The Kephart Crow

Pleased to unveil a new poem of mine, “The Kephart Crow,” in the latest edition of The Canopic Jar, an excellent literary zine and press that I’ve been fortunate enough to contribute to over the years, in various guises. Thank you to Phil Rice for including this one. Formerly based in the Nashville area, Canopic Jar is now based in the Chicago area, which is my direction in reverse, ironically. Rooted in the Smokies, this piece is part of a series of writings “triggered by sound”. Hope you enjoy it, and as always, thanks for the read, right here and/or below.

The Kephart Crow

Part One

In my travels, I sometimes seek out markers
Paying tribute to those who have made my path lighter
Better trod, or more manageable, quietly saying thanks.

On the north side of Chicago, the graves reflect the city
Sullivan design, a baseball for the ages, and Mr. Cub Himself
Three signers rest in Boston, Paul Revere still riding through
The granary, headstones leaning and tumbling like Halloween

Across the south unknown soldiers from Stone River to Shiloh
Line up in a row, begging silence for the day, lambs
Underneath the stars, in the center of the desert sands
The gilded palace of sin, Cap Rock aglow with fire

Once in Winchester, before a gig, I walked to the Cathedral,
Humming the long forgotten pop hit by the New Vaudevillians,
Paying homage to Jane Austen, a woman ahead of her time
Who would be referred to as a bad ass in today’s language

At Stratford Upon Avon, I stood in line with the young girls
Weeping for the bard, who passed centuries before and is buried
Elsewhere in the village, like Elvis’ twin brother Jessie Garon
Lying figuratively but not literally next to the King in Memphis town

In Liverpool, the black cab driver took a detour on my behalf
Paying homage to Stu Sutcliffe, so young, without a chance
To fully hone his craft, marry his beloved or have children of his own
Light rain fell over guitar picks, close to the Casbah, far from fair

In Palm Springs, it took awhile to find Sinatra, among anonymous
Movie stars, uncharacteristically modest, nothing extra for the Chairman
A few rows over there was William Powell, I wished I’d brought
A martini, a fedora, or at least a crooked knowing smile

Part Two

In my travels to Bryson City,  I sought out Horace Kephart,
Saver of the Smokies, following my GPS through an old growth
Forest of unpaved streets, right left right, spinning through time

A small dog sat down in the middle of the street, unmoving
I stopped the car, opening the door and watched him stroll on by
A series of trailer homes on blocks, spruced up and decorated,
A yard sign honoring a recent high school grad

Two more turns, open gates, chain links, bulletin board
Diagrams and numbers, lettered rows, D8, calculating
Up the steps, moving slowly, looking and looming for
The boulder straight ahead, strewn with coins and flowers

A crow called in the quiet. I knew it was a crow because
My son was a birder when he was little and we would visit
Wild places and read about the birds and he’d teach me too
Get back to the pure place where possibility still lives

Just like Kephart.  Looking for a better way.  Escape routes.
So many have been closed, people spinning on the wheel
A losing deal, grasping for the light and a chance to steal
A few minutes of self on a two-day weekend, exhausted

Down in the town, trucks roared past souvenir shops,
Gas stations and burger kings, not a bit like 1931 when
He was laid to rest.  Even the mountains were different
Blue and laced with clouds, not sepia or black and white

As I bent over to thank the boulder, or Horace, dependent,
The crow stopped crowing.  The autumn sun turned the sky gold
The cars quit riding through the town and the stillness returned
If only for a moment.  All my friends had disappeared.

Thunder – New Poem

Pleased to share another new poem of mine, “Thunder,” which appears in the latest issue of Feminine Collective, a fine online publication featuring poems and stories by writers dealing in “humanity, raw and unfiltered.”   Authenticity.   Founded a decade ago, by writer/model Julie Anderson, FC’s mission is to empower, educate and entertain and I’m thankful to be a part of this community with this work and others I’ve contributed over the past few years.  Hope you can check it out and spend some time perusing all the fine artists included.   Enjoy!



Rolls like a kettle-drum
on the other side of the pass
where my lover once lived
in a plain wooden house
under a sky that carried weight
in its splendor and its solace

We saved hours underneath
the dogwood tree, silent
holding hands, lightly old-fashioned
lovers bent on listening as
the yellow-billed cuckoo sang
sadder than the rain

Everything I can’t explain
carried in these clouds
close turned into distance
love turned into pain, still.
the cuckoo keeps on singing
the thunder rolls again

No Regrets

Pleased to unveil “No Regrets,” another new work for January 2023, appearing in the latest issue (#5) of Rabble Review.  

Rabble is a digital, mobile-based online progressive periodical, with a distinctly working class focus.   This particular issue theme  “explores shared spaces and connections we need, too often lack, and can yet restore” – our humanity.  I’m down with that and chuffed to be included. 

The whole zine is at this link and you can revisit my piece at page 68, but throw something in the hat if you can and peruse a whole roster of fine artists.   Thanks for the read.

Link to Rabble and Issue 5:


The Creek that Was a River / Huevos

New work for the new year.

Happy to be part of the January, 2023 edition of “Whimsical Poet: A Journey of Contemporary Poetry,” a fine collection edited by Sarah Altman, available at Amazon for purchase. “The Creek that Used to Be a River” and “Huevos” are my contributions (reprinted here). Check out the links and order a copy if you can, to support this great journal

This issue includes a fine roster of poets in addition to Hoekstra: Toti O’Brien, Russell Thorburn, Jeremy Ra, Meggie Royer, Michael Riordan, Sally Quon, Mark Hurtubise, D.W. Schmidt, Kevin Carey, Italo Ferrante, Ben Westlie, Stan Sanvel Rubin, Sharon Whitehill, Paul Hostovsky, Carla Sarett, George Freek, L. Ritteler, Morgan Santaguida, Veronica Briones, Deborah Soloman Baker, Richard Band, Maureen Sherbondy, Elena Simeonova, Sebastian Taylor, and Martha Clarkson. Thanks to Sarah for steering the ship, and for having me along. Enjoy.

Door is Ajar – Gravel & The Town Tamer

Many thanks to the fine literary journal Door is Ajar for including two new poems of mine, “Gravel” and “The Town Tamer,” in their new Winter 2022 issue. The Door is an online and print journal, and this issue appears on the newsstands for the first time, in Barnes and Nobles and Books A Million nationwide (starting the week of December 6). So, pick up a copy if you can, to support a great journal and the writers therein, pages that no doubt hold something just for you.