Variations on a Theme

One word at a time.
At a time one word.
At a word one time.

Word data time.
One word one time.
Timeword dow.

At a one time word
at a me wime tord
da da
ta ta

twon word town time
drown mod me at
meet word time mate
mata mada

one word at a time
at a time one word
a word one time at
a time word one

excuse me sir
you dropped a word
dripping yes
time drow

don’t look
for nonsense
where there is

look to the heavens
look to the skies
look where
you’re going

look at the mud pies
stuck in the gutters
rise rise rise down
falling swimming with

outword crescendo
there is no progression
now is the time
to decompress


“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom,”
said William Blake in his “The Marriage of Heaven
and Hell” (1790-1793). And later says, “A fool sees
not the same tree as a wise man sees,” a leavening
thought, where leaves allow for us to see the sky
and its Cyclopean eye in easy earned middle class
moderation, where all things are divided by two.

Autumn Us

In the evening the sun is placed
over 60th and Belmont walking
down the middle of the street
into the powdery scene I snap
a few pics with my phone cam:

Autumn Equinox 2022 from SE Belmont and 68th

Earlier in yard I cut feather grass
as dry as a lint trap and the spent summer
daisies cringed crinkled into dust as
I yanked on the stiff stems like the barber
at my gone to seed hair a mess she said.

Looking west over downtown to West Hills from SE 68th and Stark

End summer evenings still too hot
to walk but coming of Fall equinox
portable air conditioner quiet fan
spins cooler nights tiny blue eyes
charge to pay to keep cool to sleep.

A day later, a bit cooler, orange to blue, Morrison and 68th

So it goes Vonnegut said so it goes
around and around on old vinyl the needle
finishes its drive toward the center the turntable
still spinning the needle clicking back
and forth wanting to stop but caught in the groove.

Caught in the groove walking around and around

No one understands Universe least of all physicists
who must talk a taught tongue while the rest of us
find rhymes and rhythms as we dance around and around
until the moon goes down as Chuck Berry said around and
around until the sun goes down and the moon comes up.

My Affliction

Everywhere I look I see
signs of the cross
in telephone poles
at the busy intersection
of the homeless and
the morning commuters
in the brow of the woman
wearing the human billboard
advertising her three kids
and out of work husband
a veteran and a nice guy
trying to get back on his feet
after stepping on a landmine
at the bottom of the cross
and I don’t doubt it and wonder
if she’ll take the afternoon off
and drop the double sawbuck
just handed her all in one place.

I am tempted but the cross
at the local church remains
hidden behind a giant plastic
boastful Jesus his coiffed hair
combed and sprayed by the
altar ladies with their flowers
holy water and broken nails
who come and go they have
come and gone and still
they come and go
and carry their crosses
quietly and secretly
and do not advertise
their own club afflictions
and anyhow don’t allow
admittance of my cross.

Every Friday at three
in the afternoon
the altar ladies
take down the real
Jesus and put up
the plastic one
and Sunday after
masses they hang
the original back.

Meantime at the bottom
of the telephone pole
at the crossroads
the homeless gather
to disperse the day’s
take and affirm
nothing is finished
the kingdom never
comes but the will
is always done
daily bread is not hard
to come by not nearly
so hard as forgiveness
of debts and trespasses
or deliverance from evil.


Inwait watching listening
to what he wants to hear
then to critique that lesson
passably betraying purpose
occasion audience intent
the critic in wait teases out
the objections passive
aggressively indirectly
disconnects the circuit
breaks the circle of care

the critic lies in wait
for pretentious chichi
affectation of what is
stretched thin to impress
takes a back seat alone
in the cynical corner
and enjoys the play

meanwhile the husband who hopes
the woman who kneels knows prayer
the child who tries to please and fails
drama takes place in an empty house

words linked absurdly together
like barbed wire avoid likes
but attract comments like flies
to sweet sticky paper

happens all the time
you who always
those who never
it argues thus
near dusk
all at once
it comes out
without revision
without a second

that’s ok it’s not easy
hitting a baseball
being social
attending holy mass
body and blood
sitting alone
writing a poem
being a critic

keeping the secret
watchdog beware
keeps it chained
to his heart barking
champing at the bit
coughing up crud
it’s not easy
being a critic
lying in wait
taking the bait

still the sun also
rises and climbs
and falls but too hot
too cold too close
too far away
too bright too long
too short a day
for the critic
on the hunt
for something to say

Comma Splices

If I wanted to use one,
I’d use two, one for me
and one for you, 4 to a
bar, 5 to a fence.

Comma connotes pause,
like a cat’s paw does,
when lifted midair.

Pick up your comma poops,
put in scoop bags,
and place in the trash can.

The Once and Future Comma Queen
will return to Gramarye.

Pause, and enjoy, an ice
cold comma, tonight.

Harmonic Bohemian Comma Scale:
lunula moon, clipped ring finger
nail, crow talon, gypsy jazz plastic
guitar pick, muddy udder rudder,
silent scythe, silver clacker spoon.

There is no substitute
for a comma, either
you use one or you don’t.

Comma rules form
a book of spells,
a Grimoire.

When Then

When sound is noise that murmurs gurgle
and talk crabbed rambles and gabbles
When susurrus of water shuts off clang bang
and no breeze blows blossoms and all fall
long leaves crisp prematurely dull and grey
When thoughts are crickets in a dark repeat
and inanimate objects won’t cooperate
When strings stretch and snap out of tune
and ears fill full of hardened yellow wax
Then it’s time here for a nap or a blue beer
for there’s been a near miss missio dear.

A New Moon

The doctors of science
are replacing Earth’s moon
with an artificial one
made of rayon and crayon.

The new moon replaces
the old one deemed now
obsolete and in danger
of falling into the sea.

From Earth we’ll be able
to adjust the moon’s color
and position to improve
its influential benefits.

Several high speed elevators
attached to Earth’s tallest
peaks will allow tourists
easy access to hotels

bells and whistles
of space cultural
events and venues
and an Earth museum.

The Night Unwatched

Two Poesies last night lost
reports our own Town Crier
this morning for those
who now can not read.

His cocked hat skewed
he rings his bell and yells
“Oh, Yes! Oh, Yes!
words ‘n lines all tossed.”

There is a browling
of those waiting
at the curbs for jobs
“What is the night

which goes unwatched?”
asks a hawk talk host
“Our Town Crier
blatted had them

but let them go
in the night down
said dark back alley
while he canned.”

“Of no consequence
whatsoever,” said
Sister Aloysius
watering the uprising.

“There is much
in the night goes
unseen and never
does it get told.

These stories grow old
but come back to haunt
us in ways we do not
know or show.”

All About You

I was all on my own till I touched you
till I touched you I was all on my own
and you all alone until you touched
the sky above the ocean the clouds
pulled you from a dripping wet swim.

You liked to come first touch waiting
patiently fins by our sides politely
waiting for each other in the shadow
outside your watery cave in the cove
I without you and you without me.

All about you was all about me
and all about me was all about
you on our slow trip to elderly
crust when crest again you are
thine and I am mine all alone.

Out to sea it was all about you
fish and shells and boats above
while we waited for you and we
waited for me it was all about
you it was all sea creamy ocean.

This solmization of signs mused
no curled hair no moist kisses no
tattoos no clothes no perfumes
no cigarettes no booze no streets
no cars alone olive drab greys

sea greens and ocean blues
all about us surround sound
where water touches sky
all about you all about me
all about me all about you.

Nothing to be done nothing
to do much ado about you
about me about me about
you nothing to be done we
sit on our rocks and wait

for the final tidal coming
when you touch me and I
touch you first you then me
then the everblue sea the
ocean in our dew eye mist.

Ice Creamery

The sun a mini strawberry delight
in a field of vanilla smoke tonight
as it falls into a debauchery of ice
creamery I dive under a tsunami
of chocolatey covered cherries
the size of bowling balls while
this reverse osmosis produces
a raspberry spearmint julep
which is to say hold the bourbon
and bring on the rosewater
of camphor lime and take away
the six pack of IPA and keep the
ice cream coming in this the
ice creamery bathtub of sobriety.