My sincere gratitude to the editors and publishers who have featured my work in their publications. I appreciate your commitment to the literary community.



(Publication credits cited at the end of each piece)

 Long Gone And Never Coming Back

Passing The Last Buoy

Death’s Door


Good Help Is Hard To Find

Along Your Golden Coast

After Drinking At McSorley’s

The Way Back Home


In Summer

Driving Home at Midnight

Funky Little Blaze Orange Pork Pie Hat

Swimming in the Lagoon

Launching Pad

When I Die


Long Gone And Never Coming Back

We roll on; twisting, winding, rumbling

through steep wooded hillsides

blanketed by two feet of freshly fallen snow.


Glimpses of the countryside through smeared windows

grainy images from a silent movie

slender trees reflected off the surface

of a rock riddled stream.


Except for the bongo rhythm of steel wheels

on clackety tracks, it’s mostly quiet.

Travelers in their own orbits

like distant planets in the cosmic dust of space


ears plugged

eyes gazing at illuminated screens

thumbs diddling text messages.


A soldier in fatigues, just back from deployment

tattoos on his knuckles, his face a mask

of sorrows and secrets.


A cell phone rings

the woman in the seat behind me

screams hysterically in Spanish.


The conductor makes a garbled announcement

two priests in the row in front of me

take their bags and move up the aisle

ready to get off at the next stop.


On the outskirts of an old industrial town as night falls

we lumber past scrapyards and smokestacks

piles of red brick lie half submerged in the bend of the river

a slag heap in a field near an abandoned smelting furnace


muddy vacant lots, broken glass and beer cans in puddles

derelict factory buildings and tumbledown warehouses

rusty, crumbling, desolate

long gone and never coming back.

(Published in Literary Orphans)


Passing The Last Buoy

It’s a short life, and it gets shorter as we get older

standing on the breakwater

immense granite blocks stacked tightly together

form an impenetrable barrier

against tides and time.


In the shelter of the harbor, sailboats bob gently on their moorings

to the other side, lies open sea.

Indian Summer warm sun, blue sky, sparkling water

a gull sits on a piling

watching a man and a boy fish from the rocks


It’s a short life, over before you know it

seems we never really slow down to be fully present in the moment

the gull sits perfectly still, watching

waiting for his moment to swoop in for a chunk of bait

maybe steal the whole damn fish.


I’m stunned you’re gone, here one moment,

vanished the next, leaving only profound stillness

in all the spaces you used to be

a trawler passes the port buoy, the last buoy

bound for open water and the fishing grounds


Look at this light

have you ever seen such golden and dazzling light?

it has such a unique quality in mid Autumn

so ephemeral this late in the game

no two-minute warning, time out or final buzzer,


nobody shouting All aboard! or Last call!

no checkered flag, termination notice, or summit marker

no musical score to signal the denouement before the curtain falls

no clanging bell, no real way to know

you’re passing the last buoy.

(Published in Bay Laurel Online)


Death’s Door

We climb the spiral staircase

to the top of the old tower

across leaden water, bristling with whitecaps

views sweep to the horizon in every direction

thunderous waves pound jagged boulders

on Death’s Door.


My mother

tells the story

a battle between two tribes

canoes capsized in the surf

warriors drowned in the maelstrom

their bodies dashed against the rocks.


Sighing wind and roaring surf swell to a furious din

the big lake surges as far as we can see

we turn for the stairs

the way back down

impossibly steep

the descent ominous.

(Published in Wilderness House Review)



The floor, an encrusted blanket of filth and grit

metal shavings, cleaning compound, machine oil and grease.


Contraptions knockety-knocking, rocker arms clacking, pulleys creaking

gears groaning, chains clanging, all moving at different times and cadences.


Men shout over the cataclysm their voices

choked down to ghostly echoes in the thunderous din.


An unexpected shower of sparks from a spot welder erupts

like of a rainbow of shooting stars on a hot summer night


Monstrous machines press and shear, cut and bend

twist and punch steel into a variety of pieces and shapes.


Visions of green grass and cool breezes rise up and float away

like a helium balloon off its tether on a lazy spring afternoon.


Exhaust spews from forklifts and welding rigs

the leaden bouquet of sweat and despair


A buzzer sounds with earsplitting fury marks the beginning

and the end of all shifts and breaks.


At quitting time we stand around, waiting

for the deafening clamor of that buzz saw signal


We punch out, jockeying for position,

throwing elbows like roller derby players on the first turn


It’s every man for himself

as we claw our way out the door.

(Published in Ibbetson Street Review)


Good Help Is Hard To Find

Nobody embodies

the cowboy-outlaw biker

more than the ironworkers


notorious tweakers

wired on Black Beauties

they sell on breaks


bulldozers rumble over loose soil

kicking up dust, spewing exhaust.

machinery clanks in pandemonium


heavy metal

blasts from a boom box, overpowering

the machine gun roar of jackhammers


the ironworkers sing along

at the top of their lungs

as they climb the latticework


Dave leans on his shovel

staring in disbelief

at the pink slip in his hand.

(Published in The Santa Fe Literary Review)


Along Your Golden Coast

You rake your fingers through my life, leaving smoke trails of memory that flicker like images in an old movie. I wandered your vagabond trail, followed the twist and wind of your serpentine spine and shuddering fault line;
peered down from cliffs at the sea ravaging the jagged shore below, slept on your beach shrouded in mist, strewn with eel grass stranded by the ebb tide, listened to the song of sea lions, basking on boulders black as obsidian in the pale morning sun, sailed around your terrible demon-hold, that solitary rock with no escape, felt the roll and pitch of the boat under your red bridge;
surrendered to your veil of fog as it engulfed everything, watched tugboats push cargo ships through the deep channel between Land’s End and the Marin headlands, where low throated foghorns warn vessels away from shipwreck graveyard shoals at the hungry mouth of your Gate;
lay on my back in your redwood forest, gazing, starry-eyed, into the leafy upper branches of the canopy, while all around, tree trunks stood like columns in a hushed cathedral, sentinels standing guard, bearing witness to the passage of time.

(Published in Exquisite Duet, JMWW)


After Drinking At McSorley’s

I lean against the bar, drinking

small tankards of dark and light ale

staring in wonder

at the dust encrusted filament

strung from one end of the room

to the other

crammed with desiccated wishbones

each one left there by a World War I doughboy

who shipped out to fight in the Great War

each promised to retrieve his wishbone

when he came back safe and sound,

but never returned.


I leave the bar and head for the subway

descending the stairs to the landing

I hear accordion music and a woman

singing songs in French

I look down upon her from above

she’s dressed in a white gown, tiara and angel wings

playing a white, pearlite accordion and singing

songs of Edith Piaf, the French chanteuse

while all around her

glassy-eyed stoners sit moonfaced

wide eyed and smitten

throwing dollars at her feet.

(Published in Camroc Press Review)


The Way Back Home


500 miles, all the way from Omaha

9 hours in the back of a flatbed truck

on the way back home.


Hot wind buffets our faces, thrashes our bodies,

ties our hair into knots, sucks the air from our lungs

carries our voices away.


We roll on past fields of wheat and corn,

soy and hay, the endless midwest landscape

swallowed up by prairie and sky.


A spool unreeling, a banner unfurling,

time and space unwinding

we play chess on a tiny magnetic board


until, about six hours out

somewhere just past Des Moines

you call checkmate.

(Published in The Thunderclap Poetry Anthology)



The storm took all day to get here. Humidity hung like a sodden, warm blanket. It dominated and suppressed all motion. With no breeze or birdsong trees stood silent & still. The sky was sullen under the ominous growl of thunder that rumbled from somewhere way up the other side of the lake.

The dogs sensed it before I heard it. Wispy clouds of white lace,

the leading edge of the storm, ran before a bruised and purple sky. Air electric with ozone. Wind rose up and rain came down in great gushing sheets. Surging torrents spattered through open windows, soaking tile floors and wooden sills.

A freight train lumbered by in the middle of it all, a ghost ship on high seas. Wind and rain flattened the hydrangeas and snapped the main stems of the tomato plants.

I wander alone through the darkened house closing windows and mopping up puddles. Sad about the tomato plants and thinking about things I did not do.

The world has ended and this is all there is.

(Published in Lost In Thought)



In Summer

Towering clouds

remind me of that summer.

Endless days,

incandescent heat and humidity

like a warm, wet blanket.


Crows flying,

colossal skies overhanging

relentless rows of corn.

The frenzied cacophony

of crickets at twilight.


Sheet lightning,

stuttering bursts

flash across thunderheads

piled up in a heap

on the purple horizon.


In the pale, blue dusk,

my brother and I chase fireflies

and keep them in our darkened bedroom.

Lightning in a bottle, trapped in a jar

with holes poked through the lid.


Tornado warning,

the night air, still and heavy

nearly bursting, bristling

with electric apprehension.

The fire hall siren wails.


My parents

on the front porch, in the dark

smoking cigarettes, talking quietly

about the polio epidemic and a girl

in an iron lung.

(Published in The Wilderness House Review)


 Driving Home at Midnight

 Driving home at midnight, on a night so dark, so wild,

headlights bounce off the wall of darkness.

Moon and stars peek out through storm clouds,

a black hole in the dead of night swallows all light back into itself.

The same late night DJ on two different stations, a millisecond apart

spins dense, bone grinding death metal that pulses from the speakers.

Through static and white noise, I twirl the dial between stations,

pretending to control the flow of time.


Driving home at midnight on a night so dark, so wild,

I listen to jazz trio recorded live in a club

more than fifty years ago, somewhere in America.

The music is all trance rhythms, thunderous bass and drums,

strident horn in double harmonic, Byzantine scale.

I imagine a man playing a horn in an open-air market

eyes closed, cheeks puffed out, as he charms

a dancing cobra out of a basket.


In another life I ride a sway-backed horse

on a curvy, tree-lined path,

clods of earth kicked up by hooves,

frock coat whipping in the wind.

I’m lashed to the wheel

of a creaking, wooden ship

on storm driven waters

running hard before a gale.


Driving home at midnight, on a night so dark, so wild,

lightning flashes and bleaches the landscape

in stark black on white. Tree branches sway in delirium.

Time spins and tumbles through a howling void.

Driving home at midnight, I’m the only traveler on the road,

a voyager in deep space, the last man on earth

listening to jazz on the radio

in the dark.

Published in The Ibbetson Street Review)


Funky Little Blaze Orange Pork Pie Hat

I drive into town daydreaming

about the dream I had last night

not the one about my father

but the one where I design

a line of men’s wear

made exclusively from potato skins

with snappy names

like Dudz from Spudz, Potato Pants and Tater Tees.


I pass fluttery paper cornstalks

vineyards rusting under sullen skies

pickup trucks clustered at trail heads

men with shotguns

creeping toward corn fields.


Walt Whitman’s redneck body double

is in the diner, at the counter

writing on a napkin

could be a shopping list

directions to his hunting camp

or a new collection of radiant poems.


Seems like

I’m the only one in the place

not dressed in green and beige camo

and a funky little blaze orange pork pie hat.

Where are the Fashion Police when you need them?


A man and a teenage girl stand at the counter

hands covered with blood

the girl shows off a photo

she just shot with her phone

of the buck

she just shot with her gun.


Walt Whitman says:

That’s a big deer sweetheart!

How old are you anyway?

She gets up to wash her hands.

15, but my dad let’s me drive his pickup.


At the grocery store, in the produce department

I spot a man squeezing bananas.

With his meticulously groomed

white goatee and wire rimmed glasses

he’s a dead ringer for Sigmund Freud

I want to tell him

about the dream I had last night.

Not the one about my father

but the one about Henrietta

swimming through a sea of roses.


Doctor, would you mind

if I lie down on your couch

over here by the tomatoes

for just a few minutes?


I’d like to tell you about my mother.

 ( Published in Metazen)

Winner of Flashmob 2013 International Flash Fiction Contest


 Swimming in the Lagoon

Sometimes we can’t swim at the beach.

Thousands of them have died

the surface of the water, clogged

with bodies bobbing and floating.


Alewives, little fish in the herring family,

piled up at the high water line,

all washed up on the sandy beach

and the rocks along the shore.


Great heaping mounds of them,

iridescent dunes, bodies stinking

desiccated, covered with flies,

brittle, crackly, rotting in the sun.


The only place to swim

is the lagoon

where Shivering Sands Creek

flows into Lake Michigan


Placid water, warm as a bath,

sandy bottom, soothing underfoot.

I plunge straight up to my waist

in sticky quicksand crawling with leeches.


Claw my way out, fast as I can move,

scrambling out of the creek, squirming

with the heebie-jeebies, crying for Mom

to pull the slimy bloodsuckers off my legs


Then it’s right back in the water.

Seems worth the risk

just to be able

to go swimming.

(Published in Orion Headless)


Launching Pad

Standing silently

by the side of the bed

you died in.


So strange to see it empty

so glad you’re no longer there.

We recited Kaddish after you’d gone.


So many others died in this bed

leaving no lingering energy,

residual angst or pain, struggle or strain.


No more than you might find

in any doorway

that thousands pass through on any given day.


Mattress covered with soft foam, Cowboy & Indian sheets,

this bed seems bland and ordinary,

a piece of institutional furniture.


But it’s more than that.

It’s the vehicle

that carried you over.


Your ferry across the River Styx,

burial ship, stargate, merkabah,

launching pad.


Tomorrow they’ll take it away.

It’s needed elsewhere

for somebody else’s journey.

(Published in the Uno Kudo Anthology)


When I Die

When I die

have me stuffed and mounted

over the mantel of your fireplace

next to that portrait you like so much.


You know the one…


that shot of Ernest Hemingway

standing next to an 8 foot marlin

glistening in the sun.


Hang my body

as a scarecrow in your flower garden

stuck between the dogwoods and delphiniums,


dressed in safari jacket and pith helmet

raggedy limbs

swinging in the breeze.


Use me as a weathervane

tethered to a lightening rod

spinning in the wind


Put my ashes in a gilded box

on the mantel of your fireplace

under that photograph you like so much.


You know the one…


that shot of the old man and the sea

next to an 8 foot marlin

glistening in the sun.


When I die


use my bones as bookends, or have my portrait mounted

over the mantel of your fireplace next to that other one

you’re so fond of.


You know the one…

(Published in Red Fez )