And when all was done then said,
it wasn’t his flaws that caused
him to disappear.
Often enough he had willed that to be so,
wishing to become as insubstantial as
the bundled absence of all he lacked.
But as things turned out
it was a random strand of virtue
that rendered him invisible.
Ones who should have known better
tugged and teased that thread into prominence,
then magnified it beyond all meaning.
Old friends spoke of strength and courage.
New friends suspected him of gentle grace.
He insisted he stood falsely accused,
Offering his alibi to a myopic mirror
that, upon reflection, denied
any impression of him at all.


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A face that may have been

shadow and flame upon

a pillow of fallen leaves

once when my fingers

traced eyes and lips across the night

until the source of her mystery

burned my flesh beyond forgetting

is now forgotten,

but these hands remember

what it is to touch.



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The Squeaky Wheel Reading

Last month, I had a great time giving a reading in a delightful little gallery and cafe in the lakeside pueblo of San Juan Cosala, Mexico.

DSC_0319 (2) - Edited

The gallery is called La Rueda (The Wheel), so the series — run by writer and artist Judy Dykstra-Brown — could only have been called The Squeaky Wheel Series. . . . and the event was so enjoyable that I decided to memorialize it in a manner by publishing the heart of my own presentation in an ebook now available on Amazon.

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Say No More

I intended to say we share words as well,

although it takes just two of us and a common language

to articulate a tower.


More like that Sunday magazine article

On dying languages in Patagonia

Than we care to say:


I asked her if she ever had

a conversation with the only other person

in the world who [spoke Yaghan].

No, Emelinda said impatiently,

the two of us don’t talk.


You might have said we are forever tossing

sound about in places where ideas are gathered

then drummed into senselessness.


That we are approaching the moment

when we will sit at a café table

telling secrets but speaking in tongues.


I intended to say we share words as well,

and the speechlessness of aged Yaghan women

hoarding icy words in a land of fire.


Originally published in Front Range Review


Note: Following the death of 84-year-old Emelinda Acuña (1921 – October 12, 2005), only one native speaker remains, Cristina Calderón of Villa Ukika on Navarino Island, Chile. Calderón (often referred to as simply Abuela) is the sister-in-law of Acuña.


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Blood Counts

Twenty-five years ago today my late wife, Diana, underwent a bone marrow transplant at the remarkable Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. While there were further adventures along the way (to say the least), that procedure gave her another 14 1/2 years of life.

Blood Counts

In this polite place:
A hand trained in the ways
of death and delivery
cups a pill, slides a gurney,
shrink-wrapped, bubbling,
through sterile chambers
overfilled with hints
of salvation served
on sheets of steel.

Suffering is silent here:
Purple or black fishes dart
in diversionary circles
at the backs of smiling clerks,
when blood counts
don’t add up.

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On the Day of the Dead, Ajijic, Mexico



Desert Rivers


DSC_1291DSC_1235 These three Mexican gravediggers must know

Deep, earthy truths about dirt and regret.

And know something of halting words that flow


In desert rivers that have dried and set

Like misspent hope beneath the desert sun,

As if rivers might cleanse an earthly debt.


When the final words of last sad songs run

Like faltering rivers across this day,

Gravediggers know an ending has begun.


These three Mexican gravediggers won’t say

How desert death encircles birth to grow

Startling blooms in the barren sunbaked clay.


These three Mexican gravediggers won’t show

The ways ice cold embers reclaim their glow.

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A great gift for grandparents

Indie Book Awards0001Grandparents on your holiday gift list?






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