Winter Petulance

“its rock crystal and its imperturbablity,
all of museum quality”  Marianne Moore in “England”

Museum quality imperturbability…
that’s what I’m looking for:
Rand-McNally is no help with that..

Maybe I didn’t look hard enough,
or maybe vision was sublimated
by preconceived notion…

Like being oblivious to clouds gathering;
concentrating on dolphins playing
while gulls flocked inland.

Not seeing the sky darken
won’t prevent the rain.  Better to keep
the eyes open wide.

If there is no calm,
there won’t be a storm.

On second thought,
if there is no rain
there can never be a rainbow.


A Season Beyond

We live in an era contrived,
its history untried.  Wind
rattles the shutters. Everyone
is looking for something.

Virtue and vice
have morphed and merged.
Politically correct is a catch phrase
clichéd until its muscle is gone.

We are all too thin
in the mind, too hefty
in hindsight.
Our passions are spent.

We sit in dusty rocking chairs,
melting into the fading brocade,
minds and bodies walled in
until even our friends are intruders.

There, on the frozen horizon,
a glint of sun.  It is not too late
and never too soon
to switch directions.

The Oblivion of a Blizzard

We take the risk of being overwhelmed
to step one boot into the pristine squall.
Illusions, spells, fantasies; a million
shattered blisses can’t prepare us for the loss
of equilibrium when the swell of blizzard
wraps around us.

One dies many deaths when drowning answerless
in a drift that misdirects the feet, fragments
of debris, the only proof of our existence.
Such is our meager  monument,
a tiny blip on the timeline
of to be.

Neither fog nor smoke — the clouded mind
nor the clever tongue — can find the truth
or hide it
when the wind is at the door
and the blizzard is building.  The skyline,
ever changing, fades like history rewritten.

Slants on the Slanting Snow

December frost bows to January’s ice,
the gentle chill now swallowed by a wind
with whistle turned to roar.  Blue skies
have grown cynical.
This valley world has morphed
to manacled prisoner;
some wry alchemy has brutalized the air.
Bone crunching cold knows no mercy.

Ballet Blanc moves to a different drum.
Soft landing turns to slam dance and yet
the choreography still astounds.
Cold darkness
holds a new glow. The child inside awakens
with delight. Thoughts of back break shoveling
disappear as heart assumes control of the cranial.
It is time to make a snow angel.

A Hunger for Music and Light

“Oh! Blessed rage for order, pale Ramon, 
The maker’s rage to order words of the sea, 
Words of the fragrant portals, dimly-starred, 
And of ourselves and of our origins, 
In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.” 
Wallace Stevens in Idea of Order


Ramon Fernandez crept into my dreams,
a go between for the city and the sea.
I looked to him to explain the pull
from neon lights to moonlight
and back again, mindless
like moth to flame
or surf to sand.

Stevens knew him
as he knew the sea,
knew it was the voice we heard
beyond reason and understanding,
into believing,
Ramon Fernandez
how could you be mere phantom?

Out of the chaotic philosophy
of man, you found a door
that lets us in to the wind and the sea,
yet keeps us from it, a motherhood
of memory and music, a metaphoric union
between heaven and earth, poem and poet
in ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds…

Pale Ramon,
as we stand on the banks of the Atlantic,
we are one with the sea, yet separate.
The blinding light and the fear of drowning
cause the meek to settle for searching,
and thus this hunger
that sustains us.


“in ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds…Pale Ramon,*
quoted from Idea of Order by Wallace Stevens

Generation Gap

She claims a yard of sunset
for her skirt, a gallon of ocean
pale in the morning light
for her ruffled shirt
and there, dangling at her throat,
the moon hangs on a string
glad for its station.

A swarm of stars sparkles
in her hair, a drop of dew glistens
at each ear.  When she opens up
her mouth to sing, we learn
a nightingale is living there,
but in her eye a hint of tear
because time just moves too slow
for one with things to do, places to go.

From my eye a splash of tear
for how time flies and where.
I want her first white shoes
to fit again.  Turn back time
to those days when life
was one big lollipop poem.
Bring back the goldfish
from that final flush.

Put the training wheels
back on her bike,
Take the clock in hand.
slow it down
slow it down