Short Poems

on a steel road, looking


I’ve written numerous short poems over a period of thirty-five years. Included here is a selection of the ones I continue to read.

The Wind

After the birds fledge

the wind has nothing nasty to do

save picking off tourists’ hats

and moving them to another county.

So wisely, it rests,

listens to the dragonflies,

observes the other bugs wandering about and

waits for the coming Fall.

–2018-19

I’m  A  Monarchist

The monarch butterfly,

long free of its cocoon and

wandering,

takes a solo flight,

down Bleecker Street,

in New York City.

The pigeons in Father Demo Square

don’t give a damn,

nor do the winos, retired folks,

panhandlers, young lovers, junkies,

and other malcontents

watching the pigeons,

imitating ants,

endlessly looking for food.

The monarch isn’t looking for food.

It doesn’t care who’ll kick its fuckin ass,

or whether the market’s up or down.

It’s never been to a market of any kind.

It doesn’t have an ass.

All it wants is out,

and south,

Maybe to Mexico if it’s lucky

and there’s enough milkweed along the way.

I wonder how I can help,

as it veers and banks,

just missing

being gobbled

by the grill on an ’83 Ford.

A slice of sunshine at Carmine Street blinds.

I lose it for a minute.

Someone asks me for money.

The monarch feints, turns,

takes a block from a step-in van,

And it’s gone.

–1995

A Bird

One more worm,

then he rests.

Listless,

bum that he is,

he opens his beak,

and the wind, the stars

become merely shadows.

–2003

Untitled

Bursting off the pond

the mallard sings,

first with his wings

then with his crazy mouth,

addressing the wind.

No Koan Here

Things settle

at the airports, and

traffic resumes.

Among the milkweeds,

the butterfly levels his wings.

He banks, drops six legs,

and casually touches down.

–2006

Three “Kinda” Haikus

———————————

look under the washboard—

a silverfish, weeping.

———————————-

zip up your slicker,

you wet old chipmunk.

———————————-

I wish the stars

had more energy.

–2008

Veteran 

I don’t see them, 
the trains unloading, 
the planes unloading, 
the mothers, aunts, and cousins, 
the wives, the lovers, the friends and 
acquaintances, 
with nothing to do. 
with nothing to do. 
I’ve got lots to do. 
I have my chores; 
I must balance my books. 

I don’t see them; 
I don’t see the cattle cars  
going out to the range, 
or the “dust off” choppers  
 coming home,  
 sometimes in, 
 sometimes on, 
 a white cross 
in the emerald dirt. 
I don’t see that. 
I have to vote. 
I have the business of the world 
to attend to. 

So I don’t see  
the drill fields and 
the minefields,  
the pitched tents and pitching decks, 
the empty cans of kerosene. 
I cannot see  
the midnight awakenings and 
the hammocks of sweat, 
or crying children, 
some friendly,  
some not. 
some not. 
I don’t see them. 
I can’t. 
I’m home,  see? 
Home. 
A flag 
in my curled,  
grey  
hand,
I’m home.
–circa 1989