Archive | November 2018

Fire Storms


Litany for the Dying

Out there they are burning a stubble field.
The streets of town are filled with smoke.
The forests are on fire, and our fate is sealed.

Sun bloody coin, the smoke will not yield.
They are farmers of clay, just old plain folk.
Out there they are burning a stubble field.

Machines are the physicians, many lives reeled.
The pulse is weak, breath shallow, spirit broke.
The forests are on fire, and our fate is sealed.

Torch all the stubble, it’s not there to shield
the life of a mouse, the soil to cloak.
Out there they are burning a stubble field.

Everything green the oxen have peeled,
faithless the gifts of wheel, harness, and yoke.
The forests are on fire, and our fate is sealed.

A child cries with hope to be healed
from nightmares and dreams which never are spoke.
Out there they are burning a stubble field;
the forests are on fire, and our fate is sealed.

Published in For the Love of Death, the early years, 2nd ed., S.I.N., 1993; published first on line at



Last year, when the fires in the Western U.S. were relentless and the smoke was so bad that I had started wearing a mask to try and save my lungs while working out in it, I began to recall writing something about the infernos that were beginning to engulf us all across the face of the planet.  It took me a long time to find it.  It must have been written sometime in the ’80s.  It was one of my early experiments with a villanelle.  History is filled with the great fires and destruction of humanities cities: London, Rome, the great library of Alexandria, Chicago, San Francisco.  We are seeing something broader than these events, something that is a threat to our species, and we have been looking at the looming specter for quit some time.




Trump Family


Do you think that Donald J. Trump and family have realized yet that those who pull their strings are going to hang them out to dry?  The puppet-masters are going to walk away free and clear with everything they wanted and the Trump name will live in infamy forever.  They will walk in the valley of shadow for failing to recognize evil.

A Christmas Carol

This is the season of listening. The chains forged in life, I am listening to them.  The fictional character, Donald J. Trump, has seized the imagination, the cult of personality.  In the war between Heaven and Hell, I am waiting to hear the clank of his chains, hopefully before he dies, and hopefully before I do.

It could be that giant goose eaten around the dark, cold times of Winter Solstice.  Hark the herald angels clanking, Donald J. Trump is going to Hell.


Fallen Angels

I appreciate the idea that the U.S.A. is the great Satan and all, but we have known that since the sixties. We have known since the forties that sometimes to defeat an enemy, you become the enemy.  I think the English taught the O.S.S. that.

Still, as far as Satan goes, he was not the only fallen angel.  There appear to be a lot of lesser angels jockeying for the Lord of Hell position.  Us little imps are just there to carry the water and chop the wood.

Nancy Pelosi

She did her time as a speaker, and yet we still have Donald J. Trump. She survived the weapons of mass destruction trick, but many, many people did not. We still got Donald J. Trump.

Perhaps she is progressive, but is she progressive enough? Time to try somebody new. We still have Donald J. Trump. Forward needs a course correction, science people! . . . read the compass before the field shifts from South to North and North to South! We have Donald J. Trump!

The Miner’s Wife

She had six kids and a husband.

She spent a long time raising them.

The Silver Valley wasn’t home,

but it became that eventually.

Originally it was the Midwest someplace,

before the war.


On an island in the middle of a lake:

Six kids . . . and the rest of them,

the bastard step children or just the stray

dogs. It is the same every summer.

It is a vacation in the sun.


They put in her coffin the tomatoes

she never got around to canning before

she died. She wasn’t going to stick them

with all those tomatoes. They put in

a bottle of Yukon Jack, and a pack of Kools.

They were thoughtful, and tossed in a fresh

lighter. They put in a cold one in a can

cooler. It is always a long trip to somewhere.

The journey started with beer;

the journey ended with beer.

It is always a long trip to somewhere.


Dark places underground are strange,

things growing in the light less, and the light

reflects off dark pools from the miner’s lamps.

In the light of day, we keep on drinking

before we go back underground.

Above ground at night we keep

on drinking before we go back

underground during the day.




God bless Stan Lee and Jack Kirby!

They gave me the stuff that dreams are made of,

like jealousy, it feeds upon itself.


When spiders spin their tangled webs,

and hulking monsters destroy empires never dreamed of,

they stand with Roland at the pass.


He never existed either,

only his dust remains,

and our grand dreams.


Stan Lee died yesterday. He helped make the graphic novel an acceptable form of expression. When I bought Daredevil no. 35 in late 1967 I was 13 years old, and it was something different back then. Marvel was remaking itself over from the Atlas years, and I still have dark corners of my mind that lurk with early Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko vignettes of where man meets “monster”.   That Daredevil comic launched me into the Marvel Universe and from there into the “real” world. Whatever the name of my chosen career is, I have been labeled with several, and it will take time to decide if any of those have stuck, but this poem comes from the trashing around trying to figure it out phase of the 70s. It is from a manuscript that has never see the light of day called “The Very, Very Early and Very, Very Bad Poetry of (insert name here)”

I have been really enjoying all the old covers and stories on the Facebook groups Marvel Comics Fans 1961-1986 & Greatest Comic Book Covers Ever that people have been sharing, and those people have said more about Stan Lee than I can. How we were imprinted growing is different for everybody, but there must be a common thread. I really enjoyed hunting for old issues in dusty bookstores, etc. to fill in the issues that I had missed thanks to those little side bars of “as seen in issue # 23 of FF” (that is a made-up reference so do not spend time looking for it). That alone helped me learn to catalog and reference series in my library cataloging career.

When I found out that Stan Lee had moved on to his next editorial gig, I had not pulled “Very Bad” off the shelf in forever, but his passing reminded me that this poem had been written. For months I have been trying to remember what poem I wrote that held this line:

“My heroes all came from comic books, the bad guys also.”

It was written in the 80s and comes from a poem called “An Iris”. It never saw print except in a self-published book called “Living with a Stranger: self-portrait”, but it is on my blog It is on there somewhere.

This piece will probably pop up on my blog sometime this weekend. I will be posting it to the comic book groups I have been following. It is just one story in the world that Stan Lee helped create; I am enjoying reading all the others.









Kite Fight

There was a kite fight a couple years ago, both had skilled handlers. They wore gloves against string burns. One was a gaudy orange affair with a long paper tail, the other was a steady blue. The field was pretty even, each had been in fights before. There was a good wind. They knew a trick or two, so it did not take long for the orange Mylar one to cut blue’s string. It fetched up in a high tree where you can still see it today. The occasional couple looks at in the early spring wondering if there was glass on orange’s string.

Nobody could prove it, and orange’s handler is not talking. Besides, the glass would have been pretty high up on the string and when orange cut blue’s line, theirs was cut too. It fell on a power transformer, sparking a fire. The whole town was dark for a week.

There is still talk of upgrading the power grid, but it is the same old poles these days.



What happens when you teach hormone driven creatures to take what is theirs, that it all can be theirs, and they cannot loose? They are failures if they lose: anger?

What happens when you teach hormone driven creatures to never take what is theirs, that nothing is theirs, and that they cannot win? They are failures if they win: frustration?

What happens when hormone driven creatures are broken, get frustrated and angry, when it is all theirs but is not? They go mad when it is never theirs and they cannot win: rebellion?

Domestic Tranquility

All Donald J. Trump has to do to make all his problems go away, the Grand Jury investigation go away, he would get my full support and a written apology for my ignorance and lack of understanding is to release his tax returns, with schedules from 1980 forward. 1980 to 2017 and it all goes away.  However he will not do this because he probably has something to hide.  He is probably a criminal.  He is probably compromised by foreign nationals.

The people who supported him and worked for him will not have aided and abetted in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the U.S.  His tax returns will demonstrate that his policies do not reflect his financial interests.  His tax returns will show that during his presidency he has not violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution.  All the people who are in Trump’s administration have to have told him that all he has to do is release those returns and all of the “fake news” will stop.  All he has to do to prove “no collusion” is release his tax returns.  All this goes away and everybody will be tranquil again, we will all be working for the common good.

All of this goes away.  So, why will he not do that?

All of this goes away.