and the livin’ is easy

Across the shimmering
blacktop parking lot
& the crisp, wilted lawn
swelter & sweat
step by step
into the park.

The children run
on the dappled bank. Ducks
scatter before them.
Burgers sweat &
fat flares on the coals.
Fathers pour beer
on the flames while
women fan & talk
around tables
of potato salad.
Radios pause
to lament the weather,
another scorcher.
lawnmowers sputter
& gardens are watered.
The park is a labor
of defiant celebration
a sotherner’s acceptance
of summer’s warm embrace
the watermelon reward
of a hot June afternoon.



The soft flutter of a fan
In Venice piazza
Blows chaotic tropical salsas
Across the Atlantic.

The drums rumble the earth
The dancing triangulates
On all the instruments
Far to the north

(Trombones most of all)
Registering ecstasy
Riotous in the Old Quarter
Of New Orleans.

The Pendulum At Rest

For Katner & Bowie & All The Rest

As They pass—
the gods we have made—
as in a dim & silent gallery
of funerary monuments
my every step echoes,
the knelling of a bell,
around some corner,
growing closer.

Tower or spire,
mantel or grandfather:
it does not matter.

The tick-tock cog advances with
cold, Newtonian precision
as the weight descends
with gravity’s inevitably
toward the last chime.

Tiny Maelstrom

A simple twist
of Coriolus
at the bottom
of my draining sink

so miniaturely fierce
the force of its twisting
compressed to thread’s width
& sounding disconcertingly

like the wet smackery
of two squids kissing
with passionate attachment
somewhere in the plumbing

& stuck in sucker lock
the desperate wrassling
frantically wondering what
to tell the parents.

Little Nothings

There are large nothings:
interstellar blackness
for example, dark matter
& the unfathomable
mid-depths of oceans
between life & light
& the volcanic bedrock;
also monstrous ones,
mostly in politics.

Not here. Nope. None
of that I’m afraid.

True insignificance:
a lone wildflower bloom
is a nothing much, really,
except a singularity
which in galactic multitude
makes a vast meadow
against which we measure
our idea of the scale
& beauty of mountains.

Bayou Diaries: The Cars

The cars pass on the avenue
hum & whoosh, snippets of music
the trees take no notice
leaf still & silent

I am here to see the trees
my only daily companions
searching for their secret
of unperturbed stillness

in which pursuit the cars
are a useful distraction
they come, & pass, are gone
a lesson for my squirrely mind

Let the thoughts pass me by
like the path vanishing
with each step deeper into
the the overarching grove

Bayou Diaries: A Confusion of Tulips

Leafless tulip trees blossom
discordantly in January as if
the skies suddenly decided
to roll backwards west to east
sowing confusion until
compasses tremble with uncertainty
& clocks run down the wall
looking for a calendar
a Gideon’s, some book of portent
or fortune, telling them
what strikes next & when
leaving us by degrees
to an uncertain dead reckoning

Bayou Diaries: An Explosion of Egrets

A beak-down flock of egrets
more dozens than I can count
before they explode in a whorl &
wheel about their startled huddle

as I pass at some distance
our courses roughly equidistant
from their interrupted feast.

The park is otherwise silent
muddy and puddled after the rain
not a squirrel’s worth of noise

& there’s no one else in sight
to frighten them
as I watch them navigating
their go around

with a warp and weft precision
known only to a startled
flock of birds.