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.





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 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


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.