The shrike strives to do me in


The shrike strives to do me in.
So much I see and hear pierces
me. And yet I wing to safer skies, preferring
to ignore the threat implied,
the burden-laden singing
of mocking birds of all bents.
Words of woe spoken,
words of disaster intoned,
notes of fear and terror trilled
into the evening air.

Once again I’ve evaded the barb.


Dear Poets who Write Open Letter Poems

I just wanted to use this moment to express my opinion
– in response to a daily prompt of which I am not fond –
of the writing of poetry in the guise of an open letter.
Let me start by saying that the form is trite, contrived.
While I believe, dear poets, that poets should be freed
to express themselves in whatever form they decide,
surely you must agree with me that cliché and hackneyed
are elements that reduce pure poetry to pop lyrics.
Allow me to add that the form causes one to be more
contentious, more prone to controversy than say
the villanelle, the English sonnet, and the haiku
…although perhaps we can agree an open letter
poem is preferable to the limerick (how many times
can you stand to hear rhymes based on Nantucket?).
Finally, I think you will agree with me, O kind poets,
that we can find better use for our muses and our
pains, desires, epiphanies, and philosophies than
can be found in the pedestrian open letter poem.

Yours truly,

Beneath It All

Beneath it all
I found a kernel of a poem buried
scratching, scraping
clawing its way through layers
of logic, reason, and prose
yearning to be felt
experienced on a subliminal level
hoping to excite
on a purely para psychological plane
orphaned thoughts
the force of emotion
memories of failures
and deeply lurid fantasies
that have remained buried
for oh these many years…

beneath it all

Feather Light

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout….

– King Lear, Act 3, Scene 2


Hurricane Matthew, skull shape

Earthbound I remain
though my thoughts and dreams
sometimes – no, often – soar
when even the slightest
storm breezes stir.

It’s hurricane season in Florida;
the height of the season
of unbridled convective chaos.
This time it’s Matthew who threatens.
Appropriate, since he is our first,
a new testament of hell-winds,
hail, storm surging waves –
tornad – ee – I – ee – oes.

Earthbound I remain.
Earthbound I hope to remain.
But who knows how I’ll take wing
when my thoughts and dreams
and the cyclone meet.