Tuesday, August 28, 2007


You know it isn't fair, she said to me,
With pouty lips and big innocent eyes,
And yes, she scolded me, it's a surprise.
I must have smiled too gently, patiently,
Because she whacked me on the arm. You see,
She told me, pointing my way, was that wise?
Did you just want to know if that one flies,
Or were you thinking I'd sit on your knee?

I answered, If you sat here, quarrelling
The way you do, I'd spank your big behind.
There was a silence then, the nasty kind,
The kind that seems to slap your ears and ring
For weeks and weeks, sometimes until next spring.
Oh? Big? she asked. I said, I've changed my mind.

Friday, August 24, 2007

At the Travel Agency

When I pretended to be Taiwanese
The grass grew much more swiftly, and the sun
Shone steadily on almost everyone,
And everyone was wholly at his ease,
As happy and contented as you please.
The world was nothing but friends, freedom, fun:
Some green tea, pulled pork on an onion bun,
A handful of those wonderful sweet peas . . .

I don't intend to ramble on all day.
It was a time of innocent delights,
Cool mornings, fine middays, and starry nights
That smelled of elderberries and mown hay
Here in the city, over by the bay.
Let's visit China, and take in the sights.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Advice on Throwing Things out

Since you can throw away your entire past,
Don't hesitate. Discard, discard it all!
Throw all your hoary textbooks in the hall,
Your papers out the window. Do it fast,
And when you think you've gotten to the last,
Look underneath the desk. You've heard the call:
Clean, clear, and ready for what's next. The wall
Has posters? Gone! There's been a mighty blast!

Explosions of old garbage! Say good-bye
To everything and everyone you knew
And everything that was a part of you,
Mere things, the former apples of your eye.
The life you used to lead is now a lie.
The emptiness ahead begins, on cue.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Warm to Persuasion

We've been inveigled by the sinister,
Deceived by the improper, led astray
By aimlessness, convinced that shades of grey
Are moral absolutes, and caused a stir
Among the demonstrators against fur
Who stained our jackets as a type of play.
We tried to keep the thought police away,
But when the queen smiled, we agreed with her.

We're all good anti-vivisectionists,
Tree-huggers, moose's friends, black swans and such,
Warm to persuasion and soft to the touch;
Our meetings sound like secret lovers' trysts,
Our brains are fogbound: crude, cursed, wrapped in mists,
Devoted to the lies we love too much.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Living in Fear

Impress me with your will to live in fear
Surrounded by the ever-present sharks.
There's always numbskulls with their leaking arks
And half-baked plans to to clear the atmosphere,
But you don't want the cure. You read Shakespeare
And Robespierre. You know we're easy marks
For writers who can set off a few sparks,
Or easy answers. Everything is clear:

Archangel Michael left you in the lurch
Facing down demons twenty-eight feet tall,
You made bold false remarks about the Fall
And, while the vultures ogled from their perch,
You drank the Pinot Gris they served in church.
Your will to live in fear astounds us all.