our love won’t be folded into a card

how cliché to write a love poem today,
but not nearly as inept as the card
I could otherwise settle upon—
the same card gifted to hundreds of
wives and girlfriends alongside heaps
of chocolates and flower bouquets

(no offense to the creative exploits of card writers, chocolatiers or florists)

worth careful consideration is what
brought us to this point in our lives—
countless conversations and shared
study sessions in college, the gradual
mingling of plans and aspirations,
the decision to go forward together

we’ve moved far away: from Rochester
to Lincoln, then Fairbanks and now St. Cloud—
each place with unique twists, ups and downs;
well, not Lincoln with its pancake-flat prairie,
long sunsets and skies stretching on forever

Alaska snow twinkling with an ethereal
glimmer while aurora sways overhead,
cold made warm with a ready embrace
or a moose unexpectedly passing by,
nodding hello while munching willow

now home by Sucker Creek— named
after the fish I remind others, but we’re
certainly suckers too, not for living here,
but for falling headlong into the expectant
promise of love, a promise sometimes
broken since nobody always reaches the
impossibly lofty ideals set before us

yet we keep trying, together, day by day…

we try for each other and, even more
importantly, now for our daughter, Elena—
our love made real in a remarkable being
all her own, our spirit brought together
and magnified, our entire universe
personified and growing before our eyes…

such beauty, such massive cosmic love!

thank you for helping me to become
who I am now, so much more than
I would have been alone; thank you
for you, and especially for Elena;
thank you for family and togetherness

this is our love. Cupid’s arrow has
no bearing on any of it. this is our love!

A Few Snorts from a Wild One, by William Stafford

Life sleeps in this tired old horse, but might
wake yet for a spur or a fire when the muscles
come alive, till even the main gate creaks
as a shoulder hits it and makes the whole corral
shudder its rails while the weakest post
almost gives way. Some time it will, maybe
tomorrow, and then you’ll see: I guarantee you
the road out of here will be filled with a horse.


holiday for hermits (a defense of the Grinch’s early motivations)

Consideration of mountaintops shrouded by wintry mist is a worthwhile endeavor. Retreat into harsh and awe-inspiring environs is our birthright. Don’t tell me I lack empathy in turning away from worldly matters, those clouds of green and red dust left by obnoxious jingles and merrymaking. Heading for the hills is a respectable way forward. Who are you to deem selfish the practice of quietly sitting in poorly insulated huts of poetic solace and bean-fueled contemplation? All around snow falls, within and without, what say you of its effect on mountainous movements? The great matter right before us— gird your shovels and sharpen your pencils! The consequences of your holiday climate are yet to be resolved. Gluttonous ways pale in comparison to the redemptive, holy fortitude of the frozen wilds!

sausages and figs

morality police on high alert
upon hearing our plans for a wild
feast of sausage sundry and figs—

few prepared for the casings’ snap,
juices gushing or mind-blowing flavors
as brätwurst, salami, linguiça and
salt-cured meats were devoured

all the wine, beer and sausage-gobbling
left the group swooning and ready for
pause, but not long until
yearning for sweet climax

an enormous platter of fresh figs
enticingly drizzled with honey
thrust into our midst—
eagerly groping smooth skin,
one after another parted to reveal
the fig’s fleshy interior, pulling its
essence delicately into mouth…


finally, with satisfied appetites
a frantic unzipping chorus rang out
as bags ripped open to reveal bibles;
abstinence pledges resolutely
reaffirmed before the almighty
giver of all the deliciously holy.

wisdom plop

venerable ancients shat
as the riffraff of today—
plop by plop, but in full absorption,
fully endowed with stench-essence

truly remarkable an adept
of this time and place
to lay waste without
designs of producing
everlasting effervescence
of rose and lavender

what a shame to not know
our true, wondrous shittiness!