Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

The Tuba In The Orchestra

My three semesters of
German earned me an undeserved B
only because the TA and I
would talk (in English, naturally)
about New Wave bands or
nihilism over beers after class.
What drew me to German
were all those words a mile long.
Unfortunately, my tongue
usually got lost before I finished
the trek to pronunciation.
Decades on, only a few phrases
can still be summoned
from memory’s foggy morass.
Which is a shame in
such contentious times, since,
harshly penetrating,
it is a splendid language for
heated discourse.
If only I would have mastered
its lengthy vocabulary.
The tuba in the orchestra of
western vernacular, I’d
march at the back of the parade,
commanding every ear.


Conducting The Garden

A conductor in the spotlight
here at day’s demise,
my shadow, sun stretched,
thin and tensile,
wields a hose’s magic wand.
A gargantuan arm
orchestrates lethargic plants
to spring to attention
with the rhythmic sweep of
its commanding reach.
Tomatoes blush in response.
Cued by the splash,
bees rise from the squash,
as do mosquitoes,
amazed to find their stings
cannot penetrate
this black specter’s intrusion.
Long enough to
tap the aquifer’s depths,
its spigot dampens
without a cloud in the sky.
A shadow’s maestro,
I conduct hardened ground
into melody again
despite July’s blaring heat.


First redwing blackbird heard
since last October.
Infused by an afternoon sun,
a miraculous resurrection
of that fly thought to be dead.
Two coatless teens who
blush cardinal red after they
stop for a clumsy kiss.
The glitter of silver dust motes
sent airborne while
prepping the summer bedroom.
Though surrounded by
snowy patches, fresh weeds
already tenaciously
abloom in the compost pile.
Despite double panes,
penetrating winter’s cocoon
like a southern breeze,
the sound of children at play.
When asked Monday
about my weekend, I’ll take
the stand as a witness
to winter’s welcome demise.

Discovering The Pacific

A landlocked Midwesterner for
the entirety of my life,
it is introduced first by smell,
next by voice, and
then only seen come sunrise.

In the back of a pickup truck,
wearing a jacket too
thin to impede a mist’s damp
chill, what do I care
if it is colder than back home.

Hugging a backpack doubling
as a pillow, with a wallet
light on funds, transported by
thumb across America,
this view is my rich reward.

Hitchhikers rescued after me
remain fast asleep,
curled into oblivion despite
the dangerous curves
our sleepy driver traverses.

Confronted by such immensity,
at eighteen, seasoned
by a wind flavored with salt,
it is a breakfast feast
that I’ve never tasted before.

Recumbent Moon

In predawn’s first blush
the lake remains dark as midnight.
A few tattered clouds,
remnants from a storm slept through,
will soon be swept aside
by an awakened breeze as it attends
to its morning to-do list.
A cardinal is the first to question why
no one is up yet.
With silence’s invulnerability broken,
the airwaves come alive.
Broadcasting songbirds compete to
be heard above the din.
Something plump, hungering for
a taste of breakfast,
breaks the surface, then vanishes.
No longer alarmed by
the clumsy sound of my trespass,
frogs again add their
rumbling bass to the ensemble.
Not yet transparent,
an unruffled lake gingerly cradles
the night’s residue.
Still resplendent on its surface,
a recumbent moon.


With two maraschino
cherries nestled at the bottom of my glass,
I’m an arctic hunter
peering through the ice calved from our
refrigerator’s North Pole.
Pungent with bitters evoking a memory
of ancient plant life,
this frigid sea of whiskey and vermouth
resembles a late
winter afternoon barely tasted by daylight.
How indistinct those
targets appear, each juice-infused from a
rumored southern sun.
Calculating angles with an unsteady hand,
as I wield this straw
to harpoon through alcohol’s murky depths,
I’m disappointed but
not surprised when its tip emerges bare of
a sweetened treasure.
Yet determined, I know with enough sips
my odds will improve.

Today’s Forecast

In this rainy dark
only the birds awaken
to celebrate dawn

Not sated after
breakfasting on clouds, puddles
are the sun’s dessert

Noon’s simmering heat
finds the mailman the only
fool out on the street

Postponing twilight,
the sun’s bloodshot eye is
clueless to the time

A computer’s blue-
green hue cannot compete with
the moon’s yellow view

Winter’s memory
debunked by humidity’s
smothering embrace