Saturday, October 3, 2009


It started as X
like a kiss
and became X
like Tic Tac Toe
just to win
then became “eee” x
like axed
not even e-people
in remote e-chat or e- mail.
Just “e” “x”; small letters.
There're ex-mother-in-laws, ex-wives, ex-friends
but no ex fathers, ex-sisters
or ex-kids,
never our kids.
just the kids; my kids.
There’s ex-her friends, ex-my friends,
ex-people ex-I once loved or is that
And ex-who ex-loved ex-me.
So the weddings are over
and we see ex-persons at funerals
to create ex-chances to exchange amends
if we would
before we expire
and don’t exhale
even if we’re exhumed.
Excuse this exposition.
What’d you expect?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fear of Flight

Captain, please.
Must you say
“we’re here”?
That I know.

And must you lie,
“we’re there”?
I need, Captain,
to trust you.

The Reader

So I asked her,
“Why that book?”
She said
“Back off, Jerk.”

Pre-need, Mausoleum

He said, “The upper Lever,”
his arms prayerfully raised.
“Be far from the Devil.”

He said, “The heart level,”
his hand to his breast.
“You deserve no hovel.

He said, “The prayer level.”
he knees on the floor.
“With god, a revival.”

I said, “A pox on a level.
Just burn me real cheap, And make my bones gravel.”

Oh Travis,

I know
and needn’t ask it
that all you wanted
was to shoot some baskets

To the Disciples

And then he said, “Converge your ways
to the land near Kinneriths’s sea.
Though it will take a few days,
I will speak and you can see me.

So we walked all those miles
and gathered near the sea.
He said with kindly smiles,
“To all creatures, speak of me.”

“Or when the eagles sit down,
for godly gourmet,
put on this lovely gown
'cause I’m coming your way

Her Face

Childhood soulmate
once blonde
Her face,
bloated, grotesque
ravaged by time,
disease, medicine.
Vague, blue eyes,
straight, white teeth
chopped chin like mine.
Youth, brilliance
Delicate hands
that once skimmed
her piano’s keys.
Muttered words to
Voices that only she hears.
a laugh
a ceramic bell
light, gay
And I know
my sister is in there,


You mouth was open.
I couldn’t close it.
You’d said, “Take care of Kim
and bring prayers..”

I gave Kim
my spare room.
I called
and got prayers.

I got your dad and brother
at the airport.
Your son and daughter came
and your ex-wife called. She cried.

I called the insurance and got you cremated
for one hundred eighty-two dollars.
Your brother took you to Georgia
in the cardboard box.

The prayers came to my house
and we remembered you.
I fixed a snack and your dad said,
“So much for the lord.”

Your son wrote and said,
“thank you.”
Sailor, they rowed you
into the Atlantic off Georgia.

Kim and her friend called.
They needed a ride to Gallup.
After all these years,
I remember you.

Your “Only best friend
that did not
on you.”

Spare Change

“Spare change, sir?
Just a quarter?
Spare change, sir?
Just a dime?
Spare change, sir?
Just a penny?
Don’t need your dollar, sir.
Just see me.”


I was born in Roswell,
raised in West Virginia.
I played football
since I was tall.

Bainbridge Life Cycle - Ludicrous Image

After the final Peabody bicker,
with champagne we stifled a snicker
imagining death and birthing travail
as we launched the ferries’ first sail.

Tacoma, the island’s great womb.
Wenatchee, a commuter’s tomb.
Autos and bodies comprise a great hoard
to bury and birth, the vessels disgorge.


Actions, sir, not words.
Madam, actions are my words.
Actions of my heart.

To The Chief Musician

Pray sir,
harp sweetly,
my heart
to the eighth string.


So, I said, “Sir, may I be of service?”
He said, “And your age?’
I said, “I am twenty.”
He said, “You must be celibate.”
I said, “Excuse me. I don’t think so.”

So, I married
and was faithful
and things got bad
and I was celibate.
Well, sort of.

So, we divorced,
and I was celibate
and I became lonely
and I was celibate
well, sort of.

And I remained celibate
well, sort of.
And I got diabetes
and became celibate
for real.

So I said, “Sir, may I be of service?
I am celibate.”
And he said, “And your age?”
I said, “Sixty-five”
He radioed in,
“Houston, we have a problem.”

The Knock

She knocked and said,
“Oh, sorry.
I thought someone else
lived here.”
I said,
“No problem,
no one lives here.”

Genesis 24:67

So he took her
into Mama’s tent
and made her his wife
and he loved her.

The crux of the matter
\ she was comfort
when Mama died.

The lazy boy

moves away,
in a van
where I’ll never be,
from impressions
in the carpet pile
where I rocked
early moments
of infants’ lives
swaddled close
so close
so close
and where they chattered
near my stockinged feet
to tiny friends
and where Audrey said
“My daddy loves me”
and where l lean
against a barren wall
with a hollow echo
and I rock
a silent rock
and I rock

I said grace

in the tavern’s din
then saw her
in my napkin
soggy, flecked with pepper.

Poe Says,

‘a long poem’

E. A. Poe – “The Poetic Principle”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

for richard

“We reeled in the nets
and pulled the fish,”
he said
in the glow of fire.
“Maybe next year.”
And the blues played.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Speed limit, 5 knots.
No wake.
Sleep limit, 5 thoughts.
No wake.

Endless Night

Oh, these endless nights
locked in the mind.
Wanting, fearing sleep
when exhausted life
is lived again.
When words to be said
find no ears
and never will
and waste seconds
that stretch to hours
and consume the soul.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Was Lonely

I was lonely,
considered the past
and remained lonely.

I was hungry,
considered the feast
and remained hungry.

So when I’m lonely,
I write of the forgotten
'cause I’m just lonely.

And when I’m hungry,
I write of the starving
'cause I’m just hungry.

Then I read my words
near someone’s fire
and munch popcorn.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Agent

She said, “To which market
do you write this missive?”
I said, “Don't forget,
it’s me, and that’s exclusive.

Mere Emesis

Fish Food

With the tide,
we flushed from the Sound.
Where our currents met,
there was kelp
and fish fed.

The Ride

I climbed upon Old Reddy,
and pulled the pen on the stanchion.
The gentle old cow was unsteady,
and threw me for a concussion.

Start giving back.
Don’t take.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


He laughed and said,
I looked at him and said

Burial at Sea

At high tide,
Larry jumped into the Sound.
He climbed out and put his clothes on.
He smiled with his gums.
He said,
“I am seventy-two.”

Larry had his guitar fixed. The strings were loose. Then Larry left the guitar
with a friend and said,
“Take care of my guitar.”
It fell from a barstool
to the floor and split the neck
and ruined it.

To the wharf,
Larry brought his guitar.
We gathered
as Larry cried.
We burned a candle.
We each said a remembrance.
Larry hurled the guitar
into the murk under the pier and said,
“That is the second guitar
that I threw under the pier.”

At low tide,
Larry jumped into the Sound.
We helped him out.
He cut his feet on the barnacles
below the high tide line.
He put his clothes on and danced.
Where his teeth once were,
he grinned and said,
“I am over it.I am seventy-two.”

Saturday, November 22, 2008


as life disappears,
much I’ve promised
in arrears.

Fomented spring
life reappears,
former longing
buried tears.

Winter thinking
of my life
brightened spring
a mere archive.

Beyond my life
I am astonished,
time and sight
are never finished.

Sweet Influences

How is it I’m here?
Was Pleiades unbound,
or were the bands of Orion loosened?

Was it my principled Dad,
or my spirited mother,
or an unknown forbearer?

Was it a flaw of character,
or strength of will?
ubridled instincts or human condition?

Was it God,
as reported,
with his arm revealed?

Perhaps it was all
confluenced in me
to land my craft here

Job 38:31
Isaiah 53:1

Friday, November 21, 2008


I said,
“Get a horse.”
He reined in the terrier.
He said,
“Less feed.”
I said,
“Get a dog.”

Bus Driver

Take me where you go, Bus Driver.
Take me where you go.
Take me where you go.


Sir, you were seen to urinate.
Then I say sir, you are known to bifurcate.

He said, “Huh, is that some kind of cant?”
I said, “Define it, I shan’t”

He said, “Come along, pissant.”


She said,
“I am sorry
for anything I did
or didn’t do
that contributed
to your pain and suffering.

I realized I had never said
“I am sorry
for anything I did
or didn’t do
that contributed
to your pain and suffering.”

I say,
“Nothing you did
or didn’t do
made you deserve
what I did
or didn’t do.”


I said,
“Sir, please sit.
We’ll speak.”
He said,
“It’s wet.”


She read and sighed,
“No charge, dear Abigail”
Then she swiftly died.
In her fist, the doctor’s bill.


He met her
at a bar.
They went home
to his medals and awards,
and pictures
of his dead wife.

In his shower,
they found him.
Cold, rubbery,
In his back was
his Academy saber.

Finally, after two months
they found her
in county jail,
accused of murder.
Her husband was,
her second kill.

In memory of Roy Oakes, my friend.
Colonel, U.S.A.F. (Retired). Murdered 2005


I walk unafraid because
I am large
by frame and nourishment.
I walked to the store in White Center,
also known as “Rat Center”.

From behind,
A large arm clinched my throat,
threw me to the ground
and choked me.

A small gentleman kicked me
and ferreted through my pockets.
As they scurried away,
the small gentleman said,
“He ain’t got shit.”

Later, calm, I reflected
I had a family, a brain and hope.
But in White Center, Washington,
it is considered unwise
to walk alone to the store,
at 3 A.M. in the morning,

So, perhaps
the small gentleman
had a point.

Yellow Banana

our age spots show.
Stay, please until tomorrow.
I need potassium.
You need dignity.

Supper, Baseball and Salvation in the Neighborhood

Safeco Field, bright lights
people roar
jammed, packed
bellies full
with hot dogs
they leave by one a.m.
to go home.

Salvation Army, short nights
people snore
jammed, packed
bellies full
with hot dogs
they leave by six a.m.
to go home.

A Daughter's Wedding

A daughter’s wedding

A dad’s greatest fear, grandest hope
to the simple yearning of his girl’s heart.
That from the bounty of her gifts
she chooses
reward over plunder
knows the unattainable
grieves the unchangeable but is consoled.
And with her husband discovers
grace, peace and pleasure while
reserving ache for the heartbroken,
pity for the miserable,
applause for the successful,
and cheer for the foundling.
Coloring the sky
with smiles wrought through pain and prosperity
of body, mind and spirit.
Remembering this union mirrors
a divine marriage yet to occur.

and so yearns her dad for Audrey Liz Oldham and Eric Shigemi Schwartz
August 16, 2008

The Refrigerator

Where’re the leftovers?
And the crisper’s empty.
No celery, no carrots.
And where’s the cheese?
There’s no cheese
or a piece of bacon.
So I looked around
and Mom was gone.

My Lost Shoes

My Lost Shoes

When the warm summer rain started
I took off my shoes.
And as water rose in the ditch
it felt good to slide down into it.
I woke up catheterized.
When I went to find my bottle, my shoes were gone