Category Archives: Words on PAPER

october musings

chilly, clear autumn mornings
tap me on the shoulder
press into my pillow
lead me to that timeless place
where age and years
are replaced by grace.

the subtle heartbreak
of the Indian summer
that tricked
the cherry tree into bloom
is all I am aware of.



Tragic Point of View

To watch your wife die on stage

can be a harrowing experience

where the suspension of disbelief

can be suspended in time.

“I’m dying”

She screamed

as I sat, wedged in between strangers,

no one to comfort my unreal sorrowful


of what I would do if this were true.

She looks so real, so clear, so convincing

that I begin to feel the emptiness

of life without her,

looking at death

through the pit of my stomach,

through the eyes of our boys

through a lens with the cap on.

She dies and the lights go down.


Intermission (I go outside and breathe)


The lights come up,

her bed is empty.

I know she is sitting backstage somewhere

siting quietly

maybe eating

or drinking tea.

She can hear the dialogue just as I can,

but she has moved on

to her next lines, her next entrance.

I can only think of her exit in Act I

and how I don’t want to live without her,

how bright and beautiful she is.

How relieved I am when she bows to the audience.


i’m inside with the record player
“Nows the Time”
a Steve Allen hand-me-down

one child’s asleep,
i’m working as a short order cook
for the other.
i’m devouring a novel
while upstairs he chats.

i can relate to his desire.
talking to girls on the phone
late at night
was my specialty.
“get off the phone”
i yell anyway.

when the lights are out
i go to the garage,
turn on public radio
and now some eleventh hour
happenstance Shostakovich concerto
is the soundtrack
of my cigarette.


elegy for a bed

tussled sheets
create their own wake
living underneath
i give more than I take

remember when
alone and still
running up that hill

all at once
your smile is where?
i want my fingers
running through your hair

tussled sheets
create their own wake
living underneath
hoping not to break

tussled sheets
create your own fate

remember when
sitting so alone
how i wish i knew
the way back home


mementos of a summer heart

the lark subsides
and flies
out below
the grey ceiling
where she is kneeling
praying for grace
leaving in haste
though there is nowhere to go
she guards her heart
through overgrown paths

the summer rain
won’t stop
and somewhere the summer sun
is waiting
patiently i suppose

the folds of trees
pronounce their good deeds
to our silent ears
giving promise to autumn
and the pain of years

the sun will part the clouds somehow
but not today


clean slate

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Did you see the moon tonight?


and the shadows stalled into

-effervescent seconds-

I lingered even still


I feared I would catch death,

but instead felt the breath

of a new lover

and small instincts took root

splaying their fortunate fronds before me.

The lasting night briefly stopped

and I could watch the wheel,

the terrible wheel


without me on it.



June of Any Year

She lived in one of those old Decatur houses

with arched doorways and built-ins.

A weeknight summer date,

a yellow sundress

anything I could have said

shadowed the gold around her head.


Against my parent’s Volkswagen

we ended up in one of those classic teenage poses.

I was leaning

on the hatchback.

She was leaning into me,

her back to the past.

A perfect night,

knowing she was leaving in the morning.

After all, it was summer.

I had other,

well, one other prospect to pursue.


“I’m not going to my grandmother’s in Macon”

she said to surprise me.

I couldn’t hide

the look of surprise

as she pulled away

and we were perpendicular,

flanking columns

in Olmstead’s park.


Then, somehow in the dark,

the light changed

and she was beautiful



Suddenly she was the one

but my sentiment had stuck

and it was time to take her home.


I saw her to the door with no kiss.

I headed home with cheeks burning,

the radiator had threats of bursting

and I missed my curfew.


She went south in the morning.

I always choose the wrong girl.


the monastery

We would drive east,
residential turned rural,
The gentle bounce of the angled sun
on top of half-rolled windows.
Life was a mystery,
an unknown sacrament
keeping me.
Peacocks mirrored my marvel.
The solemn state of the monastery
was not a bore.
Reflections from the pine-studded pond was enough diversion.
My own vernal meditation.

The old monk (the abbot?)
would take us through the venerable buildings
deliberately hushed one moment,
then turning with eyes full of riant delight.

Happy was I to behold the treasure of solitude
and an old chest in the basement
full of artifacts,
full of youth.