First— the clanging of metal,

Thung…thung… thung…

Their hearts raced to attention,

dorsals wagging, in terror they swam.

What is it? Surely not friendly,

not fleshy or made of this world;

a chthonic intrusion, pending destruction,

an incubus lusting for fun?


Then—it hammered much louder,

Blang! Blang! Blang!

Closer to shore, it forced them,

the razor-ribbon whistled and sang.

Panic pours into the watery grave—

Trapped! Leaping high in the air;

Back to the sea with a crash and a slap,

wailing and crying for mercy. 


Now—a scream, the spear pierces,

Thwap, thwump, thwap.

Water a thickening crimson,

as red as a matador’s cape.

Frantic, with no tail to guide him

he rolled on his side in a daze.

A last breath, a last turn, a last gasp—

then hurled to his tomb on the sand. 


Dead— still one stroke to suffer,

Shrip, shrip, shrip.

Cut into pieces then labelled,

“Caught today, early bird special.”

Back at the cove, the carnage done,

the sea sings a silent lament.

Wearing her cloak she washes back out

to usher another group in.



Hot jazz makes no difference;

it’s cool that calms the heart,

like mist on the morning shoreline,

or a muted solo by Miles,

breathed through brassy tubing, 

left in the air to dry.


I wandered through ages

and watched them slip away,

like blood in the evening sunset,

or a footprint caught in the sand.

Warm wind pushed me homeward,

leaving my shadow behind.


Cool jazz makes a difference;

it’s mood can melt the heart.

Blue in green, ten measures of love,

perfection is never that far.

Trumpet sounds burn the hills,

summoning tears from above. 


if by chance 


If by chance you meet a gentle end,

Just more than the countless nights you knew ‘till then;

Be sure to let your hardened hand uncurl

To meet the pillowed fabric of your bed,

Which held you on its thigh

As you dreamt your patterned life.

And be sure to let your mind float and linger,

As long as it takes to remember

The moment---let’s hope there is at least one,

When by some mysterious Grace

You felt your heart break and unlock,

Melting you to somewhere like infinity.


If by chance you meet a gentle end,

And names and faces line the path to your mind,

Floating there,

Let it stretch its thoughtful hand

And draw them close;

Close enough to hear your heart breathe,

To watch the last breath carry you gently across,

And feel your foot wrap itself

Around the back of their lives;

Not to take them too,

But only to remember you to them.


If by chance you meet a gentle end,

And time, it seems,

Is calling you by name

To finally and fully rest,

And let the tentacles that ever wound

So tight around you, and bound you

To what is transitory and untrue,

Loosen their grip on you---left to float,

Free as light, safe as sound,

Across waveless waters

As green as blue can be.

And don’t look back,

Or down, or there, or anywhere.

if i had four legs


If I had four legs

I'd join a different race.

No more crying for this

and crazy for that,

pleading my case,

or losing my hat.


The end of ass-kissing,

a whiff, that would do.

No balancing budgets

or debt to accrue.

Not looking for answers,

inconclusive at best,

or language that circles,

never coming to rest.


I could run like the wind

and cry like the rain,

no need for a bed,

I'd lay where I would.

Now---would be my time-piece,

never early or late,

excuses, apologies,

or maybe I should.


When winter set in

my hirsute I'd wear,

then shed it come summer

in rapturous splendor.

If tired I'd stop for a

snooze in the breeze,

from sunrise to sunset

live in sumptuous ease.


If I had four legs.

the cleavage cafe


I called it the cleavage cafe,

though that wasn’t really its name.

I called it that because it was

much more than a coffee stop.

Coffee is only bean and water—

quicken the heart,

a cheaply ride,

making much of mind.

This little snack of bustle 

was a snappy piece of life,

hustling all the parts awake,

opening eye and nose to

skin and perfume.

Ears and loins hoping to hear

a hint of invitation in the

blue air of smile and 

sudden sex.

And dress like bright red,

so tight to the skin— would

always bring one back again;

to give your order,

more than worth the wait; 

like a nervous school boy

on first date.

But this was just a dance,

with no promise of even a kiss.

So there you stand,

sweating the scene;

the quick flick of hair,

fully aware of the eyes

on her every move;

a quick glance—fast smile.

Is it just for you?


And then the moment 

you have waited for;

the warm walk to the shop,

the long lazy line,

forgotten ‘till next time.

Coffee in hand she leans

ever so forward—into your reach.

The loose top falls open,

just enough.

She has you where 

she wants you—

in the palm of her groin.

She made the sale

before you saw the sign.

A stammered thank-you…

you hold her eye.

She knows,

and is graceful in her apology.






They called her in

to the dreaded back room,

where so many final words

hovered in the sweat of August air.


Hands, quick and gentle

reached out to let him know

she was there, (as he had always been) 

and would not let any harm come to him.


Her tears fell onto 

his grey, gnarled head.

He purred up to her, and she said—

“He’s purring—oh Starker.”


“Do you want me to put him down?”

His voice stabbed the air,

piercing her heart.

“I mean, look at him.”


She looked---

All bone and matted wild hair,

a broken hero, he called her,

through his soundless-sightless stare.


The tears came faster,

and his purrs came louder,

shattering the walls

of the serious room.


“No”--- she choked softly,

“I think I’ll take him home.”




man at the mall

I saw a man at the mall today.

He was maybe twenty-one or two.

His companion, a four-legged metal walker

stepped with his arms: 

his legs dragged behind.


A lady, (maybe his mom) tagged along.

The man smiled and laughed,

reading the signs out loud as they came:

'Shop 'til you drop', 'shut-up and shop',

and so on.


The frown on my face

felt suddenly out of place,

and my problem, whatever it was---forgotten.

At least for a minute or two.



the st. valentine's day massacre


It was the day of St. Valentine,

of flowers and hearts and 

proclamations of love.

Couples out to dine, to celebrate

their twoness once again;

some for duty, some for visibility,

some for wine. 


And the maitre d' smiled his usher act,

counting heads, holding court, talking fast:

"Enjoy your meal...our specials are...something to drink?

And so it went. 


Waiting for the wine to kick in,

stealing furtive glances at

the winking, winter cleavage

doing a slow burn in the room.


Then up for a dance--two-step,

three step, a little quicker,

swoop here---woops----"sorry,"

well we may be old-fashioned but 

we're still young at heart.

Then back to the table,

silent as a monk in the morning.


And the accordion crackled its colorful tune,

in fits and starts, pops and leaps,

cajoling here, soothing there,

pushing its magnificent music

through the fractured room.


The conversation quickens,

the mood grows light,

"Here's to you and I, forever and ever---'til death",

fixed eye to eye.


Then entered a man,

handsome and debonaire,

in Gucci and gold,

three lovely ladies at his side,

radiant, laughing and clearly content. 


The room stopped quick!

Every eye turned hard on them,

this flagrant imposition;

Valentine's day is for two, 

not more---certainly not four!


The man and his ladies,

distracted by delight,

danced to their table,

across the heart-red floor,

strewn with the coupled bodies

and ancient ghosts of

St. Valentine's day past.


The maitre d' stood small,

in a plaintive pout,

his fingers lost

in the corners of his mustache.


And the accordion crackled

its colorful tune. 


the grand canyon


Gob-smacking cavernous

home to squirrel and hawk—

Older than the condor,

younger than the next breath.


Fashioned from melted light,

jig-jagged howl of rock.

A gaping wound in Mother-earth—

A tomb for idle thought.


And the river—

almost hiding there,

liquid tongue of life,

pushing through— but gently.


That mammoth mouth of stone

swallowed me to gone—

Shattering this mind in a 

smack of worldly wonder.


Why did i forget


Christmas eve,

I await the friends

who will make a party

With sing-song drink and merry.

Chips and chatter one and all,

Oh why did I forget the mistletoe?

That would have made it all worthwhile.


But still we'll talk of the time

we gathered 'round the piano to

Deck the Halls with Emmanuel,

our tired throats on high.

Oh why did I forget the mistletoe?

That would have made a memory,

a memory worth while.


eye to eye


I met a gecko eye to eye,

Mine to his -- his to mine.

We shared a moment...and then another,

No inclination to run for cover.

His usual scurry came to a halt;

I, in tune with him, pulled up.

We sat in silence -- ear to ear.

A string of light conjoined us there.




There I sat, in the Vedanta Temple

with Ramakrishna and Vivekenanda,

floating there, in His Samraj Palm.

A light breeze brushed my face

and I remembered joy.

Now dancing makes sense.