The Prey

Some days ago we cried
Making tears flow while laughing at... that

Some hours ago we laughed
Crying tears for absurdities by governments

Squirrels bury the possession they most love, nuts
People cherish an idea which they've repeated forever

The sun provides for life and can scorch earth in an instant
Teenagers desire autonomy and at any moment ask for anything

This planet contains beauty which can rage unexpectedly
Finding truth depends on wit during the constant smearing of ideas



- artwork by Francis Bacon… -
- mailed to Louisiana -

Conflict and Kindness

we balance high above the angry river 
on a tightrope 
clenching anxiety
here, focus will be keenest

but over there 
are the toys, joys, sorrows, creatures, chosen ideas;
our stuff

that tightrope 
is equal parts pathway forward and anxiety instigator to
our stuff

we must manage, we must balance
Conflict and Kindness
nobody else will do this
step in and pursue



- artwork by Olafur Eliasson -
- mailed to Arkansas -


People expire
lose breath lose pulse lose warmth
People expire
finished or in stride, unexpectedly or anticipated
People expire
working, eating, sleeping, out and inside
People expire
nobody knows, then everyone knows
People expire
leaving love, leaving life, leaving legacy
People expire
brightly, painfully, hauntedly, ready
People expire
leaving laughter after grief, for those unexpired
They expire
and everyone measures lives differently
He expired
after enabling a mountain of curiosities to flourish

after Paul Allen ('53 - '18)



- artwork by Spencer Sweeney -
- mailed to Wyoming -

Ease renga

Born lucky, privileged
to pursue a life of ease.
Embrace the unlucky.

Recite those murky struggles
often to change your known world.

Born into struggle.
An unknown battle through youth.
Precious few escape.

Resolve to break systemic
control by the privileged many.

The ease of the whites
to turn away from black pain
produces pained land.

Decide to delete divides.
Devote muscle for race unity.



- artwork by Roy Lichtenstein, “Haystack” -
- mailed to Idaho -

A Grazing Gaze

That beating weight
of a toddler
Lying chest to chest upon a chest
Breathing steady sleep

Awakens extreme calmness
in both bodies
A package no other soul penetrates
until disturbed 

Watching a trance deepen
surrounded by dream
Witnessing the opposite of hysteria
A distress-free frenzy-less zone

Revered and envied
by parents of teenagers
And those fiercely observant
notice the loveliest of human conditions



- artwork by Y.Z. Kami -
- mailed to Washington -


So far it doubles the disease
tripling again again the life of this pain
It hurts holding heaven so close
when touching red black embers from hell
Break the brain 
to forget the time after the doubling time
Blow long   so hard   by and by 
until it's time to goodbye
Close, yet still doubling past my eye
the promise of never again



- artwork by Karine Laval -
- mailed to Texas -



Mom your stride is too long. 
I cannot keep up. 
Dad slows his step,
paying attention to me,
but then speeds on until
he pays attention again. 

We hold hands when approaching colored lights. 
I try to count how many steps equal one of his. 
Usually more than 3, sometimes 2. 
It’s hard to figure. 

I can do 2 for 1 Mom stride, when we first leave.
Then it gets crazy. I half run, walk, skip twice to 
keep up. I keep trying to count.
We step down a curb where Mom will
toe walk even faster. Yup, her heals won’t even 
touch the ground until we step up the curb again. 
Once I tried giant strides when Mom was toe walking. 
It kinda worked but my shoulder got sore. 

I grew. My stride grew too. 
Now Mom and Dad walk with wheelchairs.
They never ask to slow when I push them. 
I wonder if they ever count.



- mailed to Oklahoma -

A Relative Pause

A breeze breaks the silence
Disturbs the calm napping body
And delicately nudges with a
Hint of peace, as needed

Memory forgets the breeze quickly
Like joy followed by tragedy
Like a bad golf swing followed by a good one
That breeze evaporates unceremoniously, unasked

Arising with awaiting to-do lists for living
Trapped by warrior-like loyalty to being busy
Crashing into greedy appetites for approval from the gods-of-completion
Now the silence seeks the breeze, for oxygen




- artwork by Zamir Shatz
- mailed to California - 

Place Called Home

Welcome to the jungle,
that impartial challenger for
all living creatures, putting
good, right and lovely
to question

Welcome to my jungle,
a minuscule highway of
intersecting and crashing events,
causing relationships and work
to teeter between yes and no

Welcome to their jungle,
where the risk to penetrate
may cost heart vulnerability,
where the ability to dream large
is turned-on, by them

Welcome to a jungle,
where flowing comfortably
is riskiest
Survival demands we navigate these jungles
Best, "Love each other, Do your work"




- artwork by Sarah Mikenis
mailed to South Dakota


Unlike nature
or sidewalk garbage or fingernail length,
portraits of love stamped in our eyes
stay static, unchanged.

Intellect or derelict, vagrant or wealthy,
the portraits endure
births and deaths, marriages and miscarriages.

Indulging in portrait graffiti
defaces memories. Yet
foundations endure.

Portraits of love stamped in our eyes
need organizing.
Stories and tragedies,
adventures and excursions bubble up.

And we organize, so we may improvise,
seemingly effortlessly,
onto new portraits
with a stamp unique our own.




- artwork by Beverly Pepper -
- mailed to Kentucky -