Oh beautiful, noisy, lonely train
the sole of Italy roars past you
the sea sparkles in starlight as
you chase like a dolphin by her side.

Composed: 7-6-95

Frist Published: Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry. (April 2007).




Matisse at the window

Total pictorial intensity, the stage
spread with expression, the wave
held up for all to see—the circus balance
between feeling & will, the broken
flowing of the dancers, tables arranged
with crystal & oranges, colors
exchanging lines of force like lovers
in lazy luxury of calm desire:
Form from within, worked & re-worked, until I look at last
upon my own mind: until all I see & the world I move in
aspire to be one of my pictures. The blank canvas
easeled near the window waits again
energy of eyes’ urge for hand to answer.
Look how it trembles! The Seine
a plane of light, the church
above the bridge, all a bleeding blue. Ah!
but not the piercing blue of Nice, for where
is the star-bright splash of Icarus?
the tiger’s strip? An image, that’s all
I am to you! I tell her she doesn’t understand. An image,
an image is expression, the form intuition takes,
creates, the refined performance of all I feel & know
of thee. She opposes me, my nerves are bad, my voice
stutters. I feel stuffy as a banker in this shirt.
Shall I strip, paint my body blue
& roll across the scissors?

Composed: 5-8-97
First published: Nexus 43. David Nichols, ed. (Winter 2007): 49. Print.


Alan E. Cober, 1997

Wind whistles through centuries waking devils—
the wind rattles through walls
shaking down a turbulence of images.
This ruddy, bulbous nose
my ears, senses, eyes, hands—
the flesh of me feels deceptively moored & stable
but I spin in a vortex.
You spin in one, too. Though I show the same face
as the moon, I belong only to the vanishing
instant. I am already my own cadaver.
The calm behind these supple brows is alert
to that certain prophesy.
The wind has bleached the light
spits rain, creates floods, unearths bones—
slits open the brown valley.
How soon these pigments perish. They fade
as does your own seeing.

Composed: 6-25-08
First published: Write from Wrong. (Sept. 2010). Web. <>


Psalm Something


ona bike, it’s easy ta coast
accumulated spiral streets
asphalt for silica, concrete for curbstone
of rock built up, chamber by chamber
melted & cast, moistened & worn
by all the natural processes of memory
portraits of formal elegance in the balance
of dilapidated storefronts
the filaments of lives & histories

in the old attic, what was felt, the
weight of each individual thing
fusions of hands & eyes
dampened reverberations under the steep roof
buzzing summers of nesting wasps
the slight sucking of linoleum
footfalls on the narrow stairs
corroded & yellowed silver inner workings
of the dormer mirror honeycombing an image
a child’s dim face

we collected each morning on the black-topped schoolyard
groups of trousers & jumpers keeping separate
in a calliope of sizes, heaped under heavy winter wraps
’til sister empties her bell & we
fall in line, watching little cyclones of wind lift
streamers of snow, resisting
order & it was easy to see self had no boundaries
zigzags of sisters & brothers shading youngest to oldest

or one saw turning one’s head
in the tiny church vestibule in stormy weather
most everyone one knew, their naked eyes, raincoats, rubbers
mittens, hats & heard all one knows
in their voices down to one’s own thoughts
clutching the same books, anger, laughter, favorite things
the full globe of parish families embracing each other
in their children, Lord, Thou givest them, they gather
Thou hidest Thy face, they are troubled.

Composed: 12-16-92
First Published:  Fifteen Project. Pat Lawrence, ed. (2008). Web. [defunct]


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.