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Preparations for a Cycle Journey

It’s pleasing to the mind to find
that I have everything I need. All I had
previously reckoned sub-par, I now waggle
my fairy wand at and pronounce: ample. 
Ambition, improvement, constant venturing 
to be better than average, this shit is addicting. 
From the top of the stone tower
to the daisy chains below, I cannot get enough. 
To now breathe deeply, objectively assess, 
let the senses take wind with the changes in scenery 
over the changes in gear, this is good. 
This is not only good, it is right. 

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I Dreamed Today,

a good one,
with acrobatic knights and archers lancing 
cupcakes full of candy rain. Dogs had tongues
like streets-sweepers, properly fed they slept happy.
It was a victory dream. 
Nobody lied. No tears were shed. 
The dogs lived the longest of all 
and there was naught a cat to take the blanket. 
The sun and her spectators clapped wildly
whistling blades of grass between long fingers 
until the moon grew jealous and picked up 
a pair of bongos. I know not how to wake up 

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Stella in the Starlight

Stella sticks her toes in the grass and she don’t know
the impact — the moonlight bending on the bowing
blades of grass, casting long shadows like tracks. 
I follow her, relaxed

Stella don’t know her own impact. 

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How to Read a Poem

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Clipboard and Pen

The first organizer was Noah. Tied to a boat 
he counted giraffes on all ten fingers, mumbling 
as he went, here Dolly, HERE Angus, no not like that—
chocolate-like he tempered himself to the toes. 
Did the predators forget their evolution? Pocket eyes 
staring out of lacy skulls, daggering antelopes 
like hot summer cantaloupe. A gosling gets a splinter 
do the hyenas go mad with the scent of carnage? 
Oh Noah. I feel ya. 
How to keep the plucky chickens and the white rabbits
nimble-footed and sure of themselves, how to encourage
gazelles to daily run ark-perimeter laps so as not to become dolorous.

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Tandem

I seek solace in the company of cafe tables
and black aprons. Hair that sways, liquidly, 
under a rotating fan. I write in the company
of strangers, in order to be myself. 
As if I could hear the words from their lips 
instead of feel the conversation like a forest. 
As if it could not matter when the forest was on fire
or still, peaceful in dew dreams under a rising sun. 
So many things exclusive in their tandem 
and yet, so much, unsaid and unstayed. Will the fawn
never leave the safety of her rose hollow? Will the fox 
never scamper when he hears the bellow of hounds? 

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Open Window

Clasping my hands behind my back, 
I survey the sights from the kitchen window 
and breathe deeply the wind that docks 
from the mountain tops tucked in clouds. 
All is fair, if one counts birds and lemon trees
against the straying plastic trash kicked up 
by flattened car tires and pulsing hydrants. 
The neighbor boys clatter skateboards 
against the stretched asphalt, heat dust 
wavering between ground and sky. 
Crisped linen shirts wiggle freely
on laundry lines, and I count that as good, too. 

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Oksana

A blue bike leans against the iron railing. 
It is bright summertime in Ukraine 
and the railroad lady tends a garden full  
to blooming with cucumbers, beetroot, squash 
she bends over in a frock like livery. 
Her blue buttoned uniform blossoms from beneath 
the frock, the cuffs kissed with splashes 
of dirt kicked up from the motley flower pots. 
She hears a distant whine— 
she unties the bow and drapes it 
on the trellis, taking a yellow 
flag from her unbuttoned pocket. 

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Stars & Stripes

Stars and stripes & a purple ponytail
jiggling up and down on the winding
road fur-lined in Douglas Firs and
pocket-bullys straining on chains. 

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Crustacea

Legs like barnacles 
swing wide over the heady stone wall 
to await the coming storm —

such joy in a white stucco world
of butterflies and garden gnomes
and fistfuls of choices for breakfast! 

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Locus

Each day is a new micro community
a locus of control as blurry
as the great Egyptian plagues of old. 
Swimming upstream has never been easier 
yet they sit there on the white rocks
pretending to drown. 

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On Judging a Poetry Contest

One finger tapping against 
an illusive white ceramic cuppa 
something—you don’t know—
I’m a mystery, I’m the poetry editor. 
Illustrious task, these scribbles
laid bare to me, laid out like 
coffee spilled silent on the plate. 
Not too late to duck down 
into hiding, find a proper bunker. 
Fortunately good poetry 
chooses me, not I 
and I know in my heart

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