Song of Cessation

This poem was written in response to a poetry prompt to “[t]ake a single collection of poems and make a list of the last two words from each poem. Then write your own poem using only these words.” This poem is written using only the last two words of each piece from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience.

Song of Cessation

Growl & moan destroy my breast
Weeping in my mother’s hearse
Ecchoed Human misery
Harm befall thee too, my love

Hungry Bosom, head in fear
Home I flew nigh fold and tree
Led in hoary hills to harm:
Sleeping lions’ fearful Gorge

Bound in bright desires, I die
Heaven’s fearful door beguiles
Beauty, peace, and symmetry
Dwelling in my darkening mind


my cat walks diagonally
across a blank sheet
of standard paper
letter size, bright white
pristine and perfect

her paws, lightly soiled
by a basement adventure
leave a spotty trail

and i move
reckless with intent
to snatch up the page
so recently spotless

the box on the shelf
containing roughly
one thousand two hundred
exactly like it)

my kitty jumps
i spooked her
she casts me a glance
part hurt
part reproach
as she departs
and shakes the dust
from her feet

carefully now
i examine the paper
and the dusty gray footpath
bisecting its whiteness

i notice
the shape of each print
simple and flawless
the organic precision
of their placement

too late
i see these blemishes
as they are:
and perfect

and i move
brimming with intent
to be kind to my cat

Just Desserts

The apocalypse
Though planned and scheduled
Decades in advance
Unfolded gradually, and
(Like that fictive frog a-swimming
Blithe in his apocryphal pot)
We couldn’t tell we were in hell
Until our skin began to slough

Last summer wasn’t the inception

Gaia’s sad, deranged obsession
With the caramelized, rich flavor
That’s produced by searing flesh
Stretched back through years of memory

Though not the first
It was the worst
(At least, so far…)

Hephaestus’ sledge
Would pound our heads
Each scorching hour
Of every godforsaken day
Extracting sweat in rivers
From our skulls
And limbs
And reeking joints

Until we wept
(Though we could scarcely spare
The moisture)
Dangling thirstily from hope
That we’d inspire
A cloudless sky
To mimicry

And we survived
(And some of us survived)
To see October
Sweet October
Brief October
Brief, and lost

So have a merry Christmas, darling
Let us raise a toast
To the lamented and abolished
(Planet earth?
Well…us, at least)
And we’ll devour the irony
Together with the frozen custard
And the pumpkin pie

We should enjoy
The things we have
We can interpret from the snowman
Standing out there on our walk
(The snowman we once knew as Eric)
We can never, ever
Go outside the house

Year of the Monkey

OK monkey
Let’s get one thing clear
I’m not running from you
I’m not
What I’m doing is the opposite of running

I’m sitting
Just sitting here
Right here

And I’m not even yelling
I’m not even asking you to go
I mean, you can go
You can come, and you can go
But I understand
You’ll be here all year
And that’s cool

I’m cool
Just sitting here
Right here

Later on
I have an idea
That I’ll have to surrender
(That I’ll choose to surrender)
The luxury
Of parking my tail here
And watching you romp around
Chit-chatting in my ear
And flinging the odd poo catward
Just for the fun of the ensuing yowl

Yeah, later on
I foresee myself
(Like it or no)
Rolling up my sleeves
And engaging you in your monkeyshines
With vigor
One simian to another
Mono a mono

But for now
I’m just sitting here
Right here

You be about your business, little monkey
I’ll be about mine
Each of us finding our own way to sunshine
And that’s