how do you tell someone not to worry about sunrises?

the moon hung precarious
on the ledge of the night,
forlorn and feeling worthless
as if the tiniest breath of air
could send it tumbling into midnight

i’m looking up so scared
every frozen winter breath ascending
in staccato
trepidation – don’t worry
don’t jump

don’t give up.

from creative writing class circa 2001 slightly modified (in fact so is “on the pool deck”):


I wrote this today, actually just about 30 seconds ago. I probably should give it time to marinate, time to revise and reflect… but nah, not today. Not with cabin-fever setting in (Baltimore is a wintery sink-hole!)


With gentle whisperings soft
snow creeps ever higher
Onto windows, doors,
Piles high on cars,
Rooftops, and chairs left outside.

Snow seems to come
From every direction, white
Crystals so light and
Yet how they pile, how
They trap us with every inch.

My mind is covered in
The ceaseless display of how
Many many small things
Can add up to a great power,
Can create an entire alien world.

Now that I have a Window

Now that I have a window
it seems I am aging faster.
I resemble a family member who has
already died.
I see the sun set and it drops into
the dirt faster every day.
I imagine that is me. I am the sun,
scorching orange fingernails
scratching at the dusky sky
trying to remain relevant.
And what if this time,
there is no morning?

But then,
after the dark night there are
blushing hints of sun. I may be my great aunt reborn.
I am the promise that
the universe crackles at its tips
into yet another big bang.

Look at the man walking, cold breath rising.
Look at the trees bare to their necks.
It is winter…
but only for now.

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.

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.