Why is it that the world’s on fire at 3am?

On the cusp between night and dawn,

When all the sounds on earth seem miniscule,

All the traversing that could have been bought by dreams

Had I but gone to sleep.

The bent-out-of-shape that was, then wasn’t,

The letters we wrote each other but never dared to mail.

What is it about the air at 3am?

The scent that lies in the hour when ox and tiger meet,

Minutes beleaguered, blighted by insomnia.

If I stand outside and look at the pale horizon,

I’m convinced—if briefly, that I can glimpse both past and future,

Allow me the grace that I might beseech the gods for a reprise.

But only the silence of slumber could slay my dragons.


A human being equals noise.
From the moment of gestation
To one’s dying breath,
The elocution of remembrance
Will be the words we uttered,
The overtures our declarations (made) created.

Was there howling into the night?
Much regret left on the plate?
Did our cravings outlive us?
Did our whispers meander before fading?

When we shuffle off this mortal coil,
What will be left of our syllables in the shade?
An uncanny countdown that was frayed,
Or an uptick in thriving, littered with hope?

Held Your Hand

I held your hand that final night,
Into the twilight you went.
Me, trying to count the steps
As you took less and less breath
From the serialization of our lives together,
The sequence of events that led us here,
That moment in time. The passing of the torch,
For death seems to be that, a relay — life to non-life.

The emptiness that none of us can hear …

When I let go, I did not leave you behind
So much as grabbed the generational baton,
Ran hither and yon,
Knowing your spirit was safe with me.

Scents/Sounds of Summer

That early evening spell in August
When all the day’s sounds have subsided,
The chirping crickets, a contrail over the landscape
As the moon rises over the St. Lawrence
About to navigate its orbit from east to west.

The occasional car that disturbs the wilderness,
That stokes the dogs who bark in frenzy at a distance.
The humidity from the last twelve hours still dangles,
It coats everything, our moods as much as our hides,
A dampness, much more than mere afterthought.

On the back porch as I sit resting,
(Or is it meditating on all that hasn’t quite manifested yet?)
I’m reminded of the last scents and sounds of summer
All around me, better than any presents at Christmas.
I marvel as I take it all in, knowing the cold snap just a ways away.

Once Upon a Time

Every once in a while,
I catch hold of your beauty
Looking back at me
All those years ago.
Your gaze travels this far.

Your eyes, the twinkle in them,
When you smiled, your willingness
To go along with our wild escapades.

To marry or not to marry,
To run away, far away somewhere,
A place to be strangers in a strange land,
Which we never did. Already being there …?
Only played at love, seriously but never legally.

We worked around what others had,
Did our comparisons. In the end
We did give up, just a little.
Remained close, shared secrets.

We were one once,
Now your gaze is from the other side of the veil.
The memory of what was,
Our very own once upon a time.


I do not want to play with the shape on the page.

Shape on the page does not matter to me.

Shape of your thoughts when feelings pounce,

Shape of your words as you coerce meaning from syntax

That might be, should be loose but isn’t,

Tighter than the bonds you had with that

First lover who let you down from beginning to end.

The two of you who went nowhere fast,

Telling yourselves you were better than that,

Found the shape of we in the us,

That cupped heavenwards as though offering

All the loneliness in the world to the Gods of Acrimony.

They who did not shield you from any of your pain,

The we in us that left all the lifelines cluttered and tattered,

More traces of anguish than excitement,

That finally gave in as a means of giving up.

Now, you want to talk about the shape of

What there is on this page? No. The shape

You want does not exist. Or if it does … did,

It’s in a vacuum. Inaccessible. Unwanted.

The Aahs of Summer

The scent of summer holds me in its arms

As passionate as a lover’s embrace,

As comforting as a mother’s kindness,

The fruition of all my humble dreams.

As songbirds do their best and insects ride their waves,

The lushness of the green alongside the panoply of reds and purples,

Pinks and oranges, yellows that shine like the sun,

All bursting at the seams, shouting out love.

The grace that comes of this groundswell,

The labor-intensive excesses of Julys and Augusts,

These are what permeate and inspire,

How it is that I survive winter’s inimical calumnies.

Almost There

The night sky with no horizon in sight,

The scent of darkness all around,

The easing into summer with only lightness on our minds,

The reverie that descends with the soft heat,

All welcoming.

Breezes that comfort,

The sweetness of lilacs that covers the morning dew,

We stand forever at crossroads.

Almost there, the June sunset announces,

Almost there.

Mom, Dad

You created life for us, me,

You sheltered and fed and gave us love,

You opened all the doors that could be opened,

Said it was alright to fly, so fly we did.

You forgave me my trespasses,

Sighed with relief when my troubled days were left behind.

You blessed me with so much cherishing

I never realized how much.

Only after your passing, after time had moved on …

I could see all the light you let inside me,

All the courage you gave me to carry on,

The compassion it took to raise a difficult child,

Your unwavering dedication that guided my path.


The only thing we truly owned as kids

Were the seasons. Ours to make of them

What we willed. The bursting out of doors,

Pushing screens that were weathered with age

As we sought out the secrets hidden in the heat,

The wondrous dirt that dared our imaginations go wild.

Septembers that tempered but did not dull us

As we ingested the autumn air and the cooling breezes,

As beds of fallen leaves refortified;

The perfect anecdote as we bundled up,

Preparing for snowball fights and ice skating.

The long winterscape that defined us as

Yet another year took hold.

Markers that went unnoticed—being kids and all,

Till spring rerouted, reenergized us

As we doffed outer layers of clothing

Along with any sullen, adopted attitudes

All left asunder as we recalibrated,

Ignored the latest growth spurts as friends and foes

Charged out of doors again. Owning the seasons.

Our birthright in the bogs of childhood.


I see my face grow old

And it does not compute.

The youthful skin and vigor

Is still there, so my mind seems to think.

The child that saw the wonder and the beauty,

Found more joy than sorrow at every turn.

Those are the eyes that look back at me

In the mirror, every morning and whisper:

You are you!

How do we conquer this fragile, downward slope,

The circling of the drain that does speed up?

To start as helpless babies

Only to return to … helplessness.

An utterly disjointed process this is,

Losing fragments of ourselves,

The deteriorating forfeiture of agency

As we proceed to the inevitable gaping loss of

You as you. Us as us …