Friday, December 27, 2013

Weekly Worded

      You-Are-Here Pass

We’ve named the mountain passes,
fastened brass plaques where we stop
and sigh, but nothing in the natural world
remembers its name.

The wilderness answers to its own
wide spirit, counts any moment
like starlight that arrives unburdened
by the calculations of time.

“You are here” says a dot
on the map I unfold.
“You are not” says the rock
where I plant my foot.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Weekly Worded


Coming Down

Climbing to the top
of the hill befalls the
difficult part: the boots,
already clumsy,
sink into the snow
and each step forward
must double as a step toward facing your racing heart,
a quickness inside you, an inclination that demands you sit down.
Here’s the sensible part of your maturing spirit, the one that brews a pot of tea and steeps the afternoon until the light turns muddy, not the one revisiting this childish slope where you only remember the rush
of sliding down.  This going up never felt part of the ritual:
You were born on top, leaning over the edge, hardly
taking time to situate yourself on the slick
sheet of cardboard before giving in
to the sensation of falling,
of feeling the world
crush past you in a blur.
At the bottom, your face frozen
in an expression of pure ecstasy and terror,
you stared straight into the sky’s unblinking eye,
laid out flat on the snow, arms and legs spread wide
as if trying to steady yourself while the earth still whirled,
the whole of your little life committed,
holy
to the memory of coming down.







Friday, December 13, 2013

Weekly Worded

     Cribbage Depression for Christmas

How easily one forgets
that while losing is bad

losing badly is worse.
After I’ve dealt myself

one more pointless hand
my opponents Dosey doe

like country bumpkins
at a Sadie Hawkins dance.

My partner looks away, solemnly
counting her own fingers.

If only the tabernacle choir knew
the cribbage depression blues.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Book Promotion

     Ghost Reader

Is this your new book?
Nope, it’s the same old book from two years ago.
Well, it looks new.
Only if you haven’t read it.
I think I read it, didn’t I?
I don’t know, you said you were going to.
What was it about?
A gracious writer who struggles with a double life.
Yeah, I remember that.  What else?
He keeps hoping friends will read his books, but they never do.
Yeah, yeah, that sounds familiar.
The writer finally bounces one of his books off his friend’s skull.
Ouch!  You’d think I’d remember that.
The friend suffers amnesia.
An interesting twist.
A doctor recommends a regimen of therapeutic reading to bring back his memories.
Does the list include your book?
Top of the list.
Really?  It's that good?
It has impact.
Wait!  Don’t say another word.  I’ll take this copy, if you’ll just relax your grip.

Prose or poetry, the choice is yours.  Please consider a holiday gift from this huge inventory of TWO books, either for yourself, someone you love, someone you respect, or at least someone who hasn’t had a good laugh all year. 

http://feelasophy.weebly.com/

Signed and dedicated copies may also be purchased directly from the author -- namely, me.
If you’re thinking, Hey, I hate this guy’s writing, please forward this link to at least 10 people on your mailing list.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Dejected

I read in a magazine a study
linking depressed writers
to how many times they use
the word I.  I myself was shocked
and a little depressed to learn how
my poetry might chart a path
to psychological disorder.
Back in graduate school
my teacher coached me to write
in third person, a distancing technique
to separate the narrative
from the confessional. 
I confess, I didn’t like it, this trying
to express my self in a mind not mine,
writing by ruse, so to speak.
Now I see how my teacher
tried to show me my future, living
in this state of despondency, writing
reams of poems the literary magazines
reject with form letters, thanking me
for letting them read my work
but wishing me luck
in finding the help I need elsewhere.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Weekly Worded

     Bodies In Motion

Sunset tugs at my shadow,
stretches it out front,
elongates it like an impulse
to measure velocity.

Waves of me ripple the asphalt.
I pedal harder, up the hill
to where the road bends
and my darkness falls back,

straddling my own silhouette,
teeth no longer clenched
against the chain, feet
settling into their familiar orbits.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Amen

and it’s over
except nothing’s ever really finished.
Things stop, to be sure, like an unanswered
telephone, or the neighbor’s barking dog –
ordinary things that lose intensity
the longer they last.  Even people
like my grandmother, her two husbands,
the way she used to get up from the table
as if surfacing from a slow motion dream.
And the Pontiac with fins my father owned,
long ago dragged off – still
enormous in my mind, holding its wax
like moonshine.

Things stop,
and the idea of touching what’s left
scares me: the idea I had about beauty
pressed like a flower in the crevice
on some dull book, or the Mercury dime
I placed on a railroad track, thinking
I’d come back to a puddle of quicksilver.
A candle at church guttered by its own heat,
a few sparks pale as fireflies.  All my past
hanging like an apple grown fat on its seed,
the worm turning where it’s sweet.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Weekly Worded

     Karmic Instructions

Press the button once
to unlock the driver’s door...
Press harder.

Octagons blossom,
every intersection a cross...
Suffering saints.

Caterpillar stops
traffic from both directions...
Maybe a yellow butterfly.

I take four left turns,
end up for a moment
where I began.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Weekly Worded

     Trick or Treat

“My my, and what are you supposed to be?”
“A congress people.”
“That’s precious!  And how did you come up with such a cute idea?”
“My daddy told me to say it.”
“Wouldn’t your daddy help you make a costume?”
“He didn’t do nothing.”
“What a wonderful way to inspire creativity!  How old are you?”
“Five.”
“How funny!  I know members of congress that won’t last that long.”
“Why?”
“Well, little one, it’s because they’re like your daddy.”
“Are they fat?”
“I suppose some are, but mostly they’re just lazy.”
“What’s lazy?”
“Lazy means they want candy for doing nothing.”
“I want candy.”
“Of course you do.  Here, take all you can grab with your grubby little hands.”
“Really?”
“Yes, really.  Better yet, take the entire bag.  And here’s my wallet, my credit cards, plus the keys to my house and car.  Take it all.”
“Gee, you’re a nice lady.”
“Yeah, now scram!  I’ve got to shut off the lights and pretend I’m a Democrat.”

Friday, October 25, 2013

Weekly Worded

     Nightlight

Like a firefly flirting
with an outlet,
the incandescent hope

beckons, draws me
barefooted across cold
linoleum toward a place

I know is there
but can not clearly see. 
Call it a destination,

a goal, a mission,
or by necessity,
a bathroom.

Like the ocean's floor,
a murky path will be stirred
by ten evanescent tentacles.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Disaster

You sit down
and like a blank
sheet of paper

you crumple before
getting up
to leave.

All that white space
between hello
and goodbye.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Shingling the Pyramids

Annubis next door, barking all night. 
The neighbor embalming himself.
Who knows who will live forever.

Early morning I’m ripping plywood,
hammering asphalt shingles into place
one by one, keeping the rain out

of my temple, slave to my own industry,
still pissed off by that lazy dog,
thinking again with my heart.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Conflict Materials

Pounded thin enough,
the tin, tantalum, and tungsten,
are the sledges of the bells, bells, bells,

of the ringtones and vibrations
calling us to our cellphones.
Hear a cacophony of bullets and screams,

a history of atrocities at our fingertips,
a hard-to-trace serial number etched
in blood, thugbeat of the Congo.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Möbius Strip

The shoppes at Mandalay Bay
are surprisingly similar
to the shops at Luxor,
which are not that different
from the stores inside Excalibur,
which bear a striking similarity
to the ones at NewYork-New York,
remarkable retail locations
reminiscent of those
provided by Monte Carlo
for customers bored with Bellagio
where its boutiques could be mistaken
for fashion hot spots
at Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile,
less that a mile from Caesar’s Forum,
a dice toss from their clones
at The Venetian, which imitate
the unique shopping experience
at The Palazzo,
Paris Las Vegas,
Tropicana,
MGM Grand,
Ballys,
Flamingo,
The Quad,
Harrah's,
The Cosmopolitan,
Mandarin Oriental,
The Shops at Crystals,
or, if you can believe your eyes,
at The Mirage
which inspired those
at Mandalay Bay.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Pastures of Eden

Before I understood how hunger
makes a creature mean, my uncle pointed
to the cows on the other side of his fence.

I asked if I could pet one; he said no,
that farm animals were not for pleasure. 
I asked if cows drank milk.  Once again, no.

Then he plucked a long stem of grass,
stuck it in the space between his front teeth.
I picked one too, gnawed it like a green fuse.

It must have been my first rumination,
this mystery of cows and men conducted
by the slender stalk of grass I held in my hand.

My uncle roused me by jiggling a wire
just inside the fence with his wooden cane. 
Go ahead, he urged, your straw will reach.

I heard the snap, then felt an electric
jaw unhinge itself and strike.  My uncle
laughed until my aunt called us in to lunch. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Gossip

After the first tenth of an inch
collects in the rain gauge
the plastic tube vibrates
like an eardrum as the sky
whispers to the earth
how it needs to be heard.

You are in the house
steeping a cup of tea, staring
through a speckled window
as the far off lightning
flashes over mountains
you know but can not see. 

Every raindrop is a seed,
a rumor of what it wants to be.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Weekly Worded

    “Hidden Entrance Ahead”

The sign came to rest in a bar ditch,
the entrance nowhere in sight. 
Some ways refuse to open themselves,
but the sign should have vanished too.
It lay in the ditch, its DOT yellow
chameleoned by the blossoming sage,
its black lettered warning
muted by the tall grass. 

I got off my bicycle for a closer look,
stood on the shoulder and turned in a circle 
until I had taken in all there was to see --
fields of hay caught in a crosshatch
of barbed wire, side roll irrigators
gossiping about a slim chance of rain,
and cattle with their heads down,
all pointed in one direction.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Drone Attack

First, at the back of the neck,
then rapid fire, two more
near the right shoulder blade.
Lightning strikes, sparks I can’t reach,
can’t smother with either hand,
the throttle released, the cycle
slowing, then two more, tasers
against the lower back, a final needle
into the waist before I can get
my feet on the ground, pull my shirt
like a sack over my helmeted head
and let the wasp loose.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Getting Down With Plath

On my knees, with my head inside the oven,
I sense how dark things must have gotten.

One small grease-spattered bulb burning
like a single eye, like an eternal yearning

to transform by degrees what’s barely palatable
into a masterpiece for the artist’s table.

Down here, cleaning this grotto, scouring bits
of crisp black flakes from the pan where drips

fry, stirring a cauldron of smoke each time
the oven heats.  Harsh slime

speckles my neck and face, wearing the gauntlet 
I found below the kitchen faucet.

A fist of steel wool, and a plastic
bucket.  Sure, I feel rotten, chipped

the oven glass with the tip of a knife,
but Sylvia, it’s only a mess, not life.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Weekly Worded

    morning ringtones

last night’s skunk
still crossing the road
for the last time

another dead hummingbird
beside the bedside table
on braided rug

dew on the grass
not making a sound
but there it is

eye to the west
shut tight
eastern lid rising

Friday, August 9, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Roadhouse

All night the highway
like a black asphalt string
vibrates with traffic.

I think of the noise
as music, so I sleep,
its soothing vulcanized

melody achieving
one crescendo after another,
each merging into

the next set of headlights. 
A break in traffic is never
silence, just caesura,

like a glance
at the speedometer before
deciding to go faster.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Weekly Worded



   















Revolution

It rained so hard
the birds decided
not to fly.

Feathers matted
into webs of
leathery skin,

tails lengthened,
beaks became jaws,
toes sharpened into claws.
A paste of marrow

clogged every bone.
Along the barrow
ditches, beneath

sheltering leaves
dinosaurs dreamed.
It rained that hard.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Weekly Worded

    On the Migration of Jerseys

    The riders arrive in formation, plumed
    in multi-colored Spandex and Lycra,
    polyester techno-fibers weaving
    their way through town.

    How exotic their appearance,
    suspended on hollow appendages,
    alloyed bones, skinny tires, pedals
    whirring like a hummingbird.

    Each bike banded with a number,
    feeding stations along the route, strategic
    stops to dismount and test their legs 
    against a slower, sluggish earth.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Our Full Moon

Explorers have deposited
400,000 pounds

of debris, comprised
of at least 21,000 pieces

of humanly generated junk,
including 96 bags of urine,

feces, and vomit, all of it
without ever bothering

to dig their own crater
and cover it up.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Traditional View

Veils of virga over the Ute Mountain
like gauzy curtains on the horizon,
like half-formed dreams billowing
in one corner of the Four Corners.

Powwow drums of thunder,
lightning sharp enough to bead
the rain, a zigzag pattern against
the shawl of this sleeping earth.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Weekly Worded

    The Rich Taste Better

It’s not as if everything
has to taste like chicken.
Cannibals say
pork best describes
the flavor of human flesh.
Maybe so. 
It’s not as if I know
but given a need
and leaner days
I’d take a broker over a baker,
a professional athlete
over an amateur,
a celebrity over a sailor.
I respect the poor
but I expect they’d be stringy.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Weekly Worded

    The Bipolar Expedition

  “We should have left an hour ago!”
  “What’s the point, it’s not like we’ll be the first to arrive.”
  “I spent a week organizing this trip.  You said you wanted to go.”
  “I don’t remember using the word ‘wanted’.”
  “Come on, get those shoes on, let’s boogie.”
  “My feet hurt.”
  “But that’s your favorite pair.”
  “These feet are my only pair.”
  “I’ll buy you two mocha lattes on the way out of town.”
  “My ulcer is acting up.”
  “You don’t have an ulcer, it’s indigestion.”
  “My indigestion is acting up.”
  “Why don’t I stop at the emergency room on the way out of town?  A few quick tests, maybe a prescription we can pick up at a drive-thru window as we’re heading out.”
  “I hate the paperwork.”
  “I’ll fill it out, I know more about you than you do.  Maybe they’ll give you a jolt of Ambien.”
  “I’d rather have Xanax.”
  “Okay, we’ll ask for it by name, get a month’s supply, screw the generics, you’re worth it, but let’s get moving.”
  “Can we get something for motion sickness?”
  “Anything, whatever you need, even a porter to carry you to the car.”
  “You know I’m uncomfortable with strangers.”
  “I’ll carry you to the car!”
  “Really?  What about your back?”
  “I’ll back the car through the picture window, load you using the fulcrum of your recliner, then wrap you in a blanket for padding and warmth.”
  “Is it supposed to be cold?”
  “At this pace, glacial.”

Friday, June 21, 2013

Weekly Worded

    To the West Wind*

Sitting on tinder,
the sun shining bright.

Not sure where we’ll
be sleeping tonight.

Forced evacuations,
grab what we can.

The air white with ash
like winter again.

Smoke clouds the skyline,
slurry falls like rain.

Hopes for containment
predicting no gain.

O blow wild West Wind,
like ghosts we disperse.

Lives may be salvaged,
memories are cursed.

                         *Thanks to New Verse News,
                           where the poem first appeared

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Flash Mob launched today!

 Flash Mob Cloud

Take a look at this digital mob, which includes my entry -- all flash fiction stories gathered into one space, hundreds of stories, all for your reading.  What a great plan, to bring an international crowd of writers together, sharing their quick fiction fix.  Click on the link below, and follow any thread you care to follow. 

http://flashmob2013.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/let-the-mob-begin/

For the next two days (and well beyond) the mob will be raging. Jump in and dance, comment, stomp, share, etc. Tomorrow the short list will be announced and the following day (June 22) the winners will be feted. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Weekly Worded

                         -- photo by Larry Viscount

  Time Travel at the Cemetary

Like the twin beds
you shifted from our room

after we’d left home,
these graves remind me

of your unspoken rule,
how passion shouldn’t interfere

with a good night’s sleep.
So here you are, so quiet beneath

your stone comforters,
husband and wife, father

and mother, soldier and spouse,
an efficient arrangement,

everything in its place,
the dates stark and clear

to be read by me
from this distance, remembering.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Weekly Worded

   Backtrack

It’s too far if all you do
is think about starting. 

The trillium blossoms
fold themselves up
like paper cups, having spilled
every drop of daylight.

Each minute the braille
of another perfect print
in the mud, every wild thing
announcing itself. 

This planet unfolds in your head,
a compost of remembrances, unread. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekly Worded

Editorial cartoon from Baltimiore American, April 23, 1910 
following Mark Twain's death featuring a grieving Uncle Sam.

 Don’t Blame Halley’s Comet

“Do you know how Mark Twain died?”
“He stopped breathing, I suppose.”
“Well yeah, I mean of course, but of what ailment?”
“I heard he lost his sense of humor.”
“A lethal dose of seriousness?  Be serious.”
“I joke not.  A hardening of the articles.”
“That’s awful!”
“Just read his later writing, he turned cynical.”
“He lost his innocence, that’s all.”
“No, he lost his fortune, his faith in humanity, his loved ones, and finally his will to live.”
“I still say a person can’t die from forgetting how to laugh.”
“He never forgot.”
“Then what happened to his humor?”
“He turned it on himself.”
“Suicide by cynicism?”
“I know, it’s a funny way to go.”

Friday, May 24, 2013

Weekly Worded























The Neighbor’s Porcelain Dogs

Moving between windows like a sentry,
the cat alerted me to their presence. 
I stepped outside.  Two dogs approached
from behind the barn, a chihuahua
and a miniature dachshund, companions
by the way they stopped short
on spotting me, glanced at each other
then back to me.  As a dog owner
I’d have commanded, “Stay”
or crouched in that universal way
humans signal their willingness
to rub a belly, but since my cat
has nothing to do with dogs
I felt obliged to shoo them away.  
“Go home!” I shouted, my finger
rigid as a lightning bolt. 
They startled, backed up in unison,
which is when I first noticed
each dog was missing a leg. 
How boorish to watch them run.
Before leaving the property
one turned, yipping at me.
That sound, like a teacup cracking. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Flash Mob 2013 *

Cautious Attraction

“Is that a canker sore on your lip?”
“No, it’s a wart.  Why do you ask?”
“No reason.”
“There has to be a reason.  Normally people look away.”
“Just wondering, that’s all.”
“Were you thinking about kissing me?”
“Kissing you?  Don’t be ridiculous!”
“You’re probably worried about STDs.”
“I was not worried about anything, I was concerned.  It must hurt.”
“Canker sores are not contagious.”
“I didn’t know that, but I really don’t care.”
“It’s the warts that can be transferred to other people.”
“You are a font of information about contagious conditions.”
“I thought it gave me a sensuous lip.”
“You ought to get it taken care of.”
“Actually, it’s just a canker sore.  Eventually it’ll go away.”
“Then why did you tell me it was a wart?”
“I wanted you to think I was a prince.”
“That’s the worst come-on line I’ve ever heard.”
“So kissing is out of the question?”
“Kissing was never a part of the question.”
“A handshake?”
“That’s my Parkinson’s.”

* http://flashmob2013.wordpress.com/the-contest-rules/






Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekly Worded

    In the Dark

The question remains
even after the birds have gone
softly to their nests,

will the old songs
still bring the sunrise?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Blue

Just before she died, my mother’s feet
turned blue, a blue that meant her blood refused
to travel the length of her body.

Not the blue of pure starlight
arriving ten million years after its birth
nor the blue of oceans swelling with storm.

Just blue,
the shade that comes with a bruise.
I want to believe the tumor forced her

not to pay attention, that it replaced the part 
her brain destroyed, actually invented memories
to run like old films on a tiny screen,

so she had to watch very carefully, the projector
flickering in time with her heart, the theater
filled with blue light.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Suite Country

1.

Trenching an irrigation line
with a shovel, I glanced up to find
most of the neighbor’s herd
crowding our fencerow.
The handle shaping a post
to lean against, I caught my breath,
lifted my cap, wiped sweat.
It was early afternoon. 
Cows at rest between meals,
nothing for them but this tableau,
man with tool, unearthing appetite.

2.

Moonlight blasts the bedspread white 
while I sleep.  It must be a dream,
packing the sheet like fresh snow
around every muscle that aches. 
Frogs in the bar ditch throbbing.

3.

All night the spade
left sunk to its hilt
in good earth,

handle sticking up
like a microphone boom
on an empty stage.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Squall

          It’s raining mud,
          and the wind refuses
          to let raindrops
          reach the ground. 

          Windows darken
          with the paste,
          then dry to a sepia lace
          draped across the glass.

          Sunset throbs
          like a bruise,
          but how beautiful
          this savage spring.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Warming Up

The lilacs want to start over so badly 
they arrange themselves like notes 
along a musical staff, each twig 
a conductor’s baton, half notes 
to the foot, the full orchestra 
renewed, tuning up in the sunlight. 

Already the daffodils are burning
like votives along the sidewalks,
forsythia rising like an old 
gold faithful, a bluebird
incandescent as a pilot light 
nesting so close to the house.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Ghost Breast
      (for Pam)

Touching on this lump
you discovered in your breast,

when you first found it
it must have felt like playing

the wrong note on a keyboard,
like putting your big toe

into an infant’s shoe.
Or maybe it flickered like

a film, your interest waning
with each new threat of violence,

blood and gore.
Could it have been like the taste

of milk gone sour, or a crumbling
arch reduced to rubble,

or a hand you once held
before tenderness moved away?

I know, it’s only you
who has the sense

to give up trying
to describe what it’s like,

this life without comparison.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Hiatus

A pot of tea steeping
on the marble sill, its steam
clouding the window.

Sunrise on the counter
like the yolk of a broken egg,
oh happy disaster of morning.

All is settled then, the man
still asleep, the woman
keeping this time for herself

beside the sink, thinking of every
beginning and ending she's known
before filling her cup.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Weekly Worded

    A Kosher God

    “Rabbi Margolies of New York, said that the Hebrew
     Race had been waiting 4,000 years for Crisco.”
       --from The Story of Crisco, Proctor & Gamble, 1915.


Strange, because I would have guessed
peace, or maybe a secure homeland --
not vegetable shortening --
would have occupied a greater
part of the Hebrew mind.

4,000 years is a long time to wait,
but squandering so many prayers
on cooking grease without
animal fat boils down to
a waste of spiritual energy,

which may explain why
the Palestinians get so upset at the Jews,
who stay in their kitchens
frying fleichig foods, praising the white,
whipped consistency of their Crisco.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Doggerel

“Do dogs go to heaven?”
“Oh honey, I’m sure they do.”
“Do you think they run around and bark all the time?”
“That’s a good question.  What do you think?”
“I think they just sit.”
“Oh my, why do you think that?”
“Because that’s what they do.”
“So dogs still obey in heaven?”
“No.  They just sit.”
“God tells them to sit?”
“No, God tells them to fetch.”
“Oh, I like that, so why won’t they fetch?”
“God sounds too much like people.”

Friday, March 15, 2013

Weekly Worded



    Conflict of Spring

Persephone yawns
and the winds roar.
Dust scrims windows,

doors slam, shingles ripple
like vacancy signs.
A plastic bag tethered

to ice all winter
pulls loose and flaps
from a bare willow branch.

Sparrows stay low
in the lilacs.  Mud ruts
sharpen like teeth.

Cattails in the bar ditch
clash their sabers.
Sunset bruises the sky.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Mayo International

Like at an airport boarding gate
the public space is filled with seats
and the seats with people --

passengers and companions
to see them off, waiting through
the litany of paged names.

But here the doctors say how long
the travelers remain, how long before
they’re gone, all this protocol

for an unplanned trip,
which explains an absence of luggage,
the holding of hands,

the softness in hundreds of eyes.
The intercom calls John Olsen
and an old man way at the back

eventually stands, relieved to be lifted
from his chair by the power
of his name, those three syllables

that prove he’s still here
no matter what the pathology says
or the hours while the doctors explain.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Weekly Worded

    The Pope Pickers*

“What color was the smoke this time?”
“I couldn’t see, but it smelled like bacon.”
“How long will they be in there?”
“It’s impossible to say.”
“What do they do between ballots?”
“Stare at the ceiling.”
“The one Michelangelo painted?”
“That’s the one.”
“Are there enough toilets?”
“Only because they’re all men.”
“Why is that?”
“Because God is a man.”
“I don’t think anyone knows that for sure.”
“The Cardinals do.”
“And who told them?”
“The Pope.”
“The Pope is just an elevated Cardinal, isn’t he?”
“We must not question the wisdom of nepotism.”
“I think they call it Catholicism.”
“Same thing.”
“When they finally decide, how will we know?”
“White smoke will rise from the chimney.”
“What if no one can see it.”
“It will smell like the toilet needs cleaning.”

                  *Thanks to New Verse News,
                      where this first appeared

Friday, February 22, 2013

Weekly Worded


    Superstition

   “They say it’s going to be an early spring.”
   “Who’s they?”
   “I mean he, Punxsutawney Phil.”
   “You believe in superstition?”
   “Well, I don’t not believe in it.”
   “I detect the shadow of a doubt.”
   “All I’m saying is that traditions ought to be honored.”
   “And would you sacrifice an animal to please a god?”
   “Certainly not.”
   “And can the entrails of sacrificed animals tell us anything about the future?”
   “That’s disgusting!”
   “No, that’s tradition.”
   “It’s not as if anyone tortures groundhogs.”
   “Phil’s hibernation is disrupted annually.  He’s yanked out of his den, forced into the glaring daylight, and required to look cuddly before of a crowd of onlookers with cameras.”
   “That’s not cruelty.”
   “That’s what the Paparazzi did to Princess Diana.”
   “You think that was a conspiracy?”
   “She was pursued in a dark tunnel, and she did have rather prominent front teeth.”
   “Now you believe the Princess was a groundhog?”
   “No, but she may have believed it.”

Friday, February 15, 2013

Weekly Worded


    Tribute

This Valentine’s Day
she made an appointment
for a mammogram.

She also ate too many
chocolates before penciling
3 p.m. into her calender.

Being responsible
had everything to do
with extravagance.

Her friends were
disappearing one by one,
and all the flowers

she sent these days
decorated hospital rooms.
She planned to

devour all 32 ounces,
one piece for every
woman she loved.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Weekly Worded


    Day and Night

          “Every moment readjusts the coordinates
            of hope and despair.”
                     --Lance Morrow


Because true north is just a sliver shy
of its magnetic impersonator,
my compass holds to one fixed point,
supposes it is right.  I am attracted by
such certainty, I go that way without
looking back, straining like the sun to
rise and set along its seasoned path. 

But if I catch the moon cut to a sliver
amid the multitude of stars trickling
their secret histories into the pool
of night, I can't help being taken in
by such complexity, my belief
that starts each journey no more
dependable than a calculated lie.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Weekly Worded


    To An Old Environmentalist

Parked on Main at the hardware,
hay bales instead of bicycles
strapped to the back of an SUV,
a shade of green you’d never expect.

I’d stand at the curb and wait,
tell you who comes out of the store
with a bag of nails, or a length
of pipe that might get added

to the load, but the wind’s bitter today,
and ice has made mischief of this sidewalk,
and the snow is drifting like forgetfulness
across the pastures north of town,

turning impassable into impossible:
such patience of hooves at the checkout.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Weekly Worded


    Not So Fatal Attraction

“Is that a canker sore on your lip?”
“No, it’s a wart.  Why do you ask?”
“No reason.”
“There has to be a reason.  Normally people look away.”
“Just wondering, that’s all.”
“Were you thinking about kissing me?”
“Kissing you?  Don’t be ridiculous!”
“You’re probably worried about STDs.”
“I was not worried about anything, I was concerned.  It must hurt.”
“Canker sores are not contagious.”
“I didn’t know that, but I really don’t care.”
“It’s warts that can be transferred to other people.”
“You are a font of information about contagious conditions.”
“I think it gives me a sensuous lip.”
“You ought to get it taken care of.”
“Actually, it’s just a canker sore.  Eventually it’ll go away.”
“Then why did you tell me it was a wart?”
“I wanted you to think I was a prince.”
“That’s the worst come-on line I’ve ever heard.”
“So kissing is out of the question?”
“Kissing was never a part of the question.”
“A handshake?”
“That’s my Parkinson’s.”