The Spark


My poems arise from a chair.
At least I’m always sitting in one
when verse springs from my fingers.

I circle the plush recliner
three times before resting
in her embrace, like a dog
about to lie down for the night.
I burn incense
and perform oblations,
daily rituals of reverence
for her inscrutable knowledge
of what to whisper
into my waiting heart.

When my poems are badly written
I flog myself for having offended
the worn, upholstered repository
of beauty, for I have heard amiss,
dishonored my oracle
by inattention.

Or maybe flaccid stanzas
punish my lack of vigor
in challenging my wife’s mutterings
about throwing her out.

I shall defend
my sweet muse
in this slow war
of attrition.

One Shot Wednesday again


A glide down
from prairie
into creek valley
watching cars
ascend the other side.
No fluttering burst
as quail rise
from corn stubble.

I want to wander
on foot,
the distant tree line,
sit beneath
an ancient oak,
build a cabin,
live by my wits
and read at night
by firelight.

Traffic light ahead
turns green.
I shift from dream
to drive.

Enforced Writer’s Block

Some Days Are Not Made for Poetry

I paid for this coffee,
so I’m going to drink it
staring at a blank
spiral bound notebook sheet
as I sit soaked
in a backwash of bad sounds
from Culture Club
to Air Supply
via Captain and Tennille,
unable to tell an anapest
from the holes
being burrowed in my temples
by “Muskrat Love”.

I’ll see the whimsy
and humor in this,
but not today
as the Karma Chameleon
she comes and goes
on my muse’s
left foot.

Our Hero

Noah – 1945

–a story from my father

The first black waves tipped ships
almost to capsizing,
then the fleet turned,
faced thundering crests
which crashed bridge-high.

Typhoon winds and rain
raked all with a horizontal blast
as one man was lifted up
from the bow of his destroyer
by sweeping surf
and carried over the side.

The sailor was tossed and tumbling
till death no longer took odds,
then the water
returned him to his ship,
dropping the man
on the stern

This story’s likely true,
for when my father tells it
the lucky man
saved by grace–
or God’s indifferent eye–
isn’t him.