Ode to a Clepsydra – #poetry

Ode to a Clepsydra

Ode to a Clepsydra

To the alchemist’s eye, water = emotion, and so it is
that our moments can be marked by the rise and fall of
feeling, a steady stream of anger-eager-joy-hope-faith
devotion to emotion.

Days that pass without touching the interior of
our mortal casings are deadlier
than disasters. Moments that come and
go unremembered, unmarked by impact
on our souls, are the ones we most
regret, when we consciously number our final breaths.

So let’s trade the customary tiny grains of rock, sifting
     to peak beneath their ingress, for a steady liquid
stream — drain
  drops. Let the pool beneath rise and w i d e n.


should be the sound of living life.



the sound of life lived well.

Winter Showers – #poetry

When the rain starts again, comes the relief. The relief of being loosed
from months of being careful-so-careful about how long
you let the water run at the tap
or linger in the shower.
When the rain starts at last in November,
you can forgive the desertlike stinginess of September,
thumb your nose at the fiery threats
of October.
You can smile at the sight of reclaimed waste
water spraying its broad horizontal arcs
through vertical winter showers.
And the cows look, well…
When the frogs start their horny chirping,
you all are.

Written sometime in the early 1990s

You live close to my bones, you… – #poetry

You live close to my bones, you
with your soft eyes that can
hard in a turn,
your solid arms with their sure
embrace around my heart,
every bit of you, from ten solid
toes to strong-wide shoulders
forging through life
with your iron will — you
inhabit me in the nearest,
dearest of places, shedding light
on my most secret marrow,
counting out,
in red cells and white, the flow
with every beat of my heart
for you.

Written sometime in the early 19902

Aftermath – #poetry


leaning birches


Now, walk up the road, to see what’s what.

And yes,
Everything does look like it’s had the shit torn out of it.

Because it has.

Five major winter storms in four weeks.
Two of them coming
after the official start of spring…

I remind myself, this is New England.
These things can happen.
Especially in the so-called, alleged spring.

There are plenty of pictures and stories
to prove it.
A whole forest leveled overnight is nothing
to take as a harbinger of
The End.
It happens more often than you’d think.
More often than we
remember, short



fallen snapped off trees


Winter was kind to us
Until March.

Then came the surprise fury, the dumping of meters of snow.
Refreshing our memories of an Earth we ignore, till
she demands our full attention
for a day or two.
The takedown of trees and lines and power, phone and cable television,
all the ballast of our modern lives.

The chain snapped free of the anchor, just as the wind picked up.

Any chance of us getting off easy this year
Was gone by the third storm.

The only consolation being that the snow covered up the damage it had done.

No more.

No, here we all are
in our dead, twisted, contortions of devastation lite,

tired, what with everything
that’s going

But still knowing full well that we got off easy,
that a lot of those trees could’ve fallen the other way, and hurt us
much worse than they did.

I, for one, have a hard time saying “snow storm” without preceding the noun with an expletive adjective.

Fucking snow.
Fucking storms.
Wrecking our recollections of that vibrant autumn that got a late start,
but still rewarded us with so
Canceling out the promise of Spring – right around the corner, we’d
hoped – after such
a bitter
couple of months…
Dragging our thoughts from anticipation
to immediate exigency,
our cabin-fevered minds kicking
and screaming like kids who can’t get on
the ride they love most
because they got there 10 minutes after the gate closed.

True, clearing fallen limbs and filling out insurance forms
is a far cry from not getting to ride the teacups,
but still.
Bruises, lacerations, pulled muscles, and a monster
burn pile stacked on the far side of the yard
have a way of affecting the mind
as well.

Eh, never mind.

We all know this is the price we pay for such beauty, as we reckon
with nature’s less welcome interruptions.

We’re all adults here.


I’m glad that shit’s over.

Road-killed frog


And up the road I go. No heavy jacket needed today. But then again,
not a light windbreaker, either.
We’re at that point where the roads are wide enough to comfortably walk again
without getting run over,
which means you warm up quickly — long strides, pumping arms — and then
half a mile later, you’re stripping off

Chill wind on my neck — Should I have worn a scarf?
Hot gusts rising from my torso as I move, mixing with the cold.
I should not have. I’ll be fine.

But never mind me.
Look around.

The forest… the woods… Oh…

Splintered, frayed, stripped, bent, flayed, snapped, crushed, battered, lost, dwarfed, amputated, ugly.


Amid this musty, dusty stack of kindling we used to call the woods, the sound of spring peepers echoes,
their guttural chirps filling the enlargened air that used to be crowded by
living, growing
tree trunks.

Frayed, snapped-off toothpicks of once-towering Ash, Hickory, Maple, Pine.
The frogsong rings free, where it used to bounce off all those hard spaces.
They seem now both
and more
than I remember in past years.

And in the vernal pools, growing trees look all the more precarious,
their days numbered
knowing what we know about trees rooted in soggy ground
when the winds pick up.
Vulnerable as the road-killed peeping frogs who just wanted to cross
the asphalt ribbon of death
to do what they do in the spring season.

The warning signs for drivers to slow down seem no more effective
than our expectations
of what should happen, weather-wise, in March.

Against the backdrop of pattern-defying weather,
I turn the corner of the road.

Past the burned-out shell of a house that once stood here.
Car coming….
Step off the road and in
to what used to be the widemouthed entry of their driveway. Look around – look around.

has been here with the mower.

It wasn’t this clear last fall.

Maybe the original owner finally wants to sell the place.
the town has complained about the mess.
something new will be built on that spot before long.

I should see piles of deer droppings.
But no.

broken-down garage


A rustle behind me.
I turn and wave to the neighbors across the way
watching me
from their darkened screened-in back porch.
If they wave back, I can’t tell.
Too dark on the inside.

Seems they’re keeping an eye on this place, perhaps to buy it.
to figure out what the heck is going on over there with all the brush and small trees disappearing from the lot between
when they leave for work and when they return home in the evening.

Each day, a little bit more is gone, as though
the shoemaker’s elves got bored
making shoes
and decided to clear underbrush instead.

Now step off
the road and onto a path leading back into the conservation lands. Through woods blasted lower than
they were last time I was here.
Falling branches,
felled trunks,
logs blocking the path,
some of them sawed off,
others broken.

Someone has put in a yurt on their field, with a small shed beside…
it looks like maybe a chicken coop on wheels…?

Amid the storms’ devastation, new construction is like a stable armistice, bounding
the arboreal battlefield
just beyond the rock walls,
spelling out how we still go on, no matter what.

A yurt’s easier to put up than a house.
Quicker, cheaper, in some ways
just as good.

And you can do it.
So, some do.

fallen trees


Clouds are coming in.

I’ll have no shelter till I get back home.

Turn, put the path beneath my feet
and the deadfall
behind me.

Return to the road.

Turn back towards my house.

Whatever has happened here in the last month has happened many times before, and it will keep on happening.

Keep walking.

Accept what comes next.


April 8, 14, 15 2018

Ethereal – #poetry


The ancients trusted their guts — they knew
as well as we (but were braver in the saying) that
all we are,
all we have ever been,
all we will ever be, is made of

Breathe in… breathe out… there’s magic in that — the stuff of life
ingested from invisibility, the building
blocks of flesh and bone
into the palpable. Breathe in… breathe out… there’s magic in that.

They call it “stepping down”, that chain of commands
from saint
to teacher
to student
to life,
the pulling out of the atmosphere those invisible lessons that should make us brave
and noble
and good
and kind, those traits all too rare that should make us
much more than animals and a little less
than angels,
that are rarely measured, except
by the good wishes and good-bye parties and the sorrows of those left behind,
whether by job transfer
or dropped-body passing… all of us along the way
that life will give to student,
who will tell teacher,
who will show saint,
that this life dwelled among pulsing veins and moving fluids and the tyranny
of the anxious loveless and the rise and fall
of wishfully
affectionate ways amongst onetime strangers
is one of those things
that truly matter,
that really counts
for something.

How do we number the ways that we fall — for things, for people, for ideas, for all those qualities
we crave? In falling,
we rise —
to the ethers,
to the upper, purer air above us,
to the celestial realms that have meaning for us now
only in shadow
and unenunciated veneration for ritual and symbol that,
no longer in style, molder
among winsome monks and devoted nuns of every ilk. All of it,
is made of air,
that stuff that the ancients had full faith was the root of their existence, folding
over into their tolerance for mystery, much higher
than ours… their need of it,
their trust in it, exceeding the capacity of modern logic.

We want,
we want,
how we want,
how much we want. Putting
our fingers on what it is we really desire
for ourselves, is no more easy
than counting motes of dust aloft in a sunbeam, and half the time
we kid others
into thinking we want it for them, when truth
less noble, less
easily justified and quantified, but far
closer to bone and flesh and pulsing fluid than slips comfortably past our lips.

The ancients trusted
our guts — they said what we are
too cowardly to admit — that
all we are,
all we have ever been,
all we will ever be, is made of

Breathe in… breathe out… there’s magic in that.



A welcome reminder of how much myth matters to me

books-dustySo, just by chance, a couple of weeks ago, I accompanied my partner Laney to the annual conference of The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology.  A few months ago, Laney had gotten a (surprise, last-minute) email from a colleague about how the conference was still accepting applications for workshops and presentations… and would she be interested?

Well, yeah. Of course she was interested.  It was a conference of several hundred women, all gathering to talk about women… and mythology. Laney’s an incredible drum circle leader and ceremonialist, and we both thought her work would fit just perfectly into the program.  Lots of academics sharing papers and discussing their areas of study… and surely there were some women in the midst who could go for an “extra-intellectual” activity (“extra” as in, “outside the immediate purview” of intellectualism — not uber-intellectual).

Anyway, we scrambled a bit, put together a write-up of what she’d offer, then we crossed our fingers and — voila — before long, we heard she’d been accepted.

Then came the coordination activities. And the logistics. And making sure that the drum ceremony would not drown out the goings-on in adjacent rooms. And lining up  help to get the room setup, because it’s a conference, after all, and there is a schedule to adhere to. We got pretty much everything sorted.

Or so we thought. Turns out, the original schedule we mapped out just wasn’t going to work. More juggling. More adjustments.

Anyway, long story short, everything turned out great, because I managed to get a day off work (paid vacation days are a thing of beauty), so I could help her load in and load out on Friday afternoon. Drums, drums, and more drums — including the “mother drum” which is a large “community” drum, about 3 feet wide and nearly 2 feet tall, and comfortably sits 5 people around it. It takes a special sort of maneuvering to get where it needs to go, and I’ve had years of practice, so off I went to drive Laney there, catch up on my reading, then help with the ceremony, load out, and ferry us home.

My plan all along was to help with logistics, and then take the hours that I wasn’t at the conference just for some of my own work. I had some reading to catch up on. I had some writing to do. I hadn’t paid the money to join in, and it wasn’t cheap, so I figured I could just linger in the halls, curled up with a book in a spare armchair.

And I did a fair amount of that. At least, as much as I could, considering that I kept seeing old friends I hadn’t seen for a number of years, and of course we wanted to catch up.  Of course! It was great to see people again, and a bit surprising — although it shouldn’t have been, considering that I have a bunch of friends who are into women and mythology.

I guess I just had a fairly narrow view of who would be at the conference. Lesson learned.

And as it turned out, I had a fairly narrow view of how much I would be interested in the conference. I mean, yes, I’ve been fascinated by mythology in general (and women in mythology, in specific) for just about all my life. But for some reason, I didn’t think I’d really find it that interesting. Looking at the program, it was chock-full of some heavy-duty scholarship… far beyond the scope of my own interest and involvement. Maybe I figured that if I didn’t have all the degree letters after my name, I somehow wouldn’t qualify to attend, let alone participate in any of the discussions.

Gluehende_KohleA funny thing happened, though, just from hanging around the fringes of the conference.  As it turns out, I was interested. And I’ve actually become increasingly interested, over the course of the past couple of weeks. It got me thinking. It got me remembering. And beneath the shiny veneer of a life that’s more about modern technology than ancient mythology, these days, I actually found a glowing coal of interest that has stayed alive — banked in the backwaters of my full spectrum of interests.

And calling that interest — that passion — in mythology “banked” is the perfect metaphor. When you bank a fire, you cover it up with the ashes its produced, keeping it alive and glowing, till you come back to it later. I’ve heard tell that people used to travel with banked coals in a little tree bark container, so they could have fire wherever they were.

As it turns out, I hadn’t lost my interest in mythology and symbolism, as I tended to think while regarding my bookshelves sagging heavily under the weight of myths from vanquished and long-forgotten peoples. I’d just banked it. And it’s still very much alive. It still burns beneath the accumulation of extras from my necessary life, waiting for me to breathe new vigor into it and warm the rest of my everydays.

Myth still matters to me. As does symbolism. It’s never stopped mattering to me, I just got busy doing other things. And now those other things turn out to mean a lot less to me, than mythology always has. Life changes. We change. We shift and find new directions to take. Sometimes life brings us full circle, to remember just what used to light our fire — and still does.

Here’s to life. And all that it offers. Especially our stories.

First three poetry chapbooks are updated – for now

I just updated my first three poetry chapbooks

First Refrains – my first poetry from decades ago. It’s still one of my favorite books, and it reminds me why I’ve always written poetry.


Sounds of Love and Hope – a fairly strong “sophomore” showing, if I say so, myself.


Depth Perception – where I dig a big deeper, not always as successfully as I’d like, but still with integrity.


I’ve got two more poetry books to go, and then the change to the few other books I’ve got, but that’s enough for today.




The books are under re-construction

So, now that I’ve decided to write under a pen name, I must revise all my past books to reflect my new identity. I’ve been publishing on Lulu for many, many years, and I’ve cranked out a bunch of books in the process. I’ve also started a number of projects which I never finished or fell victim to lack of time, so that actually inflates the perceived amount of work.

Turns out, when I look more closely, it’s not insurmountable. And it also turns out that some of those old projects really need to be retired, as they’re cluttering up my space for no good reason.

All told, my past published works that I’m carrying forward consist of: five poetry books, a handful of self-help books, a how-to guide on turning your eBook into a printed book, and a novella. The rest can come down. The podcasting guides, audio production training, and a handful of other odd projects once seemed like a good idea, but they’re not something I want to carry forward. And there’s more to come.