An altercation 

Between parchment and ink

And possibly the quill.

A quibbly sort of fellow,

He draws lines

Too sharply at times.

They cut,

And the cost 

Is much too heavy to blot.

Scribes have tried.

Those writers in robes,

They would know

Having spent hours

Over books bowed.

I have made a lousy one.

What might it matter

If script became dragon?

A mistake is only made

When spied through the page.

My menagerie 

Would never betray.

So still, I parlay 

With my quill…

Or, perhaps, it’s parley?

He so likes to argue,

And I’ll happily oblige

As it is in my disposition

To remain sunny.

–C. Green




Wonder, worry, want:

A grinding of gears

Until dust…

Bone into ashes,

Blood into rust,

The yearning from turning–

Decay from distrust.

A cycle of flurry,

Of winter-spun lace,

Ice-melted years

Like sleep-induced fears

In tatters…

The winds blow it ’round.

–C. Green



I am at all angles–

Acutely distressed

By those in the “right”

When clearly,

They are being obtuse.

To what degree 

Must I speak

To be plainly heard?

Turning circles,

Those round-a-bout hurdles,

Is just as frustrating

As miscalculations

And ill-derived math.

This type of revolution 

Was not the revelation I sought.


–C. Green

Though Distant…

Dig you a trench,

And bury your brothers in war.

Decimate climates of peace;

Call every innocent, whore.

Wage every day

What your ravenous soul craves,

And watch fools become martyrs,

Kings crowned from jesters and knaves.

Squander their time,

Should our children survive.

Sell their inheritance and health

Before they’re of mind…

To know what you have taken.

Beware, the rustling

Of defiant stares.

The whisper of leaves

Grows louder than bombs in the air.

Do you hear it?

Though distant,

It is the sound of elections

With inflections of hope.

–C. Green


More Distant…

We took to the streets,

Pavement under feet,

And the pounding

Took its toll…

Rushing through each meter.

You could hear every foot there,

Panting, struggling,

Begging for air….

In the way some fell at the finish.

We ran–

From borders, nightmare, disease.

We ran–

From the terrors of human extremes.

We ran–

And were afraid to cross the line…

The end should be more distant.

–C. Green


(There are so many reasons why we run. It can feel deeply satisfying, so very visceral, to physically run away from the stresses that plague modern urban life. I began with that feeling, the freedom of being able to flee… remembering the marathon I ran with my brother a few years back… in the first three lines. However, the newest terrorist attack in London weighs heavily on my mind, and so it’s colored the rest of my words.)

音乐 Music (Yin1Yue4)

Here goes… I’m studying Mandarin on my own. Only my family and close friends have known I do this for fun. It’s been six months since I started sitting down with books and recordings, sporadically studying when I have time. It’s as fascinating as it is frustrating in the way of delicious puzzles, just like music. The language is tonal. It feels like singing when I speak, and learning to read and write feels like my first lessons in reading notes on a staff.

I am many, many years away from being able to communicate with any fluency… Wo3de Zhong1wen2 bu4 hen3 hao3… 我的   中文   不很好… but I still feel the push to try. I write. Like making music, it’s what I do. So, here goes my poem in Mandarin about music. I only used words that I actually have in my vocabulary, but I had to look up the characters, cut and paste via Google Translate and verify via my Pleco app. The second set is without tones indicated and with my rhyming translation.

音乐  Yin1Yue4


他们不听我.  Ta1men bu4 ting1 wo3.

(They do not listen to me.)

我不要骂.   Wo3 bu4 yao4 ma4.

(I do not want to scold.)

为什么我要说.   Wei4 shen2me wo3 yao4 shuo1

(Why would I want to speak)

言辞说太大了?    Yan2ci2 shuo1 tai4 da4 le?

(Words too loudly?)

我不会.  不教导.    Wo3 bu4 hui4. Bu4 jiao4dao3 ku3.

(I cannot. I don’t teach suffering.)

, 那么给我音乐.    Qing3, na4me gei3 wo3 yin1yue4.

(Please, then give me music.)

孩子, 你们唱歌.    Hai2zi, ni3men chang4ge1.

(Children, you sing.)

我是你们的音乐老师.   Wo3 shi4 ni3men de yin1yue4 lao3shi1.

(I am your music teacher.)

C. Green

YinYue (Music)

Tamen bu ting wo. (They do not listen.)

Wo bu yao ma. (I wish not to scold.)

Weishenme wo yao shuo (Why would I want to speak)

Yanci shuo tai da le? (Words so brash or so bold?)

Wo bu hui. Bu jiaodao ku. (I cannot. I don’t impart suffering.)

Qing, name gei wo yin yue. (So give me melody, then.)

Haizi, nimen changge. (Sing for me children.)

Wo shi nimen de yinyue laoshi. (I am your mentor in music.)

C. Green