References to Only Emmalina


the body worker found her resting somewhere near my tailbone
first, then curled around my heart the warmth still there
and asked me “what’s with all these references to dogs?”

she is shining on, so why am i surprised? but still
my body must be talking ‘cause i haven’t said a word

“she died last June” i say it once again, the way my tongue
keeps flicking at the cut inside my mouth that just won’t heal

“i’m sorry for your loss” it’s what they say, what i say too
the closest we can get to someone else’s grief

i feel her in my body but i never find her in my home
my fingers holding the last bite stupidly for no one
and my feet avoid the memory of her faithful
in the dark beside my bed

there she isn’t, there she isn’t, there is where
she rolled onto her back and squirmed with joy
to see me home, her body would be talking
even though she never said a word

and there

the last place where she laid her head upon my lap
and sighed, its always happening again there
when i step across the doorway

yes i always feel it in my throat, my hands, my eyes
while new age music plays the body worker presses
on my shoulder, “that’s the reason” she is smiling
“all the references your body makes to dogs.”



The Greatest of These

2013-11-06 11.59.27_20131112164732817

abandon hope if you would dare
to enter here this isn’t the story
of a great romance

there are no happy endings here
or anywhere, no feeling
can last forever

abandon hope if you would dare
to really love it isn’t the story
you saw on that screen

happy ever on is not the point
true love opens up and breaks
your heart, now abide these three

and the greatest isn't faith or hope

Except, Sing!

singing bird





can we please do nothing ever except sing?
like musicals, where there’s a song for when
he breaks your heart and there’s a song
for when you lose your shoe or when you
get lost in the woods, or when you narrowly
escape becoming dinner for a woman eating plant

whatever happens, there’s a song because
some things just can’t be spoken
can be sung

so can we please do nothing ever except sing?
like cowboy ballads, where the stars get in your eyes
and someone guns you down but you keep singing
even when the hangman tightens up his noose
and love is lost forever you’ve still got
your horse, your boots, your voice, and your guitar

can we please do nothing ever except sing?
like hymns, a song’ll carry you to heaven
on the wings of angels in the arms of Jesus
in the harmony of saints a song is all you need
eternity is in the melody, the voice is my
salvation, please! I’m asking

can we please do nothing ever except sing?

When Autumn Overtakes Me

image for Autumn poem

I will pause to consider the scarlet leaves
Their last dance of rapture most wild
They leap with a thrill like escaping thieves
Or they waltz like a carefree child

I will smile to recall the love, the joy
Like a leaf embracing fall’s gale
Throw my arms wide like a playful boy
With a jacket flung out for a sail

I will savor the sight of the passion
The flame of the leaf blood red
The kiss of the sun for its lover the tree
The heat that will soon be dead

I will gather the leaves, I will take them home
Spend a day, let them open my eyes
I will take a picture and write them a poem
And then offer them back to the skies

I will let the wind carry them, gold cannot stay
And this one last thing I can give
I will hear them sing as they fly away
We have lived! Did we ever live!


The English Teacher


he really sees the muse
she visits sometimes
lurking in the corner of
his classroom and he
prays to her like
Aphrodite in her pale
blue cardigan and
can’t quite catch his
breath when he glances
up from Shakespeare’s
Tempest just in time
to see her reaching
up to let her hair
come loose and fall
onto her shoulders like
a miracle of sunlight
splitting clouds, the words
just spill, she smiles
and he looks again
and finds his place
the perfume of her grace
is throbbing in his temples
how he loves the classics!
every word his lips form
are the prayers, the students
most, will never know she
came although a few
look up perplexed, amused
to see him lit, alive and
all for some old sonnet