Broken Alarm Clock

Cardinals are like alarm clocks
in the morning,
their shrill digital birdsong mocks
without warning

and my lover abed cusses
those crimson birds,
fidgets under sheets, and fusses,
using choice words.

She hates cardinals, like a cat
that wants to leap
and snatch them from trees, (just like that),
so she can sleep.

But cardinals are a great pox,
or Chinese goods,
and cats cannot hunt all the clocks
filling the woods.

While driving to work one Monday
a red flash swooped
to use my car as a runway,
the nincompoop.

I did not hear a thud, or cry,
and did not stop,
but the next day I found out why
there’d been no “pop!”

The cardinal was in my grille,
dead, of course, head
stuck in the silver teeth, its bill
silent and red.

Its body hung limply out front
like a hung man
and I marveled at its dumb stunt—
I was a fan.

So I put on a rubber glove,
pulled its body,
twisted and yanked, gave it a shove,
but ’twas shoddy

and tore open along the neck,
feather and bone
being flimsy natural tech;
I gave a groan.

The head stayed in the grille, apart
from the torso,
like some Francisco Goya art,
except more so.

Alarm clocks are like that, it seems,
made cheap and fast,
obnoxious, waking us from dreams,
but they don’t last.

Nonetheless, there are always more
to wake us yet,
chirping birds just outside the door,
lest we forget

to set our alarms for first light,
shrill notes to wake
us from the sleep of a good night,
should more such break.

Memorial Morning

Mists are memories of the lake,
shrouded ghosts breathing their cold sighs,
a silent sermon for dawn’s wake—
but the mists fade, soon, from our eyes.

A heron walks the water’s pane,
stepping lightly in the shallows
like a priest with perfect refrain
midst the holies and the hallows.

Birdsong trickles from the oak trees
and the hot sun hastens all play,
leaves stir with a warm-blooded breeze;
today moves on from yesterday.

The cold looking-glass of the lake
shows gold and green and white and blue;
a catfish leaps and colors break—
old memories give way to new.

A Simple Song

Love, where have you gone?
(With the dawn, on and on).
Bed bedecked with dew,
tears for you,
old and new.

The noonday burns bright
(blinding light, golden white),
Eyes closed can still ache,
wide awake
as lids shake.

Dark becomes the dusk
(twilight’s husk, moon a tusk).
Moth nears candleflame.
What’s your aim?
Who’s to blame?

Lonely as a star,
(falling far, where none are).
Gleaming on the sea,
You and me…
Let it be,
let it be.


You train-jumping vagabond tramp,
only home you know is a camp,
ashen-shoed as you move on through
sidestreets, foot trails, Route 62.

Roaming spirit, you’re a rumor,
haint with a whiskey-flask humor,
orphan from the carnival glow,
dressed for jazz, but a geek sideshow.

Sometimes you hum low to yourself,
or sing aloud like a drunk elf,
voice like a shovelful of slate,
heavy and coarse, yet free from weight.

Will you find what you’re looking for,
rambling state to state, door to floor?
Or is it the walk you’re after?
Hounding moonlight, girls, and laughter.

The horizon rolls to meet you
like a stray dog slow to greet you
and though you do not pet its brow
the world wags its tail—take a bow.


A molten marble, the amygdala,
like a neutron star in density,
hotter than the sun, the third eye
blinded by the radiating white-hot light,
and should I somehow think a clear thought
amidst that centrifocal gravity of hatred
it shall be no more than the anticipation
of my revenge,
fists clenched like the claws
of a crow perched on the ribcage
of a corpse
in a battlefield littered
with the disemboweled dead,
the head of Reason eyeless
and the world itself an eviscerated wasteland.
Ask me not to parley
nor speak any words;
such peace talks are the trifles
which ignite the gunpowder
and blacken the bitter battlements with
cascading cannonades.
Were I a mountain long gone quiet
through eons of silence and solitude
I would burst open with a hemorrhage
of inundating lava
and girdle Eden with a Pyrrhic victory,
and be at peace,
at long last,
as all the magma-embosomed earth
cooled alike to Mars,
quiet, and still, forevermore.


Would that I could find
that pacifying panacea,
dumb beast that I am
trampling clumsily through the Heal-alls
and crushing underfoot the purification
I seek so blindly,
the fulsome fragrant flowers
so close within reach
were I but brave enough
and sure enough
for the spread-petaled trespass,
but as the donkey with idiotic hooves
I cannot clutch at this garden’s bounty,
though caressed by Titania’s fond fingers
and dying as a fool in the arbor of Love.


Through the cold, dead ages
with nebulas aswarm,
past long-agone stages
and the cosmic dust storm,
came a writhing terror
within the wombed vacuum
of a headless bearer,
an amniotic bloom,
its tentacles reaching,
thrusting out through the Void,
seeking, grasping, leaching
from passing asteroid—
not quite a parasite,
no more than beast, or Man–
feeding in endless night
on any thing it can.