Vow of Silence

A tossing red-gold day

with only two places to look—

crisp leaves underfoot

or cloud-gentled bright sky—

so the neighbor’s greeting startles.

You don’t know her, have never

talked but she has a baby

so you smile and also

say hallo. You move on,

each of you contained

in aloneness but wanting

other life confirmed.


Heidelberg with Children: Q.E.D.

Erste und immer: whining.

Cogs on the tourist trail tracking

up Schlangenweg’s steep cobbles—

90 degrees, sun, blackberried

dry-wall view over the Neckar

to the Schloss, medieval-gated

university town.

Parents these many years; ergo,

we take it with a grain of philosophy.


Today we drove to Heidelberg to hike the famous Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Walk) via the Schlangenweg (Serpentine Walk). erste =first, immer = always, Schloss = castle

Literary in the Forest

Miss Havisham, dear Ophelia, let us flee

this dark house, the cruelty of misplaced

desire, the paneling of which is suitable

only for our coffins. Let us find another wood,

a brighter home of our own choosing, lush

with fern, moss-hushed, honeysuckle glinting,

scenting the sunlight and the hill-born(e)

breeze. Let us step from the shade into glade

of pink foxglove, listen for rocks’ water-song

and silence of trees.

                                            There is no revenge in pity,

no sympathy in surrender, so cast off your wrecked

dresses, your sodden tresses; care not about full-

filling hours. We will study butterfly wings, speech

of birds. We will deck ourselves with wild roses—

or toss them at the b(r)ook.



Your first language after heartbeat:

Music. This foreign tongue, human,

is hard. It works slow and strange

in the mouth, bitter in truth and lies,

its grammar convoluted; the idioms

of face and body incomprehensible

to the non-native, but (carelessly

coached) you tried.

Until you stopped.

“Shut down,” they said: cold divorce.

Of course your heart never closed,

God knows you bled all unspoken

through chord and melody, but the

other, so rarely used, fell dissonant

at her feet.


Stair Nightmare

I’ve had this dream more than once

and wonder what awful trauma

is buried behind: in a dark room

rises a stair tilted steep, no reason

for its existence but to make me climb

Curious, I begin (oh, curious excuse!)

and in doubt I continue, slightly

dizzy in my mind (stumbling through black)

until I overstep the top, and fall


Inspired by Quickly’s Prompts: Write a poem using at least six of the following words: black, curious, caprice, awful, reason, continues, slightly, buried, doubt, stair, mind, declare. (Yes, I cheated again; there is supposed to be no more than one of these words per line.) I was sufficiently disturbed/inspired by these stair photos at A Parallel World.

Striking Out at Every Turn

I curse the prompt that asks me to rhyme

It’s a begging for brilliance that makes my head ache

The requisite words lists take time


A poem a day, with so much at stake

Is too much to ask of this stumbling hack

I find that my courage will break


(My fingers, my eyes, my brain are all slack)


Inspired by NaPoWriMo’s prompt for Day 15: Write a poem in terza rima. I did not like it, Sam-I-Am.

Jazz & Poetry

Spoken word concert

(born of books


once few poets

left to help

world’s song


Inspired by The Found Poetry Review’s Univocalism prompt: Construct a poem using only a single vowel, with all words sourced from your newspaper. Obviously, I did something else entirely (cheated?) and used two vowels. Words from NPR’s jazz blog, “5 Points Where Poetry Meets Jazz,” by Pamela Espeland.

Rebellion Basic for the New Learner

So Mere Extent is one of the rebellions

(we respond so well to representation)—

both of mutation and in mutation…


So basically, Partisan (of what is rebellion

in mutation?) allows us to leave ourselves.

In some small weakness, it allows us to shift

and adjust our reception.


Inspired by a prompt from The Found Poetry Review: Select a passage from one of your newspaper articles and replace each noun in the passage with the seventh noun following it in the dictionary. My “newspaper” choice was “Play It Again and Again, Sam” by Alix Spiegel for NPR’s All Things Considered.