The Art of Grilling: Religious Reflections

The Art of Grilling: Religious Reflections was written as I grilled dinner on the patio under the deck.  Rilke’s Book of Hours in one hand, an IPA in the other, a notebook and pen between as I timed the food 

I would read a poem and I would write a poem.  And then I had The Art of Grilling.

For those with a spiritual bent.  Enjoy.

To touch
To taste
To feel
To hear
All caught in five words:
I am that I am,
And everything is
As we too are born turning
And hearing another say,
I am that I am.

Monster in the Kingdom: From the Grendel Manuscript

Monster in the Kingdom began in Beowulf, was rediscovered in John Gardner’s Grendel and has been an ongoing series of poems for over forty years.

Kings and kingdoms, monsters and heroes.  

And the unique twist that eventually turned up in me —  Hrothgar and Grendel are brothers.

Families are always tricky.  Enter the kingdom. . . he, he, he.

Grendel sits close by Hart Hall
Having found an undiscovered cave
That holds bones older than his;
He builds a fire from dry, hard wood
Then screens it with a pile of branches
So it may not be seen still giving
Him what he wants  –
Warmth and the licking flames
Drawing images and stories for him
As he listens and watches what
Goes on down below.

In Our Time: Poems in Response to COVID-19

The Implications

Proximity matters.
Distance is becoming
a psychological reality
in dimensions we know
nothing of.
                 The only thing
I can think may 
be is we’ll learn how to
overcome the distance
between, within ourselves.

In Our Time is a brief volume of a meditation on COVID-19.  The title comes from a prayer in which what proceeds the words “in our time” are the words “give us peace.”  We hear the echo of these six words nearly constantly if we are listening at all.  Read these poems as if they are a prayer.

Such Beautiful Sense

Such Beautiful Sense is an attempt to express the sense of and towards Nature I have been given.  Is there an aesthetic in it?  Yes.  Is there a metaphysics in it?  Yes.  Is there a religion in it?  Yes.  Nature contains all the essentials of being alive.  All of them.  And what may have been captured in these poem is only fractional of what was given.  

We are of the earth and the earth is of us.

It’s pretty clear.  Read them and reconsider who you are, what you’re doing. . . .


A light frost has replaced snow.
Such frosts are the announcement
of winter’s end when a few months
ago they proclaimed its beginning.
Curious how the same thing
can equally proclaim a beginning
and an end.

Observations from Detached Retina Eyes Standing on an Artificial Knee

Observations from Detached Retina Eyes is a volume of brief poems to help you laugh, think, see things differently.

All you need is an open heart to read these “poems.”


I thought I was seeing,
But left a piece of steak
In the marinade;
I thought 
I was listening,
But did not hear
The laughter in your voice –
I need the spittle on my eyes,
And the fingers in my ears

These Need No Title

These Need No Title.  Love poems.  Supply your own.

If you, like me, are love’s
fool, then motley is our garb
for better or worse not the way
marriage uses that stolen language
but because that’s the way things are,
especially how love turns, and our
hands and hearts must hold –
if we are as we say we are love’s fools –
and not let go . . . not hold too tight.
A sudden shift, the way a blouse slips
off a shoulder, and something not
before seen appears – and the only thing
you can say if you are love’s
fool is “yes.”
To step back in time
is not always an act
of memory – distance
and place can make now
not appear and then seem everywhere.

Poems From the Woods

Poems from the Woods.  Some might find hunting and poetry au contraire.  But like one of the poems reads,

My father hunted God,

I hunt deer:

I can’t tell much difference.

There’s more to hunting than taking game.  These poems, every one, was written while I was hunting.

Something I have done for decades:  pen, notebook, cell phone notes app and me in a tree stand, ground blind, sitting on a rock or fallen tree while still-hunting.  I offer no apology for being a hunter and one who has been given moments, feelings to try and capture that move me.  And, therefore, hopefully, you.

“Whose woods are these?  I think I know. . .” mine and yours to come and go in.

Enter and see what you find.

Piercing the Veil: Appalachian Visions

Piercing the Veil: Appalachian Visions by Greg Clary and Byron Hoot provides a panorama of place, people, and interpretation through the eyes of Clary and the words of Hoot. Clary and Hoot were born and raised in West Virginia. Both were marked deeply by the physical and emotional landscapes they were born in and have never spiritually left. These are photo ekphrastic poems—photos prompting the poems by capturing the natural art of reality in an instant. Provocative. Unexpected. Like life. An area often stereotyped, Appalachia is painted here as unique, provocative, sometimes ordinary, and always unexpected. From the foreword: “I was a little unnerved thinking someone could look into my life/ and wonder what I’ve done with it,” writes Byron Hoot in response to Greg Clary’s photo that ‘penetrates the veil’ of a run-down shack somewhere in the middle of the woods. The photographer, through his trained and alert eye, preserves the often ignored, what we too-often avoid or pass through traveling somewhere else. The poet looks deeply into the photograph, and, as only a language at once beautiful and insightful can do, fashions for us a fresh way of experiencing it. Throughout this invaluable collection, Clary’s photos and Hoot’s poems accomplish that rare and lucky phenomenon of artistic collaboration, their independent muses somehow tapping into a mutual recognition, inspired by the same sources, offering us multi-faceted ways of experiencing these real places, like Sligo, PA and Jackson County, West Virginia, and revealing their hidden spirits. They are forms of worship. For the photographer, a truck is captured through thin branches which, for the poet, is “an abandoned monument.” What Clary and Hoot have accomplished is, indeed, monumental: transforming their sacred encounters into tenderly textured images and words. Clary and Hoot aren’t going somewhere else: they’re stopping, looking, synthesizing, tenderly absorbing, revealing—and therefore celebrating– what we only notice. They “stop, linger/perhaps seeing ghosts/or hearing voices having something to say.” What have they done with their lives? Well, they’ve pierced these veils. They’ve woken us up.”

Philip Terman, author of Our Portion: New and Selected Poems

Poems of the Mad Hunter and Other Tales

“It’s about hunting and it’s not at all about hunting,” is the poet Byron Hoot’s self-described notion that captures Poems of The Mad Hunter. In a Faulkner-esque voice and Zen no-mind our Mad Hunter explores an inalienable primal connection to nature. In a universe of tired tropes, Mad Hunter is something new, evocative and fresh. It’s about hunting and it’s not at all about hunting.