the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century



Discovering that parts of me were made from stone
When I thought I was flesh through and through
Was my biggest shock

It was when I would wash myself and find little strips of another's flesh
Torn on my stony arms
My stony lips
My stony heart

For the longest time
I told myself that birds had left the strips there
It was not me
I said
Not me

Till someone as soft as thought I was
'Could you not do that? You're hurting me.



Of all the things, a check is not a poem.
Yet this one meant freedom
And danger, and our house is ours.
Outside the wind grew cold,
And it chilled the wine
So we left the porch swing we built
And came in and watched TV and played with the cat.

Freedom and danger lay on the hassock
In a brown envelope
A lot of hard work to put it there
A lot of hard work to keep it there

A lot of love and trust
So I don't know what a poem is
But I'm guessing that this check is a poem.



So far away, the cars can be
Seen only in one windowpane.
It is night, the thick night of winter
So thick I can't believe
the cars can even move
In their tiny frame.
They are going to places I used to love
To bars and restaurants , bookstores
But the darkness caught up with me
It is thick, and I am hiding
In my empty office
As high as the freeway overpass
No work
No reason to be here
Eventually the sounds
of the building will scare me
And I will go home



I was misquoted by a mockingbird
My poet's fame among the birds
Ended by his melodious four note word

I find myself quoting Robert Frost
And asking if it is wrong
To seek to stop a creature's song

No one around to hear
The misquoting bird's
Melodious four-note word

Nothing to do but write it down
Off he flew, far wide and long
His absence stopping future song

His departure stopped future song
He carried away my notes wrong.


Gulf Coast Moon

The Moon had robbed my sleep --
sneaking in through my window
the Gulf Coast Moon.
I closed the drapes quietly
stopping him before he could wake my wife,
and I stole from my cabin to confront him
that Gulf Coast Moon.
Who are you so silvery and high,
to take me from my dreams?
The work-a-day sun him I can forgive,
but you, aren't you the giver of dreams,
O Gulf Coast Moon?
I shook my fist at him
and suddenly felt very silly
Listening to the surf in the silver light,
but he spoke to me then
reminding me of my sleeping wife's smile,
did Gulf Coast Moon.
He reminded me of my lifelong dream
which I might have slept through.
Clever man,
that Gulf Coast Moon