief
as he climbs into that Status Elite limousine
and away for the weekend
we collapse in front of our TV’s at home
I don’t know about you but
I’ve got to get a new job.


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