POEM: Thinking in Poetry


“Thinking in Poetry”

Narrating my day
as I go about the hours,
silently writing in my mind
that the corn on the cob I examine
is yellow with absorbed sunlight,
its golden white kernels
its own clouds and sun,
huge globes plump with the rain
of so many seasons,
and the taste of spring

the drowsy sun fades
behind the black silhouette
of a springtime tree

the air smells of lilac
or honeysuckle or apple blossoms,
the pungent sweetness
of blooming spring flowers





*Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed the poem.
*image courtesy of http://publicdomainpictures.net/


POEM: Serial Killer in the Laundromat


“Serial Killer in the Laundromat”


As he walks in the open door

I’m acutely conscious of


how alone I am


how athletic he looks

–the man that holds

the plastic garbage bag

big enough to hide a body,

                            thick enough to snuff my life

when slipped over my head,

                         the soft layered plastic

becomes a black sucking “O”

as I struggle to breathe.


How easily he pins me,


holds me down until my fight is gone,


my light snuffed, then stuffed

inside a plastic shroud

he dumps me

           so much garbage

                            in the bin

–or perhaps he takes

(what’s left of) me to a secluded

                                 copse of trees,

my remains remain hidden,

whereabouts unknown.


If I’d chosen the folding table closer

to the door instead of the dryers,

my escape would not be cut off.


I keep my key handy by my side,

                             to thrust

into the eye of my attacker. From the edge

of my vision, I see him stop,


      in my direction,

                    and begin


pulling clothes from the dryer

into the enormous shapeless sack.

I continue folding,

pretend not to notice him

until he leaves when I

breathe again


until next time

my clothes need washing:

I flash again on every killer,

every monster, every unsolved mystery,

and every abduction discovered

as I once more enter the

deserted laundromat.


POEM: Atheology




Atheist creation

the eternity of a starry night

gazing into millennia past, remembering we are all

composed of stardust


Atheist god

the voice that whispers inspiration in the darkness

in the soft quiet of an afternoon, before the rainstorm

when electricity is in the air and all dreams seem possible

in the zone of contemplation, in the act of creation

of life and art and the crafting of something that before

only lived in the heart and mind


Atheist afterlife

the soft whisper of friends remembering the past and

dreaming of the future, returned to dust and earth, our matter

neither created nor destroyed, merely transformed

to continue the cycle of life, we never cease, we exist in each eternal moment


Atheist heaven

the rapture of creation and transformation, of smiles and laughter,

birthdays spent with friends, the whispered confidences of a lover,

the soft breath of a newborn, and the quiet realization


following our bliss, we create paradise.






*Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed the poem.

*image courtesy of http://publicdomainpictures.net/

Friday Flash: An Optimist’s Journal of the End of Days


Favorite Things Journal

Wednesday, December 20th:

I suppose, in light of what’s happened and happening, I should try to look on the bright side. I kept a Favorite Things Journal before recent events caused the world to fall into chaos, so in the interest of trying to keep spirits up and sanity intact, I shall keep up the practice of only writing the good things going on in my life.

Today I was given the gift of life. An early Christmas present perhaps? We live in a smallish town about sixty miles outside Cleveland, so luckily we were spared the brunt of the explosion. We have sufficient food, toilet paper, and–Thank goodness our well water tastes awful!–cases of water. The food and water does not require refrigeration. We have plenty of batteries. It would seem we prepared for eventualities, but I’m simply a bit of a hoarder when it comes to things like that. So that came in handy.


Monday, December 25th:

Merry Christmas to us. My son and I still have enough food to last awhile. We are avoiding tap water, since some unpleasantness in the neighborhood has led me to be suspicious of its contents. However, thanks to some forward thinking, unusual for me, I have been collecting snow to melt over the fire. We don’t normally use the fireplace, so in the absence of firewood I have been burning things around the house. Some things work better than others, though I confess burning the bills was the highlight of my week.

I actually haven’t had to burn any furniture yet. It’s amazing how much crap we can rid ourselves of in a pretty good fire. I had some broken chairs, treated wood unsuitable for burning anyway, so I broke them down and used them to board up the windows and the door. I turn on the small battery powered radio once a day to keep informed. Since we live in a less populated area, the looting has not made it to our house yet.


Monday, January 1st:

I should probably write in this journal more, since it’s a new year and all. My son and I are home all day every day, so we have been reading the paperback books and magazines we have, rationing our food supplies, and brainstorming survival strategies. For fun, we imagine breaking into bookstores for new reading material, as well as requisite materials from other places: gas, matches, batteries, food.

Since we no longer have a car, we are not tempted to drive anywhere far, which is probably for the best anyway. The longer we stay home, the safer we probably are.

I’ve found a way to strain the melted snow through cloth and double boil it to rid it of contaminants. I’m sure we’ll be able to go to the doctor, just to be safe, once everything gets back to normal. In the meantime, I will keep writing. When this is all over, this might make me famous, right?


Wednesday, January 3rd:

So far the new year continues to smile on us. One of our neighbors finally noticed the smoke from our chimney (why did it take them so long?) and managed to get into our garage. Luckily, I was able to club him over the head with a shovel. I’m contemplating crossing the street to his house and raiding his cabinets for supplies. He might have some meds that will come in handy, since ours are running low. Hopefully, he will have something to help us recover from whatever is wrong. He doesn’t look good, so maybe he was sick too, but now we can raid his supplies so blessing in disguise, right? Only positive things in this journal. Plus, he was pretty thin, so disposing of the body shouldn’t be a problem.

He broke into our home. Breaking and entering. When things get back to normal, we have an airtight case. It was self defense.


Friday, January 5th:

Positive things. Positive things. The radio still works. The garage is emptying fast so less to clean come springtime. Hair falling out so less hair to clog the drains. No electricity, so don’t have to worry about a short causing a fire.

Saturday, January 6th:

My pen still works. One less mouth to feed. I’d say he’s in a better place, but there’s no such place…just nothing. I’m glad there’s nothing. I want nothing. I have plenty of aspirin left, so hopefully my exit will be painless. It shouldn’t take many anyway, since I’m so weak. I’m glad there’s no afterlife, because telling off any sadistic deity I’d meet would take too much energy anyway.





*Today’s flash was inspired by the fact that I do, in fact, keep a Favorite Things Journal. When things don’t go well, it’s sometimes a struggle to find a positive thing to write, so this story is a natural extension of that. I hope you enjoyed it.

*image courtesy of http://publicdomainpictures.net/


Short Story: Family Holidays



The holidays: that time of year when family and friends you avoid are suddenly thrust into your life again, when you give gifts because of obligation rather than inclination. That time of year when those unlucky souls are forced to say “I didn’t get you anything”…or worse, be told, “It’s the thought that counts.” Ouch. That joyous time when you weather your family’s disapproval for the accident of birth. Let’s face it. Holidays are high pressure: expensive both financially and emotionally. And the biggies? They can be a real bitch.

So Glumdedumpling sat, elbows resting on the long wooden table, pondering his fate. This year, it was his sorry lot to be chosen organizer of the annual family reunion. Being a youthful three-hundred sixty-seven, he had tried to shake things up. Every year the gathering was held in a different location, determined usually by the chosen elf’s home environment. For several hundred years it had been held inside large trees, because cookie elves felt comfortable there. They loved the toasty warmth of indoor rooms heated by ovens or open fires; it was dangerous in dry season, but they were slaves to tradition. The diminutive toymaker elves felt fairly comfortable there, although they tended to fan themselves a lot and sit farther from the fire. The high elf cousins had not attended in ages. The other elves pooh-poohed their sea-going cousins, but Glum figured small quarters made them claustrophobic.

So the longer time passed without the high cousins, the more Glum became like his name. Even the bonfire merrily blazing away in the middle of the forest failed to brighten his spirits. He imagined the derision of his fellow elves. “Having the gathering outside? What a unique choice!” they said. Each time they asked, “You told them high noon, right?” failure stung him like a thousand pine needles. Each time they said, “So, this high elf dish is savory instead of sweet? That’s interesting!” he knew he was guilty of the highest heresy. Savory instead of sweet for cookie-elves and toymakers? What in Santa’s name had he been thinking?

Just then, Ravensong walked so gracefully into the gathering that she seemed to glide along the forest floor. Sunlight glinted off her snow white hair; its long full mane draped her like a robe. She carried a tupperware container full of cookies and set it on one of the long wooden picnic tables. Towering over her tiny cousins, she said, “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this new venue.” Her voice tinkled like a thousand bells. “Climbing inside those trees was murder on my RSI. I tell you, after that last reunion, it took me centuries to feel better. Thank goodness for aspirin and heating pads!” Her laughter was like the sweet tinny chimes of a music box as she rubbed the base of her spine.

All the other elves were struck speechless. Even among eternal beings that don’t age past young adulthood, time can drag, and it had been a long time since they’d set eyes on something so beautiful. “Are those all the cookies you brought?” asked Merrybells, one of Glum’s cookie-elf cousins. None of the elves had eaten any sweets since early morning. They sat drooling, staring with unabashed hunger at the single plastic container.

“Well, the invitation said you were serving high elf western dishes, so I thought it only fair…” She trailed off at their ravenous expressions. “The others will be along shortly,” she added, “just parking the minivans. I just thought I’d…” She shrugged. “Yes, I’m the only one that brought cookies but–”

Suddenly she was flying through the air, her white main cascading behind her as she gracelessly landed on her ass. “What the–!!!” She caught herself before uttering more. She wasn’t used to this level of indignity.

As she sat silently fuming, Glum planted himself beside her on the forest floor. The needles pricked his bottom, but he ignored the discomfort. They watched the tiny elves fight over the dozen or so cookies like starving men and women. After a couple seconds, Glum said, “Don’t blame them too much. It’s my fault. I should have planned both savory and sweet.” He paused a moment before adding, “I figured planning the reunion could count as my gifts.” He fiddled with some pine needles beside him, avoiding eye contact. “I never know what to get three hundred relatives anyway and…” He sighed. “I didn’t get you anything.”

“It’s the thought that counts,” said Ravensong with a slight pause to denote just the right amount of condescension and disapproval. They watched the other elves fight over the last few crumbs like feral wolves.

They remained quiet a little longer. They could hear the high elves walking from the parking lot, footsteps lightly crunching needles as they approached the scene of utmost bedlam. Dusting debris from her glistening robe, Ravensong finally asked, “So, why aren’t you fighting over the damn cookies too?”

“I ate a bowl of vegan cookie dough before I came,” replied Glum. “I’m on a restricted diet, so I always come prepared.”

As the high elves gathered behind Glum and Ravensong, they took in the spectacle of their tiny cousins with a mixture of aversion and bemusement. Their own robes glistened, their hair glinted with magic, and the tupperware containers they held were filled with brownies, bowls of plum pudding, and fruitcakes. A light snow began to fall, grew heavier, then finally became torrential gusts that tossed the smaller elves like snowflakes. As Glum’s miniature cousins ran for cover, Ravensong and her clan held his small hand and walked to the bonfire—which still merrily blazed away. The storm parted around them; they sat down and started sharing food.

The little elves glared with disdain from their trees, refusing to come outside. They had had enough. So much for diversity! So much for new things! This was a holiday, dammit, a time for tradition! As Glum and the high elves split the savory and sweet dishes between themselves, they smiled, chatted, and joked about the past few hundred years. Eventually the smell of warm brownies overcame the tree dwellers, they lowered their heads in shame and joined the group at the tables. Though the high elves muttered a few words of derision, they were otherwise civil and passed the brownies and plum pudding around each table. Soon, all were partaking of the holiday cheer and sweets–everything, in fact, except the fruitcakes.

Tradition was one thing, but fruitcake was another. No one in their family was that crazy.


*image courtesy of http://publicdomainpictures.net/

**due to the holidays, my posts will be scheduled slightly off from the normal two weeks. My apologies. Happy holidays!


POEM: The Dead Celebrity Cocktail Lounge


“The Dead Celebrity Cocktail Lounge”

In a netherworld of eternal nights,

The Dead Celebrity Cocktail Lounge sets

within its murky depths, the stage for yet

another act beneath its neon lights.


Nina Simone’s piano they replace

with guitars and mics; her solo ended.

It’s hard to run a lounge that’s attended

by those who nightly drink and also grace


that same stage–yet it works. Jimi and Jan

tend bar; there are drinks passed round. Martinis

and shots-they disappear like Houdinis,

as Hendrix holds the mob’s attention span


with variations on his famous tricks,

Joplin adjusts her maladjusted bun

of stringy brown hair, not to be outdone

by his performance–she chews swizzle sticks


as his feet perform feats unhygienic;

they mix drinks, change place settings, and break through

a new status quo. A bar so strange. Who

thinks it’s sanitary? Cacophonic


sounds echo meanwhile from the abandoned

stage. Audio being tested, Janice

eyes the mic just like a Praying Mantis

eyes its prey. Soulful melody unplanned


erupts as she leaps across the bar, not

waiting for the test to be done, and she

shakes her hair loose, and runs onstage–a bee

to honey. Jimi knows tonight’s her spot


anyway. Tomorrow is his solo

with his guitar. They will do a duo

afterwards, no hard feelings. Their pseudo-

rivalry lost to time, tunes, and tempo.


Smoke clouds drift, generated throughout the

room by the exhalations of humans

from every era. Through the haze, fuming,

each cigarette, each pipe, each cigar a


glowing red eye in the dimness. No one

seems to mind as long as the speaker works.

Janice dances with twirls and whirls and jerks;

she’s heedless, unworried that it’s been done


before. What’s more, when they hold Poetry

Slams, the Shelleys hold hands, recite their planned

rhymed words without one cough; a promised land

found within their eyes. Ingenuity


not confined to poems alone, but drinks

as well. Alcohol and opium mixed

–laudanum–preached to each free love amidst

the hungry, thirsting crowd. And Mary winks


to her freethinking spouse. It’s rather sweet

that after all their years together, they

still have magic. A marital display

when tending bar, moving to the quick beat


of words and sound, orders filled, they’re thrilled to

be around each other. Mistakes have been

put behind. Other times, the darkened den

silences them into wild watching who


next mounts the stage. A young man, blonde D.A.

haircut pulled smoothly back from his high cheek-

bones and blazing eyes may begin to speak

on The Method and acting in a play.


A full-lipped platinum blonde beauty with lips

the color of rose, may rise singing, her

voice ringing loud and long. A performer

in a billowing white dress onstage, hips


swaying softly as she exits to read

Shakespeare by the flickering candlelight

at her table. There, her companion’s white

hair seems to fly from his scalp at full speed,


the shimmering lights caught in each stray hair.

Each wrinkle he wears deeply cut within

his paper skin, yet a great youthful grin

begins, while watching her his old eyes flare.


As Jan finishes her set, the quiet

descends upon the crowded room. Silence

falls like a heavy curtain. The giant’s

midnight mane, baby blues, and a riot


of rhinestones adorning his sparkling

outfit–outshine shining spotlight. The King

has arrived. Rhythm rings, he starts to sing

Hound Dog. He sways his wide hips, hearkening


to the voices of his fans. He shakes and

quakes, his own voice quivers as he croons Love

Me Tender. Smiles and tears. He stands above

his audience as a man, proud and grand.


So many more mount the stage, work the bar,

so far beyond our home world. The artist

once known as Prince, and Bowie, guitarists

and comedians taken past our star,


its yellow glow- dim memory in this

land filled with neon twilight, ignited

by dreams–the only starlight provided

by its denizens. Replicators hiss,


create doppelgangers complete in each

detail–except for the spark of new life–

Explain their unexplained removals rife

with Why. Their originals forced to reach


a darkened sphere light-years away. No day

everyday, just night, they perform before

an unnoticed audience evermore

of little green men, -women too, who pay


to view the highlights of our alien

culture. An extraterrestrial zoo

to educate and entertain them too,

no politics, just delights mammalian.


They are cast into a forever lime-

light, each one a cultural icon of

their generation. Their sublime fans love

to mourn their loss on Earth, but they’re in prime


up there, these famous homo sapiens.

For all this artificial world’s a stage,

its eternal players forever share

spotlight within this enclosed stadium,

a neverending audience to rage

before, away, and with those stars up there.




*Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed my scifi stretched sonnet!

*image courtesy of http://publicdomainpictures.net/

POEM: Aging in a Cup


“Aging in a Cup”


When I was five,

there were no second thoughts

with that first cool sip

of sweet and tart–

the morning juice, the sugar rush

and tasty treat I was permitted

for the sake of a daily dose of vitamin C,

to be taken each morning

with a bowl of dry Frosted Flakes.


Now decades have passed,

and that cold glass of sunshine

is an act of bravery,

only possible when

taken with powder-yellow tablets;


stubborn determination tastes

like chalk on my tongue

and sours my stomach.


It’s worth it.


*Thank you for visiting. If you would like to meet me and some other local writers, please come to the Local Author Fair at Massillon Public Library on Saturday, November 11th, from 11am–2pm. I hope to see you there!


*image courtesy of http://publicdomainpictures.net/