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Boy teetering on tiptoe, head tilted down,

his aquiline nose shadowed by the v-shaped roof.

Just enough height to glimpse them

through the little hole,

their only source of light.


Boy to man: ‘They look like little dinosaurs.’

Man to boy: ‘they’re related.’

Boy’s elated.

But to the man, the frantic movements

of the five gaping beaks,

necks strained as if gasping for air,



Birds teetering on tips of claws, heads tilted up,

their aquiline beaks shadowed by the v-shaped roof.

Just enough light to glimpse him -

the boy’s glistening eye

almost filling the aperture

through which they will be fed tonight.


The sum of their lifespans but a breath of geological time,

connected for an instant

in the dying light of early night.

Man to boy: ‘it’s time for bed.’




Lost voice

Last seen in field far from here.
Chip on shoulder. Spot on ear.
Heart on sleeve. No tag. Quite light.
Responds when called and will not bite.
The early night’s his hiding space.
If seen, approach, but please don’t chase.
Less sensitive to sense than sound.
We miss him so.
Reward if found.



How long ago she managed to hold

herself on toe, and twirl, and twirl

with grace and charm, bold

as the little ballerina girl


who stares at her tonight,

the sad ceramic leg now chipped

and immobile. ‘Sleep tight’

she says ‘sleep tight my love’ light lipped.


The little mirrors have lost their sheen

a cloudy eye confirms,

tracing leg line flecked with tourmaline.

So these are nature’s terms,


So these are nature’s terms.




Your skin

has finally given in

to your restless bones’ demands.

Even the knuckles are on the attack

whining for a little slack.


Bones are stubborn,

will not bend.

They spread about the body, distend

without consulting the soft bits

which puts proportions

out of whack.


Clack, crack, clack, your gangly stilts

can barely bear your height.

Balance is off

and your upper half

has yet to catch up to the legs

that just     don’t     step



Obstinate, crafty bones!

You’ve been crawling under his skin

for weeks.

He just can’t keep



The bones are bulging at the knee

How odd his frame’s



My little boy

who’s leaving me.

Thursday Morning



Rain-pecked leaves glisten

in the fat morning light.

Clusters of umbre la la las

bobbing in soft unison.

The incessant rocking

of the clockwork arms is maddening,

and comforting.

My Love


You are the itch

Between my inner ear and tongue


The woman I would choose

If I had to share a lung


Your kisses send me out to sea

Like a dandelion’s kite


You are my tree, solid as wood

Against the starless night

The Woodpecker













Lightly            ,

















It’s been three months

since you planted the peonies.

The weeds are marshaling their forces

and planning their attack.

I think they know

they are in for the long haul.


The neighbors now pass on food

and stand a little too long

at the door asking after you – ‘but, six months?’

sneaking glances over my shoulder

to confirm cleanliness, order.


Has it been a year

since you planted the peonies?

You’ll be happy to hear the weeds

have declared a truce

and are now in retreat.


You would think after two years

the neighbors would lose interest

in us, but they won’t let up –

‘You must cut those oily mops

of hair, clean their pants and fingernails

and buy them a new pair of shoes’ –


I haven’t heard much from the kids

over these last ten years.

The neighbors no longer meddle.

The garden is thriving. I think the peonies

will be in bloom for your return

in the spring.



You will find it dozing on the third shelf

of the rust ridden dilapidated shed

under a clot of oily rags.

Wrench it loose.

Feel its heft in your hand.

Nothing you have held of equal size

is as heavy as this timeworn clump of iron.

Wrench your boys from the weightless world

of the screens to share

a moment in the rain drenched garden air.

Toss it to them

and see if they do not catch it with

a flash of joy in their eyes.

I  Want This Poem to Sound Like Andy Warhol's Shoes


Cute as a pie crust.

Lazy as these pens I can’t throw away.


As light as this day

hiding from night


Quick as a bell.

Shy as a hallmark hug.

As supple and smug as this earlobe I tug.


I want this poem to sound like Andy’s Warhol’s shoes.


Soft as a star.

Quiet as a buttonhole.

Gay as her pink cloud of candy floss fluttering

in the breeze.




Thirty-six swipes

to turn off the alerts.

Thirteen minutes to delete the apps.

Forty-seven stabs at the ground

to dig the hole.

Twenty-three hefts and stomps

to pack and tamp the soil.

Five hours of battery life.

Three hundred and twenty-three

unanswered calls.

How Odd That Daring Dash


Seven of them floating in a five-line poem.

       A little bit fanatical,

         being ungrammatical. 

            By such audacity you engage        

         our curiosity.      


Some called it a substitute for the devil –

       Why the period had to die

         is a riddle we can’t solve.

            Nor need we bother. For we do sense

         that cessation serves to


arouse our pleasure and imagination

       drawing attention to the life

         you lived through; your caesura,

            retained for posterity in lead,

         traced on paper, the weight


of your hand revealing such intimacy.

       One has to wonder what is lost

         in print, dash lengths analyzed

            by the scholars who standardized

         those mysterious marks.


How odd that the daring dance of your dashes

       through its cryptic will, moves us still

         teetering and tottering

            robbing time its ebb, and through its flow –

         we hear your spirit sing.


Observing Hope


The massive boulders tilt obliquely

like sunken tombstones

in the churchyard


where a boy had gazed in wonder

at a dragonfly resting impossibly

on the tip of his finger


for an instant

before leaving him and weaving its way

lazily to the edge of the garden


in no more time than it took

for the blanket of stone

to fall.



It’s true that I am hardwired

to respond to your calls.

Your softest murmurs ring me out of sleep.

I run to your room. You lie curled

clutching your blanket

shivering. Sweat dampening

your pillow. In an hour

you will be dreaming of druids and drums. The old man’s

motorbike will sputter in the morning’s news.

A crow will cry. The dove will start

her periodic coos. The sun will warm your eyelids,

and you will wake once again

spared death.

The day will run its careless course.

You will race your brother to the bridge.

Raise your hand when called.

Open your bento box at the ring of the bell.

Drift off during class wondering

why the bead of rain snailing down the glass

jogs in jagged fits and starts.

And you will fall from my arms into sleep

free from the horrors of those whose calls

will not be answered tonight.



Tears are time’s troubles

set in liquid salt.

Hold them in the eye

or let them burst the dykes

and die.

I Learned a Lot from Larkin


Simply said with light and limpid touch                               

A finely chiseled phrase works wonders                                

Nudged to the left but not too much                                    

When register is right                                                            

Form and content quit the fight                                


Images held for just enough time                              

Jog the soul gently midst dull daily grind                              

While riding on the train                                                       

To help us feel with heart and mind                                     

The shape of glass in rain                                                      


Rhyming couplets now might seem a little quaint                

A British thing perhaps, that conservative constraint           

Halcyon and soothing                                                           

Formal play to ponder pain                                                   

How to leave a word alone, alone out in the rain                  


Relinquishing the grandiose allows one to convey                

Such depth in lithe and sylphlike forms                                 

One seldom sees today                                                         

Let the little words hold weight                                            

Cut the fat, truncate, truncate!                                              


My little ode to you now done I’ll pass it on to everyone

And when my friends come round to chat

I’ll tell them Larkin’s where it’s at

Gone for over thirty years and yet

Fresh images, still now, beget




Fellow scavenger with the soggy fry

dangling from your beak;

You are luckier than me today.

All I have to show

for an hour of rummaging

through the thesaurus is entreat,

a listless simile

I cannot eat.

A Norman Rockwell Morning


Waved with a smile to the postman

Even got a nod from the brittle woman walking that yappy dog

My little garden bugs basking in sun of bird blue sky, satiated

Reclining on lacy half-eaten leaves, soft breeze caressing

Tiny legs and eggs of littler ones to come

My legs limber too, stretched and warm

Lungs alert champing at bit for early morning mountain air

Happily shared with all in this wondrous world in fall



I slowly traced the great network of interlacing trails

You made with your hands through the sand

On your knees in the park


Your last kingdom

This raw play of imagination

Moving your body through endless space


Now that the screens have claimed your attention

I miss cleaning the dirt from your knees

Smelling the fresh grass stains


And wonder what is lost in this forging of new trails

Through vast electronic fields

With you, immobile, staring into flat space


I've heard the cyber prophets say

Bodily play is falling away

With ever more to explore far from where we are


I’ll remember your face, utterly absorbed

Fulfilling innate earthly desire



My garden creatures



tipsy towards heat ripened fruit

to copulate.

Their limber legged couplings

at dusk

dazzle the children

who arrogate

dominion over this compost kingdom

like little Roman emperors,

decreeing to each and every bug

its pleasure,

its fate.

Who has time


to follow the gentle sway

of my pedicles and umbellets

but the children,

their birdy eyes and fragile fingers

delighting in my decay


in the breeze that tilts

these fourteen crests of seed,

my progenies survival

held in these handsome stilts

soon to be tossed as weed


or set in suspended animation

preserved in liquid amber jars

for my limonene and manganese

my seedling's tiny stars

my fronds a sheer chemise 


my last and lonely sexy dance,

a little strip and tease.




I catch a glimpse of you at dusk

joggling the bamboo fronds

bumping bravely

into things that are not there

reminding me of the fate

of the poor words in my poems

netted, pressed and pinned

in end rhyme for display,

hoodwinked by the rules

I forced them to obey.

Circles and Stones

(for Len)


Only one left

You at Lake Louise

Faded black and white

Your rugged face

Tufts of white hair answering

The bite of glacial air

Those bony fingers

Cradling binoculars

The hand I shook long ago

Before your mind ebbed away


No photo of the skipping stone circles

Before their untroubled return

To the surface.

On the Edge of Stravinski’s Cup


The old fly

has a spot on his tie.

His wings are crooked and frail.

He waits on the saucer

for morning tea

and erudite camaraderie.

When the master comes

he'll be offered the crumbs

and a dollop of Devonshire cream

On the tip of Schoenberg’s pen.


The old fly

peruses the score pensively

from the tip of Schoenberg’s pen.

Twelve seconds pass

before the hint of foie gras

draws him to the plate.

Alas, the music is impenetrable, arcane.

But the pate, recherché –

'I shall visit here again.'

Love letter to my youth


To the sandbox by the curly slide

Pogo, Pooh and Madeline

To deviled eggs and Ovaltine

To life before the cash machine

To late-night swings and all the things

I wasn’t meant to see

To weepy Hummel figurines

Christmas tarts and tangerines

And the tang of snowflakes on our tongues

To the thrill of opening the flaps

Of the chocolate Santa calendars

And the soft swish of our snowshoes

Breaking the silence of the brittle air

To lava lamps and Lego blocks

Gerbil tubes and German clocks

With twirling maidens milkin’

To mini golf and science kits

8-track tapes and K-tell hits

And the boats and planes you built for us

That sank and fell to the sea

To the rise and fall of my shark in the pool

And the three words of French I remembered from school

To that strange old lady who knocked on our door

To pass on the pamphlets with cheery children

Petting lions and bears in the Garden of Eden

To the girl from Sweden

Who flicked her flaxen hair for me

To Ironside and MTV

Colombo, Starsky & Hutch

To Marshall stacks and IMAX screens

Joints and bongs and bell bottom jeans

To rolling the top of the tin of the spam

To waterbeds, Slinkys, Green Eggs and Ham

To the Grateful dead and that Playboy spread

That I passed on to Bobby

…or Bill




How nice of you to come today, anyways

You must be busy with the kids

Just put it over there

Next to the flowers from Jenny


You must be busy with the kids

Yes, I think I still have some

Next to the flowers from Jenny

No, I’ve no need of that anymore


Yes, I think I still have some

Oh look! you can see the little bird from here

No, I’ve no need of that anymore

Did the kids pass their exams?


Oh look! you can see the little bird from here

They raise the blinds at 8:00

Did the kids pass their exams?

It’s Jen and David, right?


They raise the blinds at 8:00

I can see the children playing in the park

It’s Dave and Jenny, right?

When can I go home?


I can see the children playing in the park

Cindy here takes good care of me

When can I go home?

You look like my son


Cindy here takes good care of me

She brings me water when I ring

You look like my son

Who are you?


She brings me water when I ring

Just put it over there

Who are you?

How nice of you to come today, anyways



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