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Doug Norris

Doug Norris teaches adult ESL for the R.I. Family Literacy Initiative. He also serves as vice-president of the Rhode Island Teachers of English Language Learners (RITELL) Coordinating Council and is on the Library Board of Rhode Island.

His poems have been published in Frogpond, American Tanka, Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online and elsewhere, as well as in The Origami Poems Project.

December 2013: "Dublin Scribe" was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by the Origami Poems Project.

Doug's Origami microchaps are available to download. Click on the titles below.

Origami Microchap

Selected Poem(s)

Third Life Poems


Cover: Kloof St photo
from Lauri Burke
Poet’s Comments

I call these "Third Life Poems" because
they all began as travel blog posts,
where they still exist in cyberspace.

Then they received a second life as
Wordle images, push-pinned
to a bulletin board.  From the Wordles,
I found origami poems.


Nobody platforms
Consciousness necessitated
Whatever maneuverings
People without sky
Without tracks
Slow-moving sun erasing morning
Seatmate strangers touching opposites
No words
Just sunglasses
Blank as bees
Locomotive nose blasting darkness
Subway womb erupting galaxies
Random Mamaroneck universe
Awkward pause
Stop train

Doug Norris 2014





Cover: View of Horseneck Beach
from the web


Thirty years later
The surf and the sand,
The sun, the sea breeze, the scenes:
Tanned, sinewy bodies of lifeguards and teens,
Kids crabbing and sandcastle-building,
Swells of surfers and body surfers and boogie boarders,
Miles of swimmers and sailors and sun worshippers
And the three of us,
Who once spent entire summers planted here,
Alternating hours between waves and beach towels,
Now shooing away the herring gulls,
Their irritated squawks
Mimicking our own frantic talk
Lamenting lost times in sacred places –
Terminisi’s, Iggy’s, The Sunnyside,
The meatballs and jukebox of Giro’s Spaghetti House,
Where strangers recognizing anyone at the bar
Would order a round for everyone,
Free drinks piling up like rocks on a cairn,
In empty shot glasses turned upside down
Languid beach days lapsing into blurry pub nights
Pints of salty seawater ale sloshing in frozen mugs
The clink of four quarters dropping into the slot
Voices rising in the starless, moonless dark
Singing “The Ballad of New Orleans.”
Doug Norris 2014


Toward Wisdom


{mooblock=The Eleven O'Clock News}

Tonight’s top story:
A little gray moth
Strumming the screen door,
Moving wings in Monk rhythms,
Tuned to the light of the lamp inside.

The moth finds a hole,
Makes it bigger,
Squeezes through,
Discovers the lamp.

Zap! Sizzle, smoke...
One last loud note.
The moth explodes
In surprise or ecstasy.

Maybe this news
Doesn’t mean much
Except to me and the moth.
Ash heap and smoke ghost,
Lamp light hums its karmic melody.
Doug Norris © 2013




{mooblock=Dublin Scribe}

Here and now
Moving my ink
Across an empty manuscript
White as the New England snow
I wander
Through mist and moss
Up cold stone steps
Into the land of lost memories
To glimpse a ghost
A daydreaming Irish youth
Glancing out his little window
To the wild green world beyond
Doug Norris © 2013


{mooblock=Death of a Poet}

(To Li Po)
Such ancient light,
Seen so clearly
Dancing silver,
Between the lily pads,
You considered
A lifetime
Looking for the right word,
When wordlessly
The moon compelled
And you found Zen:
The awestruck poet
Losing himself
Smooching the moon.
Doug Norris © 2013


Rhymes & Enchantments


Cover photo: Monkey Dreams
By Robert Schlenker

{mooblock=Napkin Poem}

I love the Earth
But cannot stay.
It's not my choice.
It's just the way.
And so I ask,
And this I pray:
To learn
To love
To live
Doug Norris © 2013




20 poems inspired by
tracks on the album,
'Elvis Costello and The Attractions'

{mooblock=Love for Tender and others}

Can be a love for money
Or a love for kindness. Choose wisely.
They are very different sorrows.


Knocking, knocking, knocking at the door.
Avon? Death? Jehovah’s Witnesses?
We need less doorbell.

The Imposter

Seven company pens
Clattered on the counter,
Falling out of the pocket,
Under the noose of the tie
That had squeezed my soul dry.

Secondary Modern

The post-post modernist has come and gone.
Back to the caves, people. Back to the caves.
Doug Norris © 2011


Minnows (Summer Haiku)



{mooblock=Haiku #5}

Fading lavender
Absent the purple flowers
No white butterflies
Doug Norris © 2010


Omitted Tales



{mooblock=Death and the Goose Boy}

A boy approached a pond when he noticed
Something streaking up the hill toward him.
“Who are you,” the boy asked.
“Where do you come from?”
The shadow faced the boy and spoke.
“I am Death. I came from the water.”
“I am Johannes,” the boy responded.
“The village goose boy.”
“Where are your geese,” Death asked.
“Drinking,” the boy replied.
“Uh-oh,” said Death.
“What’s wrong,” asked the boy.
Death hesitated, awkwardly
Searching for a way to explain it.
“Never mind,” Death shrugged.
“It doesn’t matter.”
Doug Norris © 2009