Sunday, March 18, 2018

Magic Beets

You spent your money on the magic beets,
No beans being on offer. They looked great,
So why not plant them by the eastern gate
Next to the lettuce? There were deli meats,
Potato salad, cole slaw, sticky sweets,
And dreams of borscht. We set the orange crate
Next to the picnic table, and we ate,
Thinking of magic in the unpaved streets.

Did Jack the Giant-Killer pass this way,
Distributing that nouveau-riche largesse
And preening in his new-bought fancy dress?
Don't tell him you have magic beets. Just say,
"Thanks for the dough, Jack!" Courtesy will pay;
Let us not live our lives in bitterness.

Friday, March 09, 2018


Depressed once, now I'm happy as a clam,
A throbbing mass of bubbling delight
As pure as sunshine is, and twice as bright.
Once dry, I have indulged in a wee dram,
I've huffed a spot of glue and smoked a gram
Or two of fine sludge, and engaged the might
Of other stimulants. I feel just right,
Exploring what I think and who I am.

I am my introspective intellect,
My deepest true emotions. Is my soul
A topless tower, or a seamless whole
That sings where universes intersect?
When E. M. Forster wrote, "Only connect,"
Did he mean this? Oh, man, I'm on a roll!

Monday, February 19, 2018


"Here endeth the enchanted woods," he wrote,
"Where princes walked with faeries, soldiers vied,
Where fearsome wizards magicked, damsels sighed,
And brave knights met with dragons, whom they smote
To weave their scales into a shining coat
That cried their heroism far and wide."
I tried to weave and smite, sometimes I cried,
But mostly I looked for an antidote.

Here is the sound of words, the easy speech
Of everyday impressions and desires,
The sweet smile, the illuminating fires
On moonless nights. I want a tongue to teach
A true enchantment, our own words to reach
All ears, without favour and without wires.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

You Know This

You think you know this: All white people are
Right-handed, and diseased. A rabbit's eye
Gleams harshly when three lovers say good-bye.
If there are seven moonbeams in a jar
We'll meet with pirates in a Stockholm bar.
A sharp retort will make the ladies sigh,
No man has elbow pads, and pigs will fly
When some child wishes on a shooting star.

The summer grass is orange. "Orange" rhymes
With jodhpurs. Jodhpurs make the roses bloom.
Glass stinks. The question about "who" and "whom"
Concerns no human being. There are crimes
That benefit Venusian goats, sometimes.
The horse is never worthy of his groom.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Or Rolling the Dice

Five types of mushrooms seem to represent
Five types of bad behaviour: all taste fine,
And all of them look good, go well with wine
Well chosen, sauté with a lovely scent
Of earth-toned flavours, and, to some extent,
All five of them can be seen to align
With sweet, umami, bitter, salt, sour: dine
On mushrooms; goodness is impermanent.

My own insistence on remaining nice
In the mean face of evil may seem stale,
But starve the substrate and the mushrooms fail,
However strong they start. There is a price
For doing right, or wrong, or rolling the dice.
Choose carefully, and thereby hangs a tale.

Monday, January 08, 2018

What Do You Know

Resentment is my middle name, disdain
Is my first cousin, and my son-in-law
Knows all about the January thaw
That unexpectedly allows the rain
To leak from cracks appearing in the drain.
A generous impulse would be a flaw:
The vermin living in the walls will gnaw
Through wires, through years, in silence, and in pain.

What do you know? Do you recall the day
Becoming evening? Summer turns to fall,
And fall to winter, quickly. You recall
The crisis of the rising water? Say,
What new catastrophes are underway,
What new disaster coming for us all?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


We love the way you intimate despair
When anything goes wrong, or almost wrong.
The group to which you and your ilk belong
Are always looking for sackcloth to wear
And ashes to roll in. Life is unfair,
Hope can be weak, and healthy fear is strong,
So when you hear this unsavoury song
Don't think we're laughing only at your hair.

We're laughing at your house, your heart, your hats,
We're laughing at the way you brush your teeth,
Your choice of prayers, your shoes, your Christmas wreath,
Your ex-wife's name, and your domestic spats.
We all agree your belfry's full of bats,
Aware of all the darkness underneath.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

New Love

They like to call it deep thrombosis,
Yet I think it's something shiny,
Found on land, and on the briny.
People scared of halitosis
And arterial stenosis
Seem to get upset and whiny.
Spinal bifida? Think spiny;
Ponder new love and necrosis.

Eat an onion and a carrot,
March down Main Street when it's raining,
Pick up Great Danes without straining,
Spend two seasons in a garret,
Talk red fibres with a parrot,
Ride the wind, and stop complaining.

Monday, November 27, 2017


I won't remember anything you said,
Last night, last week, or any time at all.
I'll try hard, but I simply won't recall
The smell of garlands, tasting wine and lead,
Feeling your heart beat slowly, seeing red,
Or hearing chimes. I'm waiting for the Fall,
But maybe it won't come this time. I'll stall,
Then I'll forget to dance. Then I'll be dead.

Just say there is one corner of my mind
Where all this will remain, unchanged, unknown:
The smell of coffee, and the telephone
Unheard among the lame, the meek, the blind,
And, yes, the innocent. Is it unkind
To question you? We'll both be all alone.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Approaching Paris

Things have unravelled — not just old dress shirts,
But new ones, also cardigans and shawls,
The special clothes you knitted for the dolls,
The hats, the heart-shaped cushions, introverts
Discussing meats and savoury desserts,
Long, dark imaginings in long, dark halls,
Objectionable asses in their stalls,
Unsavoury Beau Brummells, cads, and flirts.

So pick up needles, threads, tight skeins of yarn,
And get to work. Don't think embroidery,
Think basic, unadorned utility:
Torn seams to join, patched holes, cheap socks to darn.
Approaching Paris, on the western Marne,
We glimpse a new life, intermittently.