I did not know I loved you


I did not know I loved you

until one day I got lost

between Fort Laramie and Custer.


under an open sky

you gave me wave after wave

of golden grass

as far as I could see.

And an antelope, pronged, ready

her stripes a lonely

reminder of

God’s hand

as if he had dipped a finger

in paint and run it

along her shoulder

from backbone

to breast. I watched her

in the sea of gold

and we were the only 

two living things on earth.


Why the North

Why is the lonely call

the beautiful one?

Why the North, where the woods are as an ocean

where elk trod nimbly

where the loon extends her neck

where the uninterrupted miles

become a blanket for my naked soul?

Why does this vastness 

freshen my heart like a plunge into a clear pool?

The lonely call is braver than I.

It rises up among the mist,

it echoes back across the waters.

And, as in the transept 

of a great Cathedral

it is acknowledged and heard.

Part of the water, part of the sky, 

part of the woods.

It is lonely, but not alone. 


At The Art Museum  2/7/17

I looked up

and there you were!

Blush-cheeked, purposeful, defiant even

I know those lines

and that undefined background

I didn’t expect you to be here

and, like meeting an old friend at a party

above other conversations,

the pervasive chatter

your voice is the one I heard.

How did you get here?

Tell me everything.

The last time we met was in Moscow

and I was quite inexperienced.

I know so much now

But still

It’s good to see you

Do you mind if I say

it’s a relief to stand in front of you

and admire your cherry-red shirt?


The Introvert

I want you to understand

but no words come out.

My brain is full to the brim



Give me a day so they can filter up,

the thoughts 

that I long to share clearly.

They are precise, narrow and deep.

I need to sort through the immense sea

of things I feel

until, like a diver with her pearl

I can emerge to give you

the answer you deserve.

Thank you for waiting

until I find it.


11th St. 

Drifts of saffron, gleaming still

and trodden underfoot

they fill

the lamplight with the softest glow

and bloom and thrill

and feed our night

a gift from winter’s womb bestowed.

As you and I and you

began a litany of words

so old

and new

when found together again

for the first time

in the heart of a friend

I didn’t know you knew them too.


Dashing up and up and more

we chased the sunrise

laying bare the truths of poets

the farmer’s work,

the sinner’s cry among us.

And rising there like smoke from sill

between we three a holy glow

a glimpse of an eternal love

from unseen thread who binds us all.


I awoke a saffron queen

with Autumn’s blessing in my veins.

Have I but a season here

I’ll cast a glow upward

to a sky that will see another spring. 


11th St. #2

I didn’t know you knew them

the words we found again

spoken like a promise

from an unexpected friend.

Chase the sunrise

with the poets on our lips

Find redemption

on a smoky windowsill

In the streetlights

there’s a carpet made of gold

and the winter

gave us something we could hold

We remember what it was

we were meant to know.



long and dark like a cave

is the night road to Brookings.

No one else is alive

in the whole universe


the menacing glow

the pulsing gleam

the thudding eyes

of the wind turbines as they stand

aloft in the night;

eerie sentinels.


I do not like them.



There is no accounting

for the days as they pass us.

They are filled, each,

to the top

with goodness

with worthy occupations.

They quietly slip by as sunset,

ever changing,

slides into an inevitable night.

Your skin and your smile

soft, hopeful, exuberant

are the tangible and lofty reward

for so brief and existence.

Life the wildflowers by the roadside

you bloom fearless and bright. 

You chase the dawn

and the promise of

another day.

May you always live like it is summer.


For Gwen

What do you write to a friend

whose cowlicked beauty

first enchanted you

as, giggling

you exchanged secrets

high in the trees that were July-heavy

with green walnuts

and when, full of adolescent expectations

you both began to form an idea

of the architecture of all things?


What do you write to a friend

whose daring exploits

were an inspiration for you

cautious, ever

whose vitality ricocheted

off canyon walls, mountain passes,



What do you write to a friend whose witty tongue and pen

capture each moment like 

a fat, gleaming droplet

poised perfectly

a gem

just off-side the pathway?


What do you write to a friend 

whose essence is

a constant reminder of your own purpose

whose likeness glows deep 


your own breast?


As a pair of birds in a tree,

one flies,

the other follows, then back again.

A soaring and catching

the vast sunlight


on the edge of her wings.


thank you

for all of these things.


Dos Pueblos

Dos pueblos on the edge of the sea:

I with my acropolis and you with your keep.

The eagle flies above us and the sky is wild and free

but you and I are grounded on our isolated peaks.

It matters not that I love you

Or that you love me

We are just two cities with a canyon in between.


I will build my terraces and loose my birds of prey

You will train your warriors and send them far away.

A gentle wind might carry in some pollen from your tree

and I might breathe your dust upon a weary pilgrim’s feet.

It matters not that I love you

or that you love me

We are just two cities with a canyon in between.


With each year that passes by our reputation grows

kingdoms send their sailing ships to fatten on our coast.

They sing about our beauty; they marvel at our strength.

Our names are paired together in the annals of the kings. 

It matters not that I love you

or that you love me

we are still two cities with a canyon in between.


Someday the San Andreas will release us to the sea.

And as the old world crumbles, I will find you in the deep.

I’ll reach out for your waiting hand I’ve never held till now. 

And you will wend among my hair in a forest made of kelp.

Our demise will be lovely, our destruction complete

and though I bathe in sunlight now

I dream of blue and green. 






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