Category Archives: Poetry

word salad

Chesapeake, VA 05/05/17

fredrick douglas
is coming to dinner
“and is being recognized more and more.”

cut the carrots and the verbs
slice the radishes and the adjectives
shred the romaine lettuce and the nouns

slice the onions and the conjunctions
slice the cucumbers and the present tense
mix the dressing and the false narrative

toss with confusion
serve-up on the right
follow with
“the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen”

Word Salad

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when multiculturalism becomes a bad word

Chesapeake, VA 11/17/16

citing concentration camps
on network television news
as if the great american PAC
is taking back our country
to the 1940s

when japanese internment camps
are referenced as precedent
we are reminded of the shameful deed

have you not seen adam’s photographs?
have you not seen lange’s photographs?
what about the photos of miyatake?

miyatake with his smuggled lens
and homemade, wooden camera
creating images
of his fellow, U.S. citizen inmates
people, who committed no crimes
and received no trials
who endured the loss of freedom
the heartbreak and the struggle
the loss of home and dignity
the ever-present dust and wind
the barbed wire of manzanar

have you not learned from your past?
america—the beacon on the hill
you stumble but get back up
learn from your mistakes
shrug off your phobias
embrace your diversity
and justice for all

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the death of edgar

poe died this day 1849

don’t forget to pick up your shoes
dropped off at the cobblers last week
with holes worn through the soles
you’ll need them for your trip

destined for the city of brotherly love
you took a wrong turn
then entered the skull house of usher
while wearing another man’s clothes

lying delirious on the sidewalk
the objects of your desire already
having been conquered by the worm
your mind lost to insanity in the end

how apropos that your tormented life
should leave behind a treasure chest
of gothic horror, reaching deep
into the psyche of humankind

by the way,
what were you doing
in baltimore
anyway?

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thoughts while waiting at a drawbridge

Chesapeake, VA 09/14/16

waiting in traffic for the drawbridge to go down over the intracostal
waterway
                  at the great bridge locks

                                                  i came to a stop, in a low spot of the road
                  a spot that is impassable during heavy rains
                  a spot where the marsh stretches out when swollen,
                      in an attempt to reclaim its hardened appendage of asphalt

i inhale the scent of mud from the marsh and know the tide is out
                              the earth, heavy and pungent, fills me on a cellular level
this richness stirs something inside of me and i am wading in the sound
                                             with the egret by my side
                                                            black & gray silt pushing between our toes

when i notice all the other drivers around me, with their windows up
; talking on cellphones
                  oblivious to the early morning’s warm bouquet
                                        (moist, dense and sensual—the essence of existence)
being filtered-out through car air-conditioners to render a sterile
               dry coolness, free of wonderment

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enter the soft world

Chesapeake, VA 08/17/16

crow hop through the pinhole—time slows down

sanguine blossoms
                crepe myrtle rain falls inside the breast

suspended animation within a wormhole

a spherical world, ephemeral
                with encroaching edges of opaque mystery
                                —creamy black velvet

                skin becomes sky

a splattered arch of liquid sunshine,
                                                flung across the northeast

                the center is blown-out

a cricket enters god’s eye

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hold still for sally mann

Chesapeake, VA 06/10/16

what transpires behind the photograph is lost
but the photograph remains
the process having been excised
from memories—faded with the weight of living

chemicals leave behind
a residue, a distilled beauty on paper
the ideal, coxed to the surface
to be held gentle in emulsion

when the eye denies color, forms emerge
color is the distraction,
the circus sideshow of living
to strip out color, is to lay bare the ideal

pining for the ideal, we are all lost
in a body farm labyrinth—with no way out
suspending decay in time, negative-to-positive
for the sake of art and science

a passage
a day
when our makeshift vessels no longer retain
the water-of-life
and the feral child, naked, on horseback
crosses over

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forever is a whale song

gentle rain falls in the breast of the leviathan
drops pool in memories once long forgotten
the brown of winter and mud stains on the heart
steel gray clouds, squeezed from blow holes
cold sun, unsure behind the glassy surface, floats slower
the lungs of the world are picked apart, tree by tree

a sad whale song is lost in the fog of distant hills
eternal monday evenings—ordinary as hands
beauty, living behind the land to enter the sea
legs incased worthless under blue-green water
trust disappears from the face of the moon
poseidon swells and low tide goes missing
the gods are vexed by the creep of the backstroke

under the storm’s punch, the sandbar is smeared
suddenly, everything changes in a shimmer
breaking through the surface, the pod rises
with gulls circling, searching for the radii
whale bones bleach in the warming sun, eternal salt
on the crest of a wave, venus has left with mars
and el niño’s violent tantrum wanes for summer

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discern to disassociate

11/16/15

to go on, strange and untethered
a solitary entity of movement
talking into a cavernous museum
rooms full of dinosaur bones

when color is unfamiliar
and my voice is not my own
is this what it’s like to pretend?
to pretend to be in the world

these things i say, these things i do
these things people say i do
these things i see with closed eyes
movement without friction

mental separation, reasoning
why would i do such a thing?
unable to hold, unable to grasp
i don’t know what we believe

this pint, it doesn’t belong here
it doesn’t seem real, it’s disconnected
this bar-stool, it’s odd—uncoupled
this cell phone, it’s worthless
all is like a vapor—all is beside me

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a walk in the years

2015

on cool air, pumpkins are hauled from the fields
stalks, dried and withered, rustle in the breeze
yellow spreads through the treetops of the tallest oaks
i build an evening fire when wind-chill becomes a factor
under crisp skies, pink rivulets stretch from the sunset

since adulthood, i know what happens next
the familiar routine becomes a psychological battle
the rush of familiar faces say hello but refuse to delve deeper
possibly, there are dangerous ideas hiding behind countenance
i smell chlorine seeping from under the correctional center door

once throwing a football in dead leaves, a childhood flashes by
reality is an old man, memories draining—unable to stem the flow
wishing i had written down observations of an earlier time

creating pictures is something i should have done a long time ago
training the eye/hand with a yearning to print pictures in black ink
and a want to render body parts coming out of objects

the ocean temperature steadily drops and the beaches are abandon
stuck in time for two million years, the sturgeon is found dead
it’s spiny body, washed-up on dawn’s gray shore
extending further than my prehistoric grasp
the walk has taken me outside the minutia of the day
in puzzled fascination—to the realization of a grand picture

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what are we?

Chesapeake, VA 11/24/15

dried leaves blown to recollection
the bent corners
crumpled pictures
drama of crows
dog eared distant relatives
photographs of light, of other days
gray shadows
particles of dust
what went behind countenance
a single cricket in the house
chirping
before time’s burden—crush
stealing your body
hiding your child
the bite
icy blade of winter’s storm
tempered by reason
huddled around the hearth
contentment
warm children
faces bathed in orange glow
wait for the moon
bare branches grow heavy beneath wet snow
quiet light
reflect the story we tell ourselves
the story we die believing
a breath

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