Desolation ~ with audio



Rock and snow my prison cell
Stranded in the midst of beauty
Blue waves and sky no consolation
Thoughts of rescue from this desolation

Now as distant as a passing ship,
With its snapping sails
A faint syncopation
Against the murmur of swans

Taunting me from afar
The freedom of their aerial maneuvers
Bringing only profound sadness
Each passing day

The spark of hope dimmer
Until frozen
Splintering, shattering
Finally gone

“Desolation” has it’s roots in a poem I wrote for a prompt from Jane Dougherty and subsequently edited for The Ekphrastic Review, where it was published in October 2018.  It was inspired by In the Blue Expanse, by Arkady Rylov, and can be found here.

Shared with OpenLinkNight #299 at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Transition ~ with audio



Wait for the brink of the falls to touch the roiling waters at its base,

or the maple to bend its branches to kiss the leaves lying at its feet.

One drop will follow another, and the precipice remain.

New buds will open, and the tree stand tall.

But autumn leaves will crest those falls,

kiss the waters waiting below.

I will breathe the mist hanging motionless.

The moment will end.

My life will continue,

each moment on the cusp.

“Transition” originally appeared at Vita Brevis in October 2018.

Image: The American Falls at Niagara Falls ~ 13 August 2009, 10:26pm

Guiding Lights ~ with audio


Guiding Lights

Awake in this moment
our concerns far behind us,
we make our way,
reflecting on direction.

Beneath the gaze
of a thousand million souls,
guided by their light,
our path is chosen.

Our course made clear,
we embrace the calm
that descends upon us
going forward, together.

“Guiding Lights” was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone
and originally appeared
at The Ekphrastic Review in September 2018.

Image source: Starry Night Over the Rhone/Vincent van Gogh (Wikipedia)

shared emotion ~ with audio


shared emotion

thought, emotion
in a relay race
through body and mind
each lap igniting sparks
firing across synapses
spoken, unspoken

thought, emotion
facing a tsunami of
slowly seeping away
leaving behind
sodden ash

thought, emotion
in a dull glow
re-firing to
bridge a gap
commune with
the outside world

“shared emotion” originally appeared at bonnie mcclellan’s weblog
during International Poetry Month 2017, where the theme was
“Neural Networks: The Creative Power of Language.”

Farewell, Tuck

Tuck Magazine started out as a literary and arts publication covering poetry, fiction, reviews, art, and photography in October 2011. It went on to concentrate on human rights, politics, and social justice around the world, but I didn’t discover it until the autumn of 2018, when I had a burst of poetry regarding social issues, and Editor Michael Organ was kind enough to accept those poems.

In its editorial of May 3, 2019, Editorial: The Last Word, Tuck Magazine announced the end of its publication.

These are the poems published by Tuck Magazine:


What to Do When the Moon Won’t Be Your Mistress

Clouds will not be parted by presumptuous hands.
Yes, it may be a thin veil that separates you,
but it may as well be a swimsuit
worn by a young teen who is not impressed
by machismo worn like entitlement.

True, there is no need to silence her
when the vacuum of space buffers better
than loud music in a remote second-floor bedroom,
but even your clouded judgment must see
she cannot be restrained.

You may think you can bare the moon.
After all, boys will be boys. Besides, who would tell?
But if she finds her voice, others will question you,
so keep a calendar. It could turn the tide
if you need to talk your way out of anything.

Better yet, have a stiff drink
and keep your hands to yourself.

(Regarding the Brett Kavanaugh hearings)


Too Silent, Too Long

Voices remain silent.
They know,
but they don’t, really,
so they feel helpless

in their not knowing.
Ask the victims?
Make them relive their pain?
Questions unasked,

not knowing what to do,
while the survivors suffer
inner voices with their own
unasked questions.

And the accused,
or unaccused, given
the circumstances,
live free of conviction.

Aside from the victims,
is anyone innocent?



License to Hate

Great Again.
That’s what you said.

It’s not about color, politics, or religion.
You’re everyone’s friend.

Until you’re not. So you demonize,
stoking a climate of hate. Who’s the real demon?

In spite of their temporal source,
your words are not spoken in a vacuum.

Of course, all you have to do is disavow
anyone who puts your words into action.

Tweets from a hawk are music to no one,
with the real enemy fear mongering from the bully pulpit.

(POTUS #45)


The Joke Is on Us

We cringe at the thought of foreign agents
unleashing their terror upon us;
cordon off suspicious packages;
remove our shoes before boarding a plane;
subconsciously – hell, consciously –
profile certain attributes as alien, suspicious,
worthy of scorn and shunning,
terrorized by our own fear. To what end?

A man walks into a bar.

(mass shooting – Thousand Oaks, California)


anguish measured in tears

one foot in front of the other
families and miles
measured in the thousands

asylum their only need
pleas falling on deaf ears
dream now a nightmare

border crossing rebuffed
canisters traded for rocks
thrown in protest

tear gas for temerity
delivery indiscriminate, for families
lumped together as criminals

shed a tear for the child who sheds a tear

(US southern border)


Many thanks to Michael Organ
for his efforts and for publishing these.

Ken Gierke

And now to find a home for a poem that would have been a good fit for Tuck Magazine.

Image source: Tuck Magazine website header