My backyard...

My backyard…




Nearly a month until summer,

and already a heat wave.

Ripples of warmth rise from the vineyard

like a mirage one sees in movies.

I imagine ghosts, spirits, spectres.


Twelve years I have lived among these vines.

Three pets lay buried, deep in the dust:

two cats and a much beloved dog.

I watch the wrinkles of air

and imagine the dry bones as a fine powder

rising heavenward, if there is a heaven

though I truly doubt there is.


If there is a heaven it is populated

by animals, and children, playing..

an adult free zone.

Not even a Mother Teresa deserves an

eternal reward, don’t you agree?

More likely we return to right all our wrongs.


Great clouds of dust rise in the hot breeze.

I can smell it. It smells like money.

Thin tendrils of springtime vines rise

heavenward, toward the sun.

They are rewarded for their adoration

with fat red grapes bursting with sugar.


Where once apple orchards thrived

rooting the soil, feeding children, now

Grapes ferment into dark bottles of money.

and the unfettered soil lifts and is borne

many miles into the spectre of a future

governed by the dry bones of sacrifice.






Fairgoers cheer for Sarah Palin Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Fairgoers cheer for Sarah Palin
Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images



The Age of Ignorance by Charles Simic


Many otherwise intelligent people
are stupid.
What does that make them?
Idiot savants?
They might be good at their job,
might even be good at parenting,
might go out of their way to aid a stranger.

They are otherwise good people,
while lacking any understanding
of the greater picture of their own interests.
They proceed in their daily lives
believing what they are told
by unscrupulous sources, bent
on manipulation.

Otherwise intelligent people
care only that they are viewed
as nice
as helpful
as caring.
They are all of these things.
And they are stupid.

Otherwise caring people
believe the lies they are spoon fed.
The information age is a misnomer.
Piece of cake, easy-peasy to seek the truth.
But these otherwise nice people don’t do it.
Because they are nice.
They wouldn’t do anything or believe anything
that seems uncaring.

It is the only way to get through the drudgery
of their lives
believing they are happy, caring people.
Many otherwise lovely, friendly, charismatic
people – are stupid.


The Age of Ignorance by Charles Simic

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…



When did we lose our sex drive?
We’re at odds, are you on my side?
Only headlights penetrate the night
while we tarry and parry, our love belied
by the ancient battles we too often wage.
Unlike those who are born again, we are not saved.
Still we sleep on ‘til a truce is made.
In the moonrise I watch your face
in every crease those wounds only I can nurse.
I see time reversed, and we’re at the church
repeating vows for better or worse;
your full lips purse
and then once more you turn your back
repeat the pattern just like that.

For Tony at dverse. We are writing Bout-Rimes (boo-ree-May)… not an easy task, but a great exercise…


Édouard Manet (1832–1883)

Édouard Manet (1832–1883)



the cat curls on the table
wedges himself
beneath the flat screen television
almost instantly
he is asleep
and twitching
the antihistamines knock him out
and I feel relief
at his relief from a terrible itching
a food allergy at last diagnosed

out the window
six inches from his head
I watch the relentless rain
sometimes a breeze slants it northward
but mostly it falls ruler straight
while the cat’s tail hangs
like a dowsing rod
pointing at my affection for him
and for the long-awaited rain
that fills that void
you know the one
and overflows the old ponds
and the frogs chant mantras
of universal goodwill


Claudia at dverse asks us to sketch a poem of our surroundings…

On the Billboard


on the billboard
you cannot miss
I’ve seen that face before
who is it
a good-looking dude
maybe he’s nobody
just a good-looking dude
I wish he’d sing to me
I want to hear his voice
his language
I want to see how he moves
do his eyes light up
when he sees me
who am I kidding
he’s a cardboard cutout
a paper doll
I’ll prop him up
and I’ll do the singing
I’ll make promises
I will never keep
I’ll sing to him of shattered dreams
he has no choice
but to listen
he’s just a good-looking dude
after all
on a billboard


For Marian at Real Toads… who today offers inspiration with Laurie Anderson.