No Real Reflection On Me — a poem


photo by Charley


I have taught
my morning mirror to lie;
a sidelong glance,
a winning smile —
“Goodbye.  Adieu!”
My day is dressed
and all my success
is ensured
by my deceiving eyes.

But the camera,
the webcam,
my cellphone selfie —
like a vampire
I’ll not reflect
on them
and their persistent truths.

Tonight I’ll bear
the inner image
to heart.
Tonight I’ll rest,
get an early start, having
breakfast, coffee,
and my morning lie.

No, We Can’t Dance Together — a poem of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, April 2020

We focus on the sunlight, water
out our back French doors, inviting

us to break the stay-at-home order.
Shore birds, vultures, the Kingfisher

risk arrest, go about their business;
it’s not as bad as it seems. Flowers

on red and blue Passions proliferate,
a Hibiscus shows flippant disregard.

*  *  *

What will it take to shake
us out of our cave of safety —

a dearth of wine, farewell
to the last few sheets, need
for animal protein on the grill?

We were unnerved when gloves
on our hands we seen as crazed,

paranoid — but now being unmasked
is considered next to suicidal.

Our grandparents and before
them, generations learned
what separates want from need,

and how to do without — to live

*  *  *

A Great Blue is settled, focused
on the tiny fish but a few weeks

hatched. Softback turtles bask
in sunlight that seems to carry

a taint that I wasn’t sensible
of at the start of March — March,

that sidled in so unassuming.
We have another month inside,

or more… or more. An angry
pair of Jays are harassing

one of many Red Shouldered
Hawks. We, for comfort’s

sake, name them Reggie.
We stay at home, sipping

Sangria, toasting our health.

The Sand a Boundary for the Sea — a poem

“I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.”

— Jeremiah 5:22 (NIV)


this is not the angel of death we face
who holds sway is but a spectre of fear
we who prefer to huddle in flock or herd
have been culled out, separated and this
oh this is our emotional ruin

too long we have trusted in our safety
so that now we fall easily into blind terrors
our minds are unused to life saving tracks
so we run, we gather, we hoard — our peril
rests, resides in that to which we now turn
not the Mystery, the Other; one who sees all

abase yourselves in your self-held knowledge
run askance before the cryer’s clarion call
fear, fear! panic and despair, children and fools!
Who then is hope for?



Losing Our Patina — a poem

This path is so lovingly tended,

                                    slopes –

not much effort
required on our beautiful stroll.

            A paved
                        surface smooth 
                                    beneath our feet.

            A shaded
                        canopy, green

I stalk through the aisles angry;
people do not think — “Distance!”
Stripped shelves, fear-bound
humanity hoarding; rude herd
creatures, ruminating in front
of the dairy case — I cough
my “excuse me.” Stampede.
I am the grey wolf seeking
a weakened elk in the herd.
Laughing, I leave the grocery
little better than I came; empty.

The boardwalk needs repair.

            We are consigned
                        to cross
                                                ground unaided.

            Paths overgrown,

Now is not the time to walk,
but to head home —



Peace Time — a poem

© 2019 Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos, courtesy Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris

“…on the barb of time.”

— Ezra Pound, Canto V

below middle C a steady rhythm steadies
tunes my ache
to saline drip
not pushed
half time quarter time barbed time
week     wreaked

now undone
one steady beat
birds flick from white key to black again peace

the piece plays along synopses
down along the chords tuned
sharp too sharply it plays
hammers dampened
keyed back to perfect
pitch rain drops
on the grand
beads on black lacquer caught
in spotlight reality
the hush rushes over the faceless crowd
and I am left
to drown under the unwritten notes.

— listening to Bill Evans, Peace Piece

High-Strung and Flimsy — a poem

Public Domain

“I liked the A side [of Abbey Road]…. I never liked that sort of pop opera on the other side. I think it’s junk. It was just bits of song thrown together. And I can’t remember what some of it is.”

— John Lennon, speaking to Rolling Stone

The web hangs suspended,
a disc — 33⅓ — will bounce
with prey as though dropping
down a spindle onto the table.

Seeming flimsy, it holds
together — like side 2
of Abbey Road.  Eight
incomplete pieces strung
with filament that bind.

It draws you in… flies
to feast on.  Inner circle,
her majesty awaits;

“…but she doesn’t have a lot to say.”