Lives We Choose


black lava






her back to us

thumb out

held low older


knock-kneed slow


taking her home

she whispers of

years ago leaving

then returning

to live here alone


wind howls:

the mojave


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I've been writing mostly poetry for many years and have gotten a number of works accepted in publications and anthologies. I'm most interested in communicating with poets for whom craft is a high priority. I enjoy finding and commenting on poetic gems in other people's work. For my own work, I welcome polite comments, whether positive or critical.

16 thoughts on “Lives We Choose”

    1. Jana, here I go again, somehow messing up the order of comments, just when I wanted to tell you how emotional the music and photos were for me. So many connections. Some of the photos showed a completely flat horizon. When I look at our old family photos taken in southwestern Kansas or in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, I am always astonished to see nothing behind the people, nothing on the horizon. The Joshua trees in the video remind me of my brother who recently died on the outskirts of Joshua Tree, California. The train engines remind me that my parents worked for Southern Pacific RR during WWII, in whistle stops like Las Vegas and towns like San Bernardino. It looks like there are some photos of the Mojave, as well, in which I have had many experiences. Thanks so much for your kind comments on the poem, and for your taking the time to post the Ry Cooder video.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dave, yes, it is autobiographical. I have wrestled with this poem for years and am still not satisfied with it. One day on a trip east from coastal California, my wife and I got off the Interstate between Barstow and Needles to slow down and muse about the highway, Route 66, an important highway in my family’s history. This section of the highway is remote. So to encounter a lady walking down the middle of the lane, hitchhiking, was surprising. Where had she come from? Being such a slow (and evidently pained walker) how long had she been out there? Thanks for reading the poem and commenting on it. — Mike


      1. The backstory is intriguing and made me re-read your atmospheric and suggestive poem. Amazing how moments like this stick with you, isn’t it? I’m doing something on childhood memories, examining why they stick when others don’t. My thoughts turn to Jim Morrison’s lines about an incident he witnessed driving through the desert:
        ‘Indians scattered on dawn’s highway bleeding,
        Ghosts crowd the young child’s fragile eggshell mind.’

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Zoltán, I’m glad that you were able to connect to the poem. Yes, by all means I hope you can find the time to explore the desert. I’ve talked to people who “hate” the desert, but usually they are the ones who drive insanely fast from Southern California to Las Vegas and back, so the landscape is a blur to them. And, frankly, they are probably the types of people who wouldn’t be interested, anyway. But people who are willing to walk into the forbidding landscape can be rewarded with great beauty. Some souls, such as the lady in the poem, cannot seem to escape the desert’s power.


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