Moonrise Over Red Rocks


sandstone outcrops cradled us
in their carved fire belly
as we danced on waves of red ash
dry streamers, vortices
a sheath of glimmering stars above

with arms aswirl in the darkening sky
we could not distinguish song from wind
nor our bodies from the breezy melody
so warm and womb-like
on our skin

harmonized voices diffused our arms
into evanescent wings
on the verge of becoming the wind
its gentle rocking force
crashing our faces

“What is that?” I asked in breathy awe
pointing to the far, black horizon

a glowing dome
coliseum of gods in the distance
the moon’s shining forehead crowned
the definitive line of night
its glowing face as rubiginous
as the jagged rocks that flanked us

for hours the brilliant universe
teased us in sensual delight
as the wind raked its fingers
through our dusty hair

“Come twirl with me,” it said

we bathed in its cool embrace
certain that if we died in this moment
we would die happy
our heads and hearts laid to sleep
upon slabs of amber stone
surrounded by stars
museful voices singing
a harmonic melody
until we finally became the wind
and flew into the night




(c) 2019


Oratory from a Balcony

King of linguistic brilliance
melodiously singing,
always singing
…just listen

a perfect bell choir
on Palm Sunday when we toss our coats
on the gritty road to soften Mother Earth
for the grand entrance
we’ve been waiting for

his truthful words
a newly-sharpened sword piercing deep
into our heart
of hearts
revealing hope that lay in wait
like rubies tucked beneath our skin
…just listen

then comes his wildly imaginative
guttural bloomsday sermon
on Good Friday
when, like clockwork, a part of us dies
yet stupendously returns

every year, without fail
…just listen

the words we utter make
a difference
even the ghostly air vibrates around them
in pockets of harmony
or discord, depending

when you enunciate off-the-cuff, and
hurtful, damning words roll like butter
off your tongue,
do you doubt the power of language
to make another shrivel,
or make another

if you doubt,
just listen
to his deep, rhythmical voice
his mellifluous baritone hymns

and you will discover how words
shape the world

like a bell choir ringing in your
or sharp sword lodged in
your heart, bleeding
making you better
more human and whole

…just listen
and you will hear
the sound of released people
marching free


Some of us, of course, will die without having received the realization of freedom, but we must continue to sail on our charted course.

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. Only in this way shall we live without the fatigue of bitterness and the drain of resentment.

– Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love


ten degrees below zero
i part the curtains to see
a surprise guest who
arrived from the sky
in the night

how delightful!

nothing enlivens the child within
like a wholesome blanket of snow
inviting all kinds of adventures
its brightness reminding our eyes
of how it will be when
the light of day returns

it is remarkably quiet
in the house now
the usual auditory distractions
muted by the field of snow
absorbing all sound
leaving only whispers of memories
to ruminate over
and digest

i bask in the rare silence
with trepidation even in my breath
i admire the new snow

easy for me to appreciate the glitter
while sitting inside watching the sun dance
upon the crusted-white landscape

i couldn’t be more cozy

but for those pitching a tent tonight
this winter wonderland
leaves a lot to be desired

a circumstance they
had never dreamed of as children
when laughing and
making snow angels

and watching their breath form crystals in the air

Divine Soul Shining: A Pantoum

Never regret exposing your tender heart to lovers
If they throw it on the ground in a fit of fury
It will bounce, not shatter
This way, you can start again

If they throw it on the ground in a fit of fury
Walk away with your divine soul shining
This way, you can start again
With the world’s possibilities before you

Walk away with your divine soul shining
Your heart is stronger than you realize
With the world’s possibilities before you
A new lover’s hands can catch you and heal you

Your heart is stronger than you realize
It will bounce, not shatter
A new lover’s hands can catch you and heal you
So never regret exposing your tender heart to lovers

Dear Mary

Most likely, you sipped tea
rather than coffee
when you wrote peaceably
about geese, wild wheat,
‘the willows and the honey locust.’


Your studio was full of light,
I imagine.
You sitting with your white dog,
faithful companion.


At what time of day did
the Muse settle in
to nudge your illuminatus awake,
that rare whisper to genius?
Morning? Afternoon?
Perhaps Midnight?
I think morning;
yours doesn’t seem the
manic type of poetry.
You were not a beat poet making fists
at the world in the middle of the night.


More like Wordsworth,
you pointed us to
essential connections,
truths without pretense
and, most of all…wonder.
Hidden, ephemeral epiphanies
we may not have otherwise
seen or felt with our hands in the dirt
until the sun lavished our faces
and we realized who we were.


You invited us to kneel at our inner altars
and made us understand.
I thought you would live forever.
It suddenly seems a vacuous world.


On the day you left-
after your final goodbye,
my newsfeed blew up with lamentations.
There were profound expressions of gratitude
from Laura, Angela, KC, and Kim
(who adores your poems about dogs)
and from Daniel (who says you are the most
popular poet among clergy).


Then there’s the majestic M’s:
Meredith, Maggie
and Morgan (who keeps a book of yours
in her car ‘in case of emergencies’).


The way you braided truth into words-
how could we not be set on fire?
You imprinted on us the possibility of
mellifluous awakenings.


We- so many- came to know ourselves
by your gentle proddings.
Your poems; they are mirrors
and after we read one, we ask ourselves:
‘Who are you?’
and just like that we are reacquainted
with our newly-unencumbered selves.


Our hearts are better because of you:
Poet, Sage, Mother of Earth and quiet wind.

Remember us.
(c) 2019


What Poetry Is

with edgy attitude
the blank page
(startling white)
looks up at me with
puppy dog eyes
begging for a treat:

“Throw me a word!”
it demands—
just one to get
the train out of the station

while nothing comes to mind
in my early slumberous fog
I know that soon
the words will arrive
to dance their mindless jig
an aura of fushica
cloudless  sunrise

poems are so easily lost
especially ones
so many gone by the wayside
during my ephemeral time
on this spinning
celestial sphere

I cannot remember
all the poems
I scribbled on napkins
at Denny’s, 3 a.m.
feet soggy from
tramping the berms
of piled snow
running from mania

trying to at least

nor do I recall
the myriad moments
I stole at work to
drink the museful marrow
a few minutes here
a few minutes there
spent dictating profundities
while toiling for the man
slow hour by slow hour
tick tock
waiting for the luxury of time
to behold quietude

nor can I look back
and discern the exact moment
I forsook labor pains
to jot down
the very meaning
of life
crafting a masterpiece
before welcoming
a small human into
my   burning arms

a scratch piece of paper
lost to history in
a hospital trash can

when you’re a poet
inspiration catches you
by surprise at every turn
barraging you from all sides
biscuits and gravy
giving birth
doesn’t matter how subtle and superfluous
or       ardent      and             sage
everything                        matters

when you’re a poet
every rainbow contains
a              message

you feel compelled to
translate it into words
carefully curated
to be carefully tucked away
in stone crevices
of lonesome hearts

when you’re a poet
everything is
moist and peaty mulch
to be tilled
for the trees in your
mind           garden

years from now you can sit back
and admire the dynasty
of leafy serenity
you once planted in the
tough    clay    ground
and your suspicion will
be           vindicated

from the rainstorm
buds blossom
into turquoise stars
to soothe and set free
forlorn souls
previously in chains

yours       included


(c) 2018