Northwestern Comfort

The wet fields on the way to work,

carpeted in sunset,

await the returning geese.

 

A rainbow unmasks the clouds

as the grey warehouse roof steams

in the same rising sheen as the bay.

 

Long hours,

short days,

the breath itself a signal.

 

Our ancestors knew

a candle in the window

was more than a small flame.

 

They came in from the rain,

never imaging a night shift

in galoshes.

 

Meals on the run,

barely time for notes, kisses,

or lists.

 

This is the study.

The learning

door to door.

 

Daylight poets have their bench,

bundled and scarved

they slog and sled.

 

My comfort; my blanket,

my pillow, my bed, all a dream

I trust in You to wake.

Half Mast

the grey glare

a confederation of clouds

a fog fury

diffused light burning dull

summer chilled to the bone.

 

temporate skin

thick and thin

the black and white

history inked blood red

on the hood of a car.

 

it’s pedestrian

this walk a mile

this march step

this one foot in the grave

consequence.

 

a blue field of stars

hidden by daylight’s trial

trails the tears again

comfort holds, in our hands,

our heart.

Maestro

Tony’s tone flew

in the face of white noise,

fat as Philadelphia’s history,

sleek as the horizon beyond

a flagship at full mast.

 

He rehearsed, in his sleep,

what was needed to wake.

The dream a counterpoint

to dawns and noons

and dance.

 

The air more important

than fingers, the ears

 inside the heart

smiling, every echo

cymballic.

 

 

Find a way to be wealthy

and compare it

to this weave. The weight

and the wait of breath

blowing blues.

 

An isolated note

makes the chamber weep

at expiration. It’s

another’s turn

to see sharp.

Prodigal Pop

A curtain of birds

slights the silver bay light.

July vines vault the hedge

with berry blossoms and thorns.

 

Our son’s back to work, and

my coffee’s warm as the sun.

I’ll seek counsel

to deal with happy.

 

A timely God

is all we ask,

an eternal smile

is how He answers.

 

This parenting thing

covers the world,

uncovers the heart,

discovers the real.

 

My father would say,

“So soon old,

so late smart."

The walk sign is flashing

at the crossroads of joy.

Time's Up

The yellow locust

lining the prison driveway,

are ash white

at first light.

 

The dawn

is as slow as the guard

releasing

the day.

 

Turning a page

beats scratching lines

in the wall,

time after short short time.

 

The journey home,

interrupted,

thanks the waitress

for real cutlery.

 

You can read the cup bottom

through the coffee, but it ain't free.

Another proof of

liberty.

 

Walk a mile translates

to hours and hours

behind the wheel,

facing forward.

 

A sentence ends

with a dull dot,

a chapter begins

with a single word

Longhand

I tuck all my fear

in an envelope,

fold it in my back pocket,

and wait in line to post it.

 

It's unsolicited,

this blue note.

An apology,

the rarest of terms.

 

Jockeying for sympathy

passes for conversation,

so, unsigned, I send paper

to hold your perspective.

 

As you smooth the crease,

you might notice

the page is waiting

for reply.

 

Moving a pen

is how we chart and change

our mind. The words, spell

themselves.

 

The same size

as a grocery list,

the lines just as short,

a poem reads our future.

Road Site Assistance

I sight a wolf

guarding a roadkill deer

from the strange metal beast,

surprised there’s no fight for it.

 

Isn’t that just like us ?

It was an accident,

the sun got hotter,

the ice caps melted.

 

We didn’t watch where

we were going, and there was nature,

big doe eyes in the headlights,

our head, in the oily sand.

 

To the victor belongs the spoiled world.

The wolf tugs her trophy back to the forest,

the ravens wait mid tree,

a fawn, somewhere, trembles.

 

In a sunlit patch,

below the mayhem,

Trinity River daisies dance

in the wind, bees bob on the flowerheads.

 

The honey made here

will sweeten the world,

and the driver, warned,

will look both ways, like an animal.

Feather Dust

The geese have gone to ground,

there's more water in the air than air.

The new lakes used to be fields

and the trees were taller than fires.

 

The river of opinion has flooded it's banks,

shouldering responsibility.

The sound of a footprint sucks muck

from a lost path.

 

The sun, indifferent to weather,

makes the green leaf lean into its arc.

The sky has seen it all,

and squinted in ths smoke.

 

What's man made hasn't made man happy.

What man's neglected, takes revenge.

The garden begs the gardener to return

the soil, the seeds of discontent, swell to bursting.

 

 

 

A We Sack of Woe

Vintage Clapton echoing off metal

welding helmets lifted

for lunch. The white capped bay

framed by the delivery bay door,

waterfront warehouse whipped

by the same wind that stalls the gulls

over the dunes.

 

The work, set aside, smells of burn,

the air, a sea breeze inside three walls,

is grey as the sea that brought the ships to harbor.

The piping crew might be pawns, might be lions,

green card, citizen, paid by the piece

or by the hour, defined by the pace

and grimy comradery.

 

The world is off the clock now,

another thirty minutes, too tired

to talk, nothing left unsaid

since the election. Sandwiches, thermos, tortillas, a piece of fruit,

the brown bag lighter than some skin,

darker too.

 

The news was all about immigration raids,

so the station was switched to oldies,

the rock and roll of a previous revolt

background to silent chewing.

“We worked together,” is what someone might say,

 not a big deal, not

a political banner, just what we do.

Photo by Hans-Martens/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Hans-Martens/iStock / Getty Images

Pink Parade

Day works into night,

a great blue heron silhouettes black against

the last pink slip of sunset.

Near the end of my route,

kitchen lights outnumber the stars,

the year's new twilight shadows me home.

If nothing had changed, this dusk would make

all the difference, but our flag flags

in bitter gusts of assumption.

Now a planet blinks through the trees.

Stern branches, still bare, bow in a promise

of bud, leaf, and flower, even fruit.

Hope springs eternal,

because the Eternal rises from mud,

springs from the tomb, and pours, like rain

into the street.

 

Breach Brother Breach

White crane in a circle of cows,

hailing rain soaks the new year.

The river, just over the banks,

curls to the sea, the sunrise, multiplied

by ripples, gives gold fluidity a stage

and song, as each original drop’s outcome

overpours the beach.

 

Water flows to seek it’s own level.

Morning mist rises as high as the clouds,

cross current waves arch like thundering ballerinas

while tide pool puddles mirror the stars.

The edge of the world pushes us

toward each other; driftwood, firewood.

We leave behind what we put forward, before the branches

breached.