Cicadas 2021

Cicada on a tree
Sweet seventeen and rising
Look down, it's holey ground
Legions of discarded shells
Marching for the sky, then 
Left, giving trees a new skin
Empty replicas of newly winged
Angels or maybe drunken aliens
With zero time to learn to fly
They've got pressing business
If you know what I mean
Wink wink nudge nudge bug sex
And is it anything to sing about?
Just listen to the choir of millions
As the ladies drop leaves like veils
To add to the carpet of husks
And corpses and living bodies
Leaves coated with the eggs
Whose inhabitants will burrow
Down deep, preparing to return
In the alien invasion of 2038


A fine mushroom
A fine mushroom
King Rupert the Gnome
In his green, woodsy home
Was the monarch of everything
He would survey

And in his largest room
Was a stately old shroom
That was regal as heck
All his people would say

So King Rupert the Gnome
Sat on his fungal throne
Holding court in the forest
Each beautiful day

Til his seat was recut
In the shape of his butt
But it looked just as fine
In a comfortable way

Lord of Miracles

A ruined cathedral, partially buried by lava rock, against a background of blue sky, clouds, and tree-covered hills.

Paricutin Cathedral – Photo credit: Daniel Tapia. Some rights reserved.

In 1943, two Mexican towns were consumed by a sudden yet gradual volcanic eruption. All of the townspeople’s lives were spared, together with most of the nearby cathedral.

Lord of Miracles

the north tower thrusts toward heaven
a gnarled and knobby index finger
jabbing, accusing,
hissing, “You did not lay me low.

Oh, you tried,
on the day you wrapped your
gentle, burning arms
around my brother and me.
You reached up, and you held me,
and you pulled my stone
toward yours,
yet still I stand.”

Its sibling to the south says nothing,
its throat and mouth having plunged
to mingle with the jagged tumble
of dark lava-rock
surrounding and permeating
the cathedral that was,
the sacred place that is,
sixty-five years after
God’s hot embrace.

Behind those brothers –
one tall, one reduced
to stubby fingers reaching up,
an open hand to receive the gifts
of the sky – is the chapel
with three walls and no top.
It too is ready
to accept heaven’s favors
even if they descend from above
as a slow avalanche of fire.

Pilgrims fill the chapel –
seekers dressed in yellow and red,
in green as vibrant as the brush
that ekes out life upon this
snaggy, igneous landscape.
They come for the icon enshrined within –
el Señor de los Milagros.

And were there ever miracles here?
Was it love that was raining down
when the people of two towns
lost their homes,
yet thanks to the slow tenderness
of God’s scorching grasp,
not a single soul lost her life?

El Señor hangs upon his tree –
the ruin at which he eventually arrived –
as the women who loved him weep.
He seems to gaze upward
at the similar cross
that sits proudly atop the northern spire.
In the late afternoon sun
the tower’s stone and brick skin is black
and brown, tan and red like flame,
like human flesh.

And in the sunlight,
it stands.



i turn and see
my bulldog sitting
in the middle
of the rough-hewn
wooden bridge
i have just crossed

the pleasant sunshine
from his face
this mostly leafless
april afternoon
he sniffs the air

i call his name
but he just sits
and sniffs again
his posture somehow
telling me a tale
of deep contentment

so I return
across the bridge
just walking past him
to the side
i started on
“should we head back?”

but still he sits
and sniffs and smiles
and seems to say
you really haven’t
given this here bridge
an honest shot

and so i shrug
and join him there
between two options
in the middle where
we watch the twigs
float slowly by



She was up now. On the wall. Week on week, year on year she had paced and paced and paced down there. Below. Nowhere to go. Nowhere to go but up. And up she went from her puny little water pool like a striking cottonmouth snake. Higher than they thought she could go. Up. On the wall.

And now, out. But not far. No, not far, not yet. First, she had some scores to settle. Starting with that skinny little toothpick man that thought he could tease a tigress….

snake movies


i wish i could relax
      belinda brooded
    damn! her day
had been
l e v i a t h a n
 (just vast and twisted)
         and the truth was
        it had left her
             curled contorted
                       tangled up
                     in knots
                and kinks
           and whorls

what would help
      me to unwind?
           (she mused)
         a glass of wine)
            could be a flick
                  like this:
          (she flicked
        her tongue
             and snickered)
but what’s
     my mood?
            my wish?
                 my bent?
            my whim?
        what movie will
       most move me?
     as belinda browsed
         her choices
                 she was

jurassic park's
      inspiring but
     i don't think i've
  the mettle for a
monster movie
   (i see freakish
               every day)

    on a plane
       is merry mirth
      a pick-me-up!
  (too bad i never
    purchased it 
            oh well)

one thing
   i'm sure of
            is i am
             no fan of
          (ss sss!)

mm hmm
    do you
 know what?
    i think I'll
      quit this quest
     i’d rather just
   curl up and
 read a

Still Death

On a Tuesday in November
Death was wandering

The truth? She was bone-weary
For the work of Death is ceaseless
Nonetheless she does take breaks
(Everybody needs some downtime
Now and then)

On the border of the wood
She found a deer skull
Sun-bleached, gleaming white

She bent, and picked it up
Remembering well the one who’d owned it
But then she stared, almost forgetting
The soft gaze of that gentle doe

Death was transfixed
By the delicate lattice of bone
Stretching like lace
Between its eyes
And where some unknown incident
Had chopped off the front of the skull
Graceful spirals of paper-white
Could be seen
In the nasal passage

Death smiled
And placed the skull gently
On a nearby stump
Next to a tiny heap
Of orangey-brown leaves

Whispered Death to herself
Maybe someone will see
This dead deer
Resting on a dead tree
Garnished by dead leaves
And think
For a moment
Of me

And perhaps that witness
Will say, ah
Death is cruel
But she is also beautiful


Ever westward toward the cliffs
The grieving Bhean Fíona raced
Nearly blinded by her tears
Yet with her Elven grace

She cursed the eyes of English Men
Who came in greed, dispensing woe
Who burned the Faerie village down
And laid her Faerghal low

Fíona reached the precipice
She leapt – and beauty caught her eye
She could not bear to live, but now
She could not bear to die

The Elven Lady’s wail rang out
And it was heard throughout the land
It pierced the heart of Irish lad
And soul of English Man

The loveliness of her last view
Was mingled with her anguished throes
The moment Bhean Fíona died
The fearful Bhean Sídhe rose


my jaw pretty near hit my chest
as i gawked helplessly
at the gorgeous, terrible scene
outside my window

i always knew
it was only a matter of time
but yet…
but now…
they’d done it
they’d really done it

those bastards

apollo, amun-ra
amaterasu and lugh
all them old damned sun gods

quietly I wept
as the first orange flames of sunset
began greedily to lick
at the bright, cool blue of day

and I knew
in just a few minutes
nothing would be left
except the cold dark ashes
of the night