May 22 23

2 sample poems from “Disturbing Shapes” (New Plains Press, 2023, available from Amazon)


Stamp Collecting

The other kids went for commemoratives, first-day covers, cancellation errors

and they divided their albums according to country and decade.

But my sister and I marked our sections birds, trees, dogs, trains.

My specialty was children, two pages of children.

The purple boy in a cloak surrounded, all eight sides, by perky little sparrows

the red girl in kerchief and flowy dress talking to two perpendicular peacocks.

And the blue one, a circle of children, singing children, dancing children under and around a wiry smiley sun.

The neighborhood came at us with page upon page of dark-green masculine heads

brown government buildings


large tables



We’d look away, would never trade

had no desire to own those dull little rectangles

newspaper scraps

encyclopedia illustrations

miniature, withered dollar bills.


They say we begin with answers and end with questions

but mathematicians begin with questions and end with the same questions.

Are formulas coincidences?
Are proofs coincidences?
Especially when the proof is long. Long proofs are suspicious.

A proof should be one step. A thing happens for only one reason.

Are algebraic identities coincidences?
When something cancels out, is that a coincidence?
What exactly are the questions?
We begin with questions and end with nothing.

Just a bunch of theorems. Just a bunch of proofs.