Grand Traverse

Four ribbons in flat symmetry

barren strips bespoil the tawny plain

A world still in color;

color different than before

Drawn north to the pole

Slicing through evergreen seas,

until melting into sylvan shadows

Beneath cottonball mosaic

on robin egg tapestry

the caravan proceeds

in sneering indifference

Shining yet empty smiles

of Mercedes grills

Cocoons on wheels and trailers laden

march to the sandy dunes,

where summers are fleeting

Rheumatoid claw sweeps the cold waters

Orchards sprout cool upon swollen knuckles

The hand that shelters the bay

Her coastal beacons blink

distress call to any who will come

Still only winter will answer


August ’83

Coming of age in a foreign land

No history precedes you

No reputation to uphold

The test of how high to fly

or how far to fall

A meat puppet on display

Your curious new plaything

Passed around your circle

for the amusement of all

The shame dies with the shadows

that disappear in December rains


Schiller Park, March ’82


End of hibernation

Begin year three after

the long nights anguish

for a direction

March demands action

absent malice aforethought

With all else uncharted

only geography to explore

Somewhere better than this

Veil of cloud

and damp ever present

The Poet’s visage not like today

Grey statuary forgotten

Eyes blank, imitate the dead

No counsel or inspiration

Only realization

Despite all efforts

my feet not set in stone

Someone better than this

No monument can follow

where my steps lead away

Sentries in stone keep their place

Only watch as you leave

for somewhere better than this

Lamentations in Cardiff


Celtic crosses cast pale shadow

from dun light through mists

This wilderness of grey stone crags

or matted thatch in brown

To the cold brook where earth trembles

Find a mountain for your seat

Where bitter dregs may find your palate

pure water still will sate your thirst

from springs primeval

Where Arthurian echoes sound

At rail’s end the sea begins

and dreams of shame sleep silent

that we may forget


Hastings Street Coffee House, April 83

Three AM on Saturday

we were crowded in a doorway

Bars closed, we sheltered from the rain

The drops beaded on your poncho

like flower petals the morning after

I saw you before around the billiards

Two other pubs and fourteen bottles

A spark in your jade eyes remembered

I let you enter first

and never saw you again

But your jade eyes in the mist

saw me home in the dark