NaNo(inPo)WriMo #22 Hard-crust

22 Hard-crust

I have loved many people in this rush
of decades I must now consider a life

or so I would have said even as late
as yesterday but strip away the fear93143685dc60e225d26251b674dcf45d

of hurting those I never loved
enough and the truth luster-gleams

across a thousand acres of hard-crust
snow on a clear black night

under a low full moon. How can
light be bright and cool, intimate

and vast, unimaginably vast,
regal, near-divine? No matter lies

I had to tell I snuck out to that
field every hard-crust moon fell back

into the snow until my body shook
open my heart exposed its dark

to a light it could bear
without breaking. To everyone

I loved less than I loved lying
there I am sorry. Each heart

is born to beat only so
many times and I gave mine

to the ice and moon. If it was wrong
to let you believe I could return the warmth

you gave, know the pretense was because
I did love you, in my only way.

(note – I found this image on Pinterest. It was unattributed there, but I’m fairly sure it is by a photographer named Veronika Pinke from Germany. If I can find a site where I can buy this photo I will. I’ve never seen another photo that captures just how bright the moonlight is on snow)

NaNo(inPo)WriMo#21 Singin’ this will be the day

21 Singin’ this will be the day

How much wood would
a woodchuck chuck
if a woodchuck had a
pickup truck, a chainsaw,
an axe, and awl?

1 cord 2 cords 3 cords, more
10 cords 11 cords a dozen cords haul!

I have a rocket in my pocket
I have no time to play but
time to eat my peas with honey
which keeps them on the knife
until not last night but the night
before when 24 robbers came
to my door.

Scholastic book club, A Rocket in My Pocket:
the rhymes and chants of young Americans,
best 25₵ I ever spent
on a book, source book, my head

when left to its own devices begins
to chant these poems, beats of a life
in a predictable 4/4, comfortable
cadence of country music.

Eastbound and down, loaded up and lonely
teenage brockin’ buck, pink carnation,
pickup truck, I knew I was out of
luck the day the music.

NaNo(InPo)WriMo #20 always by uncles aplenty

20. always by uncles aplenty

Snow and street and rock racing
under the runners, twenty, thirty,
forty miles an hour no shame then
in screaming as long as you
call it yelling, pretending

a push on the cross bar to the right
or left could direct your
fate now. Swinging wide
round each corner hanging
on with your whole body learning
if you can’t stay on you must
roll or risk runners slicing
over hands or calves or

face. Three, four, five
at once, ropes taught from
sled to hitch to truck
driven always by uncles always
by uncles aplenty.

Pulled uphill the only time
you knew your own body’s
full weight. Rushing down you
dug in with the toes
of your boots for sliding under
the truck would be disaster or so
we’d been warned no one

had ever seen it done, the only
of our limb-risking stunts with
no medaled-hero of consequence.

How many boys had
been towed behind this truck? How fewer
girls, the most fearless
of any pack? Girls who tied their fate
to trucks could walk the hallways
ungroped as a boy, the rush
of fear the price of freedom.

NaNo(InPo)WriMo #19 The Silent Letter

19 The Silent Letter

Some letters are
too dangerous
to write to think
to say

Some letters are
too dangerous.
Stay out
of their way.

On summer afternoons
the boys played a game:
Smear the Silent Letter.
I cannot speak the name.

A football, passed,
whoever caught it became
the silent letter the word
I dare not name,

and then was smeared
for he became the
silent letter the one
I dare not name.

Everyone who played
was the same, anyone
could have made the catch.

All the boys all
fired up, only one
the match to set them aflame.
The silent letter, the one
I dare not name.

NaNo(inPo)WriMo #18 Now I Know My ABCs

18. Now I know my ABCs

amber waves
broken axles

farm hands
green tomatoes

ice water ice cream iceberg ho!

jack it up
knock it over
lay it down

need nothing need nothing no-one nothing need none nothing need


tuckered out

the spot, marked

yakity yak don’t talk back
zippity do dah zippity day

NaNo(inPo)WriMo #17 when the hunter and the hunted merge

17 when the hunter and the hunted merge

Hickory dickory dock
the mouse ran chased
by the farmer’s wife
yielding a knife,
never in my life,
always so much
fucking strife
that could have been forfended,
all rodent chaos upended,
by the simple introduction
of a fearsome fiendish feline.

That Darn Cat.

All my life before me
and I fixate on that flashing
stripéd menace, the faint
scars that still show
on my shins. I’ve loved
dogs and horses, women
and men. In the end
why that one
damn cat?

Neither afraid to kill
or die, that one. And I,
though I have skinned
and fried and chewed what I
have shot, have lain awake, afraid
of both.

Higgory diggory
chigger clap.
Hickety pickety
crickety cat.

NaNo(inPo)WriMo #16 Holy, Holy

16. Holy Holy

Holy, the tree, cradle
of birds, demarcation of
the edge of sky.

Holy, the squirrel, bundle
of fluff, attitude, limbs
and limber, eyes agape.

Holy, the dove, its
own weight, wings, body
solid holy, not ghost

holy. Holy, Holy, Holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Almighty, alrighty, great big

Holy trinity, but not
more holy than the
tree. Does that distant

Daddy God have roots
to hold the earth
in place? Sap to

Rise singing in spring?
No old man controls
the curtains the winds

do part. The tides
that slide under even
these plains. The coyote

outsmarting the hunter. The
man whose time has
come, beating the clock.

NaNo(inPo)WriMo #15 a great blaze of orange and black

15. a great blaze of orange and black

In the years that farmers
cleared their fields with
flames that shot orange
in the night and breathed
black smoke for days

the west wind would come with the frost
and blow their soil away.

The great prairie wind that blew
leaves and snow to the eastern
edge of every yard and field,
that once and only once

yielded magic.

Come, my father said, the wind all last week
has moved the Mississippi flyway
to the east. I’ve only seen this
once before.

The pine tree just out the front
door shimmered with the slow
beat of a million wings, glowing
in the sunrise such brilliant
orange the morning star could
only blush bright pink.


Warming awake, wings spread wide,
each a sacred book of prayers we knew
we once could read, such delight,
such despair, we dare not even breathe

so breathless watched them rise
from that tree, creatures made of air,
so light their launching stirred not
a single needle. Across my small

town each tree where they’d
slept was made holy, holy,
holy ever after, for once
great kings had rested there.

NaNo(inPo)WriMo #14 Argiope aurantia

14. Argiope aurantia

Over the pile of ripened manure
in the weeds at the end of eternal rows
of big-as-dinner-plates red
tomatoes the garden spiders spun
themselves dizzy wrapping flies.

Huge, they were, huge enough to name
and fear. Huge enough to test
with ever-larger bugs thrown into

their zippered webs. Though there were
flies enough for a thousand spiders our
tributes were never rejected, spun into silky
shrouds as we watched, envy and horror
and sweat trickling down our spines
in the vegetable garden beside the pony
lot under the bonfire of the summer

Bigger than our hands. 108898437.KMr6yugE

Big enough to absorb the bounty
of the summer of the seventeen year
cicadas, webs sagging with the riches
of the harvest. Big enough, when met face on

not to scurry but to quake
in place, vibrating the web and weeds
bound in it, preparing, we knew, to
launch for our eyes. Flinging the sacrifice
of the seven grasshoppers into the web
we fled and fell panting assuring ourselves
the gift had been enough to redeem sticks
poked stupidly when we were young.

One dew morning captured crickets in hand I stared
hard at one empress in her just-woven glory. Staring
back from her back was a sharp-edge’d skull. I fed
her the full nest of pink mice I’d found for myself
though, grieving, knew there was no enough to keep
the death she bore

from boring into me.

NaNo(inPo)WriMo #13 Petrified

13. Petrified

The dr. says my stones are new and spreading
fast, scattering wide as pebbles driven from a boulder
smashed to smithereens.

Cancer cells, she says, a terrible miracle of life
unstoppable, consuming other life to feed its own.

As all life lives from other lives. A certain comfort lies

in knowing this is no tragic accident, no judgment from
a vengeful god, just life getting on with the business
of dying. A comfort certainly not

for me for my stones for my bones for there is no
living here, no marrow rich in blood to suckle, for my bones
turned to stone eight dogs’ lives ago

when the price of suddenly seeming unlikely to keep
a secret was my hound dog’s life his body

still warm swinging from our favorite climbing tree
on the path up the hill from school.

She’s sure of cancer but tests can lie.
These stones, the final breaking apart of bones
long petrified.