the brilliant cacophony of sounds
brass, growling strings, and grinding bass
faded as the distance grew
between her, and her youth
and the long nights she once wasted
before she had someone to wake up to
and the promise of an early morning rich
with a scintillating symphony of its own



cicadas sing the evening's symphony 
as we raise glasses and laughter
beneath swinging balls of light
strung against the night sky 


i come here every afternoon
to watch the sunset wash over
her skin, her hair, her face
to watch the breeze tug
russet strands of hair loose
caressing her neck and cheeks
but she doesn't notice

not the sun, not the hair, not me
she is lost between the pages of a
dusty green book jacket, curled
in the well worn arms of a wooden
bench, beneath the moss hung trees
as honey sweet sunshine
drips from her fingertips



6 rounds blazed from the muzzle
fired in short succession it's
estimated the shots entered the
subject from approximately 15 feet
hot lead tearing through the target
penetrating in a tight cluster
brass cartridges litter the area
what you ask is the problem?
there's no problem at all
this is just target practice



The Trouble With Mornings
the soft twittering calls of
the birds wafting in the window
are interrupted by harsh
blaring beeps from the small
black box that rules my day
morning kisses are often buried
beneath thick layers of quilts
and grunts requiring a
seemingly excess amount of
wrestling and persuading 
the liquid gold that powers
my daily substance will not
satisfy without the ritual
offerings of filtered water
and fresh grounds



lone silhouette 
inked on a stroke of wire
consuming all the loneliness
in the universe 
caw-caw-cawing into the 
still morning
threatening to engulf the day 
ere it emerges 



"Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
all dressed in black, black, black..."
their song rings out above the trees
and skips weightlessly across the clouds
as girls scuff their Mary Janes
to the jump rope's swirling beat

"...they jumped so high, high, high
they touched the sky, sky, sky..."
tired eyes watching from nearby porches
cast silent prayers heavenward,
that their hearts would always be this light
and their laughter last a lifetime



love is a shadow,
moving with the heat of the sun
its cool presence inviting
but watch lest in complacency
you find yourself alone
in the scorching sun
lips parched, throat dry
life respiring from every pore


tracing shadows

saw your fingers tracing shadows
in the sunshine beneath my toes
across the sand as the ocean's
foam rushed forward, unsuccessfully
attempting to erase your mark
from this earth


stretched across sheets
fresh from dawn's cool breeze
honey sweet sunshine drips off her fingertips
warblers sing between the blinds
buttercream pools beckon from the rug
but his gravity pulls her back into his
dark milky way, and she
is lost to the morning


judgment day

true judgment will come at
the end of this life when
my last breath escapes and
i'm called on to answer for
every word, thought, deed, intention
i did or didn't act on
Lord help me



he was so much more up close
than he had ever been from afar
and so she devoted her days
to getting as near as she could



write a future thick with memories and
unforgettable passion producing heat
and heartbeats that mirror our love and
your eyes so we can teach them how to
explore this world and pursue dreams
that take them farther than they could
have ever imagined and find ourselves
resting in each others arms for eternity, yes,


                       began with the heart swelling notes of
                       Sir Edward Elgar's Pomp & Circumstance rising
                       from the depths of the orchestra pit
                       a single moment that had
                       years of her life, nights of papers, all nighters
                       now blurred like the faces filling the auditorium
                       completely unaware of how uncertain she was
                       that these years, had adequately prepared her               
                       while she moved across the stage confidently
                       every step softly swinging the gold tassel
                       against a satin smooth cherry cap
                       she hoped she had gained, enough, for it had all cost so


blinding darkness

they were stars rising against pitch
they were fireflies flashing into blinding darkness
they were bright bulbs swinging against evening on a rusty wire
they were matches burning out fast, fingers singeing,
night too quickly closing in

Polish Pierogi

gather around the circle of dough
family, and history, and eastern nations, border
the periphery of this national dish
filled with meat, cheese, or fruits, but always love
love, gossip, and familiar stories
fold over and seal in our heritage
now baked, now fried, now drowned
in sour cream and national pride


mixed hues

on knees and palms she hovered with pastels in hand
filling the spaces between the sidewalk  cracks
with periwinkle skies and rolling jade hills  
careful strokes outlined the silhouette of a tree
just before the first cloud rolled over
sending drops racing down the scene
coalescing hues into a vibrant waterfall


She stood motionless 
Her navy wool coat buttoned
Against the chill air that
Slashed against her face, her heart
As she watched her daddy's fatigues 
Disappear up the gangplank
Her face mirrored the mask he wore
Her small hand clinging tight
To the strap of her red balloon
Holding on with all her hope


two tankas

my love will go on
a warm buzzing neon light
should this world roll up
a cheap yellowed shade spinning
coming to its foretold end

eating from a can
at the bottom of a ditch
truly i am not unlucky
i am joined by a feline
she, a priceless companion


year of the dragon

He had been born in the year of the dragon. And while he so evidently possessed so many of the positive traits typical of the sign; romantic, energetic, and intellectual, she'd often come to discover that meant he could also be fiery, intollerent, and unrealistic. Of course this hadn't mattered at first, not when he was slaying her with unexpected tokens of affection and non-stop enthusiasm for all things, his relentless pool seeming to spill over bringing life to every dark corner of her world.
But that was months ago, when they first met, when the year was new. She on the otherhand, was born in the year of the dog. Straightforward, faithful, if occasionally stubborn and at times bothered by unwarrented anxieties. That must have been why she had warmed up to his energetic spirit so quickly, clung to his confidence, stuck by his side.
Yet now the year was drawing near to a close, and dusk seemed to be falling over them, concluding what she had somehow known all along. Dogs and dragons are not ideally suitable, and theirs was no exception. She could not find warmth in the hearth of a fiery dragon uncontent to linger too long at home.
Though as he drifted away with the year's end she tried to look positively at the end of their season together. Next year would be the year of the snake, and she was quite certain full of much potential.


turning up the music to
drown in the tears and the notes
the meaningless of being here
without you



I ache for a tree
casting shadowy picnics on the lawn
muscling tire swings, and afternoon dreams
wearing a shield of climbing rungs
bearing mystery novels and comic books
shielding my fruit, as though they were its own
and I believe
that tree aches for me

photo: http://www.barnwoodgallery.com/photography.html


empty handed

there are moments, afternoons even
where i scrape at the ground, fingernails in dirt
hoping to capture what i fear
i've lost
and knowing that forever
is straight ahead
and i'm reluctant
to go empty handed


So much is written in the shadows
In the hollow cheeks of a hungry child
In the haggard lines around a worried mother's eyes
In the crinkly laugh lines, of an old man's tissue of skin
In the furrowed brow of a contemplative student
The brush of lashes on a blushing lover
In a newborn babe's dimpled chin
So much is written in the shadows


A crackle in the phone line suggested the fragility of their connection. Across all these miles, just a few copper wires transferring his rough voice to the place she called home. When had she grown up? When had he grown old?

"Are you still there?" he called into the still silence. "Yeah, Dad. Yeah, I'm still here." Though she knew she wasn't. She was a thousand miles from here, her mind was racing ahead, and back again. Didn't it seem like just yesterday they were sitting on the back porch, watching the morning mist rise off the grass in the yard, discussing life, and its many mysteries? Weren't they just standing beneath the stars as he patiently pointed out the rising constellations?

A flood of weakness washed over her as she clung a little tighter to the receiver, training her ears to listen to his every syllable. As she did, the tide of his words rolled in bringing a sweet sense of relief. She became aware then that there was so much more holding them together, something science could never delineate.
you danced in place for
long hours on the lawn in
the late afternoon sun of
early spring and
my heart ached out of regret and
jealousy, hoping only that
you, and the sun, and spring would 
wait for me



slow roasting ham, carefully braised
potatoes washed, salad made
a fridge packed with a day's bounty
not a better cook in the county
soon the table with be spread
they'll take their places, grace said
how much she loves, they understand
not by her words, but by her hands


Before your time

we danced to the warm sounds of the
Beetles, Monkeys, and Carpenters
spun from worn vinyl records

before your time...

bell bottoms, mini skirts, and hot pants
swung from our hips, high above
tawny brown boots laced knee high

before your time...

we drank in the fresh night air
from the back of racing motorcycles
and in rows at the drive in theater

before your time...



those three little words undo me
they woo me
they heal pain, and open
tides that subdue me

whether they're owed me
or given freely
I melt whenever you say
"I am sorry"


open invitation

Its arms outstretched the young tree beckoned,
to the wayward bird, to the lonely bee.
I've shelter here, a home for you,
and soon nectar, fruit, and seeds.

Come and live within my branches,
fill my trunk, as I grow new leaves.
For autumn left me naked,
and winter brought a bitter freeze.

I cry with each spring shower,
for fresh and verdant life.
Please come within these arms of mine,
and bring your warmth and life. 


silent words

He watched the back of her head, her side profile, and occasionally even a glimpse of her face, quiet and framed by long mahogany tresses. Almost daily, she read, wrote, or just daydreamed over a steaming cup of tea on the worn beach nestled beneath the street front windows of his bookstore.
Each day he saw her he transposed exactly what he would say to her. Sometimes he rolled them over and over in his head. Sometimes the words came swiftly as he scratched them on loose parchment in rows of Indian ink. But she never heard these words. She never read them either.
For she never crossed his threshold, and he never ventured beyond the shop's battered door. And so day after day, with all the words in the world hanging between them, the only thing they shared, was silence.