Talked Into

From Catch Up With Summer, published in 2015.

Talked Into

We took a lot of pictures on vacation
looked at them over and over after we got home
and after a while
forgot the vacation and reminisced the photos.
Did you ever do that?
Brainwash yourself
I mean.

Miles of Ocean and Sky small

“Miles of Ocean and Sky” – collage – 2001 (?)

 

Testimony

From Catch Up With Summer, published in 2015.

Testimony

The sky darkens.
It’s only three o’clock in the afternoon
so I assume the promised thunderstorm
is arriving. Just as I form the thought
the sky opens and the rain
pours. I’m pleased to have assessed things so neatly.
People caught walking on the sidewalks are soaked
The swimmers at the pool have been whistled out.
The sound of the drops
against the window is enjoyable but
I’m not fond of the thunder
and the lightning
outright frightens me.
A typical storm on a summer afternoon
One of the many
that I have experienced over my life
Pleasingly routine.
That is my report. Let me know
if you need further information.

March Rainstorm small

“March Rainstorm”
collage
I made this piece almost 20 years ago. These houses stood at the bottom of the hill on my street and I looked over the fence into their back yards on a stormy day.

 

Uncage Them

From Catch Up With Summer, published in 2015.

Uncage Them

Please don’t shut the curtains
because as flimsy as they are
they are too confining
for me to manage
today
what with my thoughts flying around like a bird.
In fact, take them down, please
Let all the air and light in
that can fit through that far-too-small rectangle
in the wall.
Or, what about this idea – forget all of it
I’ll just go outside
and see if the sky is big enough
for those birds

Clay Tile - Bird Hopping Along 2012 small

Clay Tile –  Bird hopping along, 2012

Separation of Secret and Handshake

From Spring Cleaning, published in 2015.

Separation of Secret and Handshake

The sign on the door says
Not An Exit. Alarm Will Sound.
But people have been going in and out all morning
and no alarm and it certainly looks like an exit.
I have the uneasy sense of not being chosen.
The secret is not for me to know.
I can’t work out what the password is
or the special ritual
the signal
the open sesame
everyone is using.
Look, there goes another man right out that door.
Somehow
I am sure that if I try
Alarm Will Sound.

“Nothing Stays Secret Around Here”, 2013.

Twist That Dial

From Spring Cleaning, published in 2015.

Twist That Dial

It’s just possible
that time travel to the past
isn’t achievable after all and I can’t
go back to the moment
where things went off the rails
if I could even find it.
But I have continued to operate as if
I could
find it and return to it
and
it has occurred to me my efforts
would be better turned to
focusing on time travel in the other direction
which is occurring without any effort on my part
and could get me somewhere
so much more easily and quickly.

Yes an Intrusion

From Look Winter in the Face, published in 2015.

Yes an Intrusion

Your mind is such an open place
the clean shelves labeled organized
and dust-free
so sensible
so restfully straightforward
all items arranged in alphabetical order
and so I
never wanted you to step in my front door stumbling over
the jam-packed containers lids not quite fitting
or to know about
the storage locker I’m renting for my extra thoughts
thrown in there any old way and in such a jumble.
But
well
now that you’re here
Come on in.

In the end, our minds are the most powerful forces on earth, I think.

“Divided Mind”, acrylics, 2008.

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

Temporary Clarity

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

 

Temporary Clarity

This moment when you are seeing right through
the disarray
the noise
the distractions
You look straight through today and into beyond
Nothing stops your eye. Your ideas are cut apart
and distinct. There is
no ambiguity about them.
They are hard. They fit together.
They stand clear of each other.
The corners turn smoothly and flow into the straight.
The clock has stopped.

The clock ticks.
The paper crumples. The water spills.
The road bends.
The clothes wrinkle.
Disorder springs forward and leaps up
and so you iron faster. You press the clothes and you
look for the ideas in the steam rising from the clothes
You’re not giving up.

2/23/16 for 2/18/16

Haiku 332, 333, 336, 339

Decisions.

332.
the earthbound man walks
on a distant curving road
the bird flies straight home
10/20/17

333.
green leaves now brown-tipped
the wind reminds tree branches
loosen hold let go
10/20/17

336.
Expensive choices
the river took hold of me
I let myself swim
11/1/17

339.
sadness turn away
please don’t come looking for me
mind your own business
11/2/17

Vault Needed

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

Vault Needed

I found a jar with a lid. The lid was a tight fit
too right for what I wanted. I wanted
secure but not impossible to infiltrate. A short-term domicile
only. I found
a paper bag
with no lid, of course, but
already starting to fill up with trash
too wrong for what I wanted. You should not
throw money away. All I wanted was
to find
somewhere to put this twenty-dollar bill
before I lose it and before you say it
No
I can’t tell you where my wallet is
right now and you know
what happens when you put money in your pants pocket
because sooner or later you’ll wash those pants and
that twenty dollars will be laundered into
another’s account
if you use the apartment building’s washing machines
like I do.

1/31/16