Topgear, Fer Real! — a poem


Bad news crew on a road trip,

not slowing for the infrequent dip;
out drop-top cruising on a starry
night.  Passing

wheatfields, crows startle,
parrots gossip, the humming-
bird drinks from thorns — time

flies.  Though we melted
down the enslaving clocks
in honor of unreality —

we have time on our side.
The crazed Spaniard riding
shotgun calls out directions
to the driver. “Quel?” He lends
an ear, but does not comply.

And the two women enthroned
in the back seat are keeping

their peace.

So, this is my first response to TheSundayMuse (Sunday Muse #131), and my first response to any prompt in a long time.  At least, my first that I’ve bother to post.

This piece only plays well if you know the players well.

About to Snap — a poem

(Image: © NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration.)

The universe is stretched too thin.
We listen for the resounding snap.
Scientists are baffled; poets laugh.
Philosophers gear up for a sudden freeze.

Dark matter we’ve covered; dark energy, too.
Neither can be captured, seen or weighed;
but once hypothesized, theorized, it’s proven
unless and until the next best theory butts in —
and still a theory lives… a proven theory.

Tonight I waste little thought matter,
dark thoughts on cosmological diddling.

My universe is stretched

as far as she will go.

In Search of the Lost Couplet — a poem

A hard night; mind won’t rest.
At the grocery in search
of consolation in a Napa Valley plonk,
some accompanying gnosh.

A whim, I opt for a New York red —
“Five Finger Discount.”
Lake Region humor, no doubt.
Triscuits and a Wisconsin Brie.
God help me!

Back to the cottage to compose.
Or to slowly do the converse.

…very slowly.

Learning to Dip Doing the COVID Shuffle — a poem

DeerMask1 (3)



Oh, God! I feel the elephant’s foot pressing
or is it his ass as he sits on my chest?
when I gasp it is not surprise that I experience
too many jacks strewn across the kitchen floor
a world that feels like a booby-trap exhibit
in an arcane warfare museum just off the road
to Flagstaff or Fayetteville, selling Turquoise
trinkets, sun catchers, and tribal documents
If you join, if I join, then we won’t be catching
hell or COVID-19

Alone at my Zoom window I sip confusion, watch
reality become other, another with each announce
meant to reassure but ends up doing anything
but — what we know so far is that we only know
so far
The window mists over as I stare too long into it

The elephant gets up, lets me up as he slumps
to the corner; I’m not saying anything you haven’t



An Outlook Occluded — a poem for Independence Day



A Full Buck Moon about to rise,
and this the 4th of July — celebrated
most years as a day of unity —
but now we have two anthems.

Will we soon have one for every color?

And our country, the States United
(if you can grasp the infernal irony)
is all but torn asunder.

Florida is setting
new bars, contracting
a novel virus.

We’re either second or third.

Those who aren’t fighting the race wars
are arguing over wearing masks and distances.

And, damn it, the sky is clouded;
overcast, like it would be for a launch.



When a Poet Passes — a poem

Paul-Laurence-Dunbar (2)

for Firestone Feinberg

Our plesance heir is all vane glory,
This fals warld is bot transitory,
The flesche is brukle, the Fend is sle;
Timor mortis conturbat me.

— William Dunbar
“Lament for the Makers”


His breath stopped
yet not his voice — it lives
within others and others to come.

Or perhaps it flies
on the Springtime wind
into the budding trees of May.

It will be heard
when leaves are full
green, or in Autumn’s dry whisper.

And, yes, even as Winter laughs
at our collective frailty.

The voice of a maker echoes
in protest, in pleasure — the shouts
of children at play;
of lovers at odds;
of those who wish to be heard
over the chaotic noise they have caged
within that sings, “The fear of death confounds me!”

His breath has stopped.
His voice has joined
the chorus of the makaris —

“I se that makaris amang the laif
Playis heir ther pageant, syne gois to graif;
Sparit is nocht ther faculte….”


Less Than Normal — a poem

What did I find when I ventured
out today? Bite-sized memories strewn
across the surface of our pond.

Thoughts brought
to light — a feeding
frenzy of guilts.

I look up to the clouds
into a mother-shaped hole.

Thirty years abandoned.

The promised
rain never appears.

The storms headed south.

Only a drop blown in a north wind.

Meditations of Sophie, Our Dog, Who Has Recently Lost Her Ability To Hear — a poem

Sophie (2)



I can’t find their sounds —
sniffed everywhere.

They have hidden their voices.
I watch as they move
their muzzles; but nothing.

How am I to know?

They smell the same, but are not
talking to me.

No scent of anger.

No scent of play.

No sense I make
of this.

* * *

Okay, so as much as we love her, our Sophie never showed signs of enjoying us: our voices, our music, anything we did that kept her from her naps. She’s probably happy (if a tad confused) by our silences.

No Real Reflection On Me — a poem


photo by Charley


I have taught
my morning mirror to lie;
a sidelong glance,
a winning smile —
“Goodbye.  Adieu!”
My day is dressed
and all my success
is ensured
by my deceiving eyes.

But the camera,
the webcam,
my cellphone selfie —
like a vampire
I’ll not reflect
on them
and their persistent truths.

Tonight I’ll bear
the inner image
to heart.
Tonight I’ll rest,
get an early start, having
breakfast, coffee,
and my morning lie.

No, We Can’t Dance Together — a poem of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, April 2020

We focus on the sunlight, water
out our back French doors, inviting

us to break the stay-at-home order.
Shore birds, vultures, the Kingfisher

risk arrest, go about their business;
it’s not as bad as it seems. Flowers

on red and blue Passions proliferate,
a Hibiscus shows flippant disregard.

*  *  *

What will it take to shake
us out of our cave of safety —

a dearth of wine, farewell
to the last few sheets, need
for animal protein on the grill?

We were unnerved when gloves
on our hands we seen as crazed,

paranoid — but now being unmasked
is considered next to suicidal.

Our grandparents and before
them, generations learned
what separates want from need,

and how to do without — to live

*  *  *

A Great Blue is settled, focused
on the tiny fish but a few weeks

hatched. Softback turtles bask
in sunlight that seems to carry

a taint that I wasn’t sensible
of at the start of March — March,

that sidled in so unassuming.
We have another month inside,

or more… or more. An angry
pair of Jays are harassing

one of many Red Shouldered
Hawks. We, for comfort’s

sake, name them Reggie.
We stay at home, sipping

Sangria, toasting our health.