Periodically she plumbs the depths of her soul

Tests vessel’s integrity,

Seaworthiness for the rough voyage.

Blanketed with dark of night,

Secreted in invisible bubble

Under flourescent day light,

Spotlit by prying eyes,

She probes edges with her fingertips,

Applies pressure, seeking reassurance

No fractures lurk hidden beneath bruising.

She pushes at the seams

Of scabbed lacerations,

Determined to eradicate infection,

Putrescence potentially grown

In sewage-strewn stagnant harbors.

Battle-worn, sails tattered and torn,

Hull dented not breeched,

Rancid waters neither flooded,

Nor immersed her soul.

Rising and falling with the waves

Raised on the crest of the waning year

Dropped into the trough of a dawning annum

She sails on.

Dawn Gifts

Reluctant to face the day,

Despite sleep’s capricious solace,

She crawls hesitantly from musty blankets,

Dreading hours of tedium.

Steeling herself for inevitable onslaught:

Juvenile bickering, back-biting,

Crude jokes, tasteless, humorless sarcasm.

Brilliant sunshine draws her focus:

Bestows shadow of gratitude.

Graceful winged creature,

Anonymous in solitary beauty,

Flaps its wings,

Glides, soars,

Flaps once more.


Bright sunshine a timely antidote

Dispels shuddering shadows of dreams

Poisonous lingering themes:

Hopeless, helpless swimming images

Reaching out, no response

Blindly crossing a street, imperiled

Tethered to a phone cord too short

Desperate to convey an important message

Real or imagined, sun is warm

Hoping for any modicum of healing

She sits, it glances upon her skin

Lightens heaviness of her soul.


Pen, pencil tether her

Prevent capsizing as

Waves of grief

Crash over her

Swamp her world

Threaten drowning.

Letters alleviate lonesomeness

Create conceptual connection

Lift, incrementally

Crushing isolation.

Poetry provides pressure valve

Prevents head-launching explosion

Primed by volcanic emotion.

Drawing drives away despair

Nature, beauty sketched

Imbues hope in every line

Colors life into the world

She writes, draws her way

Through the deepest dark of night.


Lashed by razor-wire sharpened

Whips of memory

Assailed in unexpected moments

Triggered by a song, phrase, chance expression.

No bruises darken or blue the skin

No welts are raised

No lacerations drip blood

Heart nonetheless is stricken,

Stung, seared, soul loses life’s essence

With tears, both shed and swallowed.

You Dream of a World

Suena de una mundo:

Donde su cuerpo limpiado

Llevara la ropa limpiada;

Donde no hay exranjeros

En su casa;

Donde las ventanas abre,

Donde su sentira en el sol,

Donde sus amigas hablaran

Con amistad, con amor,

No hablan mierda

En todos minutos.

You dream of a world:

Where your body is clean

You’d wear clean clothes;

Where there aren’t strangers

In your house;

Where the windows open,

Where you’d sit in the sun,

Where your friends would be talking

With friendship, with love,

They don’t talk shit

Every minute


Silence, still golden, sounds different here:

Human voices blissfully hushed

Purposeless movements stilled

Squawking radios paused

Loudspeaker at ease.

Blowing industrial fan hum

Drones persistently on.

Conjured memories of alternate “silences”

Treasured in the real world:

Summer nighttime chorus:

Symphonic crickets, bullfrogs, cicadas

Naturally harmonious melody

Drifts through windows on gentle breezes,

Rains timid or torrential

Guest performers in the orchestra.

Autumn’s crisply rustling quiet:

Staccato bursts as rattling leaves twist,

Release tenacious grips of branches,

Descend to join neighbors

Whirl in a flamboyant final hurrah.

Winter’s frozen, frigid hush:

Stilled, chilled air crystalizing breath

Fragile, miraculously delicate snowflakes

Decorate dulled discolored landscape

Tentacled fingers of cold

Creep, claw past windows, through clothes,

Nature hibernates

Alive and breathing, omnipresent.

Spring’s pregnant, budding pause:

Earth’s thaw eagerly coaxes growth

Plants shoot tendrils skyward

Leaves unfurl, blossoms awaken

Poised to worship the sun

Bird excitedly warble neighbors,

Issue homecoming greeting pre-dawn.

Silences of home:

Nurturing, creative, rejuvenating

Silences of jail:

Barren, stultifying, numbing

Spring Reunion


Fresh, non-filtered

Breezes chillily across

Brashly bared forearms


Purges staled institutionalized breath

Raises welcomed goose flesh


Watery hazed sun

Spars lazily

Plays peek-a-boo

Behind wispy clouds

Demurely relents

Delivers fledgling warmth

Palpable on skin

Concrete coolly resists

Face raised, eyes closed

Beckoning the blessing bestowed

Buttery melted orb

Dear estranged friend.

Thundering Harmony

Evening pounds with rain

Drums upon the roof

Rolling kettle distant thunder

Plays emphatic timpani

Impromptu percussive interlude

Ensnares captive heartbeats

Soothes with rhythmic duet

Unorchestrated symphony

Drop by drop lulls

Chaotic wrought melody

Pours peace in angry thrumming

Oxymoronic harmony



Water’s steady drip

Eroding bedrock

Undermines earthly foundations

Set disastrous stage

Unforseen sinkhole collapse.

So too prison

Inhumanity’s constant pressure

Eroding compassionate connections

Undermines responsible purpose

Sets societal stage

Predictably, lives collapse.