Dictator

From Generous With the Details, collection published 2017.

Dictator

The shirts piled in the laundry basket
Wrinkled. Each one according to
its own likes and dislikes
time spent in the dryer
and fabric content.
Get out the iron. Embark on
a purposeful removal
of some creases and
deliberate addition
of others. Create
a topography
distinguished by approved-only
landmarks. Flatten out
undesirable individuality.
Put away the iron.

11/15/16

Small Landscape #1 6-13 small

Postcard, acrylics, 2013.

Fend Off

From Generous With the Details, collection published 2017.

Fend Off

The angry getting in front of
the blue the yellow
the turquoise. The tense
fingers strangling the paintbrush.
The hand careless of what the paper is asking
Slapping at it
Knocking it unconscious
retaliating for hurts
it had nothing to do with. Things
have gone too far.

The angry
needs to be going away
Soon. The angry is
random reprisal
settling of scores
scattershot
off-target.
The angry hurts
what isn’t angry. Leading me
astray. Please
help me
finding my way back

to the blue the yellow
the turquoise
the healing away
of the
angry.

10/27/16

Landscape Dark fields turquoise rocks 11-15 small

Small landscape, 6″ x 6″, 2015.

Plein Air Composition

From Spring Cleaning, 2015.

Plein Air Composition

A lovely blue sky
Spring sky with a lot of open space and
accommodating two small clouds way off over there
Tiny, perfect, sunny-day clouds
suspended above the parking garage
where the cars peer out of the darkness
at the sunshine pouring down
in competition with the forsythia
planted along the bottom story
not quite covering the rust stains on
the concrete.

ATC yellow streak and scratches 3-18 small

Artist trading card, 2018.

Today We Discuss Role Models

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

 

Today We Discuss Role Models

I.
A truly functional object. The garbage truck.
Never mind its bright blue paint
its impossible-to-miss oversized barrel of a body.
Never mind the flashing light on the back
the mud flaps
the solid wave of diesel fumes
it sends over your car as you sit behind it at the traffic light.
It is not embarrassed to be hauling around
things that weren’t good enough for you to keep
potato-peelings
the plastic wrap you tore off the package of knives.

II.
A truly functional object. The green-painted mailbox.
Flag up, street number clearly visible as is required by the postal regulations
waiting for the messages from anyone anywhere
no matter what the content.
Messages that may not be good enough for you to keep
and may end up in the garbage. Nonetheless,
if you go to the mailbox
to find it empty, it is a disappointment to you.
None of this is the mailbox’s concern.

III.
A truly functional object. The ring bolt on the gatepost.
Partner to the chain that closes off the parking lot
at five o’clock in November, eight o’clock in July –
park hours being sunrise to sunset.
Impartial, the ring bolt does its job.
If you do not leave before the closing time
the ring bolt
will not worry about how you are going to get home
now that your car is penned behind the chain.

IV.
A truly functional object
has no ego
has no vanity
has dignity
is to be respected
is to be envied.
Take the time to do so.
Thank you.

11/17/15

Picnic

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

 

Picnic

The harsh clear light
and the sharp-edged shadows
work together. I find the handle of the faucet
set in the brick wall and
I turn it. I hold my hands in the stream of words and catch
this one, that one
I spear them with my pencil and set them aside
for later. I will fry them up, bake them, roast or sauté
these words, make a dish of something good,
something that will hold a person over
until the next meal comes along. I pack a lunch of words
and take it along with me
out into the tangled city, the acres
of brash color and crossing angles
the overload of sensations
the dazzle of stupidity
the footsore brain
All to be set aside as
I sit and savor the taste of the
words

11/9/15


Embers

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

 

Embers

Wrapped around in a loose coil
the afternoon suns itself
in a mild November way.

Luxuriate in the generosity of
the red leaves
piled in the gutter.
Relish the warmth. A day like this
in November
is unusual. Savor it.

Soon enough the shadows will bend over
and touch the ground
stretch themselves
until they are night
chilly and coming too soon
The sky unbroken dark and yet inside it
each red leaf
its own
bright
spark.

11/3/15

 

Transaction

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

 

Transaction

The façade of the house
is as blank as
a face determined to see past you.
The front door
is shut tight
and layered over by a metal barred gate-door.
The kind of set-up you see
wherever people feel afraid of
who might knock.

Here at this house
you stand on the tiny concrete stoop.
You knock.
You have the
feeling
a spotlight is shining on you
though it’s broad daylight. You squint
in the glare of the scrutiny you know
is coming at you
from the other side of the door.
You knock again. It’s me, you say,
voice raised to show no menace.
Let me in
I’ve brought the groceries
you wanted.
You hear what you expected to hear:
Leave them on the porch
Leave them.

You set the bags down
There are only two of them.
Lighter
you step away from the door
your shoes making no sound as you
move down the street
wearing a blank face.

10/1/16 

On the Outskirts

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

 

On the Outskirts

Cold in rings stacked around my ankles,
the water surrounds my skinny bird legs
covers up my long narrow feet.
Easy to see, those feet are
I watch them
stepping along the muddy bottom of the creek
but they might as well be on the moon.
The world below the water’s surface
is a dream
Wading is practical
because I need to breathe.
The river is private property
reserved for residents and that will never be me.
That this rock under my foot
can survive in a place that will kill me and a rock
that doesn’t even have a brain to have figured it out
it just sits in the water and
lets the water flow over
lets itself get smoothed out and
the wrinkles vanish
opposite of me whose wrinkles
proliferate. No, I’m earthbound like that tree on the bank
split by a storm
bent over splinters sticking up
taking my time to disintegrate.
My roots are sunk in the mud
but still

I like to think
at least they are drinking the same cold water
as this that the creek
swirls around my bird legs
wading.

9/6/15

Catered

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

Catered

The shopping center.
A rectangle of
Selections
arrayed on a black asphalt tray.

The car repair shop.
A pink stucco cube
three sections cored out
stuffed with a car
in the cavity on the far left
The others left plain.

The landscape.
Shimmering in the late summer sun
baked solid with a greasy crust.

9/5/15