One Dozen or So From the Archives: Episode 6

Another installment of poems still waiting in the archives to be heard. 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!

These poems are all from Rearrange, published 2018.


In bright sunlight
in driving rain
in thick fog
snowstorm of the century
Force 5 gale
oh just whenever
it’s the same old thing
the bus is going to come
sooner or later
says the guy sprawled on the bench
three feet from the traffic
listening to music on his phone
shouting over the noise
random and specific
swirling around the bus stop

or at least that’s what he said
in my cleaned-up version
of us two people waiting for the bus
breathing in exhaust fumes
and waiting


What is the Future
of Our Relationship?

Sprawled in the chair
my winter coat looked as if it had finally found
where it wanted to be
nothing personal
but I wish I’d understood the situation better
before I spent money on dry-cleaning
the darn thing
and hanging it up every time I came home.
It is possible
we are not as well-suited
as I thought.


Leap of Faith

A woman confronting
the rusty gate’s gracious invitation
to step into my tousled yard
fight her way to the peeling door.
If I open that door to her
to my house furnished in what someone else wanted
and bought
forty years ago
me, sofa, coffee mug, numbers on the mailbox
crumbs under the refrigerator
I tell you
she will have stumbled into a collection lined up in rows
of the not wanted
the used to be
the plain old worn out
and with what to offer?
That’s what I was going to tell her
this woman who walked through the rusty gate –
but instead
I invited her in.


Baby Step

Easy for you to say I don’t have much confidence.
Steal the coffee cake and feed it to the birds, my mother whispered.
That’s my earliest memory. My horoscope today:

Tomorrow will be important. Be careful going down the stairs.

Promises and wishful thinking, my mother whispers. Not for you.
But maybe not. I can make a start.
I can be careful going down the stairs.



This house is a sad dark place.
There are no ghosts in this house.

The memories drove them out
with a set of tiny spoons meant for crystal salt cellars
salt spilled on the dining room carpet
no one in the house to toss it over a shoulder.

The house lost its soul long ago
Squeezed tight and elongated
by a silver bracelet studded with pink gemstones
one pink stone
fallen into the
bathroom drain
at a time


The Cure

I stood in front of her grave this morning.
I did not leave any flowers.
She had made no apology. I wanted one.
Pen in figurative hand
I took memory-indelible blue-black ink
invisible only to the eye
I wrote out a satisfactory expression
of fault guilt remorse
with strong shadings of hair-tearing
signed her name to it
waved my hand
to dry the ink
to direct her on her way
to disperse the wasps congregated
over her grave.
I stepped away. The cure is permanent.


Snake Charmer

You are a snake charmer
and I am captivated.
One day I will stop forgiving you.

I can’t stand the sight of you.
You don’t believe me, do you.
Promise me results.
Buy me some time.
You are a snake charmer.

a blunt-force blow of self-respect
could still pull me back.
See, that’s what I’m talking about.
But I’m so close to getting rid of my conscience.
It’s adrenaline, I am drunk on adrenaline
Stunned by so many stunning examples of stunning.
It is all fake. Bogus. Counterfeit. False forged phony.

I no longer search for the answers
that will look me straight in the eye
Is telling the truth too much to ask of me?
Yes. Of course it is

I don’t want to get you in trouble.
Unless someone wants to help me, of course.
Then I’ll be plenty glad to do it.
I just don’t want to take the blame.



Blank pages
the story
the end known, the beginning a mystery
the notebook
filled from back to front
The pen an archaeologist.



The underside of the planet
Which is
where we are. The cliffs glowing at night
beneath a sky full of stars

A cool mind
A demonstrative heart
never in balance

on the underside of the planet
where we are.



Rough-spun thread runs thick-thin
through the machine
the needle dangerous and sharp
Thwarted. Slubs interrupt. Flaws impede. The cloth
refuses the stitches. There will be no maze
of crooked seams for you to unpick
no seams at all.



The one bird

the trees along the edge of the field
their leaves yellow red-veined
shrinking up
slacken hold slip off away

The one bird

the sun lay out red streaks
fading to pink
across the end of the field

The one bird


Not Welcome Here

The unpleasant truth stood just to the rear
of the woman telling the story
Her audience could see it
Not her. Nothing could put her off her stride
she went on
the faces
confused and some embarrassed
their eyes drawn off to her side
Their ears tuned a little finer
deciding that
they came to a carnival anticipating
spun-in-a-swirl-pattern cotton candy and
a tilt-a-wheel squeal-fest
not looking for
unpleasant greasy gears and
truth calorie-counting.
Shoo that shadow
away. Let’s listen to what this lady is saying.


4 thoughts on “One Dozen or So From the Archives: Episode 6

    • Thank you. And you are so right. Eventually, though, time smooths some of the rough edges and lets you go on. And enjoy the good times you have found your way to.

  1. I love the way you play with expectations in making the haunted house all the sadder because of the lack of rather than the presence of ghosts. I like all the descriptions of worn down things in “Leap of Faith” and what that communicates about the worn down mood of the narrator until they decide to let the visitor in. A poem that could have been a little bleak is actually somewhat hopeful. I like that. And I am rooting for the narrator of “Baby Step” to keep taking those steps towards independence until the steps becomes strides and freedom is achieved.

    • Thank you. As for Baby Steps, there is a time in each person’s life, (or more than once) where clarity like this opens a door. Or that is what I think, anyway. And a house that is inhospitable to ghosts, I think it must have a seriously toxic atmosphere about it, and sadly, maybe it’s not even the house’s fault, but the history lived within it. (That is a house that would benefit from a down to the studs renovation, I think)

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