from At the Musarium (Virtual Chapbook)

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Tell me my lovely camel,
would you prefer to go up hill
or down?

Tell me master,
who has blocked the straight way across the desert?

First published: Bear Creek Haiku. Ayaz D Nelson, ed. (2007)


various painters, 2002

Watercolorists try harder.
But the titles that they give
can sometimes seem amateurish
for fauve cows & photo realism.
“Moonstruck” stretches its rigging
across a silent sea groaning to the pull
of taught forces. Scenes of Venice abound
in “Reflections” & one more “Evening’s Last Glow.”
These conventional ambitions respond well
to alla prima, wet on wet, masking,
& stretching, beguiling us with “negative
painting.” “A Roma” is a pun on perfume
pinned to a study of shimmering decanters
of nickel & glass. “Face to Face” brings us
nose-to-nose with a grand-fatherly bull,
presumably toothless. Goodbye to summer
& unkept promises. Pears & stripes forever.
“Innocence Lost” shows us the cat that
ate the canary. “Make Mine Peppermint”
is the one that drew me in, to sit under
one of its red umbrellas, to wait, but nothing
happens. She doesn’t come. “Time
Stands Still” arrests a guttering candle.
“School’s Out” seems blind to irony:
these fish will never escape.

First published: Write from Wrong. (Sept. 2010). Web.




Like clouds performing
waves against the sky,
down sun dappled
leave speckled
fireball streets,
the children home in on their cartoons
the bus driver on his shot of hooch.

Frist published: Buffalo Vortex. William Sylvester, ed. (1 Feb 2009).



perhaps I will try to snap a picture with my poem
like this young married couple in Sunday summer outfits

do, her bare back striped with a tan-line, just before
gulls come, attracted by the thrashing in the water

we all go down, a squirrel has brought a bag of peanuts
to munch as it watches, but the ducklings seem unaware,

gathered about their mother, a shifting cluster of downy balls
bobbing atop the wriggling spiny weeds submerged & agitated,

up above singing comes from the church, organ driven
“faith of our fathers living still” in them who remain

“true to Thee till death,” but these fish know no faith,
when the drive is in ‘em they do not balk, they try themselves

against all obstacles, relentless, like the current flowing back
on itself while all strength lasts, massing together where

this concrete catch-all interferes with their dash upstream,
they are garbage fish, carp, the biggest fucking goldfish

you ever wanna see come to muddy the poisoned pathetic Scajaquada
with their spume and spawn, they are not great leapers & the water

is low, yet they heave their heavy bulks & seethe in slow turmoil,
but here, look, they are everywhere churning, spanking the water

with their mighty tails, sun yellowing their fins & sides,
they grip each other as they can, spin in sinuous desire,

the waters above & below the barrier are alive
with their slidings & rapacious nuzzlings, gaping their mouths

as if to devour one another, they whirl in corkscrew mixes
of fishy bodies suave & gray, glinting in the green-brown water

disturbed with many motions, in pairs & threes & fives, rising volcanic
from the underside of dark shallows always at most half visible

Frist published: Pea River Journal 4. (May 2017): n. p. Print.



the way the gas pours out of the
spigot in flames—
the mildness of evening—
though intense, copper moon astride the thunder cloud

(here we) have) the) daffodils again & the dogwood
the greenwood, the blossom, the leaf, & tonight
something has given me fever: a stomach
virus, too many ultra-lite cigarettes

the texture of early spring is the
texture of a lattice fence: laddering
out in all directions, with lots of
holes, diamond-shaped & hard

or a cheese grater
memory itself is like a soaking pot
left for a day in the sink & there will always be

the recognition that everything is
futile: the clean kitchen floor
the dogwood blossom—
gives what?

returns to us these things in the innocence
of their hope
the kettle boils, the spaghetti crunched
in half

I feel the fever in my hair roots—
wherever I have hair
my head, along my arms, something stirs
below the skin like pins—

First published: Puerto del Sol. Josette Arvizu, ed. (Winter 2007). Print.



not in the air
on the broken concrete walk
near remnants of January ice
wings at it
flailing rapid circles
like grounded hummingbirds
twisting & bedding, twisting & bedding
one black ball of feathers
beaks at it
twisting & bedding
on the broken granite-hard walk
still for a moment
for a moment more
one black ball of wings
then off—
toward opposite
corners of sky

First Published: H. O. D. (Winter 2011). Web.



The Zen of selling was told by a Venetian girl:
She used to sell swords in San Marco. She never
sold a shaving mirror, till one day she sold four.
There’s a kind of energy, you see,
the kind that brings us together
this evening, spontaneously. Another
time she was selling expensive bible sets,
for weeks without luck. Then she took
an intensive training course. One must learn
to read the dream of each person from their house,
their character from a stray photograph—
& convince them that fulfillment is in what
is being sold. It worked! She enjoyed
visiting many families, as many as 20
in a day, reading their dreams. Then
one day a man answered the door
who had been running the vacuum cleaner.
The Venetian girl had always wanted one like that.
No problem, the man’s brother-in-law sells them
door-to-door. She must have one!
It was the Zen of selling.

First published: Buddhist Poetry Review. Jason Barber, ed. (June 2011). Web.



the birds were next to gain intelligence
their feathers had fallen
except for a patch on their enlarged heads
and down under their wings

they took to wearing skins of animals
but continued to walk upright
to waddle the streets of earthen cities
when they started to speak
they lost the gift of song

of course
not all birds evolved this way
some continued much as now
and were called angels

bird science excavated our future
and found our bones
they diagramed our anatomies
and copied our forms
parliaments imposed taxes

worms were no longer a staple
three chambers could not get enough
blood to the brain: jealousy
emptied the skies

First published: Blood Lotus. Stacia Fleegal, ed. (Jan 2009) Web. <>