Monday, December 8, 2008

Cardinal Crisis

:: for Shannon ::

We missed our cue!
Then we missed our queue!
And where once there were many,
There then were few.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Death of a Grandmother, Birth of a Nephew

Today --
The world goes on as
The boy becomes a father and
The father becomes an orphan.
Today -- The girl, unsure, feels nothing
Conscious of the souls, one entering,
One exiting, never knowing the other.
Full of emptiness.
Today -- The daughter, distant, struggles
With the knowledge of the sister,
Searching for sorrow in the death of a mother,
Yet finding grief at the birth of a son.
And the world goes on toward
-- tomorrow.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chaos Comes Again

Say anything but say what you mean to say -- write anything but write what you need to write. A thousand words, a million, don't stop now, write them all down. Joyous words, colorful words, sad words. Words for all the anxiety held captive in this crazy brain. Words that mean everything, that could never be said and say everything that could never be felt. Love, Tears, Joy, Games, Goals Winning Choking Crying Yelling Breathing Breaking Mistakes. Colors -- red, blue, forest green, grey, white, black. Hold my hand don't let it go. Show me the way through this crazy world. I know I can make it on my own, but I'm not sure I want to. Oh my God! You know i want only You if I could just see it clearly. But I don't want something I cant have. I gave that up a long time ago. I gave up that childhood dreaming long ago. You realize at some point that there are things you can have and things you cant and that's just the way things are. The way things are are the way things are And the way things are is not found in the stuff of dreams -- Ive been too tough to go on for nothing. Hold my hand and don't let go.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Twentieth Century Brit Lit or: Post War

There it was alone,
Crimson leaf,
In a shivering body of green.
Was this the Poet come before his time,
Flashing eyes and floating hair?
Or a prophet, fire in his veins,
And ash upon his head,
Too late to save
The world?

Monday, October 20, 2008


All balled up inside.
Compressed and compact, the words
Crushed together, mumbled, jumbled,
Filling the fist.
Momentary freedom, perfect arch --
A nod of the head, no more.
Who cares.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fatal Attraction

Desperate. Desperate for another line.
For another poem. Anything new,
Not to make it new, but to renew.
To drench me in its warm spring rain
After these unrelenting winters.
There are warmer times, but they only
Make the grey less bearable.
I keep reading to find --

No, not here, lovely though, perhaps too simple;
Here in this verse? In this rhyme?
I think i may have found it this time --
But no.
Just words again, falling down in a cold rain.
Soon. Soon.
Well, write another paragraph for them.
Waiting, hoping, willing time for the poet,
Springing up, give me life anew.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Rustling leaves --
Cubes of ice,
Clinking in the tumbler --
Golden and smooth.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Child of the Sun

Child of the Sun
: a poem adapted from Carl Sandburg's Chicago

Life force for a world
Log floater, transporter
Player with laborers and the Nation's tourists
Murky, threatening, seductive --
River of the Northwest:

They tell me you are polluted and I believe them, for I have seen
Your mines under the dark mountains destroying life.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true
I have seen the backward twists and rocky falls.
And they tell me you are pitiless and my reply is: on the faces of
Parents and loved ones I have seen the tragedy of drowning.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at
This my river, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another river with its thousand feet running so
Smooth to meet the great Columbia and so vibrant, and strong and teeming,
Flinging its golden droplets a million ways down rock after rock,
Here a dappled trout leaps to meet the sun set bright against the dark soft stream;
There an angler, all boots and rod, holding back the current, cunning and quiet
As a savage anticipating the run of the buffalo
Casting, circling, recasting,
Under the blue, dew all over his beard, laughing with white
Under the awful burden of creativity, eyes shining as a young boy's
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost
a battle,
Bragging and laughing that in his wrist is the pulse, and in
his chest is the heart of a man,
Shining the brilliant, passionate, planning genius of Man,
Half-river, striving, proud to be Logger, Hunter,
Laborer, guide and life force
to a Nation.

*Update: Published in Gonzaga's Reflection Spring 2009 issue. Read about it here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


"To see God only, I go out of sight:
And to scape stormy days, I choose
An everlasting night."

As night falls,
He comes slowly, but
With an insistence beyond my ken,
Insisting on things
That when day dawns
I push beyond my limited sight
Waiting again on the dusk
When He is come again to
Harass, to caress,
To imprison, to claim,
Each time, again,
As he always does,
But only,
As night falls.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Emperor's New Heart

Sew up my heart
With french seams
So you cant tell
There was ever anything
But perfect lines and
Crisp layers,
Perfectly tailored to match
Any situation.
Cover my untrained actions
And hide my deep thoughts
With suave comments
And clever remarks;
New clothes to cover
All the tears and ragged edges
And maybe once, all these
Solitary patches
Can beat as one:
Warm and bright
And full of life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Poetry... Boris Pasternak

A Russian Poem by Boris Pasternak

February. Get ink, shed tears.
Write of it, sob your heart out, sing,
While torrential slush that roars
Burns in the blackness of the spring.

Go hire a buggy. For six grivnas,
Race through the noise of bells and wheels
To where the ink and all your grieving
Are muffled when the rainshower falls.

To where, like pears burnt black as charcoal,
A myriad rooks, plucked from the trees,
Fall down into the puddles, hurl
Dry sadness deep into the eyes.

Below, the wet black earth shows through,
With sudden cries the wind is pitted,
The more haphazard, the more true
The poetry that sobs its heart out.

1912. By Boris Pasternak. Translated by Alex Miller.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Every Other Day

Id cry to get it all out,
But I'm so empty, even these echoes find themselves lost.
In this world where friends,
Still there,
Disappear for parts -- not unknown --
I don't even know what hurts;
It's not as if I cant make it on my own,
I just don't remember how.
I want to whisper "I'm so lost without you here"
But nothing's changed. You're still there, I'm still here
Making my way, like before,
Groping in the dark, perhaps,
But not any darker than it ever was,
Not any more alone than I ever was.
You're willing, I know, but not able.
I pretended you could make it all right,
All this time, every time, after that terrible night.
I wouldn't wake you after,
But at least I knew I could.
But I cant even pretend,
Cant even hope, anymore.
I want to be happy, and I am,
But why these burning tears?
Why all these dark days?
And all these crippling fears?
I cant love myself, and how,
How can someone love me?
And who will save me now?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

unfinished business...

I cant hear my own thoughts these days.
Only words of songs I know too well
And forgotten poems -- a line
here and there
Missing its
other half
Sometimes its head, sometimes
-- its heart;
Never complete, never really
Saying what it means to say,
Like a clever joke with
bad deliv-
I try too hard, and yet, I never try.
I want so much --
And yet I have nothing to give.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Here's to the fear of being trapped..."

I dont want to be inspired
By cheap metaphors and simple similes
I want the truth to be so close.
So close that i can understand in a flash
Of light that banishes dark dreams
And confounds insolent incertitudes.
So bright that i could die just to know
That its trenchant beams would pierce my weary body
Save my lost soul, and transfix this hardened heart --
Let this fervid blood come spilling out
Paint my grey world red, my blue world crimson
With real life -- not hiding, beating, waiting --
But dashed, spilt, gushing, rushing, surging
To a truth more real than life,
A truth more constant than breath,
A truth to which tedious metaphor seems
A cheap motel knock off of Van Gogh.
"Who steals a Monet, just to not sell it? .. A Monet Lover..."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Haiku...of sorts..

City of Big Shoulders

Oh laughing city!
Giants tow'ring in the dust,
Singing: proud, coarse, strong.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Possible, possible, possible --
No, I dont think so.
Yes, this is America, but
Does it deserve to be?
To be free? To be beautiful?
To be someone? To be there
In the fray, blazing a golden path -
Way -- way up to god? To
Man? No. I dont think so.
Dont know, so...
So do we stay? Do we try?
Do we pretend? No. I dont think so.
Don't know, so...
So go back to looking down.
Looking up is going forward --
Cold, blue, airless --
So. It's possible?
No. I dont think so.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Did you know what You were doing?"

Understanding utter unction --
Shall we say extreme --
I think i missed the boat
Because i thought it was about
But i jumped in anyhow.
Bleeding Bread, but not for bloody me.
Broken? Beaten?
Yes, perhaps. Not like Him.
Raging against dark demons --
But its not rage that revitalizes.
Cold water first --
I dont remember -- In nomine --
-- Domine, non tantum pedes meos --
I want it though. All.
But i jumped for what? Why? When? Where?
Cold water now, to fight back -- but still

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Some Things

The Books

Hockey helmet next to books --
Grey helmet, brown box, black books.
Terrible titles -- Rockin' Out, Life-
Span Development, Chemistry, Physical Science --
Where are those titles i love?
Where are those boards i adore?
Belloc and Chesterton shelved?
Dickens and Dostoevsky dead?
Where are those pages that hold me safe and near?
-- forgotten--
Helmet and home covered in dust,
Yet these titles so bold? So bright?
So monstrous?


The Book Ends

Empty photo albums
Full of forgotten memories
Holding dear those times most sacred
Holding silent those things most secret
Holding back those heady tomes
Of times and triumphs not our own.
Holding them back? or holding them up?
Holding them up? Perhaps; but,
Only not holding their own.

Friday, March 28, 2008

On Voices One Only Dreams Of

-- Eliot, Frost, Hass, Butterworth --

I’m not one of them
But I want to be.
Here I am among them,
Yet I’m so far away.
Their words pound over me
Drowning me in their brilliance
Almost too much to bear –
I hold my breath, waiting
Waiting for that moment
When I won’t have to go back
Won’t have to meet with
My inadequacies.
Won’t have to hope that I too can say so much
Won’t have to be
Wont have – to be.
I want to break through the surface
And come back up again,
Because it hurts so much being battered
And I can barely breath and
My head – my heart – is filled to bursting and
There are so many things I think
They might come rushing out of me in torrents
Raising primeval forests black and brilliant – but,
Emerging, spews forth from me
Not Golden-tongued Glories
But coughs and sputterings,
Violent vomitings from a soul,
Sick at heart,
Dry heaving. Dead.
Life pounded out by poets.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"We are only falsehood..."

I wont stay here, you know, I said.
But here I am.
Here begging to leave, yet unwilling to go.
I wont ever go, you know, I said.
But there I go.
There hating the darkness, yet unwilling to see.
I wont fail, you know, I said.
But down I fall.
Here lying on the ground, confused.
What happened, do you know? I said.
But I dont know.
Cant see it here in the darkness
Here on the ground
There in my heart
Cant see it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

"The Road to Awe"

Burst bubbles
Broaden horizons
Hurting horrendously
But bringing
Brazen Life;
Liberating like
Swelling symphonies
Tearing to
Terrible bits
But Ah! Building
Such sweet
Sounds that
The thousand
Parts pound
Parched Souls
With water
Wrought from
Flaming Fountains
Sparkling Springs
Shining dark --
Crying, copper
Coated, for
Fortune, Friend,
Love, Life,
Light, Magic,

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Sing, O Muse..."

Is my muse a pagan beauty,
A Helen come to launch a thousand
Ships against my sorry self?
A heavenly arch come down
To sing in words i learned in Youth
Of things I'd found and lost
Or left behind?
Or only just a whirlwind -- a mind
Divided, resorting, stirring up
What had been left to lie?
Or maybe no muse at all.
Maybe no song.
Maybe words on words
On paper on thoughts
Fragmented dreams
That never mean a thing.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

On St. Johns on the South Hill

How the clouds can drift from place to place
Before the tower, behind the spire and now beyond
And yet the others lie like barges there
Heavy, down-cast and woe begone...?

Whats this? Have they begun to shift?
No, its but a fleeting sail gone whizzing by
Like children's hopes and dreams and play
To catch the wind or race the birds on high.

And now they're gone, passed on for greater things;
But still that tower there and heady fog
To crowd my thoughts and keep me from my dreams?

*and then i had class... so much for inspiration :)*

maybe: and bring me back to dark and dreary bog ???? lol

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Meditations on Donne

"Send Not To Know for Whom the Bell Tolls..."

It tolls for me?
Am i so dead as that
That a stranger shake his head
At the shortness of the tolling bells'
What was life that meant so little
Little use for weeping now --
Tears never paid for anything,
Anything worth anything, anyway.

It tolls for me?
And do those tolling bells' carry --
the soul to heights unreached
Or merely show its sunken depth
Like soundings to the ocean floor?
Carry far, carry on, carry me?
To disipate like sound on wind
To nothingness and forgotten reality?

It tolls for me? --

It tolls for you.
It tolls for nothing.