Published Poetry


What does it mean to be the salt of the earth?
Salt is a preservative.
It is used for seasoning and with healing.
Salt is a helping agent.

What does it mean to be the leaven?
Leaven makes the bread rise.
It softens the bread and makes it more digestible.
Leaven is a helping agent.

What does it mean to be the light for the world?
Without the light,
we stumble around in the dark.
Light is a helping agent.

If you are the salt of the earth,
the light for the world, and the leaven,
you are a gift to the earth.
It has nothing to do with heaven.
You are a helping agent
by making the world—this world—a better place.

  • MyEdmondsNews, July 2023

Chapel of the Transfiguration

The first thing I saw was the constellation of houseflies
on the Chapel of the Transfiguration window blocking the grandeur
of the Cathedral Group with Grand Teton in the center.
The fly was the filthiest of creatures to my fastidious eye.
I was offended at first: the sacred was marred by the profane.
so I stepped outside the log church to see
the majesty of the mountains beneath the blue canopy
without the pious interference of human hands.

That was sixty-two years ago. I’ve had a rethink.
God is not captured, domesticated, and confined
to churches, but is alive in every created thing.
Without a nature-based spirituality, the word profane
means outside the temple. Are we fish looking for water?
And why do we argue about who owns the water?

Chapel of the Transfiguration, Moose, WY
  • MyEdmondsNews, July 2023

Come Together

Come together, people of faith,
from the farthest corners of the earth,
from faith traditions round the world—
come together to honor the worth
of every person from birth to death.

Come together, come together!

For you without your daily bread
who sleeps with stars overhead,
we offer hope—be not afraid.
A better future lies ahead;
people of faith are by your side.

Come together, come together!

People of faith call for justice
in politics, law, the marketplace
where greed and malice are commonplace.
People of faith will never allow
that every person has a price.

Come together, come together!

Come together, people of faith,
from the farthest corners of the earth,
from faith traditions round the world.
Unity of faith is a force for good;
universal tenets are understood.

Come together, come together!

  • MyEdmondsNews, July 2023

The Big Nothing

What happens to the indigenous peoples
living in someone else’s promised land?
We never know because they are slaughtered

or erased forever as a culture.
Nothing to see here—
their story is a big nothing.

Historians connect the dots of known events
across white silences of ruined chronicles
forever mute.

  • MyEdmondsNews, July 2023

The Body and Its Desires

for Matthew Arnold

The gods consume nectar and ambrosia on Olympus
and amuse themselves by looking down on us
dispassionately. Cool detachment is a sardonic business.
Hellenism insists we see things as they are.
For right thinking, the body and its desires are a barrier;
we are cautioned to keep the mind completely clear.

Hebraism counters that the body and its desires
are a barrier to right action. The Lord requires
clarity of thought chastened by strictness of conscience.
The principal rubric of the Law is studied obedience
to the will of God. The Lord has a vertical presence—
aloof except to chastise with corrective fires.

In the time it takes a Sierra redwood in the ageing
of two thousand rings, many gods have come
and gone in the public square. Further, we become
weary of our own fungible ground of being—
the dreary march of certainties by which we cling—
as we amble toward the dust from which we came.

More crucial over the years than definitions of the divine
are behavioral tendencies toward either thought
or action when it comes to the body and its desires.
The tension between Athens and Jerusalem defines
every age, and will continue, like it or not,
to shape our every outcome of action or thought.

  • MyEdmondsNews, July 2023

Love is a Twofer

Love is a twofer.
When you say you are in love
or you assert the aphorism, God is love,
you infer duality.

God is the subject
and [something] is the object.
The something is the world
and all its inhabitants.

There is no love without the lover and the loved,
without the me and the you,
without one or the other.

Have you ever experienced love?
You will then understand the Sufi maxim,
You are the mirror in which
God sees himself

  • MyEdmondsNews, July 2023

The White Christ

Red-bearded, blood-soaked Thor faced off
against the white Christ
at the end of the first millennium.

Icelanders had to choose.
For the pagans, white stood for cowardice,
but the heavy hand of King Olaf

forced a deal the pagan holdouts
could not refuse.
The second millennium is in the past already.

The state supports the old white Christ,
but attendance is low in the state church.
Icelanders go through the cafeteria line

and select their religion.
Bureaucrats record their preferences.
It’s all very low energy.

There won’t be a saga-worthy single combat
between the white Christ
and some adversary in the future.

  • MyEdmondsNews, July 2023

The Alpha and Omega of Gratitude

Giving thanks in your heart is the alpha of gratitude.
Gratitude is the sum of what you sense and say.
Remembering to offer your thanks is the omega of gratitude.

Longing for things you lack is a flawed attitude.
Always be thankful for what you have today.
Feeling grateful in your heart is the alpha of gratitude.

Do not devalue the goods you currently hold.
What you have today was only hoped for yesterday.
Remembering to offer your thanks is the omega of gratitude.

Lust for things puts you in an anxious mood.
You’ll find your happiness in the persons you most enjoy.
Giving thanks in your heart is the alpha of gratitude.

The lives of those you love will increase in magnitude
as you count your blessings and walk with them in the Way.
Remembering to offer your thanks is the omega of gratitude.

The ungrateful person is one who journeys in solitude.
Appreciation is the greatest kindness, far and away.
Giving thanks in your heart is the alpha of gratitude.
Remembering to offer your thanks is the omega of gratitude.

  • MyEdmondsNews, July 2023

Life and Death in the Back Yard

The neighbor’s cat with the pure black fur
noticed my movement in the kitchen
and fixed his stare at me.
I eased forward to get a better view
of our small, oval-shaped lawn
through the sliding glass door.

The tan corpse of a baby rabbit
was less than a foot away
from his extended paws perfectly aligned,
and the diminutive Lion King,
head turned to the left with eyes locked on me,
was announcing to the whole world,
“Look what I did!”

Hunger had nothing to do with it.
We feed that cat when the neighbors leave town.
It was pure sport.
I opened the sliding door and yelled “Yah!”
and the cat high-tailed it over the south fence.
Maybe you’ll be a coyote biscuit someday,
I thought.
I hope you enjoy that experience.

I checked the tiny rabbit.
Yes, it was dead.
We don’t have a pet cemetery on our property,
so I chucked the corpse over the back fence
into the nine-acre greenbelt behind the house.
It was an inglorious end
to a life that never really got started.

After that, I took down the empty birdfeeder
hanging from the arch over the gate
to fill it up with songbird seeds from Ace Hardware.
Nancy had been bugging me for a week,
“You need to feed the birds,”
and I would reply,
“These creatures lived for millions of years
without our help. They can fend for themselves.”
“Yes, but I like to look at them.”

I turned the feeder upside down
and pounded on the base
to shake loose the crud on the bottom
Then I filled it to the brim with seeds
and rehung it from the arch.

Song sparrows were the first to attack the feeder
and the last to leave.
Others were the dark-eyed junco,
spotted towhee, northern flicker, house finch,
and surprise! the black-capped chickadee.
The goldfinch made a rare appearance.
Tiny birds suddenly popped out of the blackberries
at breakneck speed to the arched gate,
hop-hopping to the feeder for a snack,
then flit away into the thicket.

I was like a songbird god
summoning my peoples to a rich buffet,
from the east, the west, the north, and the south:
Bring my sons from far away,
and my daughters from the ends of the earth.

  • MyEdmondsNews, September 2022

Glass Half Empty

He loved to be the devil’s advocate.
If you pleaded in favor of the notion of progress
or argued for the goodness of faith-based optimism,
he would, in his quiet way,
set out to destroy your thesis point by point.

Dad was a philosophical pessimist.
He was not emotional about it,
but he felt he was doing you a favor
by exposing the flaws in your illusions.

Optimists look at the bright side.
He would gently point out
the human condition was not improving at all.
As he aged and declined in health,
he believed history was not progressing,
but actually was getting worse.

There is something to be said
for being correct about the human condition.
When he was young and full of life,
he took pleasure in setting the record straight.

Dad put himself in a logical box.
By placing himself,
the world, and all its inhabitants
on a metaphorical death row,
what was there to live for?
Where was the happiness in soft nihilism?

  • MyEdmondsNews, September 2022

Summer Romance

Of all my days to middle age,
you gave me less than ten.
So little time

from moon to rising moon.
A meteor flared and fell
on an August night

now thirty winters dead.
The lingering light:
for that I give you thanks.

  • The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection and Joy, Edited by James Crews, Storey Publishing, 2022

For the Faces I Will Never See

Christmas 2020

Long stretches of handling the hooks*
with rhythmic certainty
seamlessly moving forward on a row
occasionally looking up at a movie
seen before many times
(knowing which scene is coming)
sometimes losing track
of the sequencing cadence
or noticing the row does not look right,
counting, counting, ripping out,
saying a word not safe for work,
re-reading instructions
then back on track,
finishing the main pattern
and refining the border—
the final step—until
done at last!

For the faces I will never see,
you bundled newborns in other arms,
my love goes out to you.
I imagine my yarn
chucked against your chin,
but that is where my story ends.
Wear it well
and pay it forward
for children of your own
if you can.


  • MyEdmondsNews, September 2021

Owl Love

Sometimes on my morning run,
I hear the call and response
of two owls.
They move around,
never in the same place twice,
but I know who they are
because the smaller of the two
is one white note higher
on the keyboard,
and each has a pitch
always the same.
No one owl initiates the call
every time.
They take turns.
The 2-hoot call is followed
by a two-Mississippi wait
for the 2-hoot response,
then they take 15 seconds
to think about it
before the next exchange.
I imagine both
are saying the same thing:
“I am yours.
I am here for you.”

  • MyEdmondsNews, September 2021

Childhood Memories

Memories of my childhood
are hopelessly corrupt.
Facts are elusive.
The core event may stay the same,
protruding like a stone
in a turquoise tidal pool,
but ancillary facts appear,
disappear, reappear,
and shape-shift over time.

Facts are fleeting,
but feelings are forever
and absolutely incorruptible.
Memories are not unlike
the garden-variety dream
where the main takeaway
is not the inscrutable plot,
but the emotion I am feeling
when I awake.

  • MyEdmondsNews, September 2021

Into the Winter

In a far field of broken turf and mud,
a quarter horse stands statue-still.
The sunless sky trades its feathery mist
for twisting steam from out of the pasture thaw.
A puff of breath betrays a living death.
The horse is dying; legs are stiff as stone.
Where once he raced from line to picket line
of ragged timber that rims the rolling farm,
today he labors long at standing still.

  • MyEdmondsNews, February 2021

We All Start at Zero

The practiced hands of the good-humored doctor
pull the infant out of the warm duskiness
of an amniotic ocean into the unfamiliar glare
of delivery room lights. It is a rough business,
coming into the world, but every person
in the room is pulling for the startled new arrival
to survive, grow, thrive, and come of age.

In this instant, we align ourselves with God
to affirm the wholesome generative forces of the world.
We all start at zero. Look at the face
of the newborn child. Where is the theological construct
of original sin? Do you see it? No?
The swaddled baby is laid on the mother’s chest
and begins to learn the ambivalent ways of humankind.

  • MyEdmondsNews, February 2021

The Politics of No

No, we are not bewhiskered woodsmen posing
with a fabled misery whip 12-feet long
emerging from the sepia history of real men

or frugal, gaunt survivalists riding out
the Great Depression or the khaki war machine
fighting to the death against the Axis powers

or fearless astronauts landing on the moon.
As the swaggering first citizens of a unipolar world,
we are soft from indolent years of privileged ease.

We are soft without a great enemy to fight
so we look within and fight among ourselves.
We harden into corpulence and intellectual sloth

as nimbler nations strive to take us down,
not by the savagery of war, but with whispered lies
designed to divide us into two contending camps

dueling to the death of the great American experiment
of broad-shouldered accomplishment of big things.
No, my friend, we are not that nation anymore.

  • MyEdmondsNews, February 2021


The same stone which the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.

~Psalm 118

The great American poet was gravely ill.
Confined to home, he was game enough for an interview.
As I was ushered into his august presence,
I noticed letterhead papers taped to the walls
of the rooms, corner to corner from floor to ceiling.
Each was a version of, “Sorry, not for us.”
Of course, I started to laugh, which was the point.
The old man’s voice was soft but clear:
“The rejection letters keep me humble,” he said.
“I often wonder where the editors and publishers—
these gatekeepers—are today with their insights.
The uncharted path is hard to follow at first.
I get that. Sometimes it takes a while
for the world to come around to the unforeseen reality
that a loathed new idea despised by the authorities
will be the conceptual capstone of the coming age.”

  • MyEdmondsNews, July 2020

Mass in Times of a Pandemic

Kyrie eleison

Have mercy upon the people of faith, O Lord,
who put their trust in you, as an enemy, unseen
and silent, steals across our land and the world
abroad to tap on shoulders—as if at random
like a monstrous game of tag—of unsuspecting men
and women who strive to make it through the day.
We sing, Kyrie eléison, Christe eléison,
Kyrie eléison, with great gladness; and we pray:
Give us courage, O Lord, come what may.


We shoulder sorrows at the end of a darkened day,
seeking shelter against the forces of the night,
and in the lengthening shadows we find our way
to the empty tomb of Christ with the perpetual light
of one hopeful candle burning bright
to celebrate the risen Lord. We look to the west:
the glow of the golden sun gives way to the light
of vespers. Secure in our safe lodging, we are blessed
to praise the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


How did the Coronavirus disaster come? Two ways:
gradually, then suddenly. Science knew it was real
and lethal, but leadership dithered for many days
until a great nation was brought to heel.
Worse than war, we tumbled down into the hell
of separateness. Each of us must suffer alone,
apart from the warmth of fellowship in which we feel
a common bond. But we shall rise again!
Even in isolation, we are one unbroken chain.


The virus requires we find new ways to cope.
Gatherings are banned; individuals widen their space.
In isolation, we glimpse in memory, dimly, but we hope
to see each other soon face to face,
cheek by jowl, in a happier time and place.
Privately, we pray, Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God of hosts. By the loving grace
of God, we plan to come together fully
as one body and sing the Hymn of Victory.

Agnes Dei

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away
the sins of the world. We the faithful may be sheep
in need of a good shepherd or innocents in the ways
of the world, but the body of Christ is wide and deep
and the people of this church have commitments to keep
whether blown to the four winds or gathered in place.
We are set on sowing in the Spirit—in the hope of reaping
eternal life. My friends, go in grace
until we meet again face to face.

  • Published in the St. John’s Episcopal Church newsletter, The Episcopaper, in January 2021.

Bus Poem: Hard Times

Her long and pallid fingers
grip tight an impish pair
of toddler boys
as she climbs onto the bus.
I lift my eyes to a stretched-long face
as white as chalk—
a face evocative of the Great Depression
when hard times were black and white.

Her photo-flash whiteness indicates
the final stage of terminal fatigue.
Translucent skin,
sanded smooth from toddler work,
is the thinnest possible film
over a blue vein near the collarbone.
Thin lips are drained of color.
Fatigue’s garment is the absence of color.

Her large protective hands
caress the boys.
The three of them form
a triangle of touching and soft murmuring.
The boys are rested,
well-behaved and full of color,
but she is black and white,
a bright dust-bowl face of exhaustion.

  • MyEdmondsNews, July 2020

As a Rose Unfolds Itself

For my daughter

Stunned to hear your marriage is falling apart,
I look to see you sad, defeated, but no!
You are energized—fired up and ready to go.
The unencumbered life gladdens your heart.

As a rose unfolds itself,
there is always an exact time
when beauty is most compelling.
For you, that time is now.

I wrote these lines when you were twenty-one.
Society believes that beauty will have its say
briefly before a long denouement of decay.
Wrong. The unfolding of beauty is never done.

Unlike the athlete whose turn on the stage is short,
beauty draws from character to counter age.
A woman’s poise and wisdom keep the page
from turning; they keep the book from snapping shut.

Character powers the engine that drives the train
along a set of tracks uniquely yours.
This time belongs to you. Enjoy the years
to come as your own master of heart and brain.

  • MyEdmondsNews, July 2020

The Lake

Intuitive images of truth
from out of the liquid eye

are writ in stagnant brown
when scuttling winds are shy

or lush voluptuous blue
erotic as a lover’s sigh

or red on twilight orange
where the blood syllables fly.

The poet dreams his life
as the lake dreams the sky.

  • MyEdmondsNews, March 2020

My Moment in Time

Curving through a basalt cut,
the slim-waisted river brings
waters from the Two Oceans Plateau

at Jackson Lake to the faraway waters
out west, all the way to Astoria.
Cache Peak is due south.

Smooth-sanded alluvial fans
are tan with flecks of sagebrush teal.
To the north, the massive Craters of the Moon

lava fields lie between the river
and the distant mountains of central Idaho.
I stand alone in this isolated spot.

Civilization is nowhere in sight.
Little has changed since the Bonneville Flood
scoured the Portneuf River Valley

at the end of the Ice Age or even
when the first people arrived more
then ten thousand years ago.

This moment by the river—my moment
in time—is a one-of-a-kind snapshot
in the millions of years that some version

of the Snake River flowed to the Pacific.
This tiny stretch of river is not
the complete river any more than lives

exists in isolation apart from all the brothers
and sisters of the past, present, and future.
Like the island in the stream parting the waters,

it isn’t you who travels forward.
The small measure of time meant for you
travels toward you and beyond you.

  • MyEdmondsNews, March 2020

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

I was an L.A. kid. My favorite sport
was baseball. The weather was always kind
enough for a game. My friends and I
knew the batting averages and the earned run
averages of the players in the PCL,
and all the major league stats. I followed the Angels.
It was always a treat to go to Wrigley Field
with my dad and watch the Angels play ball.
I never went without some friends from school.

One Saturday, my dad took me and two
of my friends to an Angels game. We sat near
the back of the lower section overlooking
first base. There was a section in front of us
right by the visitors’ dugout completely empty.
These seats were the most expensive in the park,
but today, those ticket holders did not show up.

Wrigley had a custom to let the local kids
into the stands after a couple of innings,
just to fill up the ballpark. It was a neighborly policy
with the surrounding community in south L.A.
and it helped to boost the noise for the home team.

When a boisterous group of black kids commandeered
the seats in the coveted section down below,
a man sitting near us began to grumble
about them in a loud voice. This same man
was telling his companion at the start of the game
how pleased he was with his seats at the ballpark.
He did have great seats, but it made him angry
when poor kids sat closer to the action.

The man complained and muttered racial slurs
for two innings before my father finally
had enough. Dad was sure the commentary
was ruining the experience for me and my friends.
After one racist rant too many, my father turned
to him and said, “Hey, knock it off.
We’re trying to watch the game.” The man was caught
off guard, “Well, it isn’t fair. I paid good money
for these seats, and those kids don’t deserve
the luxury box.” Dad said, “I heard you bragging
about your seats when you came in. You said
they were perfect. What happened? Relax,”
he said gesturing toward the buoyant fans
in the stands, “enjoy the game with the rest of us.”

It worked. We never heard another word.
Later, my dad explained it this way:
“It is a gift just to be there at Wrigley Field
where the sun is shining and the Angels are winning.
Be happy. It doesn’t matter where you sit.”

  • MyEdmondsNews, March 2020

clicking Send
she is the last
of my parents’ generation
gone are the trees
I used to climb

  • Atlas Poetica

the river
always leaves its source
yet it never leaves
the tangled fishhooks
of loves false and true

  • Atlas Poetica

by the lemon tree
our first kiss
I ride home
on a horse of oxygen

  • Atlas Poetica

the baby is dead . . .
while he stares
into the street
she feels her breasts
filling with milk

  • Atlas Poetica

deep grasses choke
the broad path
we used to walk
our past is lost
in a seamless field of green

  • Atlas Poetica

Now That I Am Dead

On reading “Evening Land” by Pär Lagerkvist

As I stooped through the low portal of death,
I saw my human fate
emptied out into the lethe.

Life’s luggage of love and hate
was left behind the wall;
the gardener burned my once-essential freight.

I asked myself if this was all.
Intelligent souls clicked like dolphins in the wind
on either side of the wall,

discerning everything.  My mind
came clean; discernment whirled ahead
as soon as I was schooled by the garrulous wind.

Now that I am dead,
I know that God did not create the soul;
the soul created God instead.

Now that I am dead, I know the soul
imagined heaven straddling earth
where God was hired to rule

irascible man and iterative death/rebirth.
I dreamed of an infinite life,
a dream encoded before my birth,

because one life was not enough.
I know that paradise was once inside my head,
now that I am dead.

  • Scarlet Leaf Review, Anniversary Edition 2018


For a Memorial Service

The sacred sea defines
our summed collective soul.

Our infinite designs
are in the sea’s control.

We scarcely understand
our fundamental start.

We cannot comprehend
the sum of every part.

As the aeons come and go,
its silent flow and blend
is all we ever know;
but now we feel the wind.

A molecule of water
that skims the sacred sea
and breathes corporeal air
resembles you and me.

As soon as we are tossed
above the nurturing foam,
this flesh, from found to lost,
obscures our natural home
in such a pleasing way
we lose the cosmic sweep
of comely, sunborne spray
rounded by the deep.

  • Scarlet Leaf Review, Anniversary Edition 2018

Celebrating Peace


Today we gather in this faraway space
to celebrate what never took place.

Under this cloudless sky
the Unknown Soldier did not die.

No one was wounded on this spot.
Nary a soldier fired a shot.

No soldier sang a battle hymn
or killed or died or lost a limb.

On this our distant grassy field,
no corpse was lifted onto a shield.

The world at war is far away;
let peace begin with us today.


Fog is rising from the thawing ground.
Birds are soaring without a sound.

Cedars shimmer in the morning breeze.
Snowy mountains back the trees.

For a world at war, where do we start?
Peace begins in the human heart.

By changing hearts one by one,
changed hearts lower the gun.

Today we promise to work for peace,
changing hearts in the name of peace.

The world at war is far away;
let peace begin with us today.

  • Scarlet Leaf Review, Anniversary Edition 2018

a cricket aria,
then the chorus

  • ‘t schrijverke (the Netherlands)

pan-fried trout
I learn something new
about my father

  • The Heron’s Nest
    Heron’s Nest Award, December 2011: Editor’s Choice
  • Carving Darkness, Red Moon Anthology, 2011
  • Haiku Foundation Per Diem, February 2014
  • Per Diem Archive on the Haiku Foundation Website


  • Haiku App (Apple)

the empty space
inside the cello

  • Modern Haiku


  • ‘t schrijverke (the Netherlands)

pinwheeling leaves
thirty-five years end
with the word amicable

  • Frogpond

August moon
children disappear
into their lives

  • Modern Haiku


  • San Marino High School class reunion memory book

Sawtooth Mountains
the alpine lake is stocked
with clouds

  • Modern Haiku

as I cut and splice
a few salient vignettes,
the rest of my life
spools out
on the cutting room floor

  • Simply Haiku

walking away
from the laugh track
into the twilit park
into the noise-cone
of a brood of cicadas

  • TSA Ribbons

the widow folds her life
and puts it away

  • Simply Haiku

waking up
to the first nudge
of pain
great unweavings begin
with one loose thread

  • American Tanka

summer heat
coming all this distance to find
nothing but distance

  • Paper Wasp

the pounding surf
why does it matter now
after 40 years?
bleached stones against
the bleached sky

  • Simply Haiku

redgold salmon
flap their tails…
Indian summer

  • Paper Wasp

the hard-breathing trout
explaining death
to a child

  • Frogpond

bitter snowstorm…
strangers become friends
for a day

  • The Heron’s Nest

I put down my pen
to watch the birds
swallows criss-cross the street
hour after hour because…
I have no idea

  • TSA Ribbons

dried dogwood flowers
the old couple
eats in silence

  • Simply Haiku

deep coral tulips—
our quiet

  • The Heron’s Nest

phosphorous flares
illuminate those
about to die
Huey gunships
are pissing bullets

  • Simply Haiku

restless ducks
fly south
fly north

  • The Heron’s Nest

looking ahead to the past
remembering the future
one datastream
the road from home
is a road leading home

  • Simply Haiku

a pinwheeling leaf
strikes the watercourse
and floats around the bend
gone forever
do you ever think of me?

  • Simply Haiku

repair work
on the dam
emptying out
the harmony
of water and mud

  • Simply Haiku

she touched my cheek
and turned away—
summer’s end
how many turns
around the sun?

  • TSA Ribbons

the river flowed backward
for her—friends took leave
one by one
she is all alone
at the source

  • TSA Ribbons

the Events folder
our first kiss
remembering your touch,
the tilt of your face

  • TSA Ribbons

Oregon fog
of mountains

  • The Heron’s Nest

wind over the lake
desiccate leaves
scrape indolently
at our feet
like the years

  • American Tanka

my glass is filled
with dusk tonight
I swirl the west and think of you
and sip the stars
down to the stem

  • Simply Haiku

lost mojo
on the Red Line
a sweet face
no opportunity
for me

  • TSA Ribbons

The Way

The way eludes the snare
of language. It is hard to catch the wheeling birds
scurrying up helixing stairs,

but harder still to catch the way with words.
The heart that hangs stretched and framed
is not the heart of hearts;

the way that can be named
and then defined is not the way.
The way conceals itself by being nameless.

Abundantly clear from far away,
the mountain up close fades to shades of white;
such vastness mirrors the way.

The patient, widening eye controls the night.
Eventually, patterns emerge,
defining themselves with immanent light,

suggesting a subtle demiurge
behind a shadowy veil
behind another veil on heaven’s edge

behind the tangible veil
of earth; for earth is the pattern for humanity,
then heaven for earth; and through the farthest veil,
the way spins out our destiny.

  • Arnazella


Historians lust for great events,
the violent one percent,
so nothing happens nearly every year.

Stamford Bridge and Hastings stretched a month;
whatever happened years before
or since that raven glut?

For each combatant, hundreds more
were not involved, as Norseman, Norman, Celt
and Saxon plowed the green

or toiled the cold Atlantic,
gave birth in perishing huts or softly sang
for children alliterative lullabies.

  • Arnazella

Class of 1960

We meet again, halfway to the sea;
we touch again, halfway from the snow.
Our disentangled lives have floated free
through range and farm and city far below,
and far away from home. We floated free
within the groove of the river’s quiet flow.
Our lives are channeled—this we clearly see;
our cut of land determines where we go;
but how we go is up to you and me.
Entangled as we are again tonight,
salute the past, then say a last good-bye.
Remember me as I appear tonight
and I’ll remember you with an inward eye
until the whispering river meets the sea.

  • San Marino High School class reunion memory book
    (written in 1990)

North San Diego County

The grass of Kearny Mesa
grew up to be
a hundred shopping malls.

The naked hills were clothed
by Mediterranean housing projects.

Some rural routes
are giant interstates.

I never gave a thought
to golden grass
or granite hills
or dusty roads
when they were there,
before the dozers carved the land.

  • Thirteen

Back Jackknife

for Bud Baldwin

His rigid arms are pointing down as he walks
the diver’s practiced pace toward the edge
and deftly spins around to set his feet.
The crowd grows quiet as he is on his toes,
to seek and find the pulse of limber steel.
With that assured, arms come up, palms flat
and facing down; knuckles nudge his gaze.

Silence snaps—he takes the backward leap,
exploding blind at forty-five degrees
(too high, you flop; too low and over you go),
and belly muscles pull his daggered toes
into a row of waiting fingertips
still reaching out directly from the chest.
he shuts the knife exactly at the apogee;

His body forms a tight, symmetrical V.
and just a blink beyond, he pops the knife.
The head flies back and arms in tandem follow
violently; so head, arms, and back design
a deadly blade to cut the water clean.
He nails the perfect dive. And slicing through
the bottom of the sky, he suns in blithe applause.

  • Aethlon

High Jumper

The changing years extend, but still I shine
above the crossbar straddling six foot three
at the quarter finals in May of ’59.

My father’s grainy photo caught the victory;
I share with him the moment’s immutability.
Time cannot erase the singular joy

of jumping—the illusory release from gravity.
I keep the gold and the aura of a perfect day,
but changing years took the boy away.

  • Hobo Stew Review