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.




canoeing the wilderness

For Jenny

                                                                   Mitza's Hands by Jenny Heineman

Weak with exhaustion
deep within the ancient 
labyrinth of lakes

storms from the past
blow our map
into the waves.

Everything now
depends on our response
to being lost.



The thunderstorm rolls
its empty oil barrels
across the ceiling 
with black 
arms dropping 
to the prairie floor.

The insects 
are in a panic
without knowing why.

The moon arrives late
looking unwashed.
Blacking out 
and coming to
in the gaps.

In the morning
the squirrels 
are pissed 
and who can 
blame them

flinging black walnuts
from the heights
in back yard.

The baby 
must wear
a helmet 
out there.

The last deep heat 
of the summer
soaks me through
and through
and lays me out
by midday.
Such sensual
The dead look on 
with longing.

Through the three 
small windows 
above the couch
the deep blue
calls and 
       calls and 

The summer 
is ending
before our eyes.

A second bat
is sent off 
to be tested
for rabies.

She came in
for her lover
who disappeared
inside the 
square cave 
three weeks ago.

All her nights 
of whirling trees 
and wild stars
are euthanized
then flash frozen 
and bisected.

The spiders 
work hard
to re-anchor 
the house
to the trees.

The snake writes
its dark green poem
in curves across
the porch floor.

The raccoons 
gather and stare 
in our second 
story window 
wondering how 
did those creatures
become trapped
inside that box?

And here we go
over the falls 
the golden river
of summer 
in an instant.

As if our lives 
are passing
in a day.

As if it’s all 

As if 
the disappearing
is becoming 
less invisible

as the red 
of the fall



                        The Goddess of Whores by Jenny Heineman

There is 
a red ribbon
of liquid
so quickly
just behind 
your head.

Or is it 
a bolide
in the back 
of your head?

You can’t see it
but there it is.

Love now
as if it were 
the only food,

as if you 
are falling 
and love 
is a rope.

A tiny 
red river
of fire


going . . .


The Dishes

There is a window 
over the sink
that holds
a hundred years 
of nights.

In the winter I see
the neighbor’s windows 
glowing through 
black branches.

In the summer
there is a green cloud
of leaves cascading upward
with fireflies weaving 
their golden threads
in the leaves.

and cicadas 

Laughter and 
hidden sadness 
in the unwashed

I see myself 
from outside
in the dark.
There I am 
in the glowing
head down
moving slowly.

I have been 
blessed with 
so many meals
from loving hands.

Now I send 
them back out
into the world
the way my grandmothers
and my mother did.

Each fork and glass.
One at a time.
Some nights 
impossible to lift.

The stars 
looking down
as they drift 
and burn.

Oh yes.
The burning.
is changing.
How do I keep
forgetting that?

And the others
who stood 
in this place
and the ones
who will stand
here after.

I have not
been writing 
much because 
love has 
asked me 
for other things.

in the small 
hours when 
the day is done
or before 
it begins

my hands move 
as they have 
ever since 
I can remember.


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.