When I die, please bring me back as a tree

Only then will I have the wisdom I need to endure this world.

hardly are those words out

when I remember the grace and intelligence
of trees -- how they bend and sigh in
every flavor of wind,

their persistence in all weather,
their silent wisdom, waiting through
generations of human invention

(if that is to be their story)
or for their end in fire, flood, amputation,
bug infestation --

how they retreat inward with November
behind dark, mossy bark,
hiding their lives deep in roots

clutching frozen mud, or shake
shawls of snow from evergreen branches,
letting peckers and squirrels and robins

nestle in their leaves and needles --
how they breathe in our poisons with
detached compassion,

exhaling a healing oxygen --
how they never complain or attack,
and just convert their suffering into love.

Is it possible to be so freaked out that you’re bored?

I think I might be overloaded with fear for the future, so much so that I’ve lost the ability to really care.

surely some revelation is at hand

so many signs -- near total eclipses
60 degree days in February tree buds

popping loose in March daffodils breaking
through stone doors flying from planes

while passengers go batshit in the aisles
earthquakes in new jersey bombs falling

on hospitals shooters rampant in every
public space dictators’ flags flapping

over suburban homes female family
annihilators throwing their children

onto freeways insistent even aggressive
birdsong a constant soundtrack --

i find myself suspended inside a bubble
of ominous quiet like the eye of a hurricane

ears ringing in the sudden stop heartbeat
a ticking clock something massive is surely

coming welling up in the silence gathering
impossible force almost ready to explode

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Not that you care, but today I’m feeling groggy, disoriented, sleepy, and vaguely disgruntled. It’s like all of the joy and hope I felt yesterday has left me with a hangover.

the best lack all conviction

wandering, alone, dazed and confused
in hedge mazes hewn from legal speak and
wishful thinking. They stumble into dead

ends and queer sand traps, gopher holes
to snap their ankles, and hear the echoes of 
faroff voices, rising and falling like waves,

over the clink of expensive silverware, 
the music of casual laughter, a muted
string quartet. 

No wonder they lose all sense 
of direction and purpose, faced with such 
frustration, turning

over and over into blind alleys 
lined with vicious branches, prevarications
on a single theme of entrapment.

Now, as it gets dark, it seems
that distant party has been thrown only
as a mirage,

to torture these best few
with the hope of release; 
this game works to keep these last

persistent seekers circling
endlessly back to the center,
where a sarcastic bronze statue,

mottled with age and cast
long ago with the name TRUTH across its base,
poises over an empty fountain,

pissing air into air.

Happy birthday to the best boy/man ever!

This guy loves cheesy cards and making fine cuisine. He’s a kitchen singer, a fish tickler, and a goofball extraordinaire. I am DAMN LUCKY to be hitched to him for life.

And Now for Something Completely Different
Eclipse Birthday Poem for Dave

Nature’s celebrating you today, slipping the moon
in front of the sun, as if to somehow highlight your
inner brilliance. Because you shine, darling, blaze
in my imagination whenever I’m asked to “set an

intention” or figure out all I’m grateful for -- like our
friend Petty sort of sings, I got lucky, babe, when
I finally met you, there on the U of A breezeway, 
third time the charm. True confession: I recognized

your light from the first but refused, twice, to let it
in, suffering my own emotional eclipse, craving 
the pain of inauthenticity and rejection, closing my eyes
against unconditional connection. But here you are,

34 years later -- partner, heart, infinite source of
warmth, love, life -- never any moon between us. 

but then again…

Up and down the escalator of hope and despair.

the ceremony of innocence

starts with a single clear drop, a wordless
reverberation like a clap of silent thunder 

bodiless, it can’t be conceived or heard except
as a wordless thought among thoughts

that sinks into sod, gushes into hidden springs
breaks concrete with silent menace

that evaporates into April air, to be breathed in and out
by lurking herds of wild and wordless animals

that swells polluted rivers, rushing ever south
through industrial towns stinking with silence

to find the ocean’s many mouths and tongues
ravenous for its wordless blood

and drift out to nowhere, invisible island 
where salt and sun collide in merciless silence

Spring wins

I’ve been down in the dumps, per winter, and now the earth’s movement is waking me.


the earth keeps shifting
inch by inch 

and here 
sun floods 

stubborn roots
loosens dirt

air and sap

wakes bulbs 
that thrust shoots 

through winter’s 


reasserts itself
despite us

Back on top for the moment

Like the weather, I think I’m a collision of beauty and terror, love and revenge.

The Blood-Dimmed Tide

recedes now into the calm breath
of a living universe, each 

atom expanding and contract-
ing with a heartbeat louder than 

love, more infinite, enduring. 
Here on the mat, molecules fall 

back into place . . . impatience, rage, 
frustration, and grief subside, settle, 

float downriver like yellow leaves 
on their way to eventual

resurrection, a string of word-
less prayers, seeds for future trees.

Grumpy gross snow day

It’s disgusting outside right now.

Mere Anarchy 

With all the ways and means we have to communicate
-- text, Google docs, f2f, IMs, class discussion, email, etc --
why do you ask me the same questions, 6 or 8
times a semester? The answer appears quadriplicate:

on the syllabus, in an email, on the freaking sign up,
in a calendar invite. I’m dizzy just reviewing it, losing
track, spinning, disintegrating, madly bringing up the
schedules, links, documents, assignments, shit!

How many times will you make me clean your electronic 
rooms? It’s right there, I bet, the info you just demanded, 
offered over a week ago, see? Lurking under ads for bionic
AI, pizza, appeals from politicians -- I’m offended

by the implication I don’t know what I’m doing. Can’t
you pay attention? Why should I be your mind and mine?
Meanwhile, my inbox explodes with redundant asks
for the same information I’ve already offloaded 4 times

into the ether. What else is the internet for? I need, like
you, to drain my brain. It’s outdated, overloaded, exploding 
into pixels and lithium fireworks. So don’t ask me to reload.
Read your email for a change. And write your own life.