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In-Line Haiku

Poem: In-Line Haiku

© 2020 Keith Hamilton Cobb

The Other Me

Another me could’ve found a way
To hear the things you didn’t say,
And know what all you needed done,
Not you, but her, that other one.

I would have read the other’s mind,Red Door Web
Ignoring you she hid behind,
And held her when she needed touch,
And left her when I was too much;

And proven worthy of her trust,
Her grace, her company, her lust.
But I scarcely knew that she was there,
And, of the you I was aware,

She did the other you no good
To be not as the other would;
To disguise her so as I’d not see
What she was needing most of me.

But there was no other me to seek
The other you who did not speak;
Who just expected me to know
Her other heart she did not show,

And somehow to commiserate
With her who I first saw of late.

The one me did all he could do,
Having too late met the other you.

© 2014 Keith Hamilton Cobb


Splitting Logs 2

Shit, I’m older now.
Elbows ache and knees more.
“You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” they say.
But I can still drop that twelve pound maul
On the flat of a fat maple log,
Snort hard and send the severed halves flying in submission.  Bang!!  Fuckin’ay
badass, hardass machine for breakin’ shit,
That’s gotta be what, from the soles of my feet planted,
Swinging through the back, through the shoulders, through the length of my arms,
Through the length of that steel handle, what,
Maybe eight, maybe
Nine hundred foot-pounds at the point of contact at least?  I don’t know the math.
My daddy, he’s slow.
Crooked and squat,
His body ain’t no fulcrum
For an axe that heavy swinging any more.
For him, twelve pounds overhead can’t be more than, what,
A hundred or so pounds at the target?  Maybe two.  I don’t know the math.
I know that dense, wet wood isn’t so scared of him like it used to be when I was small.
He doesn’t seem to mind.  Maybe he does.
I do.  But he doesn’t say much.
But he’ll whack away at it,
Shuffling and crouching,
Lifting with a grunt to set it right when he’s half missed it, and knocked it
Tumbling off the stump.
Heaving that hammer and dropping it
‘Till that log surrenders, and the halves drop off to either side
like executed soldiers, mostly bludgeoned to death….
Lives can weaken if we don’t nourish them,
So as there’s less for a Spirit to swing from.
That’s not his problem.
Me, I’ll blast through that whole pile of logs and stack it in an hour
So he doesn’t have to, and
So I’ve got something to show.

© Keith Hamilton Cobb

An Aquarius Full Moon

It’s an Aquarius Full Moon tonight.
Somebody told me that’s what it was, and I saw it, hanging
Bold and unapologizing in the sky, when I let out the dog to do his last of the evening thing.
Being an Aquarius, I suspected that
Ought to have meant something to me.  In fact,
I was sure it did.  I Googled it and found a lot about it having to do with compassion and
Service and selflessness, yadadayadadayadada.  But
For all that,
All I could think of was that
We looked up at it the other night, you and I, and decided that
It wasn’t quite there yet.  And that
Later I reached across the cab of the truck and took your hand.  Or was it before?


“Does Saturn Have an Aquarius Full Moon?” Acrylic on wood









Either way,
It was like a boy.  And
You held my hand, simply, but
Held it,
As if maybe you know a little something
Of boys, and how they’ll
Sometimes reach across the cabs of trucks on warm nights when
The moon is nearly full,
Putting every one of their fears, frustrations, and doubts into the hope that
There’s just a little love over there.  And how they’ll wanna
Weep when they find it; wanna
Hide in it, that
Hand they’re holding, but
They’ve been acting like men too long.  Tonight,
It’s an Aquarius Full Moon.  I wondered
If you saw it.  Then
I wondered where you were.

© 2007 Keith Hamilton Cobb

As This Thing Is (The Thing Itself)

Mixed media on wood, painted circa 2005

“Be Still and Know” mixed media on wood, painted circa 2005

This Thing, It would not speak to me.

It has no words, nor, as I see,

no iconography that will suffice

to depict clearly Its device.

It takes no rise from words or deeds,

but, being, oddly, It concedes

an insouciant assurance

of Its perpetual occurrence.

This thing, it seems…It Is…volition.

And that’s the whole of Its condition.


With ceaseless verbal diarrhea

I’ve been to war with that idea.

Demanding that This Thing respect

the shock troops of my intellect,

I took that huge unquantifiable

to blows with my sure and reliable

self-conceit…without requite.

This Thing just was…It would not fight.

I, rhetoric weary, acquiesced.

In my submission, It expressed

That farts in breezes mean as much

if I with language hope to touch

divinity, or would advance,

with my corporeal arrogance,

to some more conscious point of view.

And yet…This Thing, should it imbue

all my relentless diatribing,

and like endeavors towards describing

what It is…with Its own essence,

then It’s expressed in my incessance.

And so It is…And so I Am,

accidentally if at all prophetic,

But grateful, and, as This Thing is,

divinely unapologetic.


© 2005 Keith Hamilton Cobb

On the Train

I heard the old man on the train talking about his new hip replacement
In explanation of why
He got up so carefully, slowly,
Graciously exchanging seats with the waiting family of five.
I asked,
“How long have you had it?” and
The man began to speak to me about it as if no one had asked in a long time,
Or ever.
He said, wide-eyed, almost hopefully,
“You know about hips?” and
I told the man, smiling, almost apologetic,
“Well… not that kind…”  I was just asking.
The man told me –
He seemed eager to continue the conversation –
He thought I might be a doctor the way I inquired,
Which got me thinking,
While the old man spoke,
What would now be different if I had, in fact, been
A physician sitting on the train reading my book
Who had gone to school for nine years to become one, and
Then had practiced for several more, and married, and
Made babies
(Like the couple with the two children and grandma in the next seats over,
All looking quite content on their way to the baseball game) and
Now I was indeed inquiring,
Asking about the man’s new hip
Because I knew all about them, and
I genuinely cared about others, and
My heart was huge, and

© 2014 Keith Hamilton Cobb
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