my poetry

Here you can sample some of my published poems

a song of earth’s ascent

I knelt by the earth
as it bled. In the nauseating
silence after the battle
was lost we prayed:

“I lift my eyes to the mountains;
From where will my help come now?”

But on a plain of bone-dry dust
a burnt wind blew over
heaps of broken-necked birds,
as soft as if they had just fallen
from their nests.

In answer to her unspoken question,
I shook my head.

Carbon Culture Review, 2018


Consider fifteen spheres, a rainbow
racked and ready to be broken.
Not perfect spheres, but chipped,
cratered from years of collisions,
smoke-tinged dirty sheen
resting on stained felt.
Worn down grooves seduce
them into familiar paths,
while nicks induce unexpected
trajectories. And so, as you swing
your arm, elbow as perfect
a fulcrum as you can make it,
you know the physics has to be
cut with streetwise calculations;
perfection only gets you lousy
shots and scratches. It’s a dirty business
when you understand that in the act
of smacking a ball clean
into the pocket you create more dents,
perpetually screwing your own aim.

Carbon Culture Review, 2018

tell me what part of the earth is breaking

tell me what part of the earth is breaking
and I will tell you
how my bones cry out.

I think of the reefs with striped clownfish
and the many-tendrilled anemones
turned grey and empty for miles,
the mountaintops decapitated
to get at the coal seams,
and my own veins
run black as anthracite,

the hole in the ozone makes a cyst
in my throat burned by acid rain.

Tell me of rainforests sliced to the dirt
and my hair turns white and
falls out as after chemo and radiation.

The earth malarial, with sweating fevers
leaves me prostrate and pale,

and the rising seas fill my lungs
with phlegm.

Finally, the heart, congested and overburdened,
lies on this rotting hospital bed
barely kept alive by the wrong machines,
invented to prolong misery.

Nebo, 2018

three apologies

I’m sorry I yelled
at your son
for saying, “fish sticks
fish sticks
fish sticks”
over and over
and over, but
I also confess it felt good
to yell, “Be Quiet!”
Good, too, the purgation of silence,
the short-lived glistening tears,
the apologies
and mutual reconciliation,
plump and ripe
as two olives.

I am ashamed.
There are no more castelvetrano
olives, the expensive ones I bought
you, Sarah, from Whole Foods
plump and bright green,
almost fluorescent as they bobbed
in the brine we use for dirty
martinis. The first taste

of a pitted castelvetrano
and I knew why deer love a salt block
by a rill tinkling with snowmelt
that tastes of spring. In a trance
of appetite, much like the one

I fell into when I first licked
your salty neck, I ate another
and another and now
I am sated
but there are no more olives.

That 40-pound block
of compressed fat, grain
and corn I lugged
up the hill, that you bought
so the deer wouldn’t starve

sits hardly nibbled after
two hard seasons, autumn
and winter, of our first year
as self-elected caretakers
of this small woodlot,
down-slope of a forested knob,
with all its skinny, bent pines,
and assorted creatures.

The deer have not only ignored
your gift, but made long, muddy
skid marks down our front lawn,
eaten your okra bush,
stripped your new cherry sapling,
and barked at you one dusk as they filed

past the deck. I wish they had barked
in apology for their placid, ongoing
rudeness, but they are what they are,
and they know what we are, humans,
and once you have heard deer bark,
you know they apologize for nothing.

Gyroscope Literary Review, 2018

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