On the Stafford Centennial

You spent your life writing poems
shaped from the earth
with the quiet force of water,
reminding us of the danger
of putting anyone
on a pedestal
within or without.
Now that you’re gone
we dress you up
in hero’s cloth
but I recall the dry dust
of the internment camps,
the forgotten people
on the edge of town,
the hubris of war
and the darkness that waits
beyond the frail light
of our traveling circus.
I remember these things Bill
and won’t forge them
into a statue.





Tell It All

When you’re writing the epitaph
make sure to tell about the broke down trucks,
the cabin on the creek with the blown off roof,
the cobblestone curb on the lower Eastside
where we found two junkies crying,
remembering how they once had been
we bought them both a slice.
The dogs and the pups you loved,
the way the kids smelled in their sleep
and my hand all wrapped in a sock
after I caught it in the saw
building that house on the Cane.
Morning sun on the rimrock,
the laughter of the canning room,
walking in the deep woods
and the way we broke our hearts.
You should mention how I let you down
but we stayed together,
how the weight bent us double
yet we didn’t break.
Maybe the crazed look in Bob’s eyes
or the viking with his drywall trowel;
the little cabin in the islands,
and the woman who taught me kindness.
Tell it like it wasn’t –
cowboying in Argentina,
rescuing ships at sea
and how we laugh
when the truth doesn’t matter.
Forget what you don’t like
but be sure to mention the redhead
with her Irish potatoes,
old Henry who worked us to shame
and how we gave them hell.
Tell it brother. Tell it all.



Linda and Don on Waldron


Lifted from our Skin

Who am I to ask you questions,
you’ve lived your life,
taken the risks
of love defeated
and moments shining.
Do I need to hear it all
or can I rest with you
in the silence,
letting pulse pound
until lifted from our skin
we know the truth
of the unscarred eternal,
weather worn, bent by time
undivided and forever.




Blessing to Begin

In the dark of early morning
when first light flickers
the quiet peace intact
before the city stirs,
I lend my voice
to the undimmed stars
with news of the worried planet
torn by war and secrets,
the earth herself betrayed,
offering a prayer of thanks
within the unconscionable,
grateful, open hearted
asking for day’s light
and a blessing to begin.




Belonging to the Night

The bare trees and gypsy fog are in love
our dark valley full of their entwining,
no moon, only streetlight
and everywhere winter silence
holding their embrace
belonging only to the night
and unseen movement of the stars.