Haiku 707, Shadorma 211, Haiku 708

From Count Syllables on Your Fingers, the collection published in 2020.

Haiku 707

those ruined memories
so pungent so condensed so
likely to linger


Shadorma 211

What a phrase –
stalk the enigma –
Please! Must you
a bald meddling impulse with
curls and a dye job?


Haiku 708

abandoned secrets
auctioned off in whole box lots
picked over and stale


Oh Dear It’s Our Last Day of Vacation

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

Oh Dear It’s Our Last Day of Vacation

what started it I don’t know but
in saturated Technicolor style
one fine afternoon a fast car a choice of roads
and you took the one along the coast
one hand on the wheel and why not?
the afternoon is hard shadows and
straight at us sunshine what a day and
while you exclaim at what the car can do
I’ll show you some speed you say
I wonder if there is any chance
I could persuade you not to but
I lose the thought when
you slide into the hairpin turn
like the road was greased-up
with that suntan oil bottles and bottles
I’ve slathered on me and then
my purse slides out of my lap
the car bottoms out
we bounce in our seats
to the twang of shocked springs
and I think none of this can be good
for the poor car suspension and axles and so on
but it was not something I needed to worry about
in exactly that way as it turns out
You don’t seem to hear the screams
instead you point out the view
as we plunge over the cliff


Little Vines 5/10/21

This week’s Little Vines.

not a great combination in a family pet.

I laughed
crankily, cautiously, sour to the ear –
an untuned piano not played in years

Though I am now another self
how easily you will know me
even with your eyes closed

the herd of colorful umbrellas moved restlessly
a handful opened
just as the rain did not begin to fall

A craving for chocolate
does not go dormant just like that
I’ll give you the first piece of lemon cake
is not enough. Chocolate or nothing.

this is your nose
positioned at just the right angle
for you to look down it. How serendipitous.

very specific wishing
very little rejoicing very much

the fresh green didn’t return
it became the gray the mottled the dry
it all happened very quickly

the abrasive alarm clock
ignited the synapses of the sleeper
left him quarrelsome all day

Sign on the old beater: Hello and Approved and
make your neighbors jealous
when you drive up in this intoxicating beauty of
a great ride from Ultra-Very Multi-Pre-Owned Cars!

scrape it with your fingernails
the pale green underflesh
smells like calamity

splayed branches
I trace them on your palm
I feel compelled root and stem
to understand you

It’s not fine It never should’ve happened
she said, doing those eye somersaults she does
I knew she was angry, but this? I’m dead.

the naïve clouds
gape at the sly tricks the sun plays
never noticing what the wind is doing to them

In our corrosive little society
the bloat rains down on
roving herds that graze in blighted grass

so begins the novel. Nope. I throw the dystopia in the trash.

the fizzle of
the getaway car being parked in next to the fence
sort of cuts the high from robbing the bank

I babble in shorthand
My fractured sentences ramble and fail
My reflection mutters at me in the mirror.
Exam at nine. I should have studied more.

bicycles and dishrags and
insects and pearls and spoons and
one restless housefly looking for adventure
boarded the moving van

I hope you’re right the doll jeered
a cold-hearted choir singing in the background.
The rain pelted down. Gravestones tilted.
Shivers. More popcorn, please.

Yes! Stay a few nightmarish nights
here in our creepy town. Sleeplessness guaranteed.

Those saucy poltergeists at the inn sure know what sells.


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


Afternoon and
the sun fading in the sultry air
colors go flat
shadows drain away
birds quiet
in a surreptitious removal
you notice only when you shiver
in the cold breeze just sprang up
the impassive sky
giving up nothing except
the idea of a thin blue line
across the horizon
that as you watch
hurrying to spread out
stretch wide flow and fill
the blank and hard sky
the deep blue that holds the thunderstorm
until it can’t and
split by the first flash of lightning
spills over


Ward Off

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

Ward Off

And then everyone runs to the shopping center
a few steps ahead of the whirls and snarls of
the thing that’s chasing them. They pay the thing off
with the dollar bills curled at the corners
the fives and tens worn along fold lines
the creased and pleated too many times hours of their lives
that they dig out of pockets and purses
not expecting any change.


Gaps Enlarge Until They Overwhelm

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

Gaps Enlarge Until They Overwhelm

The strip center is seven storefronts
all occupied all businesses
struggling. Customers park their cars
out front. I have my choice of spots
the cracked asphalt a skin
fissured by lines of memory fate
history and the foretold future
like reading a work-worn palm
it’s more a story of the past than the future.
I hook a finger in each shoe
right where the Achilles tendon runs
when I am wearing them
these nice leather pumps
that need new heels.
I lead them into the quiet shop
stand them on the counter
before the wall of shelves
unfilled by pairs of the repaired
empty of what used to be
jumbled ranks of shoes
wrapped in brown paper ready for pick-up

the proprietor tells me
he can re-heel my shoes one more time
not because
that’s all they have left in them
but because
it’s all he has left in him.


Letter of Resignation

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

Letter of Resignation

Parted on bad terms.
Now on no terms
at all. The grief and sorrow
they fade but
the cruelty of the impersonal
this is what happened
is lived with every day.
What’s broken
stays broken.


A Few New: Call It A – What Exactly?; Shadorma 352; Next, Hail

Here are a few new poems from recent times.

Call It A – What, Exactly?

it has been four days
and the barflies
are starting to grumble
the janitor’s already measuring you
for a trash bag
Go home.



Shadorma 352

her footprints
in the wet cement
On small feet
every day
she skips alongside me though
she’s long since grown up



Next, Hail

Clouds move in mass up
One bold hard streak of lightning
fries the transformer

loud boom pop zzzt bzzz
There go the lights and there go
my nerves. Thunderstorm.

haiku chain

Small Encounter

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

Small Encounter

when no one spoke I asked again
is this a stop for the 42 bus
bumping umbrellas with two women
who were trying to share
a tiny black and pink spotted fold-up
that hadn’t expanded all the way –

poor thing with its broken rib –

and failing. Each woman stood half in the rain.
In disgust they looked at me
one hundred percent dry
under my enormous tent of plain blue umbrella.
I motioned them in.
We stood in a triangle facing the shaft
our backs to the rain
said the shorter woman
Thank you
said the older woman
Thank you
I said.
We listened
to the spatter of raindrops
on our shelter.
We waited
until the bus came.


Travel Axiom

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

Travel Axiom

Leave town
travel three hundred miles
a voice calls your name in a crowd
do you think it’s for you?
of course you don’t
but it is. Your trip ruined
just like that.