Inside the Dipper and the Inch to Polaris


On a carpet of tall grass floating
I extend my arm and measure
the minute intervals with finger-span
and am amazed at the size of the Earth,
how gigantic I am in this compact universe.
The night sky constricts like last year’s tee shirt.

Next month I’ll have chocolate cake,
turn five,
and start Kindergarten.

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is space.  Specifically, a small space.

Stolen Moment

Ty Cobb Sliding into Third Base

Charles M. Conlon / Sporting News Archive via Getty Images


the great
Cobb steals
third evermore
the baseline
judge blurs
focused as he is on the call
stasis forever
dynamic explosive
still that haunts
dramatic moment
that breathes
still we are
too colorized
to relive the moment that lives
meditate on it hold

Faced with two challenges — NaPoWriMo wanted us to write a poem of ekphrasis (I’m leaving out the medieval marginal stuff, but, you know…), and the barkeep at dVerse Poets Pub gives us the Quadrille, using the word still.

Quadrille #31

Dull Ache – Sharp Jolt

Is it safe

from the movie Marathon Man

Backscattered echoes
of words casually tossed,
emotions impacted –
the enamel is eaten
through, and the nerve pulses
hotly – torment
me to write.

A root canal of the psyche; drill
deeply into the chagrined
flesh.  Eliminate the offense,
or at the very least, expose

How do we paint our obsession?  Our need to write… whether poetry, fiction, commentary… whatever?  I can’t speak for others.  I feel the necessity to write as keenly as I have felt (God help me) a toothache.  It’s not quite air.  Closer to chocolate, actually.

Leaves Me Wanting


photo by Charley

Voluminous read
Between my hands
Why not more concise?

Greedy excess
The book store
Can’t make a choice

 It is a horrible addiction.  You cannot sympathize if you don’t have the habit.  Fortunately, I am one of the few who actually read (most of) the books I buy.  At least… the ones that don’t lose my interest about two thirds of the way through.

This is my double Elevenie for NaPoWriMo 2017.


Great Blue

Photo by Charley

Furrows grow
along the hillside
in layers horizontal.
They will hold
the rain, the soil.

Our garden is set to feed
the family and friends that gather.

The she-wolf only takes
what she requires for her and her cubs.
Never have rabbits… nor eagles
biggie-sized their meals.

Squirrels distain cling-wrap.

While legions strive
the virtues and evils
surrounding oil transport
over and against
lithium strip-mining,
we ride out bikes out
into the countryside to enjoy
the rejuvenation that comes
from rubbing shoulders with the dwindling….

For Earth Day and NaPoWriMo 2017.


Great Uncle Judd

My great uncle Charles Judson Fuller

Trained a bison
to be a nice’un.
Rode the bison
over a herd of bison
from Sioux Falls
to the big shouldered
city.  Who ever heard
of a herd being herded
by a man on a bison?  How

True story.  This is Judd Fuller: Cowboy and circuit preacher.  I met him when he showed up unexpectedly at my grandparents farm.  He was in his nineties, tall and lean, and wearing a sharply tailored Western suit.  He roared up in a fire engine red Oldsmobile 4-4-2 convertible.  For two days I was given a taste of the Old West.  He taught me to shoot a six gun.  He told me to seek the answers to the questions I asked him in the Bible.  Then he drove off in a cloud of dust.

He really did ride a bison over a herd of bison.  Family mythology also has it that he toured with Buffalo Bill’s show on their last days.  But you know how families can be….

dVerse is having a postcard poetry night.

Swan Sang


Photo: Tom Berthiaume

In early January of 1972, the poet John Berryman jumped to his death off the Washington Avenue Bridge – the upper deck of which serves as the pedestrian walkway between the West Bank and East Bank campuses of the University of Minnesota.  Seventy feet below the structure, the Mississippi River slumbered under ice.  Although I grew up living in Minneapolis, news of his death eluded my attention.

Two years, eight and a half months later I made my maiden excursion across the Washington Avenue bridge, stopping midway to look over the railing and watch as a portion of the Golden Gopher crew team rowed out from the shadow of the bridge, a cross between a water boatman insect and a centipede.  I would discover I was at approximately the place where the poet and professor ended his stay on earth.  I never really understood suicide; certainly never understood the motivation to jump.  Often the question of death, of suicide came up amongst my fellow students.  Filled with beer and early twenties angst, the conversation would turn to, “Have you ever considered…?”  Most often I would smile and say, “I’m more likely to kill you…!”  We would laugh, continue shelling peanuts, scattering the husks on the floor, and move on to the struggles of writing.  Or of dating.

On the spring of my senior year, the Mississippi crawled up out of its bed – a gnarled, angry creature poked to vengeance by a heavy snow melt and heavy rains.  Crossing the Washington Avenue Bridge was not a problem.  The river below was deep always, and did not flow over any terrain.  I walked the long way home down the St. Paul side of the river, and crossed on the downstream side of the Ford Parkway Bridge.  Just below the bridge is Lock and Dam Number 1.  The river was up and over the dam, the water raging, pulling.  As I began to cross, I felt the pull.  I heard… no, felt in the flood waters, the thrilling pull that spoke to something deeply hidden within me.  It took me nearly twenty minutes to walk the bridge, holding to the railing, staring at the walkway.

One never knows what
Ice for the poet failing
Flood that sobered me


It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub, and our bartender is keeping a tab of our fears: What I would like for us to write about today is fear and how we overcame it, how something frightened us, how something still frightens us. So please, write about something real that actually frightens or frightened you. It can be as simple as the nightmare you had last night or something as complex as phobias – insects, being outside, cats, black cats, dogs, chickens, red cars, the number 13….It can be as simple as walking home in the dark one night and all the night sounds around you. It can be as complex as being afraid someone you love will die. Fears are often not logical. But then, neither is joy! I mean, why should a butterfly make me smile but frighten another person into gibberish? I do not pretend to know.