My Best Moment All Summer

My son made 100 baskets,
really quite a feat, for
he’s not a natural athlete.
He stood in the sun
and watched the rim, again
and again and again. Mostly
he missed, but that was
no matter, because he never
quit. And after many minutes
over an hour, in fact,
he drained his last bucket,
arms triumphant in the air.
I hugged him very close
my best moment all summer

Kentucky Fireflies

All is stillness in Kentucky woods
where fireflies flicker, earthen stars,
one, then another and another.
With my son, we get to sit and stare
together into glowing darkness,
watch floating journeys. He clicks our
flashlight to say hello, then asks me
to stay close before summer slumber.
Breathing softens, he falls asleep.
I lie next to him for many minutes,
let life be at ease. With dawn there
will be another day, but for now this
is all, this is everything.

Playing Left Field

Standing as if a sundial, my hand, a glove shadowing time.
Waiting for the ball I blink, wink, chew gum, itch my rear,
because nobody is watching me out in the wilderness where
gnats and sun, smell of cut grass envelop me, make me
a tall insect wearing stripes, socks hiked up high. I pace, shuffle
cleats, shout “Hey Batter, Batter,” as if my distant voice matters.

Take away white lines, the small crowd, he’s just a bushy haired
boy in a quiet meadow, looks like he might be talking to himself.
Or god knows who he is or what he is doing out there alone, a 
quiet king with monarchs that flutter by. Until wooden bat breaks 
daydreams, interrupts his nature, baseball soars over his head.

Seeing the Mountain Lion

please let me 
tell the truth
that I saw 
it, the mountain
lion, lithe, yes
springy, legs, twitching
tail, like at 
the zoo but
free on golden
hillside, in California

I had just
eaten a banana
morning at camp
counselor for kids 
with HIV, beautiful

sun peeking through
fog and me
and the young
lion, that I’d
wanted to see
for hundreds of 
miles hiking, camping
hours of night
and nothing, but
longing for wild
but nothing, maybe
a rattlesnake or
coyote, but then

the moment passed
and it moved
down the hill
toward the road

the next day
saw it dead
on the asphalt

I wanted to
take some of
its teeth, save
something, after so
much time waiting
but I let
it rest, sad
it was gone

Capri

Manicured ladies in stilettos navigate ancient smooth
stoned pathways, corridors assembled during Roman times.
Smooth curves of their exposed skin pattern the night,
wafts of perfume mingle with the smell of grilled
octopus and cigarettes.

Some cling to tan wrinkled arms
of sugar daddies, men with white chest hairs
attached to fortunes drenched in cologne.
I never visit the island for Gucci or Fendi,
air-conditioned square shops of consumer luxury.

The purring cicadas surrounded by sea
are my siren song, blue water darkening as it journeys
to Tunisia. Pulsating, my calves quiver up and down steps
to Villa Jovis where Tiberius reigned supreme, decadently
tossing the unwanted off cliffs into the watery
chasm of time.

The ruins sit unaffected by sun’s sweat dripping
from my elbows. I rest in pine tree shadows, imagine when
Neruda was here, arranging verse in his head. Away from the glitz,
everything is as it was, as it is, ants, jasmine, laughter
of the old women who were born in Capri,
born by the sea.

Summer Beard

Whiskers start in June
mostly black, some gray
pushing through skin
like sunflowers they emerge
carefree, unrestrained by razors
of other seasons
when they are scraped away
like speckled truth
man’s primitive nature hemmed.
Summertime, I let them grow for days
like a backpacker searching
for my lost youth.
Long hours of shadowy sun
my face like time
standing still.