Let’s forget the echoes of my thirtieth year for there’s refuge in the night and the moon. Moonlit night where imagination stretches starward. Moonlit night where my name falls off like an autumn leaf. Moonlit night where I’m a sapling attune to winter wind. Moonlit night where my past hibernates, ant-sized.Read more "Pandora’s Moon"
Sittin’ to the left of Gandhi Peaceful intentions and all Honolulu Zoo behind me Girls playing volleyball Beautiful ocean Yet, the world burns in more ways than one My wife in the water, with beautiful fish I love it here Yet, the world burns The cardinal I just fed bread is thankfulRead more "Left of Gandhi"
After a night of therapeutic bottle and blunt passing He wakes on earth at 5AM In a lumpy bed He goes to the airport in his overalls Brandishing a handkerchief He scrubs the thick plastic windows With long handles bruises He watches the jets take off They move hot through the endless sky With purposeRead more "Day Job"
We only say it correctly when we’re learning to spell it, a hint of brew, this month more soft-spoken than the last, and short – though Valentine roses’ petals fall before ice melts. Oh, some whisper it as a synonym for claustrophobia, closing down or slamming doors so fast that cold lurks abandoned out there where invisibles moan and something smelly hides under the front steps.Read more "February"
this humo ludens collaborans has many plans renewing vows supporting plants saving bees down on my knees with every breath we take in oxygen gifts from forests, meadows, mosses & fernsRead more "Mother"
Can you see us through the gate? the Tutelo ask. I sprayed it apple red last winter, aerosol in my lungs. Must be more careful in the time of masks. But the red. The red! You can see it a quarter mile away, walking up the lane. Crooked door opening to a wide mossy bed of poplar and walnut. Shadows bend into each other. Locust limbs rest on the lazy fence. An old wooden coop, emptied years back by the fox, sits where the home place was.Read more "The Red Gate"
Tiny round-faced vaquita porpoises, dark-eyed mountain gorillas, intricately striped Sumatran tigers, so many species disappearing under greed’s heavy boots although the loss seems abstract as we stop at Costco for groceries, fill up the car before heading home.Read more "Without, Within"
A light rain washes clean the leaves, the green melody of freedom from the city’s nightmares. Time rolls past, fast or slow, no one knows, like the mists that rise up and settle down upon the Smoky Mountains. Days lose their distinctions, their names. Dust, thick and heavy in the sun, embraces the rain like new love refusing to let go and calms the road down, clearing the air, the sky, the pathway love must travel to embrace a new rain.Read more "Last Chance Road"
Pessimism is natural, like Type-1 Diabetes, liver, heart disease. The Caddy, Miata, they’re not there because you’re now half-full or half alive, but -dead. Drive.Read more "38 Dollar Store Candles"
Now all I hear is my own hum so turn again to the window where a broken line of parked cars dots the whitening sidewalk, as the sun englobes the street in crisp detail and vivifies the skeletal oaks that scratch against the sky, implying the chimes of birds about to arrive. I lean against my window, note the dust motes pillowed on the glass like a moleculed yawn, so grab a rag and spot, on the ledge, two piebald pigeons strutting and pulsing back and forth as they peck along the sill in sync.Read more "Flight"
Above the east bank green rays beam from beyond The aquarelle of this dawn patiently emerges, brightening The fleeing the stars & indigo twilight Sand castles still guard this shore, surviving the higher wash of the nightRead more "Sunrise River (Río Uruguay)"
As if backyard tennessee reaches the edge of the pacific chipping granite til it bleeds sweet tea crickets refusing to be reined or digitized too hot for mason jars or any lidsRead more "Ready for Anything"
I wonder who lives in the house With the bright red chimney, someone must For on cold winter mornings Smoke bellows from the stack And the smell of freshly baked bread Stops me in the thaw and snap So, I linger for a moment And stare at this dreamy abode Lit by the soft edges of snow clouds And the sun a pale embroidered gold ‘All is well with the world’ then I say to myself All is well in the house with the red chimneyRead more "Red Chimney"
Do not excite about the newfangled spangles of your daughter without recalling your participation in the decimation of ours. You walked many paces ahead of my panicky lungs zestful in glory that you could outpace me away from your cells multiplying into something ours for a short verse.Read more "Love Poem to My Ex-Husband Who is About to Become a Father"
Blast! over the last ridge before pasture. The great white sycamore shatters the oriole’s net-nest. An autumn olive catches the fledgling, embraces its beating heart. Singed by relentless summer, hills west waver/duck at the gale.Read more "The Furies"
This rain pounds the arch hall with a glass roof, vexations of puddles over and above the axles, no time to witness how slowly the tulip emerges in curled lips like cups. Chills of wet hair.Read more "For the Young Who Are Afraid"
Fixed and firm you pull out frames slice wax caps and dip into combs of liquid gold. You tug red cashmere over platinum waves then smooth a tight, white skirt.Read more "For Sylvia"
Life, the iredeemer. No wonder there’s a God, not unlike there’s hate and always a dollar in St. Anthony’s change for a cigarette from the Pakistani or Indian bodega kept up by a family who kneels just the same to different names, and praises the canonized coin in their jars writ with wishes that God won’t stop depositing dimes or spare quarters for some beatific order: smoke, family, like love. What cans to be had.Read more "Redemption"
You see power lines and I see twilight But you follow me everywhere, even when I sail across seas, live in other countries, speak foreign languages. Especially when I speak foreign languages. They remind me of your many tongues, fingers in my mouth, body like a map revealing unknowns that make me all at once prepared and still afraid.Read more "This Wasn’t Supposed to Be About You"
Near the pressed powder next to the mascara the one packaged in pink she looks for Raspberry Rush. The cylinder brightens by the liner becomes beacon beside the blush where the concealer hides as the tweezers glisten atop 20x mirror. She removes the cap turns the case— ah, the scent of fruit and flower lanolin aluminum lake.Read more "She Applies Imagination in Times of Uncertainty"
Hand held eyes head unencumbered telepathic, no need for speech hovering instead of walking how many babies? How many pets? photosynthetic? Photovoltaic?Read more "Upgrade"
Coffee Unctuous First sip, last drip, scrumptious No drink can comfort, the parched dry mouth Recover from mornings, the sentient self Quite like the demon bean Devilishly moreish, whoreish even as I sip her wares With cinnamon toast for company Not love, nor utopia compares Arabica, I shout, the cavernous yawn expectant Smells the roast, hears the china cup And like magic the corpse is resurrectant Then with a thank you God and a splash of cream I do baptize the demon beanRead more "The Demon Bean"
She is not alone. Half that grows in her is half what grew in me, lack of blood on my lips oiled hormonal wheels that germinate holinessRead more "Ode to My Ex-Husband’s Pregnant Girlfriend"
Lemon-brushed, she has one last trip to make across pastureland to the wild cherry tree. Last meal on a frivolous zinnia, torn chiffon at her wing’s end amber and black turn to bisque on grey appalachiensis.Read more "Papilio"
As if this city, composed of skeletal pink coral, arose from the basin of a dried-out ocean swept by desert-spanning wind and now echoes through my sleeplessness again, a speechlessness ripped apart by joyriding motorcycles.Read more "Impossible Sunrise"
In case of headache or mental exhaustion, one cannot rely on the fizzy, caffeinated sweetness of Coca-Cola. But rather, than dwell on its lack of restorative properties, take a sip.Read more "Esteemed Brain Tonic and Intellectual Beverage"
Heavy blooms expose their fleshy bodies in such enterprise among the dunes—as mine to yours. Such immeasurable delight: the pale lips of the iris curling to the listless sky.Read more "Enterprise"
You see power lines and I see twilight clinging to itself. You see a cardinal and call it a representative and I say visitant and eventually we agree on angel.Read more "The Theory of Electromagnetism"
Remember the loons on Henneman Lake. Together, we paddle along the shoreline. We hear a song trio, juvenile plus mates. It’s a pristine setting, natural not fake, where lily pads float and clear water shines. Remember the loons on Henneman Lake.Read more "Remember the Loons, a Villanelle"
Much must. Old nut bearers, leaf returners. Old man forest and his just sprung wife. I have faith in those wild orange day lilies and forsythia, but Black-eyed Susans and stargazers have fooled me before.Read more "What Will Winter Over?"
The sea mist condenses in the chill of pre-dawn Now rain streams down the roof, pocking the sand Yet the sea washes evenly its morning tide coming in Its white caps brilliant in this yet-nightRead more "Before the Lightening"
I cradle an ornament that holds infinity in my hand a small blue angel carved out of wood meticulously painted in a life lived long ago. Scents of Bavarian pine, black forests that are silent, darkly deep with the residue of Rosstal.Read more "Lights"
How can you describe a place called Dottie a land of statistics, a land of probability a country rooted in elegant traditions traffic running wild, traffic running widdershins green terrain shutting down completely perchance of rain confounding new arrivals with postings and signs, signs shedding slogans, making promises directing the journeyRead more "Invisible Countries: Countries and Signs"
As it often does moving by memory, your body finds mine, fits puzzled into angles and curves in those hushed hours—were it not for the mockingbird screaming into the moonlit, slate-grey sky.Read more "Mockingbird"
As red lick of sunrise brightens the air you stand near sheets of greenery pause beside pillows of hosta / moss witness / where love lands to kiss lilium lips. Slick with dew / petals glow as tongued bowls greet wasp answer beetle / respond in kind. You / too / were once kissed warmed in morning light.Read more "Learning from Asiatic Lily"
On the street behind barriers squealing kids follow mum and dad along the boardwalk joggers jostle walkers among handholding couples. Shore spume sprints to the tideline. Sand shifts and settles unhindered by human feet and towelsRead more "Morning"
For thrum of yellow through sycamores and slant of sunlight through milk jug’s rounded edges. For gold-ignited summer and star-spangled boneweed on the road.Read more "Thanksgiving in Hometowns"
Nine years ago swine flu kissed the farm, Obliging Virginia Hambone to stand firm Against the public use of mucky troughs Which was causing the trots and coughs.Read more "Pig Farm"
We were frozen stumbling and bumbling your hand on my thigh my leg on yours holding tight as we hurled down that hillside on a rustic red slide not knowing we would have this moment to savor for so many walks to come before full time work and grad school one, two, then three bundles of infinite intensity.Read more "small hands"
The singing ingredient (two parts aria) is for the pumpkins, the gratitude moment when the seeds go in, the months cajoling vines up the pyramid of lath, celebrating bees in the fluted yellow flower, waiting for slow golding of the greenRead more "My Pumpkin Pie Recipe"
Annie Dillard’s Weasel contemplates the umwelt of John Lennon. Having seized its last muskrat the weasel rides to heaven on a trail of half-eaten flesh and bones. Once arrived, its esteem for wildness fades and its true nature is revealed.Read more "Annie Dillard’s Weasel"
For a moment in the calm, between gusts of wind: the faint push of air beneath wing. The northern harrier drifts above a flowering field of yellow mustard. Bobbing among the eddies, the murre learn centuries of the waterwork and currents, driven unthinking by what we cannot know.Read more "North"
Muskrat She walks past the pond, up the road,toward illuminated shape—sunshineorbits its body, an auburn luster. Behind oak, near maple, she cloaksits remains with autumn’s leavings,honors its life. At bedtime, she smooths her grandmother’scoat, the mink repurposed into coverlet.Its plushness weeps with needless death. Animals have covered us long enough. Jeannie E. Roberts has authored four […]Read more "Muskrat"
Little Town Money almost enough.Sanity but not quite.Mellow mostly.Bowel movements plentiful.Hunger at times.Pain where expected.Growls and groans,grins and laughter,in proportion.Lambs and lions,about 50-50.Much more copperthan gold.Sex and sickness.Holiness and one barber’s pole.Hardware store.Movie house.Tractors – second hand.But much machineryin general.More than booksand places for a band to play.Scant art.Little style.A lot of unmarried virgins.A few […]Read more "Little Town"
Meteor Shower Canvas blackthe eternal oil spill galacticdark matterspeckled waves of crystaldiamond skyruby, emerald, sapphirelightspeedsilent night brightterminal velocityeyes focusstraining in the dark timeas seconds, minutes, eonsstretch galaxiesinto small handsthat even rain cannotfeelfor in feelingwe begin to fallheadlong into nightriding the meteorsof our pastknowing the showersof our futurewill smotherthose small handssomeday Mark Hammerschick writes poetry and […]Read more "Meteor Shower"
Not doing much but composing a poem in my head—which might be somethingif the poem is consummated,turning out to be good. Sunlight steps easy on the waterall the way to Quay Bercyand a new first line—that’s better.Lush, green leaves on the trees, a cat chases plump birds,a couple on the roof of a houseboatkiss and […]Read more "Along the Seine"
Tuna Meow Meow 10¢ Off Checkout behind befuddled womanwho places one can Turkey & Giblets Cat Foodon counter, watches the scan,selects a Price Chopper couponthumbing through a stack in her fist.Cashier shakes her head: “Coupon’s forthe small size, honey, you’ve got the large,”tosses the can in a reject bag white plasticwhile Ms. Befuddle lifts a […]Read more "Tuna Meow Meow 10¢ Off"
Bill of Delights …bosun wharf. That corduroy anorak molded you… * …al dente. Gash eggplant. Trickle… * …kite-flying matinee idol. The accessory… * …gravel rash. We zigzagged in fairyground… Christmas 2001, The Northern Cultural Skills Partnership sponsored Christopher Barnes to be mentored by Andy Croft in conjunction with New Writing North. […]Read more "Bill of Delights"
Ocean City I’m on a fifth-storyhotel balconyat the crack of dawn staring past a row of rental propertiestoward vast waters beyond, as I wonderwhat ghosts lieon the hungover streets below. What sort of jukebox jiveor inebriated highdid that last breeze carry through? It’s a mid-summer den,a damn hotbed,of debauchery and sin on this morning after […]Read more "Ocean City"
Grasping at Straws “The thing is, unless you change, nothing changes.”— Jose Mujica Cordano “It’s easy,” you tell your niece, showing her how to managethe simplest task, baby steps and all that, perhaps how to formher first question, her first double-u, perhaps how to maintainthe fire in the grate, perhaps later to count out her […]Read more "Grasping at Straws"