A Stranger

A Stranger
 
In America
I can 
walkabout 
 
in anonymity, 
                                                
a person of little consequence—
 
not celebrated athlete,
nor foul-mouthed rapper,
nor extra handsome movie star.
 
But, turn me loose 
in rural Japan
and I become
 
an instant object of interest—
a steaming meteorite fallen from the sky—
 
causing murmurs of surprise,
 
“gaijin, gaijin, gaijin”
 
mothers pointing, whispering to their children,
 
and turned heads—
 
a foreigner, not of us—
 
an unwashed soybean in a cup of rice—
 
a white blemish not to be over-looked.
 
And there, for all to see, 
 
stranded, 
 
me, 
 
a tentative celebrity,
 
without a word of Japanese
 
in my pocket.  
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Wonderments and Such

Wonderments and Such

Children should discover
the tales of Robin Hood
and
Hansel and Gretel
and
Snow White

and many others of course,
but also,

they need to visit beaches
and get down on their knees to play

in the sand.

For it is there they will
begin to imagine

how many uncountable grains of sand
there must be clinging around the edges of
the world.

And thus, when they turn their
gaze to the night sky

they will also
wonder
how many stars
there must be illuminating all corners of the
Universe.

And so too,
these story tellings,
these imaginings,
these wonderments,

will help them look
inward
and examine themselves

with a much greater
sense of humility.
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Ancient Prayer Of Trees

  Ancient Prayer of Trees

Dear Lord,
Most High Creator of  
roots
trunks
bark
branches
leaves
and fruit,

grant me but an inch of loyal dirt,
black and rich with nutrients,
a drop of cooling water, 
and the gentle warmth of morning sun. 

i’ll share my shade with all who linger, 
and cope
(as best i can)

with children's swings, 
heart carvings,
(Phil Loves Katie)
hardheaded woodpeckers,  
and  rickety tree houses.

One more thing:  
please, please, oh please 
forgive me
for bearing silent witness to
lynchings
Amen
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Gone Missing

  Gone Missing

She had pressed
the 
autumn leaf 

between pages
578 and 579
of her
college dictionary, 

a reminder that she 
had visited there 
to better understand

the word

nuance.

Years later, 
a Seattle detective
hunting for subtle

clues
as to her 
whereabouts,

shook out the book
and watched the
leaf flutter to the floor.


“Let’s go,” he muttered.
“Nothin' here. Musta run off
somewheres."
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Peeved

  Peeved

I once had an
Airedale named
Peeve.

(or she had a human named John).

she was a 
splendid pet 
I sometimes

called Steve.

forgiving me 
that tremor
of the

mind,

Peeve came 
whenever a friend 
i needed to

find.

she offered me, 
as all dogs must, 
unyielding loyalty,

bottomless love , 
and
unbreakable trust.
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Unmerited Finery

Unmerited Finery

She said, “Open wide.”
i did.
she said, “Close down.”
i did.

even though i’m barely
a commoner, 
more the 
peasant or serf,

she treated me as 
Royalty,

placing a crown on
an exhausted molar.

“thank you,” i said, 

and hurried home
toward

Buckinghorse Palace
lest
i be found out.
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