216–Hand Biting

my brother doesn’t know how to
live in harmony with his wives or
his parents or his children he is
wounded to the core of his being
but his grief lashes out instead
of wailing probably because
no one heard him when he cried
how to reach out to him on this
his birthday when he wounds
every hand that reaches toward him
is a mystery to me so i sit here
late at night writing poetry
and keep my hand from being
bitten until i find a way
to raise the white flag
without losing any fingers
this is such a deep grief to me

Know What You Want to Talk About and Then Write About Something Else

All should be transformed into a source of wisdom and compassionate living.
—Taitetsu Unno, “Number One Fool” (
Tricycle, Spring 2008)

Sometimes at night we stroll and
we do not know where the perfume
comes from, but tonight I have found

from across the deep orchard a hedge
outside the wire fence where the wild rose
is ferocious in its pink blossoming. Its

headstrong bouquet is more gong than harp.
I would know it anywhere.
I try to be still. Try to be alone,

and my heart clangs like a bell.
I try to fall away. I try to disappear.
I try to hurl my discontent into the cloudy river.

And the river says What? to me.
And I do not know what. Don’t understand why.
Confused about how as well.

And I follow my nose to the next
rise of wild roses, stand beside them
and breathe. Every breath, I need to fight for

tonight. Nothing comes easily.


not sure how i got here
sixty three years after birth
it was no grand plan of mine
just a common daily waking
sleeping and doing it again
now that i’m here though
i take to looking back over
the years of this and think
this time i didn’t miss out
on much except the money
and fine wine maybe next
time or maybe this is my
last swing around this planet
and i’m bound for some outer
world where traveling is
at the speed of thought

New Spine

There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.
—Leonard Cohen

No there’s not.
—Finn Trommer, 5 “and a half” years ol

All day I practice not knowing. But damned
if that slinky surety doesn’t sink in. No, no
that’s not a dinosaur print, I tell my son,
when he shows me a strange swirl in the sandstone.
Yes, I tell Wendy. You can plant the individual
garlic cloves, and then admit moments later
I just do not know. I don’t know. I don’t know.
There was a time when I thought I did. And perhaps
it is better now. These days, how I notice
everything—the shadowed wrinkles on the cliffs,
the high-voltage scent of wild rose in the morning air—
but it’s not everything, and I can’t help but wonder what I miss.
What I miss, well, the I think I know the list is endless. Perhaps
there were multiple suns in the sky—
I don’t know. I was looking down at the most curious,
strange and wonderful shadows.