Even the Leaf

even the calmest leaf
falling without a sound
from branch to earth
when its time arrives
will catch a current and
at the last moment linger
a matter of millimeters
from earth as if to say
perhaps I can still go back


 what are my chances
of going gracefully

This is Just a Poem

This is not a poem
about your mortality,
the duality of man
or the dark night of the soul.
This is not a poem
about the picturesque landscape,
the phases of the moon
or the healing power of trees.
This is not a poem
about your controlling mother,
your repressed sexuality
or the interpretation of dreams.
This is not a poem
about negative self-talk,
your tendency to procrastinate
or your social anxiety.
This is not a poem
about things happening for a reason,
thinking outside the box
or thinking positive thoughts.
This is just a poem
about considering the distance
between that which is
and that which could be.

Ars Poetica

A poem should be wordless   
As the flight of birds.
   Archibald MacLeish


nobody cares about poetry
all that sentimental blather
and speaking in academia
withering from the world
behind your walls
of words


but I suppose I was sold
when somebody said it’s
an attempt to explain in
words that which can-
not be explained
in words


I was guaranteed to
fail and I was free
and that was
all it took
to hook

New App

Paul just shook his head
when I told him about
my plan for a new app
that uses inaudible low
frequency sound waves to
simulate human empathy.


Pop in your earbuds,
launch my new app on
your favorite device,
and let the feeling that
you’ve really been heard
just wash right over you.


But let us forget for now
about the healing power
of my incredible new app
and talk more about Paul
and his consistent failure
to champion my dreams.

A Preference for the Madness

when I see a man alone
in a shopping center parking lot
flailing his arms like a dry land drowning victim
I expect him to be insane – or engrossed in a manic episode
but all too often he’s simply wearing a tiny telephone earpiece
quoting disappointing sales figures or bickering with his girlfriend
and the closer I walk – and as the truth sinks in more deeply
the more certain I become that I’ve somehow been cheated

Movie Theater

I took a sick day and went to the movies. I like to go alone on weekday afternoons. People are at work, and the theaters are nearly empty.  It was Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, and he badly wanted some poor sonofabitch to get off his lawn.
I chose a central seat a few rows from the front and glanced around to see just one other person sitting, oddly I thought, far away in a back corner.  But to each his own, I decided, and turned my attention back to memories of the Eastwood films I had seen. Several minutes later, as the previews were winding down, a man strolled down the aisle and sat directly in front of me — as if reporting dutifully to his assigned seat on the second day of tenth grade geometry.  After glancing around the desolate theater a few times to be sure I was not the target of a practical joke or the subject of a social experiment, I began to analyze the possible motives behind this man’s most bizarre seating selection.  I thought mental illness was plausible — but I finally decided that he was somehow oblivious to the imposition, and I’ll have to admit, this triggered a rage response in me, complete with fleeting thoughts of sudden violence.
But then Clint flashed on the screen with his trademark technicolor scowl, and returning suddenly to myself, I switched to a more suitable seat a few rows back and let the projector’s pale blue opiate glow sing me down to the bliss of no longer knowing.

Donut Shop

Tom Chalmers rested his elbow on the donut shop counter and watched as customers filed through the early morning line ordering coffee, donuts, and bagels thick with cream cheese.  No one complained about Tom’s habit of craning his neck for a clearer view of certain transactions, if they noticed at all in the rush hour hustle.  Tom spoke to no one, but he nodded knowingly from time to time, occasionally crooking his brow.  Only Bill Peterson, seated quietly at a table nearby, observed Tom’s routine with any depth of interest. After months of observation, he had nearly achieved clarity regarding Tom’s behavior and found himself standing on the precipice of a startling theory that was sure to turn the entire donut industry on its ear.