Only one person in a thousand aspires to become a Subway Hitchhiker. Nobody knows why, either. Of those aspirants, only one in a thousand is chosen. That aspect’s equally mysterious.

Question: With 2,371 cars operating in Tokyo, how many Hitchhikers?

DL pondered Soviet subway systems in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Tbilisi, Baku, Kharkov, Tashkent, Minsk, Yerevan, Gorky, Novosibirsk, Kuybishev, Sverdlovsk, Riga, and Dnepropetrovsk. To say nothing of related Warsaw Pact, Eastern Bloc operations.

At least they didn’t suffer graffiti. Not with spellings like theirs. No, both Hitchhikers and vandals in those realms have different problems to confront.

Not a single ballot had been cast, either.


For more from my THIRD RAIL collection, click here.


I often delight in a phrase or term that takes on a life of its own, apart from a particular content or meaning. The poet Jack Spicer, drawing on his training as a linguist, was a master at this.

Overhearing one conversation recently, my mind’s eye took the Black Joker who met the Red Herrings on a Non-Tour in a much different direction. My choir buddies, Mike and Kate, knew who they were talking about, and where. It was all about Morris dancing. For me, though, it was pure magic on its own.

Words can, after all, exist in their own sound and space. How short can a poem be, anyway? I have a few that weigh in at one word apiece, while two or three words can make for a nice verbal dance.

The title of my newest poetry collection, Noble Blue Liberty, is one of those. Years ago, I warned the mother of three children I’d run with her lofty impression, and I have. Actually, the title could stand as a poem all its own.

I have similar feelings about some of my other recent releases.


Noble Blue Liberty
Noble Blue Liberty

For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.


in the dune of the black-eyed Susan a schedule diametrically opposed to my own *   *   * a stargazer adjusts a pile of broken shell and black-eyed Susan polished by sea-spray in the dune behind an urchin adjusting broken shell, the black-eyed Susan polished by mist, the blanched dune kelp adjusting a pile of broken […]


ceramic dragon as a weed patch with teeth you, me, it don’t forget the oyster crackers *   *   * the repose of an attic ceramic dragon papered in autumn foliage of a white T-shirt and four blue candles caps a corner mattress with weeds and a sequoia the attic room reposes in a white T-shirt, […]


Once upon a time, I was one of those whose body seemed to end at his neck. I lived almost entirely in my head. Intellect was everything.

And then I made contact with a host of previously foreign sensations – things I’d previously merely viewed. The exchange, for the most part, was marvelous. Let’s start with the feel of my lover’s skin to my touch. Or her lips on mine.

In time, she pointed me toward yoga, which really opened my inner vision. Much of the process I describe in my novel Ashram, starting with the response to the direction, “Touch your toes.”

The poems of my newest collection, Foreign Exchange, continue to probe the universe of surfaces – as well as much that lurks underneath.



beach umbrellas at the foot of the sagging pier, forever towels wrapped in ribbons on a sandstone floor *   *   * don’t know this beach as a sandstone floor how long a floor measures good fortune wrapped in sandstone ribbon this beach a long floor doesn’t good fortune wrap itself in ribbon knowing this how […]