Friday, February 26, 2016

Weekly Worded

     Nine Ways of Looking at a Donut


Life preserver of the morning,
I’ll take you with me
just in case.


The hole is both my escape
and my hunger.
I’ll be round as a donut.


In the shower
my skin glistens
like your glazed surface.


Oh perfect circle!
A donut’s diameter equals
half my appetite.


As my stomach expands
I push a fist into the skin
and kneed the dough.


Leave half a donut 
and I’ll laugh to think
anyone could save you.


Milky mush, I chew,
swallow my weight,
a lifetime of anchors.


Disco donuts
play their yeasty notes
on my fingers.


I think I’ll have
just one
more donut. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Weekly Worded

           Questions of Portents

If a stray cat shows up
to sun itself on my porch,
where are the mice?

If birds shun the feeder
even after I filled it,
is the sky agitated?

How can the windows
rattle without a breeze,
or the fork when it

strikes the kitchen tile
ring so beautifully?
Why do ants march single file

when the counter-top is so wide?
Does the well only hear
the darkness welling up inside?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Weekly Worded

          Artistic License

"How’s your photo project coming?"
"Campbell’s soup cans make the best shelfies."
"I think you mean selfies."
"No, I mean what I said. Ask Andy Warhol."
"He’s dead."
"That’s not my fault."
"I’m not blaming you, but how am I supposed to ask if he’s dead."
"You’ll have to take my word for it."
"But I have no idea what you mean by a shelfie?"
"Obviously, it’s a picture of an object on a shelf."
"So can a book be a shelfie?"
"If you take a picture of it."
"And a bottle of aspirin?"
"Sure, why not. But they’ll always be calendar art next to a Campbell’s soup can."
"So a soup can is high art, but other paraphernalia is just stuff?"
"Warhol had a sense of it. He could tell you why."
"He didn’t happen to share his opinion with you before he died?"
"Oh no, I never met him."
"Then how were you able to delve so deeply into his sense of shelf?"
"Once while I ate a bowl of soup he spoke to me."
"Alphabet soup?"
"No, tomato. The soup was the same color as the can."
"And what did he say?"
"He said the proof is in the putting."
"I think you mean pudding."
"No, I mean the proof depends on the placement."
"A true artistic consideration! Now I'm interested. What else did he say?"
"I don’t really know, I was hungry."

Friday, February 5, 2016

Weekly Worded


The ad required utilitarian words,
as if my life had come down to
selling the human condition. 

I tried to keep the metaphorical
out, used unadorned nouns,
stock phrases like

Sixty-year-old seeks…
but immediately I craved 
an adjective up front

like Spry or Fun-loving
or even Good-looking.
A few more words might

double the cost but I didn’t
want to come off as cheap,
and an ingenious word might…

Well, as I tried them out,
spoke them aloud to hear
how I sounded to myself,

I suspected they identified
me as stuck up, not the kind
to rouse some strange

woman’s blood, so
I tried for humility, wrote
Lonely or Forlorn

then tossed the draft
in the trash and started over:
Healthy sixty-year-old seeks

happy companion…

but that didn’t work either.
I was actually horny,

looking for a willing woman
but I couldn’t come right out
and say that, could I?

I’ve read those crafted ads.
People writing outrageous things
to get a rise out of the reader. 

I didn’t want my money wasted
being sensational, so I tried for
intriguing but dignified:

Sensitive sixty-year-old
searching for…
but I felt
too much like Charles Darwin

on a quest, and I shuddered
to think of the kind of woman
who saw herself as the Holy Grail.

In half an hour I managed
seven words and only three
were true. I couldn’t simply write

and I couldn’t just write, Call…
because I might as well have added

…for a good time
, and then I’d be
right back to sleazy. 
I almost settled for primitive,

thinking that if anyone answered
she’d understand the syllables
thumping like a jungle drum:

Man seeks Woman
except me not Tarzan and Jane
not want to sleep with monkey.

And besides, the world’s got
more complicated than
boy meets girl, people

finding each other in all sorts of ways
that never fully surfaced before
in this dialogue called culture,

and really, isn’t that what we all want?
Someone to answer when we
finally stumble on the right words.