Most-Viewed Poems

These poems are the most-often viewed, according to my web statistics for the year 2015. Each title links to the poem’s standalone page, where there is often more information.

Now, what does a seahorse use for a rocking chair?
It could just rock in its place—but that’s pretty boring,
Especially if we want to be clever now.
So let’s invent one! And give it sprockets—or maybe...
Hydraulic! Of course! And powered by ocean currents,
Using vanes that go round—and weights for the rocking!
Wow! That’s an invention! We could earn cash like water!
Hey, I’ll write to the Patent Office, if only
You will do up those drawings they always want.
February 1986
Beauty has teeth, teeth beauty; farewell, wits,
That’s all you know as you are torn to bits.
March 2007
   If ever the ships come to break our clan
      And carry you away,
   Remember your first days: You had to learn
      The strength in gales,
The long work carved from the long sky in rain.

   Remember the storm season when your mind
      Grasped the words for how
   We kept tight the new ice knives, and how we turned
      Their shavings out.
We held such words that the whole clan is bound.

   Cut from your brain, cut with sharpened ice
      The hours you wept for home
   Or threatened to call lightning down from space.
      If you must go,
Teach Earth truly the two worlds are close.
September 2007
I pulled on a loose thread of history
And unraveled a seam that I hadn’t seen.
How did it happen? I can’t explain.
History’s disparate parts disarrayed
And I dropped the theoretical thread.
Not kinder, not gentler, not on the mend—
Now history runs to a ragged
October 2007
translation of “Der Widerchrist” from 1907 by Stefan George (1868-1933)

“There—from the mountain! there—in the wood!
We saw it ourselves • he speaks with the dead
And changes water to wine.”

Oh if you could hear how I laugh in the night:
My hour has struck • my grain is piled high.
The fish come to me to be taken.

The wise and the foolish—the people run mad •
The trees are uprooted • the fields laid flat •
Make way for the Savior’s procession!

There’s no work of heaven I do not produce.
It’s off by a hair’s breadth, but you are all fooled.
Your senses have been overmastered.

In return for what’s rare and what’s hard I create
The simple • a semblance of gold from the clay •
Of the tang and the juice and the perfume.

And the art the great prophet did not dare to touch:
Without clearing or planting or building, to suck
Vitality stored over seasons.

The Prince of Vermin now tightens his grasp •
He is missing no treasure • he misses no chance •
To hell with the rest of the rebels!

Caught up in the devilish fake, you rejoice •
You squander the fruits of your ancestors’ toil
And only at last do you suffer.

Your tongues will hang down as the water trough dries •
You’ll wander bewildered like sheep through the fires ..
And the terrible blast of the trumpet.
March 2012
      North Factory: without good there could be no evil
Norm Al: these are the ending days
  Texas Teachers Union: I sorted the chaos that heaven reviled
Norm Al: this is the end of days
  Texas Teachers Union: into folders to render it gentle and mild
Norm Al: the world burns down in a final blaze
  Texas Teachers Union: I doled out the color codes, taming the wild
Norm Al: overheated by solar rays
  Texas Teachers Union: and I filed and I filed and I filed
      North Factory: so it must be evil to be good sometimes
September 2013
The American Mood, 2012
voice of a bird:   voice of an American:
when dark earth fell above, and hot sun rose below,   have a bed • and lack a daisy
the rock of moments cleft for me   ill an hour • and welladay
counterpart and destiny   heaven darkens • hell is blazing
in which my rugged family was closed   farewell • cruel breakfast tray
to let me free
September 2015