Thursday, September 15, 2016


they count, too –
haiku moments
I couldn’t put into words

after the funeral
stretching out
in my childhood bed

dregs at the bottom
of my teacup
taste of sugar

lone guest gone –
the ticking
of the parlor clock

due for a haircut –
how many more
on this old head?

talking things out –
a iron bench  
too cold for sitting

death rattle –
that brief flutter
as the candle’s blown out

reading the label –
the old man’s pullover
inside out

that gay whistle –
a man rummaging
through the dumpster

held together
by its label –
a crushed whiskey

forbidden to touch,
our shadows mingle

laughfest –
ticket for one

books clutched
to her breast, the librarian
locks up

Father’s tool chest –
every word
he never spoke

night rain heavy;
sometimes light –
my loneliness

bitter words –
the harsh zip
of her flight bag

far from home –
in stained glass

a shade bluer than the sky –
the sliver of a moon’s

the old homestead –
a yardstick
taped to the kitchen jamb

lonely day –
the last rainbow fades
from the window prism

on my father’s
withered bicep –
a clipper ship tattoo

lonely night –
I listen to the traffic
up and down my street

on the high shelves,
her prized teapots,
never once stained by tea

outside the funeral parlor
an old man
leans on a broom

skin and bones,
my father
buried in the root-veined ground

as if from the earth’s belly,
the moon rises
from a deep gorge

the waitress
misplaces her pencil
in her bun

mailbox in distress –
the red flag
upside down

rainy day –
wandering a house
full of shadows

going by,
the one moon,
a hundred different names

on the list of repairs,
the stain of the mechanic’s

chatting with a neighbor;
his name eludes me
but the dog is Jack

a solitary tea –
the soft punk
of the kitchen clock

between cuckoos
the painted bird
lets the old house be

pine grove –
the slant of the hills,
the verticalness of trees

same smell of tobacco  
on their clothing – 
my son, late father

pallbearer –
hands full,
I taste my tears

heated argument –
the silence
of a closed door

worn in places
to the bare clay –
the golden buddha

3 am –
the traffic light
changing for no one

tea with a spinster aunt –
the old house complains
of my presence

softly I depart
my mother
asleep in her chair

funeral parlor –
the trumpet lilies’
white silence

choosing a pup;
will she, I wonder,
outlive me?

dry thunder –
God’s chair scraping
heaven’s floor

after a spat –
a small kitchen

beginner’s mind –   
always there
where I left it

the old homestead –
a chin-up bar on the door
to my room

cold shoulder –
the silence
of her heart-shaped tattoo

dawn stirrings –
my neighbor
cranks his truck

light rain –
a truck rolls by
on the rural road

flag ceremony –
the old vet’s uniform
hangs loosely

bridge night –
trying to remember our last
passionate kiss

asked to stand,
the new boy in class
studies his shoes


the ruins of a house –
a porch board’s

morning zazen –
the hum
of the Frigidaire

guttering candle –
low in the west,
a yellow moon

nursing home lobby -
the potted plants

hiking the mountain –
at every turn,
its lonely immensity

work day over –
my shadow folded
against the barn door

toddler to dodderer –
walker to walker,
the seven ages now

a hole in the meadow –
the farmer’s body

the old farmer roams 
his apple orchard;
the trees no longer bear

Saturday night –
the old bachelor
presses his Sunday shirt

a daunting swim
across the channel –
first touch of the bottom

early morning quiet;
the hollow knocking sounds
boarding a rowboat

threat of rain;
a peal of thunder rolls
the length of the sky

one foot in their own –
those gathered
at my uncle’s grave

exit stage left;
the man in the moon
offers his profile

twilight stillness –
on the porch, the steady rocking
of Grannie’s chair

dust upon the bric-a-brac;
the widow asks after
her late husband

through a field of stars –
the sickle moon

homestead cemetery;
how deep in the clay
does title go?

hand to his heart,
the elderly Jew
speaks of Jerusalem

the cries of unseen gulls;
a tugboat
parts the river's mist

mountain campsite –
only back in civilization
is it Thursday

barn dance, to and fro
across the neck –
the rosined bow

travelers still catch
the Greyhound there –
the boarded-up diner

the stillness of the lake
the wooded twilight

rumble of thunder;
the weathercock wheels
to face an approaching storm

my father’s eyeglasses –
bent to the shape
of his head

always hazy now,
the moon –
these aged eyes

I roam the neighborhood;
dogs bark
behind their fences

factory tour –
the foreman shouts  
above the machinery 

evening traffic roars by;
at the sharp curve,
brake lights flare

freeway flat tire –
sand in the trunk
from our beach vacation

windy day –
tree shadows
animate the underbrush

winds howl,
the moon

another birthday;
we have the same father –
the morning star and I

along the fence shadow,
racing –
a shadow squirrel

another birthday;
same age -
the morning star and I

prairie gloom;
a radio tower’s
distant lights

midnight express –
signals flare
at the empty crossings

the old vet’s 
purple heart;
ribbon faded to mauve

on spindly legs
the wooden bridge
wades upstream

grandpa's fiddle -
to and fro,
the blue tick's tail

rain lets up –
reflections in the lake
become clear again

rain lets up –
a mist moves in
from across the pond

free of the grove,
my ears add a roar
to the brisk wind

workers gathered
at the factory gate;
light rain falling

small plane –
a white cross

in the blue sky

boarded up
Shell station -
regular $1.09

call to prayer –   
the pulled rope,
the pealing bell

so loud! 
shooting, dribbling
in the empty gym

leaving a white furrow –
a jet plowing
the vast blue sky

boarded-up theatre –
letters missing  
from the marquee

 day-long rain;
I organize   
my watercolors

grandpa’s fiddle –
to and fro,   
the blue tick’s tail

toting it home with me –
the mountain

always out of plumb –
my portrait   
in Mom’s hallway

rainy day –   
inside the window,
a bottle fly’s buzz

my uncle’s burial –
the mourners huddle
under two umbrellas

solitary nights –  
the same old moon
Ryokan couldn’t give away

after the rainstorm –
daubs of sunset  
in the oyster shell drive

daybreak –  
the multifarious clangor
of a garbage truck

a vesper sparrow
on the gate post   
surveys its kingdom

just another stony field –
wrens flitting about
the graveyard  

day long rain –
my breath  
fogs the window

having leapt the fence –
a whitetail deer  
among the cattle

mountain aerie –  
somewhere in the valley,
a church bell tolls

vast silence –
stills the sylvan glade

morning worship –
a gray squirrel   
praying on a fence post

down the valley one side,
over and up the other –
cloud shadows

creaks and murmers –
a north wind this morning
rummaging through the pines

on a bare branch –
eyeing me

I rarely go there –
the end of the gorge
where the sun never shines

after the storm –
the sky
a celebratory blue

wielding an axe –
someone deep
in the hardwoods

dousing the last lamp,
moonlight pours
through a vaulted window

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