The trip

Reading the patina-seasoned bronze postcard
at my feet stokes no inner desire of mine to travel

Details are scarce; dates, no places.

This is premium vacation time, a long time coming
traveling solo; no timeshares, no all-inclusive-cruise –
hostel or hostile? No clue, just reading the postcard

No routine platitudes, clichés; ‘having wonderful time’
‘wish you were here’ – is he really, on either count?

Once you have saved – been saved – and pay hefty
sums to take this trip the obligation to proclaim your
enjoyment becomes an eternal Sword of Damocles –
twenty-four/seven party or bored, bored, bored, bored
matters not to reader, nor apparently, the writer

Postcards are banal, erudite half-truth memos;
thumb—your-nose-at-the-workaday-slackers jokes, and
‘wish you were here’ – not. ‘Having really wonderful time.’

I’ll bet – because we all place ours in some way, all in.

If the truth could be told it would but it can’t. It just can’t.
But really…would you want it to?

Hell of a deal, missing out on a swell trip, but I can surely
wait, go much later as reservations are not accepted, but
natural, and earned with lifetime of experience, cancelled
only by faith – thankfully without any tacked-on fees.

Questions, so many questions, about his return; will
he need a pickup, or just grab a cab? Wonder what he’ll
bring me for a souvenir, if he’ll have anything to declare.

I wonder about such a long trip – I’m no where near
ready to travel, myself – but when I do, should I bring a
stack of postcards or just buy them in the gift shop?
What about stamps? How frequent is the mail?

I’ll write something different, unique. Or so I say now.

‘Having wonderful time – wish you were here lies…’

Picasso Bunyan

A poet friend goes to the
piney north woods only after
stopping by the local
hardware store where he
picks up paint-chip cards.

Holding them up to
whatever thing of nature
he is writing about,he then
aspires to be Crayola literate
in his effortless verse.

Lying in those very same
north woods, gazing at a glassy
sky full of stars framed by
towering jack pines and aspens,
matted with moonlight, I need no
cardboard strips,knowing full well
‘damn fabulous, spectacular blue’
when I see it.

A shade, by the way,
Hardware Hank doesn’t even carry.


It was the day the
circus came to town
we went and you made
a small joke about the
contorting monkeys
wishing I was as limber,
simianly creative.
My chuckling retort
comparing you –
favorably, I thought –
to the barking seal
was a ball dropped.

I could see your point
about dogs jumping
through hoops,
while you failed to
appreciate my
rhetorical crack about
lionesses eating their young.

We remained silent through
the acrobats and the guy
shot from the cannon; laughed
uncomfortably at the
unicycle riding jugglers.

Contrary to your rationale
my lifes’ messes are not
elephantine in size while
I meant nothing personal
noticing the zebra’s stripes
didn’t make it seem thinner.

It was the day the
circus came to town
and we never, ever,
called each other clown.

Not my tempo

I have never danced with the devil.
We have, however, chatted amiably
around the punchbowl a time or two

Old pros(e)

(for Ron H.)

A friend of mine – fellow
poet – likes Bukowski while I
much prefer Frost

he disdains Ferlinghetti
can’t understand why I don’t
says Dickinson has no beat

we share a fondness for
Ginsburg’s rants, Stein and
Plath, part ways on Whitman –
my cure for insomnia,
his touchstone in grass

Over cold beers we muse
about paying our poets dues
knowing that once we finally,
finally get it right

others will someday gladly,
vociferously disagree
about the two of us.


He was a shaman always
clad in sacramental
wool plaid shirt, dirty cap

there are no mountaintops
in Minnesota’s northwoods

Enlightenment here comes
from atop decaying tree stump
aside rustic leaf and pine needle
carpeted trails cutting through
towering pines, birch, oak
you stop, sit for a spell

solemnity in this place dictated
with wry smiles, knowing nods…
rubbing of beard stubble chins;
moral lessons here punctuated
with a joke, tall tale, or sly wink

The guru walks with you;
there is no sacred pilgrimage to
be made no sacrifices requeted
or self-flagellation required

unless you make the joke
on yourself

Wisdom came to me on short
walks I wished even then could
have lasted much longer.


She crosses my mind from time to time
in a downtown crosswalk, distracted,
late-for-a-lunch-date manner

sometimes she is more casual, unaware,
letting the dog out, grabbing the Sunday
paper off the sidewalk before brunch

She crosses my mind from time to time
weaving through downtown like a drunken
sailor in 3 inch pumps with a broken heel

sometimes she paces as if her cab is late

She crosses my mind from time to time
usually without warning and always,

always, always against the light


Calendar, clock, seasons
youth, maturation, death
functional, pre-meditated
change for the sake of change

Desire, plans, politics
she loves me not, she loves me?
Change on the fly, on a whim,
on a wing-and-a-prayer. On the lam.

Change happens to you regardless
ignoring change is not desiring
the status quo, just denial
dressed up for a night on the town

Umm, you have change for a fifty?


He noticed her

sitting there, reading

Trying to capture
some of her bookish

he prodded hopefully
“Ahh. The plot thickens.”

“Like old Hollandaise”
she replied, without
looking up

He turned on the
television, swearing
off books

Requiem for pals

The roll call is read
the dead members of a
reunioning high school class

twenty-fifth, thirtieth, fortieth…

‘In Memoriam’ reads the blurb
on the back page of the program
momentary reverence emceed

and just for a briefest moment,
time truly does stand still

classmates remembering those
whose eternity came early
thinking of them as they were
and as they would never be

then, the D.J. plays on.

The night is young.