The Hajj of Canada Geese*
Just when you think
the world has lost its mind,
you hear them
beyond dusk's cloak
those winged missionaries
evangelizing on silver pulpit.
You can't see them,
oh, but you can hear them;
and you know
that they are scrambling
and whisking chaos
into magnificent geometry;
and they call to mind
the ocean's metronomic breaths
and the calibrating celestials.
And in one rapturous heartbeat
those conveyors of certitude,
assailants of amusement
leaving you in bubbling beatitude.
they are the ones
on hajj to a beneficent mecca
you are the one
who experiences salvation.
*First published in Earthen Lamp Journal 2013
English as a Second Language
In Apt 7D
I say Te Amo
than saying it
in my my native tongue
two words (or three really)
that will divide us
into before and after
I think my ruse clever
until you ask
Now can you say it in English?
*First published in Cardinal House Poetry 2016
To the Etienne de Bore' Oak
On your twisted lap I sit
your petite-fille, happy child
boots off, fake smile stowed
stealing a triumphant pause mid-chatter.
I will not reduce you to Instagram
not dishonor you with a selfie
never tag you on Facebook
nor hashtag “oldest oak” to the automatons.
I just want to disrobe of disquietude
the clickety-click and varoom-varoom
to swoon beneath your grand parasol
strip of society’s tight corset.
I would like to fall under your kind spell
be stupefied by your moss talismans
swaying to the Mississippi’s breaths
to learn from you
like the Choctaw and Chitimacha
to honor you, wise Grand-mére
with this poem
and a thousand more.
*Etienne de Bore’ Oak in Audubon Park, New Orleans, dates back to 1740 and is also called the Tree of Life.
Black scissors cut
dawn into beauty,
a faithful stream
How can I wither
when these dark
Again and again
they will visit;
again when the ice hardens
my displaced Southern veins.
One by one;
two by two,
they sluice through tree skeletons,
those sleeping giants of death;
yet all I see is life.
*First published in Cardinal House Poetry 2016 with an additional stanza.
**Photo credit: Hartford Courant, Jan 12, 2020
somethings upsets the nest.
it's ajumble, nettled yellow-jackets
now besiege, wings flapping
into auricular bumble.
through your inner grand central,
commuters swarm, high heels plunking,
suits joggling, luggage yawping.
la orquesta de cerebellum warms up but spawns
rampageous clarinets, howling trumpets,
violins with strings asnap, drums
tattooing disoriented guerillas.
synapses snigger as they swing from twisted
creepers, impishly spurning scutwork.
neurons raise glasses in a hearty toast.
smoke out the bastards, aflutter with nonsense,
pull the fire alarm at the station, dismiss
the unwelcomed guests, fine tune
the strings and horns methodically, beautifully.
machete through thoughtful thicket,
hatchet beyond brainy bush,
untangle the jungle,
unbend the vine.
there amidst pine copse and cradle,
the feather mattress awaits.
*First published in Connecticut Poetry Review, 2012
**Image by Claudio Schwartz
On Why Seagulls Prefer
the Wal-Mart Parking Lot
to the Seashore
Wings set in determination
they line up as though awaiting
the Grand Poobah of the Feathered,
most distinguished King of the Winged,
trading the endless
salty bubble bath and glittered frontier
for asphalt ablaze with capitalism and French fries
and discarded by the Overindulged.
What bizarre bend in the Universe
brings them here,
these ornithological bohemians,
plumed Jonathan Livingstons,
beaked Indiana Joneses?
Does the Divine ordain
these Winged-Bill, Sooty and Laughing
charlatans to split rent
with chromed shopping carts,
weathered Icee cups,
and carcinogenic stubs?
Maybe the GPS is broken—
the GPS where the lady
with the sultry voice says
“turn east and travel 30 miles
to the Atlantic.”
of picnic lunches,
perhaps they’re lured by the sirens
of endless Rollbacks on Doritos.
Then again, if an adorable, freshly-permed
grandmother greeted me
at the door each morning
with a ready hug,
I might also dwell
in the Wal-Mart Parking lot forever.
*First published in Cardinal House Poetry, 2016