Monthly Archives: November 2014

November poems

November poems start off with one commemorating Irina’s birthday.


Irina’s birthday

Compleaños dawn
arco iris
twice kissing canyon
golden gift
forever in mind.



Lenny tells, in his family the mind tends to rot long before the body. At least they’re not mean or nasty, he says. Every day, just a new adventure. When in his late fifties Lenny himself was diagnosed, and advised to get his affairs in order. So he did, not without internal railing and wailing. But the dementia symptoms went away. Determined to make the most of what time remains, Lenny gave up his medical practice and moved to Costa Rica where he calculated his financial resources might endure a couple decades of institutional care. Eighteen years later Lenny still lives here, perfectly sound of mind amongst a menagerie of rescue animals. He spends his days writing, in particular about the joys of eating.

Not long ago Lenny’s doctor noticed two spots on his lungs, diagnosing metastasized cancer. Lenny responded, that’s interesting, let’s find out for sure. More tests were done. Turned out to be nothing more than scar tissue from a childhood illness. His doctor asked him, how could you remain so calm when informed you had cancer? Most people feel shock, denial, anger, despair. Lenny answered, I’ve already confronted death, I’ve already grieved, I’ve already accepted that I will die. What will be, will be.

Already dead
at long last
free to live

Summer in November

Clouds race
low along the ridge line
wind blows
aliosos from the north
humidity drops
house takes a breath
sun blazes
late afternoon
soil begins
to dry and warm
light summer garb
flaunted in November

Dog dung butterfly

Pedaliodes manis
scalloped wings folded
feasts on fresh dog dung.

Dung butterfly

No time

No time for writing
Hans and Heike
coming at noon
lomitos de cerdo
one not quite enough
sliced from bone tied
to cook evenly pink
seasoned with maybe
mustard seed chili oil
sesame soy
Kartoffelbrei sauced
with hongos cebollas
duxelle sautéed in
rendered pork fat
simmered with stock
from roasted bones
and salad and hot bread
young beans tiny corns
found at the feria
chat on the veranda
afternoon spent.



Tiny little ants
share house and food
bananas corn chips
brush them off
before taking a bite.

Live in the bathroom
a crack between tiles
watch them while squat
on the toilet ragged file
at base of the wall
streaming out and in.

A bug falls dead
set quickly to work
soon nothing left
but scattered shards
of wing and shell.

The other side

Poet cabin perched
on west flank of ridge
in shadow of pines
the cool of morning
stretching towards noon.


Ruins the practice
to get in a car
to drive so far
so early in the day
preferring too
the quiet alone
then Jack joins in
and Irina and Lynn
sensei keeping
one form in front.

Tai chi


The whole country laid waste
but mountains and rivers endure
and spring comes green again . . .
– Tu Fu

A friend describes
a hundred meters of
underwater seascape
rugged rocks corals
rays and sea fans
sea turtles and slugs
puffer fish angel fish
through the school
a shark by his side.
An upwell of current
stirs bottom muck
and hands disappear
in front of your mask
all to be done
upwards float slowly
meet up with dive buddies
again at the surface.

One day man talk
erupts over lunch
politics elections
deficits taxes
health care wars
where do you stand
whose side are you on.
Sediment whirl clouding
the mind floats up
from the table
surfacing in bed
at last to dream
restless dreams.

Morning the silt
once again settled
and there —
mumble of the
Rio San Juan
yigüirro whistle
oropéndola gurgle
hummingbird scolding
yellow Phibus butterfly
sips rabo de gato
another black and turquoise
flitting the pentas
orchids bloom
on the orchid tree
clouds drift slowly
hugging the ridgeline
riding the trade winds
Poas to the Pacific.

Letting the dogs out to pee

Night vaulted
black speckled
half with strange stars
lightening blink
cloudless skies.

Changing of the season at sunset

Feel the air
drier warmer
in the morning
through the day
into evening
sitting watching
a hundred swifts
fixed wing swarm
the sun dropping
puffcloud veiled
glowing silver.

The day following
el dia de acción de gracias

Aliosos whistle
all the night
rearranging furniture
left in disarray
on the veranda
following feasting
guitars singing
Beatles songs
fresh from youth
Cajón dogs gorged
on skin and fat
two extra remaining
in the morning as
the gardener arrives
later men friends
putting heavy stuff right
women last night
cleaned put away
you’d never know
winds have blown
the rains away
dropped humidity
down below fifty
clouds racing
along the ridgeline.