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In Training

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all of us, strivers
training for something—
the big race or the
cook-off, 100% compliance or
garden club best of show,
weight-lifting contest or
quarterly projected sales.

We are all in training. The gift is
we each decide what it is
we’re training for
Today. May we train to be joy-filled
Let us begin with the snow
how it falls
how it sculptures the ground

Today two new recruits arrive
at our local training ground
beautiful black skinned boys
from Florida. They arrive stunned
by travel and by so much whiteness
in skin and snow surrounding them.

Today, joy is handing them passwords
to our school, all the access codes I have
to wide-open rooms where they may
Choose for themselves
what exactly they want to train for
Today. Let us begin with the snow
how it falls
how it sculptures the ground

Surprised By Winter

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the purple asters
in their clay pots
surprised by winter

the flowers and I
had time to sense it
Change in the air.
Instead, we spent our days
faces turned to the sun,

Who knows? Maybe
and startled awake,
Maybe this way is best
for me and the flowers


as the cat naps

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Here, a new proposal for measuring distance
rather than as the crow flies
the new measure is
as the cat naps. Like so:

as the cat naps
on the warm radiator
the room lowers itself into
quiet like an unsteady old
person lowers into a chair
(slowly, with relief upon arrival)

The distances are all within.
silence may terrify you
with the space it leaves wide open
for loneliness, regrets, wishful thinking.
As the cat naps,
the distance you must travel to
the horizon you wish to touch
is the moment, this moment
when the same quiet room
at the same hour and day
becomes sunlight and water
for a cold thirsty soul
as the cat yawns and circles
settles into a new and cozy curl
you arrive and drink deep
This quiet this refuge
And how far? And how long to get there?
Oh, not far. Oh, only as long
as the cat’s nap


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Embellish is her talent.
Others call it exaggeration or endless gossiping, this thing she does with stories about everyone she knows and everything they do.
If she’d been a seamstress, this would be yards of lace, seed pearls, decorative rows of tiny unnecessary buttons. If a farrier, her horses would flourish sleek oiled hooves and manes braided with silken jewel-tone ribbons. A baker and we’d all be feasting on lattice crusted pies and cakes coated in bright ganache shells topped with spun sugar sculptures.
But she is not these things. She is an almost ordinary somebody with a busy mind and empty hours who only needs a willing audience.
Embellish is the gift the godmothers whispered at her christening and oh it must be said—she’s made the most of the gift she was granted.

As The Crow

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glides the highway verge
passes all the humans
in their traffic jammed shells
he is reassured again
about the superiority
of wings over wheels

November’s First Snow

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November’s first snow—
field of leftover pumpkins
wearing snow white hats

How To Stop A Poem

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Fluorescent light works.
Also, budget meetings.
Sorrow, sleeplessness, sickness
are unreliable. They can go
either way—turn you mute or
turn on a torrent of words
like turning on the kitchen tap.
One never-fail tip I’ve discovered—
Buy a new car. Fret over
the price, the color, the inevitable
dents or scratches. Repeat. Listen
to radio news of wildfires in the west
while you fret and drive.
Juxtaposition with those who lost
every single thing in their house
including their house
is guaranteed to stop a poem.
Continue like this until it’s time
to stop the car somewhere. Anywhere.
If you carry yourself along,
when you arrive
wherever you arrive
you’ll discover—
no poems there, either.

The Novel Bunch

aka: The Happy Bookers

The Sketchbook


Red Wolf Prompts

I came to where you were living, up a stair. There was no one there.--John Ashberry, "The New Higher"

typewriter rodeo

custom poems on vintage typewriters

A Poet in Time

One Poet's Writing Practice

Writing the Day

A Poetry Practice

Invisible Horse

Living in the moment

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry