In college, I was inspired by the excellent work of former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins to develop my own poetic voice. I’ve had several poems published in journals in the United States and the United Kingdom. Here’s a sampling of my work. Want to read more? Ask me!

Going Deaf

He sat that night in the company
of himself, crying was pointless,
rage was a waste. He had strained
to hear the flute and the shepherd’s voice
and had heard nothing beyond the muffled
questions of his countryside companion.
In terms of pure convenience
consumption would have been better,
typhus perhaps, even blindness.
He didn’t have a right to be compared
to Job but the thought came anyway
as he realized the One who truly loved him
was allowing sound to slip away.
Instead of reaching for rope or the latch
of his third floor window he picked up
his sketchbook, closed his eyes, fingered
the tranquil air and began to compose.
Sound be damned, he whispered,
as the first strains of his 8th Sonata
for Violin and Piano came to him,
frenzied, bright, hopeful, adamant.
The best was yet to come.

Forty-four Sonnets

“I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach…”
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet XLIII

And she had brought them
to him in the morning, folded
manuscript, declaration of all
she knew he was to her. How
he must have sat there reading
the language of her heart, how
light and loved and free he must
have felt standing up to go to her,
how much was in their next embrace.
Ah! And they would have kissed as
never kissed before, never even as those 
first three kisses, on her hand, on her head,
on her lips. Beloved, she had written, my
beloved, and if he’d ever wondered just
how deep, just how wide, just how high,
now he knew. 


We rise early, before them.
Even thirty minutes
is a blessing. Sitting
together, alone, sipping tea,
all we can think of is them
not being there. The silence
disarms us. We actually look
at each other. We really talk.
Before long, they wake,
they fight, they scream,
they make their mark 
on the day, but this time,
we're ready.

Elvis Laughing

The piano begins in earnest, 
cultivates the melody
Take twelve is going fine 
until it’s his turn.

Perhaps it was a private joke 
or the irony of words
that made him stray 
from script to laughter. 

The engineer smiles. He knows 
a masterpiece isn’t far away. 
Who cares how long it takes?

He clips the wings of our sound, 
the guitar player jokes
and Elvis raises his hand, 
like a wand, in the air:

“I tell you what, 
let’s try it one more time,”
and everything is undone again, 
rewound, reverted.

The intro seems unsure of itself 
for four measures
and then his voice, 
smooth, laced with trills.

Three minutes and the song 
dies away, flies away
and we listen to the silence, 

Thinking sixty years ago 
in a Memphis studio
he was laughing 
as soon as he was clear. 
As If I Could Say Something 
to Langston Hughes

I guess
it’s not my place
to thank you for your words,
short bursts
of clarity and
I wasn’t one
of the ones
to heave a heavy
sigh at not being served
and fight back the daily
urges to grab them
and shake them
and scream
into their white ears
that I was
I can’t say
I know the feeling
of hearing that my friend
or an uncle or my sister
was hung from a tree
while the moon
was forced to watch
and listen to them
laugh and drive away.
I’ve never sung
a spiritual
the way you
may have
or the way
the brothers and sisters
you wrote for
may have spoken or whispered them
as they wondered
how soon and very soon
it would all be different
and how much longer
they should hope.
You were on
Lenox Avenue
that night, and you
could write The Weary Blues
because you felt them.
I can only listen.
I’m going to thank you though,
not as a Negro,
not as a man or woman
with graying hair
who can remember exactly
where I was when
Rosa Parks made my heart sing,
but as a young, white man
from Scotland,
a poet, a human,
your brother
if I may.

Lines Written Below a Statue of Robert Burns in Stanley Park, Vancouver

Once again, he reminds me
that we are all children
in the same family.
It’s the sentiment of Lord Stanley too,
standing nearby with open arms
to people of all colors, creeds, and customs.
These statues set the tone
for the steady stream of visitors
who enter by horse and horsepower,
bicycle and foot. It’s the reason
the mother watching her children play
will look over at you and smile,
why the vendor will take extra care
packing your ice cream, why 
the beluga whale will seem to slow
as it swims by in the tank, giving you time
to take in its prominent forehead
and dark, piercing eyes.
It may also be why you pick up
the stray wrapper on the forest path
and why you offer to take a picture
for the newlyweds at Hallelujah Point.
And it’s quite possible, however unlikely,
that the squirrel sitting on the rock
while you eat your lunch 
will give you a nod, 
remembering a poem he read once 
about a helpless field mouse
and the kind young man
who noticed it and saved it
from the blade of his plough.


and it is a celebration
not so much that you 
were born as it is that you
are here today.

who, then, is the recipient
of the gift today?
you, with our tidings
in bows around you,
or us?