What’s In A Name

How dare they name it “The Preserves”;

Their tacky little neighborhood

Full of plastic McMansions

Standing there in stately rows

On their vast 2 acre lots

Like so many well marked graves

On land that’s been a family farm

Since the Sixteen Sixties?


I suppose some urbanites

Accustomed to the chaos

Of their hurly-burly cities

May regard this rigid mess

Of restrictive covenants,

Invasive fruitless pear trees,

And precisely sculpted lawns

As an earthly paradise.


And I suppose, on second thought,

The name Preserves may be correct

In so far as plastic jars

Of Strawberry flavored Jam

Can be said to be preserves

Of the many luscious bowls

Full of plump, fresh picked, fruit

Served along with Clotted Cream

And Grandma’s pound cake sliced, still warm,

From her ancient oven.

Seeing Red

Amidst a mess of document

left in a box in this old home,

new to us these last few years,

mixed among the old receipts

for plumbing work and seedling trees

and appliance manuals

for appliance dinosuars

long gone to their extinction,

I found a weathered yellow sheet

Typed upon in fading blue,

a restrictive covenant

that pierced my heart. Could it be true?

Did my predecessor here,

in this vibrant melting pot,

this neighborhood of polyglots,

seek, back then to enshrine

his bigotry upon the land

from that point and for all time?

Yes, my friends, I’m sad to say,

around the time my dad was born,

some lofty ass took it to mind

to codify a huge red line

around this humbled cot of mine.

Cherita #1

31 Dec 2022

Gaze long

upon this grizzled tangled

weeping woods

no longer verdant

shrouding mist obscuring

any hint of distant spring.

This is my first foray into the poetic storytelling form created by British poet, ai li in 1997. As those who have followed my writing have seen, I have been gravitating toward short form poetry of some years. I am finding the simplicity of capturing a moment very gratifying and am excited to have come across another poetic form with in whose structure I can continue this process.

For the Farmer and the Fisherman

Today I walked alone,

Silently, among the fallen.

Snowy cold, standing stones

Basking ‘neath the setting sun

Stretching to eternity.

Here among these Legions,

I came across the one

Bearing my mother’s maiden name.

One of many, stretching back

To our very founding;

Fathers, grandfathers and greats.

Not all of whom retired here

To this, once, grand old estate.

Another found, I know, his rest

In a distant mountain stream,

The place he lived his later life,

The place he loved, by far, the best.

I honor them, those grand old men,

My few, among the many,

Not only for their sacrifice;

I honor them, out of love,

And, I suppose, that must suffice.



Inarticulate warbles

Muted in passage through walls

And woods.


Understood by tone

And cadence long before

Any sound clarifies to coherent








Thrumming temples

Dread descends with every step

Upward to that door

Where home fires burn


Chill beneath palm

Hand lingers

Warming brass

As crass language

And rage harass

His tired dragging ass



Knob turning



For Harry

Some claim a man’s measure 

lies in something tangible;

stature, strength, 

fame, fortune.

I find none of these

to be a fitting yardstick.

I measure Harry’s worth 

by his stories shared;

comedies, tragedies,

dramas, histories.

Within these saga

of adventure gone awry,

whether joyous, humble, 

painful, proud,

of good times, or Ill,

I found his humanity,

well hidden

behind gruff temperament,

masked by mumbled words,

infused with vital spirit,

and most profanely punctuated.

It’s not despite these flaws,

so much as because of them,

that his life of love and loss,

dangers and trials,

hardships and misadventures,

resonate within my soul 

and remain with me forever.

Godspeed my old friend.