hail, arcadia

the flickers and lights
the way of the moon in a glass of water
virtues and disasters collected in a box of fallen leaves
murky white marble sculpted into a gossamer and a mystery
feel the wind blow.

black edges on the coattails of evening
accents of tarnished silver
riverbanks paved in starlight
men slain and dancing in the thickets
the horn, the talon, the heated blood –
dew from the night gilds the dead branches
and mortality lasts until the next prey.

feasts and frolics are lethal
and bound in long-prepared spontaneity
with copper coins spilling round and round
carrying messages from gold to silver and back
joust and turn, cast and cavort
playing within the hooked nets of whimsy
hearing the soft wails of melody.

pages cut like fields of steel grasses
dandelion letters on the zephyrs bounding
piercing pens drip bloody ink in fountains
and the leaves are gashed with erasures of complete existences
libraries made of primal dreams whose very steps
smoke with bloody execution.


pro tempore

there comes a time
in every life
for glee or horror
there comes a time

there comes a time
our movements change
and in an instant
there comes a time

there comes a time
control is lost
fate spins us round
there comes a time

there comes a time
of joy in pain
of death and night
of stark amazement
of terrible passions
of surprising unity
of justified conflict
of solitary shame
of strange coincidence
of untamed love
of blue-hued sadness
of guiltless anger
of grace and glory
of all things to all
of the unknowable, unthinkable, unspeakable, unfathomable life we bear
there comes a time

tempora mutantur

Let us walk
Where people come and go
And talk
Where mobs will ebb and flow.

Away, away, into the street
Where voices fly and strong hearts beat
The clatter and crash of human seas
The raw and gritty energies
The throb around our fevered mind
The hustle, push, the shifting grind…

Let us walk
Amongst the crushing crowd
Who talk
In voices rough and loud.

We will be a hand of fate
To move the masses ever on
With voice and pen we can create
The impetus to shape the dawn
No mindless flock will we be from
We sound the trumpet, beat the drum
The people will our strength become.

Onward, onward, they will see
The future formed by you and me
For when they all had stopped at home
We laughed and outward chose to roam —
And broke the chains of status quo;
Change and adventure, we did know.

Thus we walk
Where people come and go
To talk
Of things they cannot know.

Imagination’s Heaven

Oft times I lie abed, and waking, dream
Upon a score of bold adventuring things,
And, through the never-ending conscious stream,
Give flight to fantasy and spread my wings.

Yet still reality extends her arms
To clutch and make a prisoner of me,
But ’twixt the fiction’s peril and her charms,
My mind escapes and mounts, rejoicing, free.

A call, a whisper of the world beyond
Will pull my thoughts abroad as I create
Environments where I can loose the bond
That holds me where no miracles await.

And then my eyes will open and behold
The images that I alone would see,
The forests and the cities made of gold
That satisfy my soul eternally.

reverie and requiem

drops from melting snow on naked trees

fall like shining crystal on the grass;

underneath a shrouded sky, the breeze

carves amid the rotting leaves a path

where the footsteps of the mourners tread,

constantly repeating life’s last march

to and from my chilly, clay-lined bed

underneath this blue, cloud-studded arch.


and now they go and leave me in the peace

to listen to the earth’s slow-changing bones

until, when years have passed, I find release

and wend my way within the weeping stones

to be at one with earth and sky and rain,

removed from all that lives and loves and feels,

immune to pleasure, far removed from pain,

another spoke in earth’s slow-turning wheels.

Starbucks Girl

I wrote this for my wife when she got hired on at her current job.

Today, she got her first promotion.

This is for my Amanda.


Coffee and syrup and muffins and sandwiches,
Hot or ice cold or between,
Brought by the hands of the girl in the brown pigtails,
Clad in her apron of green

With smiles and thankyous and change in the tipping-jar
Smelling of grounds and of cream,
Pulling espresso for all of the customers,
eyelashes wreathed in the steam

She dances past hot teas and cold teas and latte cups
Coffees and sweets in a whirl
Pouring and foaming and blending and serving up
My perfectly bright Starbucks girl.

The Immortals

The wind whistling through the rooftops overhead swept down and sent her hair flying back over her shoulders, framing her eyes in a shifting storm of brown strands. “I can’t wait,” she smiled. “Graduation and then off to Montreal. It’s going to be fantastic.”

I nodded, keeping the puzzle out of my own eyes, letting her enjoy the moment. My fist clenched behind my back, a grim ball of emotion that would emerge later. It really was wonderful – for her.

My feet pounded the pavement, the buildings moving through the corner of my eye. I knew I was late; far, far too late. Not that I could have done anything about it. Brian was gone, as surely as if he’d shot himself. I didn’t miss him yet, of course. That would come later, when his empty parking space hit me the next morning like a solitary raindrop. You know how it is – it’s so small a thing, but your whole attention is drawn to it for a split second of surprise.

“So what now?”

He didn’t raise his eyes. “I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t. It’s the end of the road. Game over. I can’t see anything beyond it.” I shrugged, trying to remain sympathetic. Just like his older sister, Jase tended to over dramatize everything. Hundreds, maybe thousands of other college students found themselves in the same situation every year and recovered.

“Come on, get over yourself.”

The words came out so suddenly that for a moment I was terrified they had sprung from my own mouth. Luckily, it was The Axle who had won the prize for tactlessness this time.

Four gravestones, each with their own story, each with the same story. I turned and left, eyes firmly fixed on the grassy carpet laid out for my feet. I knew, of course, that I was part of their deaths, and that in my case the story had only been delayed. At the moment, though, I was still one of the Immortals.

The trees swayed overhead as I left the cemetery. I clamped a hand down over my hood to keep it from blowing off. Trees never care. They don’t know how.