poem rules

the rules are what I say they are.   for my words, not for yours.

I remember the rules I do, and not the ones I don’t.

the rule that sits beneath everything else is what works is what works.
nothing else matters.

every word makes a difference.   not a rule, but it matters anyway.

punctuation counts.   it is a matter of breathing is why, and we all need to be doing that.   ie. periods, commas, spaces included, those I respect.   however, most capitalization just feels pretentious to me; not fair I know, but so it goes.

a break is something that produces a separation in the flow.   some breaks have intent and purpose to be.   some don’t, they just make things stop.   those are the breaks.

words have meaning.   sometimes we just make them up.   although, never from nothing, always from something.   maybe that don’t seem fair or proper, but really, we all began that way.   words too.

not a rule, but oft I prefer personalizing what normally isn’t.   not “the sky”, but “sky”.   it changes our regard, our relationships.   and for all we really know, perhaps it is more accurate!

free association is fair game, desirable even.   those are threads that go where we don’t see when we begin!

one should always allow room for magic to express itself.   writers and readers, both.      what if a poem was actually for real?

and here’s the secret of the universe.   poems came first, then words.
read footnotes about this poem


draw a circle, i

do it.   do it for real.   both beginning and end.   how does this act invoke both pleasure and surprise?   close your eyes.   repeat.   see how this arc is innate within the world, within your own hands.   notice left.   notice right.   notice looking-up and looking-down.   notice depth, that Renaissance curtain pulled apart.   learn the meaning of trust.

an apple is a circle examining its spirit.   an everlasting christening of circles inside.   as common, as true as the birthing of a sphere.   as every star.

every one.

how do you see filling the space inside the circle?   how about what you see outside of it?   where’d that come from?   above or below your thumb?

read a blank page.   where there is no ink, meanings remain, having been there all along.   read bright light.   you, you are the shadow, not the page.   read it to forget.   read it to remember.   now read another.

now.   breathe.   now.
learn the meaning, trust.
continue.   trust.

the sky is too big

my voice leaps breathless, the drone
of a thousand wings, flutters, prayers
for life.  do you listen?

in moments I am jealous of such desire,
while you shudder to earth beneath the
impressions of a hundred unkind whispers.

for now, you let the openness act as a wall.

from here, I am steady with life for your word.

children, parents, these are masks,
worries, fears, mere reflections of
missing you, ripples within wondering.
I will let the sky be too big.
I will let breezes prowl across the open spaces.

koans, time on their hands

how many legs does happiness have?

does it reside in splashes of salt at
the feet of trees?   go ahead, taste!

is it amused spooning food
off your plate?

does it know your name?

when did you last hear it speak?

perhaps a casual encounter like
knock knock, who’s there?
applesauce.   applesauce who?

as sweet as your ears.   that’s who.

some koans live in Bakersfield.
never even heard of Japan.

when children play with clouds
does happiness know?

does it land, like gravity attracted to rain?

are rivers pleased no matter
the direction they flow?

they do, but you have to ask.

stories roosting here

every time You hefted a hammer
every moment in Your hand, all the
motion of You teaching me.

Your name was Lou, short for Louis.
brother to grandmother Janet, her
gingham stray cats.  including me.
here, ripples curve around Your memory.
there was an old rusting window screen
on the sleeping room end of the hand built
shack right behind the house.

when he was home, Bob slept here, not oft, then none.
later.  new-lain orange striped kittens in a window box.

the room inside seldom visited was all
pale yellow with not being seen, maybe even
changing the light to be more

like itself.
looking changes us because to look is to become.
written in tongues, another hand?
there there, having me
a reflection brings You to the same place twice.
was it wind or water that first touched Your face?

I fell in love while You were tying your shoes.
it just came to me.  swift images keep walking
down the street.
there was a garden fountain gone askew,
a slightest touch would correct

(from above) back inside down the stairs
out the door west on the stone path for
half-a-house length make one turn a few
angled steps left grasp the rail, balance,
bend and nudge.

he doesn’t.
how much light one star will ignite,
then all of them, all, everywhere and when

no shadow to misstep.
spirit, sing me each sound I hear.
echoes too are Your lips.

a broom sweeping, a rake combing the soil,
a wooden box dragged across a pebble floor, that
embrace who remains beside the open door.
whatever You touch You become
whatever touches You, the same.

when mother said be kind, what she
meant was be careful about being afraid.
don’t disturb what you don’t want to
the end is no more at cause of the
beginning than the beginning is at
cause of the ending.
I was the man reluctant to be the boy.


this tree heels close to me.

dogwood autumn swims, one
hundred arms flung taller
than my face can leap.

a fruit, swollen red dollop plum,
swaying, falling into wind, then
lands, made sweet to other tongues.

ground drinks ripe consequence.