Through My Window

Kenning in the 21st Century

I was happy so many facebook friends liked my post

about spawning bioluminescent squid 

that glow the same deep blue color

as the solar stringlights on my rose arbors


But a trade magazine said I needed to know the reach

of my social networking and offered  free tools for that

The net result shared with my five hundred plus friends 

— I scored a measly ten that should have been a twenty.


Alas, I am a peabrain on the internet

inadequate tagging of friends, no use of hashtags, 

stuck on Strunk & White when I should be converting 

to no space CamelCase and abandoning the LandLine


Too much time spent in the leafmold

hauling old barbwire from fenceposts

Sometimes I am a keystriker and sometimes I use miserysticks

but I am always a hayseed in the boondocks.


[1st draft. I think the first two stanzas will go]



 The Undoing


Breathless as a queen, thrall at her feet

undoing her high button shoes


in a time when flounces and frills

lace berthas, bustles and bloomers


trains pleats and crinolines masked

the scented body like a skin


the slow release of ribbons and beads

dropped gloves and hairpins undone


reveal the delicate pale ankle

wrist, hand, neck – the wrapped gift


She sighs and I sigh centuries later

the great wheels of progress not without loss


I wonder what would happen if we went slow

in this time of earth shoes and flip flops


would we explode with impatience

or would romance ride in on horseback



Edinburgh Book Festival

Beyond the fringe of mimes and jugglers

tents and pavilions of poets

word smiths hawking their wares

books and broadsides autographs and advice

against the quiet drone of tomes

read aloud by their authors

questions being answered

a sense of awe rising from the audience

blest by this august and mysterious presence


Postcard with Yellow Sedan and Suns over New York


Remember when hotmail was hot

big cars, tail fins - careful, you are dating

yourself, a lonely endeavor.

Are those moons over Manhatten?

Is this pre or post 911, the new reckoning of time

since we all seem to forget the first attack on those towers

and how we were told then to be on the lookout

for dangerous quantities of fertilizer and household chemicals.

I am not afraid.

I am angry.


Close up of Onion


Onion girl, why do you weep?

Taffeta skirts swirl around you, golden,

flowers sprout from your feet

you’re invited to every dinner

the queen of every party

your sisters, all named Amaryllis

with their red balloons

are gaudy and useless

You, you are the queen

You rule them all




Where are the birds, where are the stars

to pierce that twilight, Klein blue

He who faulted the birds

for marring his perfect sky

over his perfect sea, little knowing

the sky belongs to the swallows

and the sea belongs to the swans

and although he named that blue

the twilight, the sky, the universe

belong to no one


Dedicated to Robert Jaulin

I stand on this dune casting a long shadow

surrounded by a sea of silent sand

with the singers and poets gathered

the Saami, the Tuareg, the Lombards

the Kurds, Walloons and Cantonese


Here we will speak and rebuild the Tower of Being

to stand against your civilizing machines

If I wear a checked keffiyeh you will call me enemy

If I wear your flag made in another country you will call me friend


But do not love me, for I am unreliable and refuse

to support the little colonists – the church of the one god

commerce, armies of conquest, unified national identities


Toppled statues and stolen art, kidnapped children

silenced tongues, the only witness left

in the abandoned village, the wind

whistling through empty rooms

erasing mute glyphs and graphemes


Your white peace comes robed in garments

of progress, chanting choose or be doomed

The loom of language is being dismantled

somewhere in the golden desert


West of the Nile the Berbers, the Imazighen

travel freely on their white camels

like djinn in a mirage of heat and sand

They trade in tamudit tamjunt and tazzewit

goat butter, buttons and honey bees


Professor Fell translated petroglyphs in Canada

into a tale of Woden-Lithi writ in a language

like Tifinag and Ogham, alphabets of the old Celts and Tuareg

Is he a diffusionist moonbat? I don’t know, I don’t speak french,

but in the land of salt and indigo, we will rebuild the ziggurat of Gilgamesh





The word window comes from the Old Norse words vindr and augua meaning wind-eye. The first windows had no glass and were in the roof, to let out smoke, and to let in air and light.

"Medusa’s Sisters" was published by the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program in Spotlight Magazine, published by the Portsmouth Herald. "Silent Stones Say" was published in Poets Against War.



Medusa's Sisters

We are the women with snakes in our hair

gleaming unblinking eyes open as telescopes

aimed at distant truths; we hiss irresistible as cobras

crowns of scaled familiars sizzle and our green

kaleidoscopic eyes miss nothing; we stretch our necks

swish lisping tongues across our teeth and shed

the tessellated skins of our past. 



In 1918 Col. Alan Brook said, “If the stones could talk and could repeat what they have witnessed and the thoughts they had read on dying men’s faces, I wonder if there would ever be any wars.” Twenty-two years later on his way to Dunkirk, he said - “The stones have remained silent.”

Silent Stones Say

These are my brothers, dewinged, debeaked,

tongues cut out, heads lopped and limbs blown off.

 My eyes see bigger things than your god,

my ears hear Philomena’’s shuttle singing.


This demand for virgins and sacrifice,

parabolic children, and tanks bubbling

with atheists is a dangerous and christian notion.

Bowing and scraping, what have you learned from that posture?


Like my brothers beating back bombs with ball point pens,

my clattering keyboard cringes. Christ! They have

more bullets than brains. If only words were stone and steel,

and bombs, feather and ash, zither and chimes -


Understand fanatics and that Hell

is the place without music. Sing against oblivion

with lute or harp, string or reed, the chorus,

an armada against beheadings and the bloat of silence. 


Hum the high notes written on wind far from the bonfires,

scarab on screed, loud as the ringing of Ronan’s bells

droning like whales, whistling the bluebird’’s chewy-chew-whit,

finger your fiddle though flames engulf you. 


Let blood red poppies with their blind black eyes 

weep for creeping columns. Stone by stone 

built temples tower then fall. The statues at Karnak

tumbled helpless as rolled bugs are suddenly surmountable. 


Garbage and disaster are a legacy, the rest ruin.

This is their empty empire. Let the vanished be vanquished, 

and those salivating over silver slivers disappear,

“let mane, sweat and sinew smash their saturnine, sallow boats.”  


(Last line from Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf)

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