RASPY voices from the corner table: Joe and his
BUDDY Sal come every morning, for a
DONUT and black coffee. Joe’s dog Max,
DROOLs, waiting for crumbs, mostly patient on the cool tile under the table.

At the River

MOSSY stones at the river’s bank. The water mirrors time’s
REIGN: ahead by the bridge pillar, it ripples, eddies, yet streams on.
GHOSTs grow more visible as years flow past–what could have been and what was now seem more solid than the present, as my
TIMER keeps drawing down. How many ticks remain, I ask, as a leaf drifts past on the current.

In Arrears

CARGO ships pass, out there beyond the point.
HOVEL on beach’s rocky edge can count them, time the
SWASH rolling in. All the world’s trade couldn’t cover the rent
CHECK, yet money floats by, so close, so out of reach.


BOOZE, inward fire of an inward frailing, yielding view
ASKEW on self, on life, all blurred by buzz, curved by thirst.
REUSE crutch, drink each day’s addled quant of time outside of time.
PAYEE: mad, sad habit. Payer: liver, or the thread through it all, or the better moments never met.

GUILT–theologians argue its inheritance, moderns banish it from
BIRTH. Yet he knows, in sober moments: his thirst is his own.
QUOTH a voice between his ears: perhaps today I will not drink, will
EVADE my urge. And then, as thirst builds, says the voice: perhaps tomorrow.

STUNG to soul’s root by thirst, he asks: is there in the
SHAPE of him, in the depths of him, any part of him that does not
QUAIL at facing life, that does not flee his day, that does not
BLURT to him: drink, drink, so this day might wane and tomorrow seem far off?

BRICK of alley wall, he stumbles, he slurs. Brick more solid than himself–
TIGHT chain, as it tightens, loosens hold on all, till self seems glassy leaned on brick.
SHOWY beauty of drink, light through amber fluid, showy burning in his throat,
ARDOR of his thirst: what substance in this show, what memories to call his own in the chambers of a reeling mind?


ALARM would have been in order. Short
PAUSE, then flight into the forests, when Cristóbal
COLÓN and his men arrived.
BURLY? Men on either side were so. Yet guns, germs and steel . . .

LOATH I to join in fashionable decrying, through
MEALY phrases about empire, yet
BEGAN then a new chapter of an old story.
REUSE it in every installment: new moments letting settled depravity flare up.

GRASS sighed in a breeze, pigs
BELCHed contentedly, and far from fleeing,
CROWDs assembled at the sight of the tall ships, which would be
SHOWN in all the paintings, focus of the gaze, the people small and incidental.

Note: another 3 days in one effort (I like the challenge of trying to make 12 words work together).

Leaden Skies

ENNUI, dull note droning all this season,
SPRIGs of hope withering before they green.
LATER days? Is this winter? Or a year of cooling, ash-cloud circulating planet?
SLUNK from me animal spirits, esprit, expectancy.
ARBOReal metaphor to ponder, the dropping of leaves followed by spring
MEDALLing in joy’s event. Or a tree, at whose root the axe is laid, for, say,
TRIBAL longhouse’s lodgepole, thus treasured, yet not standing, or–
WOOZY thought–tree engulfed in wildfire, among tens of thousands, gone.
LINGO might be found to name these story branches, but what word for the not knowing?
HOWDY to all the doubts, the unseen future, to the leaden skies that seem here to stay.
GRASP a slender thread–or sturdy anchor cable?–I am not my own.
THIRD of life left, perhaps. A third of a gift, followed by greater gifts.

Note: I borrowed from Mike and did three days at once.

Faith in Spring to Come

CHEST of red the robin puffs, perched on twig in
SHRUB on day when snow is gone, yet air is hardly warmed by sun.
CREDO of chirps, profession of tweets, faith-song for spring to come.
BELOW the heavens, below heaven, creation sings for history to flow.

What Did You Expect

MOLAR mass is grams of mass per mole-you thought I’d talk about teeth, didn’t you?
PROBE goes into the drogue in air to air refueling–what did you think I’d talk about?
DRIER wit might devise a funnier Quordle Poem–what can I say, this is what I’ve got.
BORNE–not an identity, but patiently suffered–like you have, to get this far.