The Rabbit

with gratitude to Neil Gaiman, in the tradition of his story, “Nicholas Was…

The rabbit didn’t understand.

He could hardly breathe,
and his heart labored to supply
his unnaturally enlarged body
with blood.

His elongated legs
wobbled.

He stared,
uncomprehending,
at the enormous wicker hamper
they had strapped to his neck.

The discolored chicken eggs
inside it
smelled foreign and strange.

“It’s time to go, bunny!”
came the voice
of one of his white-robed
tormentors.

“Hippity!
Hoppity!
Easter’s on its way….”

uncertainty principle

this poem is written
it’s right here
right now
that’s an undeniable fact

and me
i wrote this poem
i’m pretty sure of that
too

but you
you haven’t heard it
you haven’t read it
not yet
not the whole thing anyway
so its momentum
and/or position
are so far
indeterminate

you don’t know
and i don’t know
(face it, tiger: nobody knows)
what form it will take
when it entangles itself
amongst your brain cells
when its quantum waveform
collapses
with an echoing clang
inside your skull

you could try to explain
“your” poem
to me
attempt to teach me
your personal realization
of this poem
that i wrote

but it won’t work
because i wouldn’t understand
and it wouldn’t be right anyway
(due to unavoidable
quantum decoherence)

all i really want to know is
did you like my poem?

tell me you liked my poem
please
i can’t handle this uncertainty

burn

headlines buzzing rolling in
on schedule     right on
times wapo huffpo cnn
shaking quaking rhythms
making dissonant vibes


let's meet the new news!
sells just like the old news
same old blame old flame
of war     deploying arms: 
lethal     or "merely" verbal?


she's a liar     he's a monster
feckless reckless lazy mean
innocent? then why’d he run?
had it coming     every one of
t        h       e       m


always salting one another's
wounds     constructing rusted
shells around our hearts so we
don’t feel each other     so we
don’t feel anything at  all     but


darling     you and i gaze into
brighter human landscapes
undivided by these chasms
so     what have we got to lose
if this ruined world should end?


days like this i cannot say why
we still shed our blood     still
weep our stinging bitter tears
fortifying     shoring up this
pre-apocalyptic dystopia


shall we burn it to the ground?

fruit

little seed, you are my hope

only you can keep
my labor from coming back empty
only the fruit you bear
can fill the bellies of those i love

so i plant you with utmost care
avoiding rock and thorn and gravel
i break my back to nourish you
carrying pure water from afar

i watch
and wait for you to sprout
but you don’t

despairing
i see the dry earth split above you
as your own precious body
cracks in two

tears stream down my cheeks
and mingle with dew dripping
from the cedars that surround us
pouring into your cloven heart

i see you sending tendrils
reaching down deep into the earth
touching the roots of these mighty trees

green vines begin to grow
exploring over the ground
further than i can follow
forming fruit
sweet and plump and nourishing
fulfilling the desire of those in need

with a trembling hand
i reach out
and taste

The Prize

Underneath the rutabagas,
Carol dug and dug.
She didn’t find a blessed thing.
She gave a little shrug.

She thought she’d seen a glimmer.
She thought she’d seen a gleam.
But the earth gave forth no secrets.
Dirt was dirt – or so it seemed.

Next morning, during breakfast dishes,
Carol glanced outside.
What she spotted through the window
made her hazel eyes grow wide.

Out beyond the berry-briars
where the rutabagas grew
shone a light bright as epiphany!
Her mission was renewed.

She ran outside, her trowel in hand –
she’d find it now, she vowed.
But when she reached the rutabaga patch,
a voice boomed loud:

“Your arrogance will fail you, dear.
The prize shall not be yours.
So take your tiny shovel,
turn around, and go indoors.”

Carol paused, astonished
at this strange, malicious cry.
Then she choked up on her trowel,
a glint of purpose in her eye.

The dirt compressed beneath her boots;
the briars made no scratch
as she stomped into the center
of her rutabaga patch.

As Carol crouched down low
and thrust her trowel in the ground,
she jumped a bit in startlement
at one indignant sound:

“A-humph!” she heard, then
“So, you think to excavate my home?”
She turned to meet the glare
of an ill-tempered garden gnome.

“The diamond that I’ve buried here
is not for you to take!”
He said, before he rushed her,
brandishing his little rake.

She started, then she stood up,
then she said to him, “OK.
Sir, I wouldn’t want to steal it.
It’s your diamond, anyway.”

The gnome stood still and blinked at her,
and tears fell from his eyes.
He said, “You’re the only human
who declined to take my prize.”

“And therefore, if you want it,
this fine gem belongs to you.”
But Carol said, “No, thank you.
Have some rutabagas, too.”

The garden gnome bowed deep,
picked up his diamond, left that place,
and he carried with him
newfound fondness for the human race.

“Hope” is (after Emily Dickinson)

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That tickles at the nose –
And keeps on irritating –
Until you’ve snoze – and snoze –

And Sensibility – is lost –
And so much you’d condone –
To make this nagging, feathered thing
Leave you the eff alone –

I’ve felt it at the bleakest times –
It springs eternally!
And – never – will it GO AWAY.
It asks too much – of me.

body

so get this:

jesus died

they hung his body on a tree
and then he died
(dead is dead)

but now they say
he’s resurrected

they put his body
in a grave
and then
and then

the grave was empty!

so get this:

now they say
that we
are his body

that’s crazy, right?
how are we supposed to
rub some mud
in a blind dude’s eyes
and make him see?

that’s crazy
the only thing
that i know how to do
with mud
is make bodies dirty

dead is dead
and if you think otherwise
that’s crazy

but if you want to get
your body dirty
i can help you out

The Stuff I’m Made Of

65% oxygen, so I may inspire
18% carbon, to help me form diamonds
10% hydrogen, to ignite my combustion
3% nitrogen, so I’m a high-protein snack
1.4% calcium, to fortify my chompers
1.1% phosphorus, making me luminous
73% muscle, ’cause I eats me spinach
22% fat, ’cause I scarfs me donuts
3% bone – thank you, calcium!
58% water swelling my ugly bag of skin
patches of hair keeping bits of me warm
a score of shiny nails to dig in the mud
a couple of grimy spirit-windows
two feet that stumble on smooth floors
ten fingers that flounder over keys
a derriere well-adapted to sitting still
a heart like a neodymium magnet
a durable web that binds me to you
a little dog, desperate for approval
a pirate who gives away his booty
a child at storytime, lost in wonder
an octillion of this universe’s molecules
and approximately one of creation’s souls

Underneath

I know it’s not real.
I know.
My father told me so,
and I believe him.

He always tells the truth.

So I know
that when my father
turns off the light,
and it’s quiet
(at first)
and then I hear the scritch,
       scritch,
               scritching,
I know
that it’s all in my head.

And I know
that when I call out,
“Stop!
Stop scritch,
        scritch,
                scritching
underneath my bed!”

and I hear in reply,
       no, little poppet
       you do not want me
           to stop
       because if I stop
           scritching
       then I will begin
           chewing
I know
that too
is all in my head.

My head
is clearly not right,
but I do not want it
to be chewed
off my neck.

So I don’t try to stop
the scritching
anymore.

It has been
one hundred and eight days
since I last slept.

And now,
because my nails
have grown
so fine and sharp,
and my teeth
       all in my head
       all in my head
have become
so long and cruel,

I know that
it is time for me to leave.
It is time for me to go
and find another child’s bed
to scritch
        scritch
                scritch
underneath.

The Best Laid Plans

Pounder McGurrell was a very fine squirrel,
and he hoarded his nuts with a miserly zeal
in the stump by the dump
and the hole near the pole.
He had no fear of missing a meal.

Pounder McGurrell was a very fat squirrel,
and by any squirrel’s measure as rich as a king.
He would crash on his stash,
snooze and snore, dream of more!
And he wasn’t afraid of a thing.

Pounder McGurrell was a satisfied squirrel,
with a pride-swollen heart in his oversized breast,
but he woke with a croak
to sustained, pounding rain.
The typhoon liquidated his rest.

Now Pounder McGurrell is a dog-paddling squirrel,
as he watches his nuts float away.

And that’s all I’m going to say.