Friday, October 26, 2012


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                                            PUB CRAWL

A cold night with a mist.  We walk with quick steps toward the old part of Dublin where there are numerous pubs. We have no particular destination, no special pub to find, just what strikes our fancy.  Along the main shopping area of the old town the pubs are crowded and lively.  Some more so than others.  We pick one, Doheny and Nesbitt, which appears popular.  Every inch of space is occupied, shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip.  No television, no musical sound track.  Just drinks and talk, drinks and talk.   We elbow our way to the bar and get a Guinness.

                                                    middle of the room
                                         wrapped inside a maelstrom
                                                     of voices

The wind is up, blowing off the River Liffey. It is welcome after the stuffiness of the pub.  A brisk walk, trot to our next stop.  A larger pub, O’Donoghue’s, just as closely packed with customers. Standing room only again.  Between the pub and the building next to it is an alley, the smoking room.  Open at either end, covered on top and warmed with large electric heaters the smokers and their non-smoking friends congregate here.  We order a Jameson from a passing waitress and find two empty stools near a heater.

Everything flows–talk and laughter, alcohol and smoke.  And the wind through the alley.  We head back thinking that a two pub crawl is enough, but give in to one more on a side street.    Quieter than the other pubs, with two televisions and space at the bar or in a booth.  We choose a booth and have Irish coffee.  It is clearing when we leave, but much colder.
                                                          scudding clouds
                                              across a three quarter moon
                                                          the flashing night




Sunday, October 21, 2012


For Hector Combattente


It is 1908.  He is a boy of 18 with only a few lira, his scissors and thimble in his pocket.  Left behind is a struggling family in a town often layered with the ashes of Vesuvius. He travels in steerage.  Twelve days in the bowels of the ship before docking in Boston harbor.

falling snow—
faces on the gangway
turn upward

From Boston to New York.  A crowded coach train, standing all the way.  The address of his brother securely pinned in the inner pocket of his jacket.

tramping through snow—
one street like another
yet all different

The universal language of craft lands him a job.  Other countrymen with their needles and thread sew together a strong bond.  He settles in, adjusting to the cold, throbbing city.  A city not paved  with gold, but covered with snow and garbage and teaming with the human throng.  He claims a place in a corner of his brother's apartment, in the community of tailors, in the New World.

signs of spring—
tenement buildings
sprout window boxes
Stylus Poetry Journal, April 2006

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Friday, October 12, 2012


                                      October rain
                                      splashing red and gold
                                      on the brick path

                                      the sharpness of autumn
                                      no words spoken

                                      early morning light
                                      filtered through autumn's trees
                                      your waking smile

Gean, December 2011
The Country and Abroad, September 2007
Pipe Dream, September 2011

Friday, October 5, 2012


                             A CHANGE OF SEASON

The leaves on the dogwood are the first to show a change.  Just a few leaves at first, and not the entire leaf.  Only the tips as if autumn is testing out shades.  Is this red deep enough?

I'm geared for autumn–wood neatly stacked, woolens all brushed and aired.  My neighbor shares the last of his tomatoes and basil with me, still damp from the late afternoon mist.

                               boiling pasta–
                               through an open window
                               steam mixing with fog 

Stylus Poetry Journal, December 2002

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