Friday, August 17, 2012


the black crow feather lies on the pavement
I wonder how long it will be
before it crumbles into dust

the dark tiled roof of a temple sits on the horizon
the eaves stretched out like wings
the summer heat rises
as the evening's peace descends

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Third place winner for the Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Award. This award is through my local library and accepts entries from anyone in the Chicago area.
for more information on the Award go to this link.

My poem is below. feel free to comment.

Safe in the Dark

as I wander through
the narrow white concrete
streets of Kyoto at night
I find a small shrine
nestled between a garden wall and
a light post
someone has left an offering
for the spirit who
still guards these

I get lost in Tokyo
dark metal structures loom above
as I pass the dingy street level train crossing
I hold my bag close and watch out of the
corner of my eye
until I see
a small shrine
stuck between a storefront
and a parking garage
there someone has left flowers for the
spirit who lives, guards this place

my Japanese friend tells me
it is dangerous to be alone
at night
I remind her that I am from a city
in a country where people
are allowed to own
and the only place offerings
and flowers
are left on the side of the road
is where someone has been

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

more about my last post

I initially wrote the poem as a renga which is a Japanese poetry form that consists of haiku bridged by two line stanzas. The form is used as a conversation between multiple poets and was often practiced by Zen Buddhist monks.

obviously I am not multiple people, and the poem is no longer in renga form, but many of the stanzas remain in a informal haiku format.

The 2009-2010 Jarvis Poetry Prize

This last week I was awarded the 2009-2010 Jarvis Poetry Prize at Principia College. any student can submit a poem and one is chosen. This is that one poem.

The Dharma Wheel

the damp autumn air
carries sandalwood incense
from the temple porch

in the tiniest movement
socks whisper on tatami floors

The Buddha watches me.
I tell him I am only
here to see the architecture.

flowers bursting like
the gardens of paradise
the guilt ceiling

with perfect balance
Buddha places his hands
the dharma wheel

the symbol
for rebirth and teaching
passed down through endless

before the Buddha the
obaasan’s dedication
answered with patience

she reminds me
this is still a place of worship

Buddha has taught her that life is suffering
she bore that and lived.

she has worked hard and
she has seen war
and the laughter of small children
as she bore sons into this world
and still she lives.

I place my hands together
as Buddha watches
waiting for tranquility

but I don't know what to say

*obaasan means grandmother in Japanese

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Four haiku poems one representing each season

Snow clings
Concrete wall
Still winter

Flowers freed
Evoking the sun
Yet it rains

A moment’s chill
My dry throat

Crisp wind
Carries leaf smoke
To the moon