Will there be cherry blossoms this spring

Will there be cherry blossoms this spring?
Petals drifting across marble floors
And wafting up granite steps

Or have the trees rotted and collapsed
Trodden and pissed on by
An army of blue flags and red hats

I have never seen the blossoms on the Potomac
And I wonder now if I ever will


A Farewell to Cheese

Days long past with brie and crumbled feta
Topped with parmesan and grated cheddar.

My stomach cries “enough!” Refusing milk,
Its myriad children. Something better

Shall be found in almonds, oats and soya.
But my heart pines for youth’s mozzarella.


My Head Is

My head is
A tree trunk
Hollowed by a thunderbolt
The rain soaks its branches
And the bark groans for relief


Claudius and I

Keep your head down
Be useful but not smart
The knives are coming
Don’t set yourself apart

We both stammer, you and I
We both know our role
Given what we don’t want
Living the unbearable

Old King Log
Shall we float on
To a kinder age?


Beginner’s Mind

Every morning
My bedroom is a void
Struck like a set
To prepare for a new show

Every morning
I wake to a new sun in the sky
Wear unfamiliar shoes
Drive streets I don’t recognize

Every morning
The world is reinvented

And I must learn it all again



Tuna swims the frigid waters of the northern pacific
Mercury fills his veins
He is a thermometer
Of the health of the ocean
When all the small fish disappear
And the corals bleach
And the water turns to acid
His veins will burst
And the humans who eat sushi
Will all go mad


This is not a children’s book

This is not a children’s book
Does a virus have a moral?
Does an epidemic have a happy ending?
Does it end at all?
Do we learn our lesson?
Are the ICU wards illustrated in pastel watercolors?
Can we put the book down and read something else?


The soul is

The soul is
The broken egg that pulls itself together again
No matter how much yolk has been spilled
It finds its way into the shell



Prying It Loose: On Writing Poetry Again

Like many teenagers, I wrote poetry in high school. I cobbled together a journal from spare ruled notebook paper and a used binder, hand-sewing and gluing the spine. The pages were deckled (not intentionally) by my inability to cut straight. I filled this upcycled journal with confessions, story snippets, and poems.

I wrote far more fiction than poetry in the years between, but I indulged on occasion. I used to post Wednesday poems on this blog some years back. I’d mess around with metaphor and meter in my stories, but not to great effect. (Rhyme was always hard for me.)

Since my writing block last year, I’ve struggled to find ways to put words to screen. I practically reinvented my writing process twice, but that didn’t seem to fix things. Even blog posts have been difficult and sporadic, though to be fair my topics have been difficult, deeply personal, and met with a great deal of hostility.

Earlier this month, unsure of what day exactly, I started writing poetry again. The first poem was excruciating to write, like turning a rusty nut off a threaded bolt, but the threads caught and subsequent poems have been easier.


Ouroboros of Inadequacy

(Inspired by this exchange.)

The mountain would not come to me,
    So I went to the mountain.
I slogged upstream, wading through the creek.
On the trail, the ground gave way beneath my soles, and I slid.
Climbing up the face, my sweaty palms grasped against handholds without gripping.
But at the top
   The summit fled.