prayerful stones

i remember the wind
whipping across my kilted legs
laughing at my zeal to recapture
a long-forgotten past

and the gorse glowing
stubbornly under a shrouded sky
blossoms jealously reaching
for your gentle touch

further and further north
we climbed through glens
of the truest highland green
to distant john o’groats

past braemore and dunbeath
around cairn and broch
bending this way and that
seeking the end of the world

but most of all i remember you
smiling before a distant bridge,
i see you there radiant and true
and ever more beautiful still

i watch you waiting there—
the green hills rolling behind you,
as quiet moss in lazy patches
crawls up a roughhewn arch

the stones kneel in steady prayer
longing ever for your touch
for stones know how to pray slowly—
the only prayer that truly matters

they pray for your return,
beloved Laya, as most certainly do i
every moment you are gone
from my side

2015.05.21 John O'Groats 019b

On the road to John O’Groats, Scotland


silently knowing

this field whithers
with bitter embers
scorched by an avid sun

bare drops descend
upon these drying lips
tipped with thirsty groans

colors quite languish
for anguished want
of your infrequent touch

too naively perhaps i
tenuous cling to your
barely spoken branches

brushing the scales
from my dusty eyes
breathing so slowly

there is even now
an unmistakable scent
in the heaving air

the harsh musky odor
of phallic dessication
and carrion wings

Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point, Utah

one more glass

stands untouched
upon the mantle bare
the flavor passed
the moment gone

recalling such joys
i’d never thought
to have known at all but
for my beloved you

you reach behind
and stroke my neck
and let the touch
of love beguile me

your fingers adept
caress my deepest
soul with hope intent
on one more kiss

and so before you go
a saddening smile
across your lips
bespeak but to me

this simple oath
that before this time
of mine be done
we two shall share

in gentle warmth
and keenest bliss
a loving embrace
and one more glass


Laya and George enjoying a literary pub tour in Edinburgh


in loving you
i feel the warmth
of a gentle autumn sun
bathe my face in longing

eager waves
of clarified hope
spread from your fingertips
caressing my weary limbs

in reaching for you
the withering gray
of my detested failing
falls humbled to the earth

facsimiles of being
clinging desperately
to my skin begin to peel
while healing has at last begun

when you hold me
i know the touch of truth
and the passionate embrace
of glorious ishtar ascendant


the besmeared merchant sighs
his dilapidated stall shivering
even from the weight of the dust
that covers his trivial wares

useless all but for one piece
one timelessly treasured vase
facelessly reminiscent, recalling
nana’s gentle hands folding the clay

never would he have chosen
but for the direst of needs to place
her final work beneath the sun
shunned by one patron after another

a screaming child races past
a cloud of dust clinging to his heels
which kick at the angry world
with zealous determination

behind the child, lost in his clowd
an elderly woman growls, teeters
blindly rubbing her stinging eyes
as her hip collides with the stall

down it falls, beautiful in despair
down it falls, crashing to the earth
smashing a heart that had nothing
left to hope for beyond simply this

he does not scream, does not yell
does not tear at what remains
of the bedraggled gray mess strung
limply over his sweaty crown

his jowly countenance drips sorrow
into the dust of his finality
his skin cracks across brittle bones
enthroning a once proud man

as a naïve prince of fools

for my father

never have i known
a man who so deftly
blends the honest love
of his noble heart
with the potent vigor
of his indomitable frame

a man who composes
with sweetest care
tales of vibrant life
and fantastical creatures
striving to tend those
trembling in need

i have passed a lifetime
struggling to elevate
myself beyond my dull
and common being
so that i might find
peace in who i am

yet my greatest feats
pale in comparison
to the life he has given
for those he loves
and for his ever eager
and child-like voice

my highest honor—
my dear and beloved
father, George—
lies in the fact that
i am and always will be
your adoring son

2015.06.06 Wedding.03