What Did You Say?








What did you say?

I cannot hear you


Turn the volume up

On the TV

Cannot hear what anyone is saying


Never mind commercials


It is called

Sudden Hearing Loss

Suddenly my left ear

Was like


Far off sounds

Filtered through

Crazy     weird


But the hearing


Did not lie


There was     indeed

Sudden Hearing Loss

In my left ear


Well     okay

Things could be a lot

Worse    a lot


photo credit

What is Wrong with You





Tigray     of Northern Ethiopia
Ukraine     borders Russia

They have become the background of
My hours
That seep into my
Hover over my

What is wrong with
Abiy Ahmed
Vladimir Putin

I have deposited you
On the scrolls of
That haunt memories

Millennium to millennium

Your bombs   your tanks
Your soldiers
Willing to follow your
To destroy     Life
As every woman  man

And child
Once Lived it

What is wrong
With you
What cancer
Devours the essence of your

-April 18, 2022









Grandmother is old, she is frail

I am one-hundred years

She says, though only ninety-seven

Her fingers trace patterns on the lap robe

And she watches as they move

To the right, to the left

I am nervous, she says

I am nervous

Then her hands lie open

On her thighs

Palms touching the blue wool

She lifts them up, then down

Slowly, again and again

I sit in a chair

Close to the one that enfolds her

Cover her hands with mind

And feel the flutter of her nerves

Like a thousand butterflies

That struggle for release

From their cocoons










*Written 1982, from 2001’s Poet’s are the bravest.

With Nana










In a memory of childhood

She leans over my bed

She lifts the blanket cover

And puts her hand between the sheets


Flutters her fingers in the darkness

Where I sleep at the bottom


It is Wednesday

The nurse has half-day out

Nana comes to wake me from

My nap

Pulls up the window shades

Sees the place near my pillow

Where I tear the wallpaper

Off the wall

Says nothing


The peacocks

At the Lincoln Park Zoo


I cover my ears with my hands

To muffle the noise

She takes peanuts from a paper bag

Holds one in her fingers

Between the iron bars

And waits

The ducks come to snap the peanut

From her fingers

Like the cook jabs potatoes

With a fork for baking


She says I may have a peanut

To feed the ducks

Holds the paper bag open for me

But I am afraid to put my fingers through

The iron rails of the fence

She laughs


Don’t be a goosie

They won’t bite


It is Wednesday afternoon

At the Lincoln Park Zoo

She wears a woolen suit

And ruffled blouse

Her gray hair under a feathered hat

I remember the feel of her cotton glove

In my hand

And the sound of her shoes

On the pavement










*Written 1982, from 2001’s Poet’s are the bravest.