The trees outside my window
here in the south, though
half-turned from the season,
are still every shade of green.
Moss sways in the cool sun,
casting black and gray shadows
that move like snakes
on my neighbor’s white roof.
He is unaware of their charm.
They amuse me so.
I think about the seen and unseen.
My home is silent,
but every now and again, a sound
like hailstones startles me,
even though we are frostproof.
Hard, dead leaves fall on my roof.
But what my neighbor sees
is a soft, brown and orange show
flying past his window
in a sudden gust of winter wind,
silent and secret,
with somewhere wonderful to go,
a sight which I might imagine
through his eyes, but
could never quite know.


The gulls are fighting over clams in cakes.
Among the yawning cracks of rocks, we walk
as delicate as dreams when one awakes.

Chowder in our bellies, stomach aches,
we’re locals who will want to stroll and talk.
The gulls are fighting over clams in cakes.

We watch the widowed, white-capped wave that breaks.
At Galilee extends an arm of rock
as delicate as dreams when one awakes.

A cloud of witnesses surrounds us now and takes
some photos of the greedy, gathered flock.
The gulls are fighting over clams in cakes.

The bolder the gulls become, the fewer mistakes,
taking possession, eyes like steel and chalk,
as delicate as dreams when one awakes.

Crumbs of pity, for orphaned gulls’ sakes,
are tossed by innocent tourists. We locals mock.
The gulls are fighting over clams in cakes
as delicate as dreams when one awakes.

{This is my first attempt at a villanelle. It was inspired by a memory of feeding clam cakes to seagulls at Galilee, in Rhode Island, my home state.

It was also inspired by a recent reading of Psalm 73 (which I believe to be a beautiful Psalm, and which is one of my favorites, despite its imprecatory tone).

Finally, it was indirectly inspired by one of my favorite stories from childhood—Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach}


too many reasons, I confess.
I counted the cost,
it’s dark as Hell and I doubted.
I plotted. I feared
no praise, no lessons gratis
for the lost. though blessed,
I gambled in this cold season.
I hardened, in form and
formalities. I thought
a complex poem might help
me. a villanelle,
gratuitous stanzas,
repetition, variation,
drunk and dramatic,
something to show and tell.
a long laborious song,
a skill to buy and sell,
a golden calf, when I
should have known
tears would do just as well.
I fell, my heart sank
and swelled, all grave
vision and scope, but nothing
anyone would recognize as hope

{The dVerse prompt that inspired this poem is drunk.}


must morning devour me,
subdued in my bed, inarticulate,
after God’s sunrise voice
makes my murmured longing
soft, not vast?
my voice sinking soft
like powdered sugar on hot dough,
melting. must evening eat
my soft mind too, when
God’s sunset voice declares it?

{the dVerse prompt which inspired this quadrille is the word murmur}

love and the poet

love, as in falling-in-love,
no longer exists for me.
not fondness, not affection.
not any of it.

I simply don’t believe in it.

and I see no value in considering it deeply.
I find no meaning in it
of any kind, no usefulness or purpose.

not curiosity,
not nostalgia.

no interest in it
as a plot element,
or a conflict
or a trope
or a character arc
or the subject of a poem.

have I loved?
of course, and now I renounce it.
for good.

no-love makes it hard to be a writer or a poet. what is left to write about?




I suppose there are still some themes.

you’d never know it by skimming the shelves of bookstores. it’s all love, love and more love.

it makes it hard even to be a reader.

no Jane Austin.
Shakespeare. meh.

I’m trying not to be pessimistic.

it’s not as if I can do anything about it—about the fact that no-love
makes half (or more) of all literature incomprehensible and foreign. false.

I guess my job now is to find out what I still do believe in.

find those poets who understand me, who understand that falling-in-love is just a chemical trip.

there are other kinds of love.
I will write about them.


some small creatures, like moths,
are born the color of bark or dead leaves,
so they can eat or avoid being eaten.
how honest is that?
it’s no different
than the way a strategically placed mirror
can make a room seem bigger,
or how deception and survival align
when I must smile and say I’m fine.

{the dVerse prompt which inspired this poem is the word mirror}