The Three-humped Cursive Letter M

The three-humped cursive letter M on the box containing the new Tiffany lamp, its stained glass as blue as her eyes and greener than the fixture’s excessive price, well, not too expensive for a lamp of such fine quality and I would never put a price on happiness (particularly hers) and they do say that some of these lamps mature in value over time, not unlike our love or the almost unfathomable feeling beyond attachment, the kind of feeling that helps one stumble upon the perfect gift, if one can get over it finding you—that feeling again, perhaps, or the Google search—however you see it, however it is. Anyhow, the three humped cursive letter M on the box containing the brand new stained-glass Tiffany lamp is different than the letters M on the forty-two other boxes stored in the garage. Life is a maze of fascination. Perhaps she’ll let me keep this box, too.

Piano Elegy


Gather ‘round, children. The piano is afire.

From out of eternity, here we are.
Simultaneously, right here and now.

Forgive us, dear Lord. We know not what we do.
Forgive us tomorrow and yesterday, too.

Listen, young children, as the sun gives chase.
Listen to shadows fleeing toward night.
Listen, young children, as the sun gives them chase.
The piano keys won’t win this race.

From out of eternity, here we are now.
Simultaneously, right here and now.

Gather ‘round, children. The piano’s on fire.
Tomorrow and yesterday, too.

In your dreams


In your dreams, says the naysayer. In your
dreams, the naysayer does not exist. Or
she’s the horse you’re riding, neighing. The dour
look on her face, the stuff of fairy-tale lore.

In your dreams, says Dr. Hartley, before
he drowns you in Rorschach blots. Past the door
Carol tells jokes to the next patient. More
fun can’t be had until Jerry, mid-pour

(a young patient’s first filling), takes a stroll. 
In your dreams, the Bob Newhart Show is real
and Suzanne Pleshette is something you can feel.

You don’t worry about that fella across the hall,
the corny airline pilot (Howard ’s seen it all).
In your dreams, says the naysayer.

Talent is the least important thing about a writer, compared to a love of books, which must be deep and abiding. The only other thing a writer really needs is perversity of spirit, the emotional equivalent of a cartoon creature’s bouncy springiness, so that after being run over or blown up—or, in the case of the writer, rejected and then rejected some more—the writer is irrationally unfazed by even the most valid criticism and continues with the work of being a writer, magically unharmed.

Rufi Thorpe, “Perversity of Spirit,” Poets & Writers Magazine, Sept/Oct 2014



The new doggy is either emulating society or mocking it.

He wakes me, expectedly so. He devours his breakfast kibble, though I’ll assume his newness cannot fathom lest assume another meal. He devours everything. I walk him, wary of his approach the other doggies. Too much ass-smelling and randomness, a protracted devouring in itself, in its early phases. Today, he shits as a little old lady smells flowers. She says “So cute” as I bend to scoop it up. Of course, he wags his tail. The look on his face condemns us all.

His actually devouring everything is simply just a matter of time. As we walk through the door (he’s all but pissed on his very own doggy door), I suspect he’ll commandeer my beer and claim it as his own. He’ll bring himself the paper and suggest our new socialism’s going just fine before he desecrates my shoes, the new pillows on the sofa, my friends, my girl, and my job. At the puppy mill they used the word Labradoodle, but if there’s a new breed called Golden Mockingdoggy, he’s it.

Meanwhile, per the Zen-like equilibrium guarding the household, the old blue-eyed Siamese has new reasons to please. To the backs of chairs and the top of the sofa, she’s taken to new heights. She’s scaled the lofty bookcases, grand peaks of the kitchen cupboards. As her nails grow I’ll pretend to not hear the rhythmic clicking of her claws; let slide her waiting and watching, her silently scouting every aspect of his brilliant devouring. For this old dog can mock reality, too.

Humans-Paint-Canvas, String-Nail-Brick


A giant fireplace. He stretched before gray bricks, 
trying to hang the painting evenly. Mostly
brown and blue and tan, a mountain scene awaiting
the perfect placement of the durable string
behind it and the patience of the man before it, 
a little purple with glints of orange and yellow
reflecting from the walls of a gorge. A little
moon on the rise. Perhaps an off-canvas presence,
an implied sunset or a dawn. In the painting-as-
extension-of-the-room sense, a sun could gleam
poignantly—depending, of course, upon where
it was hanged. Near a window might be nice,
but we were in the basement. I held his hammer
and rusty nail and pondered how bright are moons.

An Ice Cream Disaster

afterThe Emperor of Ice-Cream" by Wallace Stevens


When his time comes and the lamp’s
affixed its beam on the muscular one, who’s 
to whip up ice cream for those scamps
about to have their fun?  Might it be lewd
to send the wench, to bid her swirl un-
feminist curds as brawny feet protrude?

Or send in the flower boys to churn
with a noise so touching it’s unheard—a silence
more poignant than any emperor’s.

The faint whiff of cigar haunts
the ice cream-less scene, its delightful
dream unearned. (So much for want.
For such soft finales served so not quite quite.)