Friday, October 17, 2014

Weekly Worded

        Garden Gnome

Maybe it's a fox
in his pristine flower garden,
the landlord tells me,
ripping up the turf,
digging for worms.

And I know how ludicrous
it would sound if I told him
it could as easily be me
after the traffic has fallen asleep,
at a subconscious level

where a man duped
by his REM dreams
like a child again
of claws under the bed
or closets tangled in arms

that squirm to get out
but he shakes his head,
a full-bodied self-assurance,
and repeats his earnest prayer:
It must be a fox.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Weekly Worded

        On Leaving Oxford

Before I go
let me acknowledge all the dead,
leaving the churchyards littered
with illegible stones.

May the Alzheimer's of time
mistake you for loved ones
from a century of incalculable loss.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Weekly Worded

         Oxford Botanic Compost

The soil in the rose garden is dark, rich in memory's deterioration.
Hedged with boxwood, trimmed to a linear maze, a canopy of
eucalyptus shelters its entrance.

Below the soil are bones from a Jewish graveyard, a plot of earth
given by a medieval English king so their displaced dead might be
buried. The site must contain good drainage for roses, heaps of stones
mounded by hundreds of mourners.  And flowers too.  Who doesn't
leave flowers?

The layer beneath must be Roman.  Their ruins show up like weeds
all over England, an occupational hazard.  The difference?  Their
stones are grander, and like ambition they're difficult to obliterate,
unlike the bones, or the graves, or the roses which are clenched like
fists made of petals.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekly Worded

       Pegasus Earthbound
As an astronomy lesson from the Iron Age, early Brits dug deep trenches along the face of a high Berkshire hill and filled them with chalk. Thick lines shining white against the soft green earth, shaping a stylized outline of an enormous horse in full racing stride.  Three-thousand years it still gallops across the turf, so long a part of the earth, so intent on lifting like a constellation into the sky. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Weekly Worded

       Higher Ground

When rain falls in the desert
the fragrance flash floods the senses,
unbraids itself like a garland
compelled to become a garden.

Rigid sandstone softens
and flows, as if stirred by the water.
The old lightning-scared piƱon
smells of black licorice,

and sage so full of sunlight
smolders yellow.
Against a ceiling of dark clouds
a kettle drum thunders.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekly Worded

The arrow points to where Anthony "Tony Z" Zerilli says Jimmy Hoffa was buried in Oakland 
Township, Michigan (Oakland Press, June 17, 2013). Other reports claim Hoffa was "garroted 
by Anthony 'Tony Pro' Provenzano, a notorious New York mobster" in Inkster, Mich., and fed 
into a wood chipper (Huffington Post, June 21, 2013).

   Hoffa, After Labor Day

The ground is hard,
not worth turning,
and of the mystery
the air has cleared.
We gather at the lake,
park, or every backyard
we ever mowed,
all our sorrow at the passing
of summer served up cold.
The celebration lasts
three days, but Tuesday comes
and we take our places
in a line of expectations,
the ones we formulated
for the future against those
imposed by the bosses.

“How was your weekend?”
Fine, great, stupendous,
we claim, but the truth,
like Hoffa is that the time,
it just disappeared.

*Thanks to New Verse News, 
where this first appeared.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Weekly Worded

      A Woodcutter’s Fantasy

Naturally, firewood grows on trees
but what if it fell from the trees too,
sectioned, split, and stacked itself
in readiness beside the door?

Then carried itself inside and jumped into
the fireplace, is that too much to ask? 
Wouldn’t autumn feel more like summer,
and could winter ever be so cold?