The Sunday Poem

The Sunday Poem

Every Sunday I post an original poem.

The Sunday PoemThe Sunday Poem: London Squall

 Posted by (Visited 2988 times)  The Sunday Poem
Sep 072014

londonsquallLondon squall, Islington gusts,
Wash the Barbican clean.
Tidy households in tiny flats
Open windows, let out cats
As raindrops stop and shatter
And rental bikes go clattering
Down Clerkenwell streets.

Puddles, unavoidable mess,
Are temporary consequence.
Each lost leaf in King’s Square
Is labeled where it fell.
London squall and Islington gusts
May discomfit, yes. But we will not
Permit them to disrupt.

- Outside a café, London, Aug 2014

May 112014

It has been a very long time since I posted a Sunday Poem. That is because it has been a long time since I wrote a poem. But here is one that popped out the other day.

047500-rounded-glossy-black-icon-sports-hobbies-people-woman-runner Afternoon Joggers

The way they run, struggling against invisible wind,
Great gusts in their chests buffeting them
Like hurricaned pines.

These flagellates billow out each afternoon,
Tilt up slopes I cannot see, at windmills I will not.
They sigh in each night.

This is their duty to themselves, their dream
Of spasms and joints and jolt, their Sisyphean journey
From wind sprints to wind sprites.


This, however, saves you from the one that my mom found today, that I wrote for her for Mother’s Day in the third or fourth grade. :)

May 182013

It has been a very long time since I posted a Sunday Poem. I am about to get on another airplane in the morning, so I am posting it a day early.

This one’s bones came to me on a return flight from up the California coast, seeing the marine layer hovering at the edge of the ocean. It sat tall, far taller than any of the hills or cliffs. It looked a cliff itself, a glacier, maybe The Wall from Game of Thrones, overhanging the land. It looked like a shoreline in an inverted world where everything we are was lost in the dark except the little twinkling lights.

Seeing the clouds as an ocean is hardly new, of course, but it stuck with me as we descended. I thought about the liminal perspective a plane affords, an upbringing affords, and recited phrases to myself, trying to commit them to memory before they darted away like nervous fish. It has seen minimal revision from that version, scribbled onto an iPad in the airport parking lot.

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Aug 082010

Boston Photographs

There is a street in Boston where the gas lamps have been burning
For a hundred forty years; where lamplighters no longer walk
The cycle of the twenty four, since globule mantles left to glow
Were cheaper than the labor spent in dimming gas in rain and snow.

The gravestones at the Granary are sunk in mud, or shattered sheets.
The midnight ride of Paul Revere is heaps of rocks, is piles
of pennies, and a rain soaked flag or two. The Burying Ground
is older still, and the thousands share five hundred weathered stones.

A Custom House is a hotel. A macaroni bursts in yellow sculpture
Beside a Market square. A Brutalist town hall juts jaws beside
Stark glass memorials and Boston’s oldest pub. They said, “You can’t
Hear city sounds from inside Boston Common!” but they lied.

Look! — homes upon a fisher wharf, held up by mussels and stout wood,
The Charles for a cellar door and a neighbor in a sloop.
With California earthquake eyes, the pilings underneath the wharf
That hold the condominiums high are trembling on the edge of hope.

We watch the tide; the rise, the fall, the six foot gap from tall to small.
The fixity of history, the folly of infinity, the way the town believes itself
The sailing ship, the catamaran, the hackneys and velocipedes,
The ferry, horses, cabs and cars, the moving van, and the rumbling T,

Four hundred years all held as close as simultaneity.
Mistaken hills hold monuments to battles fought elsewhere,
And staid New England poets paint their copperplated iambs
In pixels on a screen, declaiming beats from Faneuil Hall.

I cast these Boston photographs to what they once called ether,
Where they may last as long as tiny mantles glow.
They are the fixity of touristry, the river banks we made by hand,
Are monuments as long as networks grow, as long as human power flows;
Are structures standing strong upon the sand.

The Sunday PoemThe Sunday Poem: After Serious Sunburn

 Posted by (Visited 4616 times)  The Sunday Poem  Tagged with:
Jun 072009

Stippled red striated speckles buttered deep
In cocoa, aloe; the slide of cloth on skin
Searing scars of sun and sand.

Skin in sheets, shed sly like sidewinds
Scrubbing rocks, sloughing like cicadas,
Scattered food for mites.

So starts the metamorphose, stretching
To a higher self, a sentience sophisticated
Now for SPFs of sixty-plus.

The Sunday PoemThe Sunday Poem: Working Late

 Posted by (Visited 4925 times)  The Sunday Poem  Tagged with: ,
Mar 152009

Birds stud the late night lot, move like skipping stones.
The bi-illumined trees huddle parking lights, dance
the empty parking spots, waltzing without parts, alone.

We click, we clack, we open, close, liquid crystal glows.
We do the work we love, the love is like a trance.
Birds stud the late night lot, move like skipping stones.

The stairwell window’s open. The breeze is cold and stone.
The smokers huddled there and overlooked by chance
the empty parking spots, waltzing without parts, alone.

Last lights are off. Hallway’s dim. The music of alarm tones.
We promised not to stay so late, not to see sunset’s hands
scatter birds, the late night lot, moved like skipping stones.

But it works. Assembly is complete. The work, it can be shown,
a tiny victory; a dinner lost, traded for the midnight glance
at empty parking, spouse waltzing without partners, lonely.

We move like skipping stones through dances grown
To dreams; we work for dreams we only hope enhance.
We stud the late night lot. We move like skipping stones
past empty parking spots. We waltz our parts, and do not dance alone.

Jan 042009

Between Left 4 Dead, and The Last Guy, I think something got into my head. ;)

Since the Zombies Came

Since the zombies came, you can’t get decent sushi;
Zombie sludge, it spoils fish like nothing doing.
And all the second hand stores, they had to close up shop…
Stains just don’t wash out the way they used to, do they?

Stuff that’s better – well, the horror flicks, of course. Duh.
Extras just show up. And don’t need paid, or credit.
Watch at home, though! Darkened cineplexes…
Real bad news. Though crowds are thinner at the malls now.

‘Sides, the zombies, mostly peaceful, right? Like yoga,
Tai chi, meditation, all that shit. OMMMM, then
Nom nom BRAAAIIIINS. They mostly stand and stare in corners
Seeing into places we cannot with jelly

Eyes and dreaming of the sushi and the clothes, the
Pay and credit, ordinary hungers (BRAAAIIIINS), good
Posture, faces still intact, more moods than one… sad.
Pity them; resent them, for the sushi’s sake.

Worse? It could be worse, sure. Aliens are worse, right?
Zombies get you, BRAAAIIIINS, you’re dead, undead, whatever.
Aliens, you live on screaming, tentacles in
Awkward places, slaved. I’d rather eat my friends, thanks.

Continue reading »

Dec 292008

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Once you know the shape of the passage, and just how rough the road,
You’d think that it would be easier, but it’s still so hard to go.

We always have to part at the doorway, as I put on my shoes;
You give me a jacket and that wistful smile, and say “Careful out there, silly goose.”

Maybe the issue is the things that I can see that are left behind;
There are parts of me you’re keeping close, and parts of me lost to time.

There are boxes full of our old aspirations, and that one there holds our youth,
There’s crazy music coming from that one — and that one used to have truth.

When there are bridges to cross that sway in the wind, and adventure at every turn,
Wild jungles full of mystery and so many new things to learn,

I always mention that you could come, but you just always shake your head:
“Too much to do here at home, someone has to make the bed…”

But do these shelves hold all of the meaning?
If the dust is blown off, can we fly with the sun?

Or do these these pages sit here, quiet,
until all of the sun setting is done?

I try to remember to bring back a gift, from all those foreign climes
But somehow most of them are dust, even if I get them home in time.

“I swear, this was gold, that was precious diamond, and this one here was fragrant wine…”
But you brush them aside with relief in your eyes, and choose instead to hold me tight.

You say you know the shape of the passage, and just how rough the road.
You act like it should be easy for you now, but it’s still so hard to let go.

Nov 162008

…The highway between Kabul and Kandahar was supposed to be a success story. Completed in 2003, it has instead become a symbol of all that plagues Afghanistan: insecurity, corruption and the radical Islamic insurgency that feeds off both.

Aryn Baker, Time Magazine, Oct 31, 2008

“This is my road,” Saboor says: a dust
Track gone the long way through the desert rocks.

He drives the bus, two times a week, trusting
Life and face to dirt he smears across

His lips, a beard to baffle Taliban.
He wears mechanic’s clothes: a claim the road

Then makes on him, a thieving in the sand,
The way last week the robbers burst and stole

The crates with chickens, goats a-leash, the wealth
That masquerades as dirt itself, the greens.

I ask him, does he fear insurgent’s stealth,
The bark of guns, the bullet’s code, the dream,

When east Sarobi’s tea shops dish fruit cold and sweet,
Pomegranates, porcelain plates, nuts and honey treats,
The scent of lamb in stew, the simmering of the meat –

He shrugs. Stolid, fleet. He says, “This is my road.”
It is a dust track where the accent makes the meaning.