Abridged Reality

If you try hard enough

You can grow deaf to the world

Live in absentia,

Home-grown dementia,

A home grown right

Between your stoppered ears,

Sand filling your mouth and nose.

Little pockets of bliss;

A determined abyss:

Life has always looked better

In the director’s cut.


Book Spine Poem: Shadow-Spy

After reading “Broken Words Spoken Here” as presented over at Sentence First, I had to try my hand at stacking up my own book-spine poem. A book-spine poem being what it sounds like; a stack of books that, when the spines (titles only, omit the author’s names) are read, become a new work of art.

It’s a frustrating venture, having to deal with a limited number of phrases, and no option of rearranging the words within a given title, but exciting and rewarding for a bibliophile. After dashing about between several different bookshelves and pulling out tottering piles of everything that looked cool, I fussed and arranged, delighted and remembered, sighed over excellent titles that simply couldn’t be worked in, and despaired that I have so few verb-stocked titles in my home. Then I settled at last upon this.


By cunning and craft, shadow and claw,
Invisible armies spy for the Night Riders.
Whatever happened to justice?

Out of the silent planet,
The martyr’s song inspired
The spy who came in from the cold.

In the shadows of the gods–
A memory of light.

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The margins spill over with
intricate loops of doodle-cipher,
every flower and leaf a silent scream,
every cross-hatch-darkened corner
hiding secrets
of the soul.

It’s a garden


a jungle

into which
the girl tried to escape
every day.

And now
she has.

With a breath of a wish
and a brush of a curse
she fell flattened and inked
into a world of her own making.

If they flip through the pages,
if they look in the right places,
they’ll find her

climbing the vines to a floating island
a blue sketched demon-dog

a graphite bazooka
slung over her shoulder.

The next day, and pages later,
they might see her
riding a living
into a forest

They might, but they don’t.
They never look at her world.
They never did.

She told them where she was going;
in between neat rows of
facts and numbers,
she told them.

In black and grey and blue
she told them
In rarer reds and greens
and in bright highlighter s
of yellow,
she told them.
Her nightmares and dreams,
she told them.

She told and told
told them of
her two-dimensional haven,
but no one knew her language
and no one saw her screams.

No one read the margins.

They look for her
in the facts
but they’ll never find her

She’s lost to them


in the wild,



Dance in Time


Up the lances, up the spears,
Waging war on human fears,
Salt the fields with victor’s tears,
March on, time, march on, the years.

Hear the blade’s edge cry for peace,
Driving nations to their knees,
Cry as sorrows never cease,
Count the rings on thirsty trees.

Will you, Peace, take War to wife,
To dance upon the field of strife?
As mind and body, soul and life,
Are dandled on a spinning knife.

Hark the note in horns of war,
Asking what we’re fighting for.
Battle stands as timekind’s lore,
We can do no less than more.


For more, see my website’s poetry page.


Will you be my Valentine?

Head on the block,

Life on the line.

Will you be

A saint for me

The heart of a dove

With a lion-heart’s blood.

Serpent-wise words when it matters the most

In the face of those ready to parry, riposte,

And meet passionate speech with a sword.

Will you be my Valentine?

Valiant heart

Beating so true

Red as a rose

And black and blue

Soul rising sweet as fair crushed bloom

True to the truth to the last.


A Time-Sensitive Question

Racing, racing, perfectly still

Comes the lifeline, tightly gripped

Stretched from creation to the never-end of all I am

One and every moment filled

Like all of space –time slipped

Into a single here and now through the burst dam

Of a seeing mind.

What is a moment found?

What is a moment seized?

What is the value of a thing plentifully singular?

What is the worth of the right thing at the right time?

And who’s to tell a drifter in the racing stillness what the whole picture looks like?

What to do with  a puzzle piece

When you are a puzzle piece

And you don’t know where box is,

Where the box is with the picture.

I look at everything now at everything here

At all the whens and wheres in a single breath

And how do I take my next breath, then,

When its only a piece of a breath

Already breathed

Being breathed

Yet to be breathed

How do I make a to-do list

In the face of the great woven continuum

How do I carve out time

Carve my initials onto time

Carve my actions into the vast and sweeping everything

How do I make a bucket list

When buckets are only one arrangements of a set molecules racing through the stillness of time

and space, that were once other things and will be other things yet, and are all the things they will ever

be a part of at once,

And when in some sense my death is as done and over with as my birth?


For more, see my poetry page.

A Writer Should Write Precisely as He Means To.

This wellish-known quote is attributed to N.H. Kleinbaum, in the estimable Dead Poets Society.

As estimable as its source may be, and as well-spake as the quote above is, I cannot agree.

Especially in creative writing, one must know the use both of extensive vocabulary and of simple word combinations.

Think of a death scene, following a character who’s just had his heart stabbed through:

“His eyes slid closed, and he let out a quiet sigh… He was exhausted.”

The End


“His eyes slid closed, and he let out a quiet sigh… He was so very tired.”

The End

They carry two quite different energies. For a final breath, I actually prefer the latter, but really, it’s a stylistic matter. It depends what you want. I personally favor understatement in the face of literary death.

Writing and speaking is an art, and simple words are tools at our disposal, just as are complex ones. To deny the poet language’s simplest constructs is to ignore a very–or a perfectly, or merely a–legitimate tool.

The wise writer, the true poet, will use what works best for sentence integrity and paragraph flow. Some may be inclined towards especially precise words, and may spend hours laboring to find the right gem for their fitting, while some prefer smaller words of simpler meaning, strung together into one great message–which, I might add, can take just as much time, effort, and expertise, and can yield results just as powerful. Many writers, myself included, sit somewhere in between these extremes, or waffle back and forth between them.

The most important part–the meat of the quote above, if one does not get hung up on exterminating their verys and sos, is that our work must be deliberate. A writer must become familiar with words, knowing the feel of the syllabic beat, the weight of a sentence’s meaning.

To steal a quote from one of my betters: “A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”

We are wizards of the world of words. Do not write, “The trees were very sad,” because you didn’t think beyond it. Write it because it was precisely what you meant to.