Bug is the New Thanksgiving Turkey

The turkey that lurked in the lee of the lemonade stand
through the hum of the summer, and most of the autumn, till now,
appears on my plate, and surprised — existentially here.
I’ve had a lot on my plate, but a livid live turkey’s absurd.

Should not slaughter, dissection, and plucking precede being served
like a badminton cock, or a locker-room sock that has swerved
through the air with a flare lit to guide it. I guess I digress.

I open my eyes. Tom Turkey stands still on my plate
and he stands for his conviction that we should, like he does, eat bugs
to stay lean, and less mean, and friendlier to our friends the birds.
He flies off and leaves me with crickets, ants, mealworms, and beans.


‘Try to relax,’ says Guide Number 1. We watch the entire world ending.
‘Not all of the world,’ says Guide Number 2. ‘Just all the life that is on it.’
‘Not even all life,’ says Guide Number 3. ‘Only the species depending
on plants for food or for their food’s food.’ To us it is way past ironic

to sit stock still and watch Earth burn. There must be a way we can fix…
‘What you broke,’ say all three Guides in chorus, too-easily reading our thoughts.
‘You began small like birds, building modest nests with found bright stones and sticks
but progressed, that’s the very wrong word, to mess with missiles and dreadnoughts.’

‘Not all of us!’ we shrieked (here ‘shrieked’ is the very very right word).
‘We, and many like us,’ we whined, ‘adhere to the venerable thesis
of live and let live.’ Guide Number 2 said, ‘Do not be absurd.’
Guide Number 2, we knew, when we knew, was actually Lachesis.

She took our measure, of each of us, meaningfully waving the rod
we had hoped she had forgotten to bring. Clotho (her sister, Guide 1)
gave Atropos (Guide Number 3) a weary dooming nod.
Clotho vowed that in times future if any she would shun

spinning life threads for human people. ‘They are irredeemably bad
for themselves, for us and for ‘Gaia’ — whatever you want to name it,’
she said. She looked for an immortal thoroughly hauntingly sad.
‘They inherited the Earth but soon misused their growing powers to maim it!’

said Atropos. She smiled softly then. A Fate’s smile is disarming.
Could it be that our fate that threatened simply disappears?
We smile back. We try to laugh. The planet keeps on warming.
Then we see that Atropos is sharpening her shears.

We forget again, forgetting our Guides’ — these three dire Fates’ — true names,
and then from fright we forget our own. There is nowhere we can run.
The shears’ edges spark. Our threads spew smoke. Our souls go up in flames.
The Guides count down, the last thing we hear: ‘Three’ and ‘Two’ and ‘One’.

Sundeck Ravings – three sonnets

François Villon (1431 – 1463?) has fascinated me since I read somewhere that he could write complete dizains at speed whilst dead drunk.
Here I attempted to write three sonnets at speed, letting the words lead the way.

He had slept 10 hours. Now, he eats a sausage,
pretends it’s a croissant, that it is morning.
Assuaging hunger, senses on a rampage,
he crosses off the saints who’ve been suborning
his thoughts with whom he ought to be instead
of who he has become, his ship come in.
He kicks the sheep and priest dogs out of bed
unsure which order adjectives abend.
Was it ‘priests and sheep dogs’? He attempts a verse.
Last wine of summers past allays his thirst.
For love and Uber he drives a blackened hearse
through streets of joy purloined until they burst –
imploded rather – and the Saints return.
They shield his eyes and make him miss his turn.

I dashed my hopes on sterling silver cups
and gold plate platters. Losing did not hurt
as much as winning had. The pain of ups
surpasses that of downs. The latter’s curt.
The former is etiolating. One last gasp
and I am free. I say goodbye to things
I thought the world of once. I break their clasp
and fly – I can now – in aspiring rings
to where air thins. I leave the troposphere.
The world below recedes. That makes me smile.
The things men fear aren’t visible from here.
Politics grow paltry from a mile
or twenty’s distance when you fly straight up.
I fire my rockets. Someone takes my cup.

I slept a while in a chair made out of gold.
The ravens kept the mice away. A song
proceeded from a holy place so old
it had decayed when history came along.
In these last days when history has died
no music graces actions of the doomed.
Atonal noise greets all those who’ve tried
to push away the apocalypse that loomed
so long we thought with luck it always would.
Modern horsemen ride on robots. They are still four.
That we forget their names is understood
but makes no difference. Nor did it before.
I wake. I run. I stumble. Ravens fly.
The world erupts in flame. All of us die.

Wot Gnu

The lion’s coat, renowned in tribal vision,
is redolent close up of muck and dirt
and zebra remnants from the subdivision
of his last meal. Gazelles that you think flirt
with lions do so perhaps on television
but in real life the pride itself is hurt
by breath past fangs that flecked with unflossed prize
explain why lions converse with squinted eyes.

‘Who’s Wot Gnu?’ you ask. A magic gardener
conceived from little just like you and me
and thus with bugs and beasts and us coparceners
an inheritor of the sun, the fields, the sea.
Wot operates with me a veterinary
practice: we heal beasts to set them free
as they free us. They bring colour to our world.
We do not want a home that is not merled,
not foxed nor robined. We are for preservation
of rat-cheer rodents, sleeping ants, the chough,
and, in moderation, every nation.

‘What’s Wot got,’ you may ask, ‘to do with lions?’
I answer, ‘Everything from here to Orion.
It’s similar to asking how much twine
goes in a piece of string. All life is fine.’

‘What knew Wot Gnu to make you his disciple?’
you ask despairing of an answer clear.
‘Damn all,’ I say, ‘except he’s archetypal
of this whole confusing mess that I hold dear.’