A Key Won’t Stay

lost key

I've been losing keys as
long as I've been using them
like perfect clarity, a key
won't stay. If you can
keep it in your pocket

hey, you'll open doors
the same way every time.

But lose the key and 
you'll be sitting on the step
or emptying your purse.

So when I write I take
my wallet out and 
scatter coins to see
if perfect clarity could
have been hiding there.

I mean, I had it yesterday!
Why have I lost it now?
I really, really need it for this door!


blank page
this is the blank page called
the rest of your life

pick up the pen and write

the old story
on those brittle yellow pages
will no longer do for
this crisp place that is 
the future you will write
new stories for, in dark red
ink from veins of gold
that can no longer be
the limits of your vast

in the future there is love
unending, there is joy
unbounded, there is pain
with soft enfolding wings
and tears that streak
your face but do not run 
into the cup called shame

but water those white fields
with scarlet poppies where
the golden veins of morning
light the sky and you
pick up your pen and write

Liberation by June

2014-03-13 16.05.47
I’m going for liberation by June
it’s not an original idea
I ripped it off a guy so ballsy
to suggest that what I thought
you had to hush and hold with
receptivity and quiet hope
could somehow actually be
“gone for” like a peak you
set your sights on and attain

I’m going

for liberation by June it’s my
idea now like a map or like
a virus liberation might be
catching and it travels
through the fingers when
I thought it was a thread
you try to squint at through
a needle and the angels
dancing on it will decide

for liberation

I’m going. It’s become a
song now beating rhythm
in my head, if he can do
it, and can will it, and can
make the freedom come
by putting one foot
after one foot on the
mountain maybe someday
I can do it too

by June

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

Truth on Time


stars going out, east first
its dawn! the day beginning
halfway through my life

the birds play sharp staccato
rhythm voices, someone snores
off tune. how can they sleep
through earth’s awakening?
there’s no time, there’s none

there’s all the vast expansive
time of this white sky and
this crisp morning, sun
arriving loyal and on time
falling in with time and traveling

in perfect pace, while I impatient
rush ahead, run out of breath and
fall behind, or try to see a sunset
when its only noon.


tell the truth about the time.

or lie. It doesn’t change
the shining or the fading.

tell the truth about the time!
to yourself and to the others


travel north, the sun will travel
west above your head and come
again tomorrow with a kiss and
promise to return again tomorrow

and tomorrow
and tomorrow

while you laugh or grieve or snore
ignore or live or lie or sing in
sharp staccato rhythm like
the birds or soft breath whisper
song like me