Claim Check

From the collection Picture Making, published 2017. The three photos served as the inspiration for the poem. For more information, look here.



Claim Check

The claim check lay on the sidewalk
plastered into the concrete
soft and flat in the rain. I bent to retrieve it but
my fingers could not pry it up
without tearing it. I left off trying.
I was just curious. The rain fell. I waited
for the traffic light to change
watching car after car
make a right turn on red
in front of the
no right turn on red
sign. I didn’t have much interest
in the law-breaking but it was
something to look at. I thought about
paper in the rain.
Paper in all the notebooks I have filled
in my lifetime. I thought about
some person some time
cracking open one of these notebooks
in the rain
catching sight of the scrawled words
slamming it shut
but not before a rain drop or two
rolled down the pages to the spine
wetting the ink and softening my words
so that they couldn’t be picked up
and claimed.

2/29/16 for 2/25/16


Really Nothing Much

Really Nothing Much

I sit by the extra-large-letting-in-natural-light
plate glass window
on the second floor of the building
looking out at the sky taking in the scene of
nothing much
except for
three bicycles tethered to the rack over there
in the snow
waiting out the weather

Bike Race in the City small

“Bike Race in the City”, 2006, mixed media.

Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 8

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

At Montco’s Brendlinger Library today, February 22, and a gray dark morning with a light sprinkle of rain, more coming. On the way, Ambler, PA:

Montco 2-22-#1009

February 22.

Yesterday’s weather was April-like; today we are back to February, though a nice mild day – in the 40’s F. I’ll take it.

I settled down on the main floor. The library seemed quieter than usual; was I early? I wondered, but no, it was a little before nine AM, my usual time. I got things set up.

Montco 2-22-#6004

I found a table with an outlet below it. My plug sits down here and watches everyone’s feet amid the forest of chair legs and table supports. Interesting way to spend a day, on the floor under a table?

All right. The poetry part. I continued my experiment in editing poems at an earlier time – I did it at home yesterday. As I’ve said, I’m inching toward expansion of poetry sessions.

Today I wrote new poems; added to my artist sketchbook project; worked on a Minuscule; and of course did Little Vines. Let’s get to the poems.

I saw this scene on my way to the library today.

Flat composition sky
wash gray monochrome
matte black crow drawing a line across
horizontal slight slant downward and left
wings extended himself a series of triangles
skinny strong legs bent V-shape
toes flared out
big personality thrown in with a bold brush

A couple of poems for my small artist sketchbook in progress.


Her grim face
but it doesn’t mean
just wet feet
small brown dog barks big happy
forget those wet feet


Montco 2-22-#8002


makes words and those words
lining up
grow into green sentences
good and true and strong


Montco 2-22-#9001

I like to do crossword puzzles. Here is a poem inspired by a recent effort.


Crossword puzzle.
I get out my pen.

I love the world
a new puzzle brings along
the words bumping up against each other
fallen in with each other
passengers pushing on to the bus
heedless of order and
they make their order
uncover it
hit upon it
in the lines of

Suitable orbs, those corpuscles, and
Saviors sauté in muscle shirts
Do you need a voucher for this lei?
OPEC on tap for your automobile
Sassy pliers ski the Sinai
Icepack Violet, roller derby star.
Obfuscation ruined the vista
but spared the icing on the Alp.
The tureen caters
the leader is partisan
Julius Caesar drives a Cajun Acura
Anton Tuscaloosa and Luna Larue visit
their aristocratic cousin, Ascot Santana.

Across and down
streets of this town
traffic streams past
Stand at any intersection
stick out your hand
holding a pen
Catch a ride

Montco 2-22-#7003


Now, Little Vines.

when you leave well-enough alone
the fading truth
cannot extinguish the denial

sure let’s tell a few jokes the boss said
as much as you don’t want to hear them
Let’s get familiar with exploitation

here it is, a decision to make
you have everything but a sink full of soapsuds
and you want that too?

my anti-fatigue strategies:
unstoppable house-cleaning
never answering the phone

are you ready to forgive yourself
accept things as they are
steer yourself back home?

ease out into the traffic
streets washed by the blue moonlight
it’s late it’s maybe too late

sure, all dancers are agile
I’m a human being not a lizard

a creative person
doesn’t reject those purple thoughts
sews them into a slinky evening dress instead

all I know is never become a spider
unless a mincing hurried shuffle
comes naturally to you

I’m repentant
I still have a human soul
running out of time just like you

egalitarian foolishness in the office
what is the world coming to
when we all have cubicles of the same size?

what other syllables will I speak
when the rhythms call my name
and the leaves blow in the breeze?

salty language
from the kindergarten class
learning to tie their shoes


Thank you for reading! See you next time.

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From Look Winter in the Face, 2015.


Dig up the pink rosebush that won’t bloom
because of the fungus that won’t go away
No matter how many summers we wait
it will not change it will not bloom
The tiny pink buds will turn
black and then brown-dry
then papery-beige
and peel
in one day.
I have seen it.
The thorns are all this bush has left
and it is not enough.

Red Roses small

“Red Roses”, fabric wall hanging, 1999.


From the collection Look Winter in the Face, 2015.


Throw out the dead flowers.
The water in the vase is smelling
and nothing will put back
the petals that have dropped all over
the dining room floor.
Those pink flowers
Remembering them
that’s where we are now.
Throw out the dead flowers.

Bee and Black-eyed Susan 7-17 small

Bee and flower, 2017.