I learned the nightjar whip-poor-will

I learned the nightjar
Can sense a soul departing,
Its wing chord
Precedes the darkness –
A nighthawk shadow
Hunting down the light
Like prey.

Does it carry us then
Through the sidereal night
To the end of stars?
Where black as diamonds
Carbon sings its last,
And wings fold tight in a
Last dive past gravity –
Our final compact
With certainty.



For Wednesday Poetry Prompts

Psalm 1:23 PM

Every afternoon now
I walk to the corner of 59th
And Madison Avenue
In New York City.
Which is neither
Nor there.

Each time
I ask.

I ask the kebab guy,
The Uber driver,
The delivery man unloading
His truck,
This or that
Woman or man
Waiting for the light.

Of course they can’t hear me.
I ask myself too I guess.

Except I don’t really know
What my question is.
I want the world –
All the kebabs, cars, subway grates –
To make sense somehow.
I want to believe
That maybe one piece
Of life hangs together
With another.

“Everything is connected!”
You, my reader, just replied
In your head.
Of course. I say that too
Every day
In my head.

Why would you accept
Such an easy answer
That means so little?

I’m not interested in Truth.
Really just the kebab guy
And me,
And whoever walks by.
The light on sidewalk
Outside the shoe store.

Sure, OK,
I believe in kababs. I
Probably believe in you

And not getting run over
In the crosswalk.
That’s good.



For Wednesday Poetry Prompts

Life Craft

The list of things you can’t know
Includes songs of the New Hebrides –

How to whistle south of the Solomons,
And arias of who died in the Coconut War.

You laugh, but it is not your sons
Who are fallen.

I insist on archipelagos,
Obscure republics and music of the spheres;

You teach me to recognize my mother,
Distant in the constellation of Virgo.

Chiaroscuro that passes the time,
Our hopeless conjuring as we drift.



For Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 413

Paleo Blues

She said I had
Paleo blue eyes
light, the color of water
from before Fire –

Then dawn over Manhattan
greeting us
like the oldest sunrise
in history,

Where my ribs, ancient,
are stuffed in the mud
of Olduvai Gorge,
aching for excavation,

Ten Million
with ten million
more to go –

One by one
I pull my bones from the bed,
evolve them together yet again.
and go walk the dog.



Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 406

The Garden

You said “jacaranda”
And I “bougainvillea”,
But neither of us know a thing
About either other than
The divine comedy of
Loving words,
Like when we didn’t know
The names for birds
So we invented them –
Marmalade Bunting,
Clicky-Throated Sparrow
The Tobias Finch –
The error of our ways
Like the joyous mistakes
Of Creation,
In the beginning
Was the Word
As God was just
Making stuff up
And here we are


For Wednesday Poetry Prompts


Crickets and weeds cooked dry
In the great dirt skillet
Of the Colorado Plateau –
Record heat crackling
Across to the Panhandle.

In 1942, men of my family
Put down ranching
And took to the sky,
Their tillers trained on Tokyo.
First settlers in covered wagons.
First Lieutenants in flight squadrons.

The Dust Bowl had left
A hard piece of scrabble,
Not enough topsoil
To hold any roots.

The ground grumbling,
Angry, stampedes of B27’s
From Pueblo Field –
Beasts of the earth
Transformed by speed,
Heat and wings rise
Shimmering from the land.

Maybe from the air
Flashes of feldspar
Were a beacon
From the bare rock atop Pikes Peak –
That original, distant promise
Soaring up from the prairie.



Wednesday Poetry Prompts:397


There’s a whole
In my pocket
That I worry
Like a prayer.

Maybe the opening from a
Crown of thorns
Or roses
That will prick my forehead.

Or an oculus
I can use to
Peer through
And see the firmament.

Perhaps a rent from a shard of time,
A splintered second
Left behind in the wash
Like a piece of glass.

Curious, I turn my mind
Inside out and shake. But only
A key, some change,


Standing in darkness
Before a pool of water lilies –
Lamplight shadows for company
And some coins in your hand
To toss for good luck.

One last prayer
Might be all you have
Before you go.

No promise
Of miracles.
No way to know if
Only you
Will hear.

You could finally answer
To what your life
Was made of:
How much was Love,
Or Fear,
Or Duty.

But you already
know that,
Don’t you?