Archive for the ‘Poems’ Category

Haiku | “(cape may)”


like scraps of paper
folding themselves into birds
the sea gulls settle

the shimmering light
on the water at sunset
keeps its promises



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Evensong, King’s College Chapel

Our days are longer than glass, longer than
Stone, longer than light and air, longer than
The waters of this softly flowing river that will
Pass, rise, fall, and pass again while we speak
These words, sing these words. Our days are
Longer than prayer or scholarship, than ambition
Or boasting or riot or sleeping or waking or food
Or kisses or the bright exalting summer of youth.
They are longer than sorrow or rejoicing or love
Or bones turned to powder. Our steps trace and
Retrace the paths of echoing generations, and
We are indistinguishable among them. For a
Thousand years has the black-haired girl sat in
Choir and stared black-eyed, and for a thousand
More will she sit and stare. We will speak these
Words, sing these words. For centuries the man
Has sat dry in his faith, and for centuries more
Will he sit. We will speak these words, sing these
Words. The dry man will find his faith and the
Black-eyed girl will look up. We have no need
For rushing. With our words and our singing
We make this glass and this stone the great
Still center of creation. The long grass moves
From the breath of our words. The trailing
Willows sway from the breath of our singing.
The river flows softly while we speak and we
Sing. These words and this singing pass from
Mouth to mouth and their living is continuous.
We do not matter at all. Our broken ineluctable
Particulars are translated into these words and
This singing, and we are made whole by them.
When the windows are blank cold darkness we
Speak. When the stones glow skin warm we sing.
There is confidence in our words and endurance
In our singing. The softly flowing river passes.
We speak and we sing.

Thanks to Philadelphia Stories for publishing Evensong, King’s College Chapel in their Summer 2018 issue.

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Three Blues on The Delaware

The soul of the world sings in blue, sapphire
Midnight cerulean stone periwinkle Aegean
Egyptian steel, shadow shimmer, silver glint,
Flow tide breeze and sun, musics of smooth
Chaos soft violence restlessness dissolution
Concord mystery beauty revelation change,
My blood singing back to the singing waters.

Furious machines burning anger, fume and
Rage to the choke point, ferocity of sound,
From here all silence and twinkle, sweeping
Slow rise and fall, rust blistered blue towers,
Harp-strung, Buddha serene, light and heavy,
A mountain of stone and steel engineered to
Rise like thought and dance in the delicate air.

Spring has uncorked all her bottles, pours her
Sparkling vintage into the coupe of May with
A liberal hand. Winter’s damp gloom is swept
From the vaulting sea and a convoy of cloud
Blusters at full sail. I will fill my pockets with
Rubies and expectations, book passage on a
Perfect merchantman and trade with heaven.

Thanks to Philadelphia Stories for publishing Three Blues on The Delaware in the Summer 2016 issue.

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“How The Day Began” | Poem

How The Day Began

I dreamed I was young and could sing. My
Voice not this three-note croak but mighty
Sound and how easily my soul soared from
My lips into the vibrant air. Then I woke up
And I was old and had no song, just these
Words, grey dawn and no soft sleep again,
Grief so strong that even I thought the old
Coconut of my heart would split and spill
Its little milk. Outside, the trees in shadow
Were mystery and the traffic noise mystery;
Mystery my hands and mystery my teeth;
Mystery the tasks of the day and mystery
All the days gone in mourning. The radio
Broke into a pitch and I rose to silence it.
Might be a cup of coffee is the fix? And
I heard in my mind my grandmother say
No complaining and my father Find a use.
My mother said Be kind and my wife said
Remember your mother. God said I made
You a soldier who goes to war with himself.
Call Me Son of a Bitch and ask My blessing.

Thanks to the Seminary Ridge Review for publishing this poem in their Spring 2016 issue.


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Acts of the Apostles

I know you’re a preacher from your black coat,
The lady said and I smiled and told her Almost.
To what strange lands might we fly if I spread
My black wings, from what strange texts might
I speak if I took the pulpit? Would I please her
Dancing my exuberant heresies on the Rock of
Ages? Perhaps. Her face said she might take.
My mysteries for faith, my wonders for reasons,
My beauties for redemption. She might grant me
A God who is all whirlwind and no ash heap, who
Suffered so He could say We are the same now.

Or would she ask me What about love dear? and
Smile at my blank look. Love is simple as a child.
You shuffle Her to one side with your words and
Your rules and your thinking. Then I would sweep
Off my preacher’s coat and settle it on the majesty
Of her stooped shoulders.

Thanks to the Seminary Ridge Review for publishing this poem in their Spring 2016 issue.

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“Levon Helm” | Poem

Levon Helm

Lie down and rest, Levon, in the green
Unspoiled country you sang into being.
How did you hear what we could not?
The strong secret pulse of the soft dew,
The fresh peerless morning, the plowed
Fields, the warmth of the blessing sun,
The cut wheat, the lovely shimmering of
The leaves, the bright moss on wet stone,
The grey mist hanging over the old snow
You voiced and told with skin and wood.

How could a flame so pure consume the
Candle? Tell me youth and joy in making
Are enough to stun time and free us from
The ticking clock of flesh. I will not believe
Age and sickness ravaged you though I saw
Them with my eyes. You will always be on
Scorsese’ stage, in your Woodstock barn,
Before us swirled in beat and harmony,
Songs intensely blue like a summer sky,
Luminous, invincible.

Thanks to Referential Magazine for publishing Levon Helm.

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“The Money Girls” | Poem

The Money Girls

Beauty is marketing to the
Money girls and they spend
With lavish precision because
Big dreams need big budgets.

Seal-sleek hair, shinning pumps,
Pearl earrings, suit and skirt,
All elegance and no sex they
Interrogate their prey with
Smooth questions; and when

Your answers satisfy they slide
Their treasured secrets from
Leather cases softer and more
Durable than flesh, click-clasp,
Showing what you long to see:
MBAs and GPAs, KPIs and ROIs.

Will they be content after they
Eat the world and don’t grow fat?
Will work and reward fill the void
Or just gild it over? I can’t say, but

The money girls will spend their youth
In acquisitive pursuit, and if those years
Go to hard waste, they can’t buy them back.

Published in the Fall 2014 edition of Apeiron Review.

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“Down the Shore” | Poem

I’d say we drowned the voice of
The deep Atlantic in Katy Perry.

Or banished mystery with
Mini golf and Skee ball.

Or caught chaos in a box and
Turned it into taffy for children.

But the truth is the ocean
Tamed herself: salt-sweet,

Warm as milk, and lolling up to
Lick our hand like a friendly dog.

Thanks to Philadelphia Stories for publishing “Down the Shore” in 2014.

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