escape hatch

i saw her, yards away, across the bridge
bent over, marking on the path with chalk
i squinted and crept forward just a smidge
to see what she was drawing on the walk

she drew the chalky outline of a door
and when she finished, much to my surprise
she opened it and jumped inside before
i knew it – i could not believe my eyes!

i ran to where she’d been, fell to my knees
and touched the outlines drawn upon the track
the door was only chalk, a mundane tease
i wonder if she’s ever coming back?

Mummy Caper

Jane was dangling
like Tom Cruise
above Queen N.’s sarcophagus.
Theo tapped her keys
and killed alarms
so sentries wouldn’t fuss.

Then, with practiced skill
Jane pried the lid
and opened it with care.
She alerted Theo
and the two
got Queen N. out of there.

They retreated
through the ductwork
to the back of the museum,
then donned uniforms in case
some sharp-eyed watch-person
should see ‘em.

Soon they’d made it
to their getaway
and tossed Queen N. inside,
so Jane grabbed the wheel
of that red Jag
and took her for a ride.

When they reached
their destination
N. began to loosen up –
even more so when
the doorwolf
handed each of them a cup. 

Drac himself flew down
and greeted them
with bloodwine from his stash.
“I’m so happy
you could make it!
Welcome to the Monster Mash!”

tragedy

she said to me “my dear, i do”
and i didn’t know she loved me

she gave up dreams – ambitions too
and i didn’t know she loved me

she shared my life for months and years
and i didn’t know she loved me

she left and walked away in tears
and at last, i knew she loved me

for surely something dear’s been lost
when losing bears heartbreaking cost

Second Arrow (two versions)

The arrow whistled through the air
and in my flesh it landed.
I felt a flood of burning pain,
my breast forever branded.

While tears of anguish filled my eyes,
I saw a second shaft,
and as I watched it flying near,
I stepped into its path.

“You nincompoop!” the Buddha cried,
“Your poor deluded brain!
Why heap optional suffering
on mandatory pain?!”

“O gentle Master,” I replied,
“That wound disturbed my soul.
In choosing this, the second dart,
at least I have control.”

~~~

Master Buddha told a story
of a man shot with an arrow.
It was painful, harming, terrible,
as such wounds always are.

Then there flew a second arrow,
and this man, he saw it coming.
Yet he chose not to avoid it;
no, he stepped into its path.

“How unwise!” cried one disciple
gazing upward at the Buddha.
“Tell me, Master, why did this man
choose to multiply his pain?”

“It’s his nature,” said the Buddha,
“as it is for us when we add
to the weight of pain the burden
of reality denied.

“When we’re wounded, and we won’t
accept the fact that it is so,
and we wish that it were otherwise,
so we doubly suffer.”

“Ah, I see,” said the disciple,
“and what’s more, I understand
just why a soul in pain might choose
to let this second arrow pierce.”

Then the Buddha was astonished!
(Not a usual occurrence.)
“Pray, explain,” he asked the monk,
“Why do we act so foolishly?”

“I believe, O honored teacher,
we behave like this because
‘first arrows’ plunge us into chaos.
Choosing pain restores control.

“In a world that often wounds us
it may seem our only chance
at freedom is the sovereignty
to step into that arrow’s path.

“But to give up wishing it weren’t so
is hard to contemplate. It feels like
losing hope that circumstance
might yet be otherwise.”

“Nonetheless,” the Buddha said,
“we must give up this hopeless
hoping for a ‘better past’
if we wish, in the present, to be free.”

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.

conjuring

arcane strings of words and symbols
shaped precisely as prescribed
by those who pioneered the craft
chock-full of raw creative vibe

forming, out of nothing, constructs
with their own reality
relating, interacting, changing
time and life, humanity

when i was a kid i wondered
how it felt when magic flowed
from the fingers of a wizard
damn, i’m glad i learned to code

“Clarity” is (after Emily Dickinson)

“Clarity” is
after Emily Dickinson

“Clarity” is a mirror –
Reflecting back at me –
And shows my soul particular –
Yet never separately –

And underneath – the Clouds – is seen –
And dense must be the mist –
That could obscure the Echo pure
that promises us bliss –

I’ve seen it in the darkest night –
And in the strangest Land –
Yet – never – in the midst of Loss
It made the least – demand.