The Road to Damascus

The Road to Damascus

The Sunday morning streets are quiet
except for the sound of the cold pavement. ~a pilgrimage

they say there’s a place in the
Sahara where you can buy Jeeps;
ride into the desert all the way to

electronic billboards replace neon
fountains | decorate Souqs;
vendors entice you with the
spoils of early morning;
devil’s horns
roast goat heads
fly covered dung heaps
and kefir washed Shish Barak

north past the palm circled Camelots
taxis weave in and out of traffic under the
towers of Babel through the
maddened crowds

enterprising Sumerian chariot drivers
scribble their fares on clay tablets;
1,000 dinar will take you
to the Northern regions
of Damascus

urban sprawl and
the smell of industry
where concrete underpasses
open to a long silver ribbon between
snow-capped vistas and the
mountain passes of
the Moab

there virgins bathe
in a river beneath the canyons;
they wave and say,

you who travel the road to Salvation
the road to the land of the Saints
the road to the Sun | where
Saint George once slew
the dragons of Zion and
God now sleeps;

Originally published on: Aug 30, 2017


The Belles of Picardy


The Belles of Picardy


the Vietnam War
I became a conscientious objector

I looked with horror at photographs
of overcrowded cemeteries
no room left to bury the dead
white crosses lined up
shoulder to shoulder
on the graded hills
and green lawns
of Arlington
like soldiers
marching to their death

I remember the portrait of my father
in uniform—it brought to mind
that he, indeed
was one of the lucky ones
who made it back in one piece
from the Pacific Theater; World War II

in my head I heard tolling
bells; hammering to the beat of foot brigades
anthems to the dead and to my brother;
who was yet to die the slow death
of Vietnam’s lingering poison

I called it
The Belles of Picardy
an imaginary war march sung
by the muse that beckons soldiers
from cathedral bell towers and flag ceremonies
rallies; and public squares in every corner of the world
pointing them in the direction of the fields
of Flanders
Da Nang


for years I watched the dismal gray theater of Eastern Europe
never thinking what they filmed could one day come true

Suite – Machine of Civilization


Machine of Civilization



it’s a big machine
this civilization
gears turn
shape society’s


I flashed horror
at the dance in the morgue
sacks of flesh torn and wobbled
bent lopsided smothered
by the ancient ahor
I swallowed my screams
and recited Wolfe’s mantras
while clown pranksters
told incoherent jokes
by the light of
acid washed


the conjured
reality of Harari’s
Sapiens made fire
invented the wheel
sought shelter
in the rocks
invoked God—
found Buddha
sitting under
a tree


a white glow
of feathery stars
darken a swirling
van Gogh sky
a coyote dances
teasing scorpions
spins dust trails
nips and snarls
teeth bared
in dog


in deserted dwellings
of pueblos at Four Corners
the Inca in Machu Picchu
Khmer of Angkor Wat
and Easter Island
Moai suffered
climate change


infinite orgy of energy
gasoline weed trimmers
coal-fired suburban
steam punk
to migrate
dwell in mud huts
watch African sunsets
under thatched roofs
row Polynesian
on opal

Originally published on: Mar 20, 2017

Peace Serenity and All That Stuff


Peace Serenity and All That Stuff


the red barn on the hill; pine
boughs framing the mill creek
the sound of a stiff breeze
rasping through the trees

I must make each step count, I say
as I walk through the frozen snow
in step with the icy breath of frost
biting my nostrils


a woman waits in her car
for a clandestine rendezvous
his warm arms to embrace her
back to life and undo
the cold of her

they leave together
but I stay to feel
the peace


it is exhilarating to stand here
listening to the rush of water; birds chirping
brown oak leaves dancing against the sky
clinging to the trees long
after all the rest
have fallen

as I stomp on snow patches
and crusty thaw ground
a lip quiver of frost
mixes with my swirling breath

a little here
a little there
adds to the rhythm of life

the splash and tumble of the creek rushing
through the old mill; the rolling hills
it puts me in a place somewhere
far from the rattle
and gears of
this age


I wait a long moment
in that quiet place
wary of leaving
as if somehow
I might leave too soon
miss something; or
nothing at all

it is the stillness of time
that I long to savor
the touch
of earthen hills
wobbled on street-weary legs
to find this cloistered place; this
surrender to an ancient call
that brings me here

to feel
the peace
serenity; and all that stuff

 Originally Published on: Mar 14, 2010

Spoken in Silence – ATF


Spoken in Silence – ATF




a speeding car driven by booze
second-hand smoke; spousal abuse
the cracked pop of a semi-automatic rifle let loose; because
Freedom is a word that must be spoken with a catch

the right to smoke in public; space
outlawed for the common good
an alcoholic binge behind the wheel; preempted
traffic stop followed by jail time; check points on
the road to Abaddon; because
Freedom is a word that must be stopped

but a madman’s shooting spree
can only be held back
by more gunmen;
civilians | good guys with guns; because
Freedom is a word that must be spoken in silence

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