Dear Friends,

On the eve of the birth of our daughter and the beginning of my fiftieth year I have gathered a selection of my poetry from the last twenty-five years into a celebration/book called THE SEASONS. These poems, as the title suggests, are loosely gathered around an architecture of the seasons. I began writing them in 1989, the year that I moved to Omaha to help start the Blue Barn, and they have been a kind of ever expanding love letter since that time.

Matt Mason, Executive Director of the Nebraska Writers Collective (and kind man that he is), had this to say about the collection:

“THE SEASONS is a collection of meditations on home, heart, and the world we watch from a window in our geocentric universes, trying to figure out these planets and suns in orbit around us. Each season passes thoughtfully and wonderfully, with a splash of wisdom and a fine-tuned eye for joy."

I am excited to share this book with you and grateful to everyone who has read and responded to the poems over the years. I will continue the tradition of posting my new work here and in twenty-five years (or less) I will have book number two, poems inspired by family life, ready for you.




first spring moon

                                           Detail from portico mural by Jenny Heineman

sitting in the grass
like two frogs
on their asses
the wild
girl laughs 
as I point 
to the moon.

birds flit 
over head
while joyfully singing
and the sun’s
western bell
ends the day 
with red ringing.

all the small
secret places 
are appearing 
again with their
vibrating laws
that crack open
old men.



Playing a little 
mahjong and
waiting for a poem
on my last night 
at fifty.

Feeling lucky
to be heading down
the backside
of a century.

Willa and Jenny 
are upstairs 
and sound 
asleep with the 
northern winds 
riding across 
the roof of the house.

Born in the middle
of the last century
my heart feels like
an empty cabin
surrounded by trees
the roof caving in

allowing passage
for rain and the moon

for wild storms 
and drifts of snow

the slow weave 
of her sun 
filtered through 
the leaves

and now 
here's a sapling 
pushing up 
through the floor.


The Dead of Winter

I walk out into 
the dark and bitter

the hidden 
sun exhales 
as we spin into 
its orange hair

sagging houses 
are strewn 
across the hills 

blue winds
are winding
through the trees.

At the car door
fumbling for keys
a single chime
of rusted metal 
hanging off 
an abandoned 
clothes line
sounds a note
that holds itself 

like the body 
of a brown bird
in the ice
beneath the lake.

My dead 
Aunt Mitza
laughs as her 
96 hatchback
coughs itself
to life.

I wonder 
what's become
of her tiny 
lifeless body
as I drive north 
through eternity
along the
frozen hills
of Fontenelle Blvd.

The car is creaking
and cracking
in the cold

as the giant 
of the universe 
slowly turns 
its violent gears.


February Snow

This watery

the Walnut
in my snow
leather shoes

the skin 
of another
keeping my 
feet warm

there are
the ice

and fiery 
across the 
endless dark

for us
to hang 
our stories on

infant minds
in the quiet

and the only
question after 

tired eyes 
staring back 
from the dark 

is how 
to love
more fully.



The moon’s white
moth wings
flutter by the

the warm
engine of
our bodies

and decaying
so quickly
in the dark.


The New Year

Detail of portico mural by J. Heineman

The feels like
is eleven below
and I’m out 
in my boxers
and slippers
under stars
helping the 
elderly poodle 
down porch steps.

The blossom 
of the universe
is petaled 
with fire
but I don’t 
feel that 
just now
as I wait 
for Lulu 

Back in 
bed upstairs 
in our creaking 
house with
frosted windows
it’s a somnambulist
square dance
as my family
annexes territory
with legs
and butts
and paws
reaching out 
in obtuse angles 
(Baby Willa’s by 
far the best)
until I’m relegated
to the northern 
edge of insomnia
where there’s
a dip  
a canyon
a spine 
bending gorge.

This then 
is where 
I contemplate
the nature 
of time

from this 
northern trench
at 3 A.M.
with one infant 
foot resting
on the back 
of my neck.

bladder emptied
is happily 
in the land
of Nod
and Jenny 
is silently floating
in a temporary sea 
of slumber.

old year.
You could not 
have given me
one more day 
of love 
or sadness 
or joy.

I will remember
you with such
great fondness
at my death
when Time 
finally stops
and watches
me expand
then turns
and walks back 
into the disappearing 


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.