Monthly Archives: April 2015

April poems

A dozen new poems for April. Enjoy!

Naked morning

Breeze bereft
of clouds rolling.
Ridgeline naked.
Azul sky.

Viernes Santo

A white church
perched on a ridge
across a canyon
a soft drone
a woman’s voice
rising, falling
puffs drifting.

The quiet and the still

Take the lower cruce
left at Ligia’s house
cross the creek
at the big curve
a dirt road takes off
past three shacks
tiny dogs in the dust
kids barefoot on porches.
Past an ochre farmhouse
cow pastures sprinkled
to the tip of the spine
Paul and Marilyn live
a house mostly abandoned
cold water and termites.
But it has a big shop
and Paul is handy
and there’s room for a pony
to graze down to the river.
Green hillsides surround
and the breeze blows cool
and the quiet and the still
seep in deep.

Passionflower butterfly

A passionflower butterfly
lays out her wings
on a leaf waving
her abdomen high.

Another hovers awhile
almost touching
but flutters off
who knows why.

A moment she lowers
then raises again
resumes flagging
males passing by.

Orchids in the orchid tree

Little ones tied to
bauhinia tree
blooming orchid.
A year passes
a peduncle shoots
tiny petals unfold
yellow and brown
speckling clever leaves
say Hong Kong folk
tendering wisdom.

Orchid tree


Part the wild horse’s mane
a man with machete
hacks quiet in the coffee.
White swan spreads wings
an egret beats
slow up the canyon.
Brush the knee
oropéndolas glide
gurgle eucalyptus.
Strum the lute
hummingbird buzz
petrea weeps purple.
Repulse like monkey
a clay-colored thrush
calls in the forest.
Grasp the bird’s tail
parakeets flock squawking.
Whip wave hands whip
clouds roll the ridgeline.
High pat the horse
orchids in bloom.
Two fists to ears
pines whisper.
High kick with heel
woodpecker rap
at a hollowing snag.
Snake-crawl through grass
an anole slips away.
Weave the shuttles
the gardener clips the hedge.
Needle at sea bottom
a pair of sparrows
hop on the pavers.
Fan through the back
swifts soar wings spread
Part the curtain
a longwing butterfly
flits flowering lantana.
Relax, exhale
a puff of wind.

T'ai chi

Morning song

Awakened before dawn
by sound of rain
dripping insistent
down the drain chain.
Breath infused
herbal and sweet
an yigüirro swells
this morning with song.

The black of the night

Air feeling silky
smooth through the morning
half centimeter of rain.
Day dims, darkens
a thousand fireflies
blink again and again
the black of the hillside
the black of the night
to the south the Pacific
blinks of lightening
backlighting clouds.

La Uruca

Human gripping a wheel
neck muscles tensed
cars hundreds creeping
rounding a roundabout
streets barely streaming
edge into the flow.

Never mind builder’s discount
it’s worth a hundred easy
to not come here again
choice cabinet pulls and knobs.

Alajuela going home
back way off the pista
lunch at Jalapeños
no small consolation
tacos Bavaria Negra
the girls margaritas.

Bedtime wound tight
two hours lying
still to fall asleep
dreams forgotten.

Dark of night barely
beginning to soften
a hundred birds
babble and chatter
yigüirro lilt soothing
no place to go.


A sharp single bark
at the front door
the dogs run out
into the night.
North sky Big Dipper
pours and points
to a star unseen.
The dogs bark again
when they want back in.

Alone together

Guests gone
incessant chatter.
Calm of bird
call and song.
Alone at last


Today the prognóstico
weather changing
expect aguaceros.

Sticky and hot
forenoon awaiting
skies a clear blue.

Clouds gather
trees waving branches
fidget and fluster.

Growls of thunder
teasing taunting
a few fat drops.

Asudden gushes
throbbing pounding
as sudden over.

Fog curls the canyon
cigarette smoke past
a long dry spell.

March poems

Starting off a new round of poems with March. We hope you like them.

Las cuñadas

A Friday early
Ligia and Maria
arrive at the gate
to lead the way.
Matapalo passing
Richard’s cabinas
across the creek
slip the barbed wire
path shaded through
coffee fields a man
working in sun
sprayer on back.
Wind into the hills
sandals and dirt
humans walking
palomas flushing
up to where
higo trees klatch.
Chlorophonia, scores
whistling softly
feast tiny figs
high in the canopy.
A tanager bright red.
A grosbeak splashed
rose at the breast.
Back down the mountain
adios at the paved road.
Las cuñadas stroll
the back way home
quiet chatter
through the morning.

The higo tree, also called higuerón in Spanish, is Ficus costaricana. The chlorophonia: Chlorophonia callophrys, in Spanish Clorofonia cejidorada, Golden-browed chorophonia in English. Tanager: Piranga flava, Tangera bermeja in Spanish, Hepatic tanager in English. Grosbeak: Pheucticus ludovicianus, in Spanish Picogrueso pechirrosado, Rose-breasted grosbeak in English. This particular paloma is Patagioenas flavirostris, known locally as Paloma morada, also in Spanish Paloma piquirroja, Red-billed pigeon in English. Cuñada: Homo sapiens glōs, in English sister-in-law.

You’d never know

You’d never know
going down the hill
Cajón to Los Angeles
paint shop a metal shed
tucked behind a house
painted burnt sienna
steel gate railed brown
right at the speed bump.

After moto bashed
the door replaced
a white one pinstriped
swirly black
a couple of weeks
friends staying
folks look askance
at old gringo driving.

Juan José works
bare chested in the heat
a hundred thirty mil
driver’s side doors
removed stripped and hung
from concrete beam
sprayed red to match
you’d never know.


Si es la bateria says
José checking mine.
Dave’s Hyundai listo
alternator fixed
tweaked a Toyota part
right one not to be had.

Need a new one
but, he says
not the Interstate
sitting dusty on the shelf
A battery shop
twice as good
half the price.

Drops everything
three o’clock
Friday afternoon
drive down the hill
across the ridges
road to Santa Gertrudas.

Imports batteries
Columbia, Mexico
this one from Peru
an hour later
let José out
his house just up the hill
from his taller
for a cup of coffee
you don’t owe me nada.

Coitus interruptus

There on the concrete
sprawled in the sun
two skinny anoles
twist together one
light belly showing
joined at the vent.
Disturbed by approach
she lying on back
quick scampers away
the male a moment
looks back as if scowling
leaps into the litter.

Cramped in front
seat of an old Beetle
Ford Falcon pickup.
The parents gone
first time full naked
stretched out in a bed.
Compelled by scent
too subtle to smell
puking excitement
no thought more
than anole of offspring.

Humans, anoles sharing
amygdala, lizard brain


Just past el centro
a man gallops
down the main road
coiled rope bounces
over his shoulders
rounding a bend
a calf in a trot.

Angle off the road
cutting the calf
arms waving turn him
back up the hill
towards the lasso
circling over man’s head
(moto driver’s too
riding by blissed).

Thrown the rope tightens
around the calf’s neck
bucking rips it
right out of his hands
calf takes off
back down the hill.

Rope dragging grab it
calf wraps the car
two men scramble wind
rope round a palm tree
calf pants in the calle.

Resumed errand done
the way back up
calf lies in the shade
calm chewing grass.
Against a stone fence
three men lean
chewing the fat.

Passing they wave thanks.
Con mucho gusto.
I too could share tales
of wrestling sheep
chasing stray cattle
a vineyard in Oregon.
If I were able.


A cool shirt
slides off the hanger
slip it on one hand
one sleeve then the other
a cockroach clingging
at the end of a finger
big fat and shiny
a female, black.
Snap wrist she’s off
on the floor scurrying.

A scorpion in the bedroom
startling the dogs.
A tarantula in the tool shed
huge and hairy.
Ya conecemos
a nuestros vicinos.

Walking stick

A walking stick clings
on the screen of the window
all the long morning.

Walking stick


The sky explodes
a thousand swifts
as sudden, gone.

Iguanas at the market

West edge of the feria
runs the Rio Agualote
narrow strip green running
wild through the city.
Up steep jungled banks
spined iguanas* crawl
onto wind of asphalt
where cars creep and park
and people unpack carts
and load up with produce
neither paying much attention
save for the extranjeros .


* Iguana iguana, Green iguana

Black swallowtail

The black swallowtail* feeds
on the flowers of weeds
in bright sunshine staked out
early morning, afternoon.
Keep the garden too clean
and they’re gone.

* Papilio polyxenes stabilis,
Costa Rican black swallowtail