All Cattlemen Rodeo

All cattlemen show

for Fall rodeo,

dusty cows come, too,

though doubtful

they volunteered.


Cute cowgirls in the stands

wait for barrels,

boys with tight jeans

and stetsons

wait for cowgirls.



too good to not eat,

all for charity,

I tell my waist.


Dirty hat,

sweat stained white shirt,

too old to worry

about girls in stands

or rounding barrels


Into bright lights

I scribble against

outer darkness

old drunk tooth

-less cowboys stumble

and teenagers snuggle.


Crimping blackening hat,

nodding to all who pass

I fade like this rodeo

into another year.


Inspired by the name of a certain Teaching Assistant at ModPo



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50K MS (b)

A world away,

kindred spot,

hurricanes known

by their real name:



cool blue morning

on decaying balconies-


plates of Trump

approving Barbecue,

fish that I

wish not to know

of what it approves-


there is no struggle

only satisfactionuntilfear

whipped again:


polling places.


I am

from here and there

of neither.


Count fifty

thousand miss-i-ssip-pis

am home

I do not belong.


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(or cheap motel with Emily Dickinson, Mississippi Gulf Coast)

The brain

tired in its track

runs stops and starts,

though a splinter

through a tree

I persist.


Brain tired in groove

willing death

the body lives and struggles-



black-feet carpet-


Grateful complaint

urging on turnpike scooped

lives never back in our groove

or not the same,

we go ‘round,

slowly pass the wobble

to stay intrack.

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It is the Age

poets die,
rock stars began
to perish long ago
there are no parents
we are the grownups
no one listens to us.

We who have missed our mark wait only
and mark
the disappearances.

Like a counting film
played backwards:
Steely Dan and Ashberry
all at once

Ashberry gave me frank
Frank gave me Lady Day
Steely Dan just gave me Ricky
I guess I can lose that number….

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There was a Hospital

It sat out on the grasslands

low and long, a wing to each side

doctors and staff at leisurely pace


Not the stinking butchers

we have here who chop off

pieces for a dollar or two


kind chunky matrons

and a couple of old doctors

younger than me now,


but old then,

with kind hands

that smelled of tobacco.


Each room opened onto a field

almost pastureland

only missing cows


I didn’t get well there

nor do I improve here

in the city with the butchers


but illness had

a peace about it.


Let me die in the city on the grasslands.



There was a Hospital, revised


On the grasslands

low long wing each side

doctors, staff, leisurely pace


stinking butchers

here, chop off

pieces for a dollar


kind chunky matrons

old doctors, younger now,

but old then, kind tobacco hands.


Rooms opened to fields

pastureland minus cows


I didn’t get well there

nor here with butchers

but illness had peace.


Let me die: city on grasslands.


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How I Forgot to Write Poetry

I don’t know

what words mean

too tired to write poems.


You work!

Work is easy,

hardly matters.


Don’t remember words


length of lines.


Notice shapes in fire,

cannot smell smoke

genetic disposition

e-n-e in the ear.


Danish: slowgna,

maybe Swedish


English: sandspurs

in my mouth.

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The Challenge

Poem, home, cardboard box.

Miami, nights aren’t too cold

Though a few February nights

air nears freezing

as do I.


A dirty blanket

flecked with waste, vomit,

spilled food, dirt,

grease from the ground

sturdy box

mashed in places,

corrugation collapsed,

torn and blackened smears.


Words, roof, heavy paper,

not enough, as with all,

they are all.

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