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People and Places: poems and haiku

Updated on January 23, 2016


Hope: Outside a laundromat, a girl leans

against a wall in

the rain read-

ing a travel book.

Lovely Lucie

The first time you walked through the door

I thought you were your mother.

You corrected me kindly, and I apologized,

but looking at your face,
I knew why I had said it.

Already your delicate being was

weary with the world,

the circumstances and decisions of your life

tied your inner being in knots

until the overgrowth choked out your life.

In the arms of your strong and beautiful sister,

you shed this awkward mortal veil,

passing to a land that will heal you.

So we gathered in the hot house,

a jumble of sweaty, tired bodies on the couch

facing the piano,

the air spiced with English, Czech, and music.

Your beautiful self was the reason for our meeting, and your gentle Pisces spirit wafted overhead,

reminding us what the dead learn and come back to tell us:

That we already hold the jewel: we are alive.

Thank, lovely Lucie.

A Birthday Poem for Ralph

Neighbors for almost seventeen years:

I read your New York Times every day

before you get up,

put my New Yorkers and TLS on your porch

early every Sunday.

You borrow my rake and push mower;

I borrow your t.v. the one day a year

that I need one.

Remember the time you backed up down the street

and rolled down your window

to tell me a Norwegian joke?

You drove me to the E.R. in August of 2007;

I saw you right before you drove off to

the saddest funeral of your life.

Sometimes we talk for a few minutes on the sidewalk,

usually about music.

And several times each day, I stop my work and

look up from the table and out the window

to make sure your car is parked

safely next door

because then

I feel a little safer, too.

She went to France to find her art,

instead the swans told

her, “This is

the shape of your heart.”

Bird at the Window

Bringing news of death,

telling her

how to live her life.

Torture Tools

(not a haiku)

With slammed drumsticks, pounding fingers, and hard-bitten poems,

Paul grabs hold

of death’s neck

until he has coerced

the only confession

he deems acceptable:


Engine 6 on the Way to Fight a Fire

Gerry’s son sits in

front off to

help the world she loved.

Piano Paul

Brave, rhythmic heart, full

of life: his

mother sees and smiles.

Melissa’s Art

She walks in the dark;

her soul spreads

its brave light for all.

A Haiku in honor of Present Music’s 30th Anniversary Concert

The Cast of Thousands:

picture of

Kevin’s mind and soul.

Picture of D.

What can the smiles of

long ago

teach us about life?

for John

How are you?” I ask.

He always

answers this so well.


St. James Park, Toronto, Canada

In a dress and hat

she threw a

party for the birds.


Rain: with so many

people on-

-ly small umbrellas.


City that holds my

soul, that heals

my soul: sweet safety.

Musikverein, Vienna, Austria

My music is fed

by the throb

of your cared for heart



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