In a Maze of Lives

From the collection published in 2020, Use All Your Eyes to See.

In a Maze of Lives

The place is haunted
good chance for a little detective work
said the skinny sleepwalker
deep in a dream of a tottery four-story house
where he once spent a week when he was seven
He opened the closet door
began rearranging
the shelves of his wife’s shoes
opening the lid of each shoebox
peering into the haunted darkness
occasionally lifting out a shoe by its heel and sniffing


A Few New: Tanka 253, 254

Here are a couple of short poems I wrote today. I feel a bit groggy after my second vaccine shot yesterday and that prompted me to write a couple of poems about the idea of being groggy and dreams and lying on the sofa. Which is something I hardly ever do. Lie on the sofa and doze, I mean.

I hope tomorrow to be back in action. Anyway, here were are for this week.

Gosh, I hope I counted the syllables right.

Tanka 253

In a dull headache
I lie on the gray sofa
I doze. Wake. Doze. Wake.
The promised rain does not fall.
Unrested, I cook dinner.


Tanka 254

Doze on the sofa
Dream the same sequence three times
The repetition
Does not make it real it does
not I tell you it does not.


The Prodigal Descendent Drops In

From the collection published in 2020, Use All Your Eyes to See.

The Prodigal Descendent Drops In

Leaned on the counter
a snag in her thin white sweater
paint-spattered hands
spread out flat
Hello, stranger
and I do mean stranger
Don’t call me by my nickname
Don’t ask how my cat is
and by the way he died
some time back.
Now get to the point
what is it that you want
or should I say
how much?


When It Was Almost Over

From the collection published in 2020, Use All Your Eyes to See.

When It Was Almost Over

It was the last time the left hand

catching a glimpse into the

the body in front of the bathroom mirror
put on notice
but trying not to answer

blackout poem (source? I didn’t record it) and then amended

Little Vines 4/13/21

New Little Vines. Here is this week’s array.

souls this morning on this earth
inhabitants of an immense prison
burned red by the frenzied sunrise

the mirror has been deactivated –
in other words
I dropped it on the tile floor. Oops.

Careful. If we were to fail
think of
all of that depravity wasted

an escape route
to my dreams –
the strength of a starry night

shoelace rum and green apple pie
fish in a gold daze swimming in the surf
how I long to be home again

you chose one of the two an hour ago:
or anonymous

the victim’s cornsilk hair
cut in a
neat pageboy hairstyle

I seriously doubt
he feared embarrassment
or in fact that he’d even heard of it

a funeral in this small sour rain
the aroma of a just-peeled tangerine
the soul walks away from the body

the pump of merry-go-round music
twirls the cotton candy machine
wraps the paper cone with a pink mist
carries the aroma to the highest seat on the Ferris wheel

prayers resented condolences rejected
I hated the old creep and
I am one-hundred percent glad he’s stone-cold dead

Did she really have such wrinkled old lace skin
Was her face this garish shade of sepia?
Wait. No. The photo is creased and
someone has spilled coffee on it.

Excuse me but I do not recognize this saint
stamping on a toothbrush in her fluffy neon slippers
that you have depicted so wonderfully in stained glass?

why am I traveling
into the mist
why do I enter this underwater countryside?

the sphinx
glowed purple in the haze
a stray dog barked once and was silent

the interior
of the eggshell
a purity

breathe in chlorine,
white Oxford cloth shirts,
immerse yourselves in the baptism of bleach
and be renewed.

His teeth. And a certain tell-tale pallor.
The bridegroom is a vampire.
A much more likely story than wedding jitters.
Has anyone mentioned it to Cheryl?

the waitress coughed
the mosquito hit the plate glass window
Recovered. Went for her fleshy upper arm.
Dishes hit the floor. Always even the score.

bodies jangle on the dance floor
the soles of their feet start to smoke
the disco ball glows grape and shatters


From the collection published in 2020, Use All Your Eyes to See.


The two of them
ran toward the solution
knocked heads
fell to the ground
Poor x and y
it never works out for them
I don’t know why they don’t say
we just can’t do this anymore


Surgical Consult

From the collection published in 2020, Use All Your Eyes to See.

Surgical Consult

A complex mathematical language
was brought into play
to explain
the expert care that ran to lots of zeros
none of them being at the front of the number
and you do understand the difficulties?
oh that’s good.
It’s nothing to worry about
It’s quite an ordinary situation
but not exactly
and wouldn’t it have been nice
if I’d brought the right parts with me

parts are always coming in late –
but I didn’t
I apologize, madam,
but your gall bladder
will be fine.
Just not today. Don’t worry.
I will be back with you
in four days
from next Monday. I promise.
Just relax in the waiting room.
The nurse will call you.


The Indications Are

From the collection published in 2020, Use All Your Eyes to See.

The Indications Are

Right this minute
I look at her and know:

She is twenty years old
Hair dyed matte-black
arranged Cleopatra-style
Evidencing a liking for body art
tight shorts
sugary coffee drinks
Can’t see a thing without her
au courant big-framed glasses and

no idea that
one day
not soon
but sooner than she thinks
She will be dyeing that hair
to cover up the gray
She will consider and reject
removal techniques
for the sagging and discolored tattoos
Out of lifelong habit
she will always buy her clothes a size too small
She will get reading glasses
and never know where they are.