The Temple Bell Stops

June 5th, 2013

Poems published in The Temple Bell Stops: Contemporary Poems of Grief, Loss and Change
 

despite
the young life
that ended
I still see
sunflowers

 

baby’s first snowsuit
covered
in dust

 

depression
threatens one life
miscarriage
takes another
but I breathe anyway

Skylark 1:1 Summer 2013

May 15th, 2013

mid-career
we slow down
to build our nest
light and song
fill summer days

[Winner of the Skylark's Nest contest]

 

on Lake Superior
rocky shores offer up
uncut amethyst
everything you can be
shining in your eyes

 

silence
fills the sails
at first light
when the wind is ready
where will we go?

 

purple crocus
in a snowy robe
listening
I almost hear
grandma’s voice

GUSTS No. 17 Spring/Summer 2013

April 3rd, 2013

I was wrong
you weren’t giving me
the cold shoulder
April snow drifts
from the cottonwood

 

when we met
at the edge of these woods
who knew
the moonlight would be
breath to lift our wings?

 

took me a while
to hit my stride
didn’t know
I would run best
naked in the dark

Atlas Poetica, Number 14, Spring 2013

April 3rd, 2013

long hair
under our baseball hats
we walk
summer streets
as boys

~ Lauderdale, Minnesota

 

almost unnoticed
the BBC announcer pauses
to sigh
before talking
about Syria

~ Hugo, Minnesota

 

I check off
all my poetic obsessions
death
the moon
and you

~ Hugo, Minnesota

 

the day
I see the specialist
is the day
my symptoms
stop

~St. Paul, Minnesota

 

we snicker
at the bobblehead Fido
in the taxi
as we cruise Dalat
for a dog restaurant

~ Dalat, Vietnam

Frogpond 36:1

March 22nd, 2013

nothing rhymes with it Agent Orange

The Heron’s Nest, Volume XV, Number 1: March, 2013.

March 5th, 2013

the sound
of tugboats bumping
against the tub

red lights Vol. 9, No. 1 January 2013

February 8th, 2013

Tanka from the January 2013 issue of red lights.

the poems
she wrote for you
dragons
carved of moonlight
on the temple roof

 

in her sleep
the little one sighs
exhaling
the feelings
I cannot

 

scraps
of red paper
wild-eyed
the mare
rears up

My first chapbook

January 16th, 2013

On Sunday, my daughter Miriya created a little booklet and invited me to write haiku for each page. (She’s four, almost five.) Doodleku! My first chapbook! Our first chapbook! We took four sheets of paper, folded them into a book, and then she sat down and drew up some inspiring images. When she was done, she gave it to me. I looked it over and started to think. She found it a bit funny that I could not instantly come up with the words the way she had with the images.

A couple of days later, our work is complete. Here’s the PDF, Wishing I Had a Tail. I apologize for the poor scan quality. The funny staple job made it so some pages wouldn’t lay quite flat on the scanner. So I’ve pulled out all the haiku here.

Wishing I had a tail

Illustrations by Miriya Nguyen
Haiku by Christina Nguyen

#1
acorns
into the season
of forgetfulness

#2
summer days
follow me home
beach bag

#3
wind in the pines
what
what did you say?

#4
the clouds (lost) and then sunshine

#5
these words
rolling around in my head
orange ball

#6
a deep breath
handing over
the paper heart

#7
colored pencils
the crisp lines
of her purple skirt

#8
here
up here
birdsong

#9
waving
to the beach umbrella
summer breeze

#10
asleep
beside the zoo fence
dandelions

#11
sprinkler the day the Wii broke

#12
bonfire cackling under the stars

#13
under the stars
the bat’s shadow
catches the bug’s shadow

#14
cotton wishing I had a tail

A Hundred Gourds 2:1 December 2012

November 18th, 2012

Tanka from A Hundred Gourds 2:1

 

this heart
done up in knots
by a little girl
who can’t even tie
her own shoes

 

sunshine
through splintered pine boughs
God
why does the brightest light
shine through broken bodies?

Ribbons Vol. 8 No. 2 Fall 2012

November 8th, 2012

Labor Day
at the State Fair Grounds
piece by piece
midway workers
dismantle summer

 

I don’t fret
as I teach my young daughter
no one
should touch her
here

 

That Dream House

an MBA
that dream house
and three kids
her happy ending
is divorce

one year on
and expecting again
another neighbor
is diagnosed
with breast cancer

my pregnant friend
mows the lawn next door
while her two kids sleep
is this the best
we can hope for?