Monday, May 30, 2016

June Poems

Posting a wonderful crop of June poems.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


The monument makers
said they could match
the size and style
of my sister's tombstone
even though
it's been forty-five years since
they made the last one
for my grandmother.
But the hill in the back yard
of our old house shrank
to a slight gradient
Time can shrink
houses, trees and yards
but we can still
make our monuments the same size.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Because we cannot talk anymore
I send you a cloud
and in conversation
you send one back
Our talk could be anything
from sleek stratus in the morning
to a flotilla of billowing cumulous in the afternoon
My favorites
are on Saturdays
if the sky is blue
I like to start off with high-flying streaks of cirrus
and you answer at sunset
with impeccable timing
in red-orange nimbus
trimmed in gold.
I'm always watching the sky.




When your daughter gets a flat tire
at 10:30 on a Monday night
you get to grab a flashlight
and go out and press
your face into the pavement
into little pieces of gravel
and smell that cold pavement smell.

You thought you'd teach her to change
a flat but you never did
you send her home
with her mother in the other car
without the flat.

You fumble in the dark
with the untested jack
cranking your Japanese SUV into
the air by a few inches
pull the flat off the lugs
roll it onto the ground
and struggle
to align the good one
and twist the nuts on as tight
as possible with your hands
"Always use your hands before
you use a tool," your eighth grade Shop teacher
once said.

Two days later
you're still cleaning road grit
from the grooves of your fingers
which remind you
of the treads of tires.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


I mow my lawn
from the outer edges
in concentric squares
shrinking green tufts
into a disappearing island

But no lawn is an island
why not start in the center
mowing out
past my boundaries
to the next door neighbor’s yard

I'll need to take time off from work
as I race up and down
suburban streets
connecting the neighbors' lawns
with the lawns of the Capital, Central Park
and town greens of New England.  
moving now at a stately pace
and across the Kentucky bluegrass
to please pampered thoroughbreds.

Rivers of lawn carry me
to great coliseums
and their 100 yards
precisely coifed
as thousands of seats look on
Is it any wonder artificial turf
was abandoned and returned to grass and earth?  
Where are the dreams in artificial turf?

My vast grid expands
to reprise summer lawns of memory
--front yards of modest Ohio towns
but also around gravestones of my grandparents,
and great grandparents
all the while watched
by a civil war soldier standing in granite pose. 

Octane fumes mixed with humid air
make me lose count of little league fields
I mow in diagonal textures
the kind you see on TV during the baseball highlights

I'm left mowing in the dark
one giant island
of rolling fields of the great republic
--from sea to shining sea.