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.’

DREAM STARS travels electronically

It is fun and new for me to have an ebook on Amazon I put my first one ever there on July 1. As a paperback it would take time for DREAM STARS to get around. But I hear the ebook has already been downloaded and read in far-apart places: Amsterdam, Colorado, England, Alabama, Ecuador …

DREAM STARS 1 July 2020 announcement

Capitulation

When a story starts up like this one did this morning I have to puzzle it out to see how it ends… and to give it a ‘working’ title.

Capitulation
‘One can pull a rabbit from a hat,’ the jackdaw said.
‘I wish,’ the fox replied.
The encapsulated bunny shivered.
I took its cage inside.

‘I set my cap at Mr. Hare,’
the hungry vixen growled.
The jackdaw said, ‘The man’s at fault.
He took the cage inside.’

The bunny quivered, ‘I’m not here.’
‘Nor hare,’ he quickly added.
The jackdaw said, ‘This caps it all.’
She eyed a cat who prowled

around the end of the last line
and lay down in the weeds.
The mortarboard that adorned its crown
had cutouts for its ears.

‘I think,’ the bird said sharply, ‘that
it’s catnip this cat needs.’
The fox responded, ‘Let me fix that!’
The weedy cat recedes.

We’ve had peak oil and deforestation
and now we’ve pandemonium.
The bunny dons an all-over cap
and transmutes into plutonium.

Mind Cells

The snails come by us, slow and navigate
their turns, glide up the chair, and slide away
to seek soft shade where they will pause and mate
the way their forebears always have: by rules

their genes dictate, for them a simple task
they need not ponder with their large brain cells.
Compared to us they have few cells to mask
whatever fear or lust or love that dwells

within their minds and shells and silvered drool
that they must admire when trekking in the dew.
Perhaps — who knows? — they think we are the fool
to have such tiny brain cells as we do.

Both species share the same atomic plight:
such empty cells can seldom reflect light.

Somethings

The peroxide-blonde possum looks alien strange
but she says with the passing of the seasons she’ll change
into something, into something we know of.

She grins like a fool and wears styrofoam horns
that she picked from the litter thrown down from a dorm
like they’re something, a valuable something.

She climbs down the locust tree avoiding the thorns
and follows me home watching out for loose dogs
that hunt something, and to them she’s a something.

I put a bowl down on my porch and we share my Mac meal.
She eats like a starveling with tales to conceal
about something, a frightening something.

I ask her no questions, she tells me no lies.
I give her the rest of my milkshake and half of my fries
and we’re onto something, a companionable something.

I sit in the rocker. She sits under the swing
and we talk without words if that makes any sense
about something, a valuable something.

Then she leaves in a flash of upended blonde fur
and somewhere I guess she is half up in a tree
waiting for something, an I-don’t-know something.

Range Finders

El Búho’s head swings left, front, right.
His eyes note field and house.
His brain enjoys the moonlit night.
His stomach growls for mouse.

A haggard mouse shakes out the kilt
he wears to every ball
and little haggis scraps get spilt
which causes him to bawl.

El Búho’s ears hark rodent rue.
He feathers his great wings
and flings himself (without a clue
whereof the fey mouse sings)

from blue-spruce limb through summer air
in search of rodent ham,
of brain of rodent, rodent hair,
and deboned rodent jam.

Up in the air, his great wings spread,
El Búho gives a hoot
which makes a drunken cowboy, Red,
point his gun and shoot.

Dum-dums, blanks and hollow points
(the normal late-night shooters)
answer, firing from cheap joints
named Bubba, Scum, and Hooters.

Rounds of grape and double-ought
violate curfew
as boys untouched by what they’re taught
drag Von Braun’s V-2

out and fire it down the road
to break El Búho’s head,
but he drops down to scarf a toad,
escaping cowboy lead.

El Búho’s now dispatched the toad
and feels the sicker for it.
Later, lightened of this load,
he hunkers for some porrit

and thinks again of kilted mouse
and fancies Highlands hoatching
with mice in every dell and house.
El Búho plans some poaching.

From Sometimes in Balance