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Works 02

At the Crossroads

18" x 24"

acrylic / canvas


Near the junction she is sitting

frail her memories return.

behind the giggling hands

they point and whisper,

a shrine to all that's left the world.


Into our midst she entered softly

brought us fire to warm our thoughts

to dance upon our furtive faces,

ministered to the fear among us

which sat like jackdaws on our heads.


Made us stand and smile

through teardrops

which channeled down our gritty hides

made our eyes look at each others

till our shaking chests had stilled.


Now she waits by

the harbour crossroads

where sailors leave their love behind

and if you should be blessed to see her

lead her by your open door.

Behind the Indigo Door

18" x 24"

acrylic / canvas


Outside in the world of scrutiny and stares

I carry my burdensome mask to soothe,

to calm and placate them with my fitting in

not jarring with my presence.


Myself and all the others

not quite connected or quite real

cedar faces on a totem

same direction....different aspect.


But once behind my indigo door

I slip into my skin of truth

and put upon the coat of me

and climb down from the lofty pole

to roam freely in the woods.


This terrain is so familiar

for it is the land of self

and every beast's at my command

. . . behind the indigo door.

Big Hat Village


No Poem

Cuban Music


No Poem

Dancing Downtown With Strangers

18" x 24"

acrylic / canvas


I'm taking the reigns of Saturday morning

I'm riding that beast to a happier place

I will dance with a person I've yet to encounter

the sidewalks of tension

I'll consider no more.


I will dance with a stranger downtown

and remember

when every face belonged to a friend.

I will make people stop

in the midst of the busy

and they'll think and they'll smile

. . . and join in the dance.

Does Anyone Hear?


Does anyone hear the small voice

in the overloaded matrix

over-layered by champions

of the slick and noisy aspect.

Have we time to probe

the edges

of the wise and tranquil sound

Is our hearing sharp that we might hear

when a swallow's heart has stopped.

The First Date

18" x 24"

acrylic / canvas


He remembers the thrill,

the wolf on the hill

when he met her at reedy hollow

and how her love she had saved

till his flowers he gave

and she pledged all her life

him she'd follow.

Flower in an Oil Can


A warm sun gently sifting through

the chill December branches.

You are to me the unexpected.

Unannounced upon

my diligent disrespect

an entrance without herald,

spinning around the sycamore seeds

to show your untroubled dance

. . . you come.


A child's laugh in a storm.

A bird's nest in the barbed wire.

Am I awake yet

that I might feel a hand

upon my face

cool on hot skin

calm on turmoil.


Could I shake my head

that all decaying dust

might shudder from me.

That water on parched land

might announce,

that a flower in an oil can

might reveal,

that eyes once crusted over

might flash,

to tell me that,

hope . . . is still embedded.

High Tea


High tea with Miss. E.

philosophy, late afternoon

not one religion

left unturned,

not one lover

left unremembered.

Rain on window pane

barely heard

as the bones of life

are picked quite clean.


Art brought down

from its ivory tower

and passed around

like buttered scones,

science with the marzipan

politics on crumpets.

Darjeeling loose leaf

and some answers,

while the rain

softly purrs.

Hope Just Dangling

18" x 24"

acrylic / canvas


Her salty lips now speak his name aloud

to a picture in a pocket watch

while her mermaid's hair dries slowly

in the gloomy sunset.


And on the vinyl stool she finds herself

in sad cafe with heeled shoe dangling

off her foot hope

just dangling.


She sits upon the mirthless rocks

sharp eyed gazing past point of land

and lighthouse blink

to where the unforgiving curve

shows sail-less on the skyline.


And in her hand a wooden stick

to stir her untouched coffee...

the ring on her finger a gift from him

out of sync... like a small lost dog.


A paper boat he made for her

floating near her green scaled skin

and looking up at the diner's clock

she sees that it is... timeless.

If Mothers Made Sanctions

18" x 24"

acrylic / canvas


And if by chance mischievous fate

yet sometimes just

succumbed to irony's bidding

could tweak the nose of power

and wrestle clout from happenstance rule...

if sensible day dawned on a not yet time

when mothers made sanctions

. . . well wouldn't that be sweet.


If mothers made sanctions

might they withhold milk from babies mouth

and pencils from small classroom hand,

or ointment from the old man's foot.

Would she care not enough for growing life

to let the water rot.


Might the joy of a village far away

and unbeknown to us... return

if mothers made sanctions?

November Street

acrylic / canvas


I wonder if he'll come

from his tired old den

where familiar things are locked in place

and never moved when he's not there.

Where the air like his life

is still and free from turbulence

and colour.


Will the gate

at the end of my garden path

be like the portcullis above castle moat.

Will the way be fraught

with perilous thoughts.

Could my hedge be a trap with no escape

and my house a temple to a foreign god.


If he hears a dog bark

might he turn and flee.

Do the night garden flowers

have an alien scent

and what happens when he knocks

upon my door,

will the sound echo down

to his very core.


Why would he possibly want to come

and leave his home

for November streets

and walk to the cliff

where his life might change . . .

but I think he might

and the porch light is on . . .

and I think I heard the latch on the gate.

On Fields of Gold #1

18" x 24"

acrylic / canvas


On fields of gold they intersect

the person and the partridge.

small players below big sky.

deep in thought...then startled

. . . then exit.


Touch tangent, heart racing

the person and the partridge

lost again in themselves.

but now connecting, belonging

paths crossed, contact made

the person and the partridge

move on . . . somewhat wiser


Our Town


Our town was small

and safe

and cried when it fell


Filled with good tomorrows

licked by sunsets

enormous red

that filled my village head

with tenderness.


Our town was an old man

who gave me a coin

and never had to leave

to find the answers,

and a big brown relic

who watched me

over its oat bag

as I grew.


Our town bunched together

nodding knowingly

when word from the outside

filtered through

and the baker added

an extra bun, winking,

but the ancient who

cut the churchyard grass

never smiled again.

The Ring of Brodgar

18" x 24"

acrylic / canvas


In through the out doors

past the clock with wrong numbers

ticking endlessly backwards

beyond perspective and page,

down the long varnished corridors

of pipe tobacco terror

past the monument to failure as solid as rot.


Through the gates of the factory

where Deception's emblazened

on a banner of silk which seems never to tear

where machines of pale fortune

scream at the last remnant

and the words that are spoken

fall like dust to the floor.


Like a sad trapped weasel

I gnaw off my past

and slip through a crack between

Main St. and death

through a small door left opened

yet bolted on each side

past the guards dressed as parents

to the hill where men pray.


And wading through waters

where the red sun is swirling

through the ring of stones standing

where lovers decide,

I find a vagrant singing

with words that are my words

and inside his backpack

a clock that has stopped.

Soft Shoe Leather

18" x 24"

acrylic / canvas


Like an old wrench in my hand it fits

sometimes . . . this life.

Like a chair in the den sometimes despised...

it snuggles me . . . this life

and I rub shoulders with the smooth sky

. . . interlocked and belonging.


Two halves of a pantomime horse

we dance and kick our heels

. . . this life and I while dreams are shared

and this world is a gallery

for my paintings

. . . soft shoe leather for my feet.

. . . So I Walk the Dog

18" x 24"

acrylic / canvas


From vaguely threatening headlines

I flee.

From a cataclysmic subtext

which is rarely absent , I flee

and scorn the substance of fear

which sits with self important confidence

beside my cornflakes like

a corrupt standing stone

fashioned to the wrong deity.


And always and also

has it seemed to some

that the sun might stagger from

its blood stained sheets ....and avenge.

So I flee the madness ...

and walk the dog.


Spirit Bear and Me


I never knew I had a face

till through a glass darkly

it smiled wanly back,

looking over my shoulder

to a grey photo past

barely contained

in the core of my head.


I never knew I had two hands

till I dug in black earth

to search for a root

which had no ending

though I dug deep

and reached all the way down

to a grey photo past.


I never knew I had a life

till the Spirit Bear led me

through forest floor

to the edge of night river

where his reflection was huge

and we stood there together

in a gray photo past.

The Fool #2

18" x 24"

acrylic / canvas


Among the wise I throng to work

to where my mind resists,

to make a difference.

Important beyond measure

I wait the allotted years

to rest and watch the butterflies.


Not so the fool

who keeps the same hours as the lily

who's slow and witless mind

opens slowly like the flower

and who's notes from his whistle

clear and sweet

sail above the sage-less water

float among the mindless trees

and back to him

who knows so little.


Importunately he looks

upon the butterfly wing

and marvels at its being there

while his tune

so full of promise

goes unheard.

The Golden Ball

18" x 24"

acrylic / canvas


I heard a bird call

when the pain was great

and the spilled blood of

long and jostling years

which keep such terrible company


on my laughing face.


I saw a golden ball when

every fiber of the world

was gray,

when every heavy trodden foot

chased monotone ripples

to the edge of man's dream.

It shone to resist the dark.


I met someone who didn't fit

who held my shaking hands in hers,

who spun me round on

stubbled ground

and made my feet do foolish things.

Who ripped from me

that hopeless cloth

and took me to the burnished sphere

. . . among the woodbine

where the thrush

would not be silenced.

The Last Feather


Shimmering on the porch of Paradise

elfin eyed and wings profuse

with heavy feather ,twitching

with innocent curiosity,

at the limit of man's reasoning.

Incandescent and wondrous shaped

designed before the stroke of time.

Unimpeachable : the last bird south

Fall's final irreplaceable leaf...

Heaven's last and glorious angel.


Beleaguered no more

by sin's deep heartbeat

chaste and simple now he waits

as bone white gates glide open on

these hinges that will soon be rust.

And this chasm of last chances

this abyss of broken ivory bridge

now filled with soundless azure blue

as one last feather spirals downward

herald of the grief to come.

The Monumental Whisper

acrylic / canvas


In a dark lichened voice they speak

as he goes by.

The stones... which have been silent

since the world dared not mention his name,

cry their husky tones

like a crow's beak on rock.


"Onward" ! They say and frame his name

in heavy flinted throat

their tongue so long unused

its ancient syllables dusty and cracked

now fill the air

with monumental whisper.


"Go on " ! They delight , granite hewn

this time so long awaited

"Go on and tell them " !

and giggling as only rocks can

. . . they take their turn at last.

Two of Everything


Two of love

Two of death

Two of every last breath


Our primrose laughter

in Longcoats field

scared the one horned sheep

who flew to her lamb.


And we heard a cuckoo

with no reply,

but we had each other

so we didn't care,

down by the marsh

where the black bull died.


Two of love

Two of death

Two of every last breath.

When the Last Guest has Gone


Mrs. W. removed her finery

when the last guest had gone

singing without hindrance

in her birthday suit.


Fingers rattling piano keys

she warbled her songs of love

to partners now gone

and nobody knew . . . but I.

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