Marching Orders


In a world gone crazy, we
place cows in the spotlight and
call them wise. Bowing before
bovines, we intone pale prayers
of the evolved, enlightened,
connected, fruitless faithful:

Lead us to the Promised Land,
Where life is easy.

Give us the answers.
Give us the goods.
Give us the pleasures.
Give us the words.

Lead us to the Promised Land,
Where up is down.

Take our questions.
Take our money.
Take our time.
Take our souls.

Lead us to the Promised Land,
Where all is free.

Make for us reality.
Create for us food.
Buy for us love.
Kill for us, too.



Joe is gone now, too.
At peace, they say,
with exhaled relief
that they can all move on.

They’d never admit to
wishing for his demise,
but it’s hard to deny that
it makes everyone’s lives
just a little bit easier.

O.K. A lot.

He was always strange,
upsetting every room
and life he entered.

The medication was supposed to help.
According to his dad, it did.
Of course, back then, he never
mentioned the side effects.
But there’s always a price to pay.

Maybe the world wasn’t ready for Joe.
He must have been born too early.
Given another decade, those scientists
surely would have come up with something.

Think of how much pain
could have been avoided
if his parents had known better.

Yup. Joe is gone now.
For the best.
It’s his mum that’s the problem.
She never would listen to reason.

Wind Storm

Wind Storm

the light glorious warms the hours,
asking forgiveness for the gale
bullying trees and knocking them flat,
tearing at ropes, stopping the buzz.
the sharp silence inside.
the gentle roar outside.
ticklish trees and leaves at play
swooping and swirling,
sashaying and sliding,
dipping to descend in a blink,
blanketing all beneath.
yellow and red:
shining then dark,
taking turns, and
letters lined up
inside the diamond,
directing drivers and
distancing directors.
each page tells a story.
a little girl and a maple tree
there in the corner,
offering shelter and shade—
a steadfast sentinel
going nowhere.
like mom—
until the parasitic
organisms and cells
killed their hosts and
left nothing behind
but a stump
and yearly games of  guessing
when the guilt would show
and how merciless it would be.
it’s always October:
life and death playing together,
swooping and swirling,
sashaying and sliding,
until all is a blur.
the grey houses,
the railroad tracks
too young to be there alone,
too innocent to feel afraid.
just the cold gnawing
at nose and cheeks.
darkness crouching
behind rocks and trees.
a snowmobile in a yard
and trucks up on blocks,
woodsmoke dancing
with the mist in the air.



the veil and the bow tie
the flower stems squeezed and mangled
by her manicured fingers

itching to grasp his

the first tear clouded glance
the thin air headed for his lungs
that stops snagged and ragged short

there in his tight throat

the him and the her as
it was in the beginning

Orchard Impression

Autumn Still Life

The apple trees we passed on our drive today
are more beautiful than the ones
a mile or so from our front door.

This has little to do with the leaves traced in light
or the red apples strung through them
like beads on a ball gown.

The magic in these trees comes from the idea
that they might be tended by somebody
who takes the time to thank God
for the beauty found in shadows and cobwebs,
leaves littering the yard,
bittersweet berries on a vine grown out of control, and
the joyous squeals of a child just waking to the face
of the most important person in the world.

The unknown story woven into those trees,
that old, in-need-of-paint farmhouse,
and the hill bathed in God’s light
is what these gnarled old trunks,
branches, and twigs have going for them.

It is enough for me.



in his comings and goings
eddie the e has found himself
raised from the dead
hes happy to be back
right where he belongs
with a pen in his hand
and words tingling in his fingertips

happy cake and candles
blow up the balloons
it’s your birthday

the sun celebrates with you
beaming with joy
at home in the east
roasting with the fervor
of a convert

has signed
a long term lease
is flapping
its orange black wings

auricles tell nothing
but good news
vibrant blue orbs
flash with fires
of the future
and life has no limits

i baptize you
in the name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Ghost

Knock and It Shall Be Opened to You

When Daddy Tries to Work

If I could enter your office,
if the door were unlocked,
if you’d let me in,
I would stand in a corner
and watch you work.

If the door were unlocked,
if you’d let me in,
if your guard were down,
I would hold my breath
and close my mouth.

If you’d let me in,
if your guard were down,
if you glanced my way,
I would stand there—
absolutely still.

If your guard were down,
if you glanced my way,
if our eyes met,
I would hold your gaze
as long as you’d let me.

If you glanced my way,
if our eyes met,
if you smiled at me,
I’d weave my lashes together
’til the tears stayed put.

If our eyes met,
if you smiled at me,
if you opened your arms wide,
I’d tiptoe across the room
and melt into you.

And I’d never say a word.
I promise.