The Ritual

To writ in stone did
those two crows
alone appear each
morn to renew
our sacred vows.

Fell from the commute
of the daily murderous
drive we awake with
black oily coffee
the dew steaming

after the frost faced
nest broken open
hatching of bugs
flies about they
can’t be counted.

Good mates in
the end make
good poems
where hide
birds in trees.

What and where
thru displacement
here during the moon
of words dressed
in black feathers

this crow types
last night’s notes
its mate never far
emits the occasional
caw clawed to signify

I am here you there
in and out of our
respective shifting
stances first you
then me to gather.

A Missing Sock

The best means to address
a missing sock is found
in a poem, the home
of rhyme schemes.

For, in the first place,
socks need not match,
as we now know a poem
need not end in a plan.

But if not for mates
we won’t know when
one goes missing
or another is lost.

Then again, in this
morning’s laundry,
alas, two socks
in a mismatched

duo, and, instead
of looking around
for their mates,
decide to pair off.

To Be Clean

To be clean,
I mean
clean,
really clean.

Up to your eyeballs
in elbow grease –
not you,
the house.

That was my Mom’s
idea of how to spend
a day off from school,
Spring Cleaning.

To be fair, she outgrew
the phase, or dove under
the rising tidal wave.
The family was still

relatively small
then, only 4 or 5
kids, halfway
to the later two.

One day, having heard
me use a bad word,
she washed my mouth
out with a bar of soap.

I think that must
have been where
I got the idea
for poetry,

and that poems
live on the tongue
like germs.
Much later,

I learned not all
germs are bad,
and that soap
is so hyperbolic,

a usage correction
tape or fluid,
and that all words
play a role,

and that to be
clean, really
clean, is not the same
as to be in good health.

All that said,
some poems are bad,
like this one, where
some guy talks about

his Mom, poor thing,
struggling to keep
the house and kids
clean, and just wait

until your Father
gets home. Mama
don’t allow no
poems around here.

To Be Clear

no, thing
naught wight
if not clear
to the floor
who wears
no ears

who won’t talk
but the beer
makes void
the crooked path
down the page
to the sea

and to the critic
a still small voice
lives in a library
built of stone
nothing staged
untended

not what
can’t be
explained
in a footnote
“no symbols
where none…”

inflected
by tense
mood
a person’s
case
carried.

The Oyster and the Crab

The oyster held a secret the crab could but guess.
The moon was full, the low tide pool fully exposed.
The empty blue bucket with orange plastic shovel
earlier lost in the surf now sat high on the berm.

The crab crawled from the bucket and paused,
the human midden not his problem.
The oyster he picked harbored a pea crab,
not the prize he was after, but its translucent

moonish nebula was a surprise, and, his
hearing aids firmly ensconced, he heard
the bell of the buoy marking the dive spot,
but why this crab, the oyster feverly wondered,

and what did the buoy have to do with oysters,
and with so many oysters and so much salt
and the sea always so deep in the ears, why,
and buried in the midden the answers steamed.




Moonglow

It must have been moonglow
drop these words down to me
must have been moonglow
I’m up in the old oak tree.

Your supermassive hug
your stellar eyes of blue
I can’t get out and away
I’m disappearing into you.

It must have been moonglow
high up in the old oak tree
that night you said those words
and held me so close to you.

It’s Only a Paper Moon

The astronauts cardboard cutouts suspended
by gossamer string theory, the Space Station
an elaborate Tinkertoy. Night comes when
you turn their backs to the sun, day when
they face the solar wind, wait for a swell,
come about, and paddle into a soft shoulder
breaking away from a night full of mind
fulness, full of white paper plates skipping
across the space of the waters, rising
with the trough, riding the crest
parallel to the edge of the universe
so going nowhere in time or space
(for the time being)
and paddle back out to the firmament
of no land, no waters, no herb or grass
of any kind, only a dead moon
giving light to the night below,
a lesser light, in which the humans
hold hands, dance in circles, sing songs,
and paint shadows on their walls.

Days of Wine and Roses

The days
of wine and roses
palm trees green
leaves dangling in bronze breeze sea
fallen fronds found for tiki faces
carved with pocket knives
in soft dry wood
of branch stalk deep eyes
and sharp shell teeth
long slender days
fat pug noses
and sunburnt legs
beaches galore
nevermore
a sober sunset for two
the days
of wine and roses
are here.