In the Dried Away Jungle with Small Gods

Dust devils in this jungle make me cough.
The last tapir, and I, and an angry sunburned spider,
count tree stumps and watch topsoil blowing off.
The spider sighs, and tries, but fails, to hide her
sadness. She says, ‘They have made this Hell.
to get “rich” quick. Who would have given odds
that men could do the Devil’s work so well?’
She does the spider dance that calls small gods.

Heat-stress cracked dirt shivers. Thunder rumbles.
‘No clouds,’ the tapir says. ‘No chance of rain.’
Small gods appear. A duo. The fat one grumbles,
‘Man’s gone too far’. The thin one says, ‘Again!’

He claimed that life was a simile, like a headlight.

These small gods are essentially one schtick cronies.
In addition to immortality and teleportation
each has a single power which alone is
a specific gift of material mutation.

The fat small god whose name translates as Fuel
decrees from now no drop of gasoline
or similar will burn. Each molecule
will turn into water for this arid scene.

The thin small god says, ‘I ban ammunition.
From now gunpowder transmutes into sand.
Men here will be in the same condition
as the other creatures, with their firearms banned.

Baa Baa Bad Dream

’My lips are sealed,’ he snorted. No one understood.
He removed the tape from his mouth and would have repeated
his cry but realised his words were now a lie
and ‘my lips were sealed’ was lame. He shook his head
and willed he were a chuck in Birnam Wood
or that sheep who passed for wolf until it bleated
but nothing worked for him. In one last try
to wake he writhed and smote, fell out of bed.

Las Fuentes del Algar

With Cupid as our guide, we climb the falls
and, holding hands, we play
in crowds less than existent this
fine February day.

Bright finches nest across from us.
A lordly dog befriends
our steps. He stops to wade a pool;
for him, our story ends.

For us, our history just begins
long after its first year
and we climb further up a track
less boulevard than tier

on tier on tier, to tease the sky
between the rugged rocks.
Frogs sing in ponds, and polliwogs
glide down the falls-like locks.

The track gives way to a steepening trail
that narrows to a trace.
The other hikers pause, turn back,
and leave to us this place.

We leave the path. We find the falls.
We splash and reach the source
where waters burst from naked rock.
Once introduced, they course

both ways: one river with two beds.
I test this novel sight
by tossing leaves in the highest pool.
They float, some left, some right

along two ways, the one we climb
and one that’s out of reach.
It stays for us a line on a map.
‘Our’ streams winds to the beach

as we will too, but we first must turn
and climb down from this rock
and splash to where the sun will burn
us dry. We see a flock

of February flowers raise
blue faces to the sun
and we, like them, stand still to praise
how Gaia’s overrun

these desert rocks with dampened life.
I think of Who made Her
but thinking brings me soon in strife
with seeing. I demur

to think. We’re blessed as we two walk:
The sprays collect in ponds
with basins white as bones or chalk
and ringed with date palm fronds.

A couple banks their clothes to clap
their bodies in the stream.
They embrace, and kiss, then swim a lap
to dissipate the steam.

If this be winter, leave me here
among the fragrant herbs;
and let me pay for visions dear
with nouns — and, if need be, verbs.

Sounds of Music Singalong

There are jackals in the parlour. This is disconcerting.
They do their concerted best to give a concert
but their siren yowls aren’t music to our ears.
The jackdaw is not amused and I’m afraid
if I applaud, the jackals will sense I’m not sincere.
I turn on Netflix for them when they ask.
The jackals’ favourite film, The Sound of Music,
begins again. The jackals sing along.

I remember best when memories are unclear
and I imagine I hear the choo choo engine song.


A spotlight finds the table on the stage.
We see a handgun and a pretzel and a bagel.
‘Who says “handgun” still already?’ asks the bagel.
‘Foot soldiers?’ laughs the pretzel. ‘Question mark.’
‘My words,’ the bagel snickers. ‘Inorganic
is what this gun is. Why it cannot talk.’
The curtain falls. We hear two tap tap shots.

Kick Start Friday Morning with the Blues

Blues. The dance, the passing dance of life.
Can’t win cause I don’t got nothing I can lose.

The dances of life pass white. Then die. The Blues,
Music building castles with no moats,
Ivories blacking nights all whitening blues.

Catfish barbs bait abandoned Barbie dolls.
We dance against the fabric of bad times.

The wind resembles wounds we’re still to suffer.
John Lee Hooker knew. He knew the blues.

What wind resembles only poets can see.
There’s nothing there. It’s getting everywhere.

Coherence is a con game dream times play.

The waking wait for wakes to celebrate.
The sleeping dance as nimble as the quick,
The Southland’s magic making Yankees sick.

Chase the mighty dollar as it shrinks.
We chase a dollar that used to buy us drinks.

It’s all the change now come back from a ten
For that tequila sunrise starting off my day
Dancing on the edge of jumping off
Crying croc tears on Dorito chips,

Dancing shotgun patterns in the snow
Melting mucous membranes as we go.

Meniscus on cold coffee yields to spoon
Stir up shades of white enthusiasm
For black coffee poured on back-up blues.

Pursuing Heaven’s Grin

I wink against the winter wind
and it winks back as if I’ve sinned.
I arrive at one end of a world
where men with power give no sign
they care that what they do is malign.
They give back little of what’s mine.
Morality seldom reaches stars.

We’ve won the war on nature now,
made tigers yield to plough and cow.
I arrive at one end of a world
where mystery is poured into a can
and woods reduce to blowing sand.
There’s nothing left to understand.
Morality seldom reaches stars.

When science saves what we destroy
we build new houses out of straw.
I arrive at one end of a world
where schools of doubtful quality
makes numbers up and pupils free
of values only blind men see.
Morality seldom reaches stars.

Above our orbit comets play
intelligent designs that fray.
I arrive at one end of a world
and wish it less apparent that
since we have learned the Earth’s not flat
its god acts like the Cheshire cat.
Morality seldom reaches stars.