december jazz

rhythms just offbeat enough to
make leaves dance by the window now
closed to the blue sky’s brisk
breeze looking for a warm place to
look through frosted panes from the
other side.

seasonal ritual

leaves parachuting to earth
before the first snow
have a way of persuading
brain neurons to slow
down the mental stream
till it’s trickling
with thoughts so sparse one sneaks in
from their home of now bare limbs


sitting on the front step
waiting for the sunset
behind cedars lining
road dusty from day’s drudgery
and then I hear
from another unpaved path
traveled in formation
travelers in migration
from frigid mountain streams
their currents slowing into solids
freezing summer’s dreams

silvan urbanite

I thought I saw a deer in the shadows
before a man lumbered by with his dog
the two charged by the tree none the wiser
as I looked over my shoulder to see
— or did I see a silvan creature there?

escaping the phoenix


mist hides in chasm’s edges
parallel to narrow ridge
I walk trying to leave but
never leaving the lurking
phoenix waiting for me to
tire and turn to retire
hoping to recover
from scars aching deep
only to discover
bleeding wounds cutting deeper
leaving a scented track
for what follows behind
I’ve seen it before
and fought it
confronted the beast
and lost to it
because despite victories
my enemy that’s part of me
rises from its ashes again
to greet me at a later date
on a narrow ridge I can’t



you rise again from ash
that should have blown away
poised to strike at
my heart that’s past afraid
now beaten till beatless
fractured frozen pieces
but no one runs forever
from dust, so I rise
to chasm’s edge
and I fall
into colder mist
feared now less than
what swoops behind then
dissipates on razor crags
gleaming snow tainted red
(not mine)
chronicles of struggles past
(of mine)
while wind’s draft draws me
up in gravity’s face
no match for deeper
magic and it’s misty

sleepy elf

Wispy willows winding around
Mist condensed on meadow grass
Then dripping to rough sewn wool
Wrapped around a sleepy elf
Smoking his pipe and lost in

morning coffee

on laidback mornings when light
is still dim but growing
and the sun has yet to stretch
from its midnight rest, meanwhile
water falls from its rolling boil
and subsides to a humming churn
— a background lofi track for
lifting kettlepouring waterdripping coffee thatdripsanddripsamber of another place
to place of cup unrushed
time seeping is what it takes
for this to percolate, until
burning reality must be faced
misty thoughts still clinging dissipate
— yet a lofi sound worm track
plays stilland beatsin my head

the lost song

As a young boy, I wandered late at night
Under covers, quilt, and glowing stars
In a forest wild of a wilder sprite
Sitting on a rock and playing a pipe
I sat in the clearing of a tree ring
Under the sprite’s beating music spell
And it taught me how to make six holes sing
A lost song
I can’t remember.

I still feel the rhythm late at night
Of everything but the wishful aching
For a wooded haunt I’ve now forgot
Where my trapped dreams reflect back to me
Warped by icy rapids in moonlit streams
Whispering songs
I can’t remember.

uncertain season

steaming days of half sun, half rain
the sun glinting off the drizzling
until clouds roll in
bringing gentle rain and then pattering
drops on the already damp concrete
still warm from the last clear sky
blue, now gray
comforting in a way, the monochrome
giving azalea flowers and papaya leaves
a chance to cool until light magnifies droplets
while the ground emanates warmth
to wet bare feet
but there’s time for them to dry
and the barley tea to steep
when it’s done, I’ll pour it
over ice and we’ll hold it
in condensating cups dripping from contact
with heat and cold and warm hands
give it time
another front will blow in carrying
more water than we need
but tomorrow it will evaporate
and leave our cups empty in the sink