Send In the Clowns

The child:

What is that little man?
His nose is red.
He makes funny faces.
He jumps and turns and rolls away!
He makes me laugh!

The adult:

Why would someone make a fool of himself?
They always do the same pranks.
They look like they’re going to fall apart.
I could never do that.
Not in a million years.

The senior:

They act funny but it’s all, just that, an act.
They must be covering up their sadness.
For the children it’s O.K.
They don’t see the difference.
I’m too old for that.
Like Pagliacci.



for Antoine
(1928 – 2011)

I finally went back to Carrabelle
As we very often did
And I walked as far to the end of the beach as I could
Because you always would.

I was not alone, for your image was with me
And a few good friends who understood.

I walked in the water to test its warmth
And thought how you would do the same
While you dallied to speak to the women and girls
And I smiled at your flirting game.

Then I lay down to dream on the sand
Remembering that you would walk still more
But when I awoke you had not come back
As you always did before.


Through the Window

Sixty degrees in the land of Black Hawk.
In January. Not good.
But a mother and child walk to the library
and the city-man empties the parking meters.
The world is coming to an end,
yet the sophisticated woman lurches
forth in boots and a short skirt,
earphones and coffee.
There’s drizzle and sickness
and a gray loveliness to notice.
In the meantime, there’s work to do.

Inspired by this Daily Prompt.

Lake Ella

My feet slap the cement path…
Fingers petting dogs bark on trees,
Feel the breeze.

Spanish moss gives us weeping willows
even in the winter.
Fountains form rainbows
as flapping seagulls fly low
over a moving mirror
And anhingas repose.

Black Dog Café pours perfume
of coffee and pecan pie
Into this synesthetic drink.

The melody of squeals and squawks and mothers’ calls
Dots the harmonic hum of trucks and cars
And an occasional guitar.

A walker calls to me:
“How ya doin’?”

Doing fine.


Why are we here?  Who knows? Who cares?

Nobody will ever know.
So let’s not waste our time searching,
thinking, talking, writing poems.

Leave me alone with your abstract questions!
We’re here. Let’s live, play ball, dream, love.

Do whatever you’d like.
Help the others who don’t know,
despite their idle constructions,

Why we’re here.


Jesus, could the irony be that suffering forms a stronger bond than love?
David Bottoms

B, I do not address this poem to the Lord, because
I do not believe in the Lord but that you are the Lord.

We are bonded, are we not? After all, do we not cling
to each other in the dark by the cold window?

I don’t know that we’ve suffered the way that people can truly suffer –
in an ulcerous, cancerous, one of us is dying, kind of way (thank the Lord).

Instead, we have a child and a dog and we laugh, so it’s all pretty good.
But, we’ve arrived at middle-life with not much money or exotic experience.

We’ve never been to the musée Rodin, for example.
I feel bad about that. I am to blame.

I was too holy for Big Law, and now they don’t want me and that’s fine
because I still don’t want them. (I’m stubborn as hell, Lord knows.)

But something new happened with this new year, didn’t it?
I handed the public my name. I stopped worrying about the judges.

I said I do not aspire to robes or prizes; I aspire only to be worthy
of my name and your embrace of it.

I am, in short, going for the money because we have suffered so much that
we are really close now, Lord help you.


I’ll stay there into the night
working on the brief.
Then drive home
to the sleeping house
and the wine bottle
that should remain sealed,
but won’t,
and the laundry
that I should do,
but won’t,
and I’ll drink and think
it’s not too late
to start something new,
which is mostly true
and mostly hope,
and then I’ll think:
it’s not that I’m too old –
it’s that I’m no longer young.

No Creature in Andromeda

No creature in Andromeda noticed
when the Earth released its final leaf.
They didn’t see the last stag stumble
or hear the ultimate howl of wolf.
The insects dwindled with no accounting.
The remaining starling fell and drowned.
The salmon and the cities stopped,
and that is how our world wound down.
A slowing clock, silence expanding.
A stern retreat to wind and rock,
and even that, in time, collapsing,
swallowed by a dying sun.
A small event, observed by none.


“What is it in humans that makes us crave narrative?”
“This need is universal; everyone likes a story.”

Who is this Swan but Zeus disguised?
Even the gods desire.
And he impregnates Leda.
Who is this swan/god who acts as a human?
So we are all the same.

In the beginning there was the word
And the word was with God
And the word was God.
God created heaven and earth
by naming them with a word
And so the human poet creates.
So we are all the same.

A beautiful princess kisses a frog
and he becomes a prince.
Zeus was a swan
The prince was a frog
A woman joins with the swan
A princess joins with the frog-prince
So we are all the same.

Like the Swan, God descends
and joins with Mary.
A son is born, who, after suffering,
will return to the Heavens.
He dies because humans have
imitated the gods.
So we are all the same.

Fables are rampant.
A Mayan 5000 year era is turned into doomsday.
Tomorrow.  Some will go up and others down.

But never fear.
It’s only a story; they’re all the same.
We make them up

For we are the gods.

[Inspired by The End of the World.]

Last Statements

It’s not the end, it’s only the beginning. And Dad, I’m coming home.

I don’t want nobody to be bitter. Te quiero mucho.

Just so you know, I am an innocent man. But, I hold no grudges. In fact, I would like to tell Mr. Richard I appreciate all he has done for me. I love you sis.

I’m sorry for the victim’s family. I wish I could make it up to them. The truth is, I did not know the man but for a few seconds before I shot him. He deserved better.

This stuff stings, man almighty. Then again, I can feel it, taste it, not bad.

Texas Rangers, Texas Rangers. I am a miracle. One more thing, Viva Mexico.

Everyone changes, right? No cases are error free.

I am disappointed by the courts. But that’s O.K. I just played the hand that life dealt me.

You should continue with criminal law. It’s your decision; they need lawyers out there that will fight. Also, thank you for your hospitality.

I have no hate toward humanity. I deserve what I am getting.

Where’s my stunt double? I am not as strong as I thought I was going to be. Bye bye peanut. To the moon and back.

Today is a good day to die. There’s really nothing more to say.


[Inspired by this project.]