“Saw a poem float by just beneath the surface.”

– Jim Harrison


to Nancy Wilson Portrait
on the jazz station – hypnotic
bass backing trumpet, piano.

on Hardy’s The Self-Unseeing, faint
pencil marks on the page,
my eyes have worn
the ink faint –
this small
three quatrain piece.

I consider again the magic.  Here
is a slow-simmering, steady
build-up –
how beautiful the scene,
family in the drawing room, warm
fire; father, mother, child.

The payoff is the final line.

Not so easy as it looks;
nor so difficult.

Then, not knowing
I’d cast
I pull quickly,
set the hook, begin
the work of landing it.


* * *


Day 24 of Jilly’s “28 Days of Unreason” challenge.


“We all know that Art is not truth.
Art is a lie that makes us realize truth,
at least the truth that is given us to understand.
The artist must know the manner whereby
to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”

― Pablo Picasso

Sole Man

I’m a sole man, fishin’ from the pier.
I’m a sole man, brother can you hear
the sound of flounder croonin’ tunes
under the boardwalk
or the dock of the bay?

I don’t mean to carp,
but solo’s no way to go;
I’m a natural born grouper.

I’m a sole man, fishin’s in my blood.
I’m a sole man, salt water or in mud.
It’s a family affair… fishin’!
We are family… gone fishin’!
Wishin’ and hopin’ and fishin’!

Great cod almighty, I’m a sole man!

Sacrificial Poets

It’s Friday, August 11th.

Poetry fishing.

I’ve come up dry and wanting.

The desire to net an elusive sonnet
fails to compensate for the wrong lure.

Three of us on a tri-hull
trolling Lake Michigan.

The cooler is stocked
with angst, metaphor, and several cases
of Heileman’s Special Export.

If I have to tell you that it’s a beer,
you’ve never struggled for your art
as a poet.

Sunburnt and giddy,
posing on the pier with our catch —
Cooper, skunked the day long,
slinks to a surreptitious book store.

It’s a hell of a thing when a poet
pawns off store-bought filets
to his family.