Monthly Archives: August 2015

July Poems

New poems for July. I hope you like them.

A Year of Days is available in paperback and ebook editions at AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, BOOKLOCKER, ITUNES and KOBO. I hope you enjoy the book.


Alisios sweep
western sky blue.
Gray clouds gather
Caribe slope of Poás
dive whiten scatter
ridge point to Pacific.

Jack’s house the crew
pours concrete lays block
hurries to get the lid on.
Plants set out
beginning of rainy season
droop in the heat.

Independence day

July fourth ’92
airport in Frankfurt
cab ride to Darmstadt.
Brats and beer in the Herrngarten
fireworks burst hot
embers sprinkle hair
deep into the night
Dorf fest reception
the way South to France.

American Colony Committee picnic
Cervecería Costa Rica
always a big deal
flags and bradaggio.
Joy’s San Luis barbecue
El Cajón arriba another
hot dogs and hamburger
patties cooked gray
red ketchup yellow mustard
cold white puffy buns
cold potatoes slathered mayo.

Unreeling hose
plants looking dry
step four feet off the carport
face down in the flowers.
Back strain sore ribs
bruised shoulder
Popeye wrist right
hand dangles useless.
Alone stretch on the sofa
watch old CSIs
miss patriot reruns.

Over the edge

Age 16

Suspended from school for flipping off the coach. As punishment, sentenced to work for a week with Grandpa, shingling the garage roof. One morning nailing on knees, rise, a step backwards right off the edge, feet hit the top of the redwood stake fence, flip flat on back hitting the ground. Lying there eyes open, trying to catch a breath, Grampa looks down growls, “Get up you lazy kid, you’re the hardest goddam kid to keep working I’ve ever seen.” Couldn’t say a sentence without swearing. Got the rest of the day off, palled around with buds after school let out.

Age 46

A year working as a stone mason in the Languedoc, 100-year old limestone sheep barn to be transformed into a summer home, German engineer his French wife. Cleaning up at the end of the work week, anxious to head out for the usual Friday night rendezvous with expat friends at Restaurant La Cascade on the Canal du Midi. Brilliant idea: sweep all the debris onto the piece of plywood laid flat on the floor just inside the big metal door, slide it slick onto the slag heaped outside. Mound of mortar and rock readied, reach down, grasp the edge of the plywood, step forward lifting. Into the manure pit, meter and a half deep, Irina peers over imploring. Only barked and bruised, reminded, that’s why I set the plywood there. Cleaned up, out for the evening, eating, drinking, telling tales deep into the night.

Age 66

Unreeling the hose out to sprinkle portulaca planted a week ago when it was raining afternoons, all the way out to reach. Glancing over shoulder to check take a step back, off the edge of the carport, past the concrete culvert to the narrow flower bed lining the steel and cement ramp, four feet face down in the dirt. Quick inventory: no screaming, no blood, nothing looks or feels broken, scrape on shoulder, wrist, right side ribs sore, back tweaked. Up on feet thinking to continue with the watering, quick release broken off in the nozzle, right wrist not working, can’t unscrew the broken piece by hand or maneuver the shop lock open to get a pair of pliers. Feeling woozy, hot, sweat oozing from skin. Hang on to the hand rail down the path to the casita, stretch out on the sofa cooling in front of the fan, drift off. Body shutting down non-essential functions, mustering resources, responding to injured areas. So delicious, just letting go . . .

Wake an hour later, sleep most of the day and the next and the next, barely able to rise to record a few words, wrist splinted and wrapped. A week, then two, three, sore and cribbed, a deep ache, deep into the bone, deep into the marrow of the night.

Young live forever
a long time growing mindful
old to feel is sweet.


On back

Beetle the size
of a small bird
one morning lying
back on the tile
before sliding glass door.
Flip it back over
still a twitch not dead.
Cradled gently
down stairs six feet
back to the earth.

giant beetle


Redoing the kitchen
Marlene bids for the old
fine native wood
granite tops and all.
Removal day
husband Olman
husband and sons
Diego, Santiago
with tractor with trailer
cabinets theirs
for the hauling off.

Two months invited
to admire the install
chicharrones, cerveza.
Marlena’s bedroom
converted to cocina
open to the sala.
Stools line the bar
face out to the TV
sharing the scene
with sofas and chairs
where the folks gather
and sit and talk.

Pork belly simmered
fried in own fat
tender and crisp.
Yucca boiled and mashed
with milk and butter
like potatoes but lighter
a crusty edge
chips pico de gallo
picante for Don Jim.

Sit and eat then
the men file outside
a bench and chairs
fashioned from rebar
and antenna wire strung
grunting a greeting
as friends drive by.
Women inside
cuddle and coo
a new grandchild.
Make the rounds leaving
each in turn
ease out the gate
wave back down the hill.


Walk to terraza
for morning fruit
army ants swarm
tens of thousands.
A black tide flowing
Insects flee terror
spiders scramble
up the shop wall.

Attack a crack
between the bricks
sidewalk ants tiny
wander bewildered
nest looted
eggs carried off.
As sudden the legion
appears moves on.

Green spiny lizard

A spiny lizard
yellowish green
tail bright blue
clings to the edge of
the little roof sheltering
the garden bodega door
basking in the sun
driving the dogs wild.

T’ai chi in the canyon

Early morning
cool quite
bird burble, call.

Humans gather
breath and dance
parakeet chatter.

White-fronted parrots
blue squawk treetops
the canyon, still.

White fronted parrot