Single-Dad Selfies w/Kids

In my composition classes, I teach a section on photographs. We look at the different ways photographs convey meaning as well as composition. One of the topics is the intent of the photographer. Why did they frame the photo that way? Why did they choose that subject? What are they trying to reveal to you? …

On Seeing Black on Dark Sienna on Purple, Rothko, 1960

The three dark colors, at first glance, stand as independent blocks. But stand and stare into the painting. Scan it as if looking for something you lost like your keys, your cellphone, or meaning in your life. The colors shift and fade and take on varying shapes as the mind tries to create order and …

The Last Blue Morning

The call of an elk startles me. I look across the rolling brown and gray hills at the sewing-machine bobbing of pumpjacks and feel the disappointment shiver me like touching steel on a hard frost morning. It’s the same feeling I get when I mistake the wind cutting through the wires for a whale’s song …

When the Fall Weather Comes – Photo and Poem

The first fog of fall brings a chill with the scent of rain, of ichor, the blood of the gods, a mist that looks like a driving rain in the street lamps now switched on from clouded shadows. It catches me unaware, this feeling, as I open the door and the dog and cat run out like children …

A Flower for the Post-Apocalypse — Photo and Poem

  What’s the use of Genesis without Revelation?  But not the sudden springing  of life from a breath or the sudden fury  of an angry God, no. The long drawn  out becoming over millions of years  to bring us a flower  that grows well in the margins of bulldozed  lands and carved trails cut through  suburban empires. And …

At LAX – Photo and Poem

A motorcycle wrecked in the carpool lane,  just like when I’d driven  my daughter and her boyfriend here  three days ago.  One hour and five minutes to go one mile.  Time, though, makes all traffic pass,  even if it’s over for some guy cutting  between cars in so big a hurry  it was worth never arriving.  On …

In Conjunction – Photo and Poem.

He stands a shade bearing light. The blood of life in conjunction with the secondhand sunlight of the moon, Venus, and Jupiter as they spin along the ecliptic. The hum of distant electric lights sounds like his daughters in the far room with their dolls and stuffed animals arrayed for a celebration or on the daybed turned amphitheater as …