Monday, December 29, 2014


some morning outing
when year turned near on end
look toward the sun;
it's softer on your face than plain air.
recall the warmer jacket
with the fluffy, full collar
that waits hung up for winter...
now so near you feel it ready to grab hold
and lay out...long and dark the shadows
so'll feel them in your bones;
those days breaths are sharp
and come in white puffs;
so many you ignore them.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hollywood Ways - the book

My book is out.
Way out.
Somewhere out behind the old barn when I was a kid.
Our barn, the neighbors barn. We had barns all over. 
In the 1950's we got a new thing, television.
That box inspired and got me going.
My book is my story
A young man goes to Hollywood with a dream in the 70's;
up and down and up again...and gets along.

Hollywood Ways by Jack Sender - 4 bucks...Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 08, 2014

rest calmly night

no wind, yet the sea moves 
on slow long breathes, in and out;
respiring a sweeping rush of shore pebbles.
folding waters cause an occasional boom on the shore

the near full moon reflecting
white sparkles in the sea
throws scattered far reaching points of light,
dancing fireflies in the darkness.

color leaves as it is blacker.
far shore lights are brighter
as the moon rose higher
in the nearly-still envelope of evening.

how do you do it?
evening, you're a sweet song
i know you mean well
i can tell by how you've done

Friday, November 28, 2014

persistent stillness

persistent stillness
on Via Baullari.
some vehicles pass, and the electric bus
fewer than most days;
tourists also, and workers.
after nine in the morning
day has begun.

chairs out front Angelo's
ciao to Simone
there is an internal warmth, a kindness,
that radiates unseen and unacknowledged
to us, from Angelo and Simone
this is the understanding of our days.

a dark cappuccino and a cornetto with apple
weather is what you interpret as warmish
Thomas is off to draw near villa Borghese
fine pen and ink lines of buldings,
and we watch Murella up the street
who won't see us today,  our usefulness has diminished.

here is the German woman
at the next table, close enough to reach out and touch,
who never sees us, yet is internally aware.
she's the neighbor who brought the blanket and threw it over Leonardo
the day he was on fire outside my door, and i put out the flames with my hands,
and we've never spoken a word about it.

this is the street i am on today this 28th of November in 2014
dry between the rains, no wind
not cold, not warm.
on the cusp of whatever is coming next

Saturday, November 22, 2014

like waves

pages turn
then closing my eyes
goes easy rolling
after another, another
not rapid though smooth,
continuous. it's dream
on a train. scenes passing.  
heads down cows on green far hills.
constant movement in waves
then  coffee in an unfamiliar bar
somewhat dim and comfortably pleasant.
the worn, rolling wood, beautifully polished.
i turn at my desk at home, sun on my back
warm. i feel it. and remember the train.
calmly looking out the window
so apparent to me
how pleasant a nap can be

Monday, November 03, 2014

lamppost addendum

moving the words around,
choosing them carefully
to tell the true story
the way it always happened
            The draft for what has become The Old Lamppost was written forty years ago, it was one stanza in a much longer poem. Last week I pulled it out and began to develop  it.  (I save all my papers.)  I worked many hours and have several revisions,  I thought about putting them out  somewhere so other poets could see what went on to get the finished product.  When I read other poets I think I'd like to see their drafts to get an idea what they were doing when they worked things out.  . 
                        I was fortunate to hear David McCullough  last year give a talk to a small group at the American Academy in Rome,  and he gave a good lesson when he said,  "I'm not a writer, I am a re-writer." 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

the old lamppost

for many years at the curb
in front of our house on main street
there used to be a large, rusty-repainted,
decorative, cast-iron street lamp

that i clipped grass around during summer,
raked dry leaves around in the fall;
the pole was dark, the paint was dull,
the light from the lamp was dim;

and you know, now and then
on some quiet, still evenings
when the windows were open i'd hear
a car stop, then a bang, and someone swore
when they opened their door on the lamppost.

Friday, October 24, 2014

on the 492

on the 492 to piazza cavour
by tom's coke zero cafe
these streets again, oh my
we are acquainted

Thursday, October 23, 2014

kid pilot

kid pilot flew
small plane to a field
we ran for the bus
12 dollars a night
at the Belmoral

oh, lady, don't worry
you're on Belize time
no hurry
just watch out for
the fer-de-lance

Sunday, October 19, 2014

stick this in your poetry butt

october begins so well, the o  
cirical, i don't have to sell praise about that
and forget looking it up, shakespeare
who's going to invent words if we don't?

then oct is a bit icelandic/germanic don't you know
and iceland is green
and greenland is ice
sell that somewhere else
none of it's jamaica for cryin' out loud

another o is balance, that helps
it needs all it can get

good thing the month ends with a pagan holiday
and don't tell me origins are otherwise
dark, chill, windy, foreboding  skies are for
nonbelievers, non confidants, malcontents
and things that bump in the night

so have a happy holiday
salute yourself
don't stick yourself
though you may, it's a possibility

good thing it ends with ber
cause it's on the way;
and you can go to iceland with the rest of them

good thing no one asked me to name a month
for the result could have been bad for everyone

Thursday, September 11, 2014

i could

I could rush-fire another poem; well, not exactly.   The truth is I can't.  I have to take my time.  There are the pile of  notes that I carry around and add to every day; but where to start?   Which is the poem fragment to work with, the one from the heart? 

When I see a good note i made, because I check them every day, when I see a good note I develop it in to a poem, sometimes.  I'll have to put some of my poems in a book so I can flip the pages and find them; now, Online it is hard to wade through the archives. 

tobacco calms me.
it's like a good deodorant,
gives me confidence.
hell, pilgrim, why i bet i could almost ride a horse . . .
half fast, anyway.

Monday, September 08, 2014

harvest moon

face in the sky
round as a pie
another tune
it's harvest moon

october's soon
just was june
say ta summer sky
a sweet good bye

sky light
sleep tight
and rocka me, baby
let's spoon, tonight

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dear people of the future

dear people of the future
it’s me again, how’s it going?
say, do you have chips implanted
and take it for granted?
just wondered, hey.

i bet they keep track of you pretty well
that’s swell, i guess.

we have places to walk
with no one around
and hardly a sound, do you?

with no where special to go
until it’s time to go home
time alone, called a day off,
really way off, no kidding

so who’s in charge?
Are you raising sons to fight in wars?
do you still get drunk?
and are there whores?
do you drive any better
if there are cars?
and when you're out at night
can you see the stars?

oh, and if you would
put the answers under  hood
in my dreams
however you do, know what i mean?

for you maybe it's easy,
ill wait and see
oh, and best wishes to all of you
from all of me

Saturday, July 19, 2014

peasley poor farm

where we pick berries,
the man said he went out
at last light,  a large bush
was nearly ready to pick.

the next morning he went out
the bush was empty;
three deer were asleep
in the grass under it.

Friday, July 18, 2014


woke up slow
got clean, ready for the day.
from the window
caught the first glint of sun

cracking over the horizon.
suddenly i froze;
an idea was coming to mind.
coffee . . .  thought of that too.

i'd make some and sip,
think a bit what to do.
going to make this day

Monday, June 30, 2014

no easy learning way

there's no easy learning way;
yet be firm and sure.
keep alert each day,
as you teach your child.

work with the goal in mind
so all ends well,
and when time comes for you to go
peace and love you'll leave behind.

Friday, May 30, 2014

may well

final weekday in may
is what we wake to
this today is here
in the year 2014

books on the table
new text to edit
pages to fill
be able; climb the hill

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

delta 245

489 mph
57 mph head wind
38 thousand feet elevation
ground speed 690

do whales and dolphin
look up and see us go by?

tail number n809nw
minus 57 f outside temperature
longitude 69 degrees 14' 47" west
latitude 41 degrees 15' 24 " north

notice -
the plastic fork and knife on the flight from rome;
exceptional, redolent of elegance
i will bring one of each home with me

the man working as attendant on the plane
wears a light blue short sleeve shirt,
has arms better than superman
and an incongruous, soft soothing voice
that is surprising;
i know he could shred a motorcycle
with his fingers.

6,515 miles from rome
38 minutes to go
244 miles to destination
the down slope

what have these passengers
in their hearts,
their minds, their memories;   
and ambitions

"have a great day here in new york,
or wherever . . . your
final destination may be."
maybe we all will do our best.

Monday, April 14, 2014

new world order

in further effort to put the world in order
i am cutting my paper trash into little pieces;
makes it easier to handle,
and the bag will hold more.

today i finished with the plastic packaging
for wrapped cooked, folded dough things with
spinach inside with a name i don't remember
and can't read the label.  not anymore.

so the water is boiling
the things are in the water
i want to know how long
to boil them, but the wrapping paper

with cooking instructions
is in the trash, cut thoroughly
into little unreadable pieces.
they must be done now

been boiling a while
while i was writing this
and forgot what time it was
when i put them in the pot.

i have a bananat for desert;
i remember what they are called.
did you know monkeys peel them
from the bottom up; so next time 

do as the monkeys do, for they
as a group, have more experience
shucking bananas than your mother
or anyone you went to school with.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

4. queen here

didn't get here yesterday
arrived today noon-thirty
in pretty violet hat and dress;
for in rome it's springtime.

met president napolitano first,
then to vatican to see pope francis
after lunch.
flies out this afternoon.
bunching activities into her day
i always say, and that's the way
good queens travel.

we waited to see her
at chiesa nuova and catch some sun.
bill was there, and rosemary too
who hasn't seen her since her  coronation.

nothing happened, all was glum
then suddenly sirens filled the air,
motorcycles sped, here they come.
the entourage appeared right here.

moving stately, rolling by,
the dark, flagged limo with the queen;
we saw her looking out at us, and we waved;
she waved at us as she went on.

it was quick and we were ready,
proud to be there and prepared
to see the queen, we surely did.
all went well, and it was good.

in and out in 4 hours.
meets  the president and the pope
home for dinner
that's how to visit rome

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

3. queens's eve

in rome on the morrow
sans popcorn and streamers
will pass her motorcade.
hurrah,  the sun will shine

reflecting on events . . .

the girl crowned june '53
on the black and white round screen
of our first TV,  
i  was eight.

texas bill, eleven
ambled prairie grass
to view at a neighbor's;
his uncle said remember.

parliament square, london,
felicitous rosemary, 15
in new dress and first stockings
with mother and tickets

sat covered,  
protected from light rain
as the select paraded
into westminster abbey

and bill said,

last time in rome 2000
her hairdresser used an english dryer
and blew out the electricity
in the quirinale, the president's palace

didn't lose it everyday, all searched
for the circuit box, hidden
behind a portrait, there are many
no one could remember which one

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

2. queen again

march 5, 1983 queen waved at me
in san francisco i was on the corner
at union square happening by
with about 7,200 other people
and so was she

maybe that's why she
did that queen wave thing
you know the one
it's the rage

so this week
31 years and a week later
her vision and mine have gone downhill
but i'll be around
when she drives by
and see if she remembers me
i'll know her, she'll be the one
in the white box hat

Monday, March 31, 2014

1. queen comes to town

mark it down
queen comes to town
on thursday;
we'll see her go by.
circling helicopters and
legions of motorcycling police
will be a reminder; 
and,  no need for we,
the head count,  to put on our dancing shoes
or dress for the occasion.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

five second rule

best recent news i heard.
a scientist said - and that's
the good part so you don't have to worry -
cause a scientist said -

"If you drop food
you have five seconds to pick it up
and eat it, no worry."
that's final.

if you're slow
you're in big trouble.
maybe a goner -
and that's real final.

Monday, March 24, 2014

if born a bird

if born a bird                
parents will feed you,
keep you and the nest clean.

the few notes you sing
is all the music you ever need.
there is no drummer.

lift your shoulders when it rains.
to go a long way
fly with the group.

look around, a mate comes along one day.
by example pass on what you know.
social networking is survival.

beware of enemies.
read the sun and the stars.
there is no other journalism.

the few notes you sing
is all the music you ever need.
there is no drummer.

Friday, March 21, 2014

kumbaya - an appeal to god

speaking from the sea of thought
where we are
take the news and shove it
the world is crying, lord

we don't need war
or to get to the stars
we must undo  our mess
and deal with the trash

Saturday, March 15, 2014

albeit truthful

open your eyes
rising in the morning
is sufficient initial accomplishment.
take it easy

carefully enter  the new day
without undo struggle
welcome events 
complete what is necessary first

naturally choices appear
what to wear, how to prepare
events approach magically
on first light of the sun.

follow through on your commitments
manage your resources
there are always choices
obligations will move you

Thursday, March 13, 2014

when long skies open wide 
for puffy caramel colored animal-shaped clouds to roll by,
it’s fine time to mellow and consider 
whatever you want 
 . . . whatever.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

under the bunk

this morning
headline says
a guy was released
from prison in Louisiana
after thirty years on death row
new evidence was found

Sunday, March 09, 2014

wind whipper

long wind whipper in green
bird holder and ring maker
always standing and patient
every time i come to see you
you are still there, watching
with no eyes
hearing with no ears
one tall finger bent on the wind

Monday, March 03, 2014


woke up thought
of oatmeal, did
ride to trionfale market
no one on the full bus

thinking academy awards
that ended a few hours ago
the brightest stars are twinkled out
a quarter way around the earth

Saturday, March 01, 2014

mr. safety town

mr. safety town i am
let her drive anyway
put my arm out for additional signal
had fun riding bare feet on the dash


turned on the radio
heard someone giving me advice
wants to put me on a regiment
maybe in a regiment

was talking fast with assurance
mentioned drugs i should take
i only know this person
as a voice on the radio

i could believe this authority
but sensibly retained skepticism.
shook my head, sipped my coffee,
turned off the radio.

ain't got no stinking badges just gratitude to you my fiend

thanks to you for my
birthday wishes
during this my
birthday year of celebration

the month is over
but the year of joy
is underway
now let's ride along

it is going to be a good one
or maybe it will rain everyday
doesn't matter
we can take it all

with love and joy
and cookies and ice cream
if wishes were horses
we'd all ride leaping

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

people soup

people soup
like assorted vegetables
in turning halls,
the designated waiting area.
of nineteen, half accompany the sickly,
only three are under sixty,
three or four walking by are staff.

for hours a crying young woman is present
there are no children
an old woman yells out in aggravation

an ambulance stops outside
doors open as a man is wheeled in
the thumping is a nurse
pounding on his chest

the disheveled drunk
semi-conscious on the floor
curls against the wall

a disoriented man in his thirties
badly scratched on face, neck,
hands, all visible skin, moaning,
someone places a motorcycle helmet
next to him on the gurney

intermittently a woman loudly coughs,
low voices murmur in waves
occasionally there is movement
most everyone remains seated
in winter jackets buttoned

the entire hospital is slow
with the main computer down.
there is never music or TV
amid infrequent quiet talking

ambulance workers wheel out a closed
metal box the size of a coffin

an attendant wheels a gurney through
and again the same obstinate, old woman oblivious
must be assisted out of the way
some patients are called in for attention

who knows what germs are air born
what psychological ingredients abound
a screech is heard behind closed doors
no one knows if it is a patient
or metal door in need of grease

cutbacks and overcrowding
there is no cafeteria only
two exact change machines port junk food

after several hours
faces become familiar
some go out for a smoke
thus sunday passes

Monday, February 24, 2014

crossover days

goodbye season of  furnace high
long, cold nights.
winter succumbs
releases its grip

these crossover days, winter to spring.
big coats are put away
along with scarves, gloves and heavy hats
to be packed in a chest for a well needed rest.

short dark days are lessening
in the cusp of warm
that will be soon
drawing our attention.

visible in the birds and trees,
in  bright young grass growing,
in the cracks in the sidewalks,
here is the advent of spring.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monte Carlo Pizza

first in for lunch
at monte carlo pizza
two pastas we chose were so so,
served on metal plates, not charming.

the boss now 20 years later
is wider, heavy, worn. 
the house soon packed as always.
a waiter remembered us, and we him.

memories of the white-walled place
stirred a taste of long ago,
nearly forgotten good time evenings,
perhaps nevermore to re-kindle.

Monday, February 10, 2014

what i' d like to do

what i'd like to do -
can that be a poem?
and when i think of you  
i might include that too 

could be partially amusing.
if it weren't confusing.
isn't that a fine
how do you do?

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

woke at three

woke at three
got up to pee
then slept again
dreamed hills and trees

woke again at 115.
someone had kindly
put time back
on my clock

Sunday, January 19, 2014

lone warming thought

a passenger plane flew over
purring like a freight train.
oozing a low rumbling hum of vibration
that cloaks all stone of intercity Rome

many someones gliding on approach
are on the pattern.
seat belts buckled, landing gear deployed
i feel them in their excitement.

when the plane has passed
all is quiet morning again.
the next sound is a vender
pushing a squeaky steel wheeled cart to market.

sweet comfort is familiarity.
a shout echoes,  jarring predawn.
then stillness,  allowing me again to slowly awaken
in the comfort of lone warming thought.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

90 miles

about 90 miles
is enough to travel
one night on dream mountain

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

been a good while

been a good while
since he came up to Rome
from Campo Basso in '44,
an able young man of 32.

carries the years in his eyes
as he indicates with his chin - out there.
recalling for me many rolling fields,  
now blanketed in suburbia.

76 and working every day.
over the 49 years he has taxied.
vehicles and times changed.
he drove me well.

paid and thanked him,
said it was a good to ride.
he restored belief there is good among us.
in parting we wished each other well.