Prose & Poetry 2021

Dear Death

When Life gave us

all her gifts, one of them

was you, dear Death,

marionette dangling 

from the hands

of God


All my life

I've watched you

dance around me

prancing and glaring

showing your

several fangs a six year old

with a missing tooth

eyes red

and saucer wide

from scaring yourself

in the mirror

so many times


And you are indeed 

ghastly, and so very skilled 

at playing tag

so I run from you 


and fall for all your lies


But deep down I know 

that behind your disguise

you're just 

a simple guy

playing your part

with the best of hearts


And when the play is done 

you'll sigh and tell me,

"Honey, you were great!"

and we'll leave the theater

side by side

and walk out blinking

into the Light.


Asking for a World in Sorrow

When we open our hearts

to what we most fear

we grow strong

and valiant and sweet

and the light pours into us

from the unknowable

home of joy

Then we can ask 

for this agonized world

and hold her in our stillness

as she holds us in her sorrow

and there is no need

for escape.

Autobiography in a nutshell

I’ve loved my life

and feared it too 

but I’ve loved it more

so it would seem

or I would not

still be here

talking to you

My children 

I adored

and there was nothing

i would not do 

for them

but let them go

and so they fled

I filled my empty nest

with poems

cuddly creatures

who keep me busy

night and day

having my life 

their way


and full of dreams

they multiply

and all take wing

each and every one

heading directly

into the sun

Where they swear 

to play havoc

with the illusion of death

but all burn up

til nothing is left

but the peace

that passeth 



I know 

all too well

that living often seems

to bring nothing

but grief.


on this extraordinary day

I give thanks,

and thanks, and more thanks 

because somehow

for no reason at all

I have suddenly 

been filled 

with Light. 


from who knows where 

or how -

all I know is

Light is in me

IS me

as I am it -

full of joy.


even though 

the future still looms

with all its heartbreaking 

life-shattering probabilities


despite all rationality

today I am happy.

This morning when I awoke

legions of crows 

made me smile

flying in volleys past my window 

on their way to fulfill 

the urgent need for crows


And I was glad

performing my 

morning ablutions

imbibing my pills and potions

kissing my love

sending him out the door

with blessings,

and watching the day 

begin to unfold

its million possibilities...

How can this be,

such joy 

in a world of calamity?

I think it is just

that I live surrounded by royalty - 

all my friends and family, 

and everyone I meet

are kings and queens, joyous beings 

full of such dignity

and pure goodness 

that it makes me weep. 

You and I and they,

we share all things. 

We are the Light, 

the Life, 

the Meaning of the Universe. 

How can I stop giving thanks

and blessing everyone 

and everything?

This thing of blessing - 

some recoil at the word

believing it reveals 

allegiance to a certain sect

they see as evil

or at least embarrassing -

but I say the act of blessing

has nothing to do

with dead institutions

but is simply

the most natural response 

to being alive. 

Everyone I meet

and everything I see 

deserves a blessing, 

needs a blessing, 

and blesses me, 

who also deserve 

and need 

all the blessings

I can get. 

A blessing is protection, 

is joy, 

is caring, 

is recognition, 

is bottomless, endless gratitude. 

May this joy of blessing 

flood outward from our hearts, 

washing clean the Earth, 

radiating out beyond the farthest star, 

filling all the Universe

with Light.

Blessed Be All Things

in this and every Time and Space.

Blessed Be all that is,

has been, and is to be

Blessed be We

the Human Family.

Blessed Be. 

Blessed Be.

Blessed Be.

Dark Blessing

This morning at 6:15

the morning after 

the winter solstice 

of this unbecoming 

wayward year

the anemic dawn reveals

a murder of crows


in the skeletal embrace

of the tree outside my window

like an improbable set of

anti-Christmas ornaments

all pointing the same direction

They look indifferent

surly and tough

but under their black armor

they’re just beating hearts

hidden in fluff.


carelessly full of themselves

they drink the wet wind

and confabulate

in silent agreement

as they wait 

for the sunrise to whisper 

“It’s time!”

Hungry to keep them there

I watch them

the way I used to watch 

my children

as they walked away from me

down the hill to school

and if tomorrow 

these dark visitors return 

I will marvel and rejoice 

the same way I did back then

when my children 


each afternoon…

At last the reluctant sun 


over the rim of the world

to bless one more day 

of this bleak

black moon year

and one by one 

then one by many

the crows lumber up 

and out

and away

into the lavender sky

to deposit the boon

of their uncouth presence

across the land

Crows understand 

that because of their blackness

they will be targeted

but who gives a caw?

Crows are outside the law.

And anyway 

they’re in on the Plan

having once

long ago

agreed to be 

the accomplices

of Accident and Destiny

But crows are also

social beings

as I saw this morning

watching them flap

from branch to branch

crow to crow,

“Mornin’, how ya doin’?

Any news?”

Seems to me

we could learn a thing or two 

from the crows -

like how to be cool

and find our place

in the whole 

and how to say hello

and wish each other well

at break of day

and at the knell of night

Maybe then

we’d set each day going 

in a more interesting direction

and when darkness fell

we’d have sweeter stories 

to tell.

friendly wind

the soft wind moves with joy

in the darkness of the night

gentling my spirit

with caresses lush and light

friend, your humble welcome

restores my fearful heart

and in the dwelling of your love

I am reborn

and the night is deep and holy

with its shower of shining stars

and i am lost in kindness

like a leaf blown on the storm



in the grip of love

I move the way the trees do

swaying and tempestuous

in the great shifting airs

but rooted 

in patience

Blind as a bat

and making all kinds

of mistakes

I flap ever forward

while inside me

love blows my emptiness

into a smile

And I know

that when i die

i will ride

this wild, good wind


I had my story complete

I had my story

assembled, complete

all its parts lined up -

my whole identity 

my ship through time


And I stood at the helm

while Death danced 

on the brink

and held him at bay

by tossing him all

the agonies of loss

I feared:

all the imaginary  deaths 

my loves and I had died

so many million

million times


Brazenly I jeered

at His Grotesquerie

daring myself

to scare him away

but on he came


smashing all 

my favorite dreams


Just recently

a friend's child died

sailing his Toyota


through the empty air

and nothing his family 

could do or say

would make that horror

go away


So I ask and pray

for my friend 

and her careless 

sorry son

and for myself and all my own

and all who have lost

and will lose

and lose

and lose

until the end of time

I smile my soul numb

with optimist cheer

and when I still fear

to ride 

the wild day

I try the other way

mourning and weeping 

moaning, lamenting

and keening

but still

nothing will fill

the harrowing void


At last I go and find

my wisest friend 


and sit in silence

by his side

to watch the wavelets 

come and go

and all the boats and people

so valiantly pretending 

Death is not so


And all I know

is that the world is this way

and nothing I can do or say 

will change that reality 

in any way.


So I do 

the only thing I can:

I accept this whole dire

complex life entire,

complete with its two 

clasped hands

of Joy and Grief


And there 

In my helplessness

I find my humblest friends:

a gentleness and peace

to walk beside me

in my grief

and Faith

that day will follow night

even when we cannot 

yet see the light.



 The Body of Love

On certain

lucky mornings

my heart awakens happy

as if she had been embraced

all night long

held in warmth

and affection

Then I ask

who am I

who is my mother-father

where did I come from

and where might I

be going?

And I remember

not the details

but the flavor

of that place

where all of us are born 


in every moment

That place is a gentle realm 

without reasons 

without causes and effects

without sharp edges

without walls

without separation,


or fear

In that place

there is only welcome 

and the soft joy

of the heart’s embrace

That place lives

in the center of flowers

in the depths of forest pools

in sunlight laughing on the river

in the swimming fish 

and the lovely 

licking waters

In that place

everything is friendly:

the clouds in the sky

the enwrapping emptiness

the sparkling night

sweet Air

and her brother


the mountains and deserts

the community of the trees

all weather

and the resounding seas


all, all, all 

is the body of love

which is 

kindness incarnate

And so

whenever we are kind 

to each other

whenever we celebrate life

and share joy 

whenever we are good

to this world

and its multitude

of living things

we kindle that place 

within and among us

And that is how

we ourselves


the immortal body 

of love

The Great 21st Century Poemic 

It struck one day

out of the blue, 

cropping up all at once

in random spots

all across the planet

The first known cases

were a small boy

in Lincoln, Nebraska,

whom his mother found

one morning

reciting strange

and beautiful words

a small smile

on his small face


a grandmother

in Melbourne, Australia,

who was caught

that very same day

wandering the aisles

of a department store

reciting verses

from the Tang Dynasty

After that

the Poemic spread

lickety split

leaping like lightning

across whole continents 

and oceans

In London 

a mother of six woke up

spouting Tennyson

and in no time 

her entire family was babbling

in iambic pentameter

In Buenos Aires a family

was stricken

with the odes of Pindar

in the original 

ancient Greek

In Beijing

a whole neighborhood

was infested 

with Billy Collins

And so it went.

How the Poemic was able

to spread itself 

so far and wide

so fast

no one knew

At first 

it was thought to be passed

simply through the spoken word

but soon 

infectious particles

were discovered

hitching rides on sound waves,

in rays of sunlight

and even nestled

in random thoughts

Scientists also knew

that however it flew

it was always spewing out 

more and more spores

that would land

take hold

and grow 


It was only 

a matter of time

before the entire economy

of the world

had settled

into a deathly peaceful lull.

In the factories

no one stood on the assembly lines

In the banks 

no one begged for loans

and no one doled them out

In the schools

no one taught the state curriculum

and no one was bored

Day after day



simply dreamt the time away

to the murmured


of immortal poetry

both ancient

and new

Everyone assumed

that soon

the infection

would burn itself out

and things would go back

to normal

But instead

the Poemic only settled in

with a happy gurgle

sinking its teeth

deep into the tender underbelly

of the human genome 

And so it went

for days

and weeks

and months

and years…

Suffice it to say

that to this day

no known victim

has ever recovered

This is perhaps

a loss for History

but all things considered

no one

seems to be 



after the first onslaught

things began to change

in quite unobjectionable ways

People began to go about their days

speaking in poetry

and fixing things

and before long

no one was going hungry

no one was left out in the cold

no one sick was left uncared for

no one old was forgotten

no one sad was ignored

and no one anywhere

was afraid

of dying lonely

and alone


people sang

while they made soup 

and someone

was always baking cookies

Farmers smiled

at their cows

and hummed 

while they fertilized their fields


stopped scorning testimonies

of life after death

Physicians healed

by laying on of hands

Chemists formulated

harmless potions

that dissolved pain


led children into the fields

to study bugs and flowers

and wade in streams

and catch pollywogs

Young people studied 

what they loved

and got paid 

in poems

That was how it happened

that people stopped hurting each other

and simply did

what needed to be done,

and when the time came for rest

they sat together on porches

and admired the way

the dust motes danced

in rays of the sun

And little by little

in every place

every last member 

of the human race

began to wake up each day 

with a smile on their face

happy and peaceful

in every way

for no rational reason at all. 

La gran poémica del siglo XXI

Apareció un día


surgiendo como un todo

en distintos lugares

por todo el planeta

Los primeros casos conocidos

fueron un niño pequeño

en Lincoln, Nebraska,

a quien su madre encontró

una mañana

recitando extrañas

y hermosas palabras

con una pequeña sonrisa

en su carita

y una abuela

en Melbourne, Australia,

quien fue atrapada

ese mismo dia

vagando por los pasillos

de una tienda departamental

recitando versos

de la dinastía Tang


la propagación poémica

seguramente se expandió

saltando como un rayo

en continentes enteros

y océanos

En Londres

una madre de seis se despertó

escupiendo Tennyson

y en muy poco tiempo

toda su familia estaba balbuceando

en pentámetro yámbico

En Buenos Aires una familia

fue golpeada

con las odas de Píndaro

en el original

de la Grecia antigua

En Beijing

todo un barrio

estaba infestado

con Billy Collins

Y así sucedió.

Cómo pudo la poémica


tan lejos, tan ancho 

y tan rápido

nadie supo

Al principio

se pensaba 

que era transmitido simplemente 

a través de la palabra

pero pronto

partículas infecciosas

fueron descubiertas

montandose en ondas sonoras,

en rayos de sol

e incluso acurrucados

en pensamientos dispares

Los científicos también sabían

que a pesar de volar

siempre estaba produciendo

más y más esporas

que aterrizaban

se expandian

y crecian

en cualquier lugar

Era sólo

cuestión de tiempo

antes que toda la economía

del mundo

se había instalado

en una tregua mortalmente pacífica.

En las fábricas

nadie se detuvo en las líneas de montaje

en los bancos

nadie pidió préstamos

y nadie los repartió

En las escuelas

nadie enseñó el plan de estudios estatal

y nadie estaba aburrido

Día tras día

todo el mundo

en todas partes

simplemente soñaba el tiempo

a la murmurada


de poesía inmortal


y nueva

Todos asumieron

que la infección



y las cosas volverían

a la normalidad

Pero en vez

la poémica se instaló

con un feliz gorjeo 

hundiendo sus dientes

profundamente en el tierno vientre

del genoma humano

y asi sucedió

por dias

y semanas

y meses

y años ...

Basta decir

que hasta el día de hoy

ninguna víctima conocida

se ha recuperado

Esto es quizás

una pérdida histórica

pero considerando todas las cosas


parece estar



después del primer ataque

las cosas empezaron a cambiar

de manera bastante inobjetable

La gente empezó a su rutina diaria

hablando en poesía

y arreglando cosas

y en poco tiempo

nadie pasaba hambre

nadie se quedó afuera en el frío

nadie se enfermó y se quedó sin cuidado

nadie de edad fue olvidado

nadie triste fue ignorado

y nadie en ningún lugar

tenía miedo

de morir solo

y solitario

En cambio

la gente cantaba

mientras cocinaban

y alguien

siempre estaba horneando galletas

Los agricultores sonrieron

a sus vacas

y tarareaban canciones

mientras fertilizaban sus campos


dejaron de despreciar los testimonios

de la vida después de la muerte

Los médicos sanaron

por la imposición de manos

Los químicos formularon

pociones inofensivas

que disuelven el dolor


llevaron los niños a los campos

a estudiar insectos y flores

y a vadear arroyos

y capturar sapos

Los jóvenes estudiaron

lo que más deseaban

y fueron remunerados

con poemas

Así fue como sucedió

que la gente dejó de hacerse daño

y simplemente hizo

lo que se necesitaba hacer,

y cuando llegó el momento del descanso

se sentaron juntos en los porches

a admirar la forma que

las partículas de polvo bailaban

en los rayos del sol

Y poco a poco

en cada lugar

hasta el último miembro

de la raza humana

comenzó a despertar cada día

con una sonrisa en su rostro

feliz y pacífico

en todos los sentidos

sin ninguna razón especial.

Vindication - a mother’s learning curve

Dear child

for too many years

it was indeed

just as you have said:

When you told me

your troubles

I always assured you

all would be well

because I needed that

to be true:


were my life raft

in the existential sea

And you

and your siblings

seeing that I needed you

more than you 

needed me

grew wary

of frightening me

until finally

one by one

you left

and my life raft


in the wild deeps


O woe was me

with no clue

how to swim

I thrashed about

quite fruitlessly

before giving up

with a gasp and a groan

to wallow and flounder

and sink 

like a stone

And down I went


out of the blue

lo and behold

to my great relief

I found I could float

because my spirit

it seems

is naturally

as buoyant as can be

and that was when 

I knew

that if that was true 

for me

it was also true

for you

So now

when you come to me

in your adversity

I still say

“All will be well!”

but now 

I say it



in your predicament

I see the opening

of a door 

that leads to more

than you ever dreamt


the fulfillment

of your dearest dreams

And I know

that when the time is right

you will find the way

to pass

through that door

into the infinite unfolding

of who you truly are.