one room
three poets
a matter of perspective
all compass points relative to center
that sweet rose


three poets in one room
a matter of perspective
all compass points relative to center
sweet rose of friendship


three poets
compass points gathered
all relative to center
sweet rose of friendship


three poets

a matter of perspective

compass points
relative to center
sweet rose, friendship


three poets
that sweet rose, friendship

Our trip to Cleveland/Buffalo took us through Indianapolis, where we spent a pleasant evening with Stephanie L. Harper and Robert Okaji.

Yeah, short-form poetry is my thing.  I decided to try writing the first free-verse poem in other forms.  The definitions of these forms can be found on my Poetic Forms page.

Image source:

Letter to Okaji on the Past Not So Perfect

Letter to Okaji on the Past Not So Perfect

Letter to Okaji on the Past Not So Perfect

Dear Bob: I often think that things are just as they should be. The house is just right. My car is running fine, on it’s way to 200,000 miles. The young are healthy, the elders nearly so. And then the lawn dies under another heat wave, after it’s third planting, and the throttle body on the car sucks more water than air as it chokes and dies during a 700 mile drive to a funeral in the dead of winter. But I limp home after a major repair with engine flush and decide not to tell the local shop they cracked the oil filler cap when they changed my oil. I learn to live with weeds and balance water consumption with a scraggly lawn. I also remind myself that a sore knee when I make that mid-nightly trip to the bathroom doesn’t mean I won’t wake up in the morning. Life goes on, sometimes smoothly. Sometimes we limp on, but we don’t let that spoil our view out the window, or even down the road. All my best. Ken.

A reply to Robert Okaji’s Letter to Gierke from the Future’s Past.
(I think this may be my first prose poem.)


The Longest Sigh

The Longest Sigh

The Longest Sigh

The currents that deliver us
do not concern themselves
with time or distance,

even as we anticipate the quaver
that signifies the end.

Then, now.

Near, far


All are the same in the eons of the
slow, sustained breath of the cosmos.

APOD inspires, with the aid of a not-so-simple comment from Robert Okaji…
“a slow, sustained breath, quavering at the end”

Image source: Astronomy Picture of the Day
(NGC 3344, from ESA/Hubble and NASA)
This link will take you to the full resolution photo.

National/Global Poetry Writing Month ~ Day 15

NaPoWriMo 2018




Like the time the principal pulled
the antenna off Ned’s Beetle in the school lobby,
so he could jimmy the door, which wasn’t locked.

We were forever trying to fix
something that wasn’t broken.
Just mismatched.

Two kids walking the parks,
quiet rooms, school halls
together, in opposite directions.

Learning, the hard way,
less about each other,
more about ourselves.

separate stairways
to the next level.

Thanks to Jeff Schwaner, and (especially) Robert Okaji with his poem Staircase at Fifteen, for pushing my mind in this direction.
Image source:

Fermentation, and Lessons Learned

Fermentation, and Lessons Learned

Fermentation, and Lessons Learned

A bottled life and selective
capacity. How to fill?
Will yeast stay

at the bottom? What floats,
and do we dare
skim the surface, or do we

take a long draft?
Given the opportunity,
age will lend character.

Inspired by a comment by Robert Okaji, on end of daily toil, who said, “It’s not the thought of aging that bothers me, but rather the fact that there’s so much I want to learn and do, and so little time for it. Oh, wasted youth! 🙂”

weighing a voice between the words of a poem

Robert Okajicadence does not march here,
flows instead,
nuance in its delivery

drawing a bridge between
the hidden
and what is known

encompassed by the world
and its subtleties

Hear Robert Okaji read his poetry, and understand. Not yet tagged or categorized as a recording, but just as exemplary, is “The Resonance of No,” from his forthcoming chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available for pre-publication order at Finishing Line Press.

From Every Moment a Second_cover

Negotiating Caverns

This morning, I replied to Sue Vincent’s latest photo prompt with the first thing that came to mind, Out of the Shadows. After posting, I thought about conversations I’ve had with one of my favorite poets here, Robert Okaji, who has given me valuable advice on writing poetry. I admire his ability to illustrate, while still maintaining an economy in his words. I’ve tried to accomplish that here. I’m sure I’ll be returning to this, but, so far, I think this poem can stand on its own. Just in case, here is the photo from Sue’s prompt.

Out of the Shadows

Negotiating Caverns

We cling to
what we know,
seeing, yet wondering at
what could be.

Bathed in light for
seconds of an eon-life,
stalactites reach to connect.

Sighs of Autumn Rain #3 (visiting Tu Fu)


Sighs of Autumn Rain #3 (visiting Tu Fu)

Who would notice this common man in Chang’an?
Within his walls, watching through the gate
Cloistered, too old to tend to the weeds
In the rain, children pass by without concern
Hastened by the early cold in the wind’s sighs
A lone goose struggles overhead, wet wings weighted
The white sun has not been seen this autumn
Will the mud ever dry?

Literal translations of classic Chinese poetry can be found at I first learned of this from Robert Okaji, who has written several interpretations of some of those poems. This is my interpretation of a poem by Tu Fu. The literal translation, as provided at, is as follows:

Sighs of Autumn Rain (3)

Chang’an commoner who notice
Be locked in weigh gate watch surround wall
Old people not go grow weeds
Child without worry walk wind rain
Rain sound sough and sigh hasten early cold
West goose wing wet high fly hard
Autumn come have not see white sun
Mud dirt after earth what time dry

Image source: