Dr. Williams in 2020

The Green T-Shirt I'd only worn once In what is now a profile Picture on all social media There it was Not all that important Where it had always been So beloved and simple Freshly laundered, folded And then before I wear again, Gone Like any favorite Anything I never knew I wanted


These mops don’t smell too good no matter how many ways you soak
Them, frayed and rattled like the ends of torn tendons, spliced especially
So the silken ligatures slowly dissolve into flesh, absorbed like a child
Takes everything as possible until proven otherwise, stories that evoke
Senses of place in young imaginations are impatient seeds of epics, fully
Flowered when the sun burns the cultivated ground, a harvest reconciled
To our contentment, we can all agree on a balance, what should be is not
What shouldn’t, and should objections open another cavity into our chest,
Beasts will make this hole a home, leave bones of prey and lovers, drawings
Of hunts and conquests, ageless and ancient, no carbon dating will assign
The artist’s pigment a circa, an opus, a period, even a ballpark figure at best
Falls within limits of our ken, a language of thought that dances and sings
With each idea, each fresh soldier still, a weeping mother on his mind
Fading with every deflowering, solace turns to lunacy like an old friend
Both raising an instant brow acknowledging a reference too obvious
To leave ignored, their timing so perfectly coincident that laughter ensues
Unashamedly, bottles of the same vintage opened and turned on end
Until every residue distilled from the old country bears a serendipitous
Remorse at such behavior, the influence of teachers who scold and refuse
To hear excuses, each one a litany on parade, new majorettes in old uniforms
Twirling from the knob end against every other beat, dyed ostrich feathers
Blowing like a cool blue flame against a flat-bottom kettle, its steamy whistle
Begging for relief, searching for shelter from all soul-encircling maelstroms,
Exhausted, treading around and around a hub that is a hole, your wet hair:
A fiery whip and a golden veil, punishment and protection like this will
Mean your journey should continue, it must go on, never without incident,
But surely with no harm or indefinite delay, a lingering of legs entwined
For a season or two perhaps, not much longer before roots dig deep, tangled
In tight knots around our graves before we know it, days and weeks spent
Settling into the past like contents during shipping, new products left behind
When the heavy factory doors slammed for a final bolting, all the chain led
Workers having already moved their families into freshly painted suburbs,
Layered new sod so green and treeless where amber waves grew to heaven,
Where heaven held the hearts of generations, blessed the hallowed ground
With those they loved, toiled to excess, fed the world from what now are curbs,
Stylish hybrids idle in hidden driveways as soccer moms leave their children
At practice, errands and caffeine calling the fiber of their beings to new-found
Malls, especially more caffeine for the special cup, the special words spoken
On nearly every corner, summon blue tooth wanderers into wi-fi wilderness
And espresso breath, hopped up on social networking lest we forget voices
Speak most clearly from the heart when filtered through time’s sacred token,
Doubt measured against decisions we made before coming of age, accountable
To ourselves, mostly, and to those from whom we grew, we consciously caress
The flesh of our flesh and teach them our lives turn pale given all the choices
Of trampled paths, forks with which we cannot eat beneath our kitchen table

The Cleaning

Work continues the same everywhere
Beginning again in the early evenings
Into the nights and mornings as quietly
Changed into white clothes we wear
Surface layers of dust that air brings
Are wiped again until the cloth is slightly
Shaded where fingertips polished the hue
From flesh to cloth a mild vinegar scented
Astringent of sorts, the final mortal flavor
Held to thirsty lips, an ancient chiseled statue
Cleanses daily filth from pure and repented
Fixtures that furnish the house of our Savior

Carrier Wave

The music, don’t worry, carries away in a shopping basket,

Frozen peas for a pillow, cool and soft, warm and sweet.

Words and sounds decay through the air we breathe a dozen

Breaths per minute, inhale, exhale, difficult as the task it

Has become, to the point of exhaustion as we merely complete

A sentence, something we’ve done so thoughtlessly–those inch-

Long phrases never measuring up or down or any direction we

Let our subjects wander. Most years we never saw coming until

Here upon us, life’s bellows, or billows, squeezed Smitty’s

Little accordion. One note only hissing at wood, a ship, a tree.

The wind fills our solidly trimmed sails, fade in the sun, still,

Placid as a mirror you can hold like that pillow. Split peas

Softening with age, so much younger than friends we forget

As they have forgotten us, little frozen spheres the flash

Of which is well thawed on the way home, green as the day

Pods ripped and spilled them, anonymous mass in conveyors of wet

Produce, boiled without tattoos, without arms, hoarded in a cache

Below instant zero, static until now, until the steam bouquet

Blooms against the ceiling. And this, baptism by water, total

Immersion, you know, is the best way to learn a new language,

Heated so that surface swirls curl back in waves without foam.

No games here. All these little balls. No games. A gravy mote

Around the starchy white castle, guards awaiting the changes,

Press their forks into the road as lovers lying awake at home.

The Gyre

Notions are hardly worth their whimsy, rising as oblong pockets from
Feathered beds below the glassy sheet of calm.  Nature turned her head
Away while coughing, politely sparing us the lurches and trauma here
As distant to one place as to another. No state or nation or kingdom
Within the sound of our still ocean cradle, resting our feet instead
Along the dark-shored island, floating but not drifting, our deepest fear
On its way to greet us. But that’s only half of it. The others continue
Spreading the dullest sunshine of hope from beach to dotted beach,
Solvents disbursing the beads of lives lived before fines imposed
Language flowering from tongues tasting another tart idea in you,
Sharp and bitter in tone and meaning, piano strings tuned each (more…)