to each his own: money risks

there is a race—

which of 5 will survive the swim

in black skies and heavy rains.


the favorite swimmer has died.

the top 3 swimmers have died.

I am one of the swimmers.


water surrounds the las strip of sand.

corpses of the others float past.

I survive—hung on a ladder

at the old beach playground.


floods wash in;

seep out—relentless.


money risks…

with each ebb come millions of crabs

pincers clacking—I’m barely out of reach.


with each ebb appear bags of money

hung from the ladder’s lower rungs.


with each ebb I crouch

grasping for bags:

was it worth it? resounding…

for Jeb Harmon.


The Trudge

at dusk day’s heat

has not stymied.


the sun droops behind the treeline

the buzz of cicadas presses in my ears.

from the pit

firesmoke clings to my hair;

the pork comes off the spit

thick with gristle and slathered in hot sauce.

i lick my upper lip.


from the porch a fiddlin’ band watches

the day’s slow trudge westward.

fingers dance over strings

the gentle rub of horsehairs

sending song to the rafters.

Writer’s Block

Palms are the rustling of papers.

One day they’ll turn to brittle parchment

yellowing at the edges.


Words are the water of the soul

that arrive like tremors in the earth,

or not at all–


Height of Summer

The height of summer was marked:

the yellowing of magnolias

their pearly blossoms changed

the color of ancient parchment.


By then the mud for makin’ patties

was caked hard.

I was bored.

I wandered the winding trail of barren creek bed

east of the old Crescent tracks.

Iron rails torn up by fiends,

tall weeds born at the bolts.


At the poplar grove, where the gospel singers met

she dove underground:

a subterranean fountain.

The men wore green tweed,

their ladies’ auburn hair tucked in wicker bonnets.

The song was like yards of navy silk.

During baptisms, it crescendoed:

wails like Clymenes’

hands groping through prisms

of sunlight streaking the surface

a child gasping for air out of the cool stream.

In My Cave I Am Shackled

I landed alone

on this rocky shore

stranded in transit

to orients: eyes glazed

full of ivory rings, indigo tapestries.


In this cavern

your silhouette is emblazoned

a language on dank walls.


I am arrested in gold cuffs.

The starved flames simmer to embers

my bones turning to ashes

weeds growing in my cataracts.


The rot is my own.


Foolishly wand’ring

among apples and elephants

it’s written in notebooks,

an elegant prose:

Falling fruit, traveling boats–


The crayon draws a curving ankle.

Conscience fashioned forward in shame.

Indian Summer

It was foretold

the year of the Indian Summer:

The wind flies to the western deserts

and pebbles in the river bed

turn to ruby stones.


On the wedding day, woeful coos

of turtle doves echo through the township

from dawn to dusk.

Guests in confetti dresses

sip lemon juice beneath the shade

of Spanish moss.

The bronze bell cracked

just before the virgin bride walked

in linen and lace

to the front of the steeple.

Heat sat on heavy haunches

in the rafters.


In search of a wife, the visitor

with the red felt hat alights from the train.

But the streets are empty,

the virgin is already kissed.