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

Early Spring Observations

precocious blossoms appear
gold within violet, reaching
or an exuberant chorus
of little blue faces

a plant with fiery red berries
and yellow-orange leaves
among its greenery
sets the scene ablaze

faithful garden gnomes
still keep watch
looking worn and tired
from the winter

a tiny orange shrub
alone in someone's front lawn
defiantly bestows
its gift of color

a robin fluffs her feathers
on a comfortable branch
while a lady hawk soars above
and cries out

wind makes urgent ripples
on the surface of the stream
amid vibrant green tufts
early adopters of spring

bare sycamore limbs
stark against the ice-blue sky
perform a spare pantomime
of the verdant dance to come

some trees hold on tenaciously
to last year's leaves or blossoms
now turned dark
a reminder of winter’s despair

others are evergreen
reminding us that while
change is nature's rule
there are still steadfast things

The Ballad of Sleeperman

in his blue pyjamas,
red slippers,
and plush blanket cape,
his chest emblazoned
with a mighty Zzz,
he is Sleeperman!

Nods off faster
than a sleep-deprived parent!
Snores more powerfully
than your uncle Herbert!
Is able to sleep all morning
in a single snooze!
He is Sleeperman!

Not much use
in fighting crime,
but still quite impressive
when during that bank robbery
in the middle of a shootout
he was found sound asleep.
He is Sleeperman!

Has a secret identity
as a mild-mannered coder
for a well-known newspaper,
except he wears glasses
in and out of costume
so everybody knows
he is Sleeperman!

Until the day
when he met his kryptonite,
and found that
he could no longer
sleep through the night.
His nemesis? Aging.
He…he was Sleeperman.

tooth and claw

sweet kitty cat
nothing but love
for her humans
and even her dog
little gray bundle
of purrs and cuddles


you’re also a cat
and you cross her
then any offense
or minor faux-paw
earns a harsh reply
and swift retribution

oh my

suddenly my house
is a wild kingdom
where panthers roar
and leap to attack
fangs are bared
claws unsheathed
true beast revealed

😳 …kitty?

in the room

a child again
i am ushered into the room
told to sit and hush
as darkness thickens

a flash of light
followed by three more
gold, green, blue, red
feathered creatures banter
and break into song

now dozens, hundreds
spin and flutter above me
weaving intricate patterns
of sound and color

a zeppelin of gleaming white
descends from nowhere
bearing clusters of melody
cloying feathery sweets

now tendrils of vine appear
capped by orchids and lilies
riotous in shades of rose
writhing and ululating
as drumbeats rise, ominous

a crescendo of storm and magma
suddenly the room is bursting
with song and feather
as every outlandish entity returns
here, swarming above me

until, finally, peace
the darkness lifts
and i am permitted to depart
carrying with me
the indelible memory
of the room


if a tree falls in the wood
and no ear hears the crash
shall we call this “silence”?

if a scarlet cardinal sings in the brush
and no lady bird responds to his song
shall we brand this “defeat”?

if a poet writes words on a page
and no heart receives their meaning
shall we name this “failure”?

or shall we say
the world is full
of trees and birds
pages and hearts
and time is full
of tomorrows?


driving along God’s belly
on the highway we shaved
through sacred tummy-hair
flowing within Spirit’s breath
blown along by the Divine

me? I’m just one of those
symbiotic microscopics
living on (in as) God’s bod
like a wriggly bacterium
or a fast flea on the move

watching all my fellow teeny
insectoid avatars motor by
always chasing a destination
but never anywhere apart
from where we need to be