Category: POETRY

Again, look up “poem” in the dictionary if you don’t recognize the word. Or, better yet, just have a look at what’s here and form your own impressions.



In Florida “palmetto bugs” are in your face.
Hawaii’s giant flying roaches land on you.
Cockroaches are everywhere but out in space;
the German ones ubiquitous, and never few.
They seem to bounce right back from being stomped and squished.
They laugh at radiation levels that should kill.
They taste your gourmet meal before it’s even dished,
right after wallowing in steaming septic swill.
They have a lot in common with us apex predators,
devouring everything, our hunger never fed,
or with the agents of our commerce: creditors.
They will be here long after other life is dead.
They can survive ordeals that reason says they couldn’t,
or that, I sometimes feel,  like Homo sap., they shouldn’t.

Manhattan 1998

Outside the Columbia Physics building
where the resourceful homeless guy
made a tent of gossamer plastic
over the grate’s escaping heat
under the cop’s accommodating eye
I found a still-iridescent hummingbird
dead on the sidewalk.
Was he or she seduced to the Big Apple
hopefully looking for a better life
or just lost in a bloomless wasteland
to starve like all the other homeless?

A Good War

War we know.  We are comfortable with it:
kill or be killed, what could be simpler?
Relax into thoughtless endocrine storm
and enjoy the absence of choice.

Politics are harder.   Choosing between contradictions
and accepting heartbreaking compromises
is too stressful.  We’d rather make it like war,
demonize the Other and win at all costs.

Now we must face the cruelest test of all:
dealing with the physical consequences
of our addiction to comfort, convenience and profit.
Nature cannot be bought off by lobbyists.

We could easily save ourselves
if we could only make climate change a war,
identify The Enemy and plan its annihilation…
but wait, we’ve done that already!

How can we make war on destruction?
How can cooperation satisfy our bloodlust?
How can we all be on the same side?
How can we be what we’ve never been?


Arlo on Galiano Island


Here lived Arlo, a good dog and true.
I’m sorry I sometimes yelled at you.
I wish I had hugged you and flopped your ears
more often before today’s sad tears.

Barking at neighbors on the street,
you yelped and fell near to my feet.
You shook and twitched, I came to you,
but there was nothing I could do.

The vet said probably heart attack.
I just wish I could get you back
to chase the rabbits and catch the ball
that now sits lonely upon the wall.

We ran together the river trail.
I would plod while you would sail.
Your grace was ever my inspiration
And I wish I could match your dedication.



(15 June 2022)

Objective Love

Baby, I love you.

This all began two billion years ago
when our profligate prokaryote ancestors
played messy gene-swapping games of
conjugation, transformation and transduction.
That works great, especially if you need to
quickly evolve resistance to antibiotics,
but it doesn’t lend itself to stability,
so those ephemeral unicells never had time
to grow differentiated colonies.
That required also a little cell wall strength,
so eukaryotes grabbed that niche right away
and 1.2 billion years ago it was a eukaryote
who invented true sex.

Baby, I love you.



(10 June 2020)

Love Poem

Love Poem



In Progress

Words do not return my love.
Thrashing, spinning, bleeding tears, I cry, “What the fuck is this?
They wait for the end of childishness, maddeningly patient.

OK. OK. Here we go.

This madness, this death cult, this plague
does not discriminate between intelligent and stupid,
between educated and ignorant,
between rich and poor, or between colours of skin.
It is more infectious, more versatile and more deadly
than the coronavirus. Comedian commentators
have done a disservice ridiculing only the deranged
MAGA morons, ignoring that he also has control
of the minds of many Senators, Governors and Yale grads.
We need urgently to understand how this mind-virus
skirts our mental leukocytes and forces the DNA of the soul
to churn out more copies of itself.



(9 Jan 2021)

Make the Pie Higher!

[The following poem is composed entirely of direct quotations from George W. Bush.]


I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It’s a world of madmen
And uncertainty
And potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the internet
Become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me.

I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being and the fish
Can coexist.

Families is where our nation finds hope
Where our wings take dream.
Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher!
Make the pie higher!



(23 Jan 2009)


[expanded version of the poem 2022]


Is this a poem?
How could I tell?
Are these feelings?
Is this a life?

I recapitulate my grandmother:

Her parents were wealthy farmers in Germany
but “They didn’t like the Kaiser,”
so they moved to Nebraska — rich farmers
on good land.

Adventurous spirit, she went to college in Chicago
whence my grandfather whisked her away to Florida,
promising an agricultural wonderland.

It was!

Florida grew any/everything like magic.
She picked and dressed and cooked miracles.
I got to crank the black cast iron separator
that turned fresh milk from the cow
into milk, cream and butter.

Pop read Kipling to me
and told me of Yutch,
the idiot on the survey team
with whom he crossed the continent
and avoided World War I.

Pop taught me to fish and hunt
and let me teach myself to read.
He was a good man in a bad time.

Granny could do anything.
But then Pop died.

For a decade she traveled the world
seeing every sight and bringing home mementos
but all she really wanted to remember was him
and when that longing couldn’t be distracted
she turned to daytime TV and junk food,
renouncing her life.

Her life got even
by hanging on to her for 103 years.
Finally she refused to eat, and we let her go.

So today, after two years of plague
and a decade of undetected fascist takeover
and a lifetime of burning fossil fuels
I grow numb from watching the southern sky
for fireballs
and the news for climate catastrophe
and daytime TV starts to appeal
and junk food starts to look good
and I’m tired of being ashamed
for doing too little to stop this
and I wonder when I’ll stop eating.



(20 March 2022)


They say that life begins at forty.
No. Life’s beginning now,
and now again – and there’s another!

For now, and now again, chase
the next beginning, to embrace
its lessons and adventures: now
itself will love and teach you how
to flow along from memory
of history to destiny.



(For Rebecca’s 40th birthday, 04 May 2023)


I do believe we can get along fine
and turn our standoff into a waltz
if you speak your truth, and I speak mine,
and we both remember they’re probably false.



Eirenicon: A proposal to resolve disputes and reconcile differences in order to advance peace, strengthen or establish unity, or foster solidarity.

(06 July 2023)