For Owen Wesley Bulanow

Keep on looking around
Bright and welcoming Owen
Hold on to that hope
As you range far and wide
Keep on seeing this world
And the people around you
With the joyful embrace
That’s so clear in your eyes

I can’t promise that people
Or universe, either
Will always reward
Your inquisitive trust
But keep bringing it, Owen
Your glad curiosity
Gives you the power
To change worlds and hearts

(And if someday you think
Well, this sounds hyperbolic
Where’s evidence for
This potential to change?
I submit: tiny Owen’s
The one who persuaded
My skittish wife Tina
To enjoy holding babes)

Of Jesus and Tinúviel

The Son of God
The story goes
Accepted death
Upon the cross
And in three days
He rose again
Regaining immortality

And Lúthien Tinúviel
Of legend
Did surrender
Her eternal destiny
To live a finite life
Beside her Beren
Who was mortal man

In every time and place
There have been those
Who gave their lives
For love
Or to save others
They were human
Not high elves or deities

I wonder how it feels
To be immortal
Facing death or bounded time
I wonder more
About the human being
Sacrificing this
Her only life

The End of Poetry

On the ides of NaPoWriMo
I thought things were going groovy
Ah, but little did I know
That they’d decided to rise up

I had no inkling nor suspicion
That my verses would attack me
Not until they showed up holding knives
(Keen, cutting words indeed!)

I am hiding on the next blank page
There isn’t any cover
But I like it here – it’s language-free
Except…I just can’t hold my tongue

And now I am surrounded
I can read the writing on the wall
Oh, which of my creations will
Now execute this sentence dire?

Et tu, “The End of Poetry”? Et tu?



Day of the Pig

’Tis Wednesday the Thirteenth again
And everyone knows what that means*

Like Friday the Thirteenth is bad
Because back in the day the witches
Would assemble on a Friday night
In groups of twelve (plus Satan)**

Back before enlightened times
On certain Wednesday afternoons
The village patriarchy gathered
Twelve of them – and Priapus***

So to this day good people fear
This moment on the calendar
When men with too much self-regard
Find their pomposity inflated****

Best ignore them for today
Tomorrow, back to normal grief*****



I feel your love
(She said) it’s like
The love of God
And sure

And so my darling
What you’re seeing
On my face…
It isn’t doubt
That your devotion’s
Firm and pure

That’s not the problem
With your love
Nor with God’s
The thing I question
Isn’t adoration’s fact

But rather
Whether someday
This abiding love
Might manifest itself
In some
Objective act

The Tots

Back when I was a little child
My mother called them “Tiny Taters”
Which I think is what was written
On the bag (back in the day
Our people often spoke in brands)

And so I grew up with the spuds
The knobbly, oil-soaked little critters
Frequent co-stars on the table
Complementing frozen Steak-Umms
(Trademark Steak-Umm LLC)

I went to school and got my own
Apartment, and I started cooking
For myself and for my wife
Well, my old pals, the “tater tots”
Would show up (every now and then)

But I suppose there came a time
When it occurred to me that they
Had more in common with grenades
Than similarity in form
(I mean they just might blow you up)

So years went by without me eating
Hardly any teeny taters
I can’t say I really missed them
Didn’t even think of them
(Besides, I still ate lots of fries)

But then this hipster moment happened
And the bars I like all started
Serving little deep-fried nuggets
That they simply labeled “tots”
(Exquisite morsels, welcome back!)



i turn and see
my bulldog sitting
in the middle
of the rough-hewn
wooden bridge
i have just crossed

the pleasant sunshine
from his face
this mostly leafless
april afternoon
he sniffs the air

i call his name
but he just sits
and sniffs again
his posture somehow
telling me a tale
of deep contentment

so I return
across the bridge
just walking past him
to the side
i started on
“should we head back?”

but still he sits
and sniffs and smiles
and seems to say
you really haven’t
given this here bridge
an honest shot

and so i shrug
and join him there
between two options
in the middle where
we watch the twigs
float slowly by


and if i walk the way of peace
it could mean death

the death of me is what i mean
and of my friends

but if i walk that way despite
such consequence

with full appreciation of
the risk i take

there is a chance (i do believe)
the world may find

the way of death may yet become
the way of change

and notwithstanding that belief
i’m terrified

because I do not want to die
but i will walk

this way of peace, because i truly
do have faith

regardless of the the chance of death
or injury

it is the one path which might still
remake this world

Why We Roam

This was late July, you know?
So what I’m saying is:
Damn hot outside. I mean
Just really flippin’ hot outside
Ridiculously hot outside
You know? The air so thick and humid
Burning on my skin like fever sweat
And blackening my mood

OK, I’m pushing this old mower
And I’m wearing shorts and flip-flops
‘Cause it’s hot outside
(I mentioned that, I’m pretty sure)
And so I get to this back corner
Of our yard, this one dark corner
Back between the shed and fence
That’s almost always in the shade

I kinda shove the mower back there
Really quick, because
That gloomy corner sort of
Creeps me out. You know?
The weeds grow extra thick there
Even though the sun can barely
Shine. And so I shove, and feel the first
Hot stinger pierce my tender foot

And then it’s like the flippin’ blitzkrieg
Man, they’re coming fast as lightning
Goddamn yellow-jackets
Jamming fiery toxic daggers
In my feet and toes and ankles
Even underneath my sandal straps
I did what any normal man would do
You know? I turned and ran like hell

Now roughly two or three hours after this
My wife comes home from work
She finds me sitting in the living room
With ice packs wrapped around my feet
Of course she wonders why, and also
Why the lawn’s half-done. So I
Explain, and say there ain’t no way
I’m going back to get that mower

So, she rolls her eyes and goes
To get the mower, then two minutes later
She comes running back and says
I didn’t see your yellow-jackets
But there must have been
Eight copperheads! The one
Coiled on the mower struck at me
And I’m not going back out there, uh-uh

I figured she was mocking me
(Despite my glaring stinger-wounds!)
So I got up, and winced
(My poor feet called me dirty names)
I went back out there to that corner
And I wish I didn’t have to get
So close before I trusted my own eyes
Were seeing crocodiles

I turned and went back to the house
My wife and I grabbed weapons
We approached the corner carefully
I can’t remember which I noticed first
The smell of sulfur or the smoke
But when the reddish purple demon-thingies
Flexed their wings and turned our way
We ran, and we will NOT go back, uh-uh