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.




The Bathroom

In the hundred
year old bathroom
with the cast iron tub

a man 
with a hard-on 
and a handlebar 
soaks in red
tinted water
after a full day 
of slaughtering pigs 
in Magic City

he is reading
an illegal copy
of a serialized 
novel about a guy 
named Bloom
written by 
some Irish
who lives
in Paris

earlier in the day 
a women
with a Polish 
accent secretly
washes out 
her blood stained 
clothing while 
planning the next 
women’s protest
for the vote down 
at the courthouse

the bathroom 
floor is now 
toward the dying 
rain forests
of the Pacific

the water 
in the toilet
is longing for
a good
cup of joe

each night
after the little 
anarchist savior
goes down
my wife and I 
convene here
for a few brief 
minutes away 
from the rest of the 
crumbling world

we whisper to 
each other
while brushing
our teeth
and leaning 
toward the
outer banks

we whisper love
we whisper anger
we whisper sadness
we whisper fear
we whisper strategy
we laugh silently
we cry silently
we shake our heads
in disbelief

this tiny room
has swallowed 
a hundred years
of shit and blood 
and hair and skin 

how many infants
take their first bath here
in the past century

how many farts
have been birthed here

have any from the past
actually woken up the baby
in the other room
with the strength
of their utterance

I hope so

we stand
in bare feet
in this tiny place

we lean
every night
and watch 
our bodies 
slowly age

I love it almost more 
than all the other things
that I love so much

our quiet meetings
of exhaustion
in this slowly
tilting place



All along 
the river
the trees 
are shaking.

The ground breaks
away in measures
and spins off into
the sky.

Now people
are turning
and walking
straight into 
the six hands
of death 
and the Error 
its legal


Nothing lives 
or dies
that doesn’t 
alter the 
direction of 
this vegetable
or its 

In the forge
once again
a fiery
is wrought.




the deep
to pale
the frozen
of fields

we lost?


The Map


On these nights
when a map 
of writhen branches
appears along 
the fire banked west

and a giant peach
moon rolls
into the black 
sea above 
our wooden houses

I watch 
my daughter’s
shining eyes
just before 
she disappears

I feel the
dark embers 
of my wife’s
exhausted body
and heart

until finally
with daughter 
fast asleep
we sit wrapped 
in our blankets 
of fatigue

holding hands
and listening to
the northern
winds retaking
the prairie.

They descend 
in their long
black coats
and run through
the empty streets

pushing on
the wavy glass
of immigrant windows
and whispering
wintry prayers
to slake our
burning hearts.


The Last Dance of the Trees

They only give 
us a moment 

with our churches
and our wars

holding their 
arms wide 

the sun

in each branch
a map of time

just long 

to shower us
with color

before they 
slowly retreat 

into the darker
halls of paradise.


Red Music

The notes come tumbling out of
the battered accordion of fall.
A dark red music
with the bodies of leaves
littering the streets.

My hands shake
thinking of my mother
as I change 
the hurricane’s diaper.

A catalogue arrives
selling the dream
of a well-manicured life.
with the patina 
of nature
in clever
and artful ways.
There are no humans 
in the photos.

Ants, bats, raccoons, spiders
cats, very bold squirrels
and fleas sneaking in
on the Trojan horse
of our geriatric poodle
have been guests in our home.

The sun continues
its pilgrimage
through the yard
only a darker yellow now
and even some orange.
I cannot remember a single day
when I have not stopped 
to read the book of time
on the light flying out
from its oceans of fire.

A barely perceived
inevitability creeps
into the news.
Didn’t I hear 
these stories 
several decades ago?

The hurricane arches
and kicks
and shits
and pounds
and eats
and eats
and eats
and screams
and giggles
and farts
and cries
and destroys 
and eats
everything in her path.
The nature 
of the universe

Love is such a sweet destruction.

She watches everything
with eyes as deep as the ocean.
She is voracious 
and tyrannical 
in her need to explore.
She is ten times smarter
than previous generations.

I assume it will be
ten times harder to live
but already
her heart 
is so full.

My father sends photos
from our early years.
He works each day
sorting through them.
They have a square
white border 
with tiny dates 
like 7- 65
and a fog
is slowly blooming
across their 
shiny surfaces.
There is always 
an underlying
narrative to the ones
that he sends.
A man of few words
his actions
are poems of love.

He laughs with joy
on the phone 
when I describe
the hurricane’s escapades.

The four small rooms
of our house are 
torn asunder
each day.
The scattered debris 
of exhaustion 
love and chaos.
The violent 
energy of our days 
as we fall 
through the light. 

Hang on friend
as we fall
ever deeper
through the beautiful 


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.