Baptism into Oblivion

The multitude gather,
aged and frail, bathe
in the beautiful river,
wash in forgetting
clean as any absence ever was.

Then all dissolves
to a home
which is not home.
Blank confusion
stares out at bland walls.
Worried hands work
against each other
to find … what was it? …
a mere moment before.

Behold this sleight of hand
of mind upon the self
where the wide river
shrinks to a dead cistern
and the coin never held
never drops
into an empty well
of wishes never asked.


Have you heard?
Hold a raindrop.
Peel apart the petals
clasped within.

Count the flowers
tumbling down
through this long interlude
of rain.

Infinite vibrant colors
lie hidden in the clear,
in the white haze between here
and the far tree line

bereft of leaves,
clothed only in droplets
trailing down
to the brown winter ground.

Hold breath
until the spring. Watch the sky,
alternating ashen gray and blue-faced,
fade away to night.

Night after night
until the gift arrives
of warm light dappled color
glowing through the green,

rising through our shoes
and raining blossoms down.
None of it seems possible now
but that’s the word.


I should be saving all these for some theoretical publication, but I never do.

For dVerse Open Link Night 129

Old Man Alone

He travels country roads
to sense
where they might have gone,
bodies passing
through the same space
if not time.

He sniffs out their thoughts,
has a conversation
with air. His eyes strain
to see as they did.
Ears perk at imagined words.

In the distance, over forest and glen,
an aircraft beacon pulses
with a simple, yet seductive
red wink, a steady, repeating voice,
“I’m here …
………………… …
……………………………… …”
over his shoulder.

Its automated semaphore glow
stands in for human contact,
for the back and forth of conversation,
the steady beat
beneath half-forgotten songs.

The light is family, it is friend,
it is him
as he drifts down the road,
becomes a twinkle of tail lights
in the dusk, a memory of a man
who passed this way
a few hours ago,
long years ago,


He walked up and said
“I’m not much to look at”
with his slouched shoulders
and furtive glance
into their rolling eyed shoulder shrug
which combined
“we’re not either” with
“we’d still rather be talking
to each other
than you.”

A couple parries
attempted to repair
the inelegant entrance
but he was interrupting
more than he’d first known
so he blew

or fell outside,
a Jenga tower
with the wrong piece removed
so near the base
he might as well be
sawn off at the ankles.

As he dropped he thought
he recognized a recess bell
and the faint outline
of hopscotch boxes
on the sidewalk.

For Open Link Night 123

I’d Chance a Fin Before a Fist

A fish in murky depths
tickles Ptolemy’s ear.
Being marble,
Ptolemy doesn’t twitch.

He keeps his dignity,
considering he lost his base
and wound up on his back
at the bottom of the sea.

One of a tide of fifteen Ptolemys,
which he is remains unclear,
his cartouche partly covered
by an acorn barnacle.

Today Ptolemy’s being raised
by ropes and block and tackle
onto a barge, then carted
to a museum

where he’ll remain
a respected has been
until our world is bathed
again in anarchy.

He’ll maintain impassive calm
even when shattered
along his every vein
by the roaring mob.


This is for dVerse Open Link Night. Still not sure about the title, or anything else.

A Slice of Rain

Rain slashes
paper thin
diagonal scars
across his face.

A torrent
stabs, tears
through clothing.

He walks
past the far field
and the skin is gone.

Half way to town
he’ll dissolve
along a fence row,
not sorry
to have missed
the IGA and MotoMart.

Yet the autumn trees
are beautiful.
He smiles and hangs on.

They too
know the kerf of the blade.

Stirred by wind,
they balance,
surprised at the moment
they stand
when everything is lost.


For @dVersePoets open link night.