Forbidden Thread

A loose thread hanging free from a hem with a tiny persistently begging little voice

digging into the ear like water torture

“Pull me, pull me, please set me free!”

Becomes an unscratchable growing itch just below neck between shoulder   blades

the Midwest on the map of the back


tripping deeply
a proverbial big toe
caught on something
unseeable like jet black
stone on dark path at night
and being unseen, remaining
unknowable, like the vague face
of a passerby calling out your name
while your steady powers of facial recall
fail to produce a name and draw into doubt
the idea that you really ever knew this stranger
leaving you to acknowledge they exist with a meager
“hey!”, and a head nod, craning to look back over shoulder.

Rise and Fall

The long hard

gradual awakening

remnant of a bruised slumber

peels and rends

like dry burned skin leaving charred

sheets burdened

with little tears of yesterday in small pools

clinging fast

making small salt edged circles on the fading woodwork

of old memories

And You Said

and you said you couldn’t stop
because it was cunning, and
baffled you just kept right on
despite the wife packed up
one foot out the front door
kids, midnight sleepy-eyed
dragged to cold running car
that’s not me, though, that’s
you, and not my pathetic
story about your weakness
and you said you couldn’t stop
after berating her for nothing
for the tenth time in as many
days when really you were
berating yourself because you
are powerless over something
that you think you should be
able to control, cuz control
is all you really feel you have
left that you can call yours
all else has been drowned
away in an unending supply
of bourbon, or maybe rye
and thousands of dead soldier’s
that were really all you felt
until someone poked through
the dense fog and slapped
you damn near silly with your
own stifling selfishness, and
you release, cry and embrace
your own growing powerlessness

August Fishing

Diamond tipped and gentle
waves calmer with distance
from a long passed boat
lick the sides of the pontoons
below the our boat’s deck
make rhythmic smacking sounds
like a host of giant lemon-soured lips

Four bobbers slip up and down
on the same, now broken, waves
dipping shortly under water
giving the illusion of a bite
but recovering, resurface and stay
like red-orange shallow water buoys
warning even the fish to stop

Boring bobbers, with no fish to bite
all but useless on a shining sun
drenched late lazy afternoon
an excuse really for fisherman
to snooze on deck chairs
with A Prairie Home Companion
on the radio playing quietly

A lone daring loon rises close
one fisherman gives a lazy whistle
to which the birds cocks its head
and dives for more bait fish
a sign that bigger fish are near
regardless of whether they bite
the fisherman don’t really care.

Coming Forth — A Tribute to the Band “Slint”

Slow slithering lines meander
leaving breadcrumbs of ideas
behinds as they slowly work
to a sudden stark shattering
and climb slowly back down
into a quiet contemplation
before slashing raw again
the slow slight peacefulness
with jarringly sharp edges
of middle-class bent anger
and suburban frustrations
boiling always just below
the surface of everything
just waiting always to burst
and forth comes the rage
and angst and stark fear
of sameness and bland
dreams of middle America.

She Wears T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot reads across her back
“Come in under this red rock”
and wears it proudly and loudly
a badge, a token, a talisman
for striving ahead and leaving
the old behind where it belongs
the strong lines burned in black
are what I read when she sleeps
a reminder to me to always strive
for a better day, a better tomorrow.

Signs in Florence

Unexplored streets invite curious minds
a combination of ancient and modern
walking in Medici’s steps down Piazza
della Republica past bastions of capitalism
seemingly out of place in the old old buildings
heading toward Ponte Vecchio across
the river to shop in shops filled with tchotchke
and turning right instead of left we wander
uphill past houses old, but well cared for
flowers in windows, deep seated front doors
build into thick stone walls, sturdy construction
nothing pre-fab here, save for the Honda
parked at an incline in the driveway
and she asks if we are lost, I respond
“I don’t know, are we?”, and we walk
until as her anger builds within her
and we find ourselves on hill over-
looking the city and she’s says
“We are lost!”, I shrug  “How do we
get back?” she worries “Who cares,
just look at that?” I pause, she starts
her angry red walk downhill “You need
to grow up, I don’t think this is going
to work.  This, maybe,  was a mistake…”
she’s very mad,  “getting married”.
I follow her down the hill wandering
back into town, following street names
signs built into bricks on corner of building
until we get back to our honeymoon hotel room.
This is day five.

I started with the first line and it brought to mind an experience travelling with my ex (that’s probably evident).  The story is basically true…


falling over and down into
the severely stark edges
of dusty old cold shadows
that stretch out loosely
from dark corner spaces
in gravely shaded rooms
producing lacerations
and bruises on bruises
as blackened barbs catch
sleep shrouded shin skin
naked unarmored arms
on the way to midnight
ritual of quick snacking
or full bladder relieving.

Submitting to Journals

So what are people experiences submitting to journals?  Have you tried?  What has been your thoughts on the process?  Now that many places accept online submissions, have you been submitting more? Less?  Or do you only publish to your blog?

Let me know, let’s start a comment convo!