Sunday, June 13, 2021

Poem: Not So Great


Not So Great


the fathers invoked a heraldry of the linear,

eschewing the lessons of Creation.

the fathers crammed nighttime into a blue box

of corralled stars.


blood doesn’t flow so straight, nor ivory. 

beware those tongues and teeth.

beware the lunge below the glint of the square cyclops eye.


beware the cubic tyrannosaur of the-many-into-one.



if the whitewashed blood and fangs and dark gleams,

and the shallow sharp bursting bombs of light,

fell into a chastened pile.


all those vectors of Manifest Destiny

humbled to salute the coils of riverbanks,

and the curled claws of wild willow roots.


would the dark deeds eventually decay

through the soil toward those killed in their name? 

would the symbolism then

become a sediment of eternal regret?


would it even, finally, flower a decent destiny?

surrender to a supple, graceful peace

its indivisible bars?


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Poem: Eagle Over Lake


Eagle Over Lake


patient boomerangs slash aqua,

slow circles,

part current, part sculpture.


brutal though,


fang of keen white head,

water the skin, a stray ripple

the jugular.


a silver spine wriggles.

punctured, hauled, gripped. 


no reflection in water.

nothing but a shadow

in a photo, 




the sun comes too close.

brown flames then.

brown flames and ivory embers.


Monday, June 7, 2021

Poem: A Moment of Rest


A Moment of Rest


seconds dissolve

into universes dying.

we wear them in our thoughts like rain.


so many births

that struggle not to become tired,

restless and relentless,

narcotic and aphrodisiac;


and yet completion evolves to resist

even as it tastes.


such explosions!  they seem inevitable,

passions gone, just like that,

obliterated on the canvas of the heart.


mind, all minds together,

configure the globe,

this harmony of similar originals,


this message: 


we cannot grip

the beckoning hand of god. 

awe is not faithful that way.


hearthstone, signpost, deathbed,

love awaits in all those places.

who will see?


some.  sometimes.

nothing less.  nor more.


Friday, June 4, 2021

Poem: Gazelle (warning--triggering poem)




sharp shards of shadow

bind my shivering breast,

your tongue to slash my mouth

and slide to taste the fresh insult

of denial slain.


vicious tigers your arms,

they lunge grip drag

until i fall, a gazelle,

to stare up awkward

at the cutlery beneath

a relentless grin.


i tremble you feed.

you swell like my pupils,

even as your heart surges, a fang

to puncture my soul.


Monday, May 31, 2021

Poem: Stone Tell


Stone Tell


orion looked at me,

size of a pinprick,

from a quiet stone i had scolded with weeping,

cheekbone wet on mica flecks.


it was orion, all right,

chasing the pleiades

over millions of metamorphic years,

much as in astronomic night--


and yet flashy like adonis,

and not to ravish, not at all,

merely to scamper,

happy as sun-glossed quartz.


he danced with the sisters,

leapfrogging to twinkle

as i turned my wrist,

such lambent angles,


what a treasure!

to walk the beach

and find this constellation,

absolved by waves, this wisdom,


however violent or jealous,

however monstrous,

now peaceful and beautiful,

nothing more, disaffiliated,

only glitter and truth.


Friday, May 28, 2021

If the Big Lie Wins, We All Lose


If the Big Lie Wins, We All Lose

The presidential election was not stolen from Donald Trump.  Over fifty court cases have shown this, all the way up to the Supreme Court, including many judges nominated by Trump himself.  Numerous state-run recounts have verified it.  GOP Secretaries of State as well.  There is no evidence to support the claim at all. Still, the Big Lie remains, a battering ram to knock down the defenses of our collective rationality.  It has become the fault line along which our democracy will either persevere or fall.

This is a grave assertion, and yet it results from a simple thought experiment:  What if the GOP, promulgating the Big Lie, wins?

 In that case, a party that willfully trampled a court-backed truth will be in control.  They will have the support of a segment of the population that is outraged at a nonexistent deep state that did something that didn’t actually happen. 

Moreover, given the nature of the Big Lie, our electoral system will have been successfully impugned as fraudulent.  Without a secure means to vote, the will of the people cannot be ascertained.

At the helm will be the cultish Trump, a demagogue who incubated the Big Lie many months before the 2020 elections.  Sitting on an established throne of conspiracy theory, he need merely extend the Lie, or make up another, to curtail future challengers.

Trump refused to agree to a peaceful transition of power, both before and after he lost the election, saying only, “We’ll see what happens.”  Indeed, on January 6, after he gave an inflammatory speech, his fanatic followers stormed the Capitol in an attempted insurrection.  Nothing like it has happened since 1814, and then it was foreign invaders.

Trump’s rapacious need for praise is more important to him than the survival of the republic.  His niece, Mary Trump, published a book titled “Too Much and Never Enough” in which she calls him “the most dangerous man in the world.”  Experts in psychology nationwide published an anthology, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.” It diagnoses him as the most ruthless sort of narcissist, and warns of extreme peril if such a person takes over.

What happens if a leader turns a nation into an arena for self-glorification, regardless of damage to its people, traditions, and fortunes?  For starters, the loss of the ability to wisely adapt to change.  For someone who can never be wrong, there can be no error. 

Remember Trump’s absurd, contradictory claims during the pandemic, even as the death toll rose?  Now extend that to any sort of major challenge, whether crisis or opportunity.  Climate, tech, infrastructure, economics, cyberattacks, foreign policy and on and on.  There would be only the subjective, single-person strategy of someone focused on preening his own hungry ego.

When a constituency embraces their leader’s views, no matter how absurd, with the fervor of faith backed by a flimsy, deceitful logic of ‘alternate facts’, there is no need for competency, fairness, or accountability.  Corruption runs rampant, as we’ve already seen during Trump’s time in the White House. 

We have a recent historical example of what happens when god-complex leaders rise to power in the strongest countries.  That example is World War II.  We still ask today, “Why did all that awfulness and atrocity happen?”

Perhaps the answer lies in a perfect storm of dysfunctional swarm dynamics.  When you instill a worshipful mindset of black or white, good or evil, with us or against us, love or hate, then prudence, adaptive thinking and even common sense have no place.



Sunday, May 23, 2021

Poem: Upside




light rays, 

ephemeral shovels, anti-cinders,

quick to plumb startled irises,

not-so-depthless pupils,

no aspect of the darkness flees.

spears of solar cleanse tarry wells

to impale a gaze so high,

above the truculence of roots,

above grey shamble-mumblings,

such daybreak!



an incessant trickle through leaves;

a flutter of springboards;

hovers of the coruscant; serene

and yet hope climbs onward still.

joyous the erratic, radiant ladder.



Friday, May 21, 2021

Poem: Rising




a clear blue eye with a cloudy brain

watches with patient logic

as we consume and build, argue and fight,

our neck veins like pythons,

praising flags on hills

erected next to brutal monuments.


rocks with the calm of philosophers,

sagacious trees, and idylls of sweetsonging birds

can’t believe we strangle love

while failing to extinguish

the fires of our rage.


the fires of our rage.


self-inflicted attacks,

as we condemn those who look like us,

have voices like us,

hearts and souls, like us,

and they cry out to pure gods, good gods,

like us,


and yet we need to destroy them,

to shoot and hate them,

to annihilate them with our bare hands,

and guns.


and guns.


and the grass watches,

and the leaves,

and all that’s left

of what is beautiful on this Earth.


"We preferred to keep silent. We are certainly not without guilt/fault, and I ask myself again and again, what would have happened, if in the year 1933 or 1934—there must have been a possibility—14,000 Protestant pastors and all Protestant communities in Germany had defended the truth until their deaths?"

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Poem: Der Rosenkavalier


Der Rosenkavalier


four hours of geometric hats

wider than absurd:

clowns, dandies, maskers,

cutpurses dressed like prunes,

orbiting Alice Coote in the trouser role

while she kisses Sophie,

kisses the Marschallin,

sapphic pianissimo

cresting to arias on diva pouts.


the boorish Baron

galumphing after skirts,

froward madman,

cannot thwart the spell of the rose.

when it beams from tufted stars,

Sophie and Octavian blessed,

to emblazon their bosoms,

the frisson climbs in rapturous glee.


comical evil, orchestral sobs, 

garish menageries,

the opera reeks of farce,

and yet wilts in whirls

away from the rose.

without its effloresce, 

the plot languishes.

because of it, the audience

sighs on the way home.



Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, 2005

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Poem: Cookie




a cute name for a snitch

in the business of human lust.

it goes right for Descartes’ bridge,

that most private pineal,

where secrets babble forth,

vulnerable and sweet.


a true coup d’etat for Toll House & co.

the gossip of the mind exposed.

all those palaces of personal pride

wheedled, invaded, taken.


on the lower floors, clerks giggle near admen

while they monitor, label and jar

so many deadly embarrassments

in gargantuan mainframes.


deep within the insatiable guts

of offices sectioned like tapeworms,

the executives map out a nation of evils--

every clue garnered from commonplace keyboards--

to marry the doll of each citizen’s demon

with voodoo pins.