Collected Haiku for Emily Dickinson’s birthday

frozen water pipes.
how can I graduate
with sticky armpits?

Takes two to tango.
If we stop breathing we die.
Truth’s in the storm’s eye.

Chores took up my day.
Errands to run, friends to see.
There was art in it.

I need new glasses –
old ones no longer fit me/
bifocals don’t work.

a new point of view
might be the best solution
for my lethargy

what more’s there to do
on a rainy Saturday –
but read quaint Haiku?

Part of knowing you
is you knowing me. It goes
in two directions.

I stop getting mad
when errant heartbeats strangle
my poetic thoughts.

Sometimes you just need
a hug, or a joint, a poem
that shape shifts the space.

Did I mention that
the tumeric-ginger tea
arrived? I’m cooking.

still needs a poem, an anchor
that limits the sway.

Something Walt Whitman
would say could make a cold Jan
speech palatable.

Peaceful transition
of power. And a new day
on the horizon.

A new beginning.
Novus Ordem Seclorum.
Make it great again.

Boycott. An old tool
from a bygone era.
Past time to re-equip.

Went to bed early
last night. Couldn’t tolerate
Scandal on TV.

social media
boycott today – see sonnet
I posted ontem.

If they take her back,
they deserve what she brings them –
third-rate thuggery.

resistance, dissent –
what you get when you treat white
kids like niggers

if you drain the swamp
and the pimps and whores remain –
it’s still a whorehouse.

K Street used to be
whorehouses, undertakers –
now – the high, mighty.

New job onboarding.
Fingerprinted, photographed,
signed – bureaucratized.

Be – unlike the world –
inside, all around, and out –
opposites attract.

A pleasant thought – in
All you do or think or dream –
I hope – you are loved.

Hysteria reigns,
occupying every thought.
Don’t be duped again.

Two fell for a fake
Tweet because it supported
The lie they needed.

Why would anyone
take that job? All the blame and
can’t bring your own team?

Headlines overstate:
the truth – somewhere in-between –
the Bottom’s unchanged.

whenever I see
a Swiss visitor landing –
I hope it is you.

I miss you – sometimes.
It comes and goes – like the wind
blows – surprising me.

I tried to conjure
you up – but mojo’s not as
strong as it once was

Ossos do oficio –
comes with the job –
goes with the territory –
perks are burdens in drag.

Blackjack Haiku #1

let’s meet in secret – pretend
we are strangers who never
met or kissed or fell in love.

Blackjack Haiku #2

I was born on a Wednesday.
That’s why I’m known as Kwaku
in my village in Ghana.

Blackjack Haiku #3

memories are ghosts that haunt,
dogs that hunt in ancient dreams –
return with a carcassed thing.

#BlackjackHaiku for Greensboro, NC

Tornadoes blew off rooftops
in Greensboro tonight. I hope
everybody is safe and sound.

Emancipation Day Blues Blackjack Haiku

It’s Emancipation Day
in D.C. They freed the slaves
by purchasing their freedom.

They paid cash to the owners
and transferred deed and title
to the state, which was, which ain’t.

Successful experiment
in DC. Replication
later never intended.

Warning label (Blackjack Haiku)

If you arrive here with hate
you will leave with peace of mind
even though there are bullets

in your pistol still waiting
to be released. You’ll forget
why you even brought that gun.

The poems I read will disarm.
You’ll be slowly hypnotized
by an ancient melody

that you never saw coming
your way. So be warned. If hate
is in your heart, it won’t last.

#MondayHaiku (9/1/2018)

Learning to relax
the syllable count can be

People are going
nuts, bolts, screws about the news –
Truth – a healing balm.

Mutually assured
destruction – the worst outcome –
none survives the blast.

Information rules!
Librarians understand.
Who’s in charge of truth?

London handmaiden
flies under all the radar.
Fingers sticky still.

Be your own librarian.
Learn the information rules.
You don’t need their intermediation,
Their tricks, their trinkets.
Just wake up tomorrow morning
And say “Bye, bye, Pharaoh.”

Sunday Haiku (9/2/2018)

It wouldn’t be Sunday
without a bit of Haiku
to close the weekend.

Burial at sea
impresses me as the way
to go out in class –

Not on some hilltop
reminding folks of your wealth –
the power of place.

ModPo starts next week.
Reading Emily early –
closing late with Walt.

Just before the end
let me say a prayer for you,
for me, all of us.

We have all we need.
A thousand birds have fallen –
a song sustains us.

SundayHaiku (9/9/18)

I almost forgot –
enveloped by stormy days:
it’s Haiku Sunday!

ModPo has begun!
Emails of introduction
deluge my inbox.

Emily and Walt –
their poems lift our thoughts, strengthen
our resolve to write –

– both bookends that close
their prior age and open
all of our tomorrows.

Saturday Haiku (new) (9/15/2018)

people traumatized –
big storms brew just off the shore –
keep the faith through all.

why is that trending?
Twitter’s fake algorithms –
slant truth is fake news.

gangs destabilize
while innocent souls are lost –
“Build that wall!” they shout.

Where are solutions?
Isolate the cause, distill
flaws. Tell all the truth.

gradually we
awaken from deep slumber –
anesthetized peace.

Bonus Twitter tweet:

The world has gone mad.
Omarosa has tapes –
Bob Woodward has tapes –

Feinstein – whose 20-year driver
was a Chinese Spy –
has a secret letter
about high school sex.
Gawd! These people are crazy! 

someday’s ink spills out
on paper – letters emerge –
take poetry form –

reading coffee sludge
or tea leaves at the bottom
of my Polish cup

museum talk today –
revealing to know how stuff
survives to explain

will it rain today?
I’d like to be – weatherman –
forecast the future

Five suffices – three
unsettles, unbalances –
one – one love – one hope

#SundayHaiku (9.23.2018) Autumn Equinox

the day and the night
are equal – or so they think –
in their projections –

tempest thoughts create
pleasant day-reasons, causes
to explain events –

social media
can provide too big a stage
for small minds’ drama –

game changer coming –
are you ready? Be prepared!
A new dawn’s rising.

#BlackjackHaiku (9.24.2018)

Drinking green tea this morning,
shipmates. Second infusion.
Some days, coffee makes me hoarse.

#FridayHaiku (9.28/2018)

I’m shaking my head.
Coffee is so doggone good.
Thank you, Almighty!

The hearings are done.
I learned a lot about truth –
a lot about hate.

There were heroes there.
But there were some scoundrels, too.
God wins in the end.

No pearls to clutch here.
My village has real problems.
Seeds of strife were sown.

Radio, alone,
is the only news I choose –
Video plays tricks.

Swagger is empty.
Truth, reconciliation
is the greatest need.

Late entry:

Truth lies buried, deep
in the storm. A green seedling
gently sheds its husk.

SundayHaiku (9.30.2018)

Might not do Haiku
this Sunday – Monday morning
meeting to prepare

But Bible study –
with coffee – is a different
thing altogether.

harvesting data
from ModPo live broadcasts
reveals depth, richness

never really been
a Kanye fan – but today’s
news got my attention

when negroes don’t read:
they swallow talking points whole –
stay on plantations

when negroes don’t read:
their master gives them good jobs
on television

when negroes don’t read:
they reject critical thought –
spew recycled lies

when negroes don’t read:
they memorize responses
and act on impulse

when negroes don’t read:
they imagine false worlds that
don’t require work

When negroes don’t read:
they are like crabs in a barrel –
their words are empty


birthday reflections

the iMac keyboard stopped syncing –
bluetooth almost never fails –
I knew trouble was ahead.

doctor’s appointment
quarterly check my bionics –
9 more years on the battery –
blood pressure spiked.

It wasn’t the white coat effect.
It was too much coffee – my morning elixir –
poison, the wife calls it,
caffeine constricting my blood paths.
Less coffee, more exercise. (LCME)

A new hard drive is an easy fix.
Let 4 years of data bite the dust,
the system needs a good cleaning.
All my poems and writing projects
are saved in the cloud.

Funk the Deep State

The Deep State is dead. Long live
the Deep State. May she be forever free.
A system of machines, interlocked,
with pipes and valves and pumps
and technologists, watchstanders
who check and wipe the lubrication
when it leaks and monitor differential
flow across redundant components.

There are no kings or queens aboard
this ship of state. No pathetic henchmen
running errands for brighter tomorrows.
Meanwhile, in the home of the brave
the machinery runs without a hiccup,
though hiccups are sometimes made
to appear, as entertainment for casual
observers and pedestrian audiences.

All the vampires have been executed
by patriots exercising their 2nd amendment
rights. Vampire blood soaks the ground
on which we stand, serving as fertilizer
in place of the cow manure we once used.
Spirit cooking and trafficking of children
are outlawed in the new IGY, clowns
splintered and boogeymen deflated.

No memorial monuments will be added
on the mall, no new wars to remember
when the sons and daughters of patriots
finally say no to the world’s money lenders
who were so certain she would win –
because only the Deep State wins.
Life goes on in the villages and towns
while mirrors in the cities crack and fall.

From the archive for Last Words at the end of ModPo


We stare into our computer screens –
it’s retina display, of course – clearer
than one’s reflection on a still pond.
The image we see of ourselves is sharp
and well defined – in Facebook and Twitter
and Instagram, and all the rest.

Even in the poetry we write and post.
We fall in love with that image,
that reflection we see. We worship
the likeness we have created, validated
by likes and shares from all our imaginary
friends. We think we are godly, all knowing.

We believe we now know all of beauty.
Entranced, we cannot move away
to eat or sleep or love. We waste away.
We die. A drooping daffodil marks the time
and space, a date stamp of our delusion.

prose poem from the archive for the end of ModPo

I often imagine taking a walk with Walt down a long country road, a dirt road, with puddles of mud and thick grass on either side.

And his poetry, as I read it out loud, are the “lyrics” of the conversation we would have.

Right now I am reading “Faith Poem” as we walk down the road (Tobacco Road, let’s call it, since life is real in North Carolina):

“I do not doubt there is far more in trivialities, insects, vulgar persons, slaves, dwarfs, weeds, rejected refuse, than I have supposed;

“I do not doubt there is more in myself than I have supposed – and more in all men and women – and more in my poems than I have supposed”

So we are talking, maybe smoking, and though I am black, we don’t focus on his reference to slaves, because for a moment,

for the duration of this walk, we have both released/escaped/overcome our individual identity claims.

I adore Emily Dickinson, and frankly I worship the ground she walks on (“The only way to approach ED is on your knees”).

Her poems are a fountain that constantly flows, constantly refreshes.

But I’d never take a walk down a long country road with Emily. No reflection on Emily, but just the relationship I have with Walt.

how a tweet became a poem – the demise of SNL

Nobody “needs” to watch
a TV show on a Saturday night.
Particularly an offensive one.
Next week change the channel,
or better yet, turn the TV off,
study a poem, read a book,
or have the conversation
you’ve been avoiding with a loved one.
Don’t talk about it. Do it.
Will the offensive TV show
into non-existence.
Be the change.

Dear Lord. Another coffee poem.

I had to change the gasket
on my favorite coffee pot.

Found it on Amazon. A packet
of five will last until the end.

It’s a Portuguese Moka pot
we bought early in our marriage –

when the gasket gets old
it becomes brittle and stiff and

the pot won’t hold pressure,
and we all know that pressure

is the secret to a great cup
of Portuguese expresso.

It’s only the 2nd gasket change
in over 20 years for this pot.

The stainless steel French press
uses a different, smoother type

extraction – no gasket required
but you must use a coarser ground.