Dear Friends,

I have gathered a selection of my poetry from the last twenty-five years into a book called THE SEASONS. (You can preview or order the book here.)

I am grateful to everyone who has read and responded to the poems over the years. I will continue posting my new work here and in twenty-five years (or less) I will have book number two ready for you.



the waves

Each summer
paints another brush
stroke down
the giant’s back.
A canvas of dark gold 
with blood running

The old day floats
its red hair in
the rising tide of night                     
takes a breath
and disappears
in the down below.

I drift away
from a dream of a life
in my dead Aunt Mitza’s 
96 rust Honda.

Failure and the stars
bloom in the black
iris of night.

Sweltering today
it was my turn
to sit in the car
on a side street
in the shade
because I did not want 
to go home to what
was once home
while missing home 
beyond reckoning

and without moving a hair
I was carried
on waves of sadness
out past the past
with its tinted colors
and the future
with its cool morning air
and into the open water
of the present.

          Once, deep in the wilderness, I lost my bearings. I knew where I was in the wilderness. I lost my bearings of identity. It's happened many times. It’s one of the reasons that I go there when I can. On this particular trip there was an afternoon after a day of paddling and portaging that I stripped off my salt stained clothes and carefully waded out over the sharp granite rocks that had been there for thousands of years until I could safely launch forward and glide out into the dark water so cold that it made me breathe quick dollops of air as if I was running or making love. I swam away from the tiny island. No people, no cabins, no boats, no electricity, no roads, no society. Just wilderness. Surrounded, cocooned, for days by wild forests and lakes. Moon, wolf, fish, bear, water, granite, pine, birch, sun, clouds, waves, wind, fire, flower, eagle, night, day. I turned over on my back and lie among the waves. The sun warming my face, chest, cock, and legs; the lake below making my skull, back, ass and legs shiver. The only sound was the wind and the tiny music of the waves lipping by. Over the heavy days of passage back into this wild place my identities had been slowly melting away and as they did I felt more and more of the wilderness until eventually there was so little of me left that a great quietness was able to grow in the space where all those other me(s) used to live.

Now I am soaked
in sadness and sweat
in the car
on the side street.

Now it is night
and I am driving away.

Now this prairie city
with its ten thousand roads
is a sacred ground
for the passage of our lives.

Now I am eating alone
while the sun disappears.

Now I am lying in bed
with fear by my side.

Now I am writing
this as a prayer
to the great 
quietness inside
which lets me see
everything more clearly. 

Now I am lifting my daughter
high into the air.

We are spinning
like the universe
as she laughs and laughs.




Evening Rhyme for Little

Walking with
the Little through
the crumbling streets
of tall grass city

watching stars
float by on wings
parsing rocks
and fallen things

with a laugh
she starts and runs
through a dozen
tiny suns

so we go
our merry way
in the endless
dying day.


Thunder Storm

          Thunder high above.
The edge of the storm is red. 
          My face soaked with rain.



        Hungry and distant
the red giants that we tend
        burning in the dark.



These late 
autumn days 
with their rolling 
gray canvas 
spattered with
earth and fire 

they go flying 
through our eyes
past tilted suns
burning themselves away.

My daughter and I 
spend hour after hour
in the park
cataloging each leaf
and making tiny 
worlds with them. 
Little constructions.

She is all energy
fighting to keep moving
right up until
the last moment 
before sleep 
stills her tiny body.

At night the rains
blow across the rooftops
as refugees walk
through forests
with their children.

On the way to work
in the thick darkness
news of our wars
tumbles out of the radio.

Cars race past 
with red coals glowing 
in their driver’s chests

a weakened cardinal 
all ember and wings 
is quietly breathing 
in mine.

Another winter 
walks just outside
the gates of the city.
Our time grows short.
And perhaps the world 
calls for something else
as hard as that may be.


the poetry of Kevin Lawler

The gift economy . . .
from Wiki - In anthropology and the social sciences, a gift economy is a mode of exchange where valuable goods and services are regularly given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards. Ideally, voluntary and recurring gift exchange circulates and redistributes wealth throughout a community, and serves to build societal ties and obligations.