follow me to the end of it all

“The first track still almost swings. High hat and snare, even/A few bars of sax the stratosphere will singe-out soon enough.” – Tracy K. Smith, “The Universe: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

The day the universe ended was an ordinary one.  It was a Wednesday and all the people were at work who enjoy that kind of thing, and the others who did not were passing time in exchange for a paycheck.  Mothers were minding their children along with fathers who recently began doing the same thing.  Musicians played their final songs, unbeknownst to them.  Artists drew their last stroke, poets wrote their last line.  Dogs scratched their last flea.  Cats caught their last nibble.  Birds sang their last song, insects twitched their last antennae, bacteria populated their last host.  The whales blew an exhaled kiss, the dolphins leapt a farewell arc.  Polar bears waved goodbye.  Otters washed their furry paws one last time.

Soon enough it was over and the lights went out.  Someone locked the door.

And then the music came on.  High hat and snare, a few bars of sax.


what we thought about the fence

There was an old man on the Border,/Who lived in the utmost disorder;/He danced with the cat, and made tea in his hat,/Which vexed all the folks on the Border.  – Edward Lear, “There was an Old Man on the Border”

Let’s remember why we put up the fence in the first place, the fence that stretches along the boundary between us and the neighboring land.  Yes, let’s remember the promised expectation of security and protection.  The fence was meant to keep out undesirable elements.  The fence will ensure our land remains pure and is not polluted by those we do not like, those we do not approve of, those who are not like us.  Let’s remember how different they are from us.  Their religious beliefs.  Their cultural customs. Their appearance.  They are completely different from us and we did well to keep them out with the fence.

Yes, there was that time Marie’s daughter got sick.  She was expecting a baby then, and our best healers could not help her.  We brought in a healer from the other side of the fence, and yes, her life was saved.

But that was years ago.  Some of the younger people talk about taking down the fence, but we know better.

Let’s remember that there are some people who never change.

announcement: guest post on “look around” blog

This week I had the honor of writing a guest post for the “look around” blog, a short-short piece inspired by Monica’s story A soul stolen by innocence. – my story is titled Innocence.

Enjoy! Link here:  Innocence | look around blog

Thank you, Monica!


ode to those spiky suns

 “How I loved those spiky suns, / rooted stubborn as childhood / in the grass,” – Jean Nordhaus, “A Dandelion for My Mother”

The dandelion is lions’ teeth, is a puffy sphere of hope seeds, is the sun’s world in the greeny-green grass, is the pluckable tender leaves of a sweet-bitter salad.

When I was five my mother taught me to make a wish and blow away the tufted cluster at the top of a dandelion stem.

When I was ten my sister taught me to make a dandelion chain by putting flower through split stem, one after the other.

When I was twenty-five my son taught me the wonder of a green bud turned bright yellow flower turned ash-white cloud-seeds.

Now I go through life showing my lions’ teeth, showing my sphere of hope seeds, showing my spray of yellow sun’s light.  I am the pluckable tender leaves when I love, I am the wishes of a new generation when I breathe, I am the ghost of a flower gone to seed when I die.

dens leonis (Latin) : dent-de-lion (French) : dandelion (English) : tooth of the lion

This post is dedicated to writer/blogger Mo Pana and her blog, especially her lovely Beautiful Giant Dandelion post.

taking my words for a walk

 words push my feet off into the sky

rain, waterfall, puddle, lake, stream, rivulet, ria, estuary, ocean, cove, inlet, brook, creek, sound, sea

words jump out of my mouth into the forest of the city

skyscrapers, crosswalks, pedestrians, bike lanes, center medians, curbs, storm drains, manhole covers, bus shelters, right of way, stop signs.

words skip dart breathe rock hop whisper lisp deny

words walk wordwalks

along the open highway

“I gaze through a telescope at the Orion Nebula, / a blue vapor with a cluster of white stars, / gaze at the globular cluster in Hercules, / needle and pinpoint lights stream into my eyes.” – Arthur Sze, “Before Completion”

“I told you we were going the wrong way,” Naomi told Joshua.  “You had the GPS set up backward.”

“Did not,” Joshua retorted, but he knew Naomi was right.  He just didn’t have a good sense of direction.

Well, he could find his way around all right in 2D.  It was when he got into 3D that he got into trouble.

“Go back to that rest stop.  They can give us direction,” Naomi said, bossily.

Big sisters.  They always think they know everything.

He turned around and went back anyway.  He didn’t like it, and by the time they reached the rest stop he was steaming mad.  Why did she have to tell him what to do all the time? and why did she have to be right?  That was the worst part.

“If you’d taken that course in navigation before we left home, we wouldn’t be here,” Naomi said, as they pulled into a parking space.

Joshua bit back his retort.  He got out and went into the snack bar.

He got directions from the clerk, downloaded them remotely into the GPS, and went back outside.  There.  That would suit Naomi.  Darn it.

But when he got to his parking space, it was empty.  The vehicle was missing, and Naomi with it.

It was only later that Joshua figured out what had happened.  By that time he had hopped an air-taxi back home and was having pizza night.

Naomi was right again, Joshua thought, as he munched down a slice of pepperoni pizza.  You’ve just got to set up the GPS right.

there are no vacancies in Anguish

Tell them the name of my hometown is Anguish.  Anguish is in the middle of the state, the “dead center,” so to speak.  Anguish has a main street like any other small town, filled with old buildings, some stately, some modest, all in various states of disrepair.

In Anguish we try not to lose heart.  We try to keep our hopes up and look for the silver lining in our clouds, if you know what I mean.  But there are a great number of clouds in Anguish, sometimes more clouds than we are prepared for.

A building in Anguish may get old, but it is rarely empty and almost never erased.  As a rule we keep the same old buildings, many from childhood and some from adolescence, on into adulthood and old age, long after they are useful.

Stars turn to train wrecks when they come to Anguish.  My heart goes out to those who believe they can modernize the town, bring their town up to date.  There are no vacant building spaces in Anguish, nothing is ever torn down to make way for new things.  We live with the old knowledge and the old beliefs and the old ways, for it is our hometown.  It is Anguish.