Dance

While algae’s greening in the swamp
And ogres in the forest romp,
The villagers would have a dance,
A masquerade, and take a chance
Some ogre with a fairy might
Pretend to waltz then start a fight.

They’ve never liked each other much
Although it’s heard they sometimes touch.
It’s even heard they sometimes kiss!
But I’d doubt all reports of this.
It’s rumored that they even love.
What can these fools be thinking of?

The dance will give them roles to play.
For some there might be words to say.
It’s safe to meet behind disguise
To look into each other’s eyes.
Of course, they know what each has done,
But from the present, who can run?

We’ll have that dance, no matter what.
Yes, worried folks will worry, but
Tonight we’ll take a chance on change.
Let something, somewhere rearrange,
Then, whether they like it or not,
They’ll get the love they’ve always got.


This originally appeared in Snakeskin.

Sure

And that’s when Alice wanted to know when
I was going to grow up and she apologized
for giving me the arsenic even though it was
only imaginary arsenic and then she started
crying because she wasn’t real any more than
that arsenic and that’s why she acted the way
she did and I told her ‘It’s OK’ because what
else was I going to say and then I told her that
even atoms were almost all empty space, nothing
there, and she said, ‘Really?’ and I said ‘Sure’
and then she wanted to know about that tiny stuff
in the middle of the atom and she started to cry
again and I had to tell her that when that stuff
was a wave of potentiality it wasn’t there any
more than she was and she said, ‘Really?’ and
I had to think because I didn’t want to lie to
her and I didn’t want her to start crying again
and as far as I could tell she was more real
than any old atom was and so I said ‘Sure’.

Boat in Blue

Boat in Blue

Blown-up detail, black on blue,
Stops the eye from looking through
To the blue-pink water-sky,
Cloudy bubbles rising high
Thrown like soft reality
Teasing, pleasing peacefully
As the day drops toward its end,
Lonely lover, faithful friend.

The Ballad of the Orange Lilies

Orange Lilies by the Road

Five lilies bloomed beside the road
Where Thomas walked today.
On leaving home, his well-worn load
Of worries went his way.

One lily orangish in the light
The breeze began to stir.
His mind was darkened by some night.
He did not look at her.

Two others asked him softly why
He thought he had to go.
Though dreams are hard to modify
Forgetfulness could grow.

Martha knew why he was gone.
There’s nothing she can do.
What’s done is done. Life must go on.
One lily knew that, too.

The last reminded him there’s joy
Beneath the sorrow’s shade
To water any lonely boy
When sunlight wants to fade.

The water comes from everywhere.
The lilies drink and shine.
The faithful sun shines here and there
And all can claim he’s mine.

Chance

Not Quite There

I told myself that I should be about 170 pounds
and sometimes I check in the morning to see if
my body got the message and usually it didn’t,
but it turned out today that the scale showed 167
pounds which kind of surprised me and made
me wonder if there was something wrong with
the scale or if I needed to tell my eyes to see
more clearly but it looks like my body finally came
through and then I wondered what if I could
levitate and then Alice appeared and she wanted
to know what I was doing and I told her that my
body finally did what I told it to do and she wasn’t
impressed and she wanted to know about that
levitating nonsense I was jabbering about and I
told her I thought it would be cool to become
weightless for a while and she told me that would
mess up my ideas about gravity and did I really want
another cognitive dissonance experience so soon
and then she mumbled something I deliberately
ignored about needing to appreciate whatever
experiences I might have while I had the chance.

The Monster’s Return

My little daughter goes to sleep.
I hope that monster doesn’t creep
Back to her bed to say, “Hello!”
She tells me that it’s wicked, though.

Now in her dreams, she starts to see
That monster dancing gracefully,
Until it slips on floppy feet,
Then thinks it needs something to eat.

“But don’t eat me!” She looks at it.
“I’m not that tasty.” So, they sit.
It says it’s never had a friend.
No one can trust it in the end.

It starts to weep and she looks sad.
She hurries off to tell her dad,
“A monster’s in my room and cries.
It’s cute and has the kindest eyes.”

Pigeon Perspective

Pigeon Perspective Evening Sky
Pigeon Perspective Evening Sky

What’s it like to be a pigeon living on the street?
Crumbs collect and raindrops fall. Dodge the people’s feet.