I Use Poems

I use poems the size of war.

I write them in the morning

after the pretty city motions work.

When other citizens shop

for beans or rake progress

I arrange sounds that fuck people.


So high they get, after my oos and aahs

they promise not to kill again 


Lady America Orders



You say she must resist

the powers that be and prove 

that she is not blind. You want

her to sit when the judge comes

 or say no to the officer without


That is fine for action heroes  

who are made of plastic but

she is blood, bone,  and tissue.

she is hysterical and fearful looking

for hope without deferment or death 


Tomatoes are poisonous to sheep

The Trees




 I hate the sight of the lonely trees in parks 

or in front of people’s houses

or on the sides of roads in narrow strips.   

If I could lose the road

in the forest I’d wander

through the years eating

grubs and leeks and doves

with my body to teach me love


The other people

constantly about on a cell phone 

with their infectious hellos  and drive-in’s

could be tricked out





The city visions are not life’s

glory or the moist forest floor.

The wheel on the bike path is not

the hollow notes of sticks on trunks. 

The tang of the paper mill is

not a fresh bundle of cedar


The city is an ice cream truck

with meth head driver.   



Someday a road will fell the last of a forest.

Some chain store or lawyer’s office will take

the spruces’ and maples’ thunder and the wish

of the leaves and the heart of the forest will be myth.

It will be a jump of machinery.

It will be a thump of humanity.  

It will be a hump of death and waste and rebirth.

Teddy Bear

I am not happy in my playhouse. 

My teddy bear changed.  Or I did.  

Or the world did. 


I got some mad inside me and 

said fudge.  Teddy hissed. 

I snuggle with a stressed out bear

who paws my tongue. 

Ha.  Good great pancake syrup.









My number one fur wants to gain morality or sensibilities. 














Some days aren’t ours 

they come and they go

and what are we 


we are what is left on the chair

watching and loving 

and for what and why…


when we realize our mother

loved us best and that was as good 

as we can get. And then   then

we think someone else might love

us. We think we’ve found 

some magic that the rest 

was too dumb to find….that we are

lucky and blessed. Then… then we come 

home early and find our cat on the neighbor’s lap

purring.  Then we say suck it and we find

our lover in some odd position giving

goo glue eyes at some slender beef

and then… then we leave and walk and walk

and walk until we forget who we think we are 

and we stop caring about this life. This life goes

by too short but then, then we don’t want it

it is meaningless. It is pain.  We are all there is.

We are not enough. We are not garlic or a sunset.

We are old. We are still stupid. We don’t 

like to be alone, still stupid and old


But others can’t be trusted. We can’t stand on their back

to see farther.  We can’t make them hold us. We smell.

We are cry babies.  


There is no pudding for cry babies.  

There are no songs for cowards. 



The bath water is cold and the flies are in.

we have sand in our butts. We are freaky 

looking wearing blue all the time.  We 

write. We shit. We pace. We write. 


No one reads it because it is lame. It is not

smart. we can not write smart. We try but 

everyone tells us told you so.  


We say fug off but we hurt and want someone

to tell us we are ok but we are not ok and so 

no one will say it and we wouldn’t believe

it and so here we are   


and yet we talk politics and paints and pens


is there anymore ale


it doesn’t matter -I’ll have a glass of tap water

Someone plays with someone

a lover snores besides a someone.

the daughter of someone is in a bedroom

pulling air through a harmonica.

the sun is out and someone sits with goose bumps.

someone has turned grey as a rain weathered tin.

someone’s heart is twisty sensitivity and has not yet learned to swallow. Darfur. Iraq. Afghanistan

war torture. Cuba…WWIII, the love of family.

someone’s grandmother comes to visit and leaves.

someone’s friend calls. someone gives advice, says, “find a lover

you can sit and talk with

laughter holds hands into sticky glances.

someone’s daughter goes outside to a ride a scooter

someone’s lover snore stops and becomes a whisper.

someone is sad and blessed

someone is lonely and surround by carpet. someone doesn’t know

what a someone is, only what a bomb is not.

all the creative ideas

that someone hasn’t learned

to control are the pieces that someone tastes and savors.

someone can’t shake the snakes, or explain

the need of death by whips and earthquakes.

someone needs a bath with potato soap and someone brushes

the lives that someone tangles and never notices. someone

moans for the someone who someone is mis-teaching.

and someone is searching for a home for someone who is homeless. and someone

is playing dice down -out into a hall to make someone some money. Someone is dodging

work to go to a war and haircut. someone is looking in a fridge

and someone is watching tv. someone

pretends that someone’s feet are planted on the ground. someone is nobody cause they are dead

cause someone has just blown off someone’s head. someone is singing

words of evolution. and someone is wondering

when someone will peek into someone’s eyes, and hand

someone a rye and Swiss sandwich. a someone is scared to go outside alone or

talk with someone over the phone. someone doesn’t want someone

to know someone writes death letters to someone’s self. someone is sick

and poor. someone is rich and disconnected by a fence around their yard. someone is birthed

and someone eats noodles without sauce. someone is

a friend for life and someone has cancer of the mouth.

someone is an artist and someone is

nurse. and someone utters a little curse.

someone listens and someone blesses the life-giving tree.

and someone won’t ever be free. someone

lives their life internally. and someone is trying

to figure out who someone is, and someone won’t

find the answer, while someone will know it doesn’t matter.

someone marches for peace and someone doesn’t want to come home from war

someone needs a hug, and someone’s been over touched. someone is on

drugs, and someone wishes drugs could fix someone’s problems

End of the Road





You’ll know when you get there. 

You’ll be surprised, a fever may come.

You might have to sit and stare off.    

When you leave you will weep.

Walking backwards,

staring and trying to remember

as much as possible.  It won’t help


You’ll scratch your insides

to ask why you can’t return.

You’ll try to rationalize

the big the city, the prairie grass.

you’ll say a river is good enough.

that there is more opportunity

where you are, better schools,

better job market. 

you’ll even say you can go

home and visit.

You’ll say people move on 

but despite all yourself talk

you won’t be the same.


Visiting won’t give peace. You’ll leave. 

You will say, its time to

take advantage of the new place.  You’ll try, 

you’ll look at the people and their hem lines.

You’ll find old buildings and new lace shops

but it won’t be enough. 

You’ll fake it for years. 

You’ll bitter, and save money,

hope to buy that little cabin.   

But you won’t.  You’ll stay in limbo. 


Knowing your dying but thinking

you are doing the right thing.  

Your heart will break.  Again and again.

You’ll make new friends

and find new ways to express the hole.

You’ll read your poems to strangers.

your stretch yourself out and in 

but it won’t matter.

You’ll still miss her.

You’ll still want to return to lake superior. 

Even the warmer climate won’t be enough.

Land locked you’ll damn alone.

Smart enough to hide your wanderlust

your craft will become

the source of replacement. 


You’ll miss the library

with the sacks of poetry people.

The rocks, o the rocks,

 you’ll be attracted

to all rocks and touch every

fugging one you can, and say,

send a vibe  back north.


 You’ll miss October’s face,

 its eyes, its grin, its sway. 

It teasing you. 

You’ll miss February  and her doe

that is shy and curious. 

Your miss June’s sass

and March’s enlightenment. 

You’ll miss December’s

scotch and savior conversation.


You’ll miss August’s acceptance and wit,

strength and hot friendship.

You’ll miss May’s perception,

its soft anger, that grows on the world.

You’ll plan to gather your months

at her shore but it won’t happen.

Goose pump you, will follow someone

 else’s lead, your gentle job’s.

You’ll hate yourself for it,

for doing the right thing,  ever.

Bedside manners Aubade or a poem for U.S.A


I’d love to hold you to the end of time

I don’t know why, You’re heavy and suffer

from temper tantrums. Your gun has entered me

many times but you’ve never pulled the trigger.

Lovers quarrel, but that’s not us.  We’re more like

friends that kiss and help the other dress. 

In the end I’ll put you in a uniform.

Some days are just like that. I still don’t know why.



John Donne Help me write this poem.

I’ll play it on my guitar and sing off key.

If the message is easy the people will clap.

I’ll get paid. And in the night I’ll lay my head down

on a pillow that is used to being split in two. From me and you

in the coffin there will be skin cells and fingernails.

We’ll hide the pain by stoic love.

Say, “I loved you just because your human,

now your grass and beans, clay and a heart sack.”


Hands can hide the deepest pain.

Just by waving smiles come.

Tonight I’ll fake it for you. 

I’ll drink some ale and  steal the covers.

You’ll sigh, forget tomorrow you have to split

in two, break the bonds and get the sticky job done.

All pigs die. And it never made me cry

One of us will dress the other after death

The body won’t bend, the skill saw will come.

The gentle wet spots will dry.


I still don’t know why.

I’ll lie tonight, and tell you there’s nothing to worry about.

A glass of water is free and so are we.

Nothing can steal touches.

I hate memories.  They come to smack me.

I saw a man shot in the head on TV

His back shoes still stand out at me. 

Photographs used to be easy to take.

Now its hard to see the fear, anger, and frustration

in your cheek


I was never in Iraq, I like sand castles just the same.

The war will never end. But lets pretend

Tomorrow the boat doesn’t leave

Tomorrow the planes don’t fly

Tonight the solar system will save our bloody souls.

Wash away the guilt that one of us will lose.

I bet its you.  I’m much to bad of person

I’ll live forever in mourning. I’ve had fun in your mouth

Your tongue is velvet and lavender. Hold me

through tomorrow. I’ll sacrifice nothing after

Old age never comes to friends of the sea.

I wish we weren’t children of sailors.

At least in the rest,  we be at the place of our birth

Salt water wash over us and the last sea otter. 


I afraid to turn a page. That will mean we are

older, gray and more adapt to decay.

When we first met I was barely 20.

Now I’m happy in the morning

and restless at night.  If this big

world keeps spinning, I guess so will we.

Hold me in your words, lets pretend

the world has ears and the lessons are just slow

to come around. War is just antidote and hunger

an empty jar, a blown off arm, A piece of freedom


I was never in Afghanistan but I like cinnamon just the same

The war will never end but lets pretend

Tomorrow your boots won’t slip and go

Tomorrow you collar won’t be blue and starched

Tonight the windswept pines beat the anger out of our hearts.

Suppress the damage of the homemade bomb of our fear.

One of us will smell the others rotten flesh. The other

will gag and sway as the end moves a little farther.

If it’s me it will be ironic. I am the poet and never

do anything with danger on it.  You’re  the soldier.

I’ll be the crushed petal in your breast pocket.

Smell me while you die.  I’ll wash you while the apple pie bakes

in the oven.  And in every love song I’ll place your name