Sunday, August 2, 2020


(inspired by this painting by artist Denise Sedor
The rain has washed my window clean
and yet when I look out
at what I hope will be a moment's joy
what I see brings me no pleasure.

Instead of clarity
instead of bright colors
there is a muddled and muted smear,
as if a palette knife has been
swept across the window.
I strain to understand what I see
just for a moment
but then the effort is too great
and I turn away.

I never know what to think.
Would I see a brighter scene
if I opened the door
and stepped outside?
Or has the knife
smeared itself across my brain
filling the sulci with putty
and obscuring the details?

I've come to prefer the latter.

Friday, June 12, 2020

COVID-19 Blues

(sung to the tune of "Folsom Prison Blues")

I feel like I'm in prison
Don't know when this will end
I stay in my apartment
'cause it's what they recommend.

Yes I'm stuck in COVID lockdown
I wish I could be free
But that virus is pandemic
It's got its eyes on me


I see those 20-somethings
They're all without a mask
I know they won't be coverin' up
Even if I ask

Yeah, they're all a-sympto-matic
They're actin' wild and free
But they're carryin' that virus
And, Lord, I'm seven-ty three


Our President's a genius
He always tells us so
I wish that he could tell me
Somewhere safe that I could go

But I hear his home's infected
That virus wants him too
And if he can't solve this problem
I don't know what I'll do

Thursday, September 12, 2019

It's Another Special Day

Alexander Moskovar,
a salamander of ill repute,
steps warily today.

The humans say that on this day
two larger evils intersect
and blend their forces to create
an even greater evil shape
that walks the land invisibly
and without passion, hate, or malice,
flicks misfortune from its fingers
as easily as you or I
might cough, or brush aside an insect
landing on your arm.

These flecks of probability,
tossed like rocks into a stream,
disturb time's flow
and instigate corrupt diversions
where the passing rodent, beast, or man
may find their usual day disrupted
and suffer what we like to call an accident,
a whim of fate, or divine retribution for
some sin we once performed.

Alexander knows this well, but hopes
that his small venture will result
in furnishing a bit of food
for him, and not for something else
that might consider him a treat.

I'd stay to watch, but something tells me
that I'd best be moving on.
Shadows in the forest may
consider me a treat as well
and accidents have happened here
especially on such a day
when Fridays and Thirteenths combine.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Snowflake II

Transformed, floating, falling;
buffeted by winter winds,
swirling in a swarm of others.
Distantly they look like me,
but as they pass I see that they
like me are not alike; their wings
describe an icy pattern that is
functional and beautiful,
yet not my own.  We each excel
and glide within an unknown plan
that unifies us, yet transcends
the limits of what we might know.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Snowflake I

Here in the high thin air,
seeded by a mote of dust,
I begin to crystallize.
I have vague memories
of a windswept sea
and of cold stony mountains
that I soared far above,
too young to be born.

"Stay with me," said the wind.
"I have carried you so far,
and don't want to lose you."
"It's my time," I said,
as I began to slip out of her grasp,
my white lacy wings becoming
a burden to her
an escape for me.

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Catfish King

[Written in June 2016 and submitted to that year's Maria W. Faust sonnet contest.]

Gray catfish, you who probe the waters deep
With barbels flung across the silted floor
What morsels do you find? What tastes sublime
Delight your gustatory sense, and bring
You memories fond of great repasts of slime?

The muck wherein a sullen worm may sleep
May carry hints of shrimp, of albacore,
And echo days, when in your piscine prime,
None dared to challenge you, a mighty king,
Who ruled a watery empire maritime.

Yet empires fall to dust, and you, once king,
Are now as Lear, besmirched with mud and grime;
A lunatic, who once made choirs sing,
Who now meanders, lost, at dinnertime.

Of mice and rocks

[First published on 2017-04-02 as @Maud_Pie_poet in 3 connected and numbered tweets.]

Place at your left hoof
A rock.
Place at your right hoof
A mouse.
If you close your eyes for just a minute,
Which of these will remain?

The mouse has hurried away
Eager to feed
Eager to breed
Eager to live life quickly
Before the claws and the teeth
Bring life to an end

But the rock
Waits at your left.
It will see billions of mice
And millions of ponies
Before it becomes dust.
Listen, then, to the rock.