Thursday, March 30, 2017


Passage: Sunset. Photo by Brian Federle, 2016


Deep inside
I carry paradise,

A bright flood,
pours through
my soul’s veins,

but like those blind fish,
I cannot see
the holy river
running through me.

On a good, clear day, though,
staring hard beyond,
I can almost see
God’s holy fire
glancing off
my boundless sea.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

To My Wife in Mourning

bright day,still birds, black
spots on the blue sky, slightly
sway in trees, and wait

for winter to stay
or summer at last to come
like we’re waiting for

the pain to stop, death
to give way to the winter
sun’s soft, warm embrace.

(for our son, Brian, 1986-2017)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Urban Square

Wayne Thiebaud, Urban Square, 1980, Oil on canvas, Oakland Museum

steel over streets
vaulting rivers fly
to the hard, blue sky
sharper than
ink, than
bright city

(22 Oct. 2013)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

In the Cold

In the cold
there's no room
for old fears; tears
that freeze on your
cheeks are

Lying under narrow eves
on porch or sidewalk grate
waiting for sleep 
or death
to ease your pain, 

you cannot remember
how you got this way;

for thought, like water, 
congeals to solid rock,
and you can't 
even pray.

(12 Dec 2012)

Author's Note: Estimates of the numbers of homeless in the US today range from 200,000 to 500,000, many of whom are unsheltered children.  This is a national disgrace.  Update 3/2017: President Trump's new budget inhumanely slashes poverty programs while increasing military spending.  He thinks this will make us more safe.


В холодное

В холодное
здесь нет места
за старые страхи, слезы
что мораторий на ваш

Лежа под узким кануны
на крыльце или тротуаре решетку
ожидания для сна
или смерть
чтобы облегчить вашу боль,

Вы не можете вспомнить
как вы получили таким образом;

для размышлений, как вода,
застывает в твердые породы,
и вы не можете
даже молиться.


Автор отмечает,
Оценки числа бездомных в диапазоне сегодня США от200000 до 500000, многие из которых являютсянезащищенных детей. Это национальный позор.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Evening Prayer

Wind stirs in expectation
softly strokes my face.

The March sun reassures
warms pale flesh
through layers of thick sweater
and winter coat.

Under indigo hills
new grass flows,
yellow and green,

as past distant ranges,
to the sky-bright, rounded sea
it flees and sends
a gift of clouds,
in glory.

Peace to the grass of the fields!
to dark hills and drifting clouds,
and to the sacrificial sun

(21 March 2014)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Suisun Spring

the green glow
of our cottonwoods
newly clothed in the gentle April sun ....

our apple tree,
still skeletal,
intimating cotton buds
promising green glory to come,

and the grass!
all winter-yellow evaporated,
shouting like a
third-grade leprechaun
skipping across the playground
in the school's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

but most unforeseen,
along the rough fence
the vinca
blazing with royal light
in the deep, verdant shade
of our cottonwoods.

(12 April 2010)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Deep in Grey

Deep in grey
we wait
as black night drops
and completely.

At the end of our day, 
hope is measured
one careful procedure
at a time.

Night is not kind in winter.

Too early It comes,
and stays too long,

brings fear,
red eyes and stinging tears.

lit by red numbers
night measures our lives
one pulse at a time,
in dim blue bars
gleaming in the distant ceiling.

Clasping hands
In the fading day’s light 
we pray
for one more 


(28 Oct 2010)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rockville Road

soft sweep
of gentle hills
fallow fields
for black seed
worked earth
in late rain
to songs of
as every

(20 July 2013)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Spring Storm

Duck Creek Lightning Night, 2012, oil on linen
V...Vaughn (used by permission)

night drops suddenly
birds, nervous, slip into eves,
silenced; a stone drops.

peace be on this stream.
sliding song of rain soaked creek,
rising moon, refreshed.

(28 April 2014)

Saturday, March 4, 2017



He worked nights, leaving as we climbed
the tall narrow staircase to our shared room,
up into the summer heat, the steel fan
in the hallway window
pulling cool, leafy breezes
from our waving trees.

We heard the kitchen screen-door
slap shut, the Pontiac roaring to life,
and watched as slowly he backed down
the dark driveway, and was gone.

And gladly we glided through our misty dreams,
flying over tree-tops, baseball games
and cool swimming pools,

when finally the robin’s enthusiasm
and the fresh morning sun
flashing through green leaves
woke us as we heard the car stop
and Dad call cheerfully, “I’m home!”

The air already scented with bacon and coffee,
we flew down the groaning stairs,
two steps at a bound,
and eagerly started another golden
summer’s day.


One winter day I did something wrong, and
he got angry and drew his worn leather belt
from the loops of his grey, stained work trousers
To teach me a lesson.

Terrified, I ran upstairs to the big closet
and trembled behind coats and sweaters,
as heavily he came up the steps,
righteous anger ringing in his voice,
tears flowing down my cheeks;

when my big brother, teenage and strong,
called defiance to him and drew him down
into the back yard to fight him
and save me, angered by his
memory of so many other beatings,
determined to stop it now!

But facing his own father
he could not fight back, and
weeping, I watched my dad
pummel my brother’s defenseless face,
far worse than any beating
I would have gotten.

From kitchen window,
I screamed to them both
to stop!

That was when my father saw,
in the kitchen window’s glare
his own father’s angry eyes,
and felt his father’s fists
landing hard on his own face,
and he stopped and
embraced my brother.


Seven years after my father died
my first child, my son, was born in spring,
and in the gleaming, sterile room
I first held him in my arms
as, with his impossibly wide, blue eyes
he calmy gazed right into my raw soul,
and I felt in a sudden rush of warmth,
a timeless love
and at last discovered
the reason for my life.

It was then
I understood my father.

In my son’s face I saw my own
and felt my father’s eyes gazing
in warm wonder on me
and I glowed with
unconditional love for my son.

(30 Jan 2011)