2019 – Fourteen – “The Other Place” From Prompt 17, Hour 14

I sometimes go back to the beginning,
to the Sandhills
where I was born,
wild expanses of Nebraska prairie
where I don’t have to speak.
Where no one is left of those
who had known my name.
There is a windmill
and the ruins of a sod house
on the far hill,
I played there as a child,
not knowing that it was
to my grandfather
what his house was to me.
The road is long gone now,
washed down into the valley,
being sand,
and the bricks of the soddy
are just lines in the dirt.
I park my car behind the old barn
near the old Hollibaugh farm
and follow the old ruts.
For a mile they
run, weaving across
the valley floor,
past the rusting ruins
of the cars my grandfather
bought to fill in a ditch.
Wrecks with shot-out
old windows and
flecks of old chrome
leering up out of the ground
beneath the cottonwood trees
in the dry, hot day.
At last at the crest of the hill
the rattle and thunk
of the windmill calls me
over the locked gate
and up to the tank
and I stop to drink from
the blood of the land
that flows
at the call of the wind.
Though I do not love
city life and would leave if
I could,
until I can, which I cannot,
there is a place where I can go
and drink and be still
in the haze of the prairie,
I know that that old mill
and the ruins of the house
will always welcome me back
unlike the city,
the land knows you, even when you’re lost.

2019 – Thirteen – For My First and Oldest Muse, ‘her’,  A Confession

You were all smile and elbows.
I was young and stupid and didn’t know
that I would not forget the first time
I saw you, all those many years ago.
And we were close for what seemed like
forever, and maybe it was.

I wasn’t a poet then.
I could barely rhyme.
All I wanted was a kiss.
which I’ve never gotten,
which I was too shy to ask for.
I eventually knew
that I shouldn’t.
But I’ve held you when
you cried
because they laughed at you.
Held you while you laughed
at our private jokes.
I knew your many secrets,
but I had to let them go
because some friends
are more important than


I can still feel the way
you moved, feel your warmth
against my hand and my cheek.
To this day,
on rare occasions that I let
someone touch me,
it’s still you that I measure
their heat against.

Some things you just can’t forget.

I confess that I no longer love you.
Haven’t in a long time.
How could I?
But I still watch from afar
as you approach life with
the joy
that you do.
And I’m happy for you,
that your life is what you
want it to be.
That it’s not with me,
that’s not a subject for me
to worry over.
You’re where you should be.
As am I.

I am not the one who holds you at night.
I am not the one who kisses you good morning.
I wouldn’t be if I could.
It took me many years to realize
that I never was and never would have been.
But what I am
the man who has taken
the desire you inspired
and used it to drive a life
of verse,
of poetry,
and yes,
of lust,
through the heart
of a stack of pages
with a steadily flowing

I find no regret in that.
I dream of us as we
never could have been.
No regret in that either.
I never once saw you that way,
our modesty forbade,
but I could describe you
My only regret is
I have never forgotten enough
of you to remember
someone else
so clearly.

I can go back to that very first day,
when you sat alone
at the head of the table,
and I was smitten
and couldn’t understand
why no one else
The day when you introduced yourself,
I became a poet.
I just wasn’t aware of it.
So maybe I do love you still.
Just a little bit.
But you can’t love me back
or I’d have nothing to base
the life of a poet on.
And that’s all the life I have.
Then where would I be,
a bankrupt old wordsmith
with no foundation
for his words.
I have all the love I need,
because I can’t have yours.

2019 – Twelve – “Still Angry About Major Tom” A Sonnet. With Apologies to David Bowie.

Major Tom’s not coming home. He’s out there
watching with a crystal eye as all his
world grows darker in its lusts for light and
grids for power, to sell songs about him.
Perhaps someday, when they are marking where
the best billboards go where they won’t block this
moon, they’ll find him floating by his tin can,
and call his wife, whose memory’s grown dim.

“Mrs. Tom, the Major has been found. Just,
listen for a moment, dear, and don’t, please,
be upset that we’ve not called before.
He asked us to, but prudence, well, you must . . ”

“Please, understand yourself,” the Missus’d wheeze
“You left him there to die, and that’s the score.”

(I always felt they could done more to save him.)

2019 – Eleven – “Why I Write New Words for Ancient Heroes” A Sonnet

To sail the wine dark seas of Homer’s lads.
To face the test of Cyclops and the songs
of sirens in the misty morning’s light.
To chase bold Zeus from out fair Leda’s lap.
To tell the tale so dread Medusa’s sad,
dread head’s kept on her shoulders, Neptune’s wrongs
avenged. So Ephialtes lies with might.
Briseis, oh my love, escapes the trap.

The stories that I read when I was young
left me wanting more, and so I tell
new tales for heroes, tales of “Never Was”
to live the lays I’d live, as yet unsung.

Besides, I need my scraps, and someone swell
said that bards eat free on Mount Olympus.

(Inspired by, and used with the permission of, a message from a fellow marathoner. Thanks, Darla.)

2019 – Ten – “An Ode to Time, Which is Not a Clock”

Hickory, dickory, dock.
Time is not a clock.

This is what time is.


Somewhere out there
is where,
of a day
someone will see
the last firefly.

Somewhere out there
is where,
of a day,
someone will drink
the last cup of tea.

One day
there will be only
one kiss left
and it is up to us
to make sure now
that it will be a good one
for whoever is blessed with it.

Somewhere out there
awaits the last
the last
the last
I love you.

right now,
is sitting close
to where the last
grave will be dug
with a shovel that will
someday be hurled
across the firmament
as dust that
no one will ever see again
until it’s brought into carnation in another
galaxy where the word
is a different concept entirely.



Someday . . .

All of those things
are coming.
With a certainty
and a crash
and a bang.
Gonna happen.
Might even happen to one of you.


Come to me my Mousie.
Come to me my soft one
in the evening air,
you of the hair I long to touch,
the lips I long to kiss,
the heart whose beat powers the moon
which can move the sea.
Sit with me
and watch the sun go
down for the only time
There is only this moment for us,
only one bright day
that is this one
and I may not see you tomorrow.

I love you.

This is not the last “I love you”
but it is one of the best.
Because it real
and it is now
and it defines this moment in time.
Which has nothing to do with a clock.

2019 – Nine – “A Wish for Valkyries” A Sonnet for a Romantic Poet, Me

I know I have to go someday, away
from all the bustle of this life. I know
that nothing lasts forever and I’m not
the one that makes of this a theory,
I’m just more proof. It used to be I’d say,
“I wanna live until time’s end and show
the gods who’s boss!” But now that I have got
to live this much of life, I’m just glad to be.

If I could ask one thing, just make one request?
This life’s been great. I want no soft release.
A poet doesn’t die on the golf course.
Warrior poets end with some great test.

I’d like to go while fighting some great beast
While Valkyries come for me, with a horse.

(Certainly not my best but it’s sincerely intended.  I am a horribly romantic person, after all.)

2019 – Eight – “Fools”

I’m just a fool now.
Writing on corners.
Not like the hypocrites.
Not like the horders
of slogans
and adverts
and tubs of
dried gravy
and blankets
and wool skirts
from Grandma’s
days in the Navy.

Just a fool that’s
as foolish
as fools does.
Dreaming of things is
as foolish
as fools was.
When being seen strangely
was merely unique.
And writing on corners was
was nothing you’d seek
to poke fun at
and run at
with sticks
and with stones.
When poets
were more than just
pens and strange bones.

If poets are foolish
and wasting their time
writing with meter
writing with rhyme
or with
of those
and with
little besides
but beating
of hearts
and hearts
to drive them before them
on their lonely waves
slave to their words
and wordhorses
as slaves
then I am
a fool and a poet
writing on corners
. . .
believing my lies
. . .

(sharp intake of breath)

(pause dramatis)

If I am a fool,
for believing in art,
believing in love,
with my words in my heart,
should all of the world
be then foolish well?
Or continue to believe
that this heaven is hell?


2019 – Seven – “I’m Not Really Don Quixote. Not Really.” A Reminder Sonnet for . . . Me.

I’m not a man who tilts at old windmills.
Where I was raised a windmill means I’m home.
I do own armor, but it’s clean and bright.
I only wear it out for festive days.
I have no broken-down old nag that spills
me off into the dust. And unlike some,
no comic sidekick, wiser by a sight,
strides beside me through all my forays.

I don’t live like the Don, though I am told
the differences aren’t always there to spot.
My honor and true love leave me star-crossed
A mad, old-fashioned chivalric. And bold.

I follow, though, in this. For years I’ve sought
Dulcinea, who Quixote’d lost.

2019 – Six – “The New Fruit” a Love Letter for My Own Dulcinea

There is a water,
cool and bright,
beside an orchard.
Beneath those trees
the sun seldom
except to nurture
fairy circles of grass,
soft and thick
and made for resting in.

In that orchard
there are many fruits,
new-sprung for
Pagan in their
natural depiction,
their like exists
and there is nothing
in the wide world
that feels as they do
in the mouth,
on the tongue,
on the lips.

In that orchard
there is a linden
that blooms all
the year round.
A pillar of the nine worlds.
White, silken blossoms
that drop in the wild
dark beneath the trees,
stirred and shaken.
The whole of the
orchard is scented
with them until even
the gods themselves
are distracted
from their thunderbolts
and their lightnings
and come to be fascinated
in their breasts
by the fullness of them.

I would take you to
that orchard
and I would ask the universe
to see you,
more cool upon my skin
than the coolest water,
darker and brighter
in my soul than the shadows of
the orchard.
With your glory, soft and thick,
a wild thicket.
More heavenly to breathe
in than my beloved linden
and better,
in the mouth,
upon the tongue
and the lips
than any other fruit
the gods can despise
for its perfection
and nurture for fear of ruin.

You are my sustenance,
that which cools me,
the darkness of my passion,
the thunder and the lightning
that drives me across the
face of the very world
that I may come to you again
and make love to you beneath
a linden tree
so that we can forget the gods
and so that they
cannot help but remember us.

And when all of that is done
and we have shaken the roots
of the ocean,
we will rest and be content
beneath the laden branches.
They will be content with us
beside the cool water
and we will be new fruit
for a very old world.

2019 – Five – the madness of poets, bunnies, dust, and meat


there are bunnies made of dust
and bunnies made of meat
hit by cars made out of rust
and steel out on the street
and all of them are dead
dust bunnies rusty sweet
old cars that wheel like ghosts
and hares i’ll never meet

the rabbit in the hole
the rabbit in glade
and alice she’s gone old,
and rocks out in the shade
of trees she could have climbed
in parks where she once played
when wonderland was new
before it was betrayed

we’ve lost our faith in alice
and in white rabbits too
we’ve placed our trust in cash
and in bright autos too
but cash shrinks in the wash
and rust comes home to roost
when all we do is watch
false pictures of what’s true

so i’m collecting bunnies
the bunnies made of dust
to hide them from the cars
the automatic rust
someday they’ll come alive
as i believe they must
cause wonderland is real to me
it’s real life i don’t trust.

one day you’ll seek to find me
one day you’ll feel so old
but i’m not what you’ll see
i feel i’ll have gone bold
and feral like a bunny
and shaken off the scold
of rust and meat and real life
and chased a rabbit down a hole