There is nothing on this path to hold onto. Nothing to commit to heart or memory. One hand on the smooth bark of a young poplar stretching skyward, roots crawling deep down, creature of darkness and light. Forest of fallen ancients at my feet, a moss blanket of moist promise. Nothing dies here. Nothing lasts.

My mother forgets
that I am her son; holding
hands by the window.

For dVerse Haibun Monday. Alluding to memory.

The Poet’s Tattoo

A windblown anchor made of feathers
and straw. Exquisitely drawn.

Inked in the poet’s blindspot.
Right between the shoulder blades.

He believes the image is bedrock
anchored to the core of the earth,

though to be honest
        – he’s quite sure it’s not.

Written for Desperate Poets OLN.
Inspired by Bob’s, “A Poet’s Style” at naïve haircuts.

Love Songs and Such

Sitting at the side of the road pitching pebbles in the ditch, yakking with Poetry about love songs and such. She asks if I remember falling in love with her.

Roses are red, violets are blue, I imagine. Or a Limerick. Someone from somewhere rhyming with something. No, she says. Not what the teacher told you, or romancing your mom with crayons and paper.

That would probably be the haiku about sitting alone with the stones then. No. That’s when our eyes met in the college bookstore. We touched. You were infatuated. Love happened later.

Of course. I remember now.

Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes. Rilke. The deep, uncanny mine of souls, blind lake hanging overhead, that long slow march and the infinitely gentle touch of the god which hurt like an undesired kiss.

I saw that entire landscape was but a single breath. A batted eyelash. I knew then you were well beyond my meagre self, but if I hung around, made myself useful maybe, well something.

Roses are red. Violets are blue. Sugar is sweet, my love. But not as sweet as you. I am here for the dance, not to pay the bills or make you popular. I’m not about tomorrow, the next day or somebody picking up a pen.

She chucks a stone into the runoff, smiles like ten million daisies bathed in the light of the first born; reaches over and takes my hand. She says I’m not much of a dancer, but a good fella to have around.

Written for Desperate Poets

The haiku mentioned is by Mizuhara Shuoshi, from the book “Modern Japanese Haiku, An Anthology. The Rilke poem from “The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke” translated and edited by Stephen Mitchell.
Honourable mention to Jack Gilbert and “The Dance Most of All”.


Crow standing on the sidewalk hollering
across the road to his buddies wond’ring
if they found anything good in the gutter.

They have funerals you know. Crows. Gather
and mourn. A sadness hangs over the bunch
then they take to the sky and carry on.

The one in the ditch stays there.

We’re far more refined. Ten thousand dollars
for a funeral. Cut flowers and bank loans
for the living. Then ashes to ashes.

I saw a YouTube video one time.
State of the art affair. Stainless steel room
with a door to the furnace. Two workers

wearing goggles and long gloves taping down
the corners of a plain brown box, swift as can be.
And off you go. Crows watching in wonder. “state of the art”


I have resisted the thieves and thugs who cross my mind sharpening sticks, whispering and winking. They walk away laughing, leaving me with bloody fists boxing a brick wall howling. But on this day without a date, on a back street, dusky powder dimming the last of the light, stepping onto the crosstown bus; I’m away. Got a pocketknife with a bone handle I like to fold and unfold slice the air fold and unfold. I keep ringing the bell but don’t get off. The driver keeps looking in his rearview mirror. Watching me watching him as the town grows deader by the minute. Me, waiting for a stop that never seems to come.

Prose written for dVerse. Limit 144 words and must include the lines “On this day without a date / On a back street, dusky from “My Friend Someone” by Charles Simic.

Build Me a Church

When the call for Poems of Desperation went out, I was not expecting Poetry to show up looking like a Harpy, all wild wind and claw. I was busy in the basement shadowboxing and flexing my skinny arms, looking at a crate in the corner wondering if I should make a speech or maybe speak some word. My scrawl is finely penned that’s for sure. Pure and precise. Nevertheless, she was in a mood. Spent the night wrestling an angel, beat the bugger then went for drinks. She gathered me in her mighty though tremblin’ wings, drew me to her bosom, said if I was a good boy I’d build her a church. A church?! Otherwise I could fuck off and go back to my nets and fishing rod. She spat a sizzler on the stone floor, turned it to lumber. Said she was off to beat the devil, for he too deserved a good lickin’. She did not appear very desperate.


Written for Desperate Poets


Nine, then nineteen. Twenty-nine and thirty-one.

Walking upstairs downstairs, opening the fridge; even feeding the squirrel. I repeat the line over and over. Whisper it quietly. Nine, then nineteen. Twenty-nine and thirty-one. Footsteps lifted from a page. The poet’s beat following me around. Once after reading, I went to bed and spoke all night in verse. Eloquently. Woven into dreams and surfacing between. Eyes open in the dark, mouthing words I would surely forget. A woman’s voice reciting every thought as poetry. The entire night. Words I would surely forget.

Nine, then nineteen. Twenty-nine and thirty-one.