A sampling of some of the poetry I’ve written over the years.


depression, explained


a price tag

left on the floor

of an abandoned store,

faded paper umbrellas

in a shabby shop,

the plop

of rusty water in a crazed sink,

the slick of grease

on kitchen tile,

the stink

of boxwood after rain, the pain

of a hangnail,


concrete in an empty pool,

a tattered fairy costume,

the despair

of an orange chair

in a dingy waiting room.



In a gold star world where the stars are foil

Pasted on paper, stuck to themselves in a string

Of bravos, their fire contained

Within five points, please —

In a paper heaven world where you hang yourself

On a pin, to prove you shine like all

Heavenly bodies — your gilt surface neatly complete

With painted reflections,

There’s not enough space, no place

For any natural fire.

GEMMA 46 — a Pantoum


It’s difficult to know what’s really mine,

The hands, the hair, all carbons of another,

A double helix split to redefine

The child, a twin to her own mother.


The hands, the hair, all carbons of another,

Not one detail missed in fabrication –

The child, a twin to her own mother,

A hostage to eternal obligation.


Not one detail missed in fabrication,

But for every moment I draw breath

A hostage to eternal obligation,

A mirror never meant to reflect death.


But for every moment I draw breath

I’m something more than you and less than whole,

A mirror never meant to reflect death –

The destiny of every mortal soul.


I’m something more than you and less than whole,

A double helix split to redefine

The destiny of every mortal soul –

It’s difficult to know what’s really mine.



Stars blossom

In the rich loam

Of a deepening sky.

You lift your face

To the heavens.

Lower your eyes.

In a dew-tipped meadow

Fireflies dance

Like those suns above.

I will not speak

In the void

And vastness

Of space.

But in the leaf

And hummingbird.



May those brave few who venture in this space

Speed on —

as lucid and as swift as light

from your margins and the enslaving might

of your singularity, your core grace.

For those who have been pulled in your embrace

encounter nullity —

it is their plight

to circle and to spin in endless flight,

trajectories that cross and interlace.

Elusive as the heart of a black hole,

a nothingness that nothing can evade,

your nature is to lure

then thrust aside.

Yet you are doomed to pay the greater toll —

Trapped in a vacuum no one dare invade,

you are the absence born of love denied.



The wind will blow as it will,

And whenever the wind blows, there my kite goes

Yearning, straining against the string.

Tiny tugs, tentative as fish nibbling, never taking

The line, and I stand still;

Shading my eyes against a blinding sun,

The string still wrapped

Tautly about my hand — thinking

That this kite

Might make a sudden solo flight,

And I might see whose pull is stronger.



Thin shadows gobble up the grass,

The sun tumbles into the sea,

Things are stalking other things,

Come home — come, and be safe with me.


Black vines may scratch against the glass,

But all my panes are locked too tight,

So you may close your eyes at last,

For I can see you through the night.


Your hands may rest, held tight in mine,

While in your dreams you will fly free,

And if day breaks before you wake,

I’ll toss the sun back in the sea.



On any star, with every penny,

Wishes wing like Pegasus —

Beggars can’t be choosy

As to time and place.

Not just first stars, not only wishing wells,

Inspire the lost and the lonely —

Absence often tends to make

Their hearts grow foolish.

Time, and tides, and all that glitters

You may sweep along with you.

I’ll just keep on wishing

To cease this weeping,

There’s plenty of salt in the sea.




the labyrinth without

a ball of twine,

No crumbs

in the pocket

in a dark,

dark wood.

No compass, no sextant,

no X

marks the spot,

Chronometers split

in two, maps


Charts faded,


Rosetta stone.


sunk to the floor

off the sea,

Stars swaddled in clouds,

Sun doused by rain.

The white



the corner –




A spider web strung across the path

Silver and gold, it will not hold

You, it was not spun for you. Walk on through.

The sun is rising there, on the edge

Of the garden wall, as I recall

You dream of light like the sunflowers, turning

This way, turning that way, turning away.


You turned from me, did you believe

I was too cool to warm you? It is true

I am not so hot as the sun, not so constant,

Nor so easy to find. I don’t mind

The choices made, but if you had stayed

One moment more, you may have seen me, one step

Closer, one step back, one step away.




The leaves are never silent when they fall

Sound fills the forest, a steady spill of sound

Like water over stone. If you could but hear it

You would understand the trees

Do not let go so easily, do not release

Their hold without a murmur. Neither will I

Release your hand without protest.

You will not leave in silence

When you leave. When you leave

A steady spill of tears will sound

Like water over stone

If you could but hear it.


The Phoenix, burdened with centuries of pain

Seeks oblivion. Yet, struggling within,

Defeats itself and flies from its desire,

Rises, reborn — to live, to die, again.


Always alone, the Phoenix makes its choice,

Embraces once more the pain that purifies;

Glimpses the future form through present fires,

To create life anew each time it dies.

With Manet in the Café


Clink of glasses, smiles,

A red dress, and a white

Glove wraps a silver cane.




The sun is drifting above the mountains like a pearl

Freed from its shell, lifted on the waves,

Tossed above the blue-edged crests, to float

Up into the sky, the morning sun,

Not yet too bright to look upon.

Soon, soon to gather its colors into itself,

And burn through the quilted clouds, burn through,

Burn free, and burn so bright

That the world will turn away – the world and I

Must look away, yet still remain

Wrapped in the light.



I have seen the sky split and the light spill through,

The light of heaven, seen briefly, from below –

A waterfall which pours pure gold upon my face,

And sharpens all the edges of my shadow.



No need to look up, to look up for the sun –

The sun shines down

Before me, and I may watch

It play across the fallen leaves that lie ahead

On this path, I can see

Where it is shining. Where the trees above

Have leaned aside

The sun has found a window

I can look ahead, all about me,

And see where it is shining.