On the River

Two older boys and me, loaded with gear Came to the green river in nighttime. We trolled the river and laid out some lines And water was over my chest at times. It was a year like any other year. Our forests lost and farmland gone to seed, We caught some fish and cooked them…Read more »

Dear Books

Dear precious books, one of my families: Thank you for saving my life when I was a teenager, especially Ursula Leguin and Andre Norton, for offering me sweet refuge and constant inspiration, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, for helping me begin a rich continual virtual life. Octavia Butler. I fall in love with you every day/Bastard Out…Read more »

Eyes on the Marsh

See the clever mockingbird sitting with a boat-tail on the abandoned telephone wire? Close but not too close, facing the same direction, the same sunset.   A pair of house finches cleaning each other’s beaks. What a display of body-sharing! I set down the spyglass.   Mergansers flying in a morning circle, light and easy…Read more »

Let’s Meet in Carrboro

Let’s Meet in Carrboro Today let’s meet in Carrboro: Paris of the Piedmont West End, Lloydtown, Venable . . . Today when phoebes nest in their wattle and daub And fireflies cross their first open meadow Let’s meet in Carrboro Across-the-tracks town for two centuries: cracker town, mill town, music town Today when knotty-heads start…Read more »


What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me . . . Walt Whitman   In birds: the crow, the bold pigeon, a chipping sparrow on the windowsill, Common grackles or boat-tails chatting and thieving the coast and feeders, Even gulls, laughing or otherwise, who Kate Bell says are being forcibly evicted From Brighton-Ha!-as Londoners condemn…Read more »

Cool of the Day

  1 I haven’t written about this before Because I had a geas against it But I have a distant cousin Who was one of the most famous mountain Dulcimer players in the world. When I was a young man The irascible Appalachian poet Don West Separated me from my companions What are doing with…Read more »

Laundry Porch

On this porch for years we had a wringer washing machine, a loud demoniac contraption that vibrated and thumped as it played our clothes. I toyed with it, but one day it ate my arm all the way to the elbow, suddenly, like a tame tiger that takes a moment to grab the child. Neighbors…Read more »