2023 Poem List January-April
A Drop Print this poem only
This room lives in sun
mornings I’m here with the plants
life springs from my light
planted in me by a muse
a drop of eternity
A Nap Print this poem only
It was too late to take a nap
twilight squinting into night
but I needed to loosen the grip
of the day.
The twisted tautness in my gut
had risen to my shoulders
into my neck through silent strings
that played a blue elegy.
After half an hour I opened my eyes
thanked the darkness for the rest
picked up a small volume of Rumi
who woke me to his dawn.
Anchor Print this poem only
What is this dark anchor in me
holding me in my present comfort
when I know there are dirty dishes to wash?
Do I forget I’m a mere steward of this wealth
in a lavish open-hearted universe?
Breathe in free oxygen
swept in by unchained wind
wake up to its fragrance
swim in its musk
abide in its love
for the moment it takes
to decide to get up off the lounger.
Heart of a Woman Print this poem only
Slender and humble in its youth
the oak grew in moist earth near the bayou.
Roots pierced the dark land
ate the rich gumbo
silently morphed facets of soil
into a heart
with unexposed power and poise.
Across the bayou
on a screened porch
a young girl watched the new rain
make puffs of dust in the dirt
she daydreamed in the drifts of clouds
and wondered where they were born.
A young man and his friend
off the beaten path of their travels
found the town pool.
Swimming, he saw the beautiful girl
perched above the deep end
and across longitudes and latitudes
of loving, laughing, and weeping
they birthed and raised a family.
The bark’s ridges and gaps reveal
centuries of storms and floods
the oak’s long limbs laden
with life, wisdom, and altered environments.
These two entwined lives enriched
by learning and prodigious practice
their wine a vintage
of passionate enchantment
imbibed by thirsty learners
across decades beyond ordinary borders.
But she like the oak
with open arms
her strength born in good soil.
Hers is a rare power of gentle love
hers a courage born
of some cosmic connection
at the heart of her beautiful humanity.
Dedicated to my cousin Melanie on her eightieth birthday. Both of us born in the Durand line in southern Louisiana not too far from the Evangeline Oak with lives seemingly divergent but somehow parallel and ultimately connected, I think, by a power greater than ourselves.
Limits of Friendship Print this poem only
I went to my friend
almost afraid to expose the need
not knowing if he would be deaf to it.
As I spoke of my father
who was not there
to show his boy how to be a man
I recounted my losses
and the load of grief I felt.
My sadness clung to me
a heavy suit of chainmail on a dark knight.
I could feel my face
drooping in lamentation
unable to be the smiling grinning buddy
I normally showed with him.
Seemingly unable to enter into my pain,
my friend, a man of great intellect, character and conviction,
responded only with a litany of his own.
I tried to listen but my burden
made it a mighty climb.
Now I know my pal is only human
my expectations too great
and I am wrestling
with my self
My Problem with Religion Print this poem only
I thought religion was it.
A gnarly piece of wood
always trying to fit,
I ran and ran as far as I could
took the road east then west
to find the one that was best
jumped in with both feet
since daddy always said
do what you do
work and sweat til complete.
My problem was I couldn’t stick
to this branch
whittle til nice and slick
that other branch looked too good
so I took it -
my piece of wood!
But it wasn’t
so I quit
to search again.
I had to seek
and find something new
risky steeper deeper
Train into Night Print this poem only
I took the train into the tunnel
the car lit with candle glow
there standing just so
my brother with a wan look and a slight grin
I leaned to kiss his forehead, felt the taut skin
Mom across from him,
I placed my cheek against hers
two tears from the deep cavern of her sadness
fell on my constant brow
Dad faced me with dazzling cheer
eyes full of joy that his son was here.
Awakening from the abyss of night
I arose with a smile inside
grateful for an intimate ride
with that poignant cast
an interlude to abide
and flutter in the sails of family
arrived from a pulsar of the past.
That day visiting with friends
I hugged every one tight
cherished the lush
of the living.
Ripe Tomato Print this poem only
One thing about being this old
is the volume of things I need to know
for another day
grows thinner and thinner.
When the uses of my days
are fewer and fewer
I wonder if it’s a benefit
since I’m closer
to peace and glory.
On the other hand
the present moment
is a ripe tomato
ready to be sliced
its sour meat and juice
sucked into my mystic imagination
and spit out like a Mozart concerto.
This present is a cornucopia
a Marti Gras of bright beads
and sparkly gifts thrown my way
from the passing parade
sounding with the teenage vigor
of trombones and flutes
piccolos and drums.
I choose the abundance
of the juicy now.
A Few Seconds of Now Print this poem only
I hear the deep soft clanging windchimes
and catch their movement in the wind
a sad flute sings an elegy
the green plants gently strain for rays
the sound of the heater
its warmth on my left leg and thigh
the wide body of the hawk
gracefully swoops down beyond the windows.
These seconds abiding
in the intense present
make long hours and ennui days
worth any minor miseries.
Written 3-20 23
Ready to Dive Print this poem only
My slightly shaky fingers
rest steady on the keys
poised to open my heart
to make room for
a deep dive into the red fibrous
muscle of the cosmos.
Going Gold Print this poem only
The flute played a lullaby in the distance
calling the man and his horse into desert’s blanch
where even tumbleweed had vanished.
He saw the streaked banks of the arroyo
that told a tale of currents
whose power clashed and hurled taut soil west
where the sun was going gold.
His face etched by storms
in many forms
he tried to ignore joint moans
by whistling Cohen’s Halleluia
that wiggled forth a salty mist
in his eyes.
Halleluia for all the years.
He hummed the line
he heard Leonard say:
don’t dwell on what’s passed away
or what is yet to be.
The flute again cast its spell
not a knell but a psalm
of praise to make
and create what he could
be it on paper or carved in wood.
Expecting a Fire Print this poem only
The cloudy mucky morning
portends this winter’s end
whatever dawning light
needs importing from within
to burn away
the showers aborning.
That’s why I’m here with you
so you can hear and I can read
the plot arising.
a vessel fit for floating
a song worth singing
a fire to light the candle
to connect the spirit in me
to the flame in you.
Fear of Fog Print this poem only
Traveling the dusty winding road
I reached the rain forest
heard the Macaw sing
saw its flash of glory in air
and I mused what I’d missed
in the dusty doctrines and dogmas
safe and secure at home
a home I feared might morph
into a wooly gulag
or a colonial province
where freedom groaned
and dragged like an anchor
in shallow water.
Angel Years Print this poem only
Hurricane Katrina ruined the lives
of countless souls
and blew into ours
an Angel. She’s eighteen –
many cat years older
than her octogenarian daddy.
How long will her purrs gentlelize us?
How many mornings
will we awaken to her blue eyes
and white whiskered adorable face?
I assume I’ll outlive her
but what happens when you assume?
Maybe I should do as she does
and soak in the present moment
without a single care for the future.