A Naked Haiku

A poem about my greatest fear 

A Naked Haiku 

I fear the day

When I lose my mind and go

Naked through the streets 

A Logging Nonsense Nonette


Janisse Ray 

Ecology of a Cracker Childhood 

“Not long ago I dreamed of actually cradling a place as if something so amorphous and vague as a region, existing mostly in imagination and idea, suddenly took form. I held its shrunken relief in my arms, a baby smelted from a plastic topography map, and when I gazed down into its face, as my father had gazed into mine, I saw the pine flatwoods of my homeland.”

A Logging Nonsense Nonette 



Longleaf pines 

Loblolly pines  

ecosystems of 

Keystone diversity 

animals filling niches 

parklike words to protect them from Great Horned  

        Owls, coyotes, and foxes

logging crews swoop in and cut through rings 

decade timelines of eras lived 

giving shelter to sparrows, 

chipmunks, fox squirrels, and snakes 

understory shade 

to flora and 

fauna – for

homes they 


The Empty Shoebox


The Empty Shoebox 

there can be no honoring
of a strong family legacy
in an empty shoebox

everywhere around there are families –
bloodlines, genes, those who harbor their own
who love in spite of shortcomings as she did

but there will be no spirit of all she stood for lighting the way
there will be no candle glowing in the dark;
the acolytes have extinguished the flame

there will be no glimmer at her grave
no fulfillment of the obligation
to never leave the gospel side candle burning alone
as the ordering of candles goes from left to right
in the passage of predecessors

there will be no living tribute to all that she loved
no keeping memories burning bright for future generations
no sharing remembrance across the tree canopy 

so over her body, the grass grows thick
blooming vines climbing the chain-link fence boxing her in
the fragrances of pleasantry she cultivated
in those she loved
now forevermore kept to one small pasture shoebox
of the wide, wide world where she once lived
her spirit never meant to dwindle here where
her shoes will never be filled
just the shell of an empty shoebox
collecting tears from heaven

not one can wear her burial shirt with truth,
    stained now with hypocrisy for those who would try
not one can fill a shoebox of hope without contradiction
not one can volunteer hands of love packing boxes that matter
     when her legacy doesn’t

there’s no room for untangling the Christmas tree lights
there’s no place for pretending the joy lives on

how can we carry her light forth into the world
when her hopes, dreams,
examples for generations to come
have died, roots of a family tree now fallen?

no one can hate family and honor a parent’s legacy
at the same time
any more than they can love God
and hate His son 

and so we walk away from all that mattered to her
           an empty shoebox
               a box of marquis letters now scattered
                   without message to passersby
                      who still look for divine truths her hands once
                            spelled out on a church sign

A Secret Connoisseur of Antiquarian Libraries

 A Secret Connoisseur of Antiquarian Libraries 

old heart pine floor
creaking underfoot
as I step into the
library of antique bookcases –
mahogany, teak, cherry, oak –
in this hidden forest of
vintage volumes,
musty scents of the wardrobe
to Narnia, of Turkish Delight,
the sting of cold wind-whipped snow,
the sounds of tropical birds
welcoming the sunrise along the wave-lapped shores of
Treasure Island,
mingled tastes of pungent stench
of soured ale permeating the
streets of drunken London in Dickens’ day, hunger and filth and bare feet
on cobblestone streets

first editions
with gold lettering and
threadbare bindings
lining every wall, floor to ceiling
books – vertical, horizontal on shelves,
stacked sideways on tables
under oil lamps and
centuries-old spectacles
an inkwell of rich indigo ink and
its vessel, a fountain pen atop
a half-finished handwritten letter never mailed to his love on the desk, nearby
a copy of The Scarlet Letter open
to the sunlight-faded names of Hester and Pearl,
tiny dust motes dancing like ghosts
at a Victorian ball
along the heavy lace-lined velvet draperies 

I stand, mesmerized,
wondering about the hands that held each book
and the worlds from which
they escaped to read…..

A Hip Wild Rose

 A Hip Wild Rose 

I want to become

A wearer of striped leggings

And purple high tops 

I want to become

A graffiti tricycle  

speeder – ding, ding,ding

I want to become 

a wildflower thief

snipping stems for free

I want to become 

a drinker of herbal tea

steeped in wild rose hips 

I want to become

a crazy dog lady 

with twelve dozen dogs 

I want to become 

a sporter of whimsical 

hats of all patterns 

I want to become 

a spunky retiree,


For now I am a 

wearer of matching outfits

nothing too offbeat 

For now I am a 

county square pedestrian 

staying in the lines 

For now I am a 

colorless cubiclemate

minus the flowers 

For now I am a 

morning decaf coffee fan

never branching out 

For now I am a 

rescue Schnoodle/Schnauzer mom 

just these two enough 

For now I am a 

hatless day jobber

compliant and safe 

I want to become

the dreamer I’ve always been

when I’ve dared to dream. 

A Revelation Haiku

 A Revelation Haiku 

In middle Georgia
a farm was named as a joke – 
but oh, there is truth!

Now for the first time
I understand the reason
no one ever laughs.

Indelible Moment

 Today, Susan Ahlbrand challenged writers to use a snapshot to inspire a poem. I knew immediately which picture I would choose. Here, a young boy with Down’s Syndrome dances in Covent Garden, London as big as life all around him, in a state of blessed oblivion. I took this picture in June 2019 and it has had a lasting impact on me. Rainer Maria Rilke said, “To allow every impression and germ of a feeling to grow to completion wholly in yourself, in the darkness, in the unutterable, unconscious, inaccessible to your own understanding, and to await with deep humility and patience the hour of birth of a new clarity: that alone is what living as an artist means: in understanding as in creation

I may not live as an artist every day by Rilke’s definition, but I lived as an artist in this moment. And it still germinates in my heart – to live in the simple moments, completely swept up in the enjoyment of the music of life…..this is a lesson about living that I learned from a child on a city street, and it still echoes through time and space.

A few letters to the young poet later, Rilke wrote,”There is not more beauty (in Rome) than elsewhere…..but there is much beauty here, because there is much beauty everywhere.”

Go forth today and find the beauty everywhere! 

 Indelible Moment 

He danced like no one 

was watching – carefree spirit 

I cried tears of joy 

Their World

Their World

whose view is limited –

   a foot tall and

      a few walls 

        a patch of grass 

who see the world 

    live in the moment 

      more present than most 

We. are. their. entire. life. 

    their universe

       their sun

            their moon 

Snuggle them.

   Pet them.

      Feed them.

          Walk them.

              Love them. 

                 Praise them. 

My 3

My 3 

My 3 who endlessly entertain me with their sibling sparring on a group text
who have fowl wars when one decides to start a pretty much professional level birdwatching hobby and the other two stick their feathers in,
never to be outdone
who all fluff their chests and threaten that their own backyard cardinals can beat the backyard butts of their siblings’ lesser birds
My 3 who are in 3 different states for good reason because a state alone
is far too small for more than 1
My 3, 1 of whom believes she will be a Disney Princess feeding her birds from her hand in no time and finds it hilarious that a lady called in to a radio station to rally the town to move the deer crossing signs because the deer should be directed to cross elsewhere but yet believes there is a Tennessee state bird book that confines certain flocks to state lines so they can never be seen by her brother and sister
My 3, another who throws out random
fake bird names to see if anyone can go spot one and send a picture, meanwhile astonished that an unsavory coyote shows up in a Googled bird search and sincerely believes he can rid the entire world of coyotes with self-invented snares using YouTube as his sole snare source
My 3, another of whom has learned that if you plan on hunting with a bird of prey, you need to first bond with it by spitting in its mouth before feeding it fox meats and has stayed up at night researching to learn that wolves are apparently worse about luring innocent dogs into the woods than coyotes and is so heartbroken for the dogs that she hasn’t slept for days and has suffered migraine headaches from sheer exhaustion
My 3 who all love costumed drama, one of whom went in to work swinging her fists at coworkers to get to be the Easter Bunny when no one else even wanted it in the first place and hopped around the Rainforest Cafe for three hours one morning to make all the families laugh and then had to take to the bed with muscle aches for 2 days after that, stating that “this old people thing is happening faster than I expected,” thus prompting the new birdwatching hobby that she considers far less damaging to the knees
My 3 who are forever vying over who is the champion favorite child, who get into arguments and adult-tattle on each other in the group text to try to win more affection and keep the proverbial pot stirred
My 3 who’ve always had festive gas….

…..pump year birthdays: 87, 89, 93 –
an octane trio –
and who revert to younger fighting issues if we go anywhere together in the car: “Mom! She’s looking out MY window! Mommmmmm!”
“I think he didn’t hold it, Mom, the seat is wet under him, Mommmmmm!”
My 3 who keep me laughing and wear me slap out even across 3 states
My 3




Ugliest Dog Day
Meaner than a Junkyard Dog
on a Three Dog Night