“A Master of Folk” ~The Boston Globe

A Song Singing, Word Slinging, Story Swapping, Ballad Mongering, Folksinger, Teacher, & Poet

“A masterful weaver of songs whose deep, resonant voice rivals the best of his genre.” 

~Spirit of Change Magazine

“Beneath the friendly charisma is the heart of a purist gently leading us from the songs of our lives to the timeless traditional songs he knows so well.” 

~Globe Magazine

“The Nobel Laureate of New England Pub Music”

~Scott Alarik

Adventures in the Modern Folk Underground

Trawler

by John Fitzsimmons | Fires in the Belly

Somewhere North of Bangor

by John Fitzsimmons | Fires in the Belly

Superman

by Denise & John Fitzsimmons | Dawghouse

I’ve always made my way down to the rivers. Even now as I sit on my back porch, I hear the rush of the Assabet a half mile to the north, already filled with an early and surprising winter melt. Any leaf of me could fall and be carried back to the fork of the Sudbury and Concord rivers. My whole life has been a continual returning to these three rivers and my common ground—the water, fields, woods and village of Concord and now, just to the west, the small mill town of Maynard.

More and more I remember less and less, but there are still granite walls that will not change for another thousand years and still a few hills to defy development; still a few farmstands with the same trucks and tractors parked by weathered sheds, and still a few cantankerous old souls hiding their smiles behind seventy or eighty New England winters. I wonder if they remember the kid who worked for them so long ago? I wonder what they remember? I wonder what they wish they’d kept?

This collection is my way of keeping what I remember. Musketaquid is the native name for the Concord River. Someone once told me that it meant “slow moving river.” It seemed like a fine and apt name to me, so much so that it didn’t bother me to discover the actual translation is “grass grown river.” The fields are now all wooded over—a bramble of Hawthorne and Swamp Maple hiding almost every view; but it still a slow moving river—and always will be. Even the Nipmucks would have to agree with that.

These songs, poems and ramblings are what I have to add to the rivers. They are the small streams of my experience becoming a smaller part of the Musketaquid, which, hopefully, flows into some greater sea of understanding and insight. They are the good, the bad, and the ugly drafts of my life scattered in here with the randomness of the winds and tides that have driven me and carried me to so many shores—and have always brought me home.

These are the poems, stories, rambles, and reflections that have been written over a long run of time, usually close to home, but often in far off places, and sometimes simply as conversations with my students, friends, or family, but always within dreamshot of the beautiful, beautiful rivers that ramble through my home.

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy some part of what is here.

Festivals & Celebrations —Coffeehouses —School Assemblies — Library Presentations —Songwriting Workshops —Artist in Residence — House Concerts —Pub Singing — Irish & Celtic Performances —Poetry Readings — Campfires —Music Lessons —Senior Centers —Voiceovers & Recording

Explore The Ancient Ballads

Songs passed through time...

Recordings, History & Resources...

American Folksongs & Ballads

 

Recordings, History & Resources...

 

Songs of the Sea & Fo'castle

Recordings, History & Resources...

Essex Bay

This house makes funny noises
When the wind begins to blow.
I should have held on and never let you go.
The wind blew loose the drainpipe.
You can hear the melting snow.
I’ll fix it in the morning when I go.
I’ll fix it in the morning when I go.

Listen...

Metamorphoses

It’s something I‘ve hardly ever thought of:
this simple and rattling old diesel
has always gotten me there and then some;
and so at first I think this sputtering
is just some clog, and easily explained:
some bad fuel maybe, from the new Exxon,
or just shortsightedness on maintenance.
I’ve always driven in the red before,
and these have all been straight highway miles —

Listen...

Last of the Boys

Come on over here
and I’ll buy the next round:
cold beer and some shooters
for the boys on the town;
Darby ain’t drinkin’
so let’s live it up
‘cause he’ll drive us all home
in his company truck

Jesus Christ, Jimmy,
man you say that you’re well;
I say we drive into Boston
and stir up some hell;
put a cap on the weekend,
a stitch in the night,
watch the Pats play on Sunday
and the welterweight fight.

That’s all she wrote boys,
there ain’t any more;
that’s why we’re standing here;
that’s what it’s for.
That’s why we all go on working all day
busting our ass for short pay:
~Hey…

Listen...

Ring of Fire: The Power of Simplicity

In fifth grade my mother finally let me go to the Concord Music store and buy a "45" single.  I bought Johnny Cash’s version of “Ring of Fire” written by his future wife June Carter and Merle Kilgore, a noted country songwriter of his day. There was no doubt in my...
Listen...

Garden Woman

I woke today and had my tea
and at the window spent the morning:
the same scene I’ve seen so many times
is each day freshly born;
from the ground I turn each spring and fall
come the flowers sweetly blooming;
you disappear among the weeds—
you are the garden woman.

Listen...

Joshua Sawyer

I doubt I’d ever have taken this road
had I known how fallen it really was
to disrepair: driving comically,
skirting ruts and high boulders, grimacing
at every bang on the oil pan.
I tell you it’s the old road to Wendell —
that they don’t make them like this anymore.

Listen...

Many Miles To Go

I see it in your eyes
and in the ways you try to smile;
in the ways you whisper—I don’t know—
and put it all off for a while;
then you keep on keeping on
in the only way you know:
you’re scared of where you’re going
and who’ll catch you down below.

Listen...

Zenmo Yang Ni

I lost the time I hardly knew you,
half-assed calling:
“How you doing?
Laughing at my hanging hay field;
I never knew the time
that tomorrow’d bring,
until it brung to me.

Yuan lai jui shuo: “Zenmoyang ni?”
Xianzai chang shu: “Dou hai keyi”;
Xiexie nimen, dou hen shang ni.
Xiwang wo men dou hen leyi
Dou hen leyi

Listen...

Superman

There’s a little blonde boy in a superman cape
Racing around the back yard;
Sayin’, “Daddy don’t you know I can fly to the moon;
I’m gonna bring you back some stars.
And after that I’m gonna save the world”
Cause I’m superman today.”
I scoop that boy right into my arms,
And this is what I say:

You don’t need a cape to be a hero
You’ve got all the special powers that you need
Your smile’s enough to save the world from evil
And you’ll always be superman to me

Listen...

The Queer Folk

True to my words of earlier this week, I finished this song last night, and at the time, I liked it--but in the clear light of day, too much of it seems forced, especially the rhymes. But that is part of the process. I think I am almost there. Let me get my saw and...
Listen...

Ghetto of Your Eye

I wrote this song back in the winter of 1989, in the dining car of a steam driven train, somewhere along the Trans-Siberian railway, after meeting a group of Russian soldiers fresh from battle in Afghanistan—that poor country that has been a battleground for way too long.

We stare together hours the snow whipped Russian plain—
rolling in the ghetto of your eye.
We share a quart of vodka
and some cold meat on the train—
you know too much to even wonder why;
I see it in the ghetto of your eye.

Listen...

No Dad To Come Home To

Rain’s falling outside of Boston—
Thank God I’m not working tonight.
I’ve got six of my own,
And a stepdaughter at home,
And a momma keeping things right.
I wonder if they’re at the table
With their puzzles, their papers and pens?
When I get off the highway
And pull in that driveway,
Will they run to the window again?

Listen...

Out of the Forge: March 30, 2017

Every Thursday Night at The Colonial Inn On the Green, in Concord, Massachusetts This is my first attempt at trying to record a night at the inn, so please forgive my engineering errors as a producer. I simply used the Bose Tonematch into Garageband and called it good...
Listen...

Somewhere North of Bangor

Somewhere north of Bangor
on the run from Tennessee.
Lost in back scrub paper land
in section TR-3.
It’s hit him he’s an outlaw
a Georgia cracker’s son,
who killed a man in Nashville
with his daddies favorite gun.
It’s hit him with the loneliness
of wondering where you are
on a long ago railway
stretched between two stars.

Listen...

No Dad To Come Home To

Rain’s falling outside of Boston—
Thank God I’m not working tonight.
I’ve got six of my own,
And a stepdaughter at home,
And a momma keeping things right.
I wonder if they’re at the table
With their puzzles, their papers and pens?
When I get off the highway
And pull in that driveway,
Will they run to the window again?

Listen...

Calvary

It seems like it ain’t been a long time,
But I’m damn pleased your coming by again.
It’s been a while since we sat down and rambled
About this and that and why and who and then
You said that you had to get a move on,
Move on and leave a space behind.
So I spent a while hitting all those old roads:
Old friends and kicking down the wine.

Listen...

Winter in Caribou

I know your name. It’s written there.
I wonder if you care.
A six-pack of Narragansett beer,
Some Camels and the brownie over there.
Every day I stop by like I
Got some place I’ve got to go;
I’m buying things I don’t really need:
I don’t read the Boston Globe.

But I, I think that I
Caught the corner of your eye.
But why, why can’t I try
To say the things I’ve got inside
To you ….

Listen...

Trawler

Leave the fog stillness
of a cold harbor town;
cup our hands
in the warm diesel sound—
leave while the children
are calmed in their dreams
by light buoys calling:
“Don’t play around me.”

Listen...

Shane

It’s been too long feeling sorry for myself.
It’s been too long with my life up on the shelf.
Sometimes wish that I was Shane—
shoot Jack Palance, and disappear again;
don’t have no one
don’t want no one
don’t miss no one:
living lonely with a saddle and a gun.

Listen...

Ghetto of Your Eye

A Veteran's Day Remembrance I wrote this song back in the winter of 1989 in the dining car of a steam driven train, somewhere along the Trans-Siberian railway, after meeting a group of Russian soldiers fresh from battle in Afghanistan—that poor country that has been a...
Listen...

Searching for an Alibi

Here I am out on the road again
and it feels longer than it was back then;
when I was younger, man, it saw me through—
now it don’t do
what I want it to—

Too ra loo ra loo ra lady I—
I’m just out searching for an alibi
Too ra loo ra loo ra lady I
I’m just out searching for an alibi.

Listen...

Don’t Let Go of Your Soul

Sometimes yeah.
Sometimes no.
Sometimes it’s somehow somewhere in between.
Sometimes it’s somewhere that no one has been–
no, nobody, nowhere, no nothing can end.
So don’t you let go and hope you’ll find it again.
Don’t you ever let go–

Listen...

Out of the Forge: April 6, 2017

Some nights I feel like I am singing in a mall. Tonight--in a fun way--it felt a bit like I walked into the Natick mall at Christmas time and pulled out my guitar in front of the Apple store and started to play, but like every night down at the inn it evolved into a...
Listen...

Weekend Custody

Jesse calls up this morning—
“You can come downstairs now;
You see the grapefruit bowl?
Well, I fixed it all;
I fixed everything for you.”

Everything’s for you…

“Let me help you make the coffee,
Momma says you drink it too.
I can’t reach the stove,
But I can pour it, though—
What’s it like living alone?”

Listen...

Out of the Forge: April 13, 2017

In my forty years or so of actively singing and playing folk music and writing songs, I have played together with a remarkably narrow list of musical partners: Rogue, Wally and Barry with camp songs and Hatrack and Seth with literally everything. These last few years...
Listen...

Life Ain’t Hard; Its Just a Waterfall

You say, hey,
who are you to say that you’re the one
to go telling me just where I’m coming from.
You can have your cake
but don’t frost me ‘til I’m done.
I can’t be fixed and I can’t afford to stall;
because life ain’t hard it’s just a waterfall.

Listen...

Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men’s lives…

~Henry David Thoreau

On Writing with Rubrics

The only way out is through... Damn! Another long post... For better and worse--and through thick and thin--I keep piling on rubric after rubric to help guide the content, flow, and direction of my students' writing pieces.  The greater irony is that I never set out...
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Wrenching Day

It has certainly been a long time since wisdom ruled the day. I did get up and run in the rain, and now I am preparing to do some “wrenching” on my motorcycle. I am trying to temper my eagerness to ride with my desire to get everything “right” on the bike--without...
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The Blathering of Teachers

To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities  as you do at conclusions. ~Benjamin Franklin             Maybe we are born more to ignore than to listen. I understand too well how easy it is to ignore the blatherings of teachers. I was a master of it once myself, so why...
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Eighteen Years

At midnight I hear the cuckoo clock chiming from it’s perch in a cluttered kitchen locked in cadence with the tower bell gonging this old mill town at midnight to a deeper sleep, like a call to prayer reminding me that this new day, starting in the dark of a hallowed...
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The End Is the Beginning

For the past twenty years this night has always been a bittersweet moment. I have never been hobbled by boredom or a lack of "things I love to do," so whatever supposed free time I have is rewarding in whatever I choose to do. The flip side is that I am teacher, and I...
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In the unfolding chores

The day sometimes slip away from me, a huge pine half-bucked in the backyard, the kids old tree fort cut into slabs, a ton of coal waiting to be moved in a train of buckets to the bin. Sipping cold water on the back deck I hear Emma rustling for soccer cleats and...
Read more...

Quit Your Whining

Anything worth succeeding in is worth failing in~Ben Franklin     "Quit your whining and complaining" is probably a clause that can easily be translated into every language in every culture on earth, for, from what I know and have seen in the world, bitching about...
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Waiting for a Poem

  It’s not like a poem to come curl by my feet on this morning too beautiful to describe, though I am looking and listening and waiting: A rooster crows above the low hum of morning traffic; the trash truck spills air from brakes and rattles empties into bins; my...
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The Silver Apples of the Moon.

Stories are a communal currency of humanity. ― Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights The most powerful and enduring connection we share as a human race is our desire and need to share stories. We engage in the art of storytelling more than most of us ever realize; whether we...
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The Night Music

The house is quiet earlier than usual. I can hear Margaret playing her guitar and singing in her bedroom—door closed as she would have it, but still beautiful to hear. It reminds me of Kaleigh when she was younger singing her heart out, as if the world didn't really...
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China Journal: Part Two

II The grass grows. The rain falls Nothing is done. Nothing is left undone ~Buddha   A day can be perfect. I have to believe this. Today was. Is. Is was a day in china. The sun breaking through today after yesterday’s typhoon. Lazy walk to the coffee shop....
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Hallows Lake

Foreward Thanks for taking a look at this "work in progress. It originally started out as an experimental one-man play. Maybe it still will be. Later I thought of making it into a novel, but it's hard to see it happening as there is (intentionally) no real plot, and...
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Rainmaker

I loved the rain last night. Last week, in a bow to reality, I reclaimed my gardens and made them into yard. Four of my kids got poison ivy in the process and I (and more "they") got an extra ten feet of width to add to the soccer field--for really that is about the...
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Redefining Literacy

 My life is the poem I could have writ, But I could not both live and utter it ~Henry David Thoreau    The common man goes to an orchard to taste the fruit. The rich man man learns how to plant his own orchard. The poet, however,  grows an even better fruit and gives...
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Make Something out of Something

It's hard to make chicken salad out of chicken manure      Dirty hands are a good sign, so hopefully, you got some mental mud on your hands and created some content to work with today.  To a starving man, any food is good food--unless it...
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The Mystery in the Cradle

This picture is from Christmas eleven years ago when Tommy was only two weeks old, and now all of them—and Gio and Pipo--are playing charades or some such game in the dining room, shouting and laughing at each other's miscues and fortifying another enduring memory...
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Why Trump Is Not Flipping Me Out

I wonder why Trump is not flipping me out? I wonder if there is some bigoted, ignorant and right-wing element that lurks inside this folk-singing, poem writing, neo-socialist shell of mine. Maybe it is not that hard for me to make the empathetic reach to feel at least...
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Thanksgiving

I am surprised sometimes by the suddenness of November: beauty abruptly shed to a common nakedness— grasses deadened by hoarfrost, persistent memories of people I’ve lost. It is left to those of us dressed in the hard barky skin of experience to insist on a decorum...
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What’s in a Song

Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet. ~Plato         Writing a song is not just an exercise in seeking some kind of future fame. It is...
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Yesterday did not become a poem

Nothing became something else; No thoughts filled my head With wonder or wisdom. Listless sky. Jumbled frames. Fleeting images: Chattering squirrels, Distant rumbling Of rush hour traffic. Today I am more determined, But all that is left Is the promise Of...
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Busy…

The start of the school year, and I have literally spent every free moment working on what is ostensibly pretty cool stuff, methinks...but it is work in every sense of the word, so I do miss those long summer mornings when  could literally write to my heart and heads...
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Weeds

  Somewhere locked in this choke of weeds spread like a mangy carpet is the hardened vine of Pipo’s Concord Grape he planted in an eager spring three years ago. Gasping for air and sun and water perhaps it has found some way to hide from my flailing hoe and the...
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Wisdom

Wisdom starts in non-action… The doing and non-doing are the equal balance. Without the luxury of contemplation there would not be a prioritizing of need versus want. Wisdom balances physical reality… Wisdom does not shuffle tasks out of view but finds a way to...
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Moby Dick: Chapters 42-51

A literary reflection to my students... The lowering for whales, the appearance of Fedallah's crew, the vivid descriptions of the first chase in a sudden and unrelenting gale, the fatalistic joy of resigning oneself to fate, the awesome poetic intensity of Melville's...
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Ring of Fire: The Power of Simplicity

In fifth grade my mother finally let me go to the Concord Music store and buy a "45" single.  I bought Johnny Cash’s version of “Ring of Fire” written by his future wife June Carter and Merle Kilgore, a noted country songwriter of his day. There was no doubt in my...
Read more...

Ready. Set. Go.

Who forgets to rinse his hair? Me, I guess, for that was the start of my day. I smelled something like coconut oil on my way to school, and then I realized, dang, my hair is still pretty wet. Wet with hair conditioner. And then I get sot school all coconutty smelling...
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The Inn

        I realized that in all my years of writing and journal keeping, I seldom, if ever, write about "The Inn," which is and has been, the biggest and most enduring constant in my life for the past thirty plus years. Every Thursday night I load up my car, truck, bus...
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The Fallacy of Philanthropy

There are thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one striking at the root. ~Henry David Thoreau     I just spent a long day deconstructing our backyard. EJ sold his alpacas, and so our fenced in pasture and barn can now return to its suburban origins as a shed...
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The Queer Folk

True to my words of earlier this week, I finished this song last night, and at the time, I liked it--but in the clear light of day, too much of it seems forced, especially the rhymes. But that is part of the process. I think I am almost there. Let me get my saw and...
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Presenting…

"Anything worth succeeding in, is worth failing in."~by Edison?      A contractor friend showed up at my house a few weeks ago just after I finished making the hearth and installing my new wood/coal stove. He complimented me on how "awesome" it looked. I then lamented...
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Thanksgiving

I am surprised sometimesby the suddenness of November:beauty abruptly shedto a common nakedness--grasses deadenedby hoarfrost,persistent memoriesof people I’ve lost.It is left to those of us dressed in the hard barky skin of experienceto insist on a decorumthat rises...
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The Enigma

Black Pond is not as deepas it is dark, dammedsome century agobetween ledges of granite and an outcropping of leaning fir, huckleberry, and white pine. For years I have paddled and trolled;swam, fished, sailed and sometimessimply tread water in the night trying to...
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The Fisher

To cast far is to cast well. I’ve always believed that the biggest fish are just beyond my range and lie in dark water I could never swim to. But experience is the wisdom that has me now casting closer to shore, nearest the reeds and overgrowth — a subtleness geared...
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Molting

I am always molting; leaving my hollowed skin in awkward places, scaring people and making them jump. They touch me and think I’m real; then laugh and say things like “What a riot.” I’m tired of this changing of skins. I’d rather stumble on myself and be fooled; and...
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The English Soldier

There is a soldier dressed in ancient English wool guarding the entrance to the inn. He is lucky for this cool night awaiting the pomp of the out of town wedding party. He is paid to be unmoved by the bride's stunning beauty or her train of lesser escorts. He will not...
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Chores

The day sometimes slip away from me, a huge pine half-bucked in the backyard, the kids old tree fort cut into slabs, a ton of coal waiting to be moved in a train of buckets to the bin. Sipping cold water on the back deck, sharpening the dulled teeth of a worn...
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The Mystery Within

EJ wanted a banana tree for Christmas so that early morning brought a plastic bag, a few meager roots and no directions. I bought some potting soil and a square cedar box EJ placed deliberately by a westward window. He gently splayed the roots, pressed the soil, and...
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Pruning

These trees have driven so many friends batty, wedged in unstable crotches, embracing hollow, heart-rotted limbs, reaching tentatively, maddened with indecision. From a distance your gestures are very lobsterlike— waving a last embattled claw, as if dueling some...
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Eighteen Years

At midnight I hear the cuckoo clock chiming from it’s perch in a cluttered kitchen locked in cadence with the tower bell gonging this old mill town at midnight to a deeper sleep, like a call to prayer reminding me that this new day, starting in the dark of a hallowed...
Read more...

Dealing with Ether

Trying to only see what is in front of me my eyes are continually drawn away from this page and the work left to be done— my labored words etched and scratched away like fleeting mosaics in dry sand. I need a windowless cell to work the alchemy that shapes the...
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How do I know

what I know? The sharp angles of this simple cottage perfected in every board sawn, shingle split and beam hewn into place goes together placed, splined, slid together, bound more by intuition than...
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Joshua Sawyer

I doubt I’d ever have taken this road
had I known how fallen it really was
to disrepair: driving comically,
skirting ruts and high boulders, grimacing
at every bang on the oil pan.
I tell you it’s the old road to Wendell —
that they don’t make them like this anymore.

Read more...

Goathouse

Goat house In reaching for the scythe I’m reminded of the whetstone and the few quick strokes by which it was tested-- the hardness of hot August; the burning of ticks off dog backs. It’s winter now in this garage made barn, and the animals seem only curious that I’d...
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Dad

Moaning like a lost whale the thin ice bellowed behind us then cracked and rang as if spit from a whip. The sharp steel of my over-sized skates etched unspeakable joy into the slate-grey, reptilian skin of Walden Pond. Our mismatched hands gripped together in the...
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Denise

There is something about coming hometo this empty house, yesterday'sheavy downpours scouringclean the alreadyweathered deckwhere I sitwishing...
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I have been here before

Trying to pull a final day Back into the night, execute Some stay of time, Some way to wrap The fabric of Summer Around the balky, frame of Fall, sloughing My skin, unable to stop This reptilian ecdysis— This hideous morphing Into respectability. My students, tame As...
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The Threshing

I trace her charging through the cornfield shaking the timbers of the ready crop startling up the blackbirds, and surprisingly, a jay. It’s the jay who startles me—
who with two quick pulls wrests itself from the transient green, screaming back from its familiar scrub...
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A Priori

How do I know what I know? The sharp angles of this simple cottage perfected  in every board sawn, shingle split and beam hewn into place goes together placed, splined, slid together, bound more by intuition than...
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In the unfolding chores

The day sometimes slip away from me, a huge pine half-bucked in the backyard, the kids old tree fort cut into slabs, a ton of coal waiting to be moved in a train of buckets to the bin. Sipping cold water on the back deck I hear Emma rustling for soccer cleats and...
Read more...

Evolution

The coyotes and fisher cats seem intent on striking some new deal with each other to toy with our fears in this gentleman's wilderness— patches of dense woods dotted with overgrown fields, riven and intersected by highways, powerlines and quiet, suburban...
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The Tide

They are building a world and the plastic is fading: Margaret and Eddie's buckets are split, pouring out the warm Atlantic as they race along the tidal flat, filling pools connected by frantically dug canals. Tommy squats naked and screams in guttural joy at the...
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Concord

The people, the music filledness of rush hour traffic skirting puddles work crews packing in laughswearingmudyellowed slickers lighting candle bombs. My sadness the euphoric detachment. I love this town. It breathes me.
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The Snow

has dropped a seamlessness before the plows and children can patch it back to a jagged and arbitrary quilting putting borders to design and impulse. I imagine myself falling everywhere softly, whispering, I am here, and I am here.
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In Reply To Einstein

*God casts the die, not the dice. ~Alfred Einstein I am cold down the neck, turtling my head to showers of ice that fall dancing and skidding on skins of crusted snow. I hold my breath when I step, inflating hopes of a weightlessness, and so be undetected
to the play...
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Waiting for a Poem

  It’s not like a poem to come curl by my feet on this morning too beautiful to describe, though I am looking and listening and waiting: A rooster crows above the low hum of morning traffic; the trash truck spills air from brakes and rattles empties into bins; my...
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Goathouse

In reaching for the scythe I’m reminded of the whetstone and the few quick strokes by which it was tested— the hardness of hot August; the burning of ticks off dog backs. It’s winter now in this garage made barn, and the animals seem only curious that I’d be here so...
Read more...

Raccoon

I’ve stopped the chinks with newspaper and rags wedged tightly against the wind blowing cold three days now. I feed the fire and curse its hissing and steaming mixing green oak with sticks of dried pine calling myself Raccoon grown fat in the suburbs sleeping in...
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Thanksgiving

I am surprised sometimes by the suddenness of November: beauty abruptly shed to a common nakedness— grasses deadened by hoarfrost, persistent memories of people I’ve lost. It is left to those of us dressed in the hard barky skin of experience to insist on a decorum...
Read more...

Welcome

I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men's lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land... ~Henry David Thoreau, Walden I’ve...
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Kampuchea

I stutter for normality across the river from black men fishing for kibbers and horned pout. Barefoot children rounded bellies curled navels stalk the turtle sunning on a log. lonely in the field grass lonely on the curbstones I stutter for normality. Not a mother...
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Supermoon

Last night the August supermoon reminded me of the fickleness of time and how substance becomes shadow and memories begin to etch themselves immutably into the hardness of what is already lost.
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Yesterday did not become a poem

Nothing became something else; No thoughts filled my head With wonder or wisdom. Listless sky. Jumbled frames. Fleeting images: Chattering squirrels, Distant rumbling Of rush hour traffic. Today I am more determined, But all that is left Is the promise Of...
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Raccoon Welcome

Welcome
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Weeds

  Somewhere locked in this choke of weeds spread like a mangy carpet is the hardened vine of Pipo’s Concord Grape he planted in an eager spring three years ago. Gasping for air and sun and water perhaps it has found some way to hide from my flailing hoe and the...
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