Living with a Beanstalk Boy

[First published in East on Central, 2013/2014]

Teenage boy knows everything

so he takes our only cow to sell

at the market and returns with

some magic beans and shrugs

whatever when I yell and scream

and choke on tears and bitterness.

I am back to my endless chores

of dishes and laundry, pausing only

to stare hungrily at the empty

pantry and wonder when the

power and the phone will be

turned off for good.

He may have found a goose

laying golden eggs but now

there’s a dead giant in our

backyard and the neighbors

complaining of the smell.

The village forester insists

the enormous vine growing

on our property could be an

invasive species because it’s

not native and he’s issuing

a citation for planting without

a permit.

I wish I had my cow back –

loyal and dependable with

warm nose and docile demeanor.

Instead I’m saddled with my son,

an oaf, a fool, a typical teen

who’d rather skip school and

climb the stalk of adventure.

Conversations with my Knee

First published in East on Central, 2016-2017

I am conversing

with my knee

At least my knee

is talking to me.

To avoid confusion

I’d better specify

it’s the left (not right).

The chatter started

after I began to

run for exercise.

The conversation

is civil but I sense

that there are limits.

Certain crossroads

once crossed could

lead to language

unbecoming and

damaging to our


I’ve coddled it

with ibuprofen and

ice, purchased more

expensive shoes

and socks and inserts.

I’ve added vitamins

for improved joint health.

My knee is not satisfied.

Nothing quiets the noise.

Still it says, Why don’t

you take up swimming?

Apology to My Books

First published in After Hours, Winter 2019

Dear beloved characters

and the authors who

created you, please

accept my apologies.

While we are together

I am yours completely.

I hold the details of

You in my mind’s eye

clearly and firmly.

But close one book to

start on the next and

you shimmer – heat

vapor on the pavement.

What’s your name? It’s

on the tip of my tongue.

Everyday Blessings

First published in Highland Park Neighbors, January 2020

May you open your pantry or refrigerator to the perfect combination of ready


May your bread not get moldy before you finish the loaf.

May you find parking where you need it.

May you have hot water and clean public restrooms.

May you remember an umbrella.

May you get seven to eight hours of sleep that restores you.

May you breathe freely.

May you labor and see results.

May you have rhythm and music in your bones.

May you find friends, loyal and true.

May you keep nimble as you dance with time.

May you travel great distances and have adventures and still know your true north or


May you taste joy and remember its sweet warmth when you taste sorrow and ash.

May you hear the water touch the shore and remember me.

The Theater

Awarded 1st place for Free Verse in 2009 Poets & Patrons Awards and first published in East On Central, 2011/2012

The Bard says all the world’s a stage

but I love the world of the theater,

that ephemeral country

where left is right and up is rear;

where you stand on a rake

or in wings that don’t fly;

where fourth walls are invisible and

the green room usually isn’t.

Where teasers and tormentors

don’t annoy but corpses laugh;

where the cues are no good for

playing pool and the apron

won’t keep you neat.

Where dying is an art,

drying is a nightmare and

killing the house an aspiration.

A superstitious kingdom where

the ill magic of whistling

or the Scottish play is purged

by cursing and spitting.

Business cannot be bought or sold there,

projecting has nothing to do with the future

and cheating is expected.