Monday, October 23, 2017

A Psalm at 3 a.m.

I cannot listen for the pulse of praise
That's rumoured to be beating in my breast.
The din of worry, clamor of concern
Whelm the still small voice, put out the fire.

It's rumoured to be beating in my breast,
The heart that loves God, that would live in joy.
What whelms the still small voice, puts out the fire,
Stifles the prayer deep in the spirit's womb?

The heart that loves God, that would live in joy,
Grows sluggish with many cares, weak with want.
Stifled, the prayer deep in the spirit's womb,
Nipped in the seed and frozen in the germ.

Sluggish with many cares, weakened by want,
I would do little else but sleep and breathe.
Nipped in the seed and frozen in the germ,
My will to make poems, my will to sing.

I would do little else but sleep and breathe.
The din of worry, clamor of concern,
Deaden my will to make poems, to sing:
I cannot listen for the pulse of praise.

Monday, October 16, 2017

In the Silverware Drawer After Dark

The steak knives
are playing the Ramones
at full blast.

The salad forks are dancing with the teaspoons
to the tune of "Come On, Eileen."

A solitary soup spoon sits moping
in a corner reserved for the dateless.

Plastic sporks are having a spitball fight
as if it were a high-school cafeteria!

The butter knives
are writing love poems
to Parkay,
to Land o' Lakes,
to I Can't Believe.

And a loutish corkscrew
is making rude remarks
to the shapely tablespoons.

If the tablespoons could give him the finger,
they would.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Give us poems
as hard as the sharp stones
beneath the feet
of Christ.

Give us poems
that insinuate their way
between dying fiery leaves:
squirrelish breezes
in the early burn
of dusk.

Give us poems
battered, worn-out,
damaged, suffering,
give us poems
that have seen better days,
give us a young widow's heart
seared by hot grief.

Give us odes
to the joy of morning,
irised light
the wet, lush grass.

Give us stubborn poems,
poems that won't budge,
impenetrable poems,
thick as the ice
of a Minnesota lake
in the wince and grip
of winter.

Give us laughter and colour,
drunkenness and jokes,
give us the come-hither look,
the blunt nudge of tongues,
the saucy dance of a language
frisky and lissome.

Give us ---
in the swelter of noon,
a haven of shade;
in the nerve-rattling din,
a cool pool of silence;
above the waste and wrack
of a ruined city,
the resolute and watchful purity
of a single lasting star.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Notebook: September 28

A couple of hours
before the sun comes up,
and here's a list
of the things around me:
coffee, second cup,
in a mug decorated with cacti
and the legend MI CASA ES SU CASA;
seven-year-old laptop,
for blogposts, social media,
the flotsam and jetsam that passes
for the news of the day;
Wallace Stevens' Collected,
to re-read "Sunday Morning";
air conditioning
as it's a sultry night,
unpardonably so
for this close to October;
my friend Mary's book,
her clear and complex poems
of wild accuracy
and adventurous precision;
my reading glasses
parked where they should be,
the "cheaters"
(I really should fill the prescription
for the bifocals).

But what among these objects
of 3.36 am
will bring out the poet in me?

Who knows?
But I'll sit here and write
until I exhaust the coffee,
or maybe until morning comes
with its bombastic sun
and the noise of commuters
and the riot of birdsong.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Dear Diary

Little red journal
from the Peter Pauper Press
in White Plains, New York,
blank book with the KEEP CALM
AND CARRY ON design,
you're all right.

You're the perfect size:
portable, uncramped,
easy to write in
as I lie in a bed
surrounded by books and beads,
icons and dustbunnies.

I've marked you up good.

You're ideal for those private jottings
I wouldn't want God to read.

You contain everything
from AbeBooks wishlists
to notes for my deeply spiritual
prose-book in progress
(top-secret! don't tell anyone!).

You've kept my words safe
since early last year.
Thank you. And carry on.

Someday Soon

I should try Church of Our Saviour a mile down the road rambunctiously progressive or so I hear even by Episcopalian standards I shou...