Life and Death

Life and Death 

The poinsettia has died—
I tried.
As best I could—
Anyone would.
Bathed in natural light—
Warm and bright.
Watered now and then—
Just say when.
More Christmas joy brought—
I thought.
Auld Lang Syne and table set—
“A cup of kindness yet.”

Cupid launched his missile—
Made lovers smile.
Easter’s promise. He cleansed our sins—
Everybody wins!
Saint Patrick listened to March say—
“Corned beef okay?”
Mother’s Day we all know—
Miss her so!
Memorial Day, too high a cost—
Brave lives lost.
The poinsettia has died—
I tried.

As for me—
What will be, will be.

Overheard At The Derby

 Overheard At The Derby

I do like your hat.

yes. it reminds me of a lampshade i once knew.

yes. like you, the lamp wore it slightly askew. 
you mean crooked?

aye. awry. cocked just so over one eye.

yes. it’s a fabulous look.
thank you. is your horse running today?

horse? i came but to see the hats.
Photo by Alexander Stemplewski on

Estate Sale

 Estate Sale
Like winged vultures 
drawn by the stench 
of smoldering carrion, 
we’ve come to satisfy 
our lust for
more, more, more.
unlike these black-winged 
marauders of the sky,
whose manners are

somewhat suspect, 
we follow a more civilized 
ritual of taking numbers,
and wait our turn to enter this 
sacred house of the dead. 
i follow the rush to the 
room with books
where pushy re-sellers perch,

shoulder to shoulder,
before the shelves
in their primitive craving

for the steaming vital organs— 
signed first-editions, 
dust covers mercifully intact—
a Hemingway—
Green Hills of Africa— 
(oh, most happy day). 
appetites sated, the lions lick their chops
and saunter off.
next the squabbling hyenas,
angry at the delay, move in,
while the vultures circle overhead,
desperate for an overlooked morsel.

finally it is my turn,
 and i finger the bony carcass 
hoping to discover the profession, 
the hobbies, and the education 
of the person who sat next the window 
to catch the light.
Photo by Emre Can on

A Stranger

A Stranger
In America
I can 
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
a fascinating 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, 
a tentative celebrity,
without a word of Japanese
in my pocket.  
Photo by Alex Knight on

Wonderments and Such

Wonderments and Such

Children should discover
the tales of Robin Hood
Hansel and Gretel
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
how many stars
there must be illuminating all corners of the

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

will help them look
and examine themselves

with a much greater
sense of humility.
Photo by Ashley K Little on

Ancient Prayer Of Trees

  Ancient Prayer of Trees

Dear Lord,
Most High Creator of  
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
Photo by Snapwire on