You People

A draft of a poem… You People I’m sorry, but murderers hide among your people. We might welcome you But how can we know You’re not one of them? I’m sorry, but murderers hide in your midst. We might like your nation Though you mistrust us Scratch our souls, squeeze our spirits. Your people Or people […]

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Advice on Ties

Askew won’t do— Aligned, symmetrically split Straight down the chest. No yin-yang curvature— A two-column chart Solid where ribs meet. No tilts in the knot— A bold line Level across the throat. No deviations— An abstract pattern Pinned in place. No pictures, images, cartoons— People may get the wrong idea.

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Sonnet on Burning

While darkness chills we gaze at flame And though the burn pile heat counsels retreat We stand hypnotic–by fire we’re claimed. One side cold, the other hot, we meet Then drift above the field, dreams revealed Among cinders floating like fiery sleet. We roam, our fervor by night concealed, To arctic oceans, bringing warming potions […]

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Harvest–A Poem

For PepsiCo Before dark We harvest Two hundred acres of corn, Fifty-six bushels an acre. Afterward We enter the house great-grandpa built Long before genetic engineers, Press a button, Vanish. Reds blues greens Dance heaven-pure hues, Cry, “Yahoo!  It’s Mountain Dew!” Silhouettes on sidewalks Pierce synaptic gaps, Ooze fear. Seated on easy chairs We lurch […]

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Slash–A Poem

The trees are down, Dying cedars, no great loss, Condemned to the wood stove, Useful only as heat. We cut slash, drag it out Buck logs into rounds, Leave a tidy grove, Much like floods push out the weak and recede. When the parched field drinks first rains We light the piles and watch them […]

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Red Needles

Betrayed by rust-red needles, dead and dying ones Hide among their brethren. With idle time and a saw I detect them amid the crowd And cut them down Capturing and killing insidious threats Before retiring from the field Wearing sawdust, gas fumes, imagined laurels While outside the rust-red needles Shaken loose from the fall Add […]

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Christopher Howell–a fine poet

I’m going to break from my usual practice of posting snippets of my work. On February 6 our little mountain village had the privilege of hosting a poetry reading headlined by Christopher Howell, winner of numerous fellowships and prestigious prizes. We were astounded by the beauty and the power of what he shared. By way […]

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Rushing Leaves

Like last year’s leaves we rush For a place to decompose, A bit of muddy earth Or pavement where a cyclone fence Stops us in clusters. Weathered wet Then dried to a powder Before summer winds blow us through a gap Into right here today. We expand We breathe Blood flows A billion particles become […]

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The Crummy Ride–A Poem

  (Note: Woodsmen refer to the vehicles they use to reach logging sites as “crummies.”)   Past the iron gate we rattle atop the washboard logging road Navigating shaky coffee cups to our lips. Woods shiver under frost while to the right A ridge guzzles sunlight. Bayberries, tanoaks, vine maple and ferns jostle for space […]

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Firewood–A Poem

Only after the bore-down thwack, When the maul-head strikes The most promising cracks across the wooden rings, Does one know the cedar round’s inner core, Whether fibrous tentacles resist the downward blow, Or hidden internal branches block completion, Or compliantly it cleaves in two. A focus, a breath, a swing, Storing winter heat, Slow-sealed within […]

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