Who Wouldn’t Kill a Fly?

My mother told the story. As a girl

some older kids convinced her she should make

a shoo-fly pie. So all day long she went

and swatted flies and gathered them to eat.


The camera caught Obama in the act.

He killed him. You could see him lying there.

A murdered innocent. The killer caught.

And all the world reacted. Headlines screamed!

Obligatory outrage everywhere.

The head of PETA, interviewed, condemned

the Presidential act as senseless, cruel.


And I reacted too. Of course my soul’s

depraved and twisted and condemned to hell.

I thought, good riddance. I would kill them all.

And while I’m at it all mosquitoes too.

Imagine if you will, my evil laugh,

and death, destruction, murder everywhere.


The Great John L. was fast enough to snatch

a fly out of the air then let it go.

Of course he was the world champion

and so for him allowance must be made.

An Explanation from an Old Wood Carver

Japanese wood carver

My favorite wood for carving? Pear.

As far as I’m concerned, it is the best.

Like all the other fruit wood it is hard,

but more than that, it wants to grip the gouge

which helps me carve the lines I want to carve.

Now maple is about as hard as pear.

And it too can be carved against the grain

and won’t tear out like many other woods.

I’ve only carved a couple blocks with it, but

the wood is slippery. It’s harder to

control the gouge and keep it in the line.

Mahogany is a hard wood, but too soft

to let me get the detail that I want

my prints to have. And walnut’s beautiful,

but unlike pear it has an open grain

and if I carved a walnut block those holes

would show up ruining my finished prints.

So pear, like partridge in a pear tree pear,

is what I use for making wood bock prints.

On the Way to St. Pancras’s Station

The Underground in London. “Mind the Gap.”

a very pleasant voice keeps telling me.

I’ve never been inside a Gap. Not there

in London. Never anywhere at all.

And even though the advertisement says

I should, I’ve never fallen in a gap.

But why in London have they mined the gap?

What’s in the gap? What valuables are there?

They’ve mined it to protect their gold and jewels?

Or information’s what is hidden there?

Or possibly the warning “Mind the Gap”

is a despotic order from The GAP.

“You will obey! If not, you’ll be destroyed!

I am The GAP. I am the only mind,

the only thought, the only will that counts!”

Or is nirvana in the gap and if

I meditate when passing through the gap

I’ll reach a higher state of consciousness.

I’ve reached St. Pancras’s Station. “Mind the gap.”




I’m really good at dreaming. Yah, I know

a dream is nothing, insubstantial. Poof!

It’s gone. Of course it never really was.

A garden in the Tuileries? It’s just

a corner overgrown with weeds. A dream.

Another dream: I’m standing in the class

ignored, irrelevant, and I drone on

believing everyone is listening.

I’m in the peloton, The Tour de France,

and join the breakaway on alpe d’Huez

despite the cobwebs gumming up my chain.

At least my dreams are not in black and white

or worse, in shades of grey like films noir

where everything and everyone is dead

or will be dead or might as well be dead.

They’re simply dreams. A quiet waste of time.

A momentary pause. A hope. A dream.

And then the world, reality returns.

Meaningless Elegies

A herd of elephants came marching through.

A dark miasma covered up the land.

A golden, dying hoard of seraphim.

An exaltation falling to the earth.

A rage of grief, of hopelessness, and tears.

It doesn’t really matter what is said.

The only thing that matters is it’s gone.

Three other churches burned; a mosque, a synagogue

destroyed. It doesn’t matter that they’re gone.

It only matters it is gone, destroyed.

It’s conflagration was spectacular

and all the world watched it while it died.

But places where a hundred people prayed

don’t matter. No one watched those places die.

They were not famous, were not old and rich.

They died unmourned and will not be rebuilt.

The Kitchen Sink

I’m curious why everybody knows

that washing machines and driers eat socks,

but no one seems to recognize the fact

that kitchen sinks are fecund. They give birth

to dirty dishes. Eat a bowl of soup

and put it in the sink then leave the room.

When you return the bowl won’t be alone.

A glass and grapefruit knife will be there too.

There hasn’t been a grapefruit in the house

for years and yet the knife is in the sink.

And dinner. You have cooked a simple meal

for just the two of you. A single course;

a vegetable, some bread and butter, stew.

A one pot meal for two. But when you’re done,

the counter’s full of dirty pots and pans.

You only made a single pot of stew

and yet the counter and the sink are full.

There’s six or seven plates, a hoard of forks

and spoons and knives, and somewhere in the pile

will be that grapefruit knife;

the one you never use and threw away.