Monday, November 28, 2011

The Painter

If only he could paint what he feels
deep within, and not just what he sees,
his paintings would be transcendent.
But anymore, what he feels is elusive, hidden
somewhere beyond the descriptive,
beyond the stroke of his brush and the
complexities of his paint, beyond his ability
to put emotion and insight to canvas.

He's begun to question himself,
no longer the confident painter but now
far too introspective and unsure of his talent,
a talent that used to reveal itself with flare,
color and a successful style. Melancholy
has set in, frustrating any attempts
to get beyond the feeling of hopelessness.

Someone who would never equate
himself with the great painters, knowing
the limits of his own talent, he
nevertheless wonders, could this
be how Van Gogh felt in his despair?


Monday, November 21, 2011

snow against the window

softness of snow
against the window –
her kiss brushing by


Friday, November 18, 2011

snared by frost

winter morning –
an abandoned spider web
snared by frost


Saturday, November 5, 2011

sparrow's song

even on gloomy
days, the sparrow's song –
warmth of her smile

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

autumn leaves

autumn wind –
the ground's turn
to display leaves


he's forgotten
how many years it's been . . .
falling leaves


falling leaves –
many sad memories
gathering today


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hardwood Floors

It’s the smell. The smell of hundred-year-old
hardwood floors in this old school I recognize most,
floors grown thick and corpulent with untold layers
of pine-scented oil - floors darkened, smoothed
by the trample of children herded, then corralled
in dank stables down these long corridors. I also
remember the confinement I felt, pinned within
these stables, wanting nothing more than to be free,
with the wind of youth brushing my untamed hair.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Corner Space

My son has started writing
poetry and it really pleases me. He's always had
a creative mind and heart, but hasn't had much
opportunity to express himself. This is now
a catharsis for him.

Eric S. Gossett

I remember that we had too much clutter and how
irritated I was that even dust couldn't cover everything.
I also remember our shopping trips to buy the clutter
and the unknowing looks from clerks who didn't realize
they had just sold us a part of our lives. We stacked clutter
in cabinets and closets, shifting older clutter to the attic,
and even found a piece for a particularly lonely corner space.

It felt so strange when we divided possessions and made
decisions on who got what, again moving the clutter, and
all the while I was emptying my heart. Today I sit quietly
in this house, watching through a window as autumn leaves
tumble over empty brown fields, and the weather
seems to mimic my emotions. There's a chill in the house,
and corners echo of better days, days when we weren't
as strangers. I know it's my imagination but that
empty corner space now appears to mourn from the shadows
as if it were a corner of my heart, its loss and mine wedded.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Magnolia and Dogwood

It's deep night, damp and sticky with the
residue of southern heat which refuses to
totally dissipate this far into the night.

The night is thick with the voices of insects
and sleepers sweating atop their sheets,
committing sins in their vivid imaginings.

Dreaming, I'm standing by the wide river
wishing I could fly with the breeze through
the trees, the soft, warm, cradling breeze

that comes up from the Mississippi River.
It stirs the boughs of cypress and oak trees
and arouses a wind chime's music somewhere

down the dimly-lit street, while scattering
a newspaper like huge leaves; a wind that smells
of magnolia and dogwood blossoms and

river mud. A full moon casts long shadows
which melt into even darker, yet benign
shadows. The night has compiled its secrets,

mysteries, transgressions; surely that is the
charm of night - it frees the mind to settle not
on what seemed important during the day,

but on the longings kept locked away, hidden
from the disclosing light, struggling to break
free and take wing with this night wind.


Drawing on my memories from Louisiana,
where I lived nearly nine years

Friday, September 30, 2011


He feels the terrible urgency of aging,
a foreboding, a sense of something
left unaccomplished
which constantly
claws at his thoughts when he should be
enjoying what life he has left.
It's a cautioning
that the time allotted him to find
an answer, to seek fulfillment,
is escaping him.
What has he done with
his life to merit existence on this orb,
to warrant another sunrise,
another soft rainfall?
Such questions go without answer.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

running free

The old dog drags his tired

body into his familiar curl beside

my chair, sighs heavily and enters

once again that dream where

he runs carefree and painlessly

through the sweet meadow grass,

a meadow known only to him and the

suddenly-young man following.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

a brisk wind

There's a brisk October
wind sweeping the ochre
and rust farm fields today,
although the calendar
shows it's mid-September.
That late summer hazy
that had hung above us
for weeks now, warm
and comforting, takes up
with the blustery wind and
is migrating with the early
departures of waterfowl
and summer vacationers.
The fragrance of burning
fields, pungent but yet
somehow sweet-smelling, and
mildly memory-provoking,
charges the senses as it weaves
among the parched, plucked
corn stalks, while from a
distant corner of the field
an animated scarecrow,
clad in shredded polyester,
flags a ride with the wind.
It too seems to sense time
calls for it to move along.


the spring creek

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

of night rain

humid night
each swell of the curtains
brings the scent of rain


midnight rain . . .
the leisurely flow
of my dreams


Friday, September 2, 2011

cottonwood fluff

cottonwood fluff
drifting to earth . . .
my gentle dream


summer sprinklers –
how quickly damselflies


father's photo –
nearly as diminished
as my memories


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

morning smile

on the rose petal –
her morning smile


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

honeysuckle scent

humid night
honeysuckle scent from
an open window


summer moon –
the shimmer
on a quiet lake


Sunday, July 31, 2011

the eyes

There's something in the eyes of a dying dog
that speaks of awareness, something beyond
the pain, weakness, and the dimming.
Perhaps I read more into those eyes than was
actually there - but I really don't think so.

the dying dog’s
labored breath
. . . winter’s leaves

His dark brown eyes had grown larger, fathomless,
as deep as a well holding all the mysteries of life
and impending death, eyes at once sad but knowing
he has been greatly loved and will be greatly missed.
Isn't that all any of us could ever hope for?

almost home
after walking my dying dog –
a rock in my shoe

For my beloved dog Little Bud, who died of cancer - gone, but as they
say, not forgotten.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

regretting nothing

warmth of a summer regretting nothing

I don't often try one-line haiku


our old house . . .
the sad turn from love
to memories

Something from the past


Saturday, July 2, 2011

the cherry tree

summer evening . . .
the cherry tree
ripe with promise


swirl of dark clouds
above the prairie
. . . awaiting prognosis

A haiku written as my wife
awaited a melanoma screen -
turned out fine


her morning air
. . . not of haughtiness
but of gardenias


Monday, June 27, 2011

morning mist

morning mist –
within the swirl of gnats
a tangled angler


autumn lake –
leaves rock in the wake
of a trout's ripples


it amplifies
the dawn


Monday, June 20, 2011

Fried Pickles

This is a verse I've been working on for several years, have published it twice for perhaps an hour and then deleted it out of shame for the man I used to be and the destruction I caused. But I got to thinking - I'm no longer that man, no longer slave to the compulsions that drove me then, and this is something I have to get out of me. Please accept it for that purpose.

Through the muddle of far too much vodka
I remember seeing Natchez's gleaming lights
across the tumultuous Mississippi River,

the multicolored bulbs along the docks,
neon extolling catfish and fried pickles,
and I recall the sun biting into the horizon

and odd pairs of lights following each other
hurriedly on the bridge that always scared
the crap out of me whenever I had to cross it.

I remember the dissonant hum of cicadas
clinging to cypress trees and the sultry
heat that followed an infrequent rainstorm.

I also recall how she turned so sadly
and walked out of my life forever, taking with
her all I had known of recent life but alcohol.

At the time I couldn't retrieve what I had just
lost; I was too far gone into my alcoholic
addiction to realize how our lives, including

our children, had just changed so dramatically,
and how they now would only be mine sporadically.
However, with the passage of all these years

I no longer wish for the life I once had, especially
that terrible compulsion toward self-destruction
which brought us to the divergence of our lives.

I no longer live along the river, no longer
hear the tugs as they ply the churning currents,
and strangely, I no longer remember her face.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A few haiku

the butterfly
wanders where it will –
wheelchair path


dark mood —
a butterfly lifts me
into the light


on the grass where
the dappled fawn had lain –
dappled sunlight


Monday, June 6, 2011

Water's edge

If he could

If he could describe the gnawing feeling,
or truly get in touch with it, perhaps
then he'd settle for the life he has made,
not the one that consumes his dreams.

so many ripples
upon this lake –
so many years


fog thickens
at the river's mouth –
this loneliness

Thursday, May 26, 2011


her kiss
would feel twice as soft –
alone again


an aspen leaf
rocking on the stream –
afternoon nap


old man's doubts —
raking last fall's leaves
into many piles


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

listening to the rain

empty bed . . .
listening to the rain
after it leaves


wild gooseberries –
these bittersweet memories
of childhood


Friday, May 13, 2011

ah, spring!

spring downpour –
at each stoplight
two stoplights


her sleeping body
traced by predawn light
. . . scent of roses


the damselfly
shows me its blue –
what a spring sky!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Leon Russell

Never too late to teach an old dog new tricks - you've heard that a gazillion times. Well, I have just discovered Leon Russell, wonderful singer/songwriter - check him out Where have I been?

And for your entertainment, one of The Stones' best songs - Wild Horses

Friday, May 6, 2011

cricket's song

waning moon
the cricket's song
drained by a spider


jasmine tea
under a crescent moon
I cup her hand


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

night shift, and more

night shift
I curl around the spot
where she would sleep


dawn reflections
a trout's rise
moves the mountain


her parting smile
a wind-blown petal
kisses my cheek


Monday, May 2, 2011

this moment,           when I stop and listen . . .
a whispering stream

Sunday, May 1, 2011

bird lullabies

Early dusk and it's as if
the birds have memorized
lullabies; they've quieted
to delicate refrains
as the summer sun descends,
flame orange and spent,
to its western berth. Birds huddle
deep within the cradling
catalpa trees and murmur
in their soft way to one other,
barely audible to those who
would listen. Perhaps they're
reassuring each other
the night will not be long.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

a few more thoughts

cicada husks
cling to an oak –
her empty words


spring puddle –
the small girl
curtsies to herself


Monday, April 25, 2011

a few haiku

dawn reflections–
a trout's rise
moves the mountain


roadside cafe–
the crows take lunch
out back


waning moon . . .
the cricket's chirr lost
in a spider web

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Stoop

This is a poem I've been working on for a year or more - started when caught up in a measure of depression and reflecting on how I might have ended up, had it not been for divine intervention.

He was an elderly man, clothed in desolation,
a gray man fading into the stoop on which he reclined,
as if he were already turning to dust, disintegrating.
He coughed, and coughed again the rasp of an ailing
man, a rattle vibrating from the fathoms within,
and he fumbled for his pack of cigarettes
as if to reaffirm his intention of dying should his
bottle of cheap wine not propel him into oblivion. He
was muttering, muttering secrets to himself, or of himself,
or perhaps proverbs to show someone, anyone,
how enlightened he could be there on the gray stoop
as dust and the remainder of his life swirled about him.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

fly at the window

A fly intently drills
at the picture window,
seeing the possibilities beyond
but cannot reach them.
The older I become the more
I feel like that miserable fly
at an impossible window.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

spring offerings

a book reread
. . . yesterday's rain
now today's


scent of spring
between her breasts
. . . lilacs opening


early spring
longing for the chirr
of those damn crickets

Friday, April 1, 2011

lavender nights

The wind carries magic
this spring morning,
scent of lilacs, memories
of golden days and
lavender nights with you.
How long ago it's been-
the depth of innocence,
of youthful lust, that strand
of something bright, clear,
sweet coursing through me
with each thought of you.
Closing my eyes you can be
beside me, warm, vibrant,
and then, just as easily, faded,
like the promise of my life.

April sun

sunning ourselves–
a fox squirrel
and my mood

Friday, February 4, 2011

A few offerings

morning mist
climbs with the geese
winter pond


in the hollow
of the oak–
hollow of a nest


crinkled leaf
in this wrinkled hand–
brittle wind


an eagle's wing
and the morning sun

Saturday, January 29, 2011

winter mood

warm spell
— the snap in my
winter mood


frightful howl
of the winter wind
. . . these age spots

Monday, January 24, 2011


Our oldest dog, we have four, spends much of his time at my feet, snoring loudly, snoring like an old man, and I wonder if I snore that much when I sleep. After all, both he and I are about the same age, figuring in dog years. I love him a lot, he's getting a little grouchy now and is proving to be more stubborn. He doesn't like to be bothered when he's intent on sleeping. He's even getting a little more snappy in his advancing age.

Funny how dogs and humans can equate in certain traits, characteristics. Anthropomorphism is the technical term. Each of our four dogs have their own personalities. They don't always act the same, but I love each of them dearly. Back to the oldest dog. He's having a little trouble getting about and is taking some medication for his joints. I'm taking some medication for my joints. Both he and I groan and moan, although I think I tend to be the worse complainer. Maybe I'm the more snappy. I bitch a lot. Anyway, I hope he can live to a ripe old age comfortably, and I hope the same for myself. It will break my heart when he dies.

Friday, January 14, 2011

mountain shadows

from mountain
shadows . . .
a sun-tipped wing


lowering clouds
. . . a kestrel pirouettes
to its prey


remembering its
path down the window–
night rain