Cheap Bar Song

First there is the way she looks;

ok, be all smart and mature

but when you saw her the first time

something in you changed and you know it.

Then there’s what she is

which if that doesn’t humble you

down to your hairless shins

you might as well go back

to grazing with the cows.

Then there’s who

which takes a long time

though some men will say it doesn’t

as they are prone to lie,

for the real “seeing” of a woman

is years in the making,

just glimpses now and then

until one day you notice her

in her everyday coat,

arms crossed against the wind

and you know God’s blessed you

in a way none of your maneuvering

could have deserved and won’t again

so some part of you settles in

for the long haul

that every cheap bar song

moans about as love.





Winter Root

Rain settles like a wet glove,

the air silver with fog,

ground beginning to soften

after the long summer drought.

I finally sleep, my body waking

with the gravity of stone,

peace like an old friend

come to visit with unspoken kindness.

As leaves let go I begin the drop

to winter root; no hurry to the pace

governed by rain and cool air,

falling from high branches

toward earth’s russet blanket

and the dark ground of being.



To What Wanders

There’s always a place for an old horse
Though it can take no more to the long road.”
          – Tu Fu, 768


Gunfights and gone lovers

crowd into dreams

wanting their stories retold,

yearning to be remembered.

I sort each night

through their purgatory

adrift except a dream

give them taste

of life among the living.

In the morning

I leave the worn trail

knowing one day

I’ll look back

on those yet alive

but now here you are

returning my eyes

to the light of day,

the fruit of our tree

upon slender branches

with a river of green

flowing out from every finger

to what wanders in the night.


Sidewalk Rose

What ails but thought
of the big problem
and right solution
while morning slips away
and the last scarlet drops
from the climbing rose
beside our door,
a gift to the sidewalk
and all who pass us by.