barbarians at the door
their heads on backwards
gossiping with the dragonflies
they seem nice enough
ask me how I am today
but they already know
they are a little supercilious
I don’t trust them
and attempt to close the door
but the dragonflies hover
in the hinges
knowing I will not hurt them
the door stays open
the barbarians try to convince me
to join them on a walk
down the lane to see the fox
and to ask forgiveness
but the fault is not mine
the barbarians tell me
we are all at fault
and I can’t fault that logic
but I remain unconvinced
the barbarians screw their heads on
rightly and walk off
saying no matter
they will ask for forgiveness in my name
I watch them lumber off
then the dragonflies become unhinged
and I want to follow
but I do not.






Fairgoers cheer for Sarah Palin Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Fairgoers cheer for Sarah Palin
Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images



The Age of Ignorance by Charles Simic


Many otherwise intelligent people
are stupid.
What does that make them?
Idiot savants?
They might be good at their job,
might even be good at parenting,
might go out of their way to aid a stranger.

They are otherwise good people,
while lacking any understanding
of the greater picture of their own interests.
They proceed in their daily lives
believing what they are told
by unscrupulous sources, bent
on manipulation.

Otherwise intelligent people
care only that they are viewed
as nice
as helpful
as caring.
They are all of these things.
And they are stupid.

Otherwise caring people
believe the lies they are spoon fed.
The information age is a misnomer.
Piece of cake, easy-peasy to seek the truth.
But these otherwise nice people don’t do it.
Because they are nice.
They wouldn’t do anything or believe anything
that seems uncaring.

It is the only way to get through the drudgery
of their lives
believing they are happy, caring people.
Many otherwise lovely, friendly, charismatic
people – are stupid.


The Age of Ignorance by Charles Simic

Everyone should be like me

To be clear, I’m the bad guy here.
Impatient. Something I inherited from my father.
But, I’m nice to her. I don’t want to be nice.
I force myself to take the high road.
I greet her. Hello, Gretchen.
She smiles, says, Hi, how are you?
She doesn’t remember my name.
We are in yoga class together
three times a week.
The class is not large.
I know everyone’s name.

Everyone should be like me.

Gretchen is vivacious.
She tells us stories of her exploits
in Mexico where she has a house.
She talks and talks meeting our eyes, wanting contact.
This happens in the ten to fifteen minutes before class.
A rectangle of sunlight crawls across the floor.
I wonder if she notices.
I wonder if it edges nearer warming to her story
or wishing to quiet her with a blinding brightness.

Gretchen doesn’t listen.
Or pretends not to listen.
I think she pretends.
The teacher corrects her, often.
No, Gretchen, the other leg forward.
No, Gretchen, we’re not doing the bind.
No, Gretchen, hips forward, not back.

One day she tells us she’s a recovered drug addict.
Her mother died when she was very young
sending her into a downward spiral.
I’m a terrible person.
I want to believe her, but I have my doubts.
She drives a BMW, and wears expensive
outfits, coordinated with care.
I can afford a BMW, but I don’t want one.

Everyone should be like me.

I could befriend her, ask questions she’d
be delighted to answer, dig up the real story.
How much does she understand about herself?
Does she know how she comes off to others?
I could find out. People tell me things.
Something in my face makes them want to open up.
I could discover the truth.
But, I don’t.

Everyone should be like me.

A Dream


I dreamed of
but wait, no one cares
about another’s dream
and the dead no longer dream
or do they
one day we’ll know

but back to my dream
that no one cares to hear
until their own dreams
materialize into conquered love

I’ll tell you anyway
you are free to listen, or not
I dreamed of a future,
impossible world
where women are not
shot up with heroin
between their toes while tied
to a bed, naked, the hulking
weight of a man with a wife
and two children, their photos
he proudly displays to other men
at the bar
grunts above the bound woman
who begs to be rescued

he pulls up his camouflage
trousers, straps on his rifle
there’s a war out there
someone’s got to fight it
he doesn’t look back at the girl
on the bed
she watches him leave
will forever remember his face
and all the others, etched, itched

I dreamed this girl travelled back
in time when she had nothing 
to remember
nothing to forget

For Open Link with the Real Toads…. 

This was inspired, if that is the word, by a book I read recently that I cannot get out of my mind: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. The subject is brutal, but the language poetic. I highly recommend it. Hope is layered throughout.



yoga class
as instructed, we check in
with ourselves
I find a body assailed
by half-hearted yearning

it’s not a touchy-feely
yoga class, it’s hard work
like climbing thirty flights
of stairs is hard work

and then you’ll be in a pose
and the teacher will urge
“go inside”
and that pisses me off
which makes no sense
and pisses me off more

I’m always
always inside 
where all the stuff
I don’t want to hear
swirls like a million voices
speaking  a language
the nasty rhetoric
of incurious minds

I want to hear
the sway of the flute
imagine a snake charmer
in fact, be that snake charmer
I want to feel my muscles
burn and my skin sweat

I want to stay outside
to be distracted by
physical exertion
I don’t want to get
all up in my own face

I want to pretend
if only for a moment
that all that matters
is the ribbon of highway
half a dozen radio channels
and I have all the time
in the world
to drive

Linking to dverse, Meeting the Bar for the 2nd time. I mention that only to say Thank You for the very warm welcome on my first foray among a group of extremely talented poets.Since I live near San Francisco and am quite familiar with City Lights Bookstore I chose to write in the style of the Beats.. you can let me know if I came close to it or not.
Thanks for reading!


This is my first time linking up with dVerse. I’ve been receiving the emails for months. I have several friends who are regular contributors. This is a new year and a new resolve!

©Ali Skolfield Robinson

©Ali Skolfield Robinson

a hitchhiker
a green canvas cross-body messenger bag
sits low on her left hip
her right thumb is flexed
in a hopeful attitude
ubiquitous ugg boots outside her jeans
her eyes half-closed, no smile

she slumps heavily into the passenger seat
a wisp of a girl
so young and so high
I can’t understand her slurred words
where does she want to go?
she falls asleep
or maybe she died, I don’t know

at a nearby clinic
I coax a nurse to the car
with promises of payment
she pulls up an eyelid
in the young thing’s oversize bag
we find a half-smoked joint
but that’s not what did the damage

the nurse shoots her up with vitamins
and something else that brings her around
no ID in her bag, I don’t know her name
she tells me she doesn’t need a name
I look at her in wonder
do strangers always appear
at exactly the right time?

she’s free and she’s happy, she says
could I take her to the shelter? sure.
she leaves the car with a wave
and a polite thank you
sometimes all I can believe in
is jazz
the up tempo notes of a trumpet


Thanks for reading!

Expanded Territory

Written for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Open Link Monday. I’m new here, but have quickly come to realize the talent present in this fertile Garden.

I attempted to come up with something a bit more seasonal and cheery, but the funny stuff has its own schedule. 🙂  I wish everyone a joyous season, and look forward to getting to know everyone in the New Year.


©Matthew Smith

©Matthew Smith

in the dead of night
I wake
to foxes fighting
I hear their teeth
like mine do
when I’m cold
and then the high-pitch
like nails on a
it is not a mild
more a fight with a wounded warrior
tail between the legs loser
and a winner with expanded

you cannot escape your past
though I hadn’t planned to
I will visit
my little sister
I will tell her
my fox story
and we will cling
to each other
for dear life
knowing that our memories
are only that

Thanks for reading!