Monthly Archives: March 2011

Not so different

It’s all very mysterious
how things work inside molecules,
the clusters of grapes and cherries
surrounding an unseen core.

Whether hidden bonds elongate or contract,
whither severing or uniting,
-with sounds of conception and formation-

there must be rules governing
their creation and future collaborations.

Or they could be tenets of faith,
-just like when
daffodils lean into the sunlight,
lovers linger in a first kiss,
or songs echo in cathedral rafters.


Eavesdropping in the produce section,
I overheard an Asian grandmother
and her grand-daughter discussing
how to julienne carrots for stir-fry.

She said that this careful cutting
takes time, but the vegetable
remains firm and crisp
in the prepared dish,

It will not cook away too much
Or soften in harsh heat

Another day, I walked past two men.
The elder man,
was explaining carciofi
to the younger man, a teen,
and how the artichoke
should be carefully prepared.

Strip away
the rough exterior leaves,
to reveal the soft, white interior for cooking.

The substance lies on the inside.

Different cultures.
Different foods.
Elders instructing the young,
there is significance to preparation.

Poet Biographies

The milk and eggs
on the shopping list
are not ornate, but necessary.

The last bits of snow and ice
that hide in shadows and ditches,
like glacial remnants,
melt slowly to feed the fingerlakes
and other tributaries.


In a basket of copper coins,
a quarter sits wedged,
ridge to surface,
but will be plucked out
and placed with others
of its own kind
for snacks, laundry
and games of chance.


The door latch clicks
on the sliding glass door
to the back porch,
but she stills sees
the stack of opened mail on the kitchen counter
and the half-finished cup of ginseng tea.

Perhaps, when I speak a name

Mine is like the rain,
as it hits panes of glass
with taps and ratamacues.
Filling the world with noise,
drops thin out to coat the façade
of bended light and twisted landscape.

Hers is like gently falling snow,
as whispered from a warm, moist maw
into the cold.
When we speak a lover’s name,
flecks linger in the still air,
even past the time when we speak it
over and again.

They hoard space and hold fast
to the distal points of sticks and stems
and gather in the recesses of window frames.

A Hand to Bukowski

I was dreaming about smoky rooms
and back stairwells, when
the ghost of Charles Bukowski
woke me up at 2:15 AM
and said,
“Help me write this poem.”

I rolled over and reached out in disbelief,
and I swear, I could have touched him,
but he turned
and left the room.

I swung my legs out of bed
and followed him to the kitchen.table.
He was drinking a cup of coffee
and mumbling to himself, doodling
on a napkin.

“I never wrote a poem about polar bears.”

Why does it have to be polar bears? I asked.

He wrote down that sentence.

What do you know about polar bears? I asked.

“Nothing,” he said and continued
to scribble and recite,

“Damned polar bears in zoos
have it good.
Their keepers throw them fish.
Bears eat.
Bears sleep.
Bears screw.
Nobody throws Chinaski a fish,
And they gawk at me all day.”

I left him at my kitchen table
with his head in his hands,
smoking a cigarette,
and mumbling to himself.

I faded off to sleep,
and dreamed of polar bears.

Bukowski is a lousy muse.