Boboli Gardens


We come to the garden,
surrounded by unwatching eyes
set in grimacing frozen faces,

ears that do not tremble
to the vibration of birdsong in the air,
rigid hands that reach out

but can never grasp or even touch,
riven noses (why are they always
first to go?) unable to enjoy

the fragrance of the gentlest flower.
And what to say about the tongues?
Stonestill as if caught mid-word

with no way to finish the thought,
complete the image, not one, not one
of them to sing the mystery,

except by what can only be called
the greatest of all miracles,
a warming to life.


Written for dVerse on the occasion of their third anniversary. Dedicated to poets everywhere who are attempting to see, hear, smell, touch, and speak of what we experience.

Sindoor Sun

(Painting by Sunita Khedekar)
Veiled from the setting sindoor sun
by a charcoal roof
and shaded downcast eyes,
I still feel your tears on my face—
what are these thoughts I think
in the gray of a fading day?
Just to know, for my own sake,
I look from the window
as we used to do, to see
if the fishermen’s boats
still glistened in the
setting sindoor sun.


For dVerse. Grace has us writing with color in mind, using artwork by Sunita Khedekar for inspiration. It’s been such a long while since I’ve posted anything, but Sunita’s work is so powerful I just had to give this a go. Click here for info. on sindoor. Please visit dVerse and write something you can share with us; at the very least, you owe it to yourself to check out Sunita’s art. Incredible work!

Poppy’s Brush Pile


Poppy’s Brush Pile

Poppy liked to tell the story
about the time he did a little
yard cleaning and had a grand old pile
of brush and leaves, probably
about ten feet high more than likely,
and reckoned he couldn’t
bag it all, that Ketchem’s
didn’t have enough bags to sell
even if he’d wanted to, so he
figured on it awhile and settled on
a big burning as the best way—
shortly the pile would be gone,
and while it was a-going he could
set on the porch and just watch.

So he took a dry bunch of leaves
up under the pile and dropped
his half-smoked Marlboro.
One tiny spark and a smidgen
of smoke and nothing else.
Well, this ain’t working
worth shooting, he said.
Then he went to the porch
and got a-hold of the morning paper,
crinkled it all up, stuffed it
in the pile and lit a match.
The paper burnt quick
and awful hot but petered out
before doing its business—
‘bout like my pecker, Poppy said—
so he went back to figuring.

Then he remembered that five-gallon can
of regular gasoline he had sitting
in the shed, and he wasn’t about
to let a damned brush pile
make a fool of him. He took the can
and scrabbled to the top, standing
like the precious good Lord
come again on Mount Olive,
and dumped the gas all over the pile.

‘Course it took awhile to pour
five gallons, so in the meantime
the fumes worked their way
all into the little pockets
of air. As you might guess
but Poppy didn’t, not quite yet,
when the match was dropped
the blast blowed him
clear into the flower bed,
heels heavenward. He said he smelt
singed ass-hairs for two weeks after.

He liked to tell this story and say,
See there, honey, even if you reckon
you got the best idea, you still
might want to figure awhile.

For dVerse Meeting the Bar. I have been absent from the bar for a few months, and sincerely missed everyone. Peak season at work, tons of overtime. I still was able to do a fair amount of reading, but very little writing. Just couldn’t find the motivation, the inspiration, the whatever it is that makes me put pen to paper and try to make sense of my world. 
Anyway, our host Tony Maude has us hearkening back to previous prompts, and since I missed so many I felt a lot of freedom. This poem is meant for the prompt Victoria offered, in which she invited us to write close to home, personal, in the common speech of daily life. I actually had another poem ready that I wrote last night, but things happened and I didn’t submit. Then as I was falling asleep I thought about this story, so I wrote it out this morning. 

Apologia Pro Vita Sua

On the bill tonight at dVerse Form for All—Googlism poetry! Sam Peralta invites us to create a list poem by using the search results from this site. To create mine, I searched for “nico” and chose several results that were incomplete sentences or thoughts that I felt I could do something with. These make up the first line of each stanza, unmodified from the original. The second lines are just whatever first surfaced in my disturbed head. The title is Latin for “a defense of one’s life.”

Apologia Pro Vita Sua
nico is finding that his fumbling around with this pal is leading
       to unavoidable personal discomfort for both parties.
nico is based on the fick method,
       but is a bigger ficking method ficker than a real fick.

nico is also ex
       -plained very well by nothing known to humankind.
nico is a quadruped robot which is based upon principles of 4

nico is designing
       a fool-proof means of escape.
nico is ready to stop while dani is clearly interested in
       continuing. It’s an age-old plot.
nico is without a doubt extremely smart
nico is really impacted by the beauty
       of a stiff bourbon.

nico is gay

nico is currently for sale for more information please contact us at

       the discount booth.
nico is one of the most flabbergasting electric bass virtuosi i’ve heard
       people say, but they were undoubtedly lying to me. Or I might have said that
nico is one of the most flabbergasting electric bass virtuosi i’ve heard
       and the word “flabbergasting” always makes me think of enormous butt cheeks vibrating 
       from the forcible expulsion of air from the rectum.

nico is a happy boy who is great with children of all ages and dogs too

       –it’s the big humans he has a problem with.
nico is as nico does
       so get over it.


    Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone!
                                             –Allen Ginsburg
Drilling   spilling   pumping
removing every mountaintop
to find the pearl
of great price
casting the star
named Wormwood
into every river
made bitter
unwilling to say—Enough!
until every son and every daughter
has passed through the fire . . .
I stand off
and see the smoke of burning,
and the circle-jerk
of those who wax rich
through the abundance
of her delicacies.
O God!                         We all
(yes, stupid fuckers one and all)
invoked this beast insatiable
him from the smoky pit in order
to have our way with him,
this pet that does not merely
bite the tit
that feeds it—
it devours all
sometimes slowly
                              over time
                   in one huge gulp.
Tonight is beat poetry at dVerse MeetingtheBar. Even if you aren’t up to writing tonight, you owe it to yourself to head on over to read Gay’s informative article. I took inspiration tonight from Ginsburg, John of the Apocalypse, Jeremiah the Old Testament prophet, and human greed and stupidity. Seemed like a good blend for a beat poem to me.


I return today to Shingle Creek,
walking in the fine fall afternoon
alone. Wading through the shallows
to the east bank, right where the creek
cuts close to the old Bronson place,
I feel like the last ancient Israelite
crossing the Red Sea, barely ahead
of Pharaoh’s chariots.
                                     Crouching low
under the barb-wire fence I swish
through the shin-high grass, the humming
dragonflies hunting insects, shining
their blues and greens
in the lowering sun.
                                 I hear
a tractor in the distance, the rumble
carrying far in the clear air,
and I think about that day
we ran, you and I, making paths
through the field, pretending we were
dirt bike champions, shifting gears
by the rising tone of our growls.
For hours we ran, stopping just to catch
a lazy red corn snake sunning
on a sweetgum stump.
                                     I know
that with these old knees
I couldn’t run like that now, not by
any luck or necessity; and you,
old friend, only in memory
will ever run here again.
For dVerse MeetingTheBar. We are writing about friends, friendship, loss, in honor of Dave King. Dave was a regular contributor to the online poetry world (at least until his health limited his participation), and his kindness and craft will be missed.


The mountains that in ages
past were level plateaus;
the shoreline that has
not kept its place;
the bones of extinction layered
like words in a holy book,
telling the story
of what once was;
the changing sky,
a glimpse of the universe
passing, rolled together
as a scroll.
            the same,
yesterday’s relics,
like the boarded-up shops
in any small town.
For dVerse OpenLinkNight. Claudia’s post had me thinking about culture, history, place, and this is what came out. 

when my time comes

when my time comes

these days I rarely
have a prayer to say

but one in my
stumbling way

to whatever
listening gods

when my time comes
let me be as the trees

releasing browning leaves
letting them tumble

gently down


Goodness. It’s been a while. Tonight for dVerse Meeting the Bar, Victoria Slotto has tempted us to write a spicy, erotic, or touchy-subject poem (death, religion, politics, hot-button issues) using metaphor and image to elaborate the point. Of course I chose to write about death, a touchy subject for some people, with a little religion thrown in for good measure.

The Skeptic

The Skeptic
this poem wanted
to be written
l   o   n   g   h   a   n   d
do you see what i did there
making my poem self-aware
as if things become
more believable
by little tricks
of consciousness
i don’t believe
my own tricks
no i’m not truly skeptical
since i have an inflexible
belief in doubt
dVerse MeetingtheBar night, hosted by poet Brian Miller. Brian has us paring down to essentials, crafting stories of 55 words, no more, no less. I suppose mine might be more anti-story than story, but it goes that way sometimes. Check out all the great poets posting tonight, and maybe write a poem of your own to share. Happy Birthday, Brian!