A Poem in Retrospect

I have a poem that I think is great — almost. Except for the last line:

Deep Touch

He took me on a tour of the city –

tumbling water and greenbelts

and always, always the wind fluttering flags

in concrete forests. Over coffee at Timmy’s,

he said he craved deep touch,

choirboy eyes showing bleak around the edges.

I asked him how that worked,

nervously eyeing the billowy bed

which whispered raw suggestions in my mind.

He crawled onto the comforter,

A wild brilliant bird. He whispered,

“Wrap yourself around me.” So I did.

I buried my face in midnight hair, and pulled

my arms around his chest — warm, warm

with muscles steel potential under his skin.

He took my hand in his and placed it

over his heart. I felt wind fluttering flags

in a concrete forest inside me.

I dreamed the bird revealed himself in my arms –

A rising phoenix, poised for flaming flight,

melting the tall city buildings in the night.

Without the weight of concrete, I, too, could fly

with wings made up of flags and colorful banners,

with the song I had lost as a child.

Five or more years after I wrote it, I think the last line is disingenuous and a copout. Maybe even everything after “Melting the tall city buildings in the night” is disingenuous and a copout. I begin to think so. The poem is about noise and silence and don’t forget sex.

Let me know what you think

A poem for COVID-19 and ten inches of snow

I don’t write poems as much as I used to, mostly because I’ve gotten to an impasse with poetry. I know from experience submitting poems that my poems don’t quite have what it means to be great, and I don’t seem to be able to figure out what they are missing. I also think they’re too short compared to modern poetry. But here’s a depressing poem for today:

A glimpse out the window
at blasted apple blossoms
and snowfall blotting out
the first green of spring
and the doors barred
to keep contagion out —
the world could end
with an ellipse
at the end of a message


Mother Magpie leads me
past sere cornfields and buried bones
to the place where people say their goodbyes. 
There we eulogize the man
whose fireplace we huddled by,
who shone light in our dark corners,
and we leave that place with light in our pockets
to bring to others.

Feeling a little outspoken today

My God speaks to me in birdsong,
In waves of grass,
Rustling leaves,
And a feather falling to ground.
You speak for your God
In booming voices,
Condemning your lost children,
The ones you yourselves have cast out.
You say your God will love me
If I do what you say –
But what does God say?
I cannot hear him from your yawping.

Chasing the Muse

My muse appears, elusive in the street,
skipping through foot traffic, disappearing
in the crowd. The chase begins again
at the edge of the forest where the light
through the branches conceals. I never
touch his arm, he never kisses me, we do not
ever meet.

A poem from the book I’m editing

I’m taking a quick pass through one of the books I’ve neglected before Camp Nano — July session happens. This might be my most transgressive poem — something about the mud ..

I don’t know whether I want to hold you
Till I feel your heart in my chest,
And we entwine like the Trees,
Or mate with you
In the mud, in the rain, in plain sight.
Either way, we become something new.


Tell me a story
in a vaulted cathedral at midnight,
give me your story
as the flood roils down the creek,
tell me more
in a pasture turned minefield,
I’ll hold your secret
in the silence of the eye of the storm.