Week 34; A Poem a Day


What lacks you
In language
Of the tongue
May be made up
In simple gestures
Humble pictures
Made by hand

What pines you
For talents
With high exchange rate
You may compensate
With compounding interest
For neighbors in duress
And exponential philanthropy

What misses you
In riches
Of precious metals
May be paid in full
With abundance
Of patience
In your broken home


Toast and tungsten light
Descending barometers
Hidden clouds
Of flying insects
Late summer evening
Cluster of birthdays
Of first three months
Feeling with own skin
Seeing with own eyes
Then anniversary
Of conception
Apples and goosebumps
Totems of home


Week 33; A Poem a Day


Crickets occupy
Every corner
Of my living

The camouflaged ones
In my garden
Who only reveal themselves
As they flee the water
I splash on my tomatoes

The glossy black ones
Sleek as sports cars
Waiting in the grass
Of the front yard
Hoping for
A predator to outrun

But most crickets
I only hear
Under or after
The cicadas and katydids
Their song changing
With the weather
Slower in the cool
Quickened in the heat
But always
In time

There was a dog
I called Cricket
After I saw him
Catching and eating
The little morsels
Skinny and brown and long-legged
He also reminded me
Of a cricket
A little

And of course
There’s the long-legged cave dwellers
Living in my basement
They make no demands
No protests
No mating calls
That I can hear
Though I’m pretty convinced
They aren’t happy
When I grab them
In mid-air
To feed them
To my chickens

8/18/16 #2

Is practicing jazz
On a trumpet
Through one of those
Golden windows
Of that house
On a terrace
When I walk by
Practicing poetry
On a book and pencil
Over concrete squares
In sodium vapor light
That turns everything
The same shade of yellow

The only thing
Separating master
From novice
Is practice


Week 32; A Poem a Day


It’s remarkable
The sheer number
Of reminders
That are called for
Little prompts
To return
And remember
Where you are
On a big world
With so much
Elbow room
But still
We keep
Into each other
Arms keep clashing
Unsolicited commentary
Keeps changing
Our moods
When the sky
Is scheduled
To spark and catch
And show some color
Over black and amber fields
Of artificial light
Try to remember home
Try to remember all your homes
When your frame of reference
Falls away
Beneath your feet
When the air
Lights you
A little differently
Now reflection
Is the progression
Of the day
If memory serves you
Let it paint
Prehistoric pictures
On your walls
On your modern walls


Poet’s note: Many of the poems I post this year I consider incomplete, or works-in-progress. This might be one of them. In the past, incompleteness has kept me from showing and sharing and publishing my work at all. My prevailing tendency is to hold it and wait until I’m 100% satisfied. Among the many other gifts of A Poem a Day, I am finding it is a healthy context for training myself to stop clinging to my work and keeping it to myself. I still want to do my best work, of course; but I also want to not be ruled by the obstacles of fear, uncertainty and excessive self-consciousness. The poetry (and the photography) can be incomplete and changeable, much like myself and my life, and there is peace in knowing that. That’s more than just a metaphor: for artists, the tangible manifestations of our artist minds cannot be so easily separated from our lives.

Week 31; A Poem a Day


I’ve watched you dance in colors
All the colors that mean something
All the hues that match your severity
I’ve imagined how you look from above
As you’ve swirled and slid around me
You’ve danced in colors everywhere but here
For so long I begin to fear
That the dancing is not for me
That only stillness and gray are my fate
Yes, I might yet move and grow
But slower, much slower
Than I would with your gift of life
How could I move to make you
What steps do I take to convince you
I thirst for your colors and saturation
And so I pour out all the clarity given me
Consider this my rain dance


I dream of mornings
One on one meetings
With the sun
At eye level
But it is at night
In darkness
In Earth’s shadow
That my demons and talents
Overtake me
Compel me
Keep me awake
Insist that I make
Hold me to change
Quiet night fog
Into concrete blocks
Into bread for the world
Before it burns off
In the fierceness of dawn


Week 30; A Poem a Day

7/27/16 & 7/28/16

Twinge of living
Spears of radiation
Devoutly piercing
The faithful, humble
The fulcrums
Of movement
And revolutions
No greatness
No saintliness
Without the thorn
Without the struggle
Every knee will bend
Every spine made low
To know the rapture
You must feel the sting
Where bone meets bone

The blade
That punctured
Your mother’s heart
Is the same razor edge
Slicing open your cage
Making you vulnerable
To infinite strength


Week 29; A Poem a Day


I am drawn
To the energy of places
Where plants
Are allowed to be plants
Where water
Can move at its own pace
Where stones
May slowly fall to pieces
Where a damselfly
Rests, wherever it pleases


Where do you live?
In what space
Between what things
Taller than you
How far from those you love
How close to those you don’t
What distance
How much time
Will it take
To get to where
You need to be
Me? I live here
Where I am
The only here I know
And the only here
I’ve ever known
Where do you live?
In stacks of paper
At the edge of straightened rivers
Beneath power lines
Eleven stories tall
Behind an electric fence
Is it where you want?
Do the colors of the houses


Week 28; A Poem a Day


The moment
You’ve waited for
Is now
You’ve been waiting
All your life
But now
You weren’t expecting it
You aren’t prepared
Your hands are empty
And your legs unsteady

Better hustle
Better retrieve your tools
Better make them work for you
Because seconds count
When you call yourself
Bearer of light
And the light is falling
From the heavens
As fast as the dark clouds
Surge upwards toward them
As rapidly as your eyes move
Searching for luminance
Beyond and within

You have choices to make
Better make them count