Rubato is not the only approach in music, stealing a bit of a beat from one note to give it to the next. Fermato – the bird’s eye – stops the count altogether, however briefly.

As if time in daily life is all that mechanical. Some days, after all, after longer than others. Or some minutes seem to go on forever, unlike others that leave us breathless.

Now, back to that matter of Rubato



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




Steal away, steal away home, as the spiritual sings. That’s the essence of Rubato, poems in the chords of life on my way to here.

There’s much blazing in pain and desire, as well as denial and, well, pretense painful to relive. But it’s true to the path, all the same.


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


All along, I’ve felt a ping of guilt when taking time to write poetry or fiction. As if I’ve been stealing from others, even when I was living alone. Rubato, in Italian, means theft, although in music it’s applied as a way of making a phrase more flexible and ultimately sensual. And here it enters, as a dimension of my life journey.

What, then, is honest and what comes across as fake in a deep desire for love and affirmation?

I’ll let these poems sing and shout and lament on their own. I’ve somehow survived their transitions.


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


As I’ve plunged into my biggest novel (on top of my earlier theological investigations recently published as Religion Turned Upside Down), I’ve become acutely aware of how much the eastern and western halves of the Mediterranean world differed in the days of the Roman Empire. For one thing, the division of Christianity into Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy was in process from the earliest days, rather than in the formal schism of 1054, and much of the subtlety of Greek thought never translated into Latin.

Mediterraneo, my newest collection of poems, moves through these waters.

This has me recalling the fact that the great Italian art form of opera was invented as an attempt to recreate the sung qualities of ancient Greek drama.

Let’s see what else we dig up.


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


The exercise of writing about what I’d like to know, rather than following the dictum of writing about what you know, mapped my mind into the sands of northern Africa. The region was little known, even before the social uprisings that captured headlines after I’d finished my first draft of the collection.

The Mediterranean Sea, after all, runs along Morocco, Libya, and Tunisia as well as Spain, the French Riviera, Italy, and Greece, even before Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt.

It’s a widely varied geography encompassing greatly different cultures, even before the ancient histories are added.

The poems of Mediterraneo are unlike any I’ve done before. See why.


Mediterraneo 1

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