Seems I can’t stay away tonight! I was going back through some of my older pieces and found one that was near and dear. Written way back in a creative writing class in college….[Thank you Glaser]


Sitting with you,
sand creeping up and over
salty legs and arms
fresh from a chilly swim,
and our skin prickling under
warm yellow rays of light

We decided to build.

And you shoveled and I dug
and we piled sand
grain after grain
into a dinosaur
with white seashell teeth
and a tuft of seaweed hair.

I looked up and
your blue eyes were laughing;
he certainly wasn’t scary
the way real monsters were.
The ones that stomp you down
and bite real hard,
teeth stained with blood.

He was funny and he was good.

So we were horrified
when a gang of little boys
rolling in like a summer storm
ran over him, all thunder and lightning
never once looking back
to see their destruction.

We screamed
and threw sand grenades
and tried to run after them
but our moms yelled, “sit down”
imagining themselves seashore queens
in sunken sand chair thrones.

And for the first time,
two little sand crabs
in the afternoon shining red
felt loss, simple yet deep,
before running off into ocean waves,
the dino swallowed by sea foam.

And now tonight without you
I walk this same beach lost,
clasping my hands for warmth,
feeling sand and those memories like a desert
cold without sun, buried in moonlight.

Then suddenly
a wave crashes over my toes and
my sandy hands take yours again
and I dream us walking hand in hand
salt wrapped in our hair,
our tan skin tingling.

(RIP little boo, Kendall Burrows, May 31, 1996)

Skyline Relief in a Passing Train

Skyline Relief in a Passing Train

I see the New York City skyline
Drenched in early morning orange,
Etched like a relief
In the side of a passing train,
Roaring beside my own.

The light washes over buildings and smoke stacks
And that in-between land of tall weeds from city
to reflection in train.

We just left and already it seems so far, already
My memory of a fat hazy moon
On 12th west side, is a dream.
Is this possible?
The full moon brings possibilities – he seemed
(In my dreamy stroll)
To smile down on me between those buildings
With a blessing.

E. B. White speaks of New York City so compellingly—
I’m willing, when I read it,
To run for the solitude and ferment
He describes
And now and now, opportunities
And possibilities,
Bursting at the seams, yet tempered with
The heavy
Weighty sadness of leaving

Which ancestors will aid in my decision?
Is this my will or
Is it my great aunt Alice who swore she was too afraid to try?
Or my great grandmother Alice who was (from her poems)
a wife and mother first?

Or my father, who stayed in Baltimore? Although in this instance,
I need only ask, “Daddy, what should I do?”

Crossing in click-clack, the trains pass each other by,
The crossroads clearly defined.


The more I sit here (trying to “work”), the more I day-dream back to those beautiful beaches in Ipanema…. A taste for you:


We left the airport to stay another night. Pedro made the tear and
it began.

It began under my tongue and bitter.
It began with foaming waves and coconut water,
all in moving melted samba.

For unknown hours we tasted the night unfold:

Wild with eyes wide, seeing the night as cats do,
we scratched the underbelly of the city, that dog—
the main streets littered with impudent debauchery, the back streets
littered with impudent poor. We graffiti artists,
my foreign eyes like a Pollack on the skyline.

For unknown hours we were the universe and
Rio was the star matter, the dust, the space, the
alpha and omega. Then, oh,

A breeze, a walk, a bed,

and sandy feet lying hot with Pedro.
My body buzzed; my eyes darting around the lights.
Outside the moon howled low and full around the Cristo.
Inside the breathing sounded like an animal alive,
so steady it stalked, up and down.

In minutes, we were bathed in the smallest
sliver of light forcing through the blinds.
We fed our grumbling bodies with ham and cheese and coffee.

Outside the streets burst busy with the day—
the buses snorted; the waves slithered.

winter sun

From my great-grandmother Alice B. Johnson (as published in “Where Children Live” (1958))… for a morning where I was woken by the icy resistance and give way scrape, boot crunching ritual of car cleaning before work…

Winter Sun

The winter sun is bright,
Though winds blow loud and shrill,
And plants grow tall and green
Upon the window sill.

It is as if their leaves,
Forgetting winter’s chill,
Lean toward the warmth of the sun,
Remembering summer still.

rows of no smoking lights

One more for now, while I have the time and energy…. This one was written two years ago, when I was so very afraid that I wouldn’t be home in time to say goodbye to my grandmother. [and I know some of these starting poems are a little bleak, but I promise there are happier ones on the way…]

Rows of No Smoking Lights

The captain has turned off the seatbelt sign
so it is only the rows of no smoking lights
that run above my head off into the distance.

I am sitting upright, tray table secured, waiting
for my tears to dry. Waiting for this plane to land.
My Mexican sunburn is making me
chilled and my Mexican hangover is making me

My sister sleeps one seat over against the window,
I look past her and into the darkness, just one light
on the wing to create the illusion that we are actually
moving. At this point, I think it’s
possible that we’re underwater, in a dark wet world.

The pressure in my ears creates a solid weight
in the darkness. Above, the lights run on. If I stare at
them for too long, they seem to blur into one long line.
It reminds me of a long hallway.

I too will walk it someday.

song of March (2003)

easing myself into this whole “sharing with the world” thing. Starting with the more comfortable pieces (are politics more comfortable?) and planning to move forward from there….one from just before the Iraq war (George W. not George senior). In the style of T.S. Eliot…

Song of March (2003)

It snowed for no reason tonight,
just seemed the thing to do.
And quiet crowds cowered in their houses
with bread and water and
plastic and duct tape awaiting the inevitable;
the athlete,
the farmer,
the prom king and queen,
cried innocent and shivered while the enemy sweated
and lurked in every dark alleyway,
sweating in turbans and yards of cloth,
plotting and deceiving.

He turned the hourglass and let sand sift through his hands.

The few great left another generation alone to contemplate:
Crowds cowered in their fallen houses across the sea.
Covered women who come and go
weary from watching Michelangelo.
They’re told he’s an infidel, that he’s the one
because of his painted ceiling in Rome.

Yet it makes no sense again.
We grow so old; we
chant what we do not understand;
we lose the audience with haphazard metaphors that
tick like bombs, but make no sound— no questions,
no time left to consider.

He turned the hourglass and let sand sift through his hands.

The thing to do, seems the only thing to do.
In March we go,
in step we go,
before the sky can open up
beneath the weight of escalating egos,
of bipeds with opposable thumbs bent on the thing to do,
hitchhiking back to the beginning of it all—
the middle east,
the middle earth,
the point of the big bang that still reverberates now.

January (outside my parent’s house)

January (outside my parent’s house)

The cold smells
Of wood logs burning into ghosts
Of themselves and floating
Quietly, silently up to the wide
Eye of the ancestral moon.
There are no clouds tonight, no breeze.
Just the smell of wet snowflakes stubbornly
Hugging the shreds of grass and
the fingernails of the trees.

Walking out the front door,
My scarf traps my face with hot breaths,
My gloves hold tight to my keys.
I’ll wave as I drive away. My car
fighting to heat and accelerate at the same time.

Short and Sweet (Norwegian Wood)

Short and Sweet

This day speaks of Norwegian Wood-
The voices, the guitar; I think of all the things I can remember
about my life. “and when I awoke I was alone.”
The smell of wood burning, it happens so fast. A light, a
smoke that drifts towards the heavens. All that’s left is
ash and soot.

It happens in 2 minutes and 5 seconds. Then it’s over.


For a night, I was God.
With a glass of red in one hand and
a pen in the other, I sat on my bed
and reread the last few years of my life.

I was stranger among my own thoughts,
a voeuyer into a life I no longer knew.

All my private mistakes laid out
in scribbled frantic strokes, but clear.
I sipped the wine, drank it down. I read and read;
I scratched out. Everything painful was delightfully
marked through over and over and over.
Every sin covered in black ink and gone.

first post

It’s hard to know where to begin. The blank slate is always intimidating whether it be a journal or a new blog! Maybe I’ll just start sharing. That might be the best way to get this old ball rolling. Poems, thoughts, ideas, observations… that’s what you can expect here. Details of life. I hope you enjoy.