POEM: Witching Hour Wanderer

he lies beneath a winter’s night full moon
under the stretching silence of fresh snows
quiet, save for the Saw-whet’s beep-beep tune
as if the living were claimed by the shadows

somewhere boots will crunch on a crust of ice
out to find the lost and longing wanderer
who thought no cabin rafters could suffice
to fuel the fires of an ardent ponderer

two enter a race neither knows he’s in
with the crawling clouds that’ll douse the moonlight
and with river ice that’s getting thin
but mostly with the mean teeth of frostbite

would someone come for you in the witching hour?
then treasure him be he tender or dour

POEM: The Thaw Entwined, or: The Sunflower’s Wisdom

No. Snow and ice can’t rectify my mind.
Don’t pray I’ll flash fire it into a boil.
I’ll seize, sullen, frozen, as a gargoyle.
Frost will form on my eye, and I’ll be blind.
A thaw comes only in the state entwined.
If only I were gifted at that toil.
I watch Trussed Wonder’s melt begin to roil,
wondering how they knew which way to wind.
But nature graces those lacking talent.
A sunflower’s wisdom is all one needs.
Making turning to the sun look gallant,
is the lazy thaw path to being freed.
There is no flash fried wisdom you shouldn’t shun,
but, perhaps, just revolve to face the sun.

POEM: Decay

People fear death,
but beyond death lies decay,
and one can rejoice in decay.

For to decay is
to be Santa handing out piles of gifts,
building blocks badly needed to make
stalks and sternums.

Becoming the dark, rich loam,
the color of coffee grounds,
from which shoots and leaves
sprout to chase the light.

Your gifts will keep giving
despite the people grieving
because you are a pile of

POEM: Surrender

The arrogance, shoving words into rows,
try to describe someplace only god knows.

A cube of rock, turned edge skywards,
loftily defying each, and all, of my words.

Jolie laide in its craggy perfection,
free from all vanity and dejection.

When it shrouds itself in cloudy veils,
it doesn’t do so because it quails.

It demands no awe and yet has mine.
It is the sacred, sans the shrine,
and, before it, I bow.

POEM: My Theory on the Long Shadow of Hitler’s Mustache

People once saw in it great panache,
but Hitler killed the toothbrush mustache.

Now no one would dare to wear it.

Except that groundskeeper from Magnum P.I.

who turned out to be the mysterious millionaire.

Maybe, his wealth was Nazi gold?

But that isn’t my theory of the long shadow of Hitler’s mustache.

My theory is that when the short mustache comes back in fashion,
great evil will sit upon our doorstep.

For it is more than a choice of facial hair,
it’s a barometer of remembrance
that lacks an indicator of the half-life
of evil’s stain upon our collective consciousness.

Or, maybe, it just looks stupid on your face.
As if you made a dreadful razor error
and tried to play it off as a plan
through use of symmetry.

In which case, someone should be charting
the rate of application for name change by
Hitlers, Himmlers, Goebbels, and Görings.

An Introvert’s Poem

Please don’t take this the wrong way,
but I wish you existed fewer hours per day.
It’s not that I don’t like your company.
It’s just that I wish your dosage were smaller.
It’s not like I wish you thinner, prettier, or taller,
I just wish there were less of you — temporally speaking.

POEM: Joker, or: Disruptive Forces

Among the brick rubble, down a side street from the temples encased in spiky, cuboid scaffolds, next to a bulging wall bolstered by beams knocked in at a slant, someone painted this graffiti of Heath Ledger’s Joker.

I stare at the maniacal face and can’t help but wonder whether someone painted it in the seven years between Ledger’s portrayal and the 2015 earthquake that broke Bhaktapur, or whether it’s a commentary on disruptive forces.

POEM: Dad’s Strange Lexicon

My father had a strange lexicon.

In second grade, we were playing a word-guessing game like the game show Password (if it were in a classroom of spastic 2nd graders.)

The word was: “BARN.”

I offered the clue: “HAYMOW.”

You can imagine the puzzlement in a classroom of mostly “city” kids raised on Richard Scarry vocabularies. I almost got beat up when my team — the losing team — decrypted my clue into “hayloft,” a clue that would’ve easily won the game.

Our house had a DOG-TROT. I know it was toward the middle of the house, but have no idea what its defining characteristic might have been. I do know that I never saw a single dog trot through the middle of our house because of the policy of “Outside for Animals – Inside for Humans” that reined in our household, except when a wily field mouse snuck in through the basement or a wood duck — distinctly lacking wiles — snuck its way down the chimney and into the wood stove.

I was told, with great conviction, that a “HAN-YAK” was second cousin to a “POT-LICKER.” As a child, I missed that these were terms of derision, and — I fear — I may have hung a slander upon my cousins by licking some marinara off the lip of a piece of cookware once upon a time.

POEM: Park in Motion

Three sights seen on my run in the park:

1.) a pup trotting in yaw as its nose and spine aligned on another dog while its neck followed the vector of the leash

2.) a slim-wristed, kurta-clad woman marching with such vigor of arm swing as to make it appear that her arms were rubber from the elbows down

3.) pairs playing net-less badminton such that making one’s “opponent” take a step would be considered bad form

POEM: Rush

Rushing water carves rock and clay away,
gouging out a statement in nature’s hand.
Water spatter creates a misty spray,
stinging sharply as pelted with wet sand.

A foamy ridge takes a serpentine form
on the glassy warp field glazing brook stones.
This wild water isn’t born of savage storm;
it’s the effortless effort of Zen koans.

My camera fails to capture the calm scene,
but blurs it into a tiny tempest,
transforming a mundane forest stream
into a world scarring menace.

In these rapids I see a tsunami
washing over isles of Izanami.