You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Poems’ category.

I wrote two poems last night. Sometimes a piece comes almost perfectly formed and other times a piece will take ages to get it to the state I feel comfortable with review. After the fact, I think it was because I immersed myself in some of the best writing ever. In this case it was poems and songs, but I don’t think the medium matters. Read really good writing, listen to really good writing, visit art – that’s the key to pulling your own muse out from under the basement stairs.

I watched Tavis Smiley’s interview with Joni Mitchell on the PBS Roku channel. (Thank you inventors of the technologies that make “internet TV” possible!). Joni looked so amazingly cool still – she’s 71. After the interview I put on her music, cranked it up, and sang along for an hour or so. I can do that. “I am a woman of heart and mind with time on her hands, no child to raise.” Or is it, “Just another silly girl when loves makes a fool of me”? Probably both.

Here is one of the poems from last night. 

The Arts

I thought I was a play

the simple story of a life

wherein the actor

survives the shifts, the plots

in the scuffle for the front of the stage Read the rest of this entry »


Instruments of Flight


Her wings unfurled at the oddest times.

She bumped her head on the ceiling when it was least convenient.


all of the signs flash walk

or stand still,

as if these are the only options,

how could anyone think any differently?


Her mother hissed, “walk like a lady.” Read the rest of this entry »

lilacsThe wind chimes herald
thunder’s grumbling, rumbling bass
and hail’s tympani.

Bees shelter beneath
a tulip’s fallen petals
wait out the downpour.

Sweeping the sidewalk
after a spring storm has passed:
a rush of lilac!

April finally! And a warm-ish day (finally). Although nothing is green, yet. The dafodills are groaning their way through the snow-soaked ground.

I subscribe to a writer’s prompt email from Poets & Writers magazine that regularly offers unique pespective shifts and ideas for writing poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. This week it pushed me more than usual with this prompt:

Poetry Prompt
Choose a poem–a classic work or something you’ve newly discovered–and memorize it. As you do so, note the rhythms, sounds, and structure that help you remember it. To test your memory, and in honor of National Poetry Month, consider reciting it to a friend in person, leaving a recording of it on a friend’s voice mail, or sending an audio file of it to one or more friends via e-mail.

Feeling semi-brave and semi-vulnerable here is a reading of my poem, “Dream of Bamboo.” You will probably have to download it to open it.

It took a little longer (got to get through the Canadian border, eh ja?), but The Shape of the Universe is now available on Kobo here:

Kobo uses the EPUB format which Wikipedia says “The EPUB format has gained some popularity as a vendor-independent XML-based e-book format. The format can be read by the Kobo eReader, Blackberry Playbook, Apple’s iBooks app running on iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Barnes and Noble Nook, Sony Reader, BeBook, Bookeen Cybook Gen3 (with firmware v. 2 and up), COOL-ER, Adobe Digital Editions, Lexcycle Stanza, BookGlutton, AZARDI, FBReader, Aldiko, Moon+ Reader and WordPlayer on Android, the Mozilla Firefox add-on EPUBReader, and Okular. Several other desktop reader software programs are currently implementing support for the format, such as dotReader, Mobipocket, uBook.”

Read the whole post of e-book formats at

First collection of poems The Shape of the Universe is available on kindle books and Barnes and Noble Nook books! Kobo coming soon.

On here

On Barnes and Noble here

Cold cliff
weathered tree,
this knobby pated monk. . .
things there’s nothing better than a poem.
Laughs at himself for striving so
to write in the dust of the world,
and scolds old Ts’ang Ko
for inventing writing,
and leading so many astray.
Ching An, 1851-1912

The first poem I ever wrote has been published on the Avatar Journal website. 

At the beginning of Robert Bly’s book, “Morning Glory,” he had a version of Basho’s short poem, Morning Glory.  Interesting how the different translators view it:

The Morning Glory also
The morning glory also
turns out
not be my friend
translated by Robert Hass

The Morning Glory
Ah! the morning-glory!
‘Tis not my friend, either.
translator unknown

The Morning Glory
Another thing
that will never
be my friend.
translated by Robert Bly

What do you do when your reader doesn’t catch the allusion you made in a poem?  Does an allusion need to stand on its own for poetic quality and meaning in the poem?  I recently wrote a poem with an allusion to Stephen King’s The Stand, a book I thought everyone knew.   Turns out almost no one caught it.  Huh.