I am an English Instructor at a community college in western North Carolina. I've been at this since the early eighties and have two books from McFarland & Co. (Waiting For Godot's First Pitch and Touching All the Bases) and one with Carter Monroe and Robert Canipe (Writers on the Storm) from 1stBooks. I've published in small presses and university presses six hundred or so poems, stories, essays, and reviews; work has appeared every where from RAW BONE PRESS to HBO and Time Life. I've done the small press magazine Third Lung Review since 1986. Most recent issues are online at my webpage.

Dog Nights

The dog sloughs in from the night
like a black sack of heavy bones.

Soon, whoever or whatever does it
will pull the cord on his train.

He sleeps in sharkish fits on a brown bedroll
by the basement pool table.

Along one whole wall, the books of a
lifetime hold their words in tight attention.

In a far corner, exercise machines crouch like
a museum display of dark skeletons.

Near midnight, the one Labrador ear that will,
raises to strains of Steely Dan, "Babylon Sisters."

I am not famous; Armageddon is no closer, and
my old buddy hears better than I, the earth's deep groan.

I Thought I Knew When Childhood Ended

When we hung up the gloves
and the ball grew dusty
in the corner,
I thought childhood had ended.

When we drove to drive-ins,
with girls curled
like cats in back seats,
I thought childhood had ended.

When college called
and we answered the books
with caffeine and marijuana,
I thought childhood had ended.

When we married the ones
who accepted our secrets
and forgave us our pasts,
I thought childhood had ended.

When our own kids toddled and spit,
then hoofed it
off to play school,
I thought childhood had ended.

When we protected them,
coaxed them, and begged them
to be just like us,
I thought childhood had ended.

When they left, too,
fuzzy futures, born like sacks
across their shoulders,
I "knew" childhood had ended.

Yet, last night, after a sunny day
of pitching mindlessly through
eighteen innings, eighteen holes,
his cancerous body anchored in that "bed of awe,"

Coffey left us at the hospice
to remember golden summers
on red dirt diamonds, to sniff
freshly cut fescue on the links,

and finally to know
that childhood only ends
when one loses
his childhood friends.


Two boys, one to hit, and one to field,
then to switch. She'd mapped the yard
and knew where the bushes were,
where the clothesline ran.
Her back to the plate, she marked off
this year's spot with confident steps,
turned till the sun glinted off
the thick shades she'd worn
since she left the hospital,
since her husband slammed
her into the stone fireplace,
destroying her eyes.
She felt the seams of the ball,
aligning them with her first two fingers.
She knew the boys' height
from hugging them every day.
She knew how to come forward
and when to let go.
She knew to duck
but would sometimes
get hit by grounders.
Sherry threw strikes
that only her sons could see.
No wonder they became
all-star players.
No wonder they became
good men.