Saturday, December 29, 2007

Quote: John Hollander Poem: Angel at the Door

John Hollander said, "I want my poems to be wiser than I am, to know more about themselves than I do."

Angel at the Door
Who visited my dreams last night?
The coolness of sheets on this summer
Respite, cuddled my guest towards my door
Of despair.
She, for that gentleness can only be a she,
Kissed my brow so furrowed, her lips
Of dew unparched my lines of worry.

Spending the night on a stool by fears
Door; letting one sleep upon her lap
And then, guiding it to my dreams.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Quote:John Ashberry Poem:The Flying…

John Ashberry “But when you do really need to know the essential nature of a thing. . . you'll be glad you / wasted so much time in youth jotting down seemingly unrelated random characteristics of things, / rested your elbows at the windowsill looking out over everything that was going to be night.”

The Flying…

My family was the Flying Willenda’s
Of the ground.
Watching another immigrant family balance
On a tightrope of survival
Holding each other in anticipation.

Asending to do such feats
Always seemed like over
The top. My family
Hid in plain sight
Or took a falling via open
Fist or verbal assault
From our ringmaster.
There were no tented audiences
To ooh and awe,
Just the familial that knew
Their situation of disappear
Or bow silently.

One thing lacking
By Wallenda senior
Was a circus whip- dad
Had an oak stick
For Christ sake.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Margaret Wise Brown/Poem: Reverant Road

Margaret Wise Brown helped make children's books profitable, because she understood that children experience books as sensual objects. She invested in high-quality color illustrations, and she printed her books on strong paper with durable bindings, so that children could grab, squeeze, and bite their books the way they did with all their toys. And then, in 1947, she published her own book, Goodnight Moon.

Reverent Road

Mostly on Sundays
stuffed in a black
fifty-five Ford.
Some of us with rosaries
others kept track on fingers.
Destination; our sister’s house
by route of Lake City Way.
We saw no lake or skyscrapers.
The drive was longer than the five decades
we prayed.

All praise to Mary fades
as we approach railroad tracks.
Dad slows the car, like a bus
laden with children.
These were dad’s tracks:
Northern Pacific, Burlington Northern,
names that filled the pause
between beads. We, ever familiar
bowed till tires bumped no more
and tracks disappeared into
the great asphalt way.

Dad’s beliefs chugged in my mind,
his gods of steam and diesel-
gods of destination and strength.
His creation brought forth
from steel tracks.

When cancer struck my father;
a derailment of mind from reason,
it rolled him onto deaths spur.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Story about the Body By Robert Haas

A Story about the Body

The young composer, working that summer at an artist’s colony, had watched her for a week. She was Japanese, a painter, almost sixty, and he thought he was in love with her. He loved her work, and her work was like the way she moved her body, used her hands, looked at him directly when she mused and considered answers to his questions. One night, walking back from a concert, they came to her door and she turned to him and said, “I think you would like to have me. I would like that too, but I must tell you that I have had a double mastectomy,” and when he didn’t understand, “I’ve lost both my breasts.” The radiance that he had carried around in his belly and chest cavity-like music-withered quickly, and he made himself look at her when he said, “I’m sorry I don’t think I could.” He walked back to his own cabin through the pines, and in the morning he found a small blue bowl on the porch outside his door. It looked to be full of rose petals, but he found when he picked it up that the rose petals were on top; the rest of the bowl-she must have swept the corners of her studio-was full of dead bees.

Robert Hass

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Quote:Edith Wharton Comment: TA

There are two ways of spreading the light:
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
—Edith Wharton

As advent begins tommorow, it is good to read about light. That on a cold day like today a flicker is always present. What is light a metaphor for me? It is the possibility that it grows on the plans of the driest imagination. That it can become a major front; a storm aflame or it can be a couple wandering the streets looking for a place to rest and prepare for a birth, while trusting a dream. Which is most definantly light, as it best. TA

Friday, November 23, 2007

Quote: John Coltrane Poem:This Moment

My goal is to live the truly religious life and express it in my music.
—John Coltrane

This Moment

More people are walking
Into traffic; so terrible
So traumatic.
A few get run over
More than once
Like coyote and armadillo.

We follow human aftermath.
On the teli, in the paper, from
No name to identification
To obituary.

Many times there is no
Summation, was he/she,
German, Irish, Sudanese?
Did I attend school with them?
Did she work for my dad?
It behooves me to demystify.

A road side bomb killed 35.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Quote:Shelby Foote Poem:Jesus and Junk Yard Dogs

Shelby Foote said, "A writer's like anybody else except when he's writing."

Jesus and Junk Yard Dogs

You found a door
And just had to paint
Jesus, or would it
Make sense to say Christ-
Resurrected from such
Yard junk?
That’s where He is most
The refuse of our being.

He looks over His shoulder
Hounds of the self are unleashed
In fits of healing. And at that
Moment of pouncing, all dogs pounce
Christ uncurls to expose
Wounds of belonging
Dogs adjust their snouts
Sniff, and unsnarl, lick persecution
Till scabs form.

The door, where it is
That’s the key, consenting us
Into ourselves and Christ’s
Love, unsure foot by unsure foot
Over and over.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Quote:Arthur Miller /Poem:Getting Sentimental Over You

Arthur Miller died on February 11, 2005. He said, "Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets."

Getting Sentimental Over You

I had an older sibling
I never knew- aborted
Decades before I was conceived.
I pondered my siblings trail
Down birth canal, assisted
By stainless steel, body cramps
Shame and scrubbed hands.

Mom was wounded to silence
Leaving bits of unborn
On all of us children
As we slid down
Her common tideway.

Prior to their wedding day
Mike loved Ellen and Ellen
Said I will, and she did.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Quote:Nathanael West Poem: Rules

Nathanael West said, "Forget the epic, the masterwork ... you only have time to explode."


Dad had a rule
that he could punish me
till I was taller than
the chest of drawers.

I was already over-height
and did not know
it was the one in his brain
he measured me to.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quote: Arthur Miller Poem:

Arthur Miller died on February 11, 2005. He said, "Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets."

Shopping Cart Blues

Wurlitzer sounds bring me down
Isles that once held that big fire
Truck over frozen peas.
Hold my hand and squeeze
Cantaloupes. Push the cart
As I disappear underneath.
Ridged steel and unpaid
Groceries, essentials
Dad would mutter throwing
A bag of potatoes
Behind my small bones.
Take me where you oughtta
To the end
Of meat counters
To the beginning
Of checkout lines.

No one pushes me down
Linoleum isles anymore.
I am the giant to smiling eyes
Under the haul of carted food.
Gone are the organ sounds
Of Montavani in return
Is the smell of Havarti,
And so much responsibility.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Poem: Yakima Fruit Market in Winter/ Quote: Eugene O'Neill

Yakima Fruit Market in Winter

Funny fruit people adorn
articulated doors as vacancy
erupts all around.
The Christmas trees are gone-
a carpet of needles shifts
above the ground.
Steel poles holding nothing.
they are the last structures
to go before March.

Eugene O'Neill said, "One should either be sad or joyful. Contentment is a warm sty for eaters and sleepers." And he said, "There is no present or future, only the past, happening over and over again, now."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Quote: Eleanor Roosevelt Poem: Carrion News

Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Carrion News

The word from the curb was
Crow had been snatched
By eagle; taloned through.
The sky dripped unseen red
As black wings made eagle flee.

The crow on the curb
Who told me this story
Verified what I had seen.
Crow had to tell someone
Part of crow’s trickster nature.

Like an anxious mother waiting
Her child’s return crow
Pecks the ground over and over.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Quote:Isak Dinesen / Poem:Tsunami Signs

Isak Dinesen said, "All sorrows can be borne, if you put them into a story."

Tsunami Signs

On highway 101 a Tsunami sign
Comes out of the twists
And turns in the road.
Blue and white warnings
Of where to go in the event
Of an inundation.
It is a sign of woe
Like the yellow and black ones
Or duck and cover practices.
Tsunami signs lead to the hills
And like sheep we follow.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Poem: Hopeless Crow Quote:Miguel de Cervantes

Hopeless Crow

Crow sauntered sideways in wind
And rain. Avoiding a lifting gust
Making crow an awkward display.
Crow in the worst part of the lot
Is a leftover of the dozen
Who divvied daily for food.

This crow’s genetics-
Last sweeper of this gravel patch.
To find a bauble
Would mean an elevation of status.
Scouring, is mission hopeless.

Miguel de Cervantes said, "Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Poem: Note Fever Quote: Stephen King

Note Fever

It’s all jazz in my head-
Miles, Miles, Miles, sketching
Spain and fusing it to a dream.
Man, it’s dizzy making my path straight.
Hubbard- who keeps my cupboard in dis-
array. Gershwin moistens my mershon pipe
as damp as a clarinets reed.
Coltrane, Coltrane, Coltrane, chugging
in the synapses of my cerebellum, and Basie
getting lacey with his wand.
Its Chet making licks full of love
with voice and metal hum.

All this gives me note fever
and I pray
no cure!

Stephen King said, "I'll try to terrify you first, and if that doesn't work, I'll try to horrify you, and if I can't make it there, I'll try to gross you out. I'm not proud."

T A Delmore

Monday, September 17, 2007

Quote: WC Williams/Poem: Parallel Myth

"The goal of writing is to keep a beleaguered line of understanding which has movement from breaking down and becoming a hole into which we sink decoratively to rest."

Parallel Myth

We were like Roman soldiers
Divvying up Jesus cloak.
Dads dead.
We enter the tomb
Of the basement; an eye
For an eye.
We could never in life
Gouge his hateful stares
As he had done to our unfolding eyes.
Now we toss no bones.
Like starved dingoes
Going for the blood of his materials.
Electrical cords lead
To sanders and scroll saws. Bits
To a hand drill, hammer and nails.
It was not enough those tools
They could never construct
A resurrection to speak of.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Poem Angels

Lately I’ve been seeing crow beaks
On scuffed stools, posts that protect
Light stanchions and angles
A crow brother can see.

My son says angels don’t look human
We were created in the image
And likeness of God. Cherubim
And seraphim. What I see
may be angels in the angles.
A feather found changes
Ordinary to holy ground.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Poem: Autumn Quote:William Trevor


Feast of crow
Feast of black
Feast of wings
That do attract.
October no,
October late
Is this birds
Festival of fate.

Crow is numerous
Above the grotto
Shielding Our Lady
Of wounds and sorrow.
Everywhere crow appears
No miracles, just tears.

Such nuisance
That creates belief
And suspends grief.
Only by faith do we
Twist and bend
To kiss autumn
and count leaves.

William Trevor once said, "If anyone asks why I write gloomy novels, they need only know that my father came from the South and my mother from the North."
He also said, "All my writing is about noncommunication — which is very sad and very funny."

Sunday, August 26, 2007


It has been a week since we got back from Salt Lake City and Walla Walla. So you can tell that I have not been keeping my blog up to speed.
Next Saturday it will flow again!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Shelly Poet/Poem Great Grand Da’s

"Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world." And Shelly said, "Do it now — write nothing but what your conviction of its truth inspires you to writ. ... Contemporary criticism only represents the amount of ignorance genius has to contend with."

Great Grand Da’s

I want to cut and flip sod;
Make muddy edges in saturated soil.
Feel the wood handle as it perspires,
Firm my boots in green loam that oozes
Over laces.
I know this is what my forefathers did
To keep warm and make ends meet.

The imagination drives this poem
Wondering if my great grand da’s
Waited on their pints in a pissy pub
Or drank it down thin into thick
Before their wives took wages
And a portion of manhood.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

John Ashbery Poet/Poem: In Brother's Hearts

In Brother’s Hearts

When Joseph’s brothers
Threw him in the well
They baptized him in dust
And mud.
Strangers raised him up.

Those brothers so full
Of a family lie
Returned to their father Jacob
Blood smeared on rainbowed cotton-
And the truth.

This colorful wrap
Received like a prodigal ghost
To aged hands.
There was no ram in a thicket
To put this sin upon.
A wolf of Talmudic wisdom
Was caught for such distinction.

What these savant brothers forgot
In every lie thrums a bit of truth.
Wolf spoke: I have no taste for humans.
Thus knitting deceit even deeper
In the familial fabric.

John Ashbery Poet

He also said, "To create a work of art that the critic cannot even begin to talk about ought to be the artist's chief concern."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ferlinghetti, Poet

The poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, (books by this author) born in Yonkers, New York (1919). His father died five months before Ferlinghetti was born, and his mother was so devastated by the loss that she had to be committed to the state mental hospital. Young Lawrence was sent to live with his aunt in France.
He didn't learn English until he was five when he returned to America. After serving in World War II he moved to San Francisco where he decided to open a bookstore, which he named City Lights after the Charlie Chaplin movie, because he said, "Chaplin's character represents for me ... the very definition of a poet. ... A poet, by definition, has to be an enemy of the State. If you look at Chaplin films, he's always being pursued by the police. That's why he's still such a potent symbol in the cinema—the little man against the world."
He had an idea that a bookstore should be a place where artists and intellectuals could gather and exchange ideas, and so he made sure that people were allowed to sit down and read books without being pestered to buy anything. And his bookstore became a gathering place for a group of writers who became known as the Beats.
Ferlinghetti also started a publishing venture with what he called the Pocket Poets series—collections of poetry designed to be small enough to slip into your pocket. He had published three of them when, on October 13, 1955, Ferlinghetti went to a poetry reading called "Six Poets at the Six Gallery" organized by the poet Kenneth Rexroth. Kenneth Rexroth and Gary Snyder were among the readers that night, but the man who made the biggest impression was a poet named Allen Ginsberg who read a new poem called "Howl." After the reading, Ferlinghetti sent Ginsberg a telegram that said, "I greet you at the beginning of a great career. When do I get the manuscript?"
Howl and Other Poems became the fourth edition of Ferlinghetti's Pocket Poets series in September 1956. The following year, a shipment of copies of the book was seized by customs officials and Ferlinghetti was charged with printing and selling lewd and indecent material. Ferlinghetti won the case, with help from the ACLU, and all the publicity made "Howl" into a best-seller. Ferlinghetti said, "The San Francisco [customs office] deserves a word of thanks. It would have taken years for critics to accomplish what the good [customs office] did in a day."
In 1958 he also published his own collection of poetry, A Coney Island of the Mind, which shocked everyone by going through twenty-eight printings and selling 700,000 copies in the United States alone. By the end of the 1960's it was the bestselling book ever published by a living American poet.

Poem Seek First

Seek first the kingdom before
anything was the word.
Realm found in most unusual
places, among markings that tell
something, that imitates more
and imparts less. But on some days
they are ten for a dollar. Then on another
they are two for three dollars.
Who do people say that I am-
is as good as a greeter at Wal-Mart
not comatose in some aisle but dying
with dignity. Grasping at straws is
dissimilar to grabbing for loved ones.
Wills read are not the same as eulogies said.
Family is always there and wondering
who got what. Moses taking off sandals
is what made the ground sacred-
the fire always speaks.
I am.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Quote and poem

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Winston Churchill

Can you love a man full
of cigarette smoke and wounds?
You know, the clingy type
of smoke that weaves into clothes
like the Thai slave that wove it.
And those wounds- so well
hidden they slip through
my bowels with the best medicine
riding shotgun. Can you love
past that, to me? Oh
just one more thing- I’m not
sure what love is or who’s
the right one, but
monogamy is not
always fun.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Poem: Dad's Cough /Japanese Saying

Dad's Cough

The train whistles through me
Day and night baying diesel smoke,
like my father smoking his lungs

I know your cry diesel wonder,
yearn for the smell, the hiss,
your rhythmic journey.
I know your cry dad spewing phlegm
and blood, with the scent
of Old Spice and tobacco.

Failure teaches success.
Japanese Saying

Saturday, June 30, 2007


Jacob Wrestles with His Massage Therapist

Her thumb into my hip-
angel, wrestle me
from rock to rock.
I cling to you, pinched
for a blessing.

You know how to fly
yet you leap to wound-

The question:
is this hip socket the wound?

I wince as she
slides, releasing
toxins. Oh angel
bless me now in this clinch.

I am done and my fingers ache.
A sweet tired voice.
off the table
I limp toward Esau.

A Letter to a Young (or Old) Activist

A Letter to a Young (or Old) Activist
By Thomas Merton
Do not depend on the results when you are doing the sort of work, you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no results at all, if not perhaps results opposite of what you expect. As you get used to the idea, you start more and more to concentrate, not on the results but the value, the truth of the work itself. And there to a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down but it gets much more real. In the end it is the reality of personal relationships that save everything.
You are fed up with words, and I don’t blame you. I am nauseated by them sometimes. I am also, to tell the truth nauseated by ideals and causes, this sounds like heresy, but I think you will understand what I mean. It is so easy to get engrossed by ideas and slogans and myths that in the end you are left holding the bag empty of no trace of meaning in it. Then the temptation to yell louder than ever in order to make the meaning be there again by magic. Going through this kind of reaction helps you guard against this. Your system is complaining of too much verbalizing and it is right.
……The big results are not in your hands or mine, but they suddenly happen and we can share in them, but there is no point in building our lives on this personal satisfaction, which may be denied us and which after all is not that important. The next step in the process is for you to see that your own thinking about that what you are doing is crucially important. You are probably striving to build yourself an identity in your work. All the good that you will do will not come from you but from the fact that you have allowed yourself in the obedience of faith, to be used by God’s love. Think of this more and gradually you will be free from the need to prove yourself, and you will be more open to the power that will work through you without you knowing it. The great thing after all is to live, not to pour out your life in the service of a myth; and we turn the best things into myths. If you can get free from the domination of cause and just serve Christ’s truth, you will be able to do more and be less crushed by the inevitable disappointments, frustration, and confusion…….The real hope there, is not something we think we can do, but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see. If we can do God’s will we will be helping out in the process. But we will not necessarily know it before hand.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Poem: Kitchen Onion

Kitchen Onion

Most days
There is a reason
For an onion
To rest close
To the sink.
In that space
Vegetables are limited,
To season a meal
Or to bring the cook
To attention.

Knocking the plate
Into the cooling toaster
My onion was sprouting;
Out of its skin
Shafts of green.
Steam from pots, water
From the dishes
Trickled the onion
To life.

The elephant
garlic next to the onion
stays dormant, skeletal white.

Is there a spot in the yard
The dog has not marked
So I may plant
This kitchen onion?

In late Summer I will
Call forth this plant
Like Lazarus, smelly
And bound.

Quote: Betty Dee Kling

"My belief is that the Sacred speaks to me in the events of my life,
in other people's voices, in my own voice expressed in my body, my
emotions, my dreams, and in the silence at the center of my sacred
being. There is something in us beyond our brains that calls us to
fullness and wholeness, or holiness if you will. This is what allows
us to be connected to the spiritual realm, an interwoven network that
connects us all, whether we recognize it or not."
- Betty Dee Kling, "Listening for Voices from the Sacred Center"

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Emily Dickinson quote

"If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry."

Poem Curing Rag

This is not the rag
the ailing woman stuffed
between her thighs
as she made her way
through the crowd.

No, this rag was a burlap sack
drenched in water
and placed over concrete slowing
the curing time.

The woman had been bleeding
for twelve years and just
a touch of a strangers ski jacket
stanched her bleeding.

Burlap so rough but good
at retaining water like
a floppy sultan’s turban
around a wood post.

The bleeding woman
walked home still stained
by stares and memories.
She took the rag
from her thighs, and those
from the clothesline, waiting
for her neighbor to come outside
to converse over the new fence
with the support posts dressed
in burlap; bowlegging into freedom
she could wait forever. Cured

Saturday, June 2, 2007


HEGEL SAID "BEHIND the facade of the familiar, strange things await us.”
Familiarity enables us to tame, control and ultimately forget the mystery.
John O’Donohue, from Anam Cara

Poem: Dad's Cough

Dad's Cough

The train whistles through me
Day and night baying diesel smoke,
like my father smoking his lungs

I know your cry diesel wonder,
yearn for the smell, the hiss,
your rhythmic journey.
I know your cry dad spewing phlegm
and blood, with the scent
of Old Spice and tobacco.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Poem The Rubble of Qana

The Rubble of Qana

They told them to leave
No feast here. Home
Is home even for the displaced.
Numbers of families gathered
In a basement, thankful
To touch and see loved ones.
A belief that this blessing
Of recognition
Would keep them safe.

Of the new day
Darkest hour
A bunker buster bomb
Descended on this concrete
Structure; it was swift carnage.
Plumes of dust, rebar
Bent so awkwardly
A prison formed for those
Trying to recover remains. Inside
A silence; children, mothers,
Found dead as they slept.
No miracle, riddled
Bodies never cry- too porous.

Walker Percy Quote

Walker Percy said, "We love those who know the worst of us and don't turn their faces away."

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Quote Mary Gaitskill

"My experience of life as essentially unhappy and uncontrollable taught me to examine the way people, including myself, create survival systems ... for themselves in unorthodox and sometimes apparently self-defeating ways. These inner worlds, although often unworkable and unattractive in social terms, can have a unique beauty and courage." – Mary Gaitskill

Poem Shadow Time

Shadow Time

I know where not
Crow resides. I search
from lamplight
to Japanese maple.
This must be shadow
time, when crow
waltzes with death.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Wrestling Man Poem

Wrestling Man
For Steve, one of many adventures together.

We met this man
Steve and I- big
White beard, bulbous nose
As we were getting off the trolley
On fifteenth.
He approached us
A frightful sight.
“You boys wrestle,” “no”
We said shyly.
“Twins your size gotta wrestle.”
His face obscured by matted beard
Made me wonder: what’s he hiding?
Had he tussled with Haystack Calhoun
Or Two Ton Tony Galenta, maybe
It was one too many pile drivers
Into the canvas.
“An opportunity to manage my brother
And I to fame”, I think he said.
I know Steve wanted to run,
But I was too frightened to budge.
The next thing we were both
In headlocks and squeezed in a way
That said: “Show me how strong you
Really are?” We felt the vice and broke free.
Running duffle bags in tow, not speaking
About a wrestling career that would never happen.

Robert Coover Quote

Robert Coover said, "The narrative impulse is always with us; we couldn't imagine ourselves through a day without it. ... We need myths to get by. We need story; otherwise the tremendous randomness of experience overwhelms us. Story is what penetrates."

Friday, May 4, 2007

Tennessee Williams said:

Tennessee Williams said, "I have found it easier to identify with the characters who verge upon hysteria, who were frightened of life, who were desperate to reach out to another person. But these seemingly fragile people are the strong people really."



I remember the time
when my walkie talkie
picked up different voices.
Antennaed black boxes
could unexpectedly bring down
god’s from the sky.
The language was numbers
and permission in masculine static.
If I were lucky
a jet or prop plane
would roar overhead
demystifying the voices.
If not, I’d go to dad
who could still tolerate
reading over television,
steam instead of diesl,
yet he had no answers for such a question.
Walkie talkies were not for his time
They demanded more thinking
than faith for this railroad man
from a generation built on rails.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Phyllis McGinley wrote:

"A Mother's hardest to forgive.
Life is the fruit she longs to hand you,
Ripe on a plate. And while you live,
Relentlessly she understands you."

Hand me Dowm Wagon

Hand Me down Wagon

I had a red wagon
handed down with twine
unraveling on the handle-
old photos tell me so.
The handle bent
as if to say:
“tie me to a bike,
journey me down any hill.”

Sometimes I’d crash;
black handle impacting
pushing into my chest.
Running home to mom
in pain, she, looking tired
oh so tired.

“Where’s the wagon, Tommy?”

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Funeral Aroma

Funeral Aroma

I am hugged by perfume
Long after the bodies depart.
Like exhaust from a plug-in mist;
As I zip and unzip my jacket.
These ladies that held me close
Out of remembrance for the dead
And me, yes me.

Sandwiches in triangles
Staked high among stale
Coffee and bad breath.
A priest walks table to table
Like a restaurateur saying:
I know most everybody here,
Yet draws a blank when he shakes
My hand. It could be the perfume
That does not match the man.

Quote: Josh Billings

Billings said, "There are many people who are always anticipating trouble, and in this way they manage to enjoy many sorrows that never really happen to them."

And he said, "Don't take the bull by the horns, take him by the tail; then you can let go when you want to."

Friday, April 13, 2007

Poem: Hibernation


When bear was hungry
She ate not a little. Salmon
Dead except for a twitchy fin-
A brighter pink when skins removed.
No filleting, bite and swallow.
The roaring rivers duality-
Claws once sticky are cleansed.

Salmon have no warning-
Spent from spawning
And collective memories
Of brutal leaps, they reside
To die. They nourish bear for full
Winters sleep.
Bears must dream salmon
Arching to create
A bounty in conjured splashings.

When bear wakes in spring
The cubs have a dream of land
Full of salmon and berries
And suckle sweet milk,
The torn fish warping with each gulp.


Francine Prose said, "For now, books are still the best way of taking great art and its consolations along with us on the bus."

Saturday, April 7, 2007


What I was Knitted To

When I was knit
In my mother’s womb
Did God know
The mending tissue
Had been used nine times before
And that I would be a twin?
Mom, a three decade
Birthing machine-smoking
Each child and sipping Schmidt’s beer
To lubricate a dry birth canal.

The whispers of “no more” danced
Outside her depression and beliefs.

Wordsworth Quote

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart . . ."

--William Wordsworth

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mr. Salty

Mr. Salty

He’d shake peanuts in his fist
To remove excess salt.
His slap, salt saturating
My cheek, calmed his ghosts
Birthing mine.
Dad was tortured by his
Demon, dead, descendents.
Was not in his hitting language.

Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh said, "I have a terrible need of — shall I say the word — religion. Then I go out and paint the stars."

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Poem: After Thanksgiving

After Thanksgiving

When the Christmas tree
Was brought indoors; tall
Yet to be sawed and shaped
A second time, we filled
A galvanized tub rested
The cut end in water
And waited for limbs to settle.
That same tub we filled over
And over and dumped on the only
Flat place in the alley to make
An icy patch. The water
Flecked with needles.

When the tree was put in its
Red and green stand
Water was again poured
And sugar added to prolong its life
We never saw taken away.

I think now that the smell
Of apples and oranges
In the same room as the tree
Were its first ornaments.
The dim light above
Its first crowning star.

Henrik Ibsen Quote

Henrik Ibsen (books by this author) wrote in Act 2, "I almost think we're all of us Ghosts. ... It's not only what we have invited from our father and mother that walks in us. It's all sorts of dead ideas, and lifeless old beliefs, and so forth. They have no vitality, but they cling to us all the same, and we can't get rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper, I seem to see Ghosts gliding between the lines. There must be Ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sand of the sea. And then we are, one and all, so pitifully afraid of the light."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Poem No Decision

No Decision

My dad could never live
Vicariously through pugilists
He would listen, allowing
The imagination and the voice
Of Don Dunfy to move his fists,
bob & weave in the din of his car.
Occasionally he’d put his mitts
To his face; a Floyd Patterson
Stance, then slowly rest
Them to his sides.

As he got older he’d discern
A boxer from a fighter-
The grace on a grainy TV screen
To a plodding palooka
Who moved only when
The horizontal went out of whack.
Cassius Clay is a boxer, he’d chime
As Howard Cosell pushed a sweaty
mike in front of the animated boxers face.

I had no difficulty telling that dad
Was a fighter, the way he hit
With stick or hand, had no grace
Like a head-butt, or a low punch
I had no chance, and no referee.


Pimp out of Place

The brother is walking down 40th, on the east side. He is smoking a cigarette and wearing a coat that shines out of wear. It goes just below his knees to expose a pair of baggy blue pants. The beard is gray but not white; on his head are a pink hat with a white feather in the brim.
He is a pimp dropped off on the wrong side of town, no girls to hassle or slap high fives. No one to shove to a street corner or to smooth hair, no distant lover sung by Marvin Gaye. When he is finally aware, the embarrassment of habit will find a bus to the city and look for a bitch to blame.

Saturday, March 10, 2007



When hubris struck
I pulled myself
Above all
Because I was all-
Bud bursting
Never ceasing.
Over and over
Delirium to elixir.

The language was plain
Incantations spoken
And things moved and shook.
Frocking the ordinary
Into Midas gold
My body a dervish
Of action, eventually


I could not undo
Protecting my sweat-soaked
Body from objects
Of my actions, and not
Knowing the exit
Incantations. Spiraling
I caught a glimpse
Of Icarus wing,
Melted and gooey.

To wallow in the hubris
Of my own insecurities
Was to die.

Iris Murdoch

Murdoch said, "Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck."

Sunday, March 4, 2007


Framing Eve

From a viewing
Of a Margaret Jamison painting

Her head tried to imitate
The apple of her demise,
But with all this knowledge
She could not decide-
Delicious or transparent?

Her form is laid on leaves
Not as a means of modesty
Highlighting her torso
Already decomposing
In the sin of enlightenment.

Having relations with a hidden
Adam, being accused
And used, made the seeds
Under her tongue, sprout.

T. A. Delmore

Anne Sexton

But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build....
The impulse to suicide would lead to death by carbon monoxide poisoning in 1974, on her forty-sixth birthday. Sexton's other compulsions -- alcohol, cigarettes, pills, and men -- made life for her and her family a harrowing experience, if her daughter's memoir (Searching For Mercy Street, Linda Grey Sexton, 1994) is any measure. Still, they could cause a laugh: Sexton once discovered that her purse was so heavy because it contained 55 Bic lighters.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

quote from a great poet

Donald Hall said, "I try every day to write great poetry—as I tried when I was 14. What else is there to do?"

Family Couch Poem

Family Couch

How often did I labor
On those steel straps?
Already over half a century
Old, eyelet screws broken
Shanks embedded in hard wood
Like an unrecovered bullet.

Mostly, it was someone
Too large or too many
When a spring sprung
Or a bolt snapped
For the last umpteenth time
To get on my knees.

Resetting the couch straps;
A quarter inch finds another
Striped hole dad beat a nail into
Long ago. The other direction
Shows a shank
Like a do not enter sign.
I go higher or lower
And such fixed folly
Is hidden by a n old Admiral
TV box then cushions.

When we moved no one
Wanted the couch. Arm
Chewed by a dog to much
Falling apart to analyze by section
Thrown and crushed at a transfer
Station- those straps unyielding
As the cushions ripped asunder.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Writing and Life

HEGEL SAID "BEHIND the facade of the familiar, strange things await us.”
Familiarity enables us to tame, control and ultimately forget the mystery.
John O’Donohue, from Anam Cara


Dusty August

Grandma would scrape
Coffee grounds
Mixed with egg shells
To those tick-filled dogs
Lady and Poochy,
The blue plate clean.
Dad would later corner
One of the dogs; inhale
On his homemade cigarette
And burn those blood gorged
Ticks into a hiss of summer heat.
The ritual would end
When the butt was extinguished
Under foot and the unfortunate
Dog scurried out of a grasp
Never sure why
Or if such abuse were necessary.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Fold a Wing over Your Eyes

When raven sinned
God sent him north
To the colder land.
Raven became scavenger.
Before, just trickster.
Raven did not know
How to find sustenance.
Many died, and God
Had to keep creating
Raven, over and over
Till man showed up,
And left some scrap
On mushy tundra. Raven
Followed this creature
Thinking, “this being
Is the reason I am here, in all
Its Cumbersomeness and discarding.”

But the bird was not sure.
Trickster, yes.
There was no language
Before this temperate exile.
So raven was comfortable
With the leftovers.

T.A. Delmore
Copyright 2005

Writers on writing and life

Katherine mansfield wrote: how hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you- you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences- little rags and shreds of your very life.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Virginia Woolf

A Room of One's Own (1929), she wrote: "So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery."
Lentils for Esau

Hairy and messy as I am, the blessing was mine by birth right! Jacob, like a fox, cheated me. The smell of that suspect stew overwhelmed me. I had been hunting and running all day. Honing skills of the first born to lead, now wrapped in the emanations of a red stew, I gave up so much for a belch and a fart of comfort.
Mother never combed my thick hair or picked burrs from my beard, she fawned over Jacob, like he was royalty.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Compass Stilled

He would be my father’s generation,
Chalky snot, just inside
The zipper of his coat,
And a milky river that runs
A crevasse, cheek to chin.
I fumble for my hanky
And know he’s not dad
So that sticky river
Will have to stay.
The stubble on his face
Is an aerial map
Of the Tillamook Burn;
Growth, clearing, reforestation.
Outwardly he has a walker
Making his life a push
And invading space.
The stories are damned republicans
CIA and an old teacher’s memories.

He returns
More often then Jesus after Resurrection
At his stop on thirty-fifth.
He doesn’t ask me to touch
Or believe.“Just listen, goddamitt!”

Writers on writing

Joan Didion Quote
She began keeping a notebook when she was five years old, and she later wrote, "Keepers of notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with a sense of loss." At one point in her childhood, she lived near a mental hospital, and she would wander around the hospital grounds with a notebook, writing down all the most interesting snippets of conversation.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Crow speaks

Welcome to my crowsperch. My totem is my crow so the title seems right. I am a poet with two publihed chapbooks. One is out of print, Eclipsing F, the other: Child is Working to Capacity, published by is still availaable.

I believe crows mimic the world vey well. They are intelegent and fun to watch. Enjoy the words!

Prometheus Father

He did not create
The Frisbee but brought it
To the family as a means
Of sport and exercise. He
Was the master of the flicked
Wrist, and cutting air. He made
His children wanting-
But not wanting enough.
Always control
And accuracy of the disk.

When he noticed his children
Becoming his match with the Frisbee
Prometheus went out, purchased
A ping pong table, and started the cycle
All over again.