Tuesday, October 31, 2006

No Stigma

Ingesting cola with my pasta sauce,
I bear no stigma of the false gourmet.
No one believes I'm filling up my tray
With Belgian foie gras as the coup de grâce.
I've often said to Essie's chef, "No mas!"
(He hails from Argentina.) "Put away
That spork!" cries Essie. "Do I have to say
Once more, give up this mishigas?

Hot dogs, and iced tea in a paper cup,
With plenty of hot mustard. Not too posh,
And my best trousers won't run in the wash,
So tell the man I'll have another pup;
I pour on ketchup, and I suck it up,
Drinking my cola with spaghetti squash.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Why the Ocean Is Blue

Why is the ocean blue? Who made it blue?
Is there a happy person, colouring?
Did someone spill grape juice, or did the sting
Of angry wasps or hornets, piercing through
The ocean's skin, stick underneath like glue
And make it purple? Can you pull a string
To turn things blue? Did angels swoop and sing?
If one of those dudes made it happen, who?

A cherub's cheeks are usually pink,
Not blue, but when they puff their cheeks and blow
A sea change comes, and soon, when colours flow,
It's over with a shudder and a wink.
It doesn't happen just like that, I think,
The ocean turning blue. It's strange, and slow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I spent my whole allowance on a snake
Devoted to dispensing bad advice,
Insulting my companions, acting nice
When the police came by, which was so fake
Even the cops ignored it. On the make,
As hard as nails, three times as cold as ice,
Stranger than heaven, and sweet for a price,
My reptile never made any mistake.

Except, of course, in asking me for cash,
Which I was hoping would set us all free,
The money used to skate off happily
To other places. The snake chose to stash
New contraband, behind some fireplace ash,
To stick around, and sic the cops on me.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

On Our Anniversary

You jumped all over me last Saturday
Because you thought I didn't really care,
But you know everybody who was there
Had brought us presents. They were hid away
So when they yelled, "Surprise!" the brittle clay
My feet are made of wouldn't need repair
From what you usually do: you glare,
Then, stamping on my toes, you make me pay.

You were dissatisfied, and asked for proof;
Laid out for us, as pretty as you please,
Were axles, shown in photographs, twelve peas,
Wigs made of plastic, shingles from a roof,
Owl droppings, and, exciting but aloof,
Two melancholy slices of old cheese.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I shouldn't go to weddings, then to bed:
Too many hours spent sleeping wears on me,
So when I was invited, and was free,
I should have told them no, shaken my head,
But I couldn't refuse, but smiled instead,
Saying, "Maybe I'll come. We'll see, we'll see."
Sometimes I can't tell where I ought to be,
Who's going with me, what I should have said.

The climate here is pleasing, but not good,
So I sleep badly, which is why I went
When I was asked. A bald presentiment
Of wakefulness came over me. It should,
Since only whacking me with blocks of wood
Or weddings help me sleep. They're heaven-sent.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sacerdotal Advice

The shaman said the caiman wouldn't bite,
And any layman could approach the beast
As long as we kept strictly to the east
So that the daemon, with the morning light
Bright in his eyes and lessening his sight,
Would see only the sun. True, said the priest,
I've seen it work. So Eamonn, now deceased,
Crept slowly to the shore. There was no fight.

These people will say anything they like
About whatever mysteries they choose,
Occasionally things that you can use
To entertain in style, or catch a shrike,
But mostly they're as much use as a spike
In soda water, or drunk kangaroos.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Way Rain Feels

I've always loved the way rain feels, the way
It presses at my skin and trickles down,
Lines puckering my lips into a frown
And rolling past my mouth. Still, when I say
I like the rain, the way it fell today,
Weighing on leaves, making a bright clear crown
Of spray in treetops, soaking the whole town,
You laugh, reminding me the sky is grey.

I can't explain precisely what I think,
Or how I got there. Understanding steals
On me, the way cold gelatin congeals,
Or scientists look for a missing link,
And though rain water isn't what I'd drink,
I like the rain. I love the way it feels.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I Love You Now

Please make me silly, make me mop my brow,
Remembering the way the summer went
When we were still together, in a tent
Near Lake Superior. Where are you now?
Come make me spill my coffee, take a bow,
And laugh at how I chide the government:
"Who's likely to be listening? Repent,
And move on, buddy. Get behind the plough."

I love you now, as I have always done,
Wading in muddy waters near the source
Of the Snake River, riding a fine horse
Down country lanes, or sitting in the sun.
You were the one I loved, the only one,
But you never really loved me, of course.

Monday, October 02, 2006


My aunt drank rum, and made a holy din
Singing along to what was on the radio,
Munching on chips. My uncle took on, though,
Insisting, “You’re no kin of mine! It’s sin,
All this display!” She also liked her skin
To breathe, and strolled out on the patio
Half-dressed, even on mornings after snow,
And giggled when my uncle cried, “Come in!”

My aunt would walk around the house in slips,
Or half-slips, wearing a half-open robe,
A trial to the epidermiphobe.
Somehow, my uncle had to come to grips
With music, liquor, and potato chips.
He did it, suffering the pangs of Job.