New Year’s Day, 2024
Kal. Jan.
For Janus
and for friends old and new

I fold my sadness into the cream of my joy
which makes the batter sweeter
but for a moment I was tempted
to alter the proportions
and trade an ounce of sorrow for a liter

I nearly said as I started to mull:
“now once more the belt is tight,
now once more my eyes are dull”;
but then I was fed by a friend of a friend
then I saw sparks on the widest horizon
then I remembered, to complain is to pretend

New Year's Day, 2023
Kal. Jan.
For Janus,
for my household gods,
and for the one whose hand I squeeze

I have wandered far and wide the phantom landscape
which on occasion furnishes some fine or fun trifle
some useful new trick
some flowery title

but of the world of substance
where a thing has its name
I have dwindled in forgetfulness
and savored little the game

but gently falls on my shoulder a hand
and reminds me where to look for what is good
reminds me where to place my trust
reminds me where to go

let me forget not old acquaintance
nor treasure caked in dust
let me know
let me remember

New Year's Day, 2022
Kal. Jan.
For Janus
and for those I love

inscrutable gears are turning
within me and far in the distance;
through suitable tears
and joys brightly burning
I learn to hear their insistence.

in trust I trace these circles concentric;
in faith I let fear simmer down;
the remainder is hope,
which broadens my shoulders.

I take up these courses emboldened,
though I know not their ends;
and I take them up,
I break fast and sup,
share their delights and causes to frown,
strain under burdens that soon become jokes,
with the greatest and kindest of friends.

New Year's Day, 2021
Kal. Jan.
For Janus
yes! the four doors of the seasons
are closed but will open in turn
we come to the host to receive us;
the bridge now behind us did burn

we are still in the business of sorting our reasons--
which yearnings are worthy to yearn;
which signs we saw were meant to deceive us,
and from which we ought to have learned

we still wonder, did we miss our flight?
it never departed
and we ask, is there yet adventure in sight?
it's already started

New Year’s Day, 2020
Kal. Jan.
For Janus
wet the Earth anew
let us take our cue
toast the punch of the first hour’s horn

we’ve waited in line
and watched for the sign
here we make good with our oil and corn
here we take pleasure in planning our toil
here we inhale the perfume of new soil
here we embrace one another with cheer
for at last and at first we are happily here

New Year's Day, 2019
Kal. Jan.
For Dad
a full house we made empty;
but a new one we'll make full.
as awful as the autumn was,
no longer does it pull.
my energy is rationed;
despair I can't afford.
the world begins for real now;
my discipline's my sword.

New Year's Day, 2018
Kal. Jan.
For Janus
much as every year, we marvel backward:
a year it's been since January 1st!
pronouncing numbers now that sound like fiction,
we plan with hope of quenching last year's thirst.

trees and houses sporting still their Christmas best,
the old man has a few gifts yet to ship;
we've had our cup of kindness, though, and then some,
Father Janus giving us a new cup now to sip.

we're filled with grand designs and fresh resolve,
but yearly goals are made by daily strides;
let's tread with care, but not let care avert us
from those quiet places where the deepest magic hides.

A Thanksgiving Nap
a.d. VIII Kal. Dec.
I tumbled into slumber
after turkey and sauce,
having eaten too much
to keep down another course
rarely do I drift off
with so little care;
chalk it up to Grandma's house
and happy-smelling air.

when I emerged from my rest,
from my makeshift hermitage,
it was pleasing to see
that the day'd so nicely aged
all were just as joyful
as they'd been before my nap,
and the Sun could not have been
more gently perched on Earth's lap.

in the cycle of the year
is installed another piece;
for this and so much more
I give thanks and am at peace.

When Poseidon Came to Texas
Kal. Sept.
Poseidon came to Texas
and ended summer early.

he hovered over Houston
flooding vent and vale;
much of town has broken down
and no one's getting mail.

there is no "back to normal"
since the place is hardly static,
no room for the delusion
that recov'ry's automatic.

so fall's ahead of schedule
and we're two thirds through the year.
we'll pick things up, refill our cups,
but won't forget the fear,
the thunder in our ears
when Poseidon came to Texas.

Into August
a. d. IV Non. Sext.
wiping sleep from my eye
as it were the last sweat of July,
my hand reaches out
to grasp a year long since augusted.
no week more have we sweltered than this,
nor will we till next time around;
the top of the curve is behind us,
and now we begin our way down.
much more, though, is yet to be done,
and we've not seen the last of the sun;
so let us embrace
and dance in the light
and savor the hot muggy night.

Mid-Year's Day
Kal. Quint.
humid air now fills our noses;
Solstice bright is just now past.
we toast the year no longer Young,
our drinks recalling summer last.
Oak enjoys the prime of kingship,
Winter nearly out of mind;
a chorus of cicadas hails
the mid-day sun of summertime.
sing, cuckoo.

Second Day of June
a.d. IV Non. Jun.
O Sun! see now the green and gold
with which you've clothed the Earth.
resplendent now in summer tones,
we feel now Summer's mirth
in the youth of the month called Young.

May Day
Kal. Mai.
the last of Winter's chills has come and gone;
the world itself has ripened on the bough.
the footsteps of the Green Man now approach,
and summer dew will soon be on his brow.
the blossoms and the bees are sharing secrets,
and Night sees fireflies so brightly burn;
the trees are once more hosting birds for parties;
the garden gnomes are whisp'ring of the Oak King's return.

First Day of April
Kal. Apr.
a fool, I stumble into Aphrodite's month;
the blindfold tied, I let two keep my balance,
my candles for St. Michael and his Dragon.
my anxious mind for one, stultitia for the other,
I hope the two will reconcile to wisdom.

Leisure Least Expected
Non. Mar.
amid the din of optimized excess
are sung silly songs in off-key voices
and when from untrue armor we undress
we are no more oppressed by our own choices
than when we are with friends at games of chess

To Talk Around the Tooth
a.d. V Id. Feb.
to concentrate is difficult
when pain's within one's head
but sometimes one does well to do
regardless of what might distract
for work can stop the pain

Entangled Thanks
Kal. Feb.
For Hermes Dolios
a blessing ought not make one think he's righteous;
indeed, one often finds himself with guilt--
but none of this diminishes the blessing.
I'm hardly some Autolycus,
but twice you've shown me favor,
and thus to you I offer metered words.

Last Day of January
prid. Kal. Feb.
the Sun still doesn't tend to catch me sleeping
but it sure is getting closer by the day
Day climbs up from Night
in azure, violet, white
the light of Spring is not so far away

Mutual Corporeal Colonization
a.d. IX Kal. Feb.
ven'ry plants the flag of conquest won
vict'ry hailed by fingertips and tongues
pounding hearts and quickened lungs
veni, vidi, vici, veni
pulses two make one

All Aboard
a.d. XV Kal. Feb.
the Christmas lights are taken down
the world has picked up speed
but does the new year go unchristened
if the solstice was not consummated
by kisses, truces, choices under mistletoe?

perhaps, but that is last year's loss--
we now should heed the voice that says
"let us speak of bygone things no more;
and when you knock and ask and enter,
leave unfinished business at the door."

Friday the 13th
Id. Jan.
the Ides are lucky days, so said the Romans
but does the ancient superstition cancel out the modern?
things seem a bit askance
there are faux pas in my dance
but why should worry have a say in how the path is trod?

Till the Glass Spider Breaks
a.d. IV Id. Jan.
For David Bowie, on the anniversary of his death
when you became a starman
and left the earth behind
you ceased to be some distant twinkling light
you came out of the blue
as bright as summer's Sun
becoming like the Muses in my ear
as soon as you were gone
I now could hear your voice
and hoped that I could start a conversation
you built upon your story
as long as you could tell it
and now I know it's not in vain I tell my own

From Egypt with Love

a.d. IV Id. Jan.
For Kek, on the occasion of Pepe being shared by the Russian Embassy
the frog so smug and knowing in his smile
transcends the scribblers' wit, the strivers' guile;
upsets the sanctimonious rapport
so long kept strong among the slander corps;
and dissipates his enemies' hegemony,
so difficult a verity for them to see--
from darkness he brings light and repartee

College Town
a.d. VII Id. Jan.
For Denton
twenty-one degrees
flurries in the air
this isn't quite the Texas I grew up in
artsy, crunchy, churchy
familiar but not
a place I'm happy to have seen and smelt

This Must Be the Place
Non. Jan.
America has scenes where once were customs;
one never feels the ground is all that solid,
but shibboleths repeated make for good rapport

prid. Non. Jan.
we count the days like grains of sand,
piling on in heaps and mounds;
in counting back the Romans were ahead of us by leaps and bounds

Roasted on Company Time
a.d. III Non. Jan.
what has coffee done to us
in four hundred years?
we shamble, shop and shit in perfect time--
a bitter drug to fit the daily grind;
we sweeten it, which only makes it worse
as fuel for what we do to fill the purse.

our workday once was not so dry and sober;
with easy beer and wine watered down
we never so forget that we are hungry
as when we sip the bean from pretty cups
within allotted time for shrunken leisure
to stoke our nerves in line with work's demands.

let us enjoy what drinks we may
forgetting not that teas and tinctures
can be no substitute for sanity.

Wind Heard Through Walls
a.d. IV Non. Jan.
the boxes piled up and broken down
in air-conditioned stockrooms night and morning
do follow there in strange turns the rhythm of the Sun and Moon

New Year's Day, 2017
Kal. Jan.
For Saturn
the old man whose face had so blushed,
who made us so merry and bright,
who invited us to charity and wine-soaked sleep,
must at this stroke of twelve be said to weep.
his season done, the world once more his son's,
he mourns for the old year that once had been a babe.

he sees us through the January gate,
not long ago merely a thought,
for now do we fulfill the dreams of futures past.
our mouths still wet with drink or dry with smoke,
the party now is sobered by the clock;
we look ahead to spring cleaning, summer sweat,
autumn plowing, Yuletide next,
the ancient circle traced again;
the old man now draws away to guide a new year to its end.

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