Monday, December 8, 2014

Hard Scrabble

kneading under umber moon
this torpid eve-dusk

morning, sharp and spry
we chew our fruited baked rusk


This is a Coin poem I wrote a year or two ago. 

A coin poem comprises: 

  • a rhyme pattern of a-b c-b or a-a b-b
  • two stanzas of two lines each stanza
  • syllable count of 7 & 5 per stanza
  • the content should be a like coin, opposing ideas juxtaposed against one another

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Twenty Questions for Ego

1. Who gave you your nickname? 2. Does it still fit? 3. How has your identity evolved over the past five years? 4. Do you feel you belong to an identifiable community or do you fly solo? 5. Which caresses your ego more: flattery or affirmation?  6. When was the last time you took a bath? 7. Have you ever foraged for mushrooms? 8. Did you find a Destroying Angel? 9. Did you taste it? 10. In your theology, does grace have meaning? 11. Should it? 12. Why didn’t your parents name you Chris? 13. If your name is Chris, wouldn’t you rather be Gene? 14. How old were you when you spied your first gray hair? 15. If no gray hair yet, when do you anticipate going bald? 16. Do you find life is one impossible question after another? 17. Have you ever free-associated with the word “hinge?” 18. What about free-based? 19. On a jejune note, do your socks match? 20. Why is that?

--a prompt from Jim Moore

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


This is how death looks:
on Earth, a beginning and
an end.
But from the top of the sky,
it's a circle.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Bless me Father, for I have sinned
Five years since my last confession
Envy, anger, my transgressions
Of my faults, with haste rescind
But there’s a fault, unfairly pinned
It was not due to indiscretion
Bless me Father, for I have sinned
Five years since my last confession
On Baltic Sea, of clothes, I skinned
In frigid waters, I was freshened
There’s joy indeed, free of possession,
Not a stitch I wore nor was chagrined
Bless me Father, for I have sinned
Five years since my last confession

Friday, September 5, 2014

Little Story about Susie and Dar

The girls were bored and at a loss
To find a treat that did not cost
An arm, a leg, no more a dime
They chose confectionary dross

They pulled two nickels from the grime
And gave them to the clerk part-time
He took the coins, he let them drop
Into the drawer, like bells they chimed

The girls ran from the candy shop
Their hearts aglee with what they'd got
Susie reached in, to her surprise
A fist of icky greenish glop

Back to the store with angry eyes
The girls cried foul, they did despise
Their hopes of candy were not met
The clerk endured their cruel chastise

When Susie said, "You are in debt!"
The clerk's raised brows began to sweat
"Please, Miss, you see, I didn't mean,
to cause you all of this upset."

Miss Sue, she counted to fifteen
Then calmly said, "What do you mean?"
The clerk, named Dar, a smile spread
On lips up to his eyes of green

I found your face, your golden head
Your lilting voice and what you said
It charmed me so, I wanted more
I tried to speak, my voice, it fled

The trick I used, I do deplore
I never meant to make you sore
If you'll forgive, let’s make a plan
To quell our silly little war

Miss Sue, she liked this scheming man
She asked her friend, "Oh, please, Dianne,
If you would hasten to my house
And straighten up the white divan

Dianne, all-knowing, did not grouse
She promptly scampered like a mouse
She cleaned the couch, and baked some bread
She hoped the two, they would espouse

Which they did, in weeks, were wed
Their love it tied a tidy thread
But when Dar makes a sweetened sauce
Sue fears something else instead!


This Rubaiyat, a Persian-form of poetry, first appeared in, April 2013

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Panning for Staurolites

We hunted for Fairy rocks on the Mississippi river bank
today. Water over Blanchard Dam crashed upriver,
cicadas droned in their torpor of late day heat.
My cheeks rosied-up without my straw hat,
and despite our modest success, my son
sat on a jutting rock, marked by indifference.

When a boy nears his 15th year, indifference
might as well be capitalized. His father, but a bank
and chauffeur, his mother, even less, a son’s
embarrassment. But we paddle forth on this adolescent river
of hormones and hope for the best. Hang on to your hat,
chuckles Grandpa, that boy’s burning heat.

When Grandpa was 15, WWII heated
the air. His parents doffed their different-
sounding German accents, wore their hats
low. At night, Mutti would pull shades, bank
the fire, make the sign of the cross while the river
took her eldest son away to the coast. Her son

vowed to aim low in case the enemy was the son
of her sister still in Berlin. Then lightning heats
the air and Grandpa sighs remembering the river
that took his brother away returned an indifferent
shell of a man who could only put money in the bank,
no treasure in his heart, who kept his hat

on his head when Old Glory waved. His hat
on his head, whispered Mutti, tears for her lost son
who came home from Paris like a 1930’s banker’s
book, closed and beaten, an indifferent
man. Yellow chin of a Blanding’s turtle flashes in the river

next to the rock where my son sits, Upriver,
a cacophony of gulls call; one swoops the hat
off an old man’s head. Hey, he cries, but it is indifferent
to our protestations, all a superfluous chatter, assonance
without meaning. Our feet blue, we seek the heat
of our dry socks and shoes lying on the bank.

Pascal insisted that a river made no difference
On either side of the bank, a man still wears a hat
And a son still grows up to pack heat in wartime

Friday, July 25, 2014


Warm milk might soothe unless it’s sour
Likewise hands and fingers know
The tempestuous ridge of your brow
Icy palms induce your stern glower

This eggshell floor that on knees I scour
With dainty brush to elicit glow
To your ego, I daily kowtow
Genuflect to your stony tower

But what if I saw my reflection
Exclaimed in an unconscious voice
Who’s that sniveling pathetic creature
Without a map and no direction?
Would I recognize my choice
Could I be my own good teacher?