Advice for Those Headed into the World of Business

From the collection published in 2019, Unpredictable Hue.

Advice for Those Headed into the World of Business

You called it a business meeting
but was something much more complicated
You thought it would make things easier you thought
you might as well
call a pencil a pencil and
not mention the words best friend
given the situation. Oh dear, the appearance of
a cleaned-out cash account sure has complicated
things. As of today
the pencil tallies up the friendship
draws a line
puts it in the past.

Never hire
a good friend
to work for you
when you know
he has issues with
and boundaries.



From Unpredictable Hue, published in 2019.


What was the point of growing up strong and tall
every summer raise a big family of acorns or seeds or nuts or pods
every fall see them fall and scatter and be gone
Grow leaves drop them grow another set next year
and drop them
Add a ring to your trunk and another and
then another
while birds hop around all over you through you
build their nests in you
while insects chew your leaves
while moss grows on your roots.
Rain comes or it does not.
Snow lies in layers along your limbs.
Wind blows. How the wind can blow.
Your branches weaken
and they break off. A scar runs down your trunk
but you still stand. What was the point
what was the point
but to do all these things
but to live under the sun and reach into the sky?


Just Enjoy Yourself Marathon 2020 Week 33

The Marathon journey is in its fourth year. Just Enjoy Yourself is the current incarnation. Let’s do it!


On August 13 I did a short Marathon – I have had a busy week and today is especially full of various chores and activities I need to get done, or want to do. So – maybe it was more of a sprint today.

No photos, then, except for this one from my morning walk at the Norristown Farm Park:

And here are a couple of items from today.

Here’s a haiku to go with the above photo.

The horizon line
one deep green row of soybeans
a half-mile away

Just thinking about cake…


Not one more fattening peep out of you
I say to the slice of chocolate cake
lounging on my plate. It smirks.
Two can play this game and so
I fork another big bite into my mouth
well aware that
the know-it-all sitting right in front of me
is going to get right to work
the very second I swallow the bite
do its level best high-calorie damage
patient and methodical and smug.
So there, I say.
Who’s still sitting at the table?
Me or you?
I lick chocolate icing from my lips.

When we moved to our present house 17+ years ago, we had some flooding issues, long since cleared up with various repairs, but the sound of rain on our roof (which has no attic space to muffle it) still worries me. A shadorma.

Behind me
the rain approaches
sweeps across
the flat roof
lines of dominos fall hard
overhead. I flinch.



I hope everyone is well and in good spirits. Thank you for reading!

The Last Time She Left Home

From the collection Unpredictable Hue, published in 2019.

The Last Time She Left Home


The steel door and the peephole
the kitchen walls painted blue
the green bottle of mouthwash on the counter
the rhododendrons tapping against the living room window
the dust on the piano.
The footprints on the carpet
where the ambulance man had mud on his shoes.


Little Vines 8/12/20

New Little Vines. Here is this week’s array.

swim in the ocean
breathe nothing but turquoise air
through your iridescent gills

the gray shimmer
of the shark
a flick of darkness through the depths and gone

this ink
traveled miles and miles to arrive here
to fill your pen with future words

the round eye of the sun
considered the necessary effort and made a decision:
yes, there would be extra summer this year

if you want my opinion
the whole blasted afternoon
was just one dingy sniffle after another

You all know me
the agitated petroleum-motivated
heap of clanking iron that takes you where you want to go?
How about a thank you? Or an oil change?

Calm down, I said, but the panicked syllable
refused to accept the reality of hyphenation
Wouldn’t let go of the rest of the word

her migraine
came on in waves of pink and red
one saturated throb after another

you go to sleep tonight
dreaming of the perfect shade of ink
you’ll use to write me a love letter tomorrow

I’ll be back in five minutes.
What’s more I can prove it.
Just wait five minutes.

the pink shirt
it was a perfect shade
for lemonade

a sulky city nomad he is
this courier wincing down the sidewalks
arthritis in his big toes

a glass of water on the nightstand
the upper and lower dentures
lying motionless in their hygienic trance

the disapproving teetotaler
wielding a toothpick as a harpoon
skewered the olive in the martini and sucked it inside out

I will squeal small
I will squall call
I will squirm all.
I am a newborn baby.

what stylish chromium hair you have
I said to the well-dressed gentleman
and what did your name say it was?

a sashay through
a stunning matrimonial connective ceremony
only to find ourselves mocked
by the ironic cackle of monogamous wedded bliss

old shark
who will pay for this round of juicy prey
if you bite off the hand holding the bait?

just that one faulty somersault caught by the celestial spotlight
and the clerical acrobat came crashing down
coming to rest among the scattered pages of his last sermon

incessant dessert
enlarged me
to a prohibitive breadth

right away letting out
a small thin wail of glorified sorrow –
the worn-out wheel of the old wheelbarrow

The thin misshapen doughnut
left alone on the plate all the others gone
too much pathos for even my sentimental heart.
I tipped the plate to the trash.

may I direct your attention to these cunning little raincoats for cats
so captivating and of course waterproof too
(yes, you are just another enthralled sucker, aren’t you?)

Thank  you for reading!

Tanka 124

From Count Syllables on Your Fingers, 2020.

Tanka 124

All my bright strata
multicolored veins of ore
revealed in road cuts
across my altered landscape
the years pass the map fills in

ink sketchbook 2019 image 35

Ink Sketchbook 2019 Image 351


As a note, the poem was written for a page in my artist notebook Ink Sketchbook 2019. You see the illustration above. The text was published on its own in Count Syllables on Your Fingers, 2020.


Fairway Stroke

From Unpredictable Hue, 2019.

Fairway Stroke


A piece of luck it was, she said, good or bad she
didn’t specify but
went into considerable detail telling me very little

too warm too sweaty a curvy woman wearing too-tight pink golf pants a kick from a foot wearing spiked golf shoes.

Lloyd sure got his. Cracked skull. Now we’ll
just have to wait and see if he comes out of it,
she said, but for the first time in years
it is quiet at home

and even though she was very sad of course it was too soon to notice any change in the electric or water bills but the grocery bill had shrunk seventy-five percent.

It’s an easy guess Lloyd getting kicked by his wife (yes I could read between the lines)
no witnesses
it was barely possible
if at all
that anyone would ever find out and
none of us would ever tell

because Lloyd
is a jerk
he has cheated early and often
every round of golf
he’s ever played and
his head was useless
anyway and I hope
his wife
will keep the club membership
she has a really good game
she hits hard and long.


Small Ugly Talk

From the collection published in 2019, Unpredictable Hue.

Small Ugly Talk


There was a noise. There was a vibration. There was
shapeless sound. There were the words
as soon as said
it was all forgotten.
There were the small bites of two-faced too-sweet
offered to the smiles that poisoned the
It’s nice of you to say so.
There were too many voices that looped and knitted
and wrapped this room
and all of them a noise that did not could not disguise
the heartlessness
of the full-time say-anything flirts lounging in the
armchairs. Here it felt cold.
It rang false. It gathered in the corners.
It walked on thin legs. It sneered.



From Unpredictable Hue, a collection published in 2019.



Eventually you are hollowed out
if lightning hasn’t struck you or
wind uprooted you. There is no if about it
only when.
You fade a little more each year until one spring
you cannot come up with enough new leaves
to make a go of it
Somehow it’s something that’s beyond you now
and such a surprise and yet not, if you think about it
The saplings standing around you –
you think of the back when
and you were imposing in your prime
you were weren’t you –
the saplings they are middle-aged and scarred now
with the new generation pushing behind them
and then
you think of the eldest oak out by the road
toppled last winter in the ice storm.

But you are still here and standing
under the warm sun in the late summer
the sound of insects the only thing you hear
The sense of so many things making their good-byes
always present
but it can be pushed back for now
by the warm sun and the sound of insects
and the wind rustling in your companions’ leaves


Sometimes It Is Too Hard

From Unpredictable Hue, 2019.

Sometimes It Is Too Hard


The egg on the plate
a mystery all that time
right up until that moment
when the shell cracked
and nothing emerged

The broken pieces
of that shell
you examine
the sides that faced the interior
a slick polished ecru
perfectly clean
Never been used but

enclosing a kind of symmetry
you can only imagine
One where the nothing
matches all the rest of the nothing
Where it begins there it ends
in every case
and none of this meant for you to see

you realizing the anticipated answer
is not going to come after all
you examine the debris and
in time and very quickly
forgetting how it came to be
what it meant to start with
or why you are even interested.

in relief
we argue about something we can understand
and one of us takes a flat-side-of-the-hand swipe
across the plate
sending discarded inscrutability
through a high arc and subsequent vertical drop
to scatter on the floor
where our feet crunch them up
before you fetch the broom.