Saturday, December 31, 2016


The day before Hangover Day
Sees the people out to play
So they can gather 'round and say
The year is ending happy.
They rush around to gather things--
Many drinks, some chicken wings,
And other finger foods; they sing
The year is ending happy.
Not all, of course, will go along
And midnight voices raise in song.
They know they do not belong
Where the year is ending happy.
Others see just one more day
And work while many others play
On the eve of Hangover Day.
Is the year ending happy?

Friday, December 30, 2016


I took my daughter to the park, and she
Delighted in the chance to run 'round, free
To play on slides and swings, and under tree
And above grass. In our apartment life,
We only have such spaces free of strife
Due to the common good. The times are rife
With condemnation of collected work,
Calling the one who trumpets it a jerk
Or worse--while still expecting every perk
The common good provides. My daughter knows
Only that the park is fun. She grows
In a time contentious, in a world that shows
That what we do together matters not.
It is no lesson I would have her taught.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


The calendar is drawing to an end,
And against depredations we defend
Ourselves in vain; we see friend after friend
Taken in the last days of the year,
Despite that they're still greatly needed here
Who now are gone. And, even now, a tear
Wells up when I do think lives now lost,
Sacrifices made to pay the cost
Incurred for something needless, often glossed,
And so unknown to those who find reward
On shelves of stores and who to themselves hoard
The wealth of nations by grace of the board.
Deaths of those beloved, rightly mourned,
Are not more tragic than of those suborned.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


The quiet ranching nights will days become
That make more noise among the cities' throng,
But silence such as they permit in sum
Can be made inner and so taken along.
I seek to keep the quiet in my heart
As I rise and move across the hills
Where oak and cedar grow and every part
Or place that sees the wildflowers thrills.
I know I am too upset in my core,
Too prone to being prodded into haste,
And so I find I'm ever seeking more
Of the quiet than is t'others' taste.
So it is I'm at the ranch again,
Hoping perhaps a quiet heart to win.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


My daughter is awake and smiling.
It is a sight I like to see.
Her mother, whom I love, makes ready;
To work she will flee.
While the one smiles and t'other leaves,
I will do as I have done,
Working to draw words to the world--
As I here have begun.

Monday, December 26, 2016


It's good to take a couple days away,
To rest, relax, and mark a holiday,
But I cannot too long at my rest stay;
I've things to write and other things to do,
And to attend to them, I must push through
Lassitude. I'm not a person who
Can long remain away from my tasks set.
I have to work on them, although I yet
May long for ease--but I have yet to get
Myself to where I can simply enjoy
That which comes before me; it is coy,
The ease and happiness--in a word, joy.
This does not mean that I no pleasure feel;
I delight in keeping shoulder at the wheel.

Friday, December 23, 2016


I have my little girl at home with me,
And I find that I am filled up with glee.
My little girl and I are going to see
What kinds of things are out there in the town
Where we now live; we will go up and down
The major streets, and I will off the gown
That I have long assumed as the Clerk's heir.
She and I will go as we have e'er,
As daughter and her father without care,
For the winter bites not with its cold,
And my daughter's young, though I feel old
Despite not many years--I've not been bold,
But I'll not bind her to my reticence,
Knowing doing so breeds sorrows hence.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Today, my daughter's school term finds an end,
And yet today to school I still her send.
I know that she is there somebody's friend,
Some child who on parents' days alone
Sits and sees and wonders where they've gone
Who brought them back to school each day anon,
Or another kid who comes to tears
When, facing other children, faces fears,
But brightens up when my daughter appears.
I know her teachers look for her to come
To school each day; I know that they see some
Promise in her. I'd not keep her from
Seeing friends and learning from the day,
And her schooling seems a useful way.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


I worked in the private sector today.
I did not expect to, but I find I must say
I rather enjoyed what I did there all day,
And I'd happily do it again.
I put hard-won skills to useful work today,
Exerting them and putting forth what others say
They need to have said at the start of each day,
And I'd happily do it again.
I'd happily do it again.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Again, the weather's warming,
And what it is forming
Makes me want to give warning
That something terrible will come.
For the clouds yet gather,
And I find I would rather
Not give my mind to the matter,
But something terrible will come.
To endure the coming storm,
I feel that I must conform,
That I must adhere to the norm,
Lest something terrible will come.
Yet I know I do not well
In such charades; others can tell
That I am acting--a death knell
When something terrible will come.
I know others have it worse
In better times; under the curse
That approaches, drawn-on hearse,
Something terrible will come.

Monday, December 19, 2016


Although the teaching term is done,
I'm not about to go have fun
Because, of course, I'm such a one
As has to keep on working.
The classes are all ended now,
But I must keep earning somehow,
And though I've got no fields to plow,
I have to keep on working.
To do the work, I need to write,
And in some of it I delight,
But some of it is quite a fright,
But still, I keep on working.
I labor on and hope to win
Some reward for where I've been
And what I've done, for hearth and kin,
And so I keep on working.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


It seems today, the white-haired man
Has worked his hand upon his shaft,
Because the winter's come again,
Although nothing's come from the haft
That he would wield, or else the spray
Of liquid white that covers things
And tends to slippery glazed make
Would coat the hills of which some sing.

Saturday, December 17, 2016


Our daughter is eating some berries right now.
She's humming contentedly as she makes to chow
Down on the bush-fruit we've put on her plate.
It's hardly the strangest thing our daughter ate.
In truth, she favors vegetables, fruit,
Legumes, and similar things; they her palate suit,
And I know that other kids do not so well,
If what other parents say the truth will tell.

Friday, December 16, 2016


I hate it when I oversleep
And let the day upon me creep.
I have my family for to keep,
And sleeping in disturbs that.
I know that I've been a bit off,
With runny nose and coming cough,
But I had not thought me so soft.
Sleeping in disturbs that.
As it is, I am awake,
And I know that I can make
The day work well for family's sake,
But sleeping in disturbs me.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Today, my brother's twenty-nine,
And I'm sure he's feeling fine,
Though of this, I've got no sign,
For he is yet asleep.
That he is makes sense to me,
For he works nights under a sea
Of lights, as it must of course be,
And he is still asleep.
He will wake in time and find
Whatever I will leave behind
To show him I keep him in mind,
But just now, he's asleep.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


So it is that my semester's done,
Although it seems that it had just begun,
And I with students had been having fun.
Exams are graded. Grades are posted, too,
So for the term, there's nothing left to do,
And I must wonder, now the term is through,
What tasks await for me to turn my hand.
What new thing that must I understand
Is waiting as I, free to walk the land,
Proceed upon my way away from class.
I am, it happens, glad to see them pass
Who sat under my tutelage and sass,
At least in the main. I wish them well,
Though I know not the stories they will tell.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Today's another testing day.
I'll get it done, but I'll not play
Afterwards; I must away
Because the work continues.
I'm not done when the grading's done.
While my students go have fun,
I must my enjoyment shun
Because the work continues.
Often, I look for a path
That leads me out from school-time wrath,
But at such thoughts the world laughs
Because the work continues.

Monday, December 12, 2016


As the term draws to its end,
And I must myself defend
From the comments students send
About the grading,
I know they will sit for tests,
And I know that mine are best.
Indeed, it almost gives me zest
About the grading.
A bit more paperwork still calls
Upon me to walk the halls
So that I do not further stall
About the grading,
And I will turn to the task,
And I will do as I'm asked,
Though I will get no small sass
About the grading.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


The herald of the Stupid God has come,
Riding powers bestowed by the dumb
To make good thinking to go on the run,
And that herald finds open the arms
Of all too many of those folks it harms,
That power that supplies the herald's charms.
The herald should not be attacked, it's true;
When any god commands, what can one do
Except obey? Yet others must look through
The herald's presentation and discern
The guiding hand of Stupid God. We learn
In hope from those who know. We to them turn,
But in the world the Stupid God advances,
Doing so does not leave us good chances.

Saturday, December 10, 2016


It has been a while since I have posted any prose, lucid or otherwise, to this webspace. I do so now to solicit comment on an idea I've in mind for a bit; I think I know what to do with it, but I am also not so myopic as to think that my ideas are the best without getting some kind of outside input. So comments will be welcome.

I have not made a secret of maintaining another web presence, one whose hub is at There, I have been compiling my scholarly and other professional work and using it as a resource for the continued search for full-time employment and the ongoing search for enough work to keep the lights on in the meantime. (Chimerical, I know.) The idea I have is to consolidate this webspace into that one, to start hosting my ravings and the occasional dash of lucid prose there instead of here.

There are problems in doing so, of course. For one, what I have put into this webspace has not always been the most politic writing. For another, the added work there is like to crowd out some of the other work that needs to be foregrounded--particularly my teaching work. And there are some few concerns of formatting that work better on this platform than that on which I host my more professional endeavors.

On the other hand, consolidating my web presence reduces the amount of work I have to do, which is good. It also seems apt to promote more readership on the other site, which will help it. There are some formatting concerns that are easier to address on the other site, as well, and the other site seems it will be easier to monetize. (I did note still looking for full-time work, did I not?) So I have some reason to think the transfer is a good idea, although I have reservations about doing so.

Because I have such reservations, I am not certain how or if I ought to proceed. As such, I turn to those who do read what I write; they are clearly insightful people of discerning judgment, and their opinions are therefore to be valued. I would be pleased to read them, if they were offered.

Friday, December 9, 2016


The Stupid God has struck again.
It seems we've no way to defend
Against the coming of the end
Stupid God would bring.
Too many still will bow and pray,
Kneel obeisant through each day
And give themselves o'er to the way
Stupid God would bring.
Even those who seek to fight
Against the coming thinking's night
Find themselves often amid the blight
Stupid God would bring.
Because it is each of us falls,
In hovels and in hallowed halls,
When each of us hears of those calls
Stupid God would sing,
The Stupid God will rise again.
We've no real way to defend
Against the coming of the end
Stupid God would bring.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


We've had a touch of cold come in;
Of those here, many are confused.
Even in December's waning,
It is not to what they're used.
I put on long sleeves today,
Something I've not had to do
Much back in the Hill Country.
The sensation's again new.
But though I'm a child of the heat,
The Central Texas summers' sun,
The chilly air sits well with me,
And I will get much work done.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


I have to wonder
If the oil still seeps from the ruined, mighty hulls,
Painting iridescent rainbows on the placid, tranquil waters
Where one still-standing sister watches over fallen others.

I have to wonder
What the lessons are we've failed to learn
In the years and decades and generations since,
For we have been poor students
To have needed such a teacher
As gave the lecture that day.

I have to wonder
How many will remember
And for how long.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


On some days, when I wake up, a headache is in place,
And I feel the throbbing aching somewhere deep behind my face,
As if to fill my head with something not my head they're in a race
Who slightly serve the Algea. I need no such practice trace.
I know I will endure, of course; I'm no terminal case,
At least not for a headache--but we are all in this place
Doomed to find an end at last, a sheet over the face.
But if I wake with a headache, I've not yet left life's race.

Monday, December 5, 2016


Now, as my teaching time draws to a close,
At least for now, I wonder what each knows
Who sat in classes taught of verse and prose
That were assigned to me across the days
That soon are ending. I wonder if the plays
I talked about with them, or the forays
Into the writings of the world, or pages
That have proceeded from their pens for ages
As it seems now, as on the grading rages,
Have been of good effect for those I've taught.
I wonder if I have done as I've ought,
Or if, instead, my efforts are for naught.
The kind of work I do may not yield fruit,
And its harvest comes often late, to boot.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


The Stupid God extends its hold.
Its acolytes are growing bold
As they find leaders in their mold
And see them grow in power.
No such unifying force
Exists to oppose them, of course,
Because the terms of such discourse
Bespeak much-hated power.
Indeed, the Stupid God has snuck
Into opponents' halls and struck
Them such that they have become stuck
In stultifying power.
Those who evade Stupid God's grasp
Struggle to themselves to clasp
Pandora's Box's lid and hasp
And preserve some small power.
Against crowbars wielded hard
It is no easy task to guard
What was the ivory tower's yard;
Such is the truth of power.
But some will still keep on the fight
In light of day or dark of night,
Knowing that they have the right
Despite Stupid God's power.

Saturday, December 3, 2016


Because we have much to do,
We too seldom see things through
To the ending we once knew;
So much lies undone.
Because there is much to see,
We often run around in glee;
We imagine ourselves free,
And still much lies undone.
Because there is much unknown,
The Stupid God comes to the throne,
The Stupid God has been condoned.
Of course much lies undone.

Friday, December 2, 2016


O! Praise once again to the bitter black brew!
Without it, I've no idea what I'd do
In morning or evening, or the whole day through!
So praise once again to the bitter black brew!

O! Praise be upon what we coffee call
That uplifts, supports, and enriches us all
Who drink deeply of it, the great and the small!
Praise be upon that which we coffee call!

O! Praise be upon the drip-coffee pot,
And praise should be heaped on cold-brew and hot,
And we should sing praises for what coffee taught!
O! Praise be upon the coffee-making lot!

Thursday, December 1, 2016


A new month has begun today,
The last that this year will display,
And what will come, we cannot say,
But I worry it will be worse.
I know it can always be,
That declines slow or fast we see
Come at us unexpectedly,
So I worry it will be worse.
There have been problems through the year;
Some are past and some draw near,
And stormy rumblings are coming clear.
I worry that it will be worse.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


The month will end, as if in dream,
But not a good one, it would seem.
From many could proceed a ream
And never fully tell it.
If the next month better yet
Looks than this, or will beset
Each of us with some new threat,
I cannot fully tell it.
But I look forward with small hope,
Succumbing to a trending mope
But stopping short of seeking rope--
Or so I mean to tell it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Yesterday, I woke up early,
And I think that it went well,
But when I tried again today,
Things were not quite so swell.
I am displeased with the event;
I found I liked the time I had
When, in the morning quietude
I acted as I myself bad.
But this morning did less well
With bringing me fully awake,
And I have to wonder what
Else from me this day will take.

Monday, November 28, 2016


Today, the work continues, as it must,
And if I am to maintain the trust
That has been placed in me, then, boom or bust,
I must to that work bend my efforts all.
Doing so leaves me hunched beside the tall,
My back bent from desk-work done at call
That comes from sundry clients across the hills.
I answer them that I might pay the bills
And redress many early, pointless thrills
That I undertook in days gone by.
I prized them then, but now, I know not why
I did such things, know not why I would try
To seek outside myself in search of fun.
I did, and now I from that folly run.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


After hundreds of miles and days away,
I'm home again, and could I stay
Here and while the days away,
I would with no hesitation.
Alas, I will no respite find,
For many tasks have come to mind
For me to do, and, although kind,
The demand my attention.
So now I sit me down to write
Such lines as these, and others might
Flow from my fingers to screens' light
And foster rumination.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


In the US, it's Turkey Day,
And I and many others play
At family niceness for the day
Because it is expected.
On this day, we're supposed to eat,
And the meal is quite a treat,
Although it will be far from neat.
A mess is, yes, expected.
Many folks will watch the game
Or a parade that seems quite tame
Against the hungry and the lame,
But that's to be expected.
Some, however, fare less well,
But I'll not of their torment tell;
I'm already told to go to hell,
And, yes, I did expect it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Small cuts sting but do no harm.

When we left The City,
Heading to the hinterlands,
She carried water with her,
Bore bottles across the country.
The were soon drank,
And we were sad to realize
A little more of what we had had
Was gone.

When we left that place
Where the wind sweeps down the plain,
Some things went with us;
We found them there,
And they were useful,
So we kept them.
We have used them since.
Today, I used one up,
And I was reminded that I
Had carried it long.

One thing remains, at least,
And the best of them.
My wife carried her first,
Bearing her from The City
To the hinterlands;
She came with us
To the Hill Country,
And if we leave,
We will carry her again.

She would be no small cut.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


The Good Doctor writes
"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
It is usually taken as an indictment of force,
A notion that ad baculum proceeds from those who cannot make their cases
Through sweet reason
But it assumes that all will listen to it.
It is an optimistic viewpoint.
But there is another reading.
If the incompetent wait until the last to enact violence,
Perhaps the competent begin it sooner.
Such a thought is perilous,
Of course,
But many thoughts are.
Some will therefore avoid thought.
Look where that leads.
Incompetence, indeed.

Monday, November 21, 2016


A holiday approaches fast,
But I do not know if I'll last
Until the holiday is past
Because the work continues.
I've things to write and things to read,
And students still present their need
Although my teachings they mayn't heed,
But still, my work continues.
So I will drink another cup
Of coffee, and I'll gather up
Such courage as I have, stand up,
And see the work continued.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


I had the thought that I might write a joke
Of such a sort as might well irk some folk
Because it would demand of them they yoke
Their minds to tasks when they prefer to laugh
At what comes easier than from carafe
Into the cup outstretched. I often gaffe
When I attempt to write to foster mirth,
Or speak in such a way as has some worth
In terms of bringing smiles to the earth;
I try too hard. It is a common flaw.
The same is true when I attempt to draw
As when I will at high speed flap my jaw.
But still, I thought I might leave a blank verse
With neither ink on page nor lines rehearsed.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


The holidays are coming all too soon.
They are called "the," although the year's as strewn
With celebrations as with changing moon,
And that calling they have us neglect
Some other ends to which we might direct
Our energies, perhaps to more effect
Than in hanging colored lights from trees
Or putting leaves on tables, knocking knees
With people one day in every year sees
And whom we quite dislike. It matters not,
However, although I have often thought
That I should stand aside, indeed, I ought
To quietly get out of people's way
And let them have their happy holiday.

Friday, November 18, 2016


Yesterday, I looked outside my home
To see what wind and weather would bring near
Because I sat in my house all alone,
Away from those whom I hold as most dear--
Such is the way we have ordered our lives.
When I looked out my window yesterday,
I saw that, passing under cloudy skies,
Birds were flying, mostly in one way,
Cars were driving by, and walkers walked,
And I still sat at home alone and thought
About words spoken when the people talked,
Which I will never hear--not that I ought.
But, looking out upon the world from here,
I can at least pretend I do not fear.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


I know that some rebuke me for the mold
In which I cast my verse. It is too old
A pattern that I use, or so I'm told.
By focusing on rhythm and on rhyme,
I write lines that bespeak not my own time;
Instead, I other writers seek to mime
And so diminish those things I would say.
Were they worth the time, a newer way
To put my point across, one for today
Instead of worn-out forms would I employ.
To move away from pattern, I, not coy,
Would press ahead far rather than deploy
A sonnet form. But such a thought believes
The past is nothing more than fallen leaves.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


It seems that every time I pour a cup
Of coffee--that great brew that perks me up--
I spill a bit. It's not as if I gallop
Through the act of pouring out the brew;
It matters not the speed at which I do
The dispensation from carafe into
The wardroom cup that I most often use.
Some of what I pour, I'm bound to lose.
It's wasteful, and I can't the waste excuse.
On many days, I need all the caffeine
That I from cups of coffee ever glean--
And then I need some more, for I have seen
What the lack will do. Yet I still pour
And drip; despite the practice, my pour is poor.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


There is nothing special for today.
My daughter, school-bound, is going to play
With the friends she's made; my wife away
To work will go as she will daily do.
I will remain at home, where I'll wade through
Pages writ by students, scholars, too,
Marking what needs marked and reading on
Until the pages are all past me, gone
To where such things ultimately belong.
Afterward, I know not what will be;
Quiet time alone's a rarity,
Something seldom coming down to me,
Although I know that others fare far worse;
I know that I am only lightly cursed.

Monday, November 14, 2016


There are few quiet minutes yet
Before the day begins in full,
And I will spend, with others yet,
Those minutes trying to me lull
Back into ease of mind and clear
Thought so I may do the work
That I have to do: uprear
My daughter a bit more and jerk
From out of mind-fields weeds full grown
That have the fertilizer taken
From the crops purposely sown,
Subsequently left forsaken.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


I am at home.
My wife and daughter are with me,
And a cartoon is on
That first aired long ago.
It is a lovely domestic scene,
And I wish it could be all that is real,
Not only for me,
But also for many,

Saturday, November 12, 2016


I am in mind of ranching mornings
That, as I look out on the world,
Tell me I should take the warnings
Of such as their threats unfurled
And say to me that I have been too lax
In making me the kind of man
Who can repel or weather the attacks
That seem soon to come. I plan
To fail because I have not done the work
To know what I will do for mine
When what I do the world from me will jerk--
And I oncoming see the time.

Friday, November 11, 2016


And since today is Veterans Day,
And since others will say it,
And since otherwise is not condoned,
And since I would allay it,
And since I know my fortunes here,
And since I know to say
The thing that should be said again:
Thanks. Happy Veterans Day!

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Whatever else can be said on this day,
And there are many things that can,
My father is a year older today,
And I am happy he is still around.
I have not called him yet to wish him well,
Although he has his gift from me.
But after sunrise, I will to him tell
The thing that needs to be told today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Today's US Election Day,
So I've only one thing to say:
If you've not already, and
You are allowed to set your hand
To the task, go vote today.
It may well come to what you say,
And if it doesn't go your way--
The results will depend on what your way was.

Monday, November 7, 2016


As I sit on the stool, I think
Of days I've seen before,
Of food to eat and things to drink
And always wanting more,
Of older retail checkers who
Lament their stores' displays
That fail to give full credit to
Some better holidays.
I'm glad that I am not alone
In being ill at ease
With things, although it is known
That many of our pleas
Will ring and spur no changes in
The way the world will work.
Against such knowing, hope is thin
For nice guy and for jerk.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


I received repayment
Put it towards my sleep debt
But I have to wonder why I am not charging interest

Saturday, November 5, 2016


The sky is gray, the road is gray,
Yet this is not so plain a day,
Not so neutral as to say
It needs no coloration.
Even under cloudy skies,
Excitement is prone to rise.
The weather no such truth belies
Upon determination.

Friday, November 4, 2016


I am a year older today,
And I do not know what to say
Save "thank you," of course,
But that's a dead horse.
Should we still ride it, or nay?

Thursday, November 3, 2016


There are days my students surprise me
Yesterday was one
As was another day a few days earlier
Talking with them leads me to new ideas
Sometimes just in bouncing things off of them
Sometimes because they feed me ideas

I am reminded of why it is I do what I do
Or perhaps I finally get it
And it is a good thing

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


It is quiet this morning in this house once my own.
I sit here and hear it and know I have grown
From too-fearful child to good man now well known
As one on whom one can depend.
I came here to help against a present need
And to attend to a commanded deed,
The doing of which will help me plant a seed
That, on growing, will help me do more.
I'm glad to have come, to my family support,
And to have prompted a better report
Than before, as befits me, as I purport
To be one on whom others rely.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


I am going to read tonight,
Get up onto the stage bright
And rattle off words under lights,
As I've not done for long.
It used to be that I'd perform,
Enact some role. It was the norm
That I to friends' works'd conform,
Thinking to belong.
But my friends long have been away,
Or I from them, so the delay
Between my work to give a play,
Read, or sing a song
Where audiences come to hear
Others offer's been many years.
Still, I find I do not fear
That much will go far wrong.

Monday, October 31, 2016


It seems odd to celebrate fake fear
When real threats are all too near,
As we have been told through the year,
And many months before.
It seems odd to put kids in masks
When much has been made of the tasks
Of stopping crime, but no one asks
About the coming "more."
It seems odd to pump full of sweets
Children we bemoan that treats
Are too much what each one eats,
But I'll go to the store.
It seems odd I on holidays
Seem to seek out sundry ways
That I can not while others play--
But, then, I am a bore.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Last year, Halloween was not a big deal.
We dressed her in costume. She soon appealed
To be released from it in tears and a peal
Of higher-pitched thunder and shrieking.
It was easy, then, to set it aside,
To withdraw and remain in the home, yes, to hide
Away from the world, not going outside,
But this year, we cannot be shrinking.
Although it is certain she will scream again,
And not in a costume to which screaming's friend,
She has to go out, e'en if, in the end,
Matters will go as I'm thinking.
I doubt she'll recall in years yet to come
What she did on a day. As a rule of thumb,
People forget what they did when so young,
Especially if it was shrieking.

Friday, October 28, 2016


It occasionally happens I forget my alarm.
It happened today, but I suffered no harm.
Running behind is not a nice thing,
So I complain not when alarm clocks sing.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Leaves still green remain
The sun rises not so far
When will the leaves fall?

Friday football games
Wednesdays and Thursdays as well
Some other things, too

Warm, not hot, the days
No scent flies of cold to come
Hill Country autumn

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


The crickets are chirping; the cattle are lowing;
The oaks, the mesquites, and the cedars are growing;
And over the hills, the winds are still blowing,
Breathing the limestone and granite.

The sun, not yet shining, will soon fill the sky
With light, will enable the still-working eye
Nested in creases to see what goes by
Across hills of limestone and granite.

On the long roads, I am soon to drive,
Tracing the asphalt until I arrive
Somewhere else in this place where I've come to thrive
Amid hills of limestone and granite.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Only two months remain
Until Christmas Day,
And the demand is plain--
There is only one way
To mark the occasion,
The "sacred" to laud.
It's not a vacation;
It is not a nod
To holy reflection
Or observance quiet,
But, instead, perfection
In sale-driven riot,
For displays are rising
For trimmings for trees,
For gift-wrap and tidings
Set in cards with ease,
All marked down early
To stimulate sales
Of gaudy lights, pearly
Lights, paper in bales.
Mind not the months waiting
Between now and then;
"Christmas" is coming,
So all else can end.

Monday, October 24, 2016


Things to do today:
Wake up
See them off

It is an A-Z day
Not an E-Z day
And I have to wonder
If Æ, Ð, Þ, Ƿ, and Ȝ will factor in, as well.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


It is a quiet day
Made more quiet by the task
Of grading
I am making enough comments
On student work
I have no others to spare.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


I made a payment on a debt
On which I still owe much;
The balance is still quite high yet,
It's principal untouched.
I was allowed by doing so
A dream to keep in mind;
Recalling dreams for me is, though,
Quite an uncommon find.
I saw my wife dressing in white;
I worried for a suit.
I could not get the colors right;
I think I'd lost a boot.
We were set to renew our vows
At some point yet to come;
I do not know the day or how
Our marriage thence had run,
But I know well I love her yet,
The woman who's my wife;
I never thought that I would get
Such a one in my life.

Friday, October 21, 2016


I just made a wake-up call
I don't often do so
I usually walk down the hall,
Quickly passing through so
I can ensure that she wakes
To get to work on time
And drive our daughter, whom she takes
To daycare; I don't mind.
Usually, I'm early up,
Reading, writing, too,
Swiftly drinking another cup
Of blessed black brew,
So I th' alarm clock tend to be
For my wife and child,
Though when them asleep I see,
I find myself beguiled.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


I have largely kept myself apart
From the 2016 election
I know whom I am voting against
And I know it is voting against
In many cases
Or most
But I mean to make a mark
At every level on the ballot
Although there are not so many where I will vote
Uncontested "elections" are a thing here
And no write-ins are allows

All the talk of
"Vote your conscience"
Matters little where
The clearest means of doing so
Is forbidden

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


The sun is shining in the sky.
The grass is growing tall.
I stand with my scythe in hand,
Ready to reap all,
To take what can be taken from
What itself presents
Within the land assigned to me,
Within a barb-wire fence
That lets me see how others' fields
Are neatly trimmed and mown,
Or else how many others' fields
Are greatly overgrown.
What fertilizers they have used
Are not well known to me,
But I have to think they're piles of shit
That have made what I see.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Last night, I heard a concert, and,
Though small, it was quite nice.
After it came to an end,
I found that, in a trice,
I was asked to read my work
At another event.
Since I desire not to irk,
What ought I present?

Monday, October 17, 2016


There is enough for me to do
Without my seeking more,
Yet I somehow manage to accrue
Other tasks before
I can clear out those I have
Already undertaken.
Unlike the rising tides that lave
At sands on shores forsaken,
The list of work I get to do
Does not look to recede.
I have more writing, and still through
Many pages to read
I am yet to go. But this
Is what I chose to do,
And this the wonder always is:
I am never through.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


I made another payment on my
Sleep debt just today,
But I think that I'll never catch up
No matter what I pay;
Too much interest has accrued
Because of the delay
I have had in paying on it.
Waking through each day
Because I have had to work
Rather than to play
Or rest as I probably ought,
Despite what others say,
I attend to other things
Than hours of sleep each day.
Even now, the work is calling;
I do what I may.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


There is something to be said
For paying on a sleep debt
On which interest is accruing,
Rate unannounced yet.
I do not know if principal
Or finance charges I
Have paid by sleeping in today;
Still, I will get by.

Friday, October 14, 2016


I am minded of the word "agog"
For some strange reason that I cannot name
Because I see it dimly, as through fog,
And even that stretches what I can claim.
I am often taken by the words
I encounter on the page and in
My mind or in speech overheard
Without such sneaking as would seem a sin.
Gelid, squamous, roynish, eldritch, all
Such words--so many!--beckon unto me;
Each for use more frequent loudly calls,
And I to refuse no reason do see.
But I well know that bombast lies that way,
And bombast ought not to come every day.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


I spoke with students yesterday
Of patterns found in verse
And prose, noting them a way
To tutelage rehearse
Of writers learning writing from
Other writers yet.
We exceed by far the sum
Of what we owe in debt,
But we still indebted are
To those from whom we learn,
And we repay the debts so far
As we, in such concern,
Exhibit yet the things they taught
In writing and elsewhere.
That we feel there are things we ought
To do is from their care.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Last night, I said to students that
Each writer has some days
That the writing will not come,
Try as the writer may,
But that, by writing often,
They who write can find
That such days happen rarely,
And when they do, the bind
In which the writer writer's self
Finds is better slipped.
Persistency in practice leaves
The writer well equipped
To move around the rising block,
Going off-road for a time.
Today, such a detour led
To me writing this rhyme.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


That the work continues should be clear,
For it does so without let throughout the year
Despite the cost imposed on those most dear
To have it going on, to forward press.
The work in some sense seeks e'er to address
The leavings of the Stupid God, a mess
Made by inattention to the speech
Flowing freely from the mouths of each
Of us who do and those of us who teach
By saying once again what we have heard
Without the deeper knowledge disinterred
Through labor of the mind. We have incurred
A debt therefore to those who after follow.
The work will help make promises less hollow.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Although it is a holiday,
One honoring a lie,
I am still at work today;
It's easy to see why.
I have papers to assess
And writing still to do.
I took the weekend off; a mess
Upon my desk soon grew.
Awaiting me are readings yet
In print and on the screen;
I must turn to them to get
Done all that I mean
To do to move to other things
That I might celebrate.
At least today, if a bell rings,
I know I am not late.

Sunday, October 9, 2016


The weekend has been going well
For me, though it seems straight to hell
Are many swiftly being dragged
By Stupid God who has them bagged--
If hell is lack of knowledge and
Of wisdom. Then, a mighty band
Has entered in through open mouth,
Towards nadir bound from north and south,
A sinking feeling taking all
Even as they think a ball
Surrounds them in merry delight.
Such is the Stupid God's long night.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


My little girl is singing in the shower.
Her young voice is lifted up in joy.
I smile in joy to hear her talents flower,
Though I confess the blooms sometimes annoy.
But as I look at reports of the world,
Not works of nature so much as devotees'
Of the Stupid God that are unfurled
As a banner marking ends to thinking pleas,
My smile fades. My daughter's stays in place;
She does not know what is or what may come
Save that she is loved, that on her face,
Such tears as may are swept by thumb
Aside. All I can do my daughter to preserve
From the Stupid God, she well deserves.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


Yesterday, a student wrote
Poetry is for those who cannot write
Writing verse is lazy writing
It makes the reader work too hard for meaning
Or words to that effect
I did not respond

Yesterday, a student said
You can die for your faith; I will not
I want to see one sect's preachers
Kill themselves as they bid others do
Or words to that effect
I did not respond

At least not as I ought

Yesterday, I told myself
That I would keep on working to be kind
That I would not do as I've done
That I would strive to be liked where I am
Or words to that effect
I know not the response

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


I seem to have been stuck on sonnets
As I write where the bluebonnets
Grow on limestone hills of oak
And cedar. I have borne the yoke
Of rhyming many five-foot lines
Of iambs, embedding in them signs
That I have some deeper meaning--
Or, at least, cane make the seeming
Of doing so for a short while.
I have added to the pile
Of such poems grown o'er the years--
Hopefully, I've not caused tears.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


There are a few things that I have to do
Today if I am going to be paid;
I need the money that I will earn through
My efforts: making lesson, marking grade.
I'll have to read; I'll have to write. And then
I'll read some more. The work is never done;
One stack of papers just gets marked 'bout when
Another comes, and from the grading one
Or two points into lessons go to aid
The students as they move ahead and learn--
Those who want more than a simple grade
That they see helps their potential to earn.
Of such students, there are all too few;
It is for them, though, I do what I do.

Monday, October 3, 2016


Today, I woke up feeling like a fool,
Recalling all the errors I have made,
And there are many. I have been a tool
Of Stupid God; I've been adroitly played
By the foul divine embodiment
Of that against which I have long arrayed
My skills and all my efforts. I have meant
To do better than I have, to no avail.
At memories of having so much spent
As I have of effort, things, I quail.
I focus, shout down failures in my mind,
Yet they flood in despite how much I bail.
In pressing forward, I may solace find,
Or so I hope, and that this day be kind.

Sunday, October 2, 2016


What time of day it is, it matters not,
For, so long as I have not words sought
To put in place as I well know I ought,
I am called the fault to rectify.
Now it is to do so that I try,
To put fair words in measure before eye,
And perhaps on my own skills improve
By stretching, changing how each line can move
And grouping words outside accustomed grooves.
When what is known well is but slightly changed,
The result may be seen as sad deranged,
But perhaps that opinion is exchanged
For a different view upon more thought--
In second looks are many lessons taught.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


Summer seems now gone away from here.
The weather cools; the air grows fresh again,
Unbound by humid heat that through the year
Draws many outside efforts to an end.
Hill Country heat of summertime I love;
That I stand strong on oak and cedar hills
Allows me to me my own strength to prove--
Although the need to prove promotes some ills.
But autumn coming now does fill the air
Less with pumpkin spice than with a word
Unspoken yet attended to with care
And valued greatly by those who it heard.
Listen; the voice of fall is speaking yet,
Bidding coming to broad table set.

Friday, September 30, 2016


Oh, coffee! Many are the praises sung
Of your black brewéd body every morn,
And many also are the laurels hung
Upon your name save among the foresworn.
I add to them such lauds as I can give;
No paean does my voice so well uplift
As you deserve, but still, while I do live,
In spoken word I'll not give you short shrift
Or in the written word I you deny
All claim of honor and gratitude for aid
You offer me. On you, I do rely
For Stupid God's despite, as I am made.
For if another god has blesséd me
Than Stupid God, the blessing you must be.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


O, Stupid God, whose faces are too many,
Turn your visage away from me and mine,
Look not upon my works or upon any
That I would put to use for kin and kine,
But look instead upon those who are not
Sworn and dedicate to your despite!
They are the many upon whom you ought
To bestow your blessings, day and night,
For it is they who act upon your will
And they who, acting ever in your name,
Will shout their falsehoods from atop each hill
And fill the valleys with sounds of the same.
I am blessed enough by other gods;
Let others know and feel your staves and rods.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


As I stood in the shower this morning
Because I wished to be clean,
I felt the water grow colder
And stood straight up from my lean.
I know that my mind had been wand'ring,
That I my attention had laxed,
But I suddenly found myself worried
That I had myself overtaxed
In some way that caused me to black out,
For I would have solemnly sworn
That more time had passed than I'd realized;
My shower is usually warm
From when I begin to its ending,
But it was not like that today.
That it was not was surprising;
What was I to think or to say?
I looked at the clock when I got out;
It showed a time that would make sense
Not if I had truly blacked out
But been in each moment, and hence
I know that I remained conscious
As water went from warm to cold,
But I know that I remain cautious.
Losing time makes one not bold.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


The Stupid God wears many faces.
They appear in many places,
Not least of which are 'lection races--
As we have had to see.
As the people dance and sing
And trumpet every little thing
That upjumped puppets forward bring,
The Stupid God feels glee,
For worship gives the gods their power
And worship is in every hour
That a god's works are in flower;
Stupid God's grow free.
In the gods' place, there is war
Eternal; it was fought before,
And now it works out quite well for
Stupid God's devotee.
Come fight the Stupid God with me.
Starve the god; help people see
That better things can come to be
Although they won't come easy.

Monday, September 26, 2016


The night just passed did not pass well,
Broken by the shallow knell
Ringing through the home, no bell,
As my daughter was coughing.
The sleep I slept was split in half
By high-pitched hacking, not a laugh
Covered up to avert wrath--
No, my daughter was coughing.
With water, ginger, menthol rub,
With holding arms and soft back-rub,
My wife and I tended our cub
And stopped our daughter's coughing.
She's sleeping now, my little dear.
Her breathing seems to be all clear
But I'm still straining, seek to hear
If my daughter starts coughing.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


A stack of first-year papers
Waits for my attention;
Review of written capers
Of which some deserve mention
And new assignments' writing
Are my tasks for the day.
In one, my sometimes biting
Commentaries I allay
In the hopes of more
Good work done by students
To see. In all truth, for
The other are intents
The same; I want to see
My pupils all succeed.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Although my pixelated pen still writes
Each day, or near enough, and I can leave
My lines behind in many bits and bytes,
My inked-end shaft I too seldom upheave,
Too little put a ball point to the page
And spill across it mind-blood in its train.
Arcane symbols, frustrating to rage
The reader unaccustomed to my strain
To make with hand-work words easy to read,
Day after day I neglect to inscribe,
Failing my loud inward voice to heed--
I hear it e'en if I don't imbibe.
Each day I hope to somehow better be
At writing more; hope springs eternally.

Friday, September 23, 2016


Another work week's come to an end
And I sit alone at home, no friend
To talk to or laugh with, at least not for now,
But I think I perhaps ought not laugh, anyhow,
Given the state of the nation this week
And the way the world looks askance at each peek
Into the innards of this two-ocean land,
At each revelation of the still heavy hand
That grasps at the throats of the people held long
In bondage, chokes them, still demands song
And dance from those people, then rebukes their "play"
By calling them lazy who work not each day--
But calling them worse when they work across hours
And are not at home to tend to the flowers
Planted in nights between sheets--or, worse yes,
Stopping them reaching their homes, or next breaths.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


I have noticed that my rhyme
Coupled with a longer line
Does far better in the time
That I give it
Than do shorter, open bits
Of my exerciséd wits
That in many places sit
Where I post it
Something in stanzaic form
Seems still the expected norm
And when my writings conform
People read 'em
But the structure's not the thing
Rhythm is not a brass ring
Rhyme of verse is not the king
Yet I still heed 'em.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Hidden, fearing wrong,
They stood around too long,
And I just trudge along
I put words to a song
As though there's nothing wrong.
Now forward, moving strong,
I gaze upon the throng,
Singing pitches wrong
And holding them too long,
Knowing all along
That stopping at a song
Does naught to right the wrong

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Things seem to go from bad to worse
And people wonder what's the curse
While I sit back and write some verse
As though there's nothing wrong
Bomb-blasts shake the city streets
The child hungry little eats
And people fear those whom they meet
I put words to a song
Money makes the laws and still
The moneyed do not feel their fill
Although many poor them shill
And I just trudge along
Stranded drivers have to die
And too few think to question why
Saying they had it coming, aye,
They stood around too long
All such things are bad, of course,
Unjust use of unjust force
And heads remain in sand perforce
Hidden, fearing wrong

Monday, September 19, 2016


There, of course, is much to do
As I face my students today.
At the best, I'll take them through
And make them feel at play,
But doing so is quite the chore,
The more since all unfeigned
It must appear, or else a bore
Of me they'll have complained.
Since I am now insecure,
Of contingent employ,
The students' wills I must endure;
I am, in truth, their toy.
So I must hope they play well,
Lest I remain in job hell.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


The time has come again
When I must sit long
Poring over papers
Parsing out the songs
The students seek to sing
Of their lives, of their past
Pushing through the hours
That doing so will last

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Strange dreams follow
Days spent at full-out runs
And even though the memories of them fade
Something remains unsettled

I need to have more coffee

Thursday, September 15, 2016


I do not work today
Not in any formal sense
Although I still have a
Lot to do

Because I do not have to
For a while
And that only later
And to in-laws
I decided
I'd take a few extra minutes

They didn't help.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


I woke
Feeling I had hardly slept
Although it had been hours
And I do not
So far as I know
Wander about asleep

I do not know what happened

I do not think
I can get a nap in
For a while
And I worry
I will need one

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


A few minutes
Early on
Makes a great difference
And not too much later

The few more minutes of sleep
Were not worth the trouble

Monday, September 12, 2016


I dreamt of potty training
Not of taking it
But doing it
And that makes sense
Since that is going on
But the kid on my toilet
Was not mine
Either in the dream
Or in truth
I think
What the hell is going on?

Sunday, September 11, 2016


I remember where I was

It is not so far from where I am

It is worlds away

I am not sure
I would go back
Even if such a thing could be

But I was not there
I did not lose people
And so I know that my reaction
My reflection
Is not what matters

Perhaps some others might
That they are more similar to me
Than to those
And standing nearby

But they won't.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


When short-line rhymes one might well rave
That one thinks on Burma-Shave
Or something like it, quickly found,
Despite it running into ground
A verse idea Butler used.
Commerce has the thing abused,
And now in couplets is most rhyme,
Used to mask poor work of mind
And frame it in "To each their own,
Because art is what you make of it."

Friday, September 9, 2016


You know
I gave up smoking
Years ago
And I usually do not miss it
I am coughing like
I've had a pack a day
For years
And I am not happy about it

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Work continues
As ever it does
And I get to keep doing it
Which is better than
Some alternatives
Although it is less good than

I leave it to readers to determine
Which is which
I clearly cannot make sense of things

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


From my journal (yes, I still keep one):

Sticky, moist handfuls
Flung with reckless abandon
At cars passing by
Not by roadside children
But flyers clad in
Dusty, diaphanous gold and orange and black
Kings--and mostly kings--no longer
Unless of barren planes
Sun-baked and rubber-scraped
...say what I am?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


She had trouble
Getting to sleep
Last night

I have to wonder
How much trouble
She will have
Trying to wake

Monday, September 5, 2016


I would raise my fist today
In solidarity
For it is the day for it
And I have been a union man
It will do me no good
And I need that hand to
Write with

Sunday, September 4, 2016


I am reminded
That I have much work yet to do
And I need to get about it

Saturday, September 3, 2016


The ground is stable
In the Texas Hill Country
As it is not
And I am glad
I am where I am

Friday, September 2, 2016


It is good
To be home again
If briefly
Before going out

Thursday, September 1, 2016


My air intake
Is currently experiencing
Fluid loss

I hope it is only because
The fluids are being
Changed out

At the moment
Performance is not so good
But I have to keep driving

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


It is something of a pattern
Rise, wash, work
Drive, work, eat
Drive, eat, rest
With interludes of family
And friends
Chips amid the dough
And I am growing fat on eating of it

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Rain has been falling
On the Texas Hill Country
In August
And without Katrina's cousins
Coming to call

It is a rarity

The rain is not the only thing
That has been dripping

Noses do not water hayfields
Although they may water
Because of them

Monday, August 29, 2016


Something has happened
That I ought to have expected

Whether from my students
Or my daughter's teachers'
Something has come home
I would rather not have here
And it is taking up residence
In the lot of us

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Two sets of snores
Out of rhythm
Out of pitch
But soothing in their cacophonous dissonance
Because as long as both are playing
Their players are well
And it is with that
That I am concerned

Saturday, August 27, 2016


The Hill Country
Has been seeing
In August
Those who have been here
It is strange to see
But good to see
So long as it rains as it has rained
And not in other places
Or as in other times
I am not complaining
I am pleased to see
The hills of oak and cedar
Still green
Instead of
As is normally the case
And I have to hope
The wildflowers will

Friday, August 26, 2016


Things return to
Normal or as close to
Normal as they are
Ever going to be

I am still adjusting
To the changing rhythm
Of the work of every day
That has not settled yet

I am getting started
Once again I'm working
Pushing back the boundaries
Of the human darkness

I am seeing
A dim lamp-light gleaming
The old image striving
Not to be snuffed out

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Sending the kid off
On the first day
Was hard
And much is made
Of sending the kids off
For their first days
And rightly
But nobody says
The second day
Is no easier
And they ought to do so

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


I rode in
Coming in from the range
Into the town
Leaving behind what is best
In my life
And heading off
To help others find
Something good in their lives
And now I am tired
I will do it again
And again
And again
And I will be happy about it

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Something about
Extra sounds
Keeps the caffeine from
Sinking in

In the quiet
I feel it
Within me
Touching every part of me
Mouth to throat to belly
And thence
To all places
Enlivening all
Liquid sunlight distilled from dark brew
Opening all the flowers within

Monday, August 22, 2016


There are sounds
The occasional car racing by
Far too quickly for a residential street
The refrigerator
And I am not about to chase it down
The whispered wavering noise
Of a ceiling fan
Settling of boards
And the bed
And those in it
As my daughter
Not yet fully awake
Climbs in beside my wife
And submerges again
Into the somnolent sea

I add to the chorus
Percussive hand-work annotating
Contribute to the quiet symphony

Sunday, August 21, 2016


There is
Just a
Little bit
Until the term begins
And I am enjoying

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Something easy to
Is the need to
Pay the bills
But I should have remembered
Since yesterday was
Pay day
Pay the bills day
Would have to be

Friday, August 19, 2016


Twenty-five hours of work
Twenty-four hours of time
Is it any wonder
That matters progress
As they have been doing?

Thursday, August 18, 2016


I am trying to
Settle into a pattern
But it is not working
There is too much noise
And it keeps things from
Lining up
As they ought to
As they must
If I am to establish
Once again

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


The race is not yet
Started, but I am run
Ragged already

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


It is clear
That work is resuming
That I will soon be
In the classroom
Maugre the objections
Of some
Whose words I still have

(Worry not
I'll not be back
The one good thing to come from there
I have
And she yet sleeps
In the next room)

I am once again
Enjoying the quiet
Earlier in the day
A breath before
Plunging in
And starting

Monday, August 15, 2016


Looking back over what I have written
Some things stand out
But not for the reasons I would have

They are not bad reasons
Those obvious things
They do what I want them to do

What stands out
Is not what I would have stand out
At least
Not on its own

I suppose I simply
To do better

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Every time
I think I have seen
The nadir of stupidity
I find
I am wrong

Perhaps I am falling
And need a mirror
To see
What I think
I have seen

Saturday, August 13, 2016


This is
The kind of thing
That gets me in trouble
Trying to write
Amid many

I should have woken

Friday, August 12, 2016


I just read Willard Dix's 4 August 2016 Forbes piece, "So Your Kid's a Medieval Studies Major? Relax," here. In it, Dix makes the point that a student's major is not the determiner either of the whole set of courses to be taken or the career path to be followed after graduation. Often, he points out, major coursework is a small part of the overall curriculum. Often, too, as Dix notes, incoming students are unsure of what it is that they want to do; college is, in large part, about exploration, so having students take a number of courses across fields is helpful. And even in the majors that do prescribe narrower courses of study, there are summer and extension programs available, so that students need not be defined wholly by their majors. Emphasized is the idea that careful attention and interpretation are key--and every major offers a view on providing both.

Some problems do emerge from the article. One that comes to attention for me is the thwarted promise of the title; only in it is medieval studies referenced. At one level, the title lies; titles are supposed to indicate both content and approach, and while the latter is conveyed, the former is not. At another level, though, the use of "medieval studies" in the title is troubling; it marks medieval studies as shorthand for perceived uselessness. As a medievalist, I resent the implication; I and others argue at great length (here, for example) that the medieval continues to influence what goes on, whether in popular culture or in global political affairs. Understanding what was helps us understand what is, which is far from useless. Too, medieval studies is inherently interdisciplinary; it is not possible to understand the literature without understanding the music, the art, the architecture, the theology, the economics, the military and political histories, the materials conditions, and so forth. Synthesizing information, perhaps more than simply paying careful attention and applying methodical interpretation, is vital to the current multimedia climate, and medieval studies specializes in that very thing. To call it useless, then, rankles. (And there is the tendency to have medieval studies programs at the graduate, rather than the undergraduate, level; graduate majors are not quite the same thing, just as graduate school is not quite the same as undergraduate.)

Even with such a problem, though, the core message of the article is a sound one. We are not our majors only. We are not our careers only--even those of us in academe, where that is uncomfortably close to true. And what will be needed is not something that always emerges from current conditions. Trying to train for it in college, trying to use today's methods for tomorrow's challenges, is not necessarily the best way to go about things. And since Dix's article appears in Forbes, it is in a position to have some impact on more general audiences; I am given to understand that Forbes carries a fair bit of social cachet. For it to speak kindly of non-career-driven majors, then, is a good thing. Perhaps it will make easier some of the work that I will have to do in the weeks to come.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


There is
Of course
Work to do today
And I am not sure how I feel about it

I am glad
I have it to do
It gets me
Of what I need

On the other hand
I am not so happy to
To get
What I get
From it
But I am working on that problem

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


I hear tubas
Sounding low
A minor change from the deeps
And I look for the fin

The new term approaches
And I wonder if it will
Swallow me whole
Or chew upon me
Leaving a bloody pulp behind--
But not for long

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


There is something
In the world today
I am not sure what it is
But things
As if the walls are moving

Monday, August 8, 2016


There remains much to do
And little time
Since work will be staring up again
And I worry that
I am not ready

Sunday, August 7, 2016


There are many roads
Many of them
I have not taken

The number of them
Drops by one

I am not sure
If it will help
But I expect it will be

Saturday, August 6, 2016


I read a thing
That says
A day came
When my parents
Put me down
And never picked me up again
And another day will come
When I do the same

I understand it
I know that it happened
I know that it will happen again
And again
And I know it is as
It must be

But there is still something
About it

Friday, August 5, 2016


I brought out an old essay
To my students
And they liked it

They also pointed out
Problems with it
When I asked them
Which is rare

I may return to essay writing
In this place
To borrow from a movie
Since I am a
Man of the West
Today is not that day

I think it obvious

Thursday, August 4, 2016


What a relief
It is
To be able to write
And post
When advertised

It is not a triumphant return
It is not an ovation
But it still feels damned good

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


I know that this is also posted belatedly. Again, though, the post title reflects its composition.

I hear complaints
About not knowing
What is being taught

It seems
The point
Has been missed
And by quite a ways

I sometimes wonder
Who took the shot
Because I keep seeing
In my hands
A gun
And smoke is yet rising from its barrel


I know that it is posted belatedly. The post title reflects its composition.

With a new place
Comes a new mailbox
And in the new mailbox
There was mail

It was not mine

Coupons and fliers abound
In what I found

So do legal notices
W-2s and car registrations
Summonses from departments of health
And child welfare

There are a few notes
From funerary services
As well

I know what story they tell me
As I mark on some
Not at this address
Not anymore
And throw the rest away
Leaving my mailbox

Monday, August 1, 2016


Of course
There are delays
I misremember things
And other things
Because I do

Sunday, July 31, 2016


We just wanted
To update you on
Our progress

Matters are going as expected
Nothing is wrong
No delays are anticipated

Your continues patience is

Saturday, July 30, 2016


Please excuse any inconvenience
We are in the middle
Of relocating
And your content will resume
Regular delivery

Friday, July 29, 2016


Work continues
As ever it must
It is not enough
It has never been
Since there is always
To do
And there is more to do
And more of it is

Thursday, July 28, 2016


I often wonder
What I would need to set aside
To be pure

The answer depends
On the purity I seek
Of course
It is not as if
Is to be found
It cannot be
That all are achieved
Save by emptying the self

In such a case
I am minded that
Nature abhors a vacuum
And what would rush in
To fill my void
Is likely undesirable

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Coming back from the ranch
To the small city
Mimicking in miniature
The greater motions of people
Green to gray
Quiet to noise
I was struck by
The haze of the rain
Over the hills

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


It is summer in the hills of oak and cedar
And the heat is known
Legendary, even

Among its effects is
A stifling
Not only of action
But of communication

It is hard to talk
To add more hot air
To air already heated
To the limit of endurance
Or beyond it
As is the case for no small number

This is true for words
Spoken mouth to ear
Written pen to paper
Written finger to key
Even if there is
Air conditioning

Monday, July 25, 2016


Oh, what a happy day, today!
It's Christmas in July!
I'll go shopping! I'll not say
What all I'm going to buy!
It has to be surprise, you see,
Each of the many gifts
That I will pick up, to my glee.
Oh, how my soul uplifts
When I partake of commerce now!
Oh, how my spirit soars
When, at last, I me allow
To go into the stores
And spend the money I have earned
Through hours spent ill at ease!
Although my skin is not sunburned
Or I hit with disease,
I am tired from the work
And shopping gives a little perk
To me, just enough to jerk
Me to complacency

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Moving forward
Challenges will present themselves
But we will endure
And we may even thrive
Although things will not be
As they were

Then again
They cannot improve if
They do not change

Saturday, July 23, 2016


At times like this
I am tempted to look back
To reflect on what has been
Where I was
Who I was

I am fighting the impulse

Acceding to it
Will only make me feel worse
Because I was better then
Than I am now
Because I was all too much
An ass

There is no point

Friday, July 22, 2016


I hate
Waking up
With a headache
When I did not even
The night before

How do I wake up
When I was not
Or drinking
At all?

I hate it

Thursday, July 21, 2016


The number
Has a special significance
In the US
And it adds some today
How soon it will be
Before it joins
Is anyone's guess
But it is certainly

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Nights in places
Not my own
Remind me
That I need to find a place
Of my own
Once again
It will help

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Not long ago
I bought new socks

It had been several years since I had done so
I had moved into
And out of
A house
Had a contract job that ran its course
Even crossed time-zones
Since the last time
I bought new socks

I am wearing a pair today

I had forgotten
How nice it feels
To have socks fit to feet

I am glad
I bought new socks
But it will probably be
A long time
Until I do it again

Monday, July 18, 2016


Work continues
As ever it must
I have students
For whom to prepare
Things to learn
And for whom
I have things to grade
And there is other work
As well
That seems to need to be done again
Which vexes

Sunday, July 17, 2016


I suppose
This kind of thing
Is drawing on
And on
And on
Long enough

Maybe I will pull out
Something different
But not today

Saturday, July 16, 2016


Texan I remain
And so I am happy to
Eat breakfast tacos
How any could not be so
Surpasses explanation

Friday, July 15, 2016


Trying to handle the money
And dealing with the things that make the money--
But not much
Because I teach
And teachers are paid as though they cannot--
And negotiating screaming
And confusion
And fixing broken things
And knowing that the floor needs sweeping
And there are more dishes to do--
Although I am not alone in doing them
Which I appreciate--
I wonder
How anybody does it
Or ever has

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Amid all of this
She sings
She smiles
She babbles contentedly
Words forming from the stream
More and more often

The questions have not come yet
They will
She is not as close to some things as she might be
As her mother and I fear
But she is not so far from them as we might like
And there will be questions

I do not know how I will answer them
I do not know how I can answer them
Given that I am who I am
Looking in only from the outside
But I do not know where to go to be able to help her
And I want to help her
She will need to know
She deserves answers
When she asks

For now
She sings
She smiles
She babbles contentedly
Words forming from the stream
More and more often
And she says she loves me

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


There remains much to do
Of course
No matter how much is done

More of it emerges

I will find the source
And see if I cannot plug it

After all
Even Pandora's box
Shut again
Preserving hope
Against all the rest of the former contents

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Silence may be
But speaking is not much better
If not to ears that hear
That lead to minds that think
And there are damned few of them

We must not be the teller of tales
Bespoken in the Scottish play
Even if the queen has died
Or her king
Or her children--
Or our sisters and brothers
And others for whom no such convenient word exists

Being otherwise is not easy
If there is no challenge
There is no reason to improve

Monday, July 11, 2016


There are many
Marking small things of some delight
And alleviating some of the tedium
Many feel

If today is not one of them
Calling up the convenience store
I shall be disappointed

After looking
It is not
And I am
But I should
Expect to be so

Sunday, July 10, 2016


An unnatural piece of natural history
Beckons from the cowboy capital OF the world
And all I can think of are
The laundry I have to do today or tomorrow
And the fact that I need new socks and pants
And the students whose work will need review
And my own writing that I neglect too much
Even though the beckoning calls my family with me
And I know they will go
And that my place is with them

Saturday, July 9, 2016


There are times I am called away
By other things
Needful things
Although this is needful
Per the Doctor's example

Done with them
I return
When I do

Friday, July 8, 2016


And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
And again
With no end
Until we make it
But we seem unready to do so
Or unwilling

Thursday, July 7, 2016


I have been reading
As would be expected
And one of the things I have read
At once makes me sad
And instills some strange pride
That I stood when others have fled
Yet I must wonder
If I have done well
To give free rein to my bull head
I might still get lucky
I might land a job
But I might not, and that fate I dread
I'd not be alone
Did it not happen
Reports claim a third for that trend
And the half that have gone
Perhaps have done better
Quitting for a fairer end

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


So often insulated
By the red walls of my shuttlepod
Surrounded by its sounds
And its sound system
I forget the quiet that lies between stops on the highway

It is good to be reminded
From time to time

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Another Juno fell into orbit
Around Jupiter
And those who put her there

They forget
That the Classical antecedents
Did not get along well
Despite being husband and wife
And despite being brother and sister

Look at the kids that came from that

There is this
The orbiter
Is another
There was already one
Long since found
Is she so unimportant as to be supplanted
By artifice
Are all sisters
So unimportant
So easily replaced by machines
That simply orbit because they are told to by their makers

Perhaps the fight will soon begin
And we will see again
The abuses long reported
Between Rhea's children

Monday, July 4, 2016


Two hundred forty years in
And people still have yet to figure things out
More those born into it
Than those who come into it

It doesn't seem to make much sense
Perhaps it does not need to do so

How many of us
The sensible thing?

Sunday, July 3, 2016


With a pink ring a quarter-inch into me
I am ready to be eaten
By some hungry mouth
And digested
Passed on
And set to fertilize
Say what I am
If you know
What crop will arise

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Things are moving
Stirred despite the summer heat
And I will be out in it
An old roadrunner dashing from shade to shade
In search of something yet unknown

Friday, July 1, 2016


She is a year older
And I love her a year more
Another year of history shared
Another year of changes that we have had
Changes to her and to the union we comprise
And I am grateful that she still shares her life with me
As she has for years

It is a shift for her
She has told me so
I hope it will be a good one.

Thursday, June 30, 2016


I took a chunk out of the pad of my thumb yesterday.
I am reminded by the event
Of the finger condom
The cut-out from a latex glove
Or vinyl
Meant to keep holes in things
From impregnating food and such
With something not desired
But it occurs to me
That it does not stop the spread of disease by hand
At least not the disease most pernicious that hands can spread
The smallest germs that have the biggest effects
When they find purchase
Infecting brains and altering behavior

I will not say there is no prophylactic
The politics of 2016 show that there is
And widespread
Showing up in Brexit and thoughts of
Frexit and Texit and Departugal
And other cunning portmanteaus that could be imagined
But it is not a simple shred of material strapped over something
That serves as the barrier involved

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


The headline reads
What Happens When the Glitterati Leave?
And I thought it
A good question

It is not the kind of thing
With which I have to contend
Is not a place the glitterati go
They seldom pass through it
Only to fill their tanks
And sneer at the backwards provinciality

The same is true for where I was

Where I was before that
Is not a place the glitterati will ever leave
It is one of their homelands
Where herds of them
Coruscating in flickering light
Are ushered along
To some uncertain end

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Sudden spikes surge out
Such a thing would be
It is not a bad thing
Not at all
Rather the opposite

Perhaps others might benefit
From the undesirable
Becoming acceptable
Or even encouraged

Such shifts are the stuff of
Ongoing debate
Although some of them
Should not be

Monday, June 27, 2016


Every so often
A bit of verse appears
In a place unexpected
(This is not it)
When it does
Because it is unexpected
It commands attention
Breaks in patterns always do
And I will be giving the piece attention
I have done such things
But it seems that another place
Fits better
So I have something to do today
To be sure

Sunday, June 26, 2016


More of the same
Seems to be all
That is available
So insert your sameness here
And see it reproduced
Read yourself here
As it is written
In your head
By your pen
And pretend that it is mine
Pretend hard
Hell, sign off to that effect
I have
More than once
And been paid for it
Maybe I will get paid
If you do it
This time

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Only six months
Only six months
Only six months
'Til Christmas Day
'Til Christmas Day
'Til Christmas Day
So post displays
So post displays
So post displays
Of folks who say
Happy Holidays
As you buy and buy

Friday, June 24, 2016


John Bull has left the dance
Marianne is still twirling
Her partner in black and red and yellow
And the harper looks on sadly
While the others shake their heads

One of Bull's kids
Everybody's uncle, somehow
And THAT uncle
(You know the kind
You have one
Or you are one
Or both)
Is either sniggering in the corner
Or has just realized something about his wallet
Even though John Bull's problems
Leave his wallet looking smaller
Pound for pound

Thursday, June 23, 2016


I wore polyester
As I had not in a while

It functioned as advertised
Keeping my pale
Flesh away from the sun
Drying quickly after being

I am happy to be back in cotton
The polyester does not breathe
And air that does not move

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


I majored in English
Got graduate degrees in it
I think it ought to be clear
I like to read
And so I read
Even though I know
I can never read enough
But I try
And sometimes that takes a bit more time than
I realize

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


A popular game
Among my people
Could be called
Spot the Problems
Because what we invest in
Is used
And misused
And the misuses attract attention

Some folks' investments
Are not misused
People get the details right
But they do not care
So much
About mine

If we want the real
If we want the authentic
Why do we not attend more to
Small things
From which the bigger things emerge?

Monday, June 20, 2016


The song says in the summertime
The livin's easy
(And one singer I've heard
Had to add the G
It should not be there)
With fish jumpin'
And cotton grown high
But where the cotton's not planted
And the river-fish aren't fit for eatin'
There ain't no easy livin' in any season
I wonder what the song would say of that

Sunday, June 19, 2016


I have a father
I am a father
And I understand better
Why my father acts as he does

Some of it will always be
A mystery
Because I do not have me as a child
And I know I was a little shit
In ways my child
Is not

But I have fears he never had to have
Just as he had fears
And has fears
No doubt
That I will not have to have

I am grateful that he faced them
Faces them
As he has and does

I hope to do so well

Saturday, June 18, 2016


It is happening
As it always seems to do
And I
Have no idea
What to do about it

I am supposed to be
A good student
I have the documentation
From outside sources
Independent sources
To support the assertion

Can I not learn the lesson I need to
And figure out a way
To handle it better?

Friday, June 17, 2016


Be short
Get to the point
Don't drag things out
Why are you taking so long?

There is more to be said
Even if you do not want to hear it
And what you want
May not be what you need

You benefit from the practice
Of untangling things

Thursday, June 16, 2016


The stuff of nightmares
Natural occurrences
Although nobody's fault
And unnatural ones
Where much blame is to be found
Although none of it does any

She is two
She is fearless
She is wonderful
She is precious to me
And I am afraid
For her

The normal means
Of comfort
Offer none
Although I realize
My discomfort
Is only that

I do not look to feel pain

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Every so often, I recall or put together some story about things my family and I have owned. One of them came back to me recently for reasons I only dimly see and am not entirely willing to discuss, but the story itself--insofar as I recall it--might be good, so...

My daughter, the resplendent Ms. 8, is like many children in that she had pacifiers in her early life. She is like many in that she had one or two that she favored. One of them was a green plastic thing, the side-pieces that prevent it going all the way into the child's mouth open, the button behind the nipple depicting a smiling cartoon face--not a specific character, just an abstract representation of a narrow-eyed or closed-eyed smile. However often her mother or I would put the thing in her mouth in the "correct" position--with the button positioned such that the eyes sat above the smiling mouth--she would invert it, although the resulting inverted smile was far from a representation of her mood. (Ms. 8 is generally happy. I am unsure where she gets so pleasant a disposition. I suppose it must be her mother.)

Because it was one of Ms. 8's favorites, when she, her mother, her father and stepmother, and I went to the City of Thunder on a day-trip one time, we took it along with us. Because she was young, she had it in her mouth as we went about the small, near-stagnant canal with which the City of Thunder seeks to emulate the Alamo City's famous and ever-growing Riverwalk. Because she was and still is a vigorous child, prone to expressing her excitement, she squealed in delight at getting to see new things with her Papa and Granny, her Mama and Daddy, and she flung her arms about in the throes of her joy.

You can, perhaps, see where this is going.

In one such spasm, her favored pacifier went flying from her mouth and hands into the slow-flowing water of the near-stagnant canal, doing so as we sat in a small craft on a guided tour through the lower reaches of the City of Thunder, trolling about the exposed appendix of the place. She flung, it flopped, it plopped, and it was lost in the wake behind us and the dozen others on the boat, who soon found themselves annoyed at the baby crying in their midst.

We disembarked soon after, of course, and continued to look around the area while afoot, stopping in at one shop or another. Ice cream was had, for the sun was bright and the day was hot. And as we continued to walk, looking at the thick green water, we saw something floating along in it, a nephrite against the malachite swirl, a leaf of grass against the algae scum. It was the pacifier, buoyed up and carried slowly by the faint current stirring the nearly still water in the heart of the City of Thunder--carried slowly away from where we were. I, being both jealous of property and desirous of a happy daughter, soon retrieved it, wetting only my hand in the event. (All the better, since I swim like a stone--and that stone is not pumice.)

Ms. 8 did not receive the pacifier back just then, of course. But she did receive it back, in time, only to later have to give it up--but that, of course, is another story...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Work has resumed
The vacation is over
Although it was not restful
And there are jobs to do


I have been too long
Too idle
And I need to do better

Monday, June 13, 2016


As ever
I have nothing to add to
The conversation going on

The events are beyond me

The events are beyond us

The events point to something that needs to be addressed
Once again
Has not been handled
And I am the wrong kind of doctor
To treat the symptoms

Sunday, June 12, 2016


I had thought
I had written something
Something worth reading as a snippet of verse
In another place

When I went to look for it
It was gone
Or perhaps I looked in the wrong place

The idea that the words can move
Away from where I saw them
Or thought I did

What would we make
Of a string of ink
Tracings of mindblood
Making their way through the world
Would we even notice?

Saturday, June 11, 2016


It is not all topical
It is not all a direct response to events of the day
Although it is always an expression of how things are
Manifestations of the events of the day
Perhaps at some remove

That does not mean it is not
Even often

But it does not have to be

It would be of no value were it always only

As it is
Some say it is of no value
Even when it speaks to something
Beyond the events of the day

Friday, June 10, 2016


I am staying out of the way
I know I do not loom large enough to effect change
To turn the juggernauts from their paths
And I would rather not be
The small detritus
Crushed and driven into the ground
If I can avoid it
Although I know
If I am seen to get out of the way
I become a target
More points accrue for felling the fleeing

Thursday, June 9, 2016


The hills of oak and cedar are unusually green
The recent rains' effect on them thus easily seen
Yet the undergirding limestone structures of the land
Are not so easy to discern from where onlookers stand
We know that under soils thin the white chalk-stone is found
And porous stone that powders, breaks, makes for uneasy ground
If ever tremor shakes it. Though it has not happened yet
That it will never do so--I will never take that bet.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


I always mean to do better
It seems I keep doing worse
What am I doing wrong so damned much of the time?

I clearly do not see it

Did I
I would do better
Or I like to think I would

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


I had meant to get up at what had been my regular workday time today. I had meant to take the quiet time before my daughter wakes to get some work done on the freelance piece that awaits me. (My current office arrangement is not conducive to my working while keeping an eye on Ms. 8, and the latter is of more urgency than the former.) But that did not happen; my alarm went off at the appointed time, and my hand slapped the snooze button thereupon before I could rouse enough to recall the plan. It happened twice more; I hauled myself out of bed before it could happen a third. So I began the day behind myself. I have some time to spend on the freelance piece, to be sure, and when I am done writing in this webspace, I will return to working on it; I have research to do, but it should be easily done. Still, it is not a good thing that I start off behind schedule. I need the money much more than I need the delay.

Aside from the small flub, however, things have gone well. I have been quite domestic of late, cooking dinner day after day and doing what I can to keep the house clean. If nothing else, the floors are getting swept daily, and the lawn is freshly mown. Things seem somehow easier at the moment, likely because I am under somewhat less stress than I have previously been. The move does not loom as it did, for one, and there is some assurance of income through my freelance efforts--which are increasing. Too, more support is coming available; among others, I will be picking up my parents as they return from their trip today, and they are pleased to keep an eye on their granddaughter. As such, I will have a bit more room to attend to some of the work that awaits me, including the current freelance piece and the large proofreading job that is coming my way this weekend. (I think I also have a teaching demonstration coming up, which will be helpful. I think I will be talking about citation. It is a good topic for me to cover.)

Ms. 8 still revels in being in the Hill Country. She has been enjoying being around her grandparents' dog, a Dachshund/Chihuahua rescue puppy that joined the family while I was an undergraduate. She has also been enjoying their backyard and the local park--both of which she has gotten to use more often than she had at Sherwood Cottage. (Since I cannot work and keep an eye on her, I keep an eye on her, and that means more play time.) Today, then, between my getting back to work and my getting in the car to pick up her grandparents--and I think Ms. 8 will go with me on that trip--I will make a point of taking her to a place or two to see what all she can see. There will be plenty of time for me to work afterwards, just as there will continue to be plenty of work for me to do. There always is, after all...