Friday, May 17, 2019


the flashback personified
What do we know of how we should feel?
typos. more typos and misprints
digitalia infected with misunderstanding
without the Other who would we be?

a thief a warrior or a king?

nothing quite so grand at all --
a worm comes out of a hole

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Queen of the Rodeo

I spent that 4th of July out on the Bakken near Teddy Roosevelt's old haunts. It was a full moon on that night, too. The weather changed and so did I, moved by the wind, the cold and snow.

6 months later I was talking to a young Lakota man of the plains. He was a dry, tongue in cheek wit, with a few self-deprecatory jokes about the res, too. I was his boss, but, I held no one to account on that job. It was like other Federal jobs I'd been on before. Instead I referred to them as honorable men. A standard, really. The people at the company we worked for happened to be crooks.

This young fella ran his own show. His demeanor was as though their were some unspoken confidence between he and the unruly weather that swept the scrub and sand. He was also an enthusiast of tradition, of medicines and things. We spoke of people and places and ways, standing beneath a 50 foot high rendition of a sky lit teepee's peak, when I happened to mention the moon on the 4th.

He looked at me quietly, first, then described each piece of clothing I had on that night.

It was a distance of some 400 miles from that place where we stood, across the big muddy, and I knew he hadn't been there. I would have recognized him, Ms Ling. His hair was long, native style, as were his accouterments, down to the A.I.M. patch on his jean jacket. He had the look of someone who saw in depth and distance, attentively, as though walking through an art museum, the perception that of an elder, or a mad poet.

He lent his Indian car to receive it back a week later, but remained unperturbed. I smiled at his explanations. He only showed up a few days, and then he was gone. I think he said he was from Pine Ridge, or, near the infamous "Trail of Beers".

The 4th of July was also the last night I wore cowboy boots and hat and gear out in public. The only time, really.

early in the day
I keep close company
Queen of the Rodeo


Friday, April 19, 2019

standing on a hill

geese flying home
along the Willow River
it's a little late before we leave

a funeral in Spring
Country Western on the radio
melt water in the fields

just outside the county
almost to Le Suer -
a green giant greets us
standing on a hill

bare trees, blunt tops
all wore down by the swollen river -
Le Traverse De Sioux

. . . 笑🐒

Thursday, April 18, 2019

frogs in the reeds

there's high water
on the saint croix river
Ducks under the bridge

placid now, they preen
Pelicans ply the barges up
the mighty mississip'

pretending you're a Swan
might fool someone, some where
the last port North

their song rises
above lake malalieu
Frogs in the reeds

. . . 笑🐒

the print is by Takeshi Ishikawa

Thursday, April 11, 2019


. tanuki
for a few cups of sake
recites the sutras
recidivists crowd the shrine
prayers and offers all night long


those skittish juncos
kicking at the snow, spring gusts
drove them all away

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


April snow -
reading Fujiki
to Chet Baker tunes

Saturday, April 6, 2019

green walnuts

it was so long ago
` a language meant for a child
I can hear their voices
` the tang of green walnuts
the depth of red clay

Spring melancholy-

Spring melancholy-
migrant swans dot the grey
on Lake Mallalieu

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

La Meta

The Gulf? Oh, well, the smell of that expanse of water ... the warmth of it, its salinity, the lay of the light from December skies, intense yet waning. It's hard to describe, the distances benign.

I fear I am of the wrong Latitude. A certain listlessness would have overtaken me if I were to linger much longer on that scene.

the Christmas catch
dumped on the deck, to flop and kick
they writhe in the heat

Sunday, March 24, 2019


rivulets of water
from way up top the hill -
Mississipi floods again

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Power Corrupts: w/ kozo

Oh, no, you first, I'm right behind you - Power Corrupts

- and then BAM! a weight like a massive stone on its chest disrupting the FA Cup semi on the biggest screen available ensconced in this ... awkward sanctity, it's gauche decor lit with some really shoddy lighting in a musty old basement, cobwebs in every corner heavy with dust.

It's the space preserved for the Winner's History. A lonely place, one adorned with all the self perpetuated trophies and thoughtless certificates of award to and from it's own image - virtues described like a fiction by Louis L'amour given away like toothpicks at one of those tawdry, low-buck functions, ineffectual and moot. All in all, and one after another, thy demarcate the unintended consequence of policy born of a self congratulatory good ol' boy Board of Directors.

A Republic, like any other that stood before it, it hasn't spoken to its insufferable spouse for days on end.

And, as it falls in a slow motion impossibly ridiculous for its sheer dead weight and fathomless Hubris, an arrested scream remains unresolved, stifled in its throat - but for the Epiphany of Knowing it's too late - it hangs suspended, like an Eon, then head first into its plate of beans and sausage, dead dead dead.

The full moon declines
` and then
the next morning of spring
_ kozo

_ コゾ

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

City of Thieves :: haibun

... they gave me the "tour",
still in handcuffs; up the infamous elevator first
(in that regard, of St.Paul PD, there's a tale about a
guy who instead beat up two cops, but with his feet)
and then, blinded but unscathed, through the gauntlet between holding cells on a warm Saturday night of a full moon ...
Locked in one cell there was a stunning young woman, lean and rake thin, with long wrists and proud of her screams beautiful as any captured animal, such intensity justified with a declaratory smile while enjoying the injuries to my eyes as they met hers - dark and alert behind shatterproof glass projecting demand I be given to her and her alone - that taut liquid line from cheek to jaw flexing and clenching. And then at once the trance broken, I found myself released into the rabble, with no visible organization to it, as if though that must disturb the detainees.
So inured of the possessive nature of anger and its frustration, I offered my own ministrations for calm, rejected and restated again without offense or sight, a blind monk among priests and kings in the City of Thieves

. tanuki
for a few cups of sake
recites the sutras
recidivists crowd the shrine
prayers and offers all night long

tanuki, mischief, magic and change

Saturday, March 16, 2019

funeral in Spring

For John, and the farm, the country and his family, that same small town and its neighbors tending the land and their community, its familiar landmarks and services surrounding, that allows one to come home however long they were away.

geese flying home
above the Willow River
as for Our Saviour
a little late before we leave

a funeral in Spring
Country Western from the radio
while melt water fills the fields

wait, there's more ...

outside of Sibley County
almost to Le Suer -
a Green Giant greets us
standing on a hill

bare trees, their blunt tops
wore down by the Minnesota River -
Le Traverse De Sioux

" if a guy were smart" he'd say,
looking away
at an object in the distance,
you might look there, too
to see who's there,
or what was comin'
but what he was sayin' ,
was really about you"

his wardrobe was unique
flannel shirts, just red or blue ...
I cant think up a poem
about all those ears of corn

each voice in the choir
on its own, distinct
the congregation, rising
feeling on its feet

it's time to leave
the service is over
all of us together
we lift our keys
and shake them
in the air

John was an outdoors man.
You could always find him there
grading the neighbor's roads
sittin' up on his red tractor
or a tree stand in November
he'd built for some friends
by a corn field above the snow
trolling in his v hull, maybe
little kids with so he'd go slow
and once he took me fishin'
out on the ice, in wind and cold
me, a city boy, we just made a few holes
he left me with a jiggle stick
in a fold up, with Mr Heater
out of the air so I'd be warm
after awhile, a meditation later
'what's that smell' I began to wonder
just like hair and smoke and oil
that Mr Heater it turns out
got too close it burned my jacket
as well the lining and the down
to my embarrassment, something to behold
he come back and had a look
he laughed a little but - i did, too
he made it feel a rite of passage
our gentle laughter
just between he and I

John liked to toast
with a tall brandy seven
if we drank beer
it'd be somethin' old
like Hamm's, Schmidt or Buckhorn
we'd laugh so much it'd just get warm

"well, looks like we better go on in."