Saturday, March 7, 2020

Musee des Larmes

Your Museum of Tears exhausts the visitor
with unrelieved monochrome. 
Repeat patrons squat and rock, 
pulling their hair,
begging for blindfold and bullet.

There is a booth to check your solutions
which will not be examined.
In lieu of a claim ticket,
special jugs of further tears are dispensed.
Bearers long for the grave or asylum.

Security stops visitors for interrogation.
Why did you make a face at exhibit 45?
Why did you skip the explanatory plaques?
Don't you see how unfair it all is,
and how innocent the artist?

In your Museum of Tears,
the railings are salt-rimmed,
the light fixtures red and swollen.
Several displays repeat in a loop.
Many have hung themselves from the balcony balustrades.

I cannot be a member.
I cannot be a patron.
I cannot be a docent,
Though I hear there is a brand new wing
where whole aquariums bear my name.

for Sunday Muse #98.

Monday, December 23, 2019


Everyone agreed that Lamby was certainly possessed, and that it was high time something was done.

A broken vase had been discovered, and the child accused.
"Lamby did it," said the child, and all heads turned.

The father felt certain that Lamby harbored powerful desires, barely concealed beneath its innocuous expression; desires that would certainly bring ruin and shame upon the family.

The mother was convinced that Lamby seethed with anger and longed to destroy them all in revenge for various wrongs. Did the thing ever close its eyes, even in the dead of night? No, it did not, so busy was the thing in planning its various diabolical machinations.

Lamby was removed from its only advocate, the now distressed and tearful child. "I lied," said the child. "Lamby didn't do it. I did." 

"The thing MADE her do it, and now controls her tongue as well," opined the clergyman, having been summoned to the scene. 

"We need punishment, to restore happiness," said the father.

"We need righteous fury, to restore harmony," said the mother.

"We must destroy it in order that it may be forgiven," thundered the clergyman.

As the three adults danced around the cleansing fire consuming her toy in the front yard, the child ran to a neighbor's house.

"They've gone fucking crazy over there," reported the child.

"Such language," tutted the neighbor, and took the child home, where the broken vase lay forgotten in the foyer.

A parable for Artistic Interpretations at Real Toads.

Saturday, August 31, 2019


image by Svetlana Belyaeva
Stop showboating.
You, who lived in the walls,
now live in the air.
You, who lived in my heart
now live in the margins of grander stuff.

There are windows.
(You don't care about windows.)
There are borderless nights, and sounds I did not know I could make.
(You don't care about that, either.)

Everything's a brag with you,
while down here it's all cement and stones, glass and goulash.
Shut up for once, I said on that first night, smiling,
when you were sweaty and happy and talking rot.

Now when I say it, I do not smile.
I whisper
and curse you,
every ethereal blameless bit.

for Sunday Muse #71.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

A Summer Blues

Here's a blues made from candle wax,
the hiss of tires on wet streets,
and lips that promise and vanish but linger all the same.

Here's a blues made from old calendar pages,
new blooms from a shaded garden,
and an ache warm and melancholy as night-lit water.

Come, I will play this blues
for heedless ferals and true believers;
for my own sore need, and for you, red-haired and

fleetingly perfect as dusk on the last night in July. 

for this.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Expect A Magistrate

Expect a magistrate,
my deus ex machina replacement 
when I zone out as we're talking, my beautiful one.

Perhaps a tailor,
festooned with measuring tape 
to act as your envoy when I have checked out, mon petit cher.

At last, a math genius
fresh from Mumbai
to complete the needed Trinity you desire, sweet enchanter.

I will leave you with my legal codes,
my paper pattern,
my formulae,

So that you might animate my double,
quantified, tame to the bone,
a wedding cake figure to replace me when I've gone. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Here comes the araber across the cobblestones,
slow as a rolled coin.
Here comes his horse, his cart, his bellowing cry:
Sweet persimmons!
His wagon is laden with fruits round and ripe.
His call is laden with sung notes stretched:
Bluuuue BERries!
Strawwww BERries! 
Plumsandblack BERRIES! 
The sky is pale blue, the few clouds puffy white.
Delicious ORRRanges!
The day is hot. His horse is stoic. 
I wonder if I have a nickel
or a dime?

There is no araber, nor cobblestones either.
His horse and his wagon 
gone to dust and kindling.
I hold a plastic tub wrapped with cellophane in my palm.
Ed Sheeran leaks from a speaker somewhere in the ceiling,
bleating about being in love with some girl's body.

"Hey...what's wrong?"
My shopping companion gives me a friendly little bump.
I tell her:
plums and black...berries."
She is used to me, and kind.
When we leave, the sky is pale blue, 
the few clouds puffy white,
the back wheel of our basket spinning and clattering 
all the way to the car.

for this.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Single Lady With A Cat

Oscar says
I should sniff at your kindness as if it were a little tainted.
When you want me,
I should proceed in silent circles;
a tide ruled by an odd moon whose attention wanders.

Oscar knows
that disappointment is the only reward for his counsel.
I accept your kisses and crumbs 
as if they were riches and rings
despite Oscar's disapproval and destruction of my things.

I have had Oscar from a kitten,
ever advising me to hide my heart and hold out for better.
Oscar is vocal--he tries and tries.
But what does Oscar know?
He has always been loved.

for this.