Cumberland Mist

The mist is at ease
like a head on a pillow
or a lethargic breeze
in sails that do not billow.

The mists scarcely move,
like breath from a sleepy laugh
or wool brushed soft and smooth,
loosely wound round the distaff.

Phantom fleece, it floats,
the soul of a suicide,
the tiny moonlit motes
the breath of the river wide.

As languid lovers
beneath the Cumberland moon,
a froth of silk covers;
sighing waterfall aswoon.


The wind slithers around the house,
hissing harshly like a snake
encircling the close-cornered mouse—
these cabin walls creak and shake.

The wind titters and coils among
naked flanks of swaying trees,
famished, flicking forth its forked tongue
to break branches as it please.

Soon the jaws spring to snap, to bite,
felling trees with such force
that the woods falls within the night
to hunger without remorse.

In the morning I see the skin
of the wind that passed last night,
rippling faintly, gossamer thin,
amidst deadfall at the site.

Leaves, branches, the snake’s shriveled skin,
all as one in repose,
strewn about the soundless cabin
as the storm comes to a close.

The snake is sluggish afterwards,
having eaten to its fill,
wallowing as the songs of birds
settle in the morning still.


To be like that little wood duck
in the center of the large lake,
floating on lambent waves—such luck
to have freedom with which to make
a peaceful day of Summer’s calm
away from this dust-dreary room,
the water and sunshine a balm
to soothe the stubborn shades of gloom;
to paddle my feet without care
in limpid waters all one’s own,
not confined to this stagnant air
as I rest and mend broken bone…

A Mythical Riddle

Losing my head
and laughing it off,
not really dead,
though you may scoff.
Come seek me hence
a year has passed
and try your sense,
honored outcast.
You may well kiss
my lovely wife,
but be remiss
and lose your life.
Gifts I will give
of Nature’s troves
and you may live
beyond my groves.

Roughspun Heron

Though stirred by the slightest wind
in want of flight, without the wont,
I tumble, end over end,
the word of Fate a wayward taunt.

My wings are frayed and thin
and depend on the whims of air;
I cannot fly like my kin
whose wings of flesh and feather dare

the stirless sky, or the storm,
but must keep to currents of chance,
yet…such is also the norm
for all things born of circumstance,

for all things in manner made
to be as Nature chose for them
must likewise be as so bade
by fold and form, by stitch and hem

and come undone at the seams
by wear and tear, by mold and moth,
by Fate which compels such dreams
to animate both flesh and cloth.

Seeing Stone

By the cluster of Honey Fungus

beneath the oaks and by ivy vine

and while the shadows play among us,

the Seeing Stone stands —silent, divine.

Through its circle you can see by eye

beyond the veil of a mortal ’s thoughts,

leaves, trees, a columned hall neath the sky

and the viewpoint whereby truth is sought.

Gaze in to gaze out, eye to the stone,

the self becalmed within rounded frame

to concentrate what is One alone

and know the world by its wordless name.

With one eye closed and one eye opened

we see Life and Death, that grave starkness

known of beginning, betwixt, and end —

the laughing light and deaf-mute darkness.

The Standing Stone was born of the land

in ages long past, before Man rose,

planted in the wombed-tomb by no hand,

knowing the mysteries no one knows.

We may see through this bone of the earth

the living world known as we waken

and, one eye closed, the world before birth

and after death, all such dreams taken.


Most human thought is
best left unseen, like a closed
casket funeral.

Never had he once prayed for rain
to strengthen the crops in any field;
but to mock the tears of the slain
and drown the graves of the men he had killed.

The Sailor’s Curse
“Cranky Christ on a crook’d cross
wi’ a crotch full o’ itchin’ crab!”
he said after tasting her special fish sauce.
She punched him in his belly flab,
at which he was at a complete loss.
She said to him, “Watch ‘er goddamn gab!”

The Biggest Predator
The twin seastacks rose from the salivating surf,
pale, jagged sandstone towering above the earth,
and through the frothy ocean, like a tongue between,
the ghost of the world that was could be seen
in the backwash waves that thrashed up and fell away,
terrible creatures swarmed within the spittle spray—
they tore at one another within a bloody tide,
bickered and bit, fought and fed and died,
all dissolving within those tumultuous waves,
even the largest among them but simple slaves,
for they were the feast and the furor of Mother Nature
who devours all creatures, despite her nomenclature.

Simple-Minded Stories
Rinse and condense—
no space on the
bumper sticker
for nuance or context;
black and white bullet points should proliferate
but reiterate only one thing:
we good, they bad.
Let me tell you a farfetched fairytale
easy enough for a child to follow:
Once upon a time
in a faraway kingdom
we good,
they bad.
The end.
People throughout history have loved such
tribalistic myths,
but I fail to follow the bandwagon.
The stakes are so high,
yet the plot so thin
and the characters dehumanized
beyond any personality.
I cannot suspend disbelief
as the contrivances compound
in the lazy storytelling.
Here’s a truer story
with more substance to it
than the cliche plot
that has been told again and again
throughout history:
Once upon a time
some people thought life would be
if they had to think less—
the end.
Except that last part is fiction
because this story has never ended.

Bible Babble
renounce Babylon everyday,
but should it truly displease you
take up hermitage in the
Appalachian Mountains,
comforted by the holy works
you cherish
and never bludgeon the brains
of others with your cherished Book;
do not banish the vices or voices
as if misremembering that
Jesus overthrew Caesar;
he banished himself, outcast
in ascendance.
So, run to the hills
and in your sacred pilgrimage
keep a vow of silence,
otherwise you profane the Word
with that which you would
condemn Babylon.
For when in
you are a Babylonian
even as you preach against its temples,
but worse,
for you are a holier-than-thou
You have a
stained-glass heart,
and how easily shattered
the panes are—
as easily as any glass house
David might live in
as he readies his stones.
Stop cowering in the skirts of
the Great Whore
and venture out into the
should you be in earnest—
do not return.
Do not preach, at one moment,
against the sins of your Mistress
and at the next moment
sleep in a Babylonian bed.
Become the martyr to your purported
Go now:
go steeled in your faith.

The Scapegoat’s Prayer

We are begotten
and burdened
by flesh,
its temptations thus befall us
and become us,
so let us shackle a lowly beast
unconfessed of sins
with the weighted words of our evils
and cast it out to Alini, to the
wanton wastelands of
arid responsibility, thus
providing us our innocence
so desperately craved
and thereby proving us
the lowly beast we would each other scapegoat. In make
and in meaning
we are what we would
in our steads
forfeit to condemnation. For we
were made in the image of our Maker
and likewise must divest ourselves
of our multitudinous sins,
hanging their blood-blackened thorns
upon the crown of the Goat,
of Lucifer, Satan, Azazel,
for he is the beast of burden that chews the
roughage of our hearts’ sins.
Hoofed and horned and
black-lipped with iniquity’s cud, whispering
in our ears, he is
the Goat, the Scapegoat,
consumed by the same duty that
Jesus knew.
Yes, imbue him, encumber him, and
cast him out,
for he carries in him
that which we begot upon the earth:
black deeds,
blacker thoughts,
blackest desires—let him eat the roughage
until only the human heart remains,
more bestial and lowly than any
truebred goat grazing
in the fallow vastness of
spiritus mundi.
Come! Cast out the overladen sacrifice
as did the Lord his firstborn son,
glutting within his angel’s heart
the sins of His making.
For He so loved Heaven
that He hurled forth His first son
to expunge the impurities therefrom;
the impurities of His own Creation
as we do our own.
Cast it out
as the Maker did us
from the Garden of Eden, our species
a great congregation of
scapegoats, too, and scapegoats that
cast out scapegoats, as we
cast out the Maker, in turn, God being
the scapegoat of our sins as well.
Lucifer, Eve, Adam, Christ, Man, God—
scapegoats unto scapegoats, a whole herd
of overburdened exiles, our unhappy Exodus
as natural as sin itself
in this flawed skein of flesh.
Come, partake in this ancient Pharmakon, for
from sins arise as a black plague
our communal heart, so drink fast the
and relish the
relieving by stony pills
the Pharmakos;
the therapy without equal,
the ritual without rites,
the original opiate,
and opioid,
of the shameless masses
exiled by the sinfulness
of Nature’s perverse innocence.
May we eat well
of blame abloom
in this hoof-trammeled wilderness.

I Am The Rain

I am the rain,
teardrops on the window pane,
swelling the river with rushing water
to drown the farmer’s little daughter.
I blind the commuting father of three
so he hydroplanes into a tree,
and I dampen the California hills
until the mudslide slips and and drips and spills,
smashing the house while the children sleep
and burying them down in the damp and the deep.
I flood the sewage in the swirling storm drains
until refuse rises along the lanes
and everyone sickens from drinking
the bad water, foul and stinking.
I drown the prospering fields
and all of their harvest yields.
I breathe fog up from the grass
until you cannot see where you pass
so you stumble down the ravine
opening up beneath you, hitherto unseen.

I am the rain
helping to grow the grain
and tapping on the tin roof
like fairy feet, small and aloof.
I renew lakes, creeks, and rivers,
being among the most selfless givers,
letting you drink me to quench your thirst
and being, perhaps, the one to baptize you first,
kissing your brow, your nose, your chin, your cheeks
with many plops and pecks and trickling streaks,
and hushing you with my pitter-patter
while speaking with a gentle smatter
as you lay yourself down to sleep—
much better counting me than sheep.
I cool your brow on hot Summer days
and refract the sun’s shining rays
to festoon the earth with a spectral bow
as if ribbons were made from their glow.
I shower the Spring with its due
so it may blossom to a lovely view.

I am the rain,
feeling no regret or disdain
nor sadness or madness or reason;
I am indifferent in every season.
I fall where I fall,
over some, over none,
over one and over all,
laying still, or on the run,
my work is never done.