N  a  p a  l  m     H  e  a  l  t  h     S  p  a  :     R  e  p  o  r  t     2  0  0  6









mother & child

bulleted as they knelt

in prayer—powder burns


where the slugs

entered & tore flesh,

blood erupting into dry air—


even as marines

moved on to machine gun

a man, his wife, his daughters,


the blind old man,

father reading his Koran,

the grandmother, mother,



& uncles.  one survived,

playing dead beneath


the body of her

brother, his blood

covering, giving her life. 




Trumpets, please







is dead


show the











how many

minutes he



on the




they say—

yet war


goes on


go off


& she

is dead



is dead

is dead

they say


they are


on this


new day

dead again

they say







29 years at the print shop, tired,

obsessed with retirement, fishing on Lake Erie,

smelting up north in spring—

the bosses fired him just short of his full pension

& he came home fire in his eyes—


now he digs hostas from his garden & sells them

two bucks a pot lined up in his front yard,

saws lumber for birdhouses to pattern so his wife might

paint & sell them at craft sales.


he’s done the rounds,

worked maintenance

at the truck shop, ran stock at the greenhouse, nothing

to keep him straight with hellhound bill collectors,

two years till social security kicks in—


he wanders in his garden, kicking clods, waiting

gun in hand for a rabbit to go for his seedlings.

he cannot talk about it—

heart pounds so hard he worries—heart attack

like his dad.


wild clouds race over treetops,

on Memorial Day & he dutifully raises his

flag to fallen comrades, their  memory still

fresh as the day they dropped before his eyes.




Five Singers on the Ends of Night




hips weave & slip among

softlit floor lamps sway

around the loveseat slide


over lineolum—she poses

one hand on breast,

pirate with wiggling hips—


content with that too even

dancing solo (psyche-

delics in her past?


visions nightmares soft

dreams languid lovers

dancing on the iguana's


eyelid?  songs built on

a rattlesnake's tail, the eagle

above in a cloudless sky?


Sunset in the saguaros,

the desert's languid dream

going, no place to go—yet she goes.




winding toward his

sorrow struggling

to say it, she's gone


she's gone she's

gone:  curtains closed

in the great room,


the dog asleep by

the still-warm coals,

the fading fire.


what tambourines

in the distant dark?

who sings under


the streetlamp under

the jagged peak as

a crescent moon hangs


beyond the single

thin cloud, last yellow

fading to deep blue?




smoky deep night blue rattling train distant shout long hours passing like taxis loaded

with musicians in white suits snapbrim hats, bright women in silk, the long deep sigh


of a simple goodbye and "hiya! what's kickin' where we take it now?"  hope in a quick

glance, breath still clinging to lost dreams that floated in with last night's fog & vanished


with a light wind, what gliding shadows melting in the brownstone dark, what sighs

sliding thru those dark windows what silent singer alone, listening, his heart a drum?




shadowy city smokes at dawn,

dark towers red beacons,

fierce clouds blowing up thru

stacks at Chemical #5—


roaring traffic brakelights all

up to the horizon—so many

racing to their deaths jobs

grinding them over the limits


go go go right up thru towering

windows shrieks in pearl light

cops racing thru scattering

pigeons to find the corpse


rolled in old blanket beneath

the stairway where the bankers

ascend to their private doorways,

turn & look back, aeromeds


churning in sharp light to land

on a distant hospital roof new

light another day come at last

horns echoing the en masse charge.





she makes her

way down

stairs, lost

again in her own skull—


lavender flowers swaying


slightly in the breeze—



her lover

gone, gone, gone



what she'd dreamed in the dark, so many silent rooms


lost conversations


fingers touching for a brief


moment by candlelight.


her gaze

turns to


the stained-glass lily in the front window,


to the couch

where they'd first


declared their love and sang the delirious




their hearts had borne in silence


too long.