Society and its rituals, designed
For extroverts by extroverts,
Calls for community celebration
Of commitments so large,
No one can really grasp their significance.
Yet even in rites repeated for
Countless generations, humans place
Whatever individuality they can on it,
Like decorated caves or cubicles,
Or like music and gowns and dances
With specific meaning to family, friends, lovers.
As for me: I was there as part of the family,
Part of the spectacle,
Part of the commitment,
And as filled with the weight of the meaning of it all
As I was on my own wedding night
Nineteen years ago,
Dancing with the same beautiful woman
Who gifted me this family on that day.

The Pride of Lucy

Lucy sat out in the sun
In cold and clear September;
She modeled for us her new life,
I always will remember

The pride she wore upon her face
As she soaked in the rays;
Not knowing pills and Crystal Head
Would soon cut short her days.

The pride of Lucy, young and full
Of beauty and its power;
The sharpened razor blades, so cold,
That hacked to death

The flower


(“The Pride of Lucy” – 12-27-2015)

Adjacent Unrealities

In childhood, I stumbled on
Adjacent unrealities
Available on books and screens,
And so began dualities
Of what was really lived, and what
Was merely felt or thought,
But more of these
I almost always sought.

This is part of our growth.
It’s hard to know which to prefer —
Though some of these were bought
And others ambient and free,
I could not see that some of them
Were not that good for me, because
Some of them were.

Slow-forward fifty years and now
That battle has been won:
In the age of overdoing,
Everything is overdone.
The heart’s great appetite for play
Is stretched beyond its moorings,
And everything’s acceptable
As long as it’s not boring.

When I must choose far more
Than my capacity for choosing,
I find it’s to my detriment.
It’s my mind I’m abusing —

It is unhealthy living in
Adjacent unreality:
For real life is the road, and

The scenery

No Sunset

So, what is real? It’s not these memories:
The halt, spasmodic assays of my past
Are pictures now, hung up in galleries,
Some early chapters, neither best nor last.

For love is not a happening. It is
A work of many choices, many deeds;
It is the touch that bears us through our grief,
The careful stitches to the heart that bleeds.

And you — you are the realest whom I’ve known:
A gentleness someway both fierce and strong,
And as the years have gone — and some have flown —
Love stronger grows the more that it grows long.

    There is no sunset I would rather see
    Than any with you still here next to me


The force that really moves the world…

The force that really moves the world
Is authenticity;
Though lots of time is spent on

Most days, we will get covered in
Real glory or real grime —
So don’t be inauthentic:
It’s a real waste of
Your time

8 Portraits, #7

Another night’s conversation.

Candy crush?

No, Trivia Crack.

Who are you playing?

Denise’s sister.

I didn’t know Denise had a sister.

She does, and she’s not very good at this game.
I’ve beaten her like fifty times in a row.

Why does she keep playing you if she keeps losing?

She says she’ll outlast me, that she has more stamina.

Now, I KNOW that’s not possible. Do you want me to tell her?

You get away from my phone.

Doesn’t the name “Trivia Crack” sound like a warning?
I mean “Crack” isn’t exactly known for its salutary effects.

“Salutary”? I’m glad I’m not playing you at this game.

Don’t make fun of my nerdy vocabulary…

Don’t make fun of my trivia crack addiction…

Morning Diary

It’s morning, and the air is warm
Beside these waters far and gray;
I really do not care that much
How fast I go, or just which way,
For all of this is strange to me,
Life’s normally so frantic —-
But I have hours now to taste
Beside the wide Atlantic.

My wife and I came here to stay
About a week, a little less,
To focus on each other, and
To ban quotidian duress,
But I’m an early wanderer
And she’s an early reader:
And so I separate so she
Can use this time to feed her,

And I can feed myself, as well,
With listening and writing,
Theses few short days of aimlessness
Without that bane, ‘deciding ‘.
No schedules, clocks or watches, here,
Just waxing and receding
And being glad I’m not at work
Attending one more meeting.

Though those are not that bad, most times.
But still, a change of scenery
Is welcome to the heart and eye
That’s part of the machinery
That makes up daily corporate life.
But you want to talk stressful?
My wife’s home with three kids most days,
And though she’s quite successful

At keeping most her sanity,
Kids one and three and five
Will make you wonder where you are
Or even still alive.
“I don’t know how you do it,”
Are words she often hears said:
And frankly, she deserves the beach
And all the time in bed

She wants and that we can afford.
We drove because it’s cheaper,
And got a nice off-season rate
(It’s normally much steeper)
We paid for this last year, in fact.
She hates to spend much money
On anything for her at all.
The whole thing’s kinda funny —

And yet that’s us. Imperfect, real,
With these few days to live the way we feel.