1st draft – Psalm 135 for hallel for hanukkah

They have a mouth to speak words of healing
but they insist on speaking hate

They have eyes to look with love
but they narrow them to glare, to judge, to instill shame

They have ears to seek the sorrows of the world
but they listen only to their greed

They have a nose to smell every beloved plant that blooms
but they choose to poison all they touch

They have hands that could build bounty and beauty
but they keep their fists grasped tight

They have feet to define the paths of righteousness
but they choose to stay shackled in fear

They have breath to sing praises to the soul of the world
but they take and they take and all they take they keep
inside until they rot from the force of their taking


NaNo(inPo)WriMo #23

Things Only People with Moon Hearts Can Do

promise our love will always wax
                but then again always wane
barely intrude upon your life
                yet in our absence leave you lost

set the menstrual cycle of every woman we shine upon

pour over you most intimately
                from far outside your reach
inspire poetry, love songs, legends, lore
                turn ordinary men to wild howling wolves

bring even the oceans under our sway
turn orange and take your breath away

contradict the calendars of powerful men
watch you promise love to me then back again

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.