South Florida Suite



A yellow disc ascends in morning sky,

Illuminating earthbound waves. And sands

Glitter brightly, sparkling crystals. High

Above the shore a sea bird searches, lands

And gathers hard-found sustenance, she must

Achieve another day of life. Her goal:

Survival of the progeny. They trust

And wait success, else lives become the toll

Of nature’s cruel, inevitable rush

Toward outcomes man is pow’rless to affect.

No wisdom, no technology can push

The march from natural change. But some reflect

On what our species does to block the road,

On arrogance, which is our moral load.


Ocean Drive

Flamingo clouds lighting the evening sky

Play red across the water to the east.

Still time before the dark descends; we sigh

And breathe hibiscus-scented air. The feast

Of color gives us momentary pause,

The stillness of the painted sunset lasts

Not nearly long enough. A lone gull draws

Our attention upward; then shadows cast

By strolling couples bring us back to earth

To appreciate this fine time of day

For few scant minutes more. This peace is worth

The price the coming darkness asks us pay.

The endless neon lights are for the crowds

Who jam the night, oblivious to clouds.

A Beautiful Delusion

They lay on blankets worshiping the sun,

These interlopers, followers of style,

Who gather here, pretend, feign seeking fun

And romance. Teasers, poseurs, dandies, smile;

Empty faces behind blank eyes. Bulging,

Saline-enhanced, barely-covered titties

Beckoning no one; tanned studs indulging

Erotic fantasies, seeking pretties

Who’ll make them feel important for a while.

But momentary pleasure passes fast,

Replaced by empty truth. The wan beguile

Each other. Precious little here will last.

This empty, lonely parade paints a sad

Portrait of a lovely town gone mad.

A Sailor’s Quest

White triangles all standing straight and true

Against a deep blue background peaking white,

They lean against the wind, fight their way through

The frothy sea before day turns to night,

When sailors lose their way if not prepared

To use the heavens as their best device

For finding home–their intellect laid bare

Against nature, whose fury makes the price

Of failure steeper even than the risk

Considered. Seamen know what lies ahead

Will daunt the wisest of them, but insist

On taking every chance. With sense of dread,

They venture forward, eye fixed on the prize,

Success the only outcome they surmise.


There’s fragrance in the air this time of year–

Hibiscus, bougainvillea, liatris,

And sounds rock the senses: the birds I hear

Are calling for mates. Morning showers kiss

My garden, leave behind a loving drink

That keeps it growing when the afternoon

Sun would beat it down, leave it on the brink

Of thirsty death. Then May will become June,

Flowers will give way to the luscious fruits

Of our labor, rich, green jungle. Life fills

This world with healthy color. Summer suits

This Eden, this tropical wonder; thrills

Around every corner, behind each tree,

Await our hungry eyes, which ache to see.

False Advertising

A dark bank of clouds comes in from the west,

Tourists scurry for cover and a drink,

“They never told us it would rain!” I guess

The chamber of commerce led them to think

This was indeed the world’s most perfect place,

They brought money, fancy clothes, fantasies

Of catching some brass ring. But in their haste

To find perfection, they often leave the keys

To reality behind. The lonely,

Unnatural, artificial paradise,

The one these visitors see, is only

Just another sometimes hard, sometimes nice,

Place. But the lure of the exotic dream

Is hypnotic, the unknown reigns supreme.


The tourists hate those black clouds overhead,

The ones that blot the sun at two o’clock,

That dump a ton of rain on flower beds

And send the pale visitors into shock.

They come here just to be seen on South Beach,

They come to see Madonna drunk at night.

They never do, but say they did. They preach

Of Gomorrah from sweet suites locked up tight

Against the summer storm. They close their eyes

To the wonder of the beautiful rain

That feeds our farms and gardens. Hear their cries

Of indignation, expressions of pain.

The daily afternoon storm dumps plenty

Of rain, but then is over by two-twenty.


These sunrise walks at water’s edge will end

Much sooner than originally planned.

This vast, flat ocean has become my friend,

My confidant, as footprints in the sand

Trail behind, witness to thoughts that only

The water, the seagulls, and I can share.

That still, small voice that echoes the lonely

Child inside is safe here, while everywhere

Else it hides, obedient to a fear

Of exposure. But in this peaceful place

Where no one can get close enough to hear,

It shouts. The days are easier to face.

The man has found his daily precious walk.

There must be a place where the boy can talk.

Leaving Home

Leaving home is always hard, they say.

Been here so long this place is in my blood

Like too much alcohol. This sun-drenched day

Is melancholy, as fond memories flood

My consciousness: a love, a hate, a time

When many disparate parts converged to make

A moment, lingering sweet and sublime

Among the chattel I must try to break

Away from, and move on to other things

For other people. Time to take a chance,

Find a new adventure, see what life brings

In a new place, imagine now a dance

To different music, different beat. No rain

On her parade. A loss becomes a gain.