HOUR #12: (Family: Nonet poem)

I dream of these faraway places

Exotic remnants of the past

Where I ran, unencumbered

Past ghosts of other lives

My parent’s story

Bled into me

Their story



HOUR #11 (using the words: Skyscraper, Periwinkle, Cloud, Needle, Spread)

Periwinkle is the flower of death they say

but I have not seen them at the cemetery

or perhaps I pass them unnoticed

so seamlessly they fit the landscape of loss.


From a high point, you can see the city’s skyscrapers in the distance

each one threaded like a needle between gravestones.

On a perfect day, I imagine raising my hand to the sky

and grasping a cloud, momentarily,

before setting it free.


On a sloping trail, new graves have appeared

spread among this idyllic plateau

all too quickly filling the space

with tenderly kept memorials.


At night I see the grave lights

dots of illumination across the blackness

souls lit to the sky.

Hour #10 (Bond with a stranger)

From the corner of my eye

I saw a sudden surge of birds

launch in frenzied unison from the cemetery

bursting from their trees

in ecstatic but perfect formation.


As I went to the window

I saw a woman on the street, head cocked upwards,

following those same birds

entranced, as was I

by their movement.


The birds spun and darted

and rode shotgun to the wind

before fading behind my building and out of sight.

And for a few moments, I was connected to another in awe.

HOUR #8 (Lack of progress)

Silence is not golden.

At present, it is a pounding, penetrating reminder

of failure.

The air conditioner comes on from time to time

my sole sound companion;

as it achieves a loud monophonic bluster,

I just want it to end.

I can take the heat but not the monotony

It reminds me too much of my present predicament.


I find no comfort in being alone with my thoughts

when the thoughts do not come

when the ideas that seemed to be flowing

ebb suddenly then stop against an invisible dam-

a beaver’s wet dream.

(All puns intended).


Outside my window,

the wind pushes across the wide street below

foretelling the storm to come

It takes no prisoners and gives not one damn

I would ride it to escape if I could.

Hour #7 (Normal)


Is what I imagine the world would be

if it was in hiding,

getting by on a sliver of illumination

scared of its own shadow.

I used to hide myself as well

from everything-

under layers of distance

often under layers of clothes

but that was not normal,

or so I’ve been told.


I’ve always been afraid of mediocrity

the sister demon to normalcy

more insidious in its patience

always loitering around the corner;

the siren’s call is always there

if I choose to listen.


So in my second incarnation,

as I slowly pick my self-installed locks,

I can see normal from a distance

peeking its head out

curious and waiting to pounce.

But I walk right by

Eyes forward into the bright deviancy.

Hour #6 (Walking without using the word walking)


My legs at first are propellers,

old school and a bit rusty,

needing a good swing to get started.

Each step is an intention

and a decision—or not,

if I go only where my legs take me.


They have their own destination

in conflict with my staid plans.

They expand where I want to retract

and suddenly I am aloft,

my legs become jet engines

roaring with anticipation,

seeking the adventure I too often resist.


They are the masters of these marches,

lifting and striding of their own accord

moving me through streets familiar and foreign

my engine’s contrails marking the journey

and beating the pavements to a pulp.


When at last, in an act of defiance against them,

I feel the weight of the air too heavy

to maintain flight

and descent is imminent,

these marvelous appendages

regain their altitude

and I continue to soar.

Hour #5 (Skyward)

Sometimes, while walking in the cemetery,

I stop-

and looking up at the sky,

arching my neck beyond its capacity,

I am enthralled by the curvature above.

I can never tell—

Is it moving or am I?

I know that the earth moves

as do the clouds

and I am less than a spec

in that spectacular rotation.

We miss so much

in our normal forward movement;

So I wonder, do the dead, in their perpetual state,

lying in unspoken reverence,

eyes to the sky forever,

see what we do not?

Are the living missing the show

happening right above us?

After a few moments,

I retract my head,

tired from craning upward

and longing for the known.

We are too tied to the ground.

HOUR #4 (“She was, after all, only a rabbit.”—Jasper Fforde, The Constant Rabbit)

She was, after all, only a rabbit,

said the moderator,

trying to keep the peace

during the particularly rowdy debate

at the daily All-Squirrel meeting.

The rabbit had appeared

seemingly lost, foraging for food

and was quickly set upon by the squirrel patrol

for trespassing.

Amongst whistles and chirps from both sides of the aisle

(Throwing nuts was of course forbidden)

There was to be no consensus;

The rabbit had to go.


But one squirrel-

a scrawny loner

with a mediocre nut collection record,

used to sitting in the back

and keeping his squeaks to himself-

rose to her defense,

emitting a whistle so piercing

it suspended the room in stillness.

“If we exile this rabbit

for the sole crime of trying to survive

How are we better than those

who threaten us?”

(Humans, cars, little humans who chase us, pesticides-the list is long.)


His whistle,

floating over the other squirrels like a revelation

was suddenly replaced by chirps of agreement,

a few at first, then a flood;

the room exploded with a new sound

something between a chirp and a bark and a chuck.

And suddenly, the squirrels descended upon the rabbit

This time to embrace her

And welcome her to the family.


The lone squirrel,

having moved away from the joyous fray,

chirped to himself,

showing his toothy smile

And popped a nut in celebration.

Hour #3 (Say One Hail Mary)

Say One Hail Mary

for the boys of the war

in perfect formation

acres and acres of them

still lifes of lives lost

My lovely young men.

Say One Hail Mary

for my father

in similar repose

But even his life,

untouched by early tragedy

should have been longer.

Say One Hail Mary

for me-

I stare at the graves of strangers

and wonder-

Will anyone remember me

with the fluid intensity of loss?

Hail Mary Full of Grace.

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