Accidental Self Destruction


Daredevil Bruce/

Sheriff Heil’s oldest son/

danced a boxer’s circle/


sissy girl, sissy girl/

charming his posse/

of pubescent boys/

he stole a kiss on their dare/

A fog of years/

dims the details/

flush of his freckled face/

brush of his cold chapped lips/

tug of his determined fingers/

wound tight in my ponytail/

I squint at the blue-lit screen/

military records online/

Bruce Huppert Heil/

non-hostile casualty/


accidental self destruction

pistol point blank to his brain/

finger determined on trigger/

circle of bedeviled boys/

a war weary double-dog-dare/


No News Is Good News

Today is not as new/

as it may seem/

ask the mother enslaved/

torn from her children/

Lost Bird suckling/

her massacred mother’s body/

the women of Salem/

or the Japanese interred/

ask insurgent coal miners/

coughing up pieces of lung/

or James Byrd chained/

dragged apart in Jasper/

Matthew Sheppard dying/

alone on a Laramie fence/

ask Nagasaki or Hiroshima/

Sand Creek or My Lai/

ask four year old workers/

dead in rich men’s factories/

for an inchoate explanation/

of how we ended here.


“Sixty cents for one”/

a woman, maybe eighty/

pushes her cart my way/

Her husband standing by the donut case/

hunched over his cane, shoots back/

“They can keep ‘um!”/

“We don’t need donuts”/

she says, as they stroll away/

While our elderly forego/

the simplest of pleasures/

and our school children eat/

lethal bullets/

I lose my stomach for delay/

while back at the whitest house/

a family is likely eating cake/

What’s a Daughter to Do?


Blood, fur, sulphur, dirt/
Father is home from the hunt/
Be ready to skin/

Woodsmoke, rubber, sweat/
Father is home from a fire/
Be prepared to cook/

Wood, sawdust, oil, tar/
Father is home from his work/
Be ready to serve/

Fish, salt and fresh air/
Father is home from the sea/
Be prepared to scale/

Tobacco and beer/
Father is home for the day/
Be ready to hide/

Transcending Gender

Wholeness requires
the unclad truth
the irrelevance of the body
the particulars of body
the gender, the sex
the categories imposed
on the contours of place
the who is touching
what with what
when a loving hand caresses
the small of the back
or cups a smooth shoulder
or strokes the rise and fall
of a lover’s soft downy belly
when lips encircle responsive flesh
and a voice whispers tender truth
I love to touch you here
as legs entwine
and strong arms give shelter
as silken hair brushes the cheek
and fingers trace a gentle path
through the garden of celebration:
What name shall we call ourselves
and whose approval shall we seek?