POEM: Synesthesia

cool patterns radiate off the back wall
sunshine screams through the transom

i cringe at the taste of red #4,
but don’t know whether it’s red’s stench
or the bitterness of the number four

across Asia, “4” is an unlucky number —
the number of death —
but for some it tastes like citrus peel

POEM: Wounded Beasts and Where They Find You [Prose Poem]

The bleeding beast crawls into the tall grass. It shakes those shafts of tall grass, but the erratic waggle is lost in the wind shimmy.

The wounded creature seeks its hiding place like a manic kid chooses one during hide-n-go-seek. It’s not so much about never being found as it is about achieving maximum impact upon one’s reveal.

The kid wants to cause a gasp — maybe a dot where his victim peed himself, a tiny bit.

The beast wants the hunter’s knees to buckle, dropping him to the ground where he’ll try to butt-scoot away, either having dropped his rifle or holding it with such strained white-knuckle intensity that it’s of no use.

That way the beast can use its final burst of strength to lunge onto the hunter, using its bodyweight to pin him to the ground, so it can work him over like a fighter who’s got his opponent on the ropes.

I’ve been told that Cape Buffalo is the worst beast to have to follow into the elephant grass. Its bovine nature belies the savagery of its Death throes. It will not stop until either: it’s physically unable to move; or, there is no solid material left of the hunter’s body (whichever comes first.)

For those of us who never go beyond following uninjured bunnies into knee-high grass, it’s impossible to know what it’s like to track a wounded animal into the tall grass.

POEM: Mustard Seeds

She’s chasing after mustard seeds
from a household that’s known no Death.
With eyes that droop and feet that bleed,

she’s out of the village and into the weeds.
Finding a family that’s known only life
is like finding one that’s known but good deeds.

Not finding a one, she finally concedes
knowing her suffering is not unique,
and with that realization she is freed.

Three Tanka on Impermanence

grass growing
through the concrete cracks;
roots spreading
and loosening the stones —
nature’s transplant rejection


mossy roof,
a cabin in the woods,
nature swallows
and digests all intruders
if given enough time


every living thing
becomes food in due time;
i’m fungi food;
should a wolf crack my corpse bones,
who am i to complain?

POEM: Dig!

Something wicked resides below —
deep, but not underground.
You’ll not find it behind the drapes,
or in the Lost & Found.

Like a geologist, just Dig!
You’ll find it deep below.
But, still you’ll have to use great care —
no hurling, “Fire-n-the-Hole!”

You’ll have to tease out the answer,
chipping, and with a brush.
It’ll take a steady Hand & Mind;
some jobs are never RUSH.

We like to shout down the demons,
to call them by foul names,
but if you want to find the cure:
dig out the Fear & Pain.

POEM: Funeral Suit

Worn one more time than the number of funerals you attend,
that black suit hangs forgotten — yet dreaded.

It hangs dusty in a closet,
or musty in a bag;
and you’re most listless when it has
a crisp dry cleaning tag.

In good years, it never crosses your path — or your mind.
In bad years, it’s needed repeatedly.

There will be a year in which someone will pull it out for you —
carefully smoothing its lapels —
the year you move beyond bad years.