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.


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 …

Here, Take my Hand

Refugees, the world owes you a meal,

A place to lay your flagging bodies,

A land for you to call your new home.

Here, take my hand.

Fleeing ethnic strife or warmongering,

On the run from global warming, the natural disasters therefrom,

You come to our shores for safety.

So, please take my hand.

How could we refuse you respite?

Does our national character chance any redemption

If we look the other way, simply close our border doors?

Here, I beg of you, take my hand. 


Demons never show their faces in daylight,

In the dark of night they prowl.

The scent of death about their breath,

The hint of disease in the lacunae they haunt.

In daytime—with or without much sunlight

Where melancholy might abide,

The sadness and loneliness, the misery,

The passing grotesqueries that human pain describes.

Once dusk arrives, all bets are off

That devilish functions won’t molest you blind,

Charge your thoughts, bend your will,

Break you at every turn of the screw.

The farthest reaches that imagination dares,

There they’ll lie in wait for you,

Attack and parry, jab and thrust,

Latch onto you for your dear life.

Feed on your every gasp,

Torture your soul to brag of your demise.

There is no telling how or why,

Only that you’ll die not once, not twice but thrice.


We are on this train of time

Traveling farther and further away

From all those that we have lost and loved.

Love still, trying to not lose sight

Of all the wonderful memories.

The sound of their voices,

The look in their eyes,

The warmth of their embraces when you hugged.

We are on this train of time,

Holding on till the train comes to our stop.

Vernal Equinox

In February, when the sun begins to inch

Higher on the horizon, I can see its flames,

The brightness that explodes into my living room

That endures past four o’clock.

I can feel its heat caress my head and back

As I read and write, as I contemplate all my good fortune.

Outside, the canyoned snowbanks plowed to perfection by the curb,

Contradict these fleeting moments of solar benediction.

The dark starkness of nightfall

That will soon come down to rob the charm

That exuded upon my sanctuary.

Wintertime—still master here it seems to say.

But so is spring that’s on its way,

Bedecked by the brilliant light of February,

The burgeoning scent from below ground

That whispers … “Wait. Wait, the vernal equinox is near.”

The yin and yang that planetary motion brings,

The perfect equilibrium of night and day.

Sail Away

The thing about old age

Is how short the distance between sunsets,

The days that rush before you,

The evenings, how quickly they set.

The rummaging to be done

As you scour the pages written long ago.

The lives you touched, repaid in kindness,

The loves you cherished, who loved you back.

All in a day’s work, as hours go.

The heritage you brought with you,

The hunger that found quiet respite.

Time you leave behind, but a dream as you sail away.


The bleeding of the leaves has begun,

Trees shorn of their modest attire:

Naked, fastidious oaks, unadorned maples,

Elms on the verge of embarrassing collapse.

The end of summer feels like foreclosure on civilization,

All that mayhem underground as energy gets rationed.

Rapacious obituaries that make no bones about the

Billions of dark, verdant greens that have rotated,

Over the last days, to blood reds and shattering yellows.

Iconoclastic to the very end. And so we weep.

Unfinished Business

We had unfinished business you and I,

The kind that had not festered

But been lost with time,

Swept away by lives lived separately.

We had reconnected this last year.

Exchanged emails and divulged things,

Snippets that passed as explanations,

All while planning for so much more.

The expository we were about to commence,

The why we had what we had had in our teens,

The reasons for the messy breakup,

Even the unpleasantness of our last encounter.

We had put it off for a later

That now will never come.

How often death robs us of closure,

A lesson repeated, as old as mankind.

Fall Loves

Septembers have brought me how many loves?

That vigorous fall air with sunny dispositions,

That combination of cold and loss coming down the pike,

A reactionary response to my summer pheromones?

In every city I’ve lived in, Octobers have

Invited the scent of lovers to my nest.

From the entertaining to the enlightened,

My sheets have lent themselves to lust.

As seasons go, spring with its innocence leaves doubt,

While autumn loves stay longer. They share

In the ambiguity between the cusps, that narrow passage

Before winter covers everything in senseless shades of gray.