05 Sep 2021 – Sonnet

(Texas SB8)

The Inquisition breathes new life again
in Texas, where the new rewards entice
ones neighbors to suspect and turn you in
for thoughts alone – why think about it twice?
The Inquisition paid its squealers well!
Why hesitate? Your slave wage leaves you ripe
for perjuring yourself, so why not sell
your neighbor? All that righteous cant is tripe!
The Inquisition’s time has come around,
as all such pious evil always does,
delighting in the lies that it expounds,
and substituting truth for locusts buzz.
Regardless of the stand you feel that’s due,
know well these madmen have their sights on you!


05 Sep 2021 – The Cup is Drained

“Bring wine, Amata! See? My cup is drained.
And as you’re going, have the rowers stop,
and rest awhile – this pace can’t be sustained,
and only gods know when these tailwinds drop

how long they’ll have to labor to their goal?
The gods alone know what awaits us there,
but all this driving forward brings a cold
chill to my soul, and stands on end each hair

these decades leave me. Amata, draw near,
and tell me what the winds speak to you, lass.
From childhood you have had the sight, my dear,
and now of all I trusted, you’re the last.

I’m old, Amata. I’ve grown old and tired,
and done my duty, and been cast away –
a loyal son banished, as a wench for hire,
and now recalled to Rome, this very day.

Bring me more wine, Amata, ask below
why is it we are flying still? Did I not
give orders that we pace ourselves, go slow,
more cautiously? Oh gods, I fear I’m caught

in Morta’s hands, my thread’s been all run through.
Oh Amata, you weep! You know. You knew.


01 Sep 2021 – September

Smell of cut grass,
smell of some approaching storm:
echoes of a home
I no longer feel the need
to run away from.

Rivers from the past
plunging over cliffs. At last
the roiling heartbeat
settles into tide pool calm –
for how much longer?

Words hang from wall hooks
marking days of doom, long past –
ah, sad September!
Old wars end, new wars begin,
but who’ll remember?


31 Aug 2021 – Sonnet

And now, a far more savvy rattlesnake
returns to Kabul, having shed its skin
to show how little’s changed. Two decades break
spent fighting, and they always knew they’d win,
their adversaries lacked both strength of will
and any goal beyond “somehow works out”.
And what was worth the chance of getting killed?
The rattlesnake alone was free of doubt.
A chrysalis could teach what fools won’t see:
you can’t export a dream, can’t fight a fight
for others who would choose captivity
instead of dreams and death. They saw their plight,
and after all, ‘‘twas more than they could take,
and found that they preferred the homegrown snake.


30 Aug 2021 – Villanelle

Gawd help this fractious land, where all are pissed
and rumble-ready, boarding airline flights,
a land of screaming faces, pounding fists,

where egos swell: a proud, infected cyst
each fool defends – for each a sacred site!
Gawd help this fractious land, where all are pissed

and all with guts to disagree get dissed.
Gawd, everybody’s spoiling for a fight!
A land of screaming faces, pounding fists,

all falling into mills where men are grist
and nothing more – a scene of dying light!
Gawd help this fractious land, where all are pissed,

dyspeptic. Here compassion’s been dismissed
from discourse – hot, unbridled rage our blight.
A land of screaming faces, pounding fists,

and curse be shades of gray, if they exist,
as smoke and darkness fall, inviting night.
Gawd help this fractious land, where all are pissed,
a land of screaming faces, pounding fists.


30 Aug 2021 – Still Around?!

Jim Bakker plonks his snake oil on the air
(Missouri told him: “stop that shit – and quick!”),
a brand new bill-pay blanket (for a grand!)
and claims “God can’t hear prayers through COVID masks!”

A barker on religions’ outer fringe:
he hawks flea-market marvels, deep-fried faith,
and spends a lifetime fleecing foolish sheep –
and Still Around! Recalcitrant and Proud!


29 Aug 2021 – Hurricane Ida

Were you aware that we’ve been playing dominoes?
Short-selling kids just laugh! Who cares about the rules?
Lined up like those amazing Buddhist mandalas –
the sort you see on YouTube – take
two weeks to build,
knocked down flat in less time than it takes
to chant the mantras of the wooden-headed.
These “Hundred Year” events now staring nightly,
lining up like show girls as the decades dance.


26 Aug 2021 – Playground

Have you shunned conflict since your schoolyard days –
seen the source of all religious conflicts,
all trade wars, race wars, genocide, the brays
of every jackass trumpeting his dick,
all rape, all rage, and all diplomacy?
What cure is there for people at their worst,
when it’s a matter of gastronomy,
of who we’ll eat for breakfast? Are we cursed?
Well-meaning thoughts can’t override the hardware.
The jungle waits to swallow us once more.
The fight inside that somehow got us this far
stands poised to end it all. It’s at the door.


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