the poems

navel gazing

i don’t know why i do the things i do


your world is so big yet so small

all the leaves i missed

ignorant boy, beautiful girl

thank you america for anesthesia

bare foot

broken lawnmower



this is what youth must figure out…

E. B. White

this is what youth must figure out
not full of loathing
at rotten fruit, heads down
over analyzing in bowed insanity /
wild in actuality. this
is what youth must figure out


i don’t know why i do the things i do

draw with an eraser
     and erase with pencil lead
put the glasses away
     and start reading at the end
shut the spigot off
     and water gardens with no plants
look people in the teeth
     when shaking their left hand
crack the shells in the pan
     and throw the yolks away

scramble eggs
     with a knife
wash the pan
     with faucet off
eat the shells
     without a plate

pin up these rhymes
     on clothes lines to dry
these are the things i do
     and don’t know why


rising from graves at dusk
shadows dull sharpgrass bladesand snuff out sun’s lastfootprintsas she whirls on the imprints left
until worried mother on porch
calls her back
downthe hilldancing on graves at dusk
she snaps flowers
from stemsand weaves garlands to drape
on headsas herbaceous halos of petals
until lengthening shadow’s tendrils
drives her back
downthe hillto scraping chair legs on floors
and forks on plates
while seasons ripen
— until then, the tendrils wait

your world is so big yet so small

your world is so big
you can’t see the end of your street
every rustling leaf startles
and makes you turn around
from fence lines you never even reached

your world is so small
you can’t see where trees touch the sky
every bone in your mouth rattles
when climbing the first limbs
even though you’re only six feet high

your world is so big
yet so small
and you haven’t even left the street

all the leaves i missed

the tree’s shadow edges sharpen into
its parts and leaves my eyes baptized is not
cliché when all I saw were forest but think
of all the leaves I missed without concave
lens; it wasn’t all bad in a softer
world not yet broken by itself when seen
at age thirteen is not the best of years
and if trouble arrives in threes, glasses
became the fourth after metal studded
my teeth but failed to break the trinity
of woes now so small I wonder how they
blotted Damascus’ light, a miscarriage
of sight ignored on top of dresser wood
without a leaf but what was that to me.

ignorant boy, beautiful girl

| or, you’re only sixteen |

he’s an ignorant boy
he said he would try
in his back turned away
back into his mind bomb shelter
there is shy in his eyes
he is only sixteen
he said he would do it again
again and crumple away
he thinks it’s too late to try
are there enough chances
because he’s sixteen
and what is sixteen?
holding keys that will melt
he’s an ignorant boy

she’s a beautiful girl
she sees hesitation
when she tosses her braids
playing it cools but she sees
there is smoke in the air
and she’s only a girl
she watches as he burns
games are foolish anway
she thinks it’s too late to love
before she’s twenty in four?
and she’s sixteen
but kids setting fires
as soon as it turns summer
she’s a beautiful girl

thank you america for anesthesia

you walk around like Sisyphus
when in actualityyou talk aloud like Narcissus
shouldering boulders just the right size
for the perfect feeling of brooding
a type of meditation for self-improving
to discover           somethingas if you’re an onion peeling yourself
only to end in tears

if regret is clothesyou overdress

you are into spirituality
when in actualityyou’re infinite matryoshki
dolls nested inside dolls
only to discover a new doll
and post it           on the internetas if finding a critically endangered insect
which is more interesting
than you backpacking to find your soul
extinct in the wild

if reflection is a drug
you overdose

you are on a hunt for yourselfwhen in actuality you don’t read the books on your shelf
about how your soul cannot be split up
like Tom Riddle’s Horcruxes broken up
that happened to be scattered tolocations           on your bucket listonly to stay inside because the view
is not bad in a ten by twelve bathroomsnapping photos of mirrors

if loathing is a trendyou overhype

you look up to stars for guidancewhen in actualityyou dig in mud to find Bacchus
while living in aseptic white housesbased off tv roomswith minimal arrangements to make up
for materialistic derangement
displayed in vertical galleries but
that shiplap has already sailed. thank youAmerica           for anesthesia

my toes grovel in dusty leaves
to find cool dirt pulsing beneath
with negatives grounded from my own feet

if earth is but a peach
the crust is just the skin

of others refuse           reused           packed down
living third days as field carpets
or forest mat now insulated
from soles rubber lined pining for touch

maybe that’s why it’s hard to wipe
tear stains off smudged smiles

broken lawnmower


here, the sun rains
and the grass rises to meet it
an inch a day if I marked
a ruler like the kitchen door frame
but we were not like grass
cut down only to come back
despite the weekend rusty blades
cutting clearance on life with numbers
choose one: one, two, three, four


still, the sun rains
and the grass rises to meet it
while the machine with blades
dead in the yard gets washed
in its final resting spot




I found an oasis of trees
A barrage to the noise
Of modern society
And there between the shade and light
I found you whispering to creatures
Invisible to my sight but you said
Open your eyes and see
See all that you have been missing
Hidden behind the mirage
Of asphalt and concrete
And we sat in a clearing to listen
And nothing else
Not to find ourselves because
We were not lost, or at least, you were not
But we listened to find sounds
Of lost songs no one remembers
Sounds we missed but strained to here
To reforest our minds
There among the trees
In downtown off Main Street
To the drone of cars and passing feet

the end.

i am nostalgic for all these things


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

late nights

off kiltered circadian rhythms
are kindling for sleepless nights
crouching over processed trees
used for inferior means
while infinite stars rotate ignored
in perfect symmetry
so maybe
I’ll shove this to the side
and stare at the cloudless sky


p l a n t s

bring a plant inside
on shelf and water it while
outside garden dies.

condensed forest of broad leaves
against white walls of concrete.


laying out with backs to the grass
while dog rolls between the blades
face first
in a field sunbaked yet grows green
must be
what’s underneath our
bodies still
despite the rotting and decay
grass deepens then reaches for the
blazing sky
filling lungs with scented revery
for the dusking walk home


bodies contorting in an     avant-garde dance
frozen mid     motion into windswept hands
sun bleached skeleton     twisting upward in
supplication     graying with each lapping wave


this is what


feels like in the
dark with no light.

summer storms

a blank canvas of gray
shapeless solid shifting
sometimes drizzling rain
but now hinting of warm
setting sun rays hiding
unseenultimatelythe canvas crumples
into visible clouds
billows balm pink blushing
but now fading to gray
shadows blanketing earth


sunbaked clay immersing a summer world
in its orange hue glow even though it hides below
cut grass pressed dry by polite people’s feet
into smooth trails I walk along alone
while nodding at passerby in silence.

w a t e r


friends sitting on a rock
watching cold water fall
and saying nothing at all
while leaves float to the surface
from trees shedding the last
memories of spring.


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 last summer’s dreams


tiptoeing on a stool
to cast my reflection
onto the bathroom mirror with fingers half the size
gripping a blowdryer meant for drying dripping heads
but I blow everything
except for my head

hot air making the hair
on my neck stick straight out
my shirt rising like a jellyfish, slow motion
floating, covered in bumps up and down my spinal ridge
they spread with shivering
as good feelings do

white noise droning, drowning
after shower hours
into foggy clock hands and foggier mirrors filled
with cowlicks and damp feet
i can’t see past misty
imagery — but i still hear
the oscillating beat


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



40 degrees
not enough to freeze
but enough
to stay
in bed.


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

winter monochrome

as birds come to roost
and sun sinks to rest
in caves below horizons
now bleeding last gasp
of colors once flush with life
pink and indigo and gold
hues now fading fast
then shuddering cold
into desaturated wind
full of white and midnight and ice

to: Innocence

.15 - 3.18

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.

a lone creature

As this mist descends deep into dark valleys drear
I spot a lone creature in the fir’s shadow’s near
A sad song he did weep for his days now unsure
His lost past held in fear, thoughts he could not enter

As he sang his sad song, the forests’ moan did leap
A chorus full of tears about what he must reap
Shadows can’t cover wrongs, but it did hide his tears
Your story I will keep if you’ll tell me right here

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


These clouded eyes were
Not always jaded
But filled with gazing
Child-like wonder
Of night skies that
Shine for rehearsal
Again, not tired
Of the repeating
Waiting for me to
Wake from my sleeping
To join in this repeating

journey home

Over grassy swards and knolls deep
Where earthen beast have fallen asleep 
Winged birds swift above it fly
Straight to forests dark and firs high

Dark clouds bring shadows and tears
Giving life to wide-eyed fears
That drink sorrow from swollen springs
Deepening roots for blossoming spring

So far from home, stars shine
Lighting paths through leafs of time
Wooden sounds echo over the wind
Leading you back to where you began.