Monday, September 25, 2006

Hot Dessert

The party had been going on too long
For anybody to be much surprised
When four large women who slipped in disguised
As caterers turned out to be too strong
For several of the men, who got things wrong.
There was some singing, and a game devised
To demonstrate heat. No one realized
How hot it was before we sang the song.

Like rabbits, we leaped up from where we sat,
A shelf collapsed and tumbled onto me
And, as the smoke cleared and the clock struck three,
The last remaining woman grabbed her hat.
The only thing still standing after that
Was six guys in a state of deshabille.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My Baby

My baby, born in darkness, lives in light.
Together, she and I have travelled far,
Down muddy towpaths, in a railway car,
A thousand stars above us through the night.
We stop, early each morning, for a bite,
Looking like hoboes, smelling like road tar,
Feeling like chums. Maybe that's what we are;
We shouldn't be. We should argue, pine, fight.

At last I come to where I ought to be,
Back home from unforgiving neighbourhoods
With endless mountains of unclaimed hard goods.
My baby's smile is everything to me,
My heart is full of rage and contumely.
The road I travel runs through strange, dark woods.

Friday, September 22, 2006


The wound is festering. Don't play with it.
Watch closely as I wash it with some ink
From this red bottle – iodine, I think –
So I can see it, sealing it with spit
And rubbing alcohol. You should have quit
While you were still ahead there. Your moves stink;
I've seen a seven-year-old girl in pink
Who'd take you, quickly. Where'd you learn to hit?

The only good advice I'll offer you
Is: try to find yourself another way
To make a living. You won't last a day.
You're not a physical type. Have a brew.
Although your eyes are really very blue,
You've got a jaw of glass and feet of clay.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Chute d'automne

"Ah, quel dommage!" my mother said to me
When I was very small and ill at ease
Because the wind was blowing through the trees
And frightening the birds that I could see
Alighting, flying off, while two or three
Drab chipmunks turned and tumbled in the breeze.
"It's fall," I murmured. "Will they fall and freeze?"
My mother answered, "Ah, mon pauvre petit!"

Why did she speak in French? I don't recall,
Maybe I didn't even ask her. Mad,
I yelled, complaining, I would tell my Dad
That she was making fun of me. What gall,
I thought. Though ill at ease and very small,
I said to her, "Your accent's pretty bad."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I think I was abducted late last night,
But not by aliens. There was a truck
That rolled past where my bicycle was stuck
And knocked me over. The impact was slight,
But bruises on my arms, black, blue, and bright,
Showed up this morning, which was rotten luck,
Because the interviewer seemed quite struck
By how they glistened in fluorescent light.

I don't remember much that happened then,
Except that — this is really what I think —
There's something in the bruises, maybe ink,
Maybe tattoos is what they are. These men,
The truck guys, pricked me with an epipen,
Or gave me drugs, or alcohol to drink.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Political Considerations

Political considerations rule:
Don't talk about that flea that's in your ear,
The heating of the upper atmosphere,
The exploitation of each fossil fuel
We can extract and burn. Earth is a jewel,
But empty yammering is all you'll hear.
Somebody once said this about Shakespeare:
"He's white, and he knows how to stage a duel."

So don't weep and explain yourself to me,
Because I'm tired of your big pointy snout,
The honking, all that dithering about
With platitudes about your empathy
And futile wishes. What you want to see
Has no impact on anyone with clout.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Arms Like Yours

You didn't like the way I looked at you,
So you began to beat me with a stick,
But that's okay. I don't think you could lick
A squirrel with a steel toe-capped work shoe
And arms like yours. You haven't got a clue
How hard it is to land a useful lick
On someone like me, sensible and slick.
You seem unhappy, but you know it's true.

No, I don't think you're cute when you're upset,
I don't pretend to cringe each time you hit,
Achieving nothing. Are you short of wit?
Did rivals win some prize that you should get
And mock your failure? Did you lose a bet?
Attack me if you like. I can take it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Who Our Friends Are

When she got very sick, my wife's old friends
Took one of two roads: some acted with grace,
And some abandoned her. They couldn't face
The difficulties which life sometimes sends
(Some say the word is "trials"). A heart mends,
But not without some staring into space,
Attempting to discover that lost place
Where goodness is what a good man defends.

We have far fewer friends now than we had,
But what we have is all the best of them,
The jewels in a princely diadem,
Friends who show up when things are looking bad.
I've let the others go. I am not sad,
But I regret some pain I could not stem.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bad News

The news is bad: three dogs were bitten twice
By large rampaging beavers from the zoo,
Escaped last Thursday morning around two
In golf carts powered by small diesels – nice!
The news remains as bad as ever, vice
Presiding, overweening pride shot through
With savage feelings between me and you,
My soul on fire, your brittle heart like ice.

Sometimes the news is worse: fear, contumely,
Disaster, all the dreams we should have had
Dissolved in bickering. It makes me sad
To learn how we perform: such infamy,
With revelations of discourtesy
And false friends' lies. The news is very bad.