Here are some poems from my collection "Finding the Bones” which is slated to be published this spring by Domesticated Primate.

The City has a Music All its Own

The players cross each other on the street
and chant their pablum into hollow phones,
all soloists with eyes that never meet,
too busy as they shuffle their own sheets
of tired songs they’re playing through alone.
With pointless joys and sorrows to a beat,
the city has a music all its own.

The vast machinery that comes to play
booms abrasively in metal zones.
Giant shovels make the earth give way,
cars and trucks and taxis have their say.
The howl and honking of their churlish tones
—savage trumpets—blare and shake the day.
The city has a music all its own.

Troubled voices blend into the mix
with darting eyes and secrets made of stone.
They stagger alleyways and chase their fix.
Negotiations made by desperate tricks,
midnight windows cracked, they hush and moan.
These wicked whispers echo off the bricks,
the city has a music all its own.

There’s dissonance of shrill and painful cries,
accompanied by empty belly groans.
Angry sirens shriek their lullabies,
but somewhere in this terminal reprise
some hopeful vessels made of prayer and bone
are singing out their dreams to careless skies.
The city has a music all its own.

This poem was published in Bridgewater State University’s Graduate Review Vol II 2016-2017.


Searching for Home

Send word to the heartbroken
call them over, every one
spread out through the forests
and let the search dogs run

past the desperate countryside
where worry clouds the air
and through the rusted factories
maybe you’ll find it there

Scour crumbling cities
where the water’s flowing brown
check the huddled classrooms
where the bullets dot the ground

Look through bloody city streets
and growing prison lines
peruse the gated suburbs
that have fastened all their blinds

Perhaps it’s by the border
where the protesters declaim
or where the Iron Lady stands
and holds her head for shame

or maybe in the alleyway
overdosed on pills
or suited in the corner office
stacking dollar bills

Ask marchers and the kneelers
look inside the beggar’s cup
don't forget to check the penthouse
if the guard will let you up

Call the police and the soldiers
send a fleet of dragging boats
read through all of the graffiti
for potential ransom notes

I watched the television news
and one station had said
that it was still alive and well
the other, that it was dead

But somewhere ‘tween the purple 
and the fruited plains
and the sea to shining sea
something dark remains

So let the helicopter lights
circle on and on
as the mournful wonder
where America has gone

Heart Surgery

I walk my heart into the abattoir, 

naked fear dressed up in April rains.

I lay it in the center of the room
upon a wooden table streaked with stains.

I sit with arms wrapped tight around my knees

against the wall, in shadow out of sight.

From here I see, quip-quopping in its way
unevenly, it glistens in the light.

Pacing round the table casually,
into the quiet room the faceless stir

with pointed fingers or a chin in hand
they watch and scrutinize and then confer.

One wonders if the little thing might bounce,
another picks it up and checks the weight.

One squeezes it and holds it to her ear
and like a Christmas gift gives it a shake.

Another pokes it with a grimaced look
and then he leans in close enough to smell

and promptly wipes his hand upon his jeans.
They leave it lying still after a spell.

Whimpered beats, sallow flesh and drained
with pinkish splatters on the table thrown,

it’s beating still, with sharp and rhythmic pain
but stronger like the flesh had turned to bone

I carry it back out into the rain
Whatever it may be—it is my own.


Footprints in the Yard

“Are those from a bear?”
you ask me as we cross the yard. 

I know we don’t get bears around here. 

It’s probably a raccoon or something,
but I figure maybe this once, a small lie
is worth the telling. “They might be, bud,”

I say. And you set the world aflame
with a grin that makes me wish it were true.
I wonder if you’ll remember this moment.

“My feet are almost as big as yours,”
you say to me as I carry the wood.
I turn and you are jumping from footprint

to footprint, following mine. I watch your face,
tongue out in concentration, like I used to do,
(or so I was told). “Yours will be much bigger, 

bud.” How casually we say our prayers out loud.
“Just five more minutes,” you say to me when 

I’m finished. The warm house is beckoning

and my back remembers the weight.
The wind is blowing hard, obscuring our sets
of mis-matched prints. Darkness is in a hurry.

“Okay, bud,” I say and watch
you run around, snow falling lightly,
leaving prints that’ll never, ever fade.

An Unfair Trade

I see by the roadside
a man with a sign.
The words are a scribble
a paltry design.
His hair is disheveled,
his face is resigned.

He sits at the crossing and never looks up.
Occasional coins are tossed in his cup.

The cars all continue
their starts and their stops
the taxis, the workers
the families, the cops.
One of a hundred
makes a generous drop.

But all of the rest are either nonplussed
or where unmistakable looks of disgust.

I’m not much better
as I sit in the car
and watch his gray beggary
all from a far,
and the state of the world
so aloof and bizarre.

But now I have words where the silences are.
It seems the man’s placed some worth in my jar.