When Poppies Bloomed

Mother had good taste,
very fair skin, war-tested
love for us. And hats.

She’d spread a picnic
when the poppies bloomed a short
spell in the desert.

And she made the best
of it: deviled eggs, iced-tea,
tiny sandwiches.

All round us poppies
overachieved, red and gold,
while mother hovered.

Millenial Cafe

I’m reading Horace
at the Millenial Cafe.
Clean-shaven amongst

two-day beards and
Spartan girls. Monotones, squeals.
How they seize the day!

“Futurity is
infinite” (Mitchie’s II2).
They come in, go out,

through the door with them
cold views of oil-slick potholes
crushed by SUVs.

The New Well

Today the trees thrash
in the thick Spring sunshine, light
both subject and med-

ium. On soft sum-
mer nights my dad would take me
to see a new well.

The heavens above
it were blank of stars, the noise
and glare enormous.

Oil rules the world. Big
oil broke him. Wars, rumors of wars.
Out of the void, light.

.

Birthday Ode for Stephen D’Evelyn

All distances one;
what light there is cold drizzle
distributes. Sea nor
continent between
us, Steve, on your birthday. Un-
cork the single malt
that will have arrived
by now and sip, perhaps in
privacy, perhaps
with children, wife, or
friends. Include me as you toast
your growing circle
of witnesses to your cause–
the least loved of all.

Buson’s Stones

The blank page returns
the glare of the Spring sun. Rock
by rock, blow by blow,
grunt by grunt, we’d carve
a fountain in the hillside,
my father and I.
The rocks danced in my
mind. Today, I sit and wait,
words floating in space.

First Love

Windrow cottonwoods
at the yard’s edge shimmer and
sigh, the grass beneath

them hard to lie on.
Lying there looking up I’m
undergrounded, shade-

and-hot-wind day-dreamed.
Grass sticks to my bare back; I
still itch those traces

marking my first love,
still hear the crickets rise-and-
fall song through it all.
.

Stoic

Words do fly away
like seeds from radiant trees
and likewise, this verse
is ephemeral.
Here Pacific breezes mix
with wind from the Gorge,
the East-West exchange.
I’ll stick by verse, ask nothing
more from life than this.