An Interlude of Logic





barbarians at the door
their heads on backwards
gossiping with the dragonflies
they seem nice enough
ask me how I am today
but they already know
they are a little supercilious
I don’t trust them
and attempt to close the door
but the dragonflies hover
in the hinges
knowing I will not hurt them
the barbarians try to convince me
to join them on a walk
down the lane to see the fox
and to ask forgiveness
but the fault is not mine
the barbarians tell me
we are all at fault
and I can’t fault that logic
but I remain unconvinced
the barbarians screw their heads on
rightly and walk off
saying no matter
they will ask for forgiveness in my name
I watch them lumber off
the dragonflies become unhinged
and I want to follow
but I do not.



Everyone should be like me

To be clear, I’m the bad guy here.
Impatient. Something I inherited from my father.
But, I’m nice to her. I don’t want to be nice.
I force myself to take the high road.
I greet her. Hello, Gretchen.
She smiles, says, Hi, how are you?
She doesn’t remember my name.
We are in yoga class together
three times a week.
The class is not large.
I know everyone’s name.

Everyone should be like me.

Gretchen is vivacious.
She tells us stories of her exploits
in Mexico where she has a house.
She talks and talks meeting our eyes, wanting contact.
This happens in the ten to fifteen minutes before class.
A rectangle of sunlight crawls across the floor.
I wonder if she notices.
I wonder if it edges nearer warming to her story
or wishing to quiet her with a blinding brightness.

Gretchen doesn’t listen.
Or pretends not to listen.
I think she pretends.
The teacher corrects her, often.
No, Gretchen, the other leg forward.
No, Gretchen, we’re not doing the bind.
No, Gretchen, hips forward, not back.

One day she tells us she’s a recovered drug addict.
Her mother died when she was very young
sending her into a downward spiral.
I’m a terrible person.
I want to believe her, but I have my doubts.
She drives a BMW, and wears expensive
outfits, coordinated with care.
I can afford a BMW, but I don’t want one.

Everyone should be like me.

I could befriend her, ask questions she’d
be delighted to answer, dig up the real story.
How much does she understand about herself?
Does she know how she comes off to others?
I could find out. People tell me things.
Something in my face makes them want to open up.
I could discover the truth.
But, I don’t.

Everyone should be like me.






I drove by your house again,
saw your car in the driveway.
I thought
about ringing the bell.
Aren’t you proud of me?
I exhibited that self-control
you’re always touting.
I can do it. I can give you space.
It was tough not to knock, or ring, or shout.
I wanted to see that look
on your face.
That look that says, I’m afraid.
I know what you’re afraid of.
I’d banish that fear if you’d let me.
If only you’d let me
love you.

For Corey at Real Toads… we’re writing about love in all it’s glory and obsession…




Remember when you proposed
that first time
my wheels started spinning
and I don’t mean the bicycle wheels
we were riding at the time
though I did speed up, didn’t I
put a little distance between us

I remember it was twilight
the sun an orange giant
on the horizon
cicadas ramped up their love songs
just for us

I was afraid you were needy
I didn’t want to take care of you
I wanted us to take care of each other

But you persevered, didn’t you
twice more you asked
the third time you got down
on one knee, so chivalrous,
so old-fashioned
you waited patiently for trust
to grow like those sunflowers
we planted that one year
they bowed their heads, remember
and smiled down at us

This morning I picked these wildflowers
quite a color combination, isn’t it
remember when we tossed the seeds
to the wind, laughing, I so loved your laugh
you brought me handfuls
every morning in summer
the house awash in color
and all that lavender
I thought it smelled like fresh laundry

It’s ironic, isn’t it
I worried you might be needy
and in the end I would have given anything
to take care of you
but your heart wouldn’t allow it
you did everything on your own terms
dying included

you’ve given me years
unimaginable years
enough to last me two lifetimes
yours and mine
enjoy these wildflowers
my darling
I’ll be back tomorrow

Brian at dverse asks us to tell him a story…

One Night is Enough


Slip-slidin’ along the wood floors
he circumnavigates the wonder
that is his wife
clasping her slender fingers
he twirls and he whirls
whistling while waltzing
to a tune she loves
but what is its name?
she doesn’t care
she sashays, she sidles, she sidesteps
in perfect sync to his motility

 on another night
they might shuffle out of line
lose the rhythm, forget the steps
but this night, this one night
this melody
is crystallized by time
to that ancient amber glow

through the years
they wheel and roll like
seabirds above the waves
humming a melody they can’t
put lyrics to
content to sing harmony
together, always together.

For Victoria at dverse – we’re making the most of Verbs…

Tropical Paradise

Written for Marian and the poets at Real Toads. Our mission was to write about someone stuck in the past; someone who can’t move forward; someone who dwells in what they consider a better time.

Also linking for the first time with Poet’s United for Poet’s Pantry #182.


©Cheryl Strahl

©Cheryl Strahl

Back in the day I was the youngest
in this tropical paradise
what a feeling that was
sitting among the retirees, listening
to their stories thinking I’d have my own
one day, but until then I was content
to bask in my youth, utterly unaware
that it would seem like yesterday

like it does right now. It seems like yesterday
that I was the listener and not the one detailing
my sins to the youngster that I was, like she
still is. She just had a baby for chrissake. All her
friends have infants and toddlers. The retirees are
still here, but not the ones I listened to. They are
long gone, buried, ashes, mist surfing the blue waves.

I tell her stories about how it used to be here
in this tropical paradise
she cannot imagine a jungle without wi-fi
or infrastructure, or marijuana or guns for
protection, of course, she cannot imagine
living like that. I am nostalgic, I tell her,
for the time when swimming pools
and houses bigger than anyone needs
didn’t suck the land dry.
Progress, she says, and
pulls out a breast for her baby.

Her generation, she says and she means her
baby, will fix all the ills, all the wrongs that
our generation and she means mine,
have wrought upon the land. I look at
her unwrinkled, tanned skin, I watch her
baby suck, and I remember all those
long dead stories, and the ghosts who
told them. The young mother smiles at me
and it seems like yesterday.

Thanks for reading!

At the Exhibit (Ligo-Haibun)

For the Ligo-Haibun Challenge hosted by Pirate, Penny and Nightlake.

As I mentioned in my previous post I’ve been busy this summer. Finally I get a chance to take up the practice of writing with renewed vigor, and get back to these challenges. This is a good one: a short narrative with accompanying haiku. (I think the haiku is the most difficult.) Some fine writers in this group. Give it a try!

We had two photo prompts to choose from. I chose this one.


It was the odor that propelled her to the penguin exhibit. She had no need to consult the building’s directory. A collection of sea brine, fish, and stabled livestock, the smell was at odds with the cuteness of the tuxedoed creatures.  She loved them nonetheless, possibly more, for the juxtaposition. It had been her idea to meet here. He was always late. At least she might distract herself watching the playful antics of the penguins as they slid on their bellies down the curved slide the Academy had constructed for their pleasure.

Standing at the railing she considered their pleasure trapped as they were behind enormous plates of glass. She listened to the giggles of the small crowd as the flightless birds Charlie Chaplin walked to the attendant who had entered stage left. One by one their handler tossed them small fish that they swallowed whole.

She toyed with her wedding ring, and thought about what she swallowed whole.

among the penguins

on the other side of the world

a lone female