Thursday, May 28, 2009


I am a demobilized armada
A vast array of war machines
Languishing in dock and depot
Missiles and tanks, medicines and masks
Beautiful when turned to ugly purpose
Pathetic when relegated to rust or recall

How noble the soldier appears
Carrying his sword into terror and torment
Kill or be killed somehow a moral maxim
Each uttered word filled with urgent portent
The reality of ready mortality
Giving purpose to the life-driven life

The decommissioned warrior like an astronaut
Returning to an Earth impossibly unchanged
Not merely life goes on but death and disappointment
For all the talk of insight and transcendence
The war was waged not for a new road
But for the road on which we travel still

Monday, May 11, 2009


The seahawk alights just past 10

Feeling the thermals pull him aloft

Oblivious to my longing stare

Through the reflective glass

Of the isolation room

Each day the same circle

The seeming monotony

Of the search for prey

Not a calorie to be wasted

Or a wing idly flapped

I lie on the bed again

As I did the other days

And go into a waking dream

I circle the river with him

Finding the new in the same

Three weeks later

I spy a hawk as I hike

Twenty-two miles upriver

Thermal circle of searching

For the same in the new

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


A flotilla of sailfish congregate
In the rainy silence of the upper basin
Each experiment with healing in 5 mph wind
As if genuflecting to the black water
Acknowledging the meaning of ripples

The determined dance with defeat
The tourists in their duckboats
Straining to see through the fog
The jogger in yellow slicks
Imagining yesterday's marathon

From my aerie vantage
I can spy 20 years of missteps
The reaching and rejection
The naivete and narcissism
The guilt of the living

That I can still bear to look
Is the paradox of survival
To live with mortality named
To know where defeat lurks
And go sailing in the rain

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Fourteen stories up
In a building I imagine
Is named for Ralph Ellison
I look down on playing fields
Invisible to the teams
Soccer and Little League
That I pretend to scout.

My room has reflective glass
Inscrutable, impenetrable
Like a Trooper's shades
A million dollar view
Of a river that offered black silence
In response to my snowshoe inquires
Now sparkling, swollen with melt.

I can see the lives move by
On fields and bike paths
As I so often did myself
Wondering who is more real
Knowing that reality is ecumenical
As is the river dark in Dover
Now alighted and alive below me.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Like Persephone before me
The bloody seeds of a pomegranate
Or something akin
Were my very undoing
Slipping from my marrow
Tricking me into accepting them
As Hades tricked her

A long winter was the price
Decreed by the Fates
For taking in the seeds
My skin a barren, hairless desert
Earth and life frozen
In suspended animation
As Clotho spun my thread

The seeds will bring me back
Heeding Zeus' command
To undo Hades' deception
Planted in an empty field
They will find life
Defying Lachesis and Atropos
Bearing fruit from blood.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


After two days of limited movement
Mentally pacing a generous cell
I am disconnected from all tubes
And step onto the elevator
Pressing 1 nonchalantly
As if I did this regularly
As if anything were regular

I blink reflexively at the sun
Shining against unfamiliar snow
Offended at the world
For spinning on without me
But feel little else
Not my tongue
Not the sting
Not the release

One more gate passed through
Another token collected
Gaining entrance to another room
Another test to be tested
Data clinging to me
But little else
Save the sensation that lasts
More gates await

Sunday, January 18, 2009


The chemo floor is laid out
In patterns meant to assure
Blue white blue blue white
Squares of a checkerboard

In this box of a building
They put lines into me
Running down straight poles
From rectangular bags

Into how many squares
Have I entered with hope
Watching white coats
Ponder slides and charts

All this to battle a world
Of the round and oblong
Spherical planets and tumors
Evading angular control