a poet died today.
someone in canada asked,
what’s a poet?
it’s a humming bird
that knows
many different languages.
for no reason at all.
it’s tomorrow,
another poet
where did the poet live?
on bourbon street.
what did she do?
she stuffed hot sounds
into a flaming trumpet,
the trumpet burned
every night until morning.
what did the people do?
they danced and jumped and pushed air
out of their bodies until they looked like
clothes with no people.
it’s monday in Zakopane,
another poet died,
the city is covered in polish tears,
poems display unbearable sadness.
everyone is kneeling,
looking into the mountains.
the poems go on and on,
the poets keep running their mouths,
nobody cares about hope and love.
elephants begin to thunder
they don’t know their own worth.
without mouths there is no lionroar,
without phrases ostriches run in endless circles,
without fire there are no stories,
there are only dangerous piannissimos.
everyone is waiting
everyone is waiting
everyone is waiting

Pappy had five work outfits for five days,
when he came home he went to the laundry
pealed off his dirty, greasy clothes and stuffed
them into the washing machine.
He slid into his relaxing clothes, lit a hand-rolled
cigarette, poured himself a cup of stale coffee,
sat on the edge of the back porch and stared.
Sometimes he sat there until supper time,
his eyes would move from section to section until
he surveyed the entire garden.
If something was very askew, he’d jump up
hurry to the sinning spot ,clip until it was better
and then sit down again until another fault appeared.
Occasionally he would dream through dinner and
plan his gardening for saturday.
Pappy had only one sunday suit.
He had five ties, he wore the one that suited his mood,
he had one white shirt, one belt, one pair of dark pants, one pair of shoes,
and two suit coats, you could say he was a man for all
Sometimes on sunday, pappy would get restless.
Often when the moon was very bright, he planted special
seeds, it was a secret. no one knew what was planted
until the sprouts pushed through the top soil.
Once a year, Kasha told the story of pappy’s special birth.
She told the story in very soft whispers.
Pappy was born inside a magnificent, indian princess,
nobody knew if it was an indian tale
or if it grew in kasha’s brain.

On days when kasha wasn’t busy she would walk
toward the steel mill with redrhubarb and watch
him safely cross the street that led to the big door
(redrhubarb) always ran to his father(fastwilly)
with the lunch. his father would take a big bite from
a sandwich and let his son dig for some sweets.
Redrhubarb loved the smell of the steel mill,the oil
and sawdust and chips of steel. Pappy always saved
time for the end of lunch. He’d climb up the ladder
to a flat crane top. Redrhubarb would start to clap loudly
and evenly. Soon several of the men joined the clapping
and pappy started to dance. He danced faster and faster.
Now you could only see pappy turning like tumbleweed.
Now he was just a blur.Then he disappeared into nothing
and just as quickly stopped and dissolved into grease and
dust. Fastwilly had done it again: he had the fastest feet
in the land of cranes.
Redrhubarb was sure to pick up all the leftovers, hug his
father and turn back toward home. He could see mama
coming to meet him, that seemed so long ago.

On the day of my father’s funeral,there was a heavy
sadness. Nobody spoke, nobody knew what to say.
All the men from the mill where my father worked
came to say good bye to fastwilly.
They each wore a T shirt with many peonies
and rhubarb and fast willy’s name.
Suddenly everything was a whisper,
all the men looked at me and smiled,
i started an even clap
and waited ’til everyone
was on the beat.
We clapped and sang.
Redrhubarb pretended he was dancing
the top of cranes.
Redrhubarb smiled as fast as he danced.
No one stood still in the funeral home,
redrhubarb led the dance for all.
I knew that my father wasn’t lying in that coffin,
i could feel him steppin’ on my brain.
some of the men said the same thing,
fastwilly was dancin’ with everybody.
I’m now 85 and my father is long gone
but sometimes in the middle of the night,
when i get myself some water,
i can hear fastwilly dancin’ in his socks.
he dances quietly.
he doesn’t want to wake anyone , but me.

          we passed each other several times
                            on   cortland       avenue,
          the first time we barely looked,
          the second time i tipped my hat
          like a farmer from the open market,
          the third time we stopped and smiled.
          "do you live around here?"
          "right around the corner
                       on      bocana street."
          the next time she stopped
              and            smiled,
          she     offered    her  hand,
                "my name is           amy"
          "you look as though you work out."
          she attempted to touch     my   arm
                             i        stepped         back
          "careful"       those are insured!"
          " i can't tell if you're joking"
          " that's a good sign"
                                      "next time you treat"
            i couldn't tell if i wanted to know her.
                  the next time, i took another way,
                                         i wasn't ready.
            i saw her heading toward me
                                   it was the sixth time
                she ran until she was beside me
           "did i say something wrong?"
           "not at all, but it takes me
                   a long time to trust      people"
           "wow!                      that's       strict!"
            i laughed but she wasn't convinced

           "let's try something."            "o k a y "
                     "you turn away from me"
           "i'll turn away from you"
           "then we count to 100 and turn around"
           "that will help me feel safe"
           as she turned around i could see
                 she thought    i       was a whacko
           it took a few minutes to walk
                                and count to 100
           when i turned around, 
                       there were no people
                                         not even one
                     it was very,very quiet
                   no sound, it felt like midnight
            i waited for amy to return----she didn't
            i looked for a sign   of    even     one      person


can i do something for you
“i don’t think so, i’m fine”
he started to walk away
it seemed as though
he had missed a chance,
a chance to display his love.
he heard her voice
when he was almost
past earshot.
“there is something
if you have time.”
what is it?
“make me a light dinner.”
what would you like?
“a peanut butter and
honey sandwich,
a thinly sliced apple
and a glass of milk.”
is that all? “yes.”
i’ll bring it at eight pm

she sat down
at eight pm
and spread her kerchief
on her lap.
she heard the church bells chime,
she looked down the far hill.
at eight thirty she started
walking up the hill.
he certainly
wasn’t the one

i watched the great Arthur Rubinstein
touch the piano.
gently, he whispered into the
ear of each key.
then he attacked the entire keyboard
with extraordinary strength.
i wondered how he did it
where was the source of such energy?
he was no longer in body;
he was almost pure spirit.
but he was capable of smoking
effulgent, glowing cigars,
which filled the auditoriums
with forbidden aromas,
he ate caviar from faraway countries,
he sipped exquisite liqueurs
which vaporized into exotic clouds of mist.

for years i had been asking

to sit next to him as he played:
‘absolutely not!
it is my last private space,
my penultimate performance platform’
i slinked away and for a very long time
i looked and listened
from the wings of each theatre.
i was trying to find a common denominator
where i could hide and listen,
there was a space behind all the footlights.
one night in st. petersburg
i felt ready,
i gained super strength,
a surge of bravery filled my body.
i wore a special, dusty, dirty
one piece camouflage suit.
i wiggled behind the footlights
i was shaking with fear
as i crawled under the
sacred piano
like a dingey rag.
the reverberations felt like
all the enormous bells that hang
in the cathedral towers of europe.
my entire body started to vibrate
with the powerful instrument.
i was sliding
i grabbed on to a piano leg
just as i thought i was going to bounce away,
my body relaxed, my breath became even,
i started to pulse in the same rhythm
as the music
my entire being was disappearing and
i was playing with maestro
i didn’t have to sit on the bench
i was the bench, i was the piano
i was mister rubinstein
he never discovered my secret


even before he was born
shadows were too dark,
evil was already planted
deep in the earth.
it wasn’t long before he recognized
the sound of a lie.
he tested his skill on his father,
he observed his growing, truthless mind,
would spit out a preposterous fabrication.
his father would stop and smile,
and then a longer falsehood
would sputter out of his mouth into the air.
he was congratulated in the midst of lies,
soon he became the best liar
in his family
in his household,
in his neighborhood,
in his city,
in his country
in the w o r l d.
he would crunch back on his haunches
and spring forth without warning,
spring forth with another distortion.
everyone laughed
they rewarded his unique talent,
they invited him to dinner, gave him money
began to ask his advice.
he became the golden christ of money
the green mold of deceit.
a few people knew
that his heart was filled with cold blood.
some people suspected
that his soul was empty, full of styrofoam.
most people began to realize that his brain cavity
was an empty echo, a chant that mesmerized
and hypnotized large crowds of people


four o’clock in the afternoon
on july first,
silence is almost perfect.
a faint hammer can barely be
heard from several blocks away.
windows are still closed
waving, flapping trees
are a soundless, green ballet.
this is the gift given to those
who have stayed home.
no dog bark has broken into
the cloak of quiet.
the hammock in the next door garden
is smiling at this phenomenon,
fallen lemons are afraid to move,
this is a midday miracle.
don’t tell those who have traveled
far away, that the peace they sought
is on their front steps,
is lying in their back yard.
it is an offering which began
in the morning sun
and continues through the soft day.
we will hold on to this treasure
until the fireworks break through

walking toward the kitchen
i pictured the piece of cake
in my sugared mind
when i stood in front of the
there were only the remains of
dark, chocolate ganache
moist flavorful
with smooth, cream cheese frosting
i was disappointed
as i smiled at the empty container
so many times i had gobbled
the last slice
before my beloved could get there
she had left a little spoon
and i scooped around the edges
it seemed as though the wet crumbs
were full of surprise flavors
licking around the edges
was almost a new sport
each crumpled, tiny bit
was packed with delicate layers of pleasure
disappointment disappeared
another reward from the secrets of love

there is a towering orchid in my study
i spoke to its beauty
and it said “kneel”
“i am the lord god”
i started to laugh and it shouted “kneel”
“i am the essence of buddha,
i will teach you the truth of peace.”
i started to answer and it screeched
“kneel” “kneel” “kneel”
all weapons will melt immediately
the entire world will kneel and weep
for all that should have been done
kneel and cry
for all the innocents
that have suffered and died
the towering orchid stands majestically
i thought it was a dream
but i am still kneeling
wake the innocents, tell them to rise
the magnificet orchid is waiting


all those beauties
all their friends
holding hands in a circle
proud, loving parents
surrounded by warmth
smiles tenderly holding love
love, love, love,
hold on to the love
don’t let it go
all is shattered by greed
for guns
guns for money
guns splattering blood upon
joy, upon hope, upon life
young lives barely begun
bursting into scream
school rooms become overpowering screeches
one endless explosion in every schoolyard
all loved ones know
that nothing will ever be the same
all loved ones tear at their hair
tear at their hearts
tear their clothes try to stop the blood
stop the blood, stop the blood
that is my son’s blood
that is a teacher’s blood, that is my daughter’s
blood. stop stop stop

already it is too late
souls of beautiful people
are lifting above the crowd
souls of confused people
haven’t yet realized their death
hold on to hope, search for our bodies
move into spirit, reach for our lives.
everybody screams, spirits become clouds of ether
all friends, all loved ones
become a laser explosion
chasing pistols, smashing repeating rifles
destroying everything that can be a weapon
dissolving them all into uselessness
all friends, all loved ones
search every corner of the earth
search for the smell of gun powder
smash every weapon into whimper
until all weapons are unrecognizable
until all weapons are nothing
dripping into middle-earth
dripping on to nevermore

then the silence will come
then the sorrow will remain
then the silence will come
then the healing will begin