She comes and goes? Or he?

Better: They come and go, the Muse.

Some mornings They wakes me

with Their laughter, leads me

down the road singing.

Some mornings They’re in, oh. . .

California, maybe. . . fighting

over water. Or in Poland, painting

rainbows around the head

of Their sister and brother. I don’t think

They ever goes to the white house

or congress, though it’s likely

they thrives on the Mall

among the placards and

in the quiet halls of the Museums, 

which, after all, is Their houses.



Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story

of poets in April, of twists and turns.

Driven to and fro by words and noise,

haunted, solid, cursed, concealed.  

Many things they saw:  unpeeled oracles,

flying seducers, flights of sparrows, 

long months dressed in black or gold. 

Thrumming weathers pulsed through their bones.

Even so they saved each other from disaster,

no gods or sirens seduced them.

their own wild recklessness kept them all–

children and fools, they ate the moon,

their muses leapt into their arms

and wept and laughed, and explained their lives.  



Wrote this one in 2013.





Mile high glass mountain.

Enthroned on the peak

the jeering Muse in her Unattainable Princess mode.

She is eating a melon, spitting out the seeds.



Basaltic monolith set down by an alien god

in the middle of the narrow way

between the abyss and the infinite seething swamp



Fierce dark angel with a sword thin as a laser

darting to and fro, to and fro,

severing all connections

the strands of the web

synapses in my brain

sinews in my hand



Little wooden cubes

painted with apples, balls, clowns,

letters upper and lower case





The Kept Writer, July, 2002

ARRIVAL:  on quitting facebook, part III

ARRIVAL:  on quitting facebook, part III

The Muses come in silence.

You must sit still and wait.

For a long time, you must sit.

They come in your grief

when the world is cracking open,

when you wake in the moonlight

and your heart is afraid.

They come in your solitude

when all your doors are closed

and even the cats are asleep.

After a long time they come,

and make music from the tears.

November Writing Challenge #20



IMG_6667November Writing Challenge #20


An aging woman:  short graying hair, glasses, unfashionable clothing (Mom jeans, etc.)



The curtain is open. A small rosy-red room with three walls.

Right wing:  three shelves attached to the upper part of the wall with brackets. On the top shelf, old dolls and stuffed animals:  Raggedy Ann and Andy, a gray satin elephant, a woolen lamb with a pink ribbon around its neck and a worn place on the nose where the straw stuffing is visible, a baby doll in a yellow bunting, several handmade Waldorf dolls. The downstage half of the middle shelf is also filled with dolls: mostly homemade fabric dolls and one old Ginny doll in a red dress, and one Beany Baby airedale sitting next to a Waldorf doll in orange leggings and an apple-print dress. A figurine of a mother holding a baby. On the same shelf, extending upstage, books, held up by a bookend and on the upstage side by a stack of bricks.  Up against the upstage wall, a large fabric doll wearing a rhinestone necklace in her black hair. On the bottom shelf, downstage, more dolls for about a quarter of the space: a German bisque baby, a ballet dancer in a blue felt cape, an old walking doll with tangled yellow hair and a blue dress, a Madame Alexander “Meg” doll in a dress of the same blue, a Russian nesting doll, several Polish dancers. And then books, separated with bookends, an earthenware turtle playing a harp, and a blue bowl fill of stones with a pelican bone on top. In front of the books, a mantle clock and a worn hammer. On the upstage end of the shelf, a tiny doll on a little rocking horse and a basket.  Beneath the shelves, a large dollhouse with a red roof sits on an old black steamer trunk. There is a dulcimer in the corner.

Left wing:  In the middle of the wall, a white bookcase, full of books and notebooks and papers. On the top of the bookcase, a mug full of colored pencils, a basket full of hats and mittens. Above the bookcase, a glass plaque of the Lord’s Prayer in German, held up by a chain. In the upstage corner, a green stool with a black battery charger on it, above it, a print of Utrillo’s “Eglise de Strine” framed in green.

Upstage center:  a double window with filmy curtains on either side, framing a view of bare trees. Centered before the window, a black paymaster’s desk with silver hardwear. In the center of the desk, an old, large desktop computer, a keyboard and a mouse on pads of red closed-cell foam. The screen saver is a photo of a smiling baby grabbing the face of a gray-haired, bearded man. On the back shelf of the desk, left of the computer a brass lamp with a green “Orient Express” label, a black and white photo of a young man in a parka with his hands in his pockets, standing in a forest. An old rolodex.  On the right side of the shelf, a blinking modem.  On the left side of the desk proper, a brass bucket containing a eyeglasses case, a DVD of “Tai Chi for Arthritis,” a list of Polish vocabulary words, and a notebook. Also a chunk of limestone, a Hummel figurine of two children praying under s shrine, a stack of postcards from Mexico and dated 1945, a pottery cup holding eyeglasses, a brass candlestick with a half-burned orange candle, a ceramic coaster featuring Santa Claus knitting a sock.

There is a big black desk chair in front of the desk with a purple shawl draped over the back.


The aging woman enters with a green pottery mug of coffee which she sets down on the coaster. She sits down in the chair.






I must return to the world of words,

where strange syllables sit on bales of straw

and metaphors lurk like luminous

and dangerous mushrooms.

It’s nearly always twilight there, or if not,

the sun illumines every edge

or the moon makes magical shadows.

Or it’s raining (especially on the quiet streets).

Everyone I meet has a lesson to teach:

old lovers regret, children are wise,

strangers hand me emeralds or bread.

My mother has nothing to say.



I think this was “found” in last  April’s “Prompt” poems–bits and pieces of poems the Spring St. Poets wrote. If it isn’t, I have no idea where it came from, or what it’s about.


Where did I hide when I was ten?
That was the year I stopped feeling solid,
the year I broke things I liked.
I tried to fly away, but could not
with the mass of gravity holding me in.
All that November I sang
like a swamp sparrow.

Must I apologize for my life?
My Ideal Muse expired last year;
my Actual  Muse will never show up.
My favorite sound is the pulse of poets,
though I would not say that in mixed company.
To my favorite god, I offer my favorite globular fruit,
concealed in my favorite hand.

O, favorite hand!
Could you please write this down now, else
the nightmare will continue:  I shall leap around
with the rest of the condemned cattle
until it is finished. The time
will never be more auspicious.

O ye dead poets!  Leave me alone!
I grow old and dare not peel a peach.
Your botched cantatas are stuck in my head forever.
I’d rather sit in my kitchen,
and talk to the microwave.
Damn my grandmother’s premonitions,
her endless Old Sayings!
Damn you all, and your endless noise!

Astonishing, isn’t it?
All this thrumming
has turned my throat to stone.