More Blocks

As a form, I am leaning toward the haiku tradition of not naming the poem, though that goes against all MY conventions.

I think the idea in haiku is that it is such a short poem, that one both accesses the meaning with immediacy and that a title does one of two things, it overwhelms the 17-syllable verse, or it allows a sort of cheating by extending the verse by a few pre-poem syllables.

With a single block, I think these all apply, and as the concept is, even if you stack them, they are all, each one an independent unit of 16 words, so the case still remains. for now, and as long as I am the only writing them, I can make the rules, so I say “block” poems do not have titles.



The crusher claw lifts

the Corvair, rusted, motorless

glass showers with rubber,

another cube is made.




Under the leafless pecans

the crow gun fires

frightening no one, not

even pecan eating crows.


The echo of rifles

as farmers stand, shoot

real bullets, killing birds,

ricochets through my mind.


Clear cold blue skies

cover the dead crows

more like a sail

than a comforting blanket.

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The Block

The Block

A poetry concept I just “invented”?

4 lines, 4 words, and as a construction block, each is to be a complete unit, but can be stacked to build a bigger something.


Ex. One block poem about my son’s kindergarten teacher


Mrs Payne’s desk sees

thirty-two children’s faces

starring back in amazement

not seeing the desk.


Ex. First block could be entire poem, and each block added makes a bigger and still complete poem.


Grass soggy on ankles

Like thick wet hair

Releases sweat and dirt

From leather and denim


Both pants and boots

Not clean but cleanish

Enough for field work

Sunrise brings drying heat.


The wood on the plow

is rougher than me

as I push it

against dry rocky soil.


My daddy would use

a mule for this

but I fear beasts

big, strong and dumb.


Once had a farmer

tell me mules aren’t

dumb, in fact they

are smart and stubborn.





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Flesh Colored Money

burns in the night

on street corners

down by the bus station,

in the dens of

great stone houses

along the water


with brightness

of souls, decency,

first flames of honesty,

smell of sweat,


cheap, mistrusted.



for bullet casings,

peach white bottles

prescribed dying

throbbing fuchsia,

the money




upward, outward


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This Machine (with apologies to Woody Guthrie)

doesn’t kill fascists

it saves poor children, not from traffic,

but obscurity

as it saves the old man in the dirty hat with dirtier broken fingernails.


It doesn’t build houses you can live in

but houses to live in your mind:

the white house with curving sloped stoop on seventeenth in East Hill,

the old farm house with a brick façade between Selma and Montgomery

where the racist man watched the marchers pass.


It builds the past now so future time travelers can enter the late 20th century

without wearing a space suit.

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Cigar Soldier Woman

I want a revolutionary woman

With fire in her eyes

And fire in the bedroom

And a long bloody knife in her hand.


I want a revolutionary woman

Fighting to free her country,

A woman that drinks rum

For breakfast

And smokes big illegal cigars.


I want a revolutionary woman

Whose grandfather tells me

I’m cheating him in dominoes

While he trims his cigar

With a machete,


Cuban cigars that I’d be afraid

To put in my mouth.

I want to be her little man

She comes home to battered and bruised.

I will heal her wounds.


A woman who laughs at her bleeding

Takes off her bandolier,

And makes love to me.


Anthony Watkins

July 5, 1996

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Wearing the Bowl

Writing this is

sticking your head

in a large goldfish


watching your breath create blots

on the inside and wonder

how you are going to breathe?

how long can you do this?

why would anyone stick their head

in a goldfish bowl?

then casually wondering

if this goldfish bowl looks good on me?

And then, in a panic,

wondering if the bowl is too small?

can I ever get my head out?


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I Wake, the Sound

of shimmering cymbals
and street vendors
hawking food I love,
but my wife will never eat,
bright colored curtains
shade the room,
but let what late
afternoon air that will,
move through the apartment.
I stir again and wake
on my suburban couch
in our gated community,
having never traveled
a mortal step up
the narrow stone path
from sparkling shore
to bright adobe walls
of this villa, yet,
I live here as often
as anywhere.
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